GET YOURSELF A
It was raining again, for the third day in a row. I was
sitting at the breakfast table in our Marin County home, eating my banana
and peanut butter, and my wife sat across from me as the rain incessantly
pelted the roof.
"Still thinking I should thank you?" she asked with
a bit of a smirk.
"Thank me for what?" I gloomily responded.
A gust of wind rattled the windows and the rain was going
sideways for a moment. "For rescuing me from the cold and bitter
She had never liked it when I called her a rescue spouse.
Born in Montreal, she had suffered through miserable Quebec winters all
her life before she met me and moved to Northern California, where warm
temperatures and sunshine prevailed, especially for the last five drought
But despite the miserable weather outside, I wasn't
about to give up. In the never ending battle of marriage, no edge can be
surrendered. I knew that deep in her heart (really, really deep), she was
grateful that I rescued her from a life of snow and ice and freezing
"OK, you don't have to thank me today," I replied,
nodding at the downpour outside. "I can wait until tomorrow."
"It's supposed to rain for the next three days.
Northern California is starting to feel like a swamp. I'm beginning to
miss the snow and ice of Quebec."
She was lying, of course, like all rescue spouses. She
knew this Winter was an aberration, with near record rainfall. Soon, very
soon, we'll be back to our usual sunshine and 65-70 degree temperatures.
February always brings a "false Spring" for about a week. That's
when she'll thank me.
I haven't always been arrogant about our weather. As a
little kid growing up near the fog-engulfed ocean in San Francisco, I was
given a taste of what it's like to have a miserable Winter. The only
problem was that it was Summer.
I distinctly remember waking up one morning in July, or
maybe it was August. I think I was about five years old. I opened my
little eyes and couldn't contain my excitement when I looked out the
window. "MOMMY, MOMMY," I shouted. "I SEE BLUE SKY!"
It had been weeks since I'd seen the sun, and it would
be weeks before I'd see it again. I mention it only because I want to make
it clear I know about suffering. Maybe that's why I have such an affinity
for rescue spouses.
And I'm not the only one. I have friends who have
followed my path, rescuing spouses from weather-challenged areas. I asked
a couple of them for a testimonial, and they were happy to oblige.
Cynthia H: I was on a business trip in Wisconsin
in January and passed a golf course. Jim was sitting on a bench wearing an
oversized Green Bay Packers sweatshirt and a cheesehead hat, looking out
at the foot of snow covering the first tee. He was so sad. There were
bumps and bruises all over his face and hands from his fall from the
freezing rain that morning. I rescued him and brought him to California,
and he's playing golf three times a week. It's so rewarding for me to see
Jim so happy.
Dave H: I found Susan at a shelter in New
York City. A Northeaster has just blown through, and she had no
electricity or heat at her home. Her parents had moved to Florida, leaving
her to face the elements alone. She was so pale, but still adorable once I
saw through the seven layers of clothing. We fell in love and she moved
West to be with me and the sunshine. She still shakes a bit when watching
the East Coast storms on the evening news, but every year she gets better.
And she's so tan!
"See, I'm not the only arrogant Californian who
expects a thank you every once in awhile," I said to my wife when I
showed her the testimonials that I secretly fabricated with a semblance of
truth. "Once it stops raining, you'll feel lucky again. And you'll
She looked me up and down, a bit icily, and then got up
to go outside. She grabbed an umbrella, but didn't need a sweater, because
it was a beautifully warm California rain.
"Lucky?" she replied, right before she
slammed the door. "Not at the moment."