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?”
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?