This One?

There is nothing like the beach for one’s health, so that is exactly where I asked Dearly Beloved to take that annoying dog of ours so that I could stay here and sleep through the night and get rid of my creeping crud.

The final straw in her nighttime annoyances routine happened when I had to take her outside at 3 AM and I heard voices from across the street.  Earlier in the week it had been five ladies jogging, but this time, three teenaged boys in hoodies were walking down the block, laughing and talking.  While I thought of calling the police, I did not.  They weren’t being furtive or casing the neighborhood as far as I could tell.  I don’t know whether we have a curfew or not, so the only obvious charge I could think of was “poor parenting.”

The next morning I asked Dearly Beloved to think about getting Miss Piggy out of the house for a few days.  Nudged into selflessness by the sunny, low 70’s weather reports on the coast, he agreed that a trip to the beach–theirs–might be good for me.

Thoughtful husband that he is, DB assembled the supplies he thought I might need before he returned:  he brought down the Christmas decoration boxes from the attic and set up the ironing board for me.

DB and Miss Piggy hit the road, I slid the boxes under the ironing board, then plopped on the sofa, and everybody was happy.

A couple of days after they left, I roused myself, thinking to at least set up my mother’s old ceramic tree with the lightbulb inside.  I picked through the boxes, looking for the “FRAGILE” marked box.  When I couldn’t find it, I called DB.

He said he’d probably left it in the attic–he could picture it in his mind now, straight ahead if I went up the steps.  Normally, I don’t “do” attic stuff, so I said I’d wait until he got back.  However, even I got a whiff of wussiness from myself, so as a matter of pride,  I pulled down the old disappearing stairs to find the darned box.

Those suckers are into their seventh decade and “glide” isn’t a word that came to mind during my efforts.  In previous houses, it was a one-motion thing… pull down the door, unfold the steps, and start climbing.  THIS contraption has a latch at the base of the stairs which has to be undone in order to release the actual stepladder.  There is no folding.

I wasn’t expecting that, so I was pulling on a wooden stairway that refused to move.  In the meantime the entire heavy door contraption is sort of, well… dangling.  Finally I noticed the latch and with some effort, popped it to unleash the stepladder.

By that time, the door had been at so many angles, I didn’t know which one was the correct one.  It didn’t seem to have a set point.  I tried the steps at several different points on the floor before they felt sturdy enough to climb.

I was about 2/3 of the way up when I heard a loud pop and something metal made a spinning noise.  I’m not sure exactly why I climbed UP the Hindenburg instead of going back down. I quickly plopped on the attic floor with my feet hanging into the hole to assess the situation.  It was possible I could be there awhile. Days, even.

I looked around and saw the ceramic tree box right where DB had said it would be and crawled over to pull it toward me.  I noticed a box of old framed photographs and pulled it back to the opening with me also. I lost myself in old family pictures, delaying my er… departure.

The phone rang.  I decided not to chance a quick descent to get it.  In fact, I was none too sure about a slow descent either.

I saw a small metal pulley jiggling on the left side, the source of the POP,  and could see a broken rope hanging down. That didn’t look like something that would make the whole thing fall, so I decided to make a run for it.  At first I wanted to take both boxes, but the mental picture of myself going down with boxes in each hand wasn’t working for me, so I abandoned the idea and carefully climbed down with only the tree in hand.

I set down the box, shoved the steps back into place, then pushed the doorway toward the ceiling.  It rose like an elevator, then stopped… about 18 inches shy of the ceiling.

I wiggled the door slightly, then pushed again.  Nothing.

This is embarrassing, but my solution was to e-mail my knitting/reading group for advice, as none are short of opinions.  The best one this time was, “Call a neighbor.”   However, among the immediate neighbors, it’s usually DB that gets called.

I did, too.  I took photos of the dangling rope, the jiggling pulley, and the gaping attic door and e-mailed them to DB.

He knows me.  He really, really knows me.  He called and told me to make certain that the springs on either side of the steps weren’t catching on anything to impede closure, then asked, “Could you have left a box close enough to the opening that the stairs can’t lie flat?”


“UM… maybe.”

I told him I’d go check on that and get back with him later.

“Ohhhh no,” he said.  “Take the phone.  I want to go with you.”  

Of course the box of pictures was directly in the path of the staircase, so I pushed it to the side, descended the steps, and sure enough the door closed smoothly and tightly.  Never again!

Then I remembered the phone– still lying on the attic floor. I had to open the door, remount the steps, and grab the cordless phone.  DB was still on the line, of course.

When I wrote the post recently about DB’s shopping experience–the one where he kept phoning me from the store for instructions–he called from the beach and said drily, “You know… that’s not the story I expected to read.”

Might it have been this one, DB?

Only one pulley pulling...

21 thoughts on “This One?

  1. How nice you gave DB a chance to shine after the whole grocery store debacle. And at least you did not leave DB hanging on the phone for hours…you remembered the phone right away. About Miss Piggy (one last suggestion, I promise) you might want to ask your vet about a light sedative…or my favorite over the counter fix a little Benadryl. Kind of works like a glass of wine–takes the edge off.

  2. While reading this, I had visions of you being trapped in the attic for weeks until DB and Miss Piggy got home. Glad that didn’t happen!

    (On the bright side, you probably would be able to fit into a pair of size zero skinny jeans by then. Well, what’s left of you.)

    1. Honestly, the thought of being able to slink into skinny jeans is almost enough to send me back up there and close the door behind me. However, if I lost that much, I’d have enough empty skin on my behind that I’d need a butt bra to contain it. It would spoil the line of the jeans.

      I’ll just stay down here and eat chocolate.

  3. I don’t like those attic fold down stairs. They always seemed to be on the flimsy side, with weird appliances like odd pulleys and cables and stuff. You are brave. Double brave. Wait, I think triple brave.

    1. This is comforting. Any woman who takes subways and gets through NY traffic is certainly brave, so if you steer clear of attics, I bow to your wisdom… and plan to follow suit from now on!

  4. I had visions of you getting trapped in the attic, and calling the neighbours for help/

    And that makes me want to fish out my Mum’s old ceramic Christmas tree. Did everybody make those in the 70s?

  5. Well, that trumps any of the hazardous things DB has ever done! And to his credit…he did them when there was someone around to call 911. Glad you are still around, blogger buddy, and safe and sound. Well, safe at least.

    1. No it doesn’t. I could refer you to the post with Mr. Manly standing on the roof with his electric leaf blower or the one of him in the crepe myrtle a chainsaw. At least I wasn’t armed!

  6. Arkansas Patti

    My hat, if I wore one, would be off to you. I have just been through a similar creeping crud and to post such a story would have never been possible. I do love to waddle in my miseries. Vacant staring is my sickness talent.
    Kudos to DB for coming out such a winner in this one.

  7. You guys really, really don’t need another soul around to stimulate your world; you form a complete system…completely hazardous and completely lovable. Wish we could be neighbors!

    Bon Noël, ya’ll!

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