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The Attic Stairs

November 17, 2012

We moved into our home in 1993, just a few months before our daughter Anna was born.  At the time, I had been working on the house for over 4 years, and we were anxious to get moved in. So we sorta rushed a few things and cut a few corners – like flooring for the kitchen, a few doorknobs here or there, and trim around the pull-down attic stairway.

Over several years after we moved in, we incrementally finished things up in bits and pieces – doors on cabinets, window trim and drapery, ceiling and trim all around our porch. One glaring exception, however, was trim around the pull-down attic stairway.

Terrie never complained about it. She really didn’t need to. The trimless door in the ceiling taunted me on a regular basis. Most often I merely walk by and give it little thought, but at least once a week for the last 17 years, it has caught my attention and whispered out “Slacker!”


Earlier this year the spring-loaded power arms that lower and raise the ladder began to show some excessive wear, and one actually bent sideways and broke. For a short while I propped the door up with a two-by-four. This gave me a week or two to mend the broken arm. When I put it back into service, however, it never did pull the door up tightly. There always remained about one-inch gap between the door and the ceiling.

It is amazing what you can find for sale on-line. With just minimal searching, I found a ladder company that sold parts for pull-down attic stairs. For about $50 I got both left and right power arms.

So just this weekend while Terrie was out running errands, I replaced both power arms and adjusted the springs to fully close the door. Since I was on a roll, I decided to go ahead and finish the trim around the door and paint the whole kit & kaboodle.

Terrie arrived home and put away the groceries that she had purchased this morning. Then she went upstairs where she noticed the new trim and neatly closed attic door. She stared at it for just a few seconds before emitting a little shriek and dashing outside. I found her standing in the front yard, looking around in a bit of a daze. “Honey, what’s wrong.”

“It’s the strangest thing.” She paused with a confused look on her face. “I could have sworn that I walked into someone else’s home by mistake. The attic door in there is all trimmed out, tucked up neatly, and nicely painted. This can’t be our place, but this yard looks so familiar!”

I smiled and assured her that I had just finished repairing and trimming out the attic stairway door. She looked at me in amazement for a few moments, and then her jaw tightened and her eyes narrowed. “Who are you? Where am I? And what have you done with my husband?” she growled.

It took some time to convince her of my story.  I had to answer a whole battery of questions like “What was the name of our first cat?” and “Which of our sons has a birthmark on his side?   And which side is it on?”  I was able to name the cat and the son, and thankfully I guessed which side correctly.  Finally, she began to come around and admit that I was for real. She went back upstairs and stared at the attic door in a mixture of wonder and disbelief.

A little while later, Terrie mentioned that if I were to put a knob on our bedroom closet door, we could finally declare the house to be finished.

I dunno. I think I will leave the closet door like it is. I sort of always like having a project in the works.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. LongLostZellerSon permalink
    November 17, 2012 4:40 pm

    Awesome read Dan. Can’t wait to see the finished product someday!

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