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Mar 6, 2010

Stranded

I was home alone with the babies this fine Saturday morning because Garry took the big boys skiing. It was going to be a pretty busy day, but I wanted to get a box of Lexi's clothes down from the attic and take some random things (Christmas tree, moving boxes, roll of paper) up for storage. Normally this is the kind of job I reserve for Tall Man Garry, since using the attic stairs requires a stool and some jumping for me. But my desire to complete the task outweighed its inconvenience.

So, while Lexi was napping, I set Gavin up with an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba (earning myself a gold star for good parenting) and quietly ducked into the garage for my little job.

I had made several trips up and down the rickety stairs when Gavin appeared in the garage. Of course he wanted to "help," which really meant he wanted to climb on the ladder. I didn't approve of his choice, and encouraged him to leave the ladder alone. I quickly ascended the stair case for the last time, tossing Amazon.com boxes in a corner and turning off the light. When I moved to make my descent, however, there was a problem. Gavin had bent the lower third of the ladder backwards, rendering the ladder useless. I feared that using the ladder in its bent condition would (1) break the ladder; (2) launch me to certain death; or (3) both.


For about ten minutes I tried to persuade Gavin to fix the ladder. I tried to help him understand how to move the bottom part back into place. I explained pushing methods and pulling methods, this way and that way and over and under, all to no avail. The only result of our conversation was tears for Gavin. He began to be very distressed that I couldn't come down from the attic.

I began thinking of ways to get down without the stairs. I wondered if I could shimmy over to the canned food rack, and if it would support my significant weight. Could I hang from my hands on one side of the attic opening and drop to the ground? Could I step partway down the ladder and jump? None of these seemed like reasonable alternatives. Meanwhile, I had a crying toddler at the foot of the ladder and a baby sleeping in the house. I was the only adult at home, the house was locked up tight, and I felt very stuck.

Then I realized my cell phone was in my pocket. This was pretty fortuitous. I ran through the list of people I could call. One friend's mom was in town, and another was entertaining guests from Denver. I knew lots of people were at a baptism at the stake center. I didn't have any of my neighbors' phone numbers programmed into my phone. I happened to know that one friend was playing racquetball at the Y, and that she would be done soon. I sent her a text: "Can you stop by on the way home? I am stuck in the attic...."

I figured I could wait a long time as long as I knew help was coming. But I still had the problem of a locked house. I wasn't sure how a would-be rescuer could actually get in. So I asked Gavin to see if he could reach the garage door button. (Even as I did this, I realized that teaching him to open the garage was a bad, bad, bad idea.) He tried valiantly to reach the button, but he couldn't. (I was quite relieved.) Then I noticed the broom propped in the corner. I asked Gavin to hand me the broom. From my perch in the attic opening, I used the broom handle to open the garage door.

As soon as the garage opened, I worried that Gavin would run away. I almost closed it again immediately. But then I could hear my neighbor talking to someone in her driveway. We have had a bit of a strained relationship with this neighbor. She has been the recipient of more than one apology letter from our boys.

I meekly called to her from the ceiling of my garage. "Katie? Katie? Katie, can you help me?"
I'm sure she thought it strange to hear her name floating through the air. A minute later I saw a pair of legs walking in my direction. Then Katie was in my garage, helping me out of a ridiculous predicament. Her dog scared the wits out of Gavin, but he was thrilled to have me on the ground again, so he recovered quickly.

This little adventure inspired an amusing post on Facebook and humorous re-tellings to friends and family throughout the day. When was the last time you were trapped in your attic? Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!
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