GET YOURSELF A
 RESCUE SPOUSE

    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 East."
   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 years.
    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 temperatures.
   "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 thank me."
    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."
 

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