Sometimes we need a mantra. I love my family is what I say to myself when I’m standing (hunched over really) in the attic at 8.45 in the evening.
How do I find myself in the attic? Well, my dear sweet husband came home at 7 and promptly flicked on the heater in an already warm house. So far, nothing to wipe the silly grin off my face. We sit down for dinner and as I’m doing dishes I quiz the kids for their spelling tests tomorrow. During this time my husband comes downstairs and says, “when I turn the heat on Alexander’s room smells like burning plastic.”
“Oooh,” I reply, “be sure and turn the heat off, I’ll call the HVAC guy in the morning.”
The kids finish up their spelling and we all rumble upstairs. The top floor stinks like burning plastic, and I really do need to figure this out before kids are put to bed. I open bedroom windows and pull down the attic ladder. I’m not sure what I think I’ll find, but I’m going to look.
Bent over like Ardi in my attic I survey my domain. it’s a sea of pink and silver. There is insulation which is surely poisoning us all and silver air ducts that weave over and under one another pulling hot air out of the house and forcing cool air in. The heating system is an afterthought, this is Los Angeles, after all.
Two hunks of foam insulation are out of place, I walk gingerly on joists, ever aware that it’s a ceiling below me and not really a floor. I pick up the foam and put it back where it came from, I tug at our light cans making sure everything is as it should be, and then I see it. A nest of sorts, bits of foam are clawed away at and random trash lines it. We have a rodent living here, it’s feces are ten times the size of the hamster’s downstairs. I make a mental note get a rat trap and I don’t care if it’s humane, make it big.
I come out of the attic with no more information than when I went up. Alexander says, “Mom why were you up there?” I explain to him that I was trying to figure out why it smells like plastic when we turn the heater on.
We move on to brushing teeth and clipping fingernails before bedtime. As I’m tucking my son in I turn off his desk light.
“Son, is there something you want to tell me about this desk light?” I ask him.
“Oh, sometimes I like to melt my erasers on the bulb.”
And as I’m showering the fiberglass out of my hair I’m saying to myself I love my family, I love my family…