My humility is constantly being tested. You know what I mean? Sometimes I feel as if I’m St. Lawrence languishing on the barbeque, who is rumored to have said, “stick a fork in me I’m done.”
I’m sure Larry is humored by my abduction of his metaphor, but a person can only take so much, after a week of stoking the fires under a marital conflict, I’m ready for a little rain.
As luck would have it there’s a wickedly delicious storm brewing up at the lake, all I can say is I’m ever so grateful for the water, for the needed hydration, for the dousing of willful flames ravaging both our land and our relationships.
The thing is water, weather, and women are tenacious entities, not to be reckoned with, but observed with reverence, some say with caution.
Now there’s a little something I want you all to keep in mind as you enter into this lively saga.
I’m going to let the truth slip out for a wee bit of play, she’s the one everyone’s avoiding on the playground, poor thing is sitting on the end of a teetertotter hoping someone will join her. I see humor lurking around but he doesn’t weigh much, justice would be a much better leveler.
Life is full of surprises. Right? In my opinion, the unexpected can be challenging, occasionally savory, but the immeasurable worth of our sordid lives is truly the hidden gem in this earthly experience. And that’s the thing, we forget.
LAST WEEK, I repeat, “last week,” we paid the equivalent of a four-year college degree to have a new roof put on the lakehouse. You might think the timing was fortuitous and you would be dead wrong. It’s guaranteed for life, well at the very least for our lifetime, and possibly a good portion of our children’s. Do you see where this is going? Yeah, neither did I.
It’s the new funky type of roof, not that I know anything about roofing, but from my limited understanding, they applied a layer of foam to the existing roof (tar and gravel), followed by a plastic-like shield that is supposed to protect the foam. That is about as technical as I am able to be, as stated before, I am not a roofer. The lake house has a Mediterranean-style look to it, with the atypical flat roof, and red tiles framing the entire house.
Who in the hell decided to put a flat roof on a house in a region where it rains excessively? Idiot might not be the right word? Halfwit works, ignoramus, plonker, clodpole, but my favorite is chowderhead in honor of the fall. But let’s not resort to namecalling. It’s crass.
For good reason, I was not going to come up to the lake this weekend, Larry made me mad (I’d tell you why but then you’d be spitting mad too ~ probably at me). So I started walking around with a fork so I could hold it up when he came by (if you hold it real close to your eye and squint it frames your view) and pretend he’s in jail. Bahaha. Give it try next time someone annoys you. You might stick one in your pocket when you go to the DMV.
Anyhoo…after some intense graveling, I begrudgingly agreed to go, but I’m still spitting mad, and yes I brought my fork.
Of course, we’re in a hurry, when are we not? We have to pick up the boat by 3:00 pm at the repair shop in Kelseyville, which is 3 hours away (it’s now 12:15 pm because the graveling took some time), and drop it at the lake house. Then we have to drive all the way back around the lake by 5:00 pm for a dinner party! Did I mention I haven’t showered for some time (try not to judge), I’ve been under duress, had no plans to socialize, and I’ll admit I’ve soured as if expired milk.
We come skidding into the boat shop at 3:32 pm with a hitch that’s too high for the trailer and car to hook up (isn’t that always the case). When it rains, it pours. So Larry and the owner of the repair shop spend a quarter of an hour elevating the boat with various pieces of wood and jacks until the hitch finally slips into the thingamabob, while I file my nails, and calculate the declining window of time for my shower.
We head to Lucerne, but when you’re towing a boat you have to reduce your speed, and I feel as if we’re moving at a snail’s pace, and it doesn’t help the roads are now slippery as snot.
After backing the boat into the parking area at the lake house, me standing in the rain guiding the entire operation, I yell, “I have to get in the shower!”
Larry, barely able to keep the smirk off his face says, “you’re standing in one.”
“Not funny, keep your day job.”
He sets the parking brake so he can unlock the front door for his perturbed wife and then go back to unhitch the boat as we’ll need the car to get to our dinner party.
It’s as if I’m a sherpa trailing behind Larry, burdened with a stack of clothes, three pairs of shoes, my computer bag, and toilet paper (I have my priorities). He’s hauling a set of keys.
That’s when we notice the front door is open! It stops us in our tracks. What the hell? We look at each other as our collective brains try to assess the situation.
