One of the great advantages to owning your own home is the limitless amount of freedom you have to create space where God intended there to be none. In my case, I was married to a man who owned a home when I met him, so the rafters in my garage was something that came along with the package, like it or not on my part.
I have a single story house with an attached garage. The roof out there has support beams that point up like an A, and in my opinion, there shouldn’t be any more to that than that. I mean, I wouldn’t start putting shelves on the ceiling for all my shoes just because I didn’t have any more room in the closet, right?
Apparently not. Many men like to do what’s generically referred to as “puttering” out in that man cave known as a garage, so when I got married and moved into his house, the garage came with ready-made rafters. Boards were apparently nailed to those support beams to create a place to crawl around and hoard stuff. Probably man stuff at first, later kid and family stuff. Things would be in my house one minute, and the next they would be whooshed out and packed away in the rafters. Otherwise referred to by me as “the black hole.”
I had no idea what was out there, and I lived in fear of any reason I might have to look up there. Aside from not wanting to fall off the ladder or crawl around on those pieces of plywood, who really knew what else was hiding up there? Bats? Rats? Possums? Bigfoot? After our second and LAST kid outgrew his car seat, that went straight up there (for posterity’s sake, I guess) until the day we discovered a dead squirrel hanging over the arm of it. It was buckled in though, so no worries. Seriously. I complained about a weird smell in the garage for days, but until little white wormy things (I know they’re called maggots) started dropping from the beamed sky to the garage floor, someone didn’t think it was worth investigating. And every year it was the same drill…I needed the Halloween decorations, then the Christmas decorations, then skis, dishes, whatever used to be at ground level and easy for me to get to, and then wasn’t. We finally had wall-to-wall cabinets built-in the garage (another guy thing) but still, the stuff up there never saw the light of day and I never saw the garage roof.
When we got divorced seven years ago, all I wanted was to take everything down from there and get rid of it, but time flies when you’re having fun, and here it is 2013. If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know my ex and I are great friends, so we decided about six months ago we’d rent a dumpster, he’d get everything down from there, keep whatever we wanted and get rid of the rest. Did you catch the six months ago part? He’s been busy building his dream house in the mountains, and I was tired of waiting, so my roommate (also known as baby son) and I decided we’d do it ourselves this weekend.
Dumpster rented, ladder in place, and he climbed up. I warned him ahead of time that for all I knew he had another sibling somewhere up there, but he plowed ahead and started handing stuff down. Box after box after box after box. Not to mention the 10′ pieces of siding (you know in case a tornado whipped through town and ripped off some of the existing stuff) enough wood to build a vacation home and spare tiles from every room in the house. We cleaned out one whole side, filling up the dumpster, and then stopped for lunch. I was feeling great, so productive and we had piles of stuff for Goodwill. We were ready to tackle the other side. More boxes, more wood. Baseboard, molding, you name it. We were careful, one piece handed down to me at a time. I walked away for a minute, and then walked back to where my 6′ kid was dangling over the rafters at the exact moment a 6′ piece of oak baseboard decided to make a run for it while it had its chance. I got nailed, just to the right of my left ankle bone. No one’s to blame here, but just the tiniest little “Run like hell Mom” would have been so appreciated. Suffice it to say what spewed forth was neither ladylike nor maternal, and a trip to the ER seemed imminent and unavoidable.
Apparently, when you have to drive your mom to the hospital and she’s groaning in agony, it helps to have a bag of peanut M & Ms to much on along the way. One after the other, at such a high rate of speed it was making me dizzy. I kept trying to elevate my leg on the dashboard and get comfortable in my own car for this 10-minute hell ride, but all I could hear was the constant pop-crunching of thousands of candy coated peanuts. SERIOUSLY???? Okay, okay, maybe he was a little nervous that a ginormous blood clot would break off from my swollen ankle and kill me on the spot, so I didn’t say one word the entire time. Except for all the obscenities screaming inside my own head…..
Say what you want about health care and Kaiser, but I’ve always been treated really well there and yesterday was no exception. They got me into a wheelchair, whisked me off for x-rays, then right into a bed in the ER. Nothing was broken, they cleaned up the scrape, wrapped up my ankle, gave me a tetanus shot and a pain pill, and said I could go home to rest and recuperate from the contusion to my lower extremity. Really, it said that on my discharge papers. Pain meds worked pretty fast, baby son went to get the car, and they were coming back for me with a wheelchair. So I waited, and waited, and waited….
I now believe that EVERYTHING they portray on Grey’s Anatomy is the absolute truth. You know how they’re always losing patients? They open the curtain in the ER and the person’s gone? Well I got SO tired of waiting for them to bring me the wheelchair I just up and walked out of there. And of course, I had no idea where I was going, so a nice guy in scrubs took me out the secret way cause he said it looked like I was having trouble walking. Ya think? Only difference between this scene and the one on that famous TV show is I’m pretty sure I should have ended up in the on call room with Dr. McDreamy. Oh well, such is life.
The Black Hole is no more. The rafters are empty, my ankle feels better, and I’m gratified to know I raised a responsible, hard-working boy who can get me where I need to go in an emergency while driving with one hand and making sure the chocolate melts in his mouth and not in his other hand that really should have been on the steering wheel too.