Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Piece of Cake

My beloved childhood home.
I used to live in a 9 room house and when it was sold, I moved to a three room apartment. There was a LOT of downsizing going on. Still, when I moved from that apartment to a two room garage apartment, I cleaned out some more. When I left there and came to my one room cottage, a goodly portion of my worldly goods had found homes elsewhere. Even so, because the cottage has very little storage room I had some things that just wouldn't fit. My landlord, B, graciously offered me space in his garage attic. There I store tubs of Christmas and other holiday decorations and a few odds and sods that I don't want to part with.

When Daughter moved from her single occupancy apartment to share a place with her boyfriend (a man who has a LOT of his own stuff), some of her belongings made their way into my attic space. I told her I'd hold them until she had a house and storage space of her own. This weekend the two of them are moving into their newly purchased house and I had to move her tubs and boxes and bags from the attic to my car. Sounds so easy when I type it out like that but I know from reading one too many do-it-yourself books that the written word makes any job sound deceptively simple.

The attic space is reached by a ladder. Any box or plastic storage tub that made its way up there did so with the help of two people, one kneeling on the attic floor and reaching down through the hole while the other hefted said box or tub up the ladder to meet the waiting hand. Taking things down was just as precarious. Because I have limited upper body strength, when anything needed to be moved up or down I have been the person at the bottom of the ladder. Using my knees for leverage, my shoulders for support and the ladder rungs as a ramp, I could slide things up. B, whose upper body strength is augmented by youth and constant exercise as he goes about his farm chores, would reach down and with one hand haul up whatever I was pushing on with all my might.

Today B was unavailable but his mother, J, whose own arm muscles allow her to toss around 40-lb. hay bales, offered to help. Up the ladder she went. Trouble was, I had to climb the ladder too, to help sort Daughter's boxes from my own. To my surprise, the ladder emerged through a hole just a tad smaller than the amount of space I take up. I had to put one knee on the attic floor and twist until I could ease my torso in sideways. Anyone with a garage attic knows there's only one place one can stand and that's directly under the ridge beam. All our boxes were stored under the eaves.

Armed with flashlights, we opened each box, sorting them out until all Daughter's belongings were moved close to the ladder hole and all mine were stored at the other end of the garage. Wet with sweat and back aching after bending over for half an hour, I crawled to the top of the ladder and knelt down. I felt with one foot for the top rung but when I moved to lower my second foot the leg was seized with a vicious cramp. I have a small reserve of words for just such occasions. I used every one before I reached the bottom of the ladder.

J dragged the first box to the hole and lowered it onto the top rungs of the ladder. I climbed back up half way and balancing the weight on my chest, I backed down slowly, letting the box slide until I could grab it with both hands. One after another the boxes came down until they were all lined up on the garage floor. J eased herself down, we loaded my car, then collapsed onto patio chairs with cups of tea, congratulating each other and breathing sighs of relief that we wouldn't have to brave that ladder again until Christmas (at which point I'll type the words, "piece of cake").

My little one room cottage.


Brian Miller said...

way to get it done an work together...a well earned bit of refreshement eh? i still have boxes at my parents house...one day they will charge me rent...smiles...they periodically pull things out and send them home with my boys too...lol

Steve Reed said...

When I moved to England my mom basically refused to store anything for me, which made me either discard stuff or bring it along. Tough love, but as a result I own even less stuff, which is always a relief!

Diane said...

You're a good mom. And I love, love, LOVE your cottage. Ryan has already designed the one-room space I'm going to be living in (behind her house) in my golden years. All I asked for were: a porch (and swing), bookshelves, a comfy chair, a fireplace, and a jetted tub. Sounds like heaven, no?

Peter Bryenton said...

Hmmn, methinks I remember driving around in a U-Haul truck some years ago, loading another attic with your stuff ;-)

Friko said...

No, I don't do things like that.
If I am asked to store stuff (which I haven't been for some time, we live too far away from everybody ) and the person wants it back, that person can come and get it out of the storage space. There are things I'd rather not try doing and I never feel like injuring myself for the convenience of the young.

Mean or what?

I love the look of your fairy tale cottage.

Tabor said...

I order the bluebird book you mentioned from Amazon the other day. Looking forward to reading it!

Pauline said...

Brian - I think I can safely say all my stuff is in my possession now!

Steve - less is more :)

Diane - I love my cottage, too. It's just right for one. I have no jetted tub and no fire place but this place is so comfortable I'm going to hate to leave it when the time comes. Your plans sound good to me!

B - we never forget that move! I am still grateful after all these years!

Friko - not mean, no. Practical, I'd say but she's family so I didn't mind storing her stuff and as she's six months pregnant I'd rather be the one falling off the ladder!

My cottage is fairy tale like inside, too with tea pots scattered about and a comfy chair and scads of books. Come visit!

Tabor - I hope you like it as much as I did. She's a fabulous nature writer.

Hilary said...

Oh oh.. That sounded exhausting. I fear you are describing my future. Frank and I are looking for a place together. We each have a lot of stuff. Much of which is stored in a similar space and some of which will have to be stored somewhere.. depending on the size of the place we end up with. And I was so certain that "cake" would not be the last in that three word sentence. ;)

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

So pleased you made a visit to me.
I have downscaled many times also.
Now in a cottage I built at the edge of the woods...