The Decline of Western Civilization IV- the Quarantine Years

I vacuumed my attic last week.

In case you missed it, I’d like to redirect your attention for a moment to my About page wherein I do mention that there will be swearing.

Now, let me rephrase that: I fucking vacuumed my attic last week.

This wasn’t an “I’m so bored, I’m gonna. . . ” event. A few years ago, a tree fell on our house during the Halloween Snowpocalypse. It narrowly missed a kid (#1) and smashed our pumpkins, but the damage wasn’t too bad. Just the corner of the roof and gutters.

About six months later, the next tree fell on our house. The trees had the crap beat out of them several years in a row because of hurricanes and such, we had a super rainy spring, and BAM!

Tree on the house, again.

It is loud, in case you’re wondering.

This one was also not terribly damaging because it only went through to the attic floor and landed on some boxes of paperwork. Paperwork that, it turns out, never really needed to be saved anyway, and which I have somewhat recently (having found myself with a bit of spare time) shredded the living shit out of.

Three days – yes, days – after the roof was fixed, the third tree came down on the house in nearly the exact same spot. Coincidentally, just as the tree guy was driving past to check out his work.

You’re not fooling anyone, tree.

I really hate trees.

I should also mention that none of these were our trees. They were not on our property.


Oh, and the roof was only like three years old at the time. The trees didn’t even have the decency to take out parts of the house that could have used some upgrades, like perhaps the vomit-inducing kitchen wallpaper or the crawlspace-level laundry room windows, which are fantastically unclean.

One of the things that doesn’t happen when a tree goes through your attic roof is a thorough interior cleaning on the part of the insurance people and contractors. I mean, they get the tree out, but that’s about it as far as cleaning goes. The bits that explode through the inside of the attic as the tree falls – the tree parts and roof parts and attic parts, all that crap? That’s on you. Unsurprisingly, all three trees’ worth of that was still up there.

Until last week.

I’m not entirely sure what trait it is in me that made me so determined to take care of this task on what was, so far, the hottest day of the year. Possibly it is related to the same karma that had three fucking trees fall on my house in a six-month period. But one doesn’t simply don Daisy Dukes and a tank top to engage in a Battle Royal between an industrial ShopVac, roof beam splinters, ripped shingles, and roofing nails.

Naturally, I wore jeans and a Rush t-shirt.

I’ve seen attics on television and in the movies that you just walk up into, through a normal door and up a normal set of stairs, and you get up there and you can stand fully upright through the whole attic and there’s good lighting and air circulation.

Liars, all of them.

We have that folding ladder you pull down from the ceiling, except it doesn’t line up straight and you have to bungee the sections into place so they don’t collapse under you.

The attic interior is a beam construction, cleverly designed so that no two spots are the same height and it’s entirely possible, and in fact likely, that if you manage to find a place where you can squat or kneel in such a way that your back doesn’t seize up, then the beam you are about to bash your head into is somehow out of your line of sight.



Whatever the weather is outside, the AtticIndex makes it nine times as bad inside. If it’s a little chilly out, inside the attic you’re fending off frostbite. If it’s warm out, inside the attic it’s sweltering. If the weather outside is perfect, inside the attic it smells and there are spiders.

I sweat. I can’t help it. There’s no glistening, no glowing. I sweat extensively in humid weather – it doesn’t even have to be warm. But this day? When it was Everglades out? I was Florida Man inside the attic. I don’t think I’ve ever actually sweat through jeans all the way from hip to ankle before. I looked like I’d done a double Bikram class in street clothes by the time I finished. It took longer than that, though.

While flop-vacuuming and head-bashing, I amused myself by thinking how incredibly freaked out the kids would be if they were up in the attic with me. My kids are irrationally afraid of spiders. It’s pretty unfortunate for them, because we have a shitload of spiders at our house. Many of them were in the attic.

Now they’re in the ShopVac.

Here be spiders

I also had the misfortune of vacuuming the attic on the day that CC and the kids finished building the upper level of the patio. It looks freaking amazing. I’m so very impressed by him. But I vacuumed the fucking attic and nobody cares because, apparently, finishing a bluestone project (yes, from scratch) is way more impressive.


But did I mention I vacuumed my attic?

What fresh hell are you getting into these days?


3 thoughts on “The Decline of Western Civilization IV- the Quarantine Years

  1. Cousin, you need to write a book.
    Love the way you write, and your take on things. You remind me of my youngest daughter Clare. Same kind of thinking. Very observant, and a tactful sense of humor.

  2. Holy Battle Royal, have I missed your f&@$$^@ writing! I laughed, I cried. Okay, more like cried FROM laughing. That patio is gorrrrrgeous. I mean, great job! With the attic and the vacuuming!! (Glad you didn’t crash through the floor/dining room ceiling, which happened twice to a certain ex during the time we owned a similar attic…)

  3. Hahaha. There was a time, two years ago, when the same neighbor’s tree fell in three pieces, in three storms, in two months. The first one only took out a gutter. The second time bounced off the house and took out a car. (That’s a fight- homeowner’s says auto. Auto says homeowner. Back and forth and back and forth.)
    The third time we were out of town and it would’ve taken out the other car if it hadn’t been at the airport.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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