Larry says, “that’s not good.”
I say, “do you think we’ve been robbed?” All the while I’m thinking, damn, this is digging into my shower time.
“I don’t know, maybe Dante didn’t lock the door when he left? And the wind blew it open? Seems strange.”
“And I used to worry about snakes.”
He says, “run in and get started on your shower, I have to unhook the boat.”
“Are you out of your mind? I’m not going in there alone! What if Michael Myers is hiding in the closet and stabs me with a knife while you’re out here hiding behind the car. No, thank you.”
“Are you kidding?”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?”
He exhales loudly, as if he’s dealing with a juvenile delinquent recently paroled, and enters the house with a little hesitancy I might add. I follow with my fork. While he’s checking the rooms, I head out back to turn on the water, dumping my burdens in the living room while I wait for Larry to finish his thorough inspection.
He yells from down the hall, “all clear, hurry up and get ready, we’re already late.”
“I have lots of surfaces to clean don’t rush me.”
I race into my room, turn on the shower, but when I test the temperature with my hand I realize the hot water heater has been off for weeks. Damn. I stick my head in the cool stream, wash my face and hair, then with unparalleled bravery, I step into the cold torrent, wetting my entire body in like 3 seconds, step out, soap down, rinse and get the hell out. It was grueling, to say the least, but I persevere.
I dry, dress, and groom in like 19 and a half minutes. Thank God I don’t wear make-up.
We get back in the car and head to Kelseyville at warp speed. I’m just grateful I remembered to put on shoes and lipgloss.
We’re a half-hour late but at least we made it before dinner. Our friends are enjoying a cocktail around a generous island in the Lucido’s gourmet kitchen, the game is playing on the telly, and we are greeted with warmth and enthusiasm from Cheryl (I love her name), Dave, Amy, and Jim. I really needn’t bother to shower, no one in this crew cares if my hair is an oily mess, they just enjoy being together, breaking bread, sipping good wine.
As Rachel Peric says being welcoming is an act of gratitude and courage. Every time Cheryl opens the door to her home or their winery, you quickly realize it’s an act of love, not performance or competition. Every time people gather around her table her goal seems to be about nourishment (of all kinds), although Amy cooked tonight it was not about proving, or impressing. It was a simple and delicious meal. That’s what I call hospitality.
On our way home the rain picks up, very sweetly at first, but you can’t help but notice the sky is packed with these voluptuous clouds that gradually grow heavier until it rains so hard it’s as if God were trying to fill the entire world. Steadily, rhythmically, evenly it falls over our troubled and shallow lake.
“And the heavy, magical, relentless beat worms its way into every crevice of this old house,” as Halldór Laxness says, “embraced everything, both near and far, in its compass, like an unromantic story from life itself that has no rhythm and no crescendo, no climax, but which is nevertheless overwhelming in its scope, terrifying in its significance. And at the bottom of this unfathomed ocean of teeming rain sat the little house and its one neurotic woman.” Oh, that is perfect.
Exhausted we fall into bed with what sounds like white noise everywhere and I can’t say why but it’s comforting.
At some point in the middle of the night, the storm is in such a rage it awakens me, and I’m compelled to get up and check things out. As I walk through the dark house, with pounding rain, and howling wind, I can’t help but wonder if the guy who left the front door open is lingering somewhere? I mean it is October.
I stare out the huge picture window in the living room but all I see is darkness, and ominous shadows staring back at me, I get the shivers and go running back to my warm bed before the boogyman catches up to me.
When it’s still dark I hear Larry fusing around in the closet and I’m trying to figure out what the hell he is doing getting up in the middle of the night? He calls Shaggy who’s sleeping on the floor by my side of the bed and they head out quietly closing the door behind them. I glance at the clock and realize it is after 6:00 but it’s so dark it seems as if it is still night. I snuggle back under my covers hoping I fall back asleep.
The next thing I know Larry comes back in the room and fuses around in his closet again, when he comes out he has his grungy work clothes on, as I struggle to remember what day it is?
As I recall it’s still the weekend (every day’s a weekend when you’re retired), this is when I hear footprints on the roof? What the hell?
I crawl out of bed and spy my husband through the upper windows walking around the roof in the middle of a downpour. Seems a little strange?
