A rainmaker’s tale

Amazing that doing a little bit of laundry can have such a big effect. Well OK, that's a lie. It was three major loads of laundry, so perhaps it's no wonder that the rain just won't stop.

Amazing that doing a little bit of laundry can have such a big effect. Well OK, that’s a lie. It was three major loads of laundry, so perhaps it’s no wonder that the rain just won’t stop. Over the years, I’ve noticed an uncanny correlation between doing laundry and rain setting in immediately after.

I should be using this method of rainmaking to advantage, like during the times when our knuckles come close to brushing the ground because our arms have lengthened like tired rubber bands from hauling so much water for the garden. But no. The thought of hauling even more water for doing laundry is too appalling, considering it’s usually hot on top of everything else. And so it goes – the laundry pile grows, the clean clothes dwindle, and before you know it summer is over and there’s no way to avoid the grisly chore of sucking the dirt out of my clothes with the trusty old toilet plunger. This being its sole purpose at our place, I might add.

The first load still dried under sunny skies, but washing all those jeans summoned the clouds that have been pouring out their contents for weeks now. Maybe if I had meekly pushed the rest of the dirty laundry back into its smelly corner, the skies would still have cleared. Alas, I just took the pants inside to dry and moved on to washing shirts. A bad move – it rained. And rained. And is still raining, as I’m sure you’ve noticed for the past, oh, how many weeks?

Ours is not a household that enjoys permanent soaking. A day or two are fine: the dogs suddenly feel no urge to go out for a run or even a pee, I pounce on the excuse to disappear into a book for the better part of the day and Sam does a lot of sighing. It’s once the novelty wears off that it’s starting to wear on us. Having to put on rain gear for the trips to the outhouse, to get water, to feed the chickens is starting to become a nuisance. Going for walks is not the usual fun.

“And, are you still dry?” I ask Sam in what’s become our daily ritual. He pulls a face as he hangs up his dripping Gore-Tex pants and points to the wet knees of his jeans: “Nope.”

I grin and launch into the usual praise of my new rain pants (non-breathing but waterproof, which replaced my 18-year old pair of also non-breathing but waterproof pants). “You should get a pair of these,” I can’t resist to bug him. “They last close to 20 years.”

“Yeah, but they don’t breathe,” is Sam’s inevitable response. So is mine: “Not much use in breathing materials if all they do is inhale water.”

Sam rolls his eyes and shoos away Nooka who is trying to lick him dry. It’s cute at first to have a concerned dog lick the rainwater off your boots and pants, until a closer look reveals that she’s adding a liberal coating of goop and slobber to them. Poor thing, she slinks off with an injured expression in her eyes and tries to dry off Milan. He growls. Suddenly she remembers that there is a most appreciative customer for her motherly concern: the puppy Wilson.

He always ends up the wettest of us all, crashing through the bushes at full throttle and periodically throwing himself on the ground, overcome by sheer joy of life, while the rest of us tend to plod along with fond thoughts of going back to the cabin as soon as possible.

Wilson stands and turns, lifting first one paw, then another, while Nooka grooms him, closing her eyes with happiness that she can dry somebody off. At least it’s something to smile about in all this wet and gloom. Nooka, the canine version of a blow dryer: a lick dryer. Other than that, if everything wasn’t so waterlogged already, the weather could make you weep.

Even the mice seem to be flinging themselves with soggy abandon into a watery grave – at least, over at the chicken coop they do. Yesterday’s mouse catching scores were Chickens 5, Sam and Lisa 1. To be outdone by chickens – as if the rain wasn’t depressing enough. And I hardly dare say it … I still have to do more laundry.

Lisa Hasselbring is a writer who lives at the headwaters of the Yukon River south of Whitehorse.

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