As fun as it was to sit around watching the Weather Channel all day, we were relieved when the hurricane season ended that year.
Which, coincidentally, was almost exactly when our new storm panels arrived.
Our next order of business was getting the metal tracks installed for the shutters to slot into.
But for some reason this relatively small task seemed almost insurmountable.
Every time we called Jane, she seemed to come up with a new excuse for why it hadn’t been done. “The screws don’t fit.” “You have guests in the house.” “Pacho has a cold.”
Why was she stalling?
We never really knew. Our working theory, however, was that she loved big tasks but hated small ones. Find two hundred square feet of tile to match the tile we already have? No problem. Hang a towel rack in the upstairs bathroom? Zzzz.
We quit mentioning the tracks. The beginning of the next hurricane season was, after all, nine months away.
But the next time we were down for a visit Michael took the tracks out of storage and laid them underneath each window and door they belonged to. “Are we going to install them ourselves?” I asked.
“I hope not,” was Michael’s cryptic answer.
Later that day Jane stopped by. She had her usual list of things that needed to be discussed and so did we, but no one mentioned the tracks. And every time we walked past them she managed to look the other way.
“I don’t get it,” I remarked after she’d left.
“Give it a day or two,” Michael advised.
And guess what?
When we returned home from the beach the next afternoon the tracks had magically been installed.
Thankfully we haven’t had to use the shutters yet. There are have been a few near misses in the past couple of years, but every storm that appeared to have Vieques directly in its crosshairs conveniently veered north or south at just the right moment.
A few have dumped a day’s worth of rain on the island…
…but, as Michael observed, this just makes our fledgling garden grow even faster.
Occasionally, for old time’s sake, I’ll surf past the Weather Channel and pause for a short, elegiac moment, remembering those long autumnal afternoons on Michael’s sofa.
Shelley’s hair is still a rat’s nest.
But I’m happy to report that Rob finally got a new coat.