I’m sitting on the steps in what used to be the pantry that used to be steps. I convinced myself, and then Ryan, that we could use the steps more than we could use the storage. So two days ago we ripped through the hollow wall that had been added about forty years ago. Sure enough, the plaster came to a troweled corner just above our heads as we stood on the landing looking down into the kitchen.
Then yesterday I sawed and screwed the shelves and some other scraps into these three steps. When Alethia got home from her Saturday with Grandma, she crawled up and down and up and down the steps saying “¡Papá hizo!” I finally convinced her that her mama had made them. Ryan says “She thought I made them? See, that means you did a really good job.” He admits it is a boomerang compliment.
The truth is, the steps are crappy. For stringers, I used a network of 2x4s, a mixture of wood from the garage and from Menards. The treads are three of the pantry shelves. One is just wood, another is yellow paint that tested lead-free, and the third is wood with the same yellow paint just on its front edge and underbelly. I had to turn it over like that if I didn’t want splinters in my feet. There are three steps where there really should be five, which means the rise on each is 12″. I find that these oversized steps are perfect for sitting with a laptop and a cup of coffee. And besides, they are temporary.
But then, most everything in life is temporary. When we lived in an apartment, we were more keenly aware of this. We never really settled in. There was no point in hanging pictures on the walls when there was a wheelbarrow, a string trimmer, an engine hoist, a chest freezer, a work bench, a charcoal grill, a bag of drop cloths, a shovel, a spade, a rake, three hoses and a thousand tools just sitting in our allotted garage. Just sitting there, reminding us that there were parts of our lives that didn’t fit with an apartment.
Well, we’ve used about nine hundred of those thousand tools already on this house. And the drop cloths. And the yard tools. And Ryan’s got the engine hoist poised for use since the Subaru decided to blow a head gasket as we were taking the last few trips across town to empty out the apartment. Life is chaotic right now, but it’s temporary, right?
We are making steps. We are taking things out of storage. We are saying “I knew I had this somewhere” and “I didn’t know I had this in me.”