Thursday, April 16, 2020

False Memories of a sap.

We signed (sold) on our old house this morning.

It took us about three and a half months to move out and get it in better shape than it was when we first moved into it.

One of the last things I did was to spend some time in the attic cleaning away junk and sweeping the dust. We had originally planned to make it a studio for Cindy to do her artwork. We put in a sturdy work table, covered a large area of floor near the windows with tasteful linoleum to protect the wood from errant paint splops. But it wasn't very temperature friendly for much of the year, so eventually the attic backslid into a storage area.

To pass the time while I cleaned the attic space, I began to imagine all the wasted potential. We could have put some money and time into making it a grand member of the house. In fact (ok, get ready, here we go), we lived there for 20 years and if we had produced a daughter I would have made sure that this space was perfect for my little princess! At age 8 my daughter would have been living in either what we called the guest room, or my office - both on the second floor.

No doubt the attic would have been a dreadful mess of boxes and junk we couldn't part with. Well, I imagined a scenario where we sent her off to space-camp and then got super-busy renovating the attic in secret.

I could see exactly how I would modify the space. First off, a built-in heating and cooling unit. Next some of the walls actually have a lot of space behind them, so I was imagining built in twin beds and some book cases and/or drawers. Better lighting options. The room is actually split 70/30 by a thin wall that has a doorway which would lead to a combination dressing room closet and hideaway place for reading, sulking, or journal writing.

The walls and ceiling would need fresh coats of paint and the floors would need plush carpeting (we don't want to hear her stomping around above our heads dancing to that awful music she listens to). Furniture (desk, chairs, etc.) would be needed, plus a small goodies fridge and microwave. Curtains for both windows and subtle lighting for the stairway so she won't miss a step.

All this in about 5 days! (I would have had more energy back when I did this.)

Now the evil fun part (because it's ME after all).

My daughter would arrive home from camp all excited to be back (because she loves us) and I'd say for her to freshen up because we were going to celebrate her return with dinner at the Olive Garden (it's her favorite restaurant).

She'd stomp up the stairs (because that's the way she ALWAYS goes up or down them) to what she thought was her bedroom, only to find we had gotten rid of her stuff. Her room is now an exercise room (yeah, right - but whatever, this is MY fantasy recollection and I'm a healthier person in it).

Confused and trying not to get upset, she'd look around to see if we moved her stuff to a different room (never checking the attic because that's where the junk is stored). Nothing.

Storming back down to us sitting casually in the living room she would demand to know what happened to her stuff! She'd be loud and assertive, but not in a "let's cancel the Olive Garden" kind of display.

"Oh, that's right," we would feign a memory lapse... "Seeing as your getting older now, we figured you'd want to be moving out of that little bedroom and into a larger place of your own. But don't worry, we set up a cot in the basement if you want to stay there until you find a place." We might even have a cot made up down there to sell this to her.

Stunned, she would start to tear up and my wife would want really bad now to tell her everything, but I wouldn't let her... "Listen, I think we have some sheets for that cot in a box somewhere in the attic. Go up and see if you can find them so we can make your bed before going to dinner."

Basically soft-crying she would slunk her way one step at a time to the attic. We would listen with a slow smile as she got closer to the attic door... we'd hear the door open, then slunk, slunk, slunk, sl...

A golden moment of silence as she realizes that something has changed in the attic. A growing girly scream of excitement would spiral down to us and we'd barely hear her running around on the plush carpet as she explored her new "apartment" in the attic.

Of course we'd demand she come back downstairs WAY before she wanted to leave her new room because we have to go to dinner. And our entire dinner conversation would revolve around what she and her mother were going to do to fix up the space to make it her own. There'd be talk of sleepovers and how her best friend Jessica is going to be soooo jealous, and can she have boys up there?! (Jesus! I just got her and she's already thinking about boys?! That hurt my heart a little...)

Anyway... THESE were the things I was thinking about as I swept the dust from the unstained and now bare wooden floors. And I actually found myself smiling at the "memories" I had made of our eight year old daughter and her new bedroom. What's worse... my eyes actually were slightly watery from the emotions that little girl and her reaction gave me.

Manipulative little bitch.

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