A Dark and Stormy Night


It was a dark and stormy October night. The wind was fierce and rain beat wildly across the roof.

I felt an odd and unusual emotion.

It had been a rough fall. Our life felt like it consisted of an endless stream of fussy, snotty little boys. Every week, one of them shared a different cold with us. Neither of us are at our best when we’re sick.

But that night I felt…contentment…gratitude? I snuggled next to my husband under warm blankets, reflected on the miracle of central heating, and, on the joy of having a solid roof over my head.

Until the next morning. When I walked to my closet, I stepped in something wet. Startled, I looked around for little boys. When I remembered that they were in their own houses for a change, I looked up. My ceiling was dripping. In fact, there was a bit of a bulge.

I pointed this out to my husband.

He sighed, got a bucket, and speared the ceiling. We watched as water, and soggy plaster emerged from the hole. Then we sniffed the air. Even with our colds we could tell that the room smelled like death.

“We’d better sleep in a different room.” my husband frowned, looking unhappily at the mess.

Pictures of past house projects flashed before my eyes.

“Please.” I immediately pleaded. “Don’t try to fix it yourself. I’ld like to be back in our bedroom by 2015.”

He looked at me, and rubbed his head.

“You know, don’t you, that we can’t do anything now. Remember Chloe? Your niece? You invited her and her new baby to come to our house to recover after her delivery. You can’t have a new mother and a baby sleeping upstairs while someone takes down a plaster ceiling…”


“They can sleep in the guest-room, and we’ll move into the sunporch.

“But…” I stammered…”The sunporch? What about the couches? the treadmill? the TV?”

“I’ll just pile them all behind the bed.”


Then it occurred to me. A silver lining.

“You know. This would be the time to replace our upstairs carpet. It’s 25 years old…I’ve been meaning to clean it for some time now…but….Replacing it will be easy enough. Since we have to move the furniture out of one room, we can just move everything else at the same time…” I continued, feeling somewhat cheered.

“So…you call some roof guys, some contractor guys, move the furniture and I’ll go look at carpet samples!”

My husband sniffed and blew his nose. Then he wrapped himself in a blanket and lay shivering on the couch.

“One thing at a time.” he repeated like a mantra. “We move our bed to the porch. Then we can’t do anything until your niece has the baby, recovers and leaves…”

I stared at him and got some more Kleenex.

“But…things should be back together way before Thanksgiving? Right?”

“We’ll be lucky to be back in our room by mid January…” he coughed.

“What about Christmas? The sunporch is the only room big enough to hold a tree…”

“And…what about football?” cried out my oldest son. “The only TV in the whole family is out on your sunporch.”

“Late games are out. We go to bed by nine.” my husband added firmly. “You definitely can’t sit on the bed and watch football when we’re sleeping in it.”

It was a long fall.

But tonight, on the eve of of the new year, I am writing to report progress. My niece came and went, blessed with a beautiful baby girl. And, as the sunporch is far away from the guest-room, we never heard the baby cry at night. The roof was easily fixed…a flashing, whatever that is, just needed to be added. The ceiling got redone, and the room repainted. Even if it wasn’t in quite in time for Thanksgiving. But there was progress, and I was joyful.

“Do we get to look at carpet samples now?” I asked jumping up and down. “How do you think a dark red would look?”

My husband sneezed, and winced. “One thing at a time…”

Finally after a morning of extensive discussion, and negotiation, we concluded that what we really wanted was a new carpet that was the exact same color and texture as the old beige carpet. Albeit, quite a bit cleaner.

“We’re just wild and crazy kids.” we sighed, clutching our kleenex.

The bad news was that the carpet couldn’t be installed until 2015.

Still, being a cheerful and patient soul, I once again looked for silver linings.

“I’ve always wanted a minimalist Christmas.” I declared. “This means we don’t have to get a tree.”

“And you can’t invite a thousand relatives.” my husband added, apparently finding his own silver linings.

But today, I am happy to report that just before Christmas, our carpet came in and was installed. Our bed is back upstairs, the sunporch couches are once again solidly on the floor, and folks can watch TV without sitting on our bed. The closet shelves are re-fastened, doors have been re-hung, and most of the furniture is back where it belongs. At my husband’s request, my daughter even took on the herculean task of organizing the toy room.

“I’ll have you know that I’ve done a lot of work the past couple of days…” my husband declared. “And look, my cold is gone…”

“I even got you a tree!” he added proudly pointing at the glass wax tree painted on our picture window.

I winced.

I wasn’t completely happy of course. I sort of expected that once the bed was in place, I would just raise my hand, and, like Mary Poppins, I would just command all my stuff to whirl right back into its proper places. Curtain rods would go up, pictures would jump onto the wall, and all the clothes that I had hidden in various secret places around the house would just flock back into my closet. But all that is still to be done and one room is still filled with the ‘loose ends’ that must dealt with.

Still, as I lay in bed, back in my own bedroom, listening to rain on the roof, I again felt a strange and unaccustomed emotion. Contentment…even…gratitude…

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