Monday, February 21, 2005

Call the rescue squad, part 2

After conceding a point to the yard, yesterday, I turned indoors to tackle a few minor cleaning tasks; I don't want the cat-sitter to see the conditions I actually live in while I'm on vacation.

My little house originally had central oil heat, since replaced by electric baseboards or forced-air units in each room. The hardwood floors have been lovingly restored, but the metal grate for the old furnace still remains in the geographical center of the house, between living room and hallway. Beneath the grate is a flat black surface; I figured it was boarded over once it had outlived its usefulness. Meanwhile, crumbs and pine needles and pennies and cat fur drop through the grate and collect on the surface, the holes in the grate just small enough to thwart my fingers or the skinniest vacuum attachment.

So I decided to pry up the grate--it lifts up easily, not bolted down--and do some serious vacuuming yesterday. Turns out that that black-painted surface isn't a solid board, but an extremely thin sheet of metal. This, I discovered when, while wrestling with the kinked-up vacuum hose...I accidentally stepped on the panel. And dropped straight through, up to my thigh in...well, the FLOOR.

(I don't know what my other leg was doing, frankly; it stayed up on the main level and I ended up sort of sitting on the edge of the furnace hole with the roaring vacuum in my half-lap. Let's just say I was grateful for having recently resumed yoga practice.)

So, hey...hi there, old furnace, as I straddle you. I dropped the grate, fought off the Hoover, and managed to wrestle my leg back out; this was harder than expected because the metal sheet had bent down, as I went past, and sort of pinned me; I had to bend it back in the OTHER wrong direction to pull free. It made a noise like when stagehands whap a metal sheet backstage to simulate rolling thunder. I am not sure the cats will ever recover from me, rolling around on the floor and bashing metal objects around, WHILE still running the Vacuum Monster of Terror.

Incredibly, I did not tear my pants into one-legged Daisy Dukes. I have an impressive wraparound welt of scrape and bruise, looks sort of like I'm wearing a festive purple garter.

This is yet another rationalization of my deeply indifferent housekeeping; obviously such tasks are FRAUGHT WITH PERIL. People with spotless houses are taking their lives in their hands every day, tragedy in the making. Let this be a lesson to you all.

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