Monday, September 9, 2019


I have lived in my current house for 10 years now and never have been up in the attic.

In my defense, however, I have several good reasons why.

First and foremost, the only access to the attic is what is called a “hatch” in the the middle of my bedroom closet. There are no stairs or a pull-down ladder, only the hatch, which has such a small opening, I would have to grease
my entire body with butter just to squeeze myself up through it.  

Even though I’ve never ventured into the attic, I do know a few things about it.  I know it has an electric light in it. I found this out by accident when I noticed that my closet had two light switches in it. One turned on the light in the closet. The other turned on... nothing...or at least I thought it didn’t.

But I was lying in bed my first night in the house and noticed a very dim light coming from underneath the closet door. Thinking someone had broken into the house and was using a flashlight to see if I might have a diamond necklace stuffed into one of my shoe boxes, I grabbed the lamp (to use as a weapon) on the nightstand and crept toward the closet. With one hand holding the lamp above my head so I could smash it over an intruder’s head if necessary, I grabbed the door handle with my other hand and flung open the door. The dim light turned out to be coming down through the gaps around the attic’s hatch-door in the ceiling.

I also learned the attic had a smoke detector in it...mainly because it kept randomly blaring at all hours of the day and night. I’m not talking about that annoying “low battery” chirping, I’m talking about full-out blaring, as if the attic were engulfed in flames. The first time, I called the fire department.  They lugged in their own ladder, climbed up there, changed the battery in the detector and assured me there was no fire.

“How do you expect me, a woman of an ‘advanced’ age, to keep changing that battery myself?” I asked them

They shrugged, as if to say, “Hey lady, that’s your problem.”

The second time the detector in the attic went off, only a few days later, I wasn’t home, so a jogger who happened to hear the blaring called the fire department. Luckily, I arrived home only seconds before they were about to chop down my front door. Once again, nothing seemed amiss.

Fast forward to four false alarms later. The fire department finally removed the detector from the attic and handed it to me.

“This detector obviously is faulty,” the fireman said. “You don’t really need one up there anyway. By the time the smoke from a house fire would rise high enough to reach that detector, you’d already be dead.”

At least the blaring finally stopped.

One day, my uncle, out of curiosity, grabbed a step-ladder, stood on the very top of it and hoisted himself up into the attic so he could explore it. When he climbed back down, he informed me there was nothing up there because it had no floor – and he’d had to carefully walk from beam to beam.

“Good thing I have good balance,” he said. “Otherwise you might have seen me come falling through the ceiling!”

His words served only to give me yet another good reason never to go up there.

But I’ve been having so many problems with my basement, my attic is beginning to seem more appealing to me – as a possible future storage area. 

“My basement is always damp and smells like mildew, even with two dehumidifiers running constantly,” I told one of my friends the other night. “I’m thinking that a nice dry attic might be a much better place to store my stuff. All it needs is a floor and some stairs going up there.”

“Does the attic have full-sized windows?” he asked.

“No, no windows at all. Only a hatch-door in the floor.”

He burst out laughing. “Then how do you suppose they’re going to get big sheets of plywood up there to make a floor, if your only access is a small hatch?”

I frowned at him. “In small pieces?”

I must confess, however, that having no access into the attic actually gives me a small sense of comfort, especially lately.  That’s because for the past few weeks I have been hearing noises up there.  The noises are not the pitter-patter of little feet, such as if squirrels or mice were scampering around. No, these sound like a 200-lb. man wearing combat boots stomping on the beams. Even my dogs look up at the ceiling and growl. 

It makes me wonder how whatever is up there got up there in the first place, especially if it’s as big as it sounds.

Still, seeing there are no pull-down steps or a ladder leading up to the attic, it means that whatever is up there has no way of climbing down into my closet either.

Unless it’s really, really tall. 

Or it comes crashing through the ceiling.

Maybe I should call the fire department again.

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