I have a Cape Cod cottage style house. This means that all of the rooms are in their proper place, which is on the first floor. Except for that one lone room, which has absolutely no business being up a flight of stairs.
I don’t like stairs. Some people like houses with stairs because then they can leave their bedrooms as big glorious messes because no one ever sees them. There is some merit to this way of thinking. Until I moved to this house, I had managed to go a good 30 years without making a bed. I was content in the knowledge that while other people were waking up each morning and toiling over making their beds, I was sleeping in an extra half hour every day.
Half an hour?
Apparently, I was basing my 30 minute bed making estimate on faulty information. I mean, have you seen how beds are supposed to be made? Take a look at the JCPenny catalog. According to the catalog, making a bed requires that you arrange 79 oddly shaped pillows across the bed, have 21 layers of blankets and comforters and “throws” and don’t forget to add the pea under the 80 mattresses–all with their own matching fitted sheets. Daunting.
And what are you supposed to do with all 79 oddly shaped pillows while you’re sleeping? I’m picturing some sort of Tetris-like fort.
Another benefit to having a staircase, other than the slobby, gloriously messy room factor, is that it doubles as exercise equipment. When I was growing up, we had very little money. Oh, we weren’t poor and destitute, but we went without an awful lot of things that other people had. And the splurges were rare and odd. For example, I remember the Christmas when my parents bought me hideous generic white sneakers with Velcro. They were so proud of those sneakers and watched me open my present with hands clasped under their chins, waiting for my cries of delight. It was a big deal because the Velcro sneakers were a good $5.00 more than the ones with shoelaces and they’d splurged.
No. I’m not kidding about that. I hated those shoes and looked like the biggest dork in 8th grade because of them, but I couldn’t bear to tell my hopeful, quivering parents how ugly they were. I always hated going to school after Christmas. The other kids had their pretty new sweaters and I always had my same old clothes, or else an unwelcome addition, like ugly white sneakers.
There was the year my parents bought me legwarmers. And since they couldn’t afford the nice ones, they were thin and scratchy and had ugly red southwestern geometric designs on them. But to make me feel like Christmas was more special than it was, they wrapped each legwarmer separately. They bought me 3 pairs of legwarmers, but there were 6 little packages to open. So, I had to wear the hideous thin legwarmers, while the other girls had thick ones with pretty designs on them. That was 7th grade. Are you starting to see why I’m so picky about my clothes now that I’m in charge of buying them for myself? Too many years of being that weird shy girl with the thin legwarmers and oddly jarring white velcro sneakers.
So, no—my parents weren’t buying any exercise equipment when there was a perfectly useful staircase in the house. I can remember my father, serious and intent, running flat out, up and down the staircase every afternoon. THUMP THUMp THUmp THump, thumP, thuMP, thUMP, THUMP.
But other than the messy rooms and exercise equipment, I don’t like staircases. If you have half of your house upstairs and half of it downstairs, then you just know that whatever you need will be on the other floor. Before we bought this house, it was up and down the stairs, tromp, tromp, tromp all day long.
And look at my staircase:
Fortunately, it’s got a door at the bottom of the stairwell, so my guests aren’t terrorized by the blue shag carpet. It’s sort of like having an attack dog that you have to shut up in the basement when you have guests. If you’re not careful, the shag will reach out and clasp you in its talons. And don’t wear Velcro shoes on it! You’ll never get unstuck. You’ll have to yank your foot out of the shoe and leave the shoe there, because you’re not unsticking Velcro from that shag.
In fact, I hate going up and down stairs so much that we installed a tiny little basket attached to the rail at the top of the steps. You can see it in the picture on the right. That way, I don’t have to walk up and down the steps. I can send a boy up or down the steps, and he can put whenever I want in the little basket and send it to me. I can go months without having to go upstairs. The bedroom upstairs is where the boys sleep, but they won’t go up there in the day. So, we use that room to store all their homeschool junk and their stuffed animals and do our best not to think about it.
Anyway—the staircase is the picture of the day, because I managed to make the long and lonely journey to the top of the stairs to Tidy the Boys’ Room this evening. I made good time. I was in and out of the rest stop on the turnpike in under 10 minutes.
P.S. I loved my parents for trying so hard to make Christmas nice for me. I hope I didn’t sound like I wasn’t appreciative. But those shoes were really ugly. They were boy shoes. And those legwarmers were ugly, too, though I never told my parents. I gave them a bright smile, thanked them, and wore the ugly clothes, because they had tried so hard and I didn’t want to appear ungrateful.