By Jim CHASE
Because we added onto our house sometime during the last century, we have two separate attics. In our original attic, stacks of boxes reach to the rafters in places, filled with accumulated family history that archeologists from the future are sure to go through with collective awe and reverence. Or not.
You enter this attic (on the rare occasion anyone needs something that was thrown away … er, carefully placed in storage up there) through a trap door in the ceiling of a hallway. It’s hot, it’s stuffy, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that a colony of bug-eyed North American house trolls lived in the far corners of its darkness. I hope they’re happy up there.
The newer attic is a different animal entirely.
Due to odd architectural features of the addition to our home, there was considerable unused space above what had been our old garage roof and alongside one wall of our new second story. When beginning the project, I had foolishly decided to be the general contractor, so it was easy to make last minute construction decisions. As such, we decided to frame out a utility hatch door into the wall of the stairway leading up to our second story to access this dead space. Voila! A second attic.
Even though we had to build a special access ladder with offset legs to match the angle of the stairway, and that getting into the space has always seemed like the birthing process in reverse, we use this newer attic much more than the original one.
More than anything else, we store holiday decorations in this bonus attic. Okay, we keep empty gift boxes up there too. And suitcases. And sleeping bags. But by far, most of this attic space is filled with boxes, basins and bins of decorations. This attic is full. As in, 15 pounds of fertilizer in a 10 pound bag, full.
In previous columns I’ve written about the big deal we make of Christmas when it comes to decorations, so it should be no surprise that a majority of the decorations are for the Christmas season. Having said that, however, our family’s almost as crazy about other holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, our dogs’ birthdays, trash pickup day, ladies hot wax day at the car wash. You get the idea.
Because of the limited storage space, our boxed decorations are labeled so they can be stacked, stored and organized according to the calendar. Which means that a month ago, the hearts and cupids, bright red geegaws and dangly down thingies of Valentine’s Day should have been put farthest away from the attic door. So, in a perfect world with perfect teenage boys to help their perfect parents, that also should have meant that the Easter decorations (bunnies, baskets, plastic eggs, plastic grass, egg-dying paraphernalia, etc.) would have then been closest to the attic door when my wife and I went looking for them last week. Not a chance.
In fact, after climbing up into the attic, feet dangling out into the void of the stairway, we pawed past box after box of Christmas paraphernalia, but didn’t see a single container with “Easter” written on it. And because marriage crisis counselors don’t work on holidays, we eventually stopped searching.
Somehow our system got screwed up. Our Easter decorations will probably turn up on the Fourth of July.
So, for the first time ever, last weekend we celebrated Easter without the usual seasonal bling adorning our home. The only decorations were bunches of gorgeous yellow daffodils and fresh pink tulips my wife bought to grace our dining table. No cute bunnies, plastic eggs or other distractions. Just a morning of heartfelt worship at church, then home for a great home-cooked meal and time well-spent with family. All in all a simple, special day.
Hopefully we can lose those boxes of decorations again next year.
I’ll see you ‘round town.