When it rains, it pours. It’s funny, I must have heard that saying a million times. But I never really thought about it until just recently.
When it rains, it pours.
That’s certainly true where I live now, in South Florida. The rainstorms that blow in off coast here can be truly frightening. Of course, the saying isn’t about the rain at all. It’s actually about life, and how bad things tend to come in bunches. And that certainly seems true to me, too.
And there’s no sense in blaming Florida or the weather for it, because my bad things started last year at our old house in Massachusetts when Randall died.
I had been nagging him all day to shovel the walk, and he didn’t want to.
“Shirl, it’s five degrees out there,” he said.
“You big baby,” I said, “a little cold won’t kill you.”
“It will if I slip and crack my head open,” he said.
And I’ll be darned if that isn’t exactly what happened.
I shouldn’t have let Tendy out to piddle in the yard. She’s so small and white, he probably just didn’t see her in the snow. Somehow she managed to get underfoot, and down he went, just like that.
I had to track Moira down to tell her about the funeral. I must have talked to four or five of her old roommates before I found her in Ohio. Then she missed her plane, so I had to send her more money for a bus ticket, and she almost missed the service.
The next day, the man from Randall’s work came and explained the pension plan to us, telling us how much we could expect to get.
“This is very generous,” I told him. “But I don’t need nearly that much each month.”
“This,” he said, underlining the number, “is the annual total.”
Moira and I just looked at each other. We knew right then and there that things were going to be a lot different. She’d have to move back in with me, and we’d both have to get jobs.
When it rains, it pours all right.
But it wasn’t all bad. To be honest, I was even a little happy about it at first. What mother wouldn’t be glad to see her daughter more often?
I got a job at the CVS. The hours were odd and the pay was bad, but everyone there was real nice and I thought maybe everything would work out.
Except Moira couldn’t seem to find a job to save her life—and since we needed to split the cost of the mortgage and the groceries, that’s not just a figure of speech, either. She said all the interviewers were against her, and everyone just hired their friends, anyway.
When she finally did get a job a couple of months later, waitressing at the Denny’s, we had a big celebration dinner. I thawed a ham and brought a bottle of good wine home from the CVS for toasting.
But she was only there three weeks before they said her tickets weren’t adding up and sent her home. Something to do with the credit card machine.
Can you believe that? They all but accused her of stealing. I know my Moira isn’t perfect, but I didn’t believe it for a second. I was fit to be tied.
“We’re getting an attorney,” I told her.
“I might know one,” she said.
And that’s when Brian started coming around. He told us we had an ironclad case for wrongful termination, and that we were sure to win. Not only would she get her lost wages back, but that the real money would come when the jury saw how much pain and suffering we had been through. And I have to say, I didn’t disagree with him.
Then I went to work at the CVS one night.
“Shirl!” Barbara said when I came through the automatic door in my vest, “you don’t work tonight! Didn’t you check the schedule?”
Well, we had a good laugh about that, as you can imagine. Me standing there in my vest, and on the wrong night and everything. So I turned right around and went home, stopping at the Wendy’s on the way to surprise Moira with one of those thick milkshakes she likes.
Of course the surprise was on me instead when I came home to find her in my medicine chest, thinking I was still at work, taking the pills they gave me after my foot surgery.
“Mom!” she said.
“Moira,” I said, “those are my pills.”
“I need them, Mommy,” she told me, “I’m sick.”