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A Rainy Day in the Life of a Missouri Housewife
by C.M. Erickson
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A three am wakeup call of thunder, lightening, and hail. For someone who can sleep through a marching band, the stormís ability to wake me up did not bode well for the general structural integrity of the house. The rain reminded me that I had drunk a full glass of water before going to bed. The lightning flashed so brightly I didnít need the hall or bathroom light. I crawled back in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and wished the pinging of hail would let up. My car was parked out there in that maelstrom, and I was not interested in daylight presenting me with a pockmarked roof or hood. While it was a used car when we bought it, it was still new to me. I had just washed it yesterday in the 70 degree afternoon weather. Missouri weather in February is still beyond the comprehension of my Georgia upbringing.

My husband was up and off to work early and I was at home, waiting for the washing machine repair man to come by and tell me why it sometimes leaked water or never seemed to clear up the laundry detergent in the delicate cycle. At least the machine was still under warranty, which did little to assuage my frustration of being under house arrest. At least I was not going to have to pay to be chained to my house, waiting for the repair man to swing by on a schedule that the industry never allows the consumer to see. No one ever gets told their appointment is around two pm. They get told that the repairman will come by on next Tuesday, and to be home for when he shows.

The rain started early and never seemed to let up. At first it was a light spattering here or there, with a few pockets of sunshine that seemed designed more to tease than anything else. You knew better than to get your hopes up for sunshine, but all the same, that one moment of brightness, the shadow cast by one tree, light glinting off a puddle, and you couldnít help but hope that maybe that ray of sunshine would last. Each time that ray of hope vanished, only to be replaced with grey, slow, dreary, dripping rain.

The fog moved in by mid morning. It served as another cruel layer of imprisonment. The washing machine repairman limited me to a trip as far as the mailbox. The rain made me disinclined to travel even that far. But the fog stole from me even the view of the mailbox. My house somehow seemed smaller, and I tried not to think of scary movies that involved creatures coming out of the mist. I double checked the locks on my doors and turned on a few more lights.

By noon rain finally prevailed over the fog, and seemed to wash it all slowly away with its relentless torrent. I poured myself a second cup of coffee and sat on the sofa, looking out the window at our back yard. What had once been covered with enough snow for me to make a snowman and snow angel only three days ago was now a disturbing shade of mushy brown. The snow had already melted into the ground over the last two days of balmy temperatures, and the constant rain just ran off the top, causing streams to appear in the back yard before my very eyes. The few flat parts of my yard were already vast lakes of standing water, shimmering in the grey afternoon light. Even the sun was losing the battle against the dreariness.

The rain came in rushing waves as the afternoon wore on with still no news of the repairman. The sweeping done, the dishwasher running, the large pots washed and in the drying rack, with nothing to do but stare out the window and listen to the pounding on the roof. I made a cup of tea, hoping for something to revive me from the tedious doldrums of my rainy day life.

Finally, the phone rang. The repairman was on his way! I stood impatiently at the kitchen window, waiting for his arrival. I had one chore left, laundry, and it could not be completed until my washer had been diagnosed and treated. I was craving something to do like a five year old craves candy in a grocery store checkout line.

The repairman came, jovial despite the weather. He tinkered with the machine, only to determine there was nothing mechanically wrong and the front just needed to be elevated a little. He picked my washer up and tilted it back towards the wall at an insane angle I was sure would result in death and destruction. He fiddled with something, righted the machine, and pronounced it good. With his work done, he trotted off on his merry way, leaving me to start the laundry.

The laundry in progress, I decided that cooking dinner was the best thing to take my mind off of the numbing drum of the downpour on the roof. Dinner was ready by 4:30 pm, a markedly early time to eat, but one necessitated by the weather and my desperate attempts at escapism. My husband was soon home, and we sat down and ate. He mentioned there were flash flood warnings in the area. I pretended to be surprised as the lightning flashed and thunder crashed all around us.

Forgoing our usual evening walk, we sat down in front of the TV. My husband looked at me askance. He inquired whether I might be suffering from cabin fever. Upon my emphatic affirmative, he turned off the TV and put a CD in the stereo. As the music started, he grabbed my hand and waltzed me around the living room, down the hallway, around the bedroom, and into the kitchen. He held me close and whispered how thrilled he was to be home and to see me after looking at the abysmally grey sky all day. The rain faded away as the radiance of my husbandís smile filled my world.

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