Monday, August 12, 2013

Levels, Or Cleaning Through The Cobwebs

Inspired by the feeling of accomplishment, I set out on my grand plan to clear out the attic.  Much music has been written about attics -- Billy Joel's album "Songs in the Attic," Aerosmith's single "Toys in the Attic" -- and a whole book series and eventually movie based about children being locked away entitled Flowers in the Attic, which S encouraged me and the rest of the eight grade to read.  The movie became a favorite.  In hindsight, I'm not sure what that says about the eighth-grade mind.

None of these artistic ventures quite capture the experience of cleaning out our own attic.  Maybe Eddie and I can write a song or a story called "Spiders In The Attic," and then, in current fashion, follow it up with the prequel "Spiders On The Attic Stairs."  Last week, I found myself wanting to get a jump start on the cleaning and got as far as the stairs where I encountered a seemingly uncountable number of webs with some half-hatched spiders lying around.  I cleared out the webs and then called the landlord/my mom/the resident scientist to make sure that they were only spider eggs and not something like dinosaur-dragon spawn that would hatch and eat me alive.  Yes, that's right, I called my mother to look at the arachnattack.  Because she's a scientist and knows about these things.  Also because she's the only person I know who doesn't run away and skeeve when she encounters such things.  Also, I once was bitten by a spider, hand my hand blow up big and red, had red streaks go up my arm, and then had to take a megadose of Keflex for a week after the doctor took one look at it and said, Oh wow that's not good.  Once the webs were gone (there were no dino-dragon eggs), I gave up, skeeved out, not wanting to go into the attic alone.

So instead, on a very warm day, Eddie and I climbed into the unventilated attic and started tossing around boxes.  The number of boxes up there was simply ridiculous.  Some of them had paperwork and other electronic equipment in them.  Most were empty or had packing material.  Why we had so many chalks up to Eddie liking sturdy boxes and my thought that maybe we might need to send something when we sell it on eBay, even though we really don't list anything on eBay.  We set up a system of throwing them down the attic stairs, dragging them through the pantry, and then breaking them down in the kitchen.

Except for the really large boxes, this system worked.  The large boxes we tossed down the stairs to the front door and folded and broke down on the side lawn next to the piles of already flattened boxes.  I don't know why we'd thought we could reuse them since they were covered in dust and remnants of webs.

Back up in the attic, we got out hammers and took them to Eddie's old wobbly microwave stand.  Now I know why those renovation show hosts let their homeowners swing a sledgehammer.  Breaking shit is fun!  Then down the stairs, through the pantry, down the stairs to the front door, and around the house to the back we went, piling up the crap that we would have to call the village to collect in the large garbage pickup.  Then back around the house, up the stairs, through the pantry, and up to the attic to bring back down the mattress from the old single bed I'd used as living room furniture when I'd first moved.  Then back to the attic and through the pantry and then, well, not through the pantry--the bedframe got stuck for a while.  Eddie and I put our geometry to work and figured out all the angles we could think of before he finally got it off the stairs and into the pantry without taking out a chunk of the ceiling.  Then down the front stairs and out the front door and around the house he went. 

While he was outside with the frame, I realized that I could take this golden opportunity to slide the mattress down the stairs.  Ooh, fun.  That's what I did.  I followed it down to the front door, flipped it on its side, and met Eddie as I was about to fling it outside down our front stoop.  We took it around to the back of the house.

Back around the house, up the front steps, through the pantry, up to the attic, we found fans and a sleeping bag, a CD/DVD rack and a board with pictures and words glued to it for an old school project, a large book of the history of the world and a leather bound portfolio, and two broken down sets of wheely clothes racks.  These things I brought down to my parents' place for them and my brother to go through and take.   My mom sent the clothes racks to the back of the house to be trashed, sent the sleeping bag to the basement, and then left the rest for my brother (who was thankful we'd found his teaching portfolio, which he'd been looking for for several years).

Eddie and I can now follow up our two-part masterpiece with something entitled "In our The Empty Attic (except for two boxes and a set of snack tables)". Catchy, huh? In one box are our Christmas decorations.  In the other is packing material.  The set of snack tables are the three of the four that have broken in some way.  We hope to refurbish them in the future.  We'll probably throw them out in a year.

Keeping in the mode of getting rid of stuff, I took the stereo that I'd tried to sell on Craigslist for a while and put it out at the curb.  While no one was going to take a broken down microwave cart, someone might snag a cassette-deck stereo with speakers.  In under an hour, one speaker was gone.  Eddie and I watched at the window to see if anyone was coming back to take the other one to no avail.  My dad later told us that the guy next door asked if he could take the speaker, and if it worked, he would be back for the other stuff.  A few hours later, the whole stereo was gone.

All that's left at this point, for now, is to figure out what to do with the Dr. Pepper menu boards that we found in the basement.
We have two, one in slightly worse condition than the other, but they are so kitschy.  If I collected soda-related trinkets, this would be cool to keep.  But in the spirit of cleansing, they need to go.  Antiques Road Show, here I come.

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