Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Like a jungle gym for grown-ups

Posted by Lissa on December 24, 2010

Houses in Florida generally don’t have basements, as they’re all below the water line.  They do have attics, but since the heat is fierce for 2/3 of the year they’re used only sparingly.  In fact, the only use for ours right now is that we can run lines and cables through it.  Which led to the following project.

See, Mike wanted to explore the possibility of running our surround sound speaker cables through the ceiling, rather than along the ground, and perhaps even work his way up to installing speakers in the ceiling.  We therefore set ourselves the task of running Ethernet cables from the living room to the office, just to see if we could. This adventure would require crawling under air ducts (moving them as needed), stepping beam-to-beam, *not* scraping our scalps among the shingle nails, and making our way deep into the attic.

Now, I know I haven’t met y’all in person — although I have met a good chunk of you, yay! — but anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time knows that A) I am somewhat petite; and B) Mike is rather larger than I am.  In fact, his shoulders are about half again as wide as mine.  So it only made SENSE that *I* would be the one worming my way through the labyrinth while Mike waited in a clearer space and fed the cable.

Suitably resigned to my wifely duties, I dressed for action:

– a long-sleeved shirt
– gardening gloves (with sleeves pulled over the wrists)
– sweatpants (with the shirt tucked in to avoid any creepy-crawlies going down my knickers)
– soccer socks pulled a good six inches over the pant ends (see creepy-crawly fears, above)
– sneakers
– an LED headlamp, and
– an air filter face mask.

I looked hawt, y’all.

(It looked even better when I was wearing safety glasses, but they fogged up and I had to ditch ’em.)

Things I learned while ducking under, heaving over, squirming sideways, and wriggling on my butt:

1) Garden gloves were smart as hell.  I’d’ve been digging out splinters all week without those.

2) Headlamps are really smart too!  Especially when you need both hands to hold onto a beam while you snake your body through an opening more suitable to Rajah than to you.

3) A fear of dark confined spaces will make playing in the attic REALLY fun.

4) Said fear fades after a while, but then you’ll start worrying about exactly how MUCH sawdust you can inhale before your lungs resign in protest.

5) Twice-said fear will come roaring back with a vengeance when you contemplate a drop-off of two feet, with a roof barely six inches over your head, and no visible way of making your way back up if you go back down.  (At this point I decided discretion was the better part of valor and called back to my husband that I could not, in fact, get to the desired corner.)

6) There are very very few creepy-crawlies in our attic.  Thank god!!!

7) If you put the air filter mask over your nose and your mouth, you will blow dust directly into your eyes with every exhalation. However, if you cover only your mouth, you will forget and breathe through your nose repeatedly, snorfling that sawdust like Paris Hilton on a bender.

8.) If your sweatpants don’t have pockets, your husband will thoughtfully strap you into his toolbelt so you can carry electrical tape and a few other essentials.

9) Upon discovering that A) you only needed the electrical tape; B) the tape fell out of the belt *somewhere* along your crawl and we don’t have a spare roll; C) ponytail elastics can do the job in a pinch; D) lost tape rolls will of course turn up AS SOON as you’ve disheveled your hair — then do immediately stick that sucker in your sock.  You already look stupid as hell, so who cares?

In conclusion:

Sometimes size matters. But agility ALWAYS does.

Also? Shingle needles are sharp as hell, and they like to eat scalp.  Just so you know.

Happy Christmas Eve, y’all!

21 Responses to “Like a jungle gym for grown-ups”

  1. Sevesteen said

    If you must use a dust mask, spend the extra buck and get the kind with an exhalation valve–makes a huge difference in comfort, especially if you wear glasses.

  2. Tam said

    Attics I’m good with.

    Under-house crawlspaces? Those get someone hired. 😮

    • Lissa said

      Oh HELL no. That’s where the hellbugs (a.k.a. house centipedes) live. And just thinking about them made me break out in goosebumps. GAH!

  3. Sevesteen said

    We’ve got a partial basement with dirt-floor crawlspace under part. Our cat thought the crawlspace was a huge litterbox–I didn’t discover where he was going until much later, when I had to empty 3 5 gallon buckets of dried cat droppings from the crawlspace.

  4. Sarah said

    So Rajah would fit in there. And yet, you didn’t attach the wiring to his collar and toss bits o’ bacon in the direction that you wanted him to go.


  5. Borepatch said

    “BWAHAHEWWWWWW” is word of they day.

    Merry Christmas to you and Mike, Lissa!

  6. Merry Christmas to youse two!

  7. The things we do for love.

  8. George said

    A. I always though wifely duties were something else?
    2. I note we’ve adopted the Southern vernacular ‘ya’ll’? Trying to fit in?
    #. Thanks for sharing tidbits of your life and you and yours have a Merry Christmas!

    • Lissa said

      Honey I was born in Texas. Y’all is part of my birthright 😉

      • George said

        I knew a guy from Long Island NY, who lived a couple years in Tx…weird, NY accent, punctuated by Y’all! I didn’t know that about you! Hope you had a good Christmas! gfa

  9. MaddMedic said

    Hmmmm … SO when I crawled all over the attic applying LOTS of insulation, (you know the stuff we use up here in the frozen north in an attempt to keep power companies from taking all our money for supplying natural gas to heat our our homes!)

    I could have had my wife do it???

    Of course one mouse and I would have had to repair the hole in the roof…

    Merry Christmas and it has to be noon somewhere so I can start on the eggnog!!

  10. Jay G. said

    Come back Lissa!!!

  11. Is it bad that I sat at my desk laughing my ass off at the mental image? You’re too funny.

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