drop in the bucket

If you remember the 1970s, you might remember a song that lived on the pop charts for a brief, ear-worming period, bemoaning the fact that while “it never rains in southern California … man, it pours.” Indeed.

While rain is too infrequent here (although living in sunshine nearly 365 days a year is intoxicating), when it chooses to come down with a vengeance (not often) it’s memorable. Such was the case about three weeks ago, when the heavens poured, the thunder roared, and the lightning scored every few seconds for most of the night. The gods were clearly unleashing their wrath (can you blame them?).

Aside: Our apartment is on the top floor of a building that was constructed before the song was written and was retrofitted after the huge earthquake in 1994 (a fancy word for “reinforced to withstand another quake of that magnitude, hopefully”). We’ve been living here for nearly 23 years. It’s a great unit with, among other nice features, a sunny, southern-exposure view of the Hollywood Hills from every room, a huge kitchen and über-spacious master bedroom, and rent control. Plus lots of character (okay, quirks) because it is, after all, an old building.

Back to our story. The storm passed and the next day dawned clear (there’s nothing like LA after the rain). Sure some water had gathered in the window tracks (quirk) but otherwise, no problems. Until.

That night, as I sat at my standing-desk (does anyone really stand at one of these?) in my office portion of the bedroom (I told you, the room is big), I heard a funny noise. Sort of like a soft pah sound. Pah (pause for several seconds), pah (pause), pah. I barely paid attention, assuming it was just the building settling (not that a building settling in earthquake country is terribly comforting). After it happened a couple of more times I thought absently, “Oh, it’s the dog brushing past the bed.” Except that we haven’t had a dog in fifteen years. And that’s when I turned around, looked up … and saw a strange shadow on the ceiling.

“Oh, wow,” my Queen of Denial inner voice said, “I never realized how the desk lamp makes that weird shadow.” Probably because it doesn’t. The not-shadow was due to a roof leak, the pah sound was the noise the leak made dripping onto the bed (the one covered with a now no-longer-white down-alternative comforter), and the words coming out of my mouth were, well, unprintable.

Rushing into the living room where B. was happily ensconced watching a Laker game, I calmly broke the news. To wit:

Me: “Honey …”

He: “Just a sec …”

Me: “HONEY…”

He: “Hold on, LeBron’s setting up a 3-point shot …”

Me: “HONEY!!! The roof is leaking onto the bed!!!”

He: “Why didn’t you tell me sooner???”

And from there the hits — and the hilarity — kept coming. After setting up a bucket, we spent the next couple of hours moving furniture around to get the bed (did I tell you it’s a California king?) out from under the leak, which required moving all the other pieces of furniture to new spots. The result being that now most of it is on one side of the room, leaving a nice, big, empty space on the other side (behind my desk) but throwing off my neurotic sense of symmetry completely. And then there are the little oddities — like one of the nightstands being not-so-conveniently located across the room where it serves absolutely no purpose at all.

Good news — it hasn’t rained since then (yet). More good news — I hear the roofers up there now (unless it’s Santa, 11 months early, although the two are interchangeable in this regard).

But what really makes me smile is B.’s enthusiasm about maybe keeping the bed where it is, while rearranging the rest of the furniture so that he can preserve that newfound, extra space behind my desk for me to use however I choose. You’ve got to hand it to him — it’s a downright “A for admirable” effort. (Really wanting the room back to the way it’s always been, I merit a scarlet “D” for my “don’t even go there” attitude.)

“Maybe you’ll use the space for yoga,” he has suggested hopefully, resulting in a very un-namaste glare from me (hint: I don’t do yoga). “And maybe we can move the bookcase over there so that it will show up behind you when you do Zoom meetings … just like everyone we see on TV.” (Sure. And maybe we can all burst into a chorus of “Singin’ in the Rain.”)

Or maybe we send the rain to a plain in Spain.

Aboard a westbound 747.

© 2021 Claudia Grossman

5 comments on “drop in the bucket

  1. Very funny, and glad its not me!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Same thing happened to us when we were camping in the Shenandoah Mts. of Va. It rained through a (formerly unknown) hole at the peak of our new tent. At the same time, a bear was scratching at the tent’s entrance flap. We didn’t get too wet, because our bedding was off to the side in the tent, We shooed the bear away by hollering at him. Ahh, the great outdoor life!

  3. Wow! as bad as this was I’m glad you were able to weather this storm. When you began your story – I started envisioning the ceiling coming down!!

    As for the room re-arranging I was laughing out loud! How often has it taken an unsolicited or external force to move me off of my precious status quo? 😳 Most times (as if wearing cement overshoes mind you) I do shift my stance because I am reminded – do I want to just experience the storm? – or BE the storm?
    Love your writing!
    And now, a musical interlude 😆

  4. I love your point about taking off the cement overshoes and making a change, Sooz — that really is what it feels like sometimes. When the change works it’s so worth it, and if it doesn’t, it’s worth knowing that you were brave enough to make the effort (I don’t know how much bravado it takes to rearrange furniture, but you get my meaning! ☺) And thanks for the music — fun to hear that one again. I’m so glad you enjoy my writing — I love having you for an audience! 💗

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