When he comes back in the house he’s drenched and starts stripping down in the front room! It’s a little disturbing to have a naked man describing his morning perils before coffee. I try and stay focused on the issue.
He says, “I’m sitting here reading the paper when I feel a drip on my hand. And I’m thinking what’s going on? When I look up I see the water streaming down this interior window.”
I look to where he’s pointing and indeed there is water rippling down the window as if a horizontal stream. “Where’s that coming from?”
“I went up to check out the new roof and it all looks good. I think the wind is blowing the rain into the upper windows and the seams are leaking.”
He walks me into the lanai where he has pushed all the furniture away from the center of the room because water is dripping from one of the light fixtures and a puddle is forming on the tiled floor.
After a minute of gawking at all the water now trickling into the house I say, “I need coffee, you need clothes, and by the way, the dog is limping.”
He looks down as if he’s just realizing he’s naked and as he’s walking down the hall to find some dry clothes he says, “I think Shaggy may have hurt his front paw jumping out of the car?”
I grab a cup of coffee, give Shaggy a little love, feel around his front legs for a throne or other injury, but the pursual doesn’t seem to bother him. I turn my attention to the rain and as if inspector Clouseau I start scanning the house for more leaks.
After brushing my teeth I hear something continue to drip after I turn off the water. This is when I realize the vent on the wall between the bed and bathroom is leaking and the rug is soaking wet. Why didn’t we notice this before?
I report to Larry, “there’s a leak in our room too.”
As we’re placing large plastic buckets all over the house, and concocting plans to stanch the leaks, we decide we need to pay a visit to the local hardware store for tape, sealant, and plastic.
The better part of the day was spent with Larry on the roof taping up plastic screens to keep the water off the main windows, spraying sealant in the cracks, while I replaced the wet towels with dry ones and adjusted the various buckets to catch the worst of the drips.
So glad we just spent a fortune on a new roof, as they say, timing is everything.
The rain pelted the lake as if the sky was actually falling. It’s extraordinary. I’ve never seen it rain like this anywhere, anytime, or for this long. I think we got over ten inches of rain in one twenty-four-hour period. No wonder the poor house is waterlogged.
By the end of the day we were exhausted, we pop a bottle of wine, bake up some salmon for dinner, and hunker down for a movie. The presto log is still burning, the rain is still coming down, but my anger is beginning to dissipate. See, I can be
generous, amiable, okay, civil on occasion.
I woke to the sound of the rain during the night but in the morning the sun was out, everything looks hydrated and fresh, and I squeal over a flock of pelicans gathering in front of our house.
We need rain to saturate the parchedness of the land, as much as we need friction in our relationships to ignite emotion, after which, your love is refreshed in a way, our immeasurable worth restored…at least tentatively.
Larry says, “I think we need to leave this afternoon.”
“Why? I thought we were staying until Tuesday?”
“I have things to do,” I discern an annoying sharpness to his tone.
“I have writing to do,” I proclaim with as much indignation as possible.
He ignores my comment, and says, “You’ll need to drive my car so I can drive the mustang home. Leave around 2:00?”
“There’s a lot to do before we can get out of here.”
Okay, it’s now 3:40 pm, the cushions are stored, I’ve cleaned three bathrooms, straightened the entire house, scoured the kitchen, packed up all the food, watered the houseplants, helped Larry back the boat in the garage, loaded the car, and I’m still waiting for Mr. 2:00 pm’s departure.
I say, “when are we leaving?” Admittedly annoyed.
“I don’t know, I’m busy, why don’t you just relax.” No, no, no.
“Did you just tell me to relax?” Feathers ruffled.
Time to get the fork!
I’m Living in the Gap, watching the storm run out of rain, how are you doing?
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
― Vivian Greene
“Love like rain, can nourish from above, drenching couples with a soaking joy. But sometimes under the angry heat of life, love dries on the surface and must nourish from below, tending to its roots keeping itself alive.”
― Paulo Coelho
“The magic of purpose and of love in its purest form. Not television love, with its glare and hollow and sequined glint; not sex and allure, all high shoes and high drama, everything both too small and in too much excess, but just love. Love like rain, like the smell of a tangerine, like a surprise found in your pocket.”
― Deb Caletti
“The only noise now was the rain, pattering softly with the magnificent indifference of nature for the tangled passions of humans.”
― Sherwood Smith