Monday, April 28, 2008

The Secret Stair--My Secret Shame

I cleaned the gutters yesterday--gutters packed full of a half-composted, festering mass of leaves, spruce needles, and black walnuts. So I figured I'm on a roll completing dreaded tasks, and I might as well clean out the Secret Stair today.

The Secret Stair is a very steep, narrow staircase that runs from a door in the library to our bedroom. It's one of three staircases in the house (I told you this was a big house--didn't really believe me, did you?). We used to use the Secret Stair to come downstairs, as it's the most direct route from our bedroom. But then, for various reasons to do with bats and squirrels in the attic, the light fixture for the Secret Stair was commandeered as an electrical outlet for the attic. Since we really felt no desire to stumble down the Secret Stair in the dark, it has since been unused. At least, unused for its intended purpose. But it's such a convenient place to dump things, and then just shut the door. And once that door is closed, the paperwork starts breeding, I swear. Like metal clothes hangers in the closet. It's okay if only one stair is covered with junk (I tell myself this, anyway), but the mess has slowly crept upward until now it's taken over 5 stairs. It's . . . shameful.

Everyone has the equivalent of the Secret Stair (right? RIGHT?). It's the place where we shove paperwork, books, and all the other random detritus of the house when we want to get it out of sight. Or store until we're sufficiently energized to carry upstairs to the bookshelves and filing places in the study. And of course, that day never comes. And then, because it's out of sight, it's definitely out of mind. And it keeps building and building, until one day, you just can't take it anymore. And I can stop starting sentences with "and" now.

The day of reckoning for the Secret Stair has come. I will spend the morning ferrying junk upstairs and filing, storing, and otherwise disposing of all the miscellany that I've been ignoring for months now. I figured if I announced my intention to the Internet, I'd have to do it. Also, I was raised Catholic and apparently still feel the need to unburden myself with confession. And clearly, the Internet can give me absolution for this particular sin of sloth. For my penance, maybe I'll say a Hail Mary while I clean.

Maybe not. But I will do the cleaning part. Frankly, I'd rather clean out gutters.


SaraPMcC said...

At least you have someplace you can put it and shut the door so no one has to see it (until you post a photo of it on your blog, of course). I'm curious; what's on the wall behind the stuff?

Kristin said...

That's just the wallpaper--it's supposed to look like old newspapers. Why? What did you think it was? Horrifying patches of black mold? I'm not THAT bad of a housekeeper.

SaraPMcC said...

No, actually, I thought it was newspaper or something cool like that on the wall. So I was just curious.

Anonymous said...

My secret stair is the bottom two drawers of the dresser in the guest room. It works really well for all the paper work and office stuff that I'm supposed to file. It's the "I'll get to it eventually" place.

It works great until house guests stay with us - then I get the death glare from my wife as I explain they just can't use that space.

Krysta said...

My secret stair is the basement and I never have to clean it because I WILL NOT go down there.

Kristin said...

SEE? I KNEW everyone has an equivalent to the Secret Stair! It took a real man to 'fess up first though. And incidentally, the first male who is not related to us to comment on this site. It's officially co-ed! Thanks, Chris. And Krysta (what's with the Kris/Chris/Krys-type names around here anyway. Christ. HA!) 'fessed up too. I feel better now.