During the latter part of 2007, we had decided to pimp our crib. Obviously not the bling bling MTV style, but expanding our house our way. And, during any large scale renovation work, we had to move our stuff into storage. What better place to use than the converted attic? Our kids were too small to have it as a bedroom and we never really spent time there. Slowly, old furniture, moving boxes, clothes for charity found their way to the attic. The famous storage room. Yes, my back was killing me. Deep inside I truly believed that I would develop Jean Claude van Damme biceps from lifting all these boxes. Most of you, who have met me face-to-face, will agree that this change didn’t happen.
Last month, we got a surprise message from some close friends. They were going to visit us. We were delighted and we knew we had plenty of space in the attic. All I had to do was to go through the stuff in the attic, which we assumed was a piece of cake. It shouldn’t take that long, we said.
The attic floor space is 20 m2 and it was packed to the last inch. So, getting into the attic was a challenge.
The Big Clean-out day came around quickly and I put on my hazmat suit. For those people who haven’t read Zombie Survival Guide or seen Resident Evil 2, a hazmat suit provides protection from hazardous materials, and might be combined with breathing equipment. The more advanced versions come in shiny silver, which is similar to mine. You really don’t want to spend too much time in one of these suits or you will lose weight due to excessive sweating. Imagine the smell inside the suit.
– by the way DO NOT fart when wearing a hazmat suit!
Dressed as something out of Moonraker, I ventured up the stairs. I was horrified of what was stacked in front of me. Boxes and bags bulking to the ceiling. I had to work slowly and carefully. It was amazing how much stuff we had accumulated over the years. I was finding stuff that I didn’t know we had. Perhaps the gremlins had been moving stuff from our Indian neighbours? I didn’t know that we owned large pieces of the Berlin wall or a treasure map to Atlantis.
We had no choice but to continue to clear the attic, as this was the only place our friends could sleep. I was not prepared to share our bed with them, and I was sure my pregnant wife would kill or cause other bodily harm if that was going to happen.
I was lost in the attic for most of the weekend. I only came back to reality for meals and the occasional liquid refills. I was starting to lose my mind and it started to dawn on me that I might not survive this expedition. My family was thankfully going to start the rescue mission, Monday morning.
In the 10th hour, I discovered some unknown plants and animal species, which I proudly terminated with our Dyson Anti Asthma vacuum cleaner. Some of these organisms would have attacked me anyway, so it was a question of being killed or kill them.
The worst thing about clearing out storage areas, indoor or outdoor, is when you open a box that contains memorabilia such as pictures, articles, VHS tapes, etc. I got carried away with some of these boxes. I got fairly emotional when seeing pictures of the kids when they were just born, my own kindergarten pictures and family videos – so much that the hazmat suit would become all foggy.
Having spent so many hours in the attic, I was starting to see things. The freaky thing is when you start to see movements (or at least you think you see movements) or when you think bags make strange sounds as if somebody was trapped inside. I vaguely remember investigating a movement, when suddenly my wife tapped my shoulder. A combination of fear and panic engulfed me. I screamed like a little kid and jumped to the floor in fetal position. My wife seemed somewhat surprised and startled, but managed to pass me my coffee.
Gradually, I was able to see the carpet again and the attic was starting to look like the room it used to be in its glorious days. The room was ready for our visitors, and we had a “new” room to inhabit again. A room that will be very handy once the 3rd dude arrives in April.
Phase II involved water and soap, and lasted almost 20 minutes. All garbage had been removed. All the stuff we wanted to keep was organised and put into storage. The room was ready. However, I still don’t know when we bought the full size Jesus marble statue? Maybe Dobby (Harry Potter’s house elf ) can explain it to me?