Sunday, July 25, 2010

“Sunny, with a slight chance of T-Storms” By Gary

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were enjoying a warm weekend at Lake Tahoe.  I opened the paper to the weather section and saw the forecast: sunny and warm, with a slight chance of T-storms.  I chuckled out loud as I reread the forecast to her. “Sounds like your personality sometimes!”  The girls and I have  jokingly described her very rare outbursts as “T-Storms”, short for Teresa Storms.  We both laughed,  easy to do when it’s summertime and the livin is easy.

If I had to describe a place with a climate that represented my day to day life with Teresa, I’d look for the warmest, most tropical place on earth--Hawaii or Fiji, perhaps, and still declare it not temperate enough.
I’m the first to admit:  In the Super Pick Six Lottery of Marriage, I had all six numbers and the bonus. I have friends who remind me of this all the time. Just earlier this year, after a sensitive faculty meeting in which a particularly stylish Teresa made a couple of incredibly apt and to-the-point suggestions benefiting the entire staff, a young charismatic Social Studies teacher leaned over to me and said, “DAMN, Oefinger, you really married UP!”  He was right.

With that said, every once in a long while, amidst all the obligations, expectations, caring, counseling and doing for others, even Teresa reaches a breaking point where she proves she’s human after all.  If pushed just a bit more at this time,  she morphs into a character that my daughters know I refer to as her “Cruella De Ville” mode, the villain from “101 Dalmatians”. In the movie, Cruella acts harshly and in a state of frenzy. There is fire in her eyes as she grabs her steering wheel and zooms off looking for vengeance.  Around here, on the rare occasion when Cruella arrives, Teresa is uncharacteristically short in compassion and long in directives.  It’s not a time to look for sympathy (she once told one of our daughters to ‘get off the pity-pot’ during the T-Storm of ‘09).  Asking what’s for dinner is practically a capital offense .  These are treacherous times that try men’s souls.  These are  “T-Storms”.

A Cruella-infused T-Storm lacks all of the usual patience, kindness or logic of the normal climate.  A T-Storm can’t be reasoned with, coerced or lessened in intensity.  A T-Storm must simply be endured; after all, it was deserved.  T-Storms come when the unbelievable expectation we assume in this incredible person are momentarily unattainable as the giving well runs temporarily dry. One should be able to see a T-Storm coming, but in our self absorbed focus we don’t.  If not recognized early, our only recourse is to allow it to pass, to stay safe and out of harm’s way and to know that eventually the sun will return.  An enlightened person will learn about their own short comings and perhaps, minimize the chance of a similar T-Storm returning in the future.

Last Friday, after a day of golfing with my buddy while Teresa was home with a myriad of chores,  I averted a T-Storm.

After golf and post-round libations,  Teresa drove down and joined us at our friends for dinner and card playing. The night was quite enjoyable, as it always is with these very dear friends. By midnight, though, I was quite tired from a day that had been full of fun. My fatigue probably showed.
As we were leaving,  Teresa announced that she’d be driving home. I didn’t have a problem with that.  In the car, she questioned my ‘sportsmanship’ during the card games.  I explained that the long, full day may have contributed to my less-than-chipper demeanor near the end of the evening (not to mention the thrashing we absorbed at the hands of our competitive friends). I thought I heard the rumble of a distant cloud. Teresa then announced that we would be leaving the top down on the little miata.  Hmmmm, quite chilly.... My request to put the top up was immediately vetoed....very unusual.  I’m pretty sure I caught a glimpse of Cruella, nearby, in the shadows, and definitely noted the flash of lightening in the distance.   It was only then that I realized the possibility of a storm. I hadn’t really given much thought to what my wife’s day may have been like. But lately they’ve been long on caring for her mom, commiserating and listening to others,  short on the supposedly carefree days of summer.   While I was out seeking pars and birdies, she had been doing laundry, baking a pie, gardening, preparing for our incoming Italian guests all while giving her sister some relief by entertaining her mom for the afternoon.  She never complains, but I sensed an impending gully-washer.  I quickly calculated the approximate time it would take to get home and inventoried the clothing I had with me.  Suddenly it seemed like a right fine night for a convertible ride home.  Resolutely, I sighed, put on my golf jacket,  entwined my arms around my midsection for warmth, closed my eyes, and nestled in for the chilly ride home.  Back at home, my reward was knowing that I had, at least this time, circumvented an impending storm....a T-storm. I hope I’m enlightened enough to learn from it.

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