At four this morning my husband and I heard a tick, ticking sound coming from the direction of his dresser. I assumed that my husband had accidentally set an alarm on his new phone, or that his old phone had somehow come back to life and was about to explode. He went over to the dresser, but could not find the source of the noise. I began thinking uncharitable thoughts about how messy his dresser was and that if he’d keep it clear, he would be able to find things.
He felt something wet. Later, he told me that he assumed he had gotten a text and his phone had vibrated knocking a glass of water over. At 4 am that theory made a lot of sense. In reality, it was raining, in our room.
Our house is under construction and we are currently without a roof. There was a 20% chance of rain last night and the odds were not in our favor.
We cleared most of my husband’s dresser and covered the rest with a towel. We went upstairs to investigate. The parts of the roof that were covered in a tarp were fine, but there were a few spots here and there where the tarp had not been nailed down or was missing. These spots happened to be over our bedroom and living room.
We looked for our camping tarp, but couldn’t find it since most of our non everyday items are in storage. I hit upon the idea of using the shower curtain from our now non existent basement shower. My husband wanted to look for nails to nail the curtain where the tarp should be. Although we’re living in a construction site, we could not find nails and so that is how I found myself at 4:30 in the morning trying to duct tape a polka dot shower curtain to a roof beam.
Duct tape does not solve everything. Eventually, we simply put the shower curtain on the ground hoping to catch some of the water, or keep it from seeping through to our bedroom. We moved the industrial garbage cans the workers had helpfully left under the worst spots and went back to bed.
We slept for half an hour, then the noise started again. This time it was raining hard and the drips were in our hallways and dripping through the main floor to the basement. So, we covered more things with towels and buckets.
I had been fairly amazed that all the commotion had not woken up our kids, blissfully asleep in the part of the house that still has a roof. My nine-year-old woke up for a few minutes and asked me to stay with him. It was tempting to climb in to that warm bed and sneak in some snuggles, but I got back out put down a few more towels and then the rain stopped again. We snuck in another half an hour or so of sleep.
It was cold and tiring but I had one thought: My husband and I had been woken up at 4 am, there was water coming in our bedroom and we did not yell at each other. Maybe that’s normal, but I grew up in a house where the fact that it was raining outside of the house might cause people to yell at each other.
When I tried to duct tape a polka dot shower curtain to the roof my husband did not insult me. When he suggested that we move a very large, heavy pile of roofing planks out of the way to better position the garbage can I did not insult him. We didn’t actually try and help each other do either of those absurd things, but we let each other try it and then we got back to work together.
I was never sure I wanted to be married. I liked the idea of having someone to change the lightbulbs and reach the high things, but the idea of living with someone, of having someone in my space all the time was hard for me to get behind.
Next month will be our twelfth anniversary. Like any normal human being I’ve spent a little time over the past dozen years of marriage thinking about what it might be like to still be single. I’ve imagined how nice it might be to not have someone who wants to talk when I want to read. I’ve dreamed about clean bathrooms and eating ice cream straight out of the carton.
But I think if you wake up at 4 am and it’s raining in your bedroom and you don’t want to kill the person lying next to you, then you’ve probably got a good thing going.