In preparation for my triumphant return to the office this week, I sent Ben into the attic. Our attic is accessible only by using a ladder made of rope, paper clips, and the spit of 10,000 spiders (or whatever in the hell is living up there) to climb through an oddly placed hatch in the ceiling of our tiny bathroom. I’ve never been in our attic. I’ve never even seen it. Apparently it is large, suffers from temperature extremes, and doesn’t have a floor. (Have you ever imagined that a creepy old dude with a Kafka complex secretly lives in your attic and comes down to nibble on your food when you’re not home? Is that just me?)
I didn’t ask him to go up there just to be mean. I have boxes of clothes up there. These boxes of clothes started out in the garage. After the garage got too full, the boxes of clothes ended up in the attic. (Don’t even get me started on our partial basement, which contains old, gigantic furniture we’ll probably never use again but with which I refuse to part and no, I swear I’ll never be featured on an episode of Hoarders.)
I tried to label the boxes of clothes so that, on the off chance I ever want to find anything in any of them ever again, I might be able to do so with little trouble. In some instances, I succeeded. For example, I know that a box labeled “small suits” contains size 6 suits I wore 10 years ago when I was Cute Little Judicial Law Clerk in Chicago. I will never be Cute Little Judicial Law Clerk in Chicago again. Look. I had a baby three months ago. I’m not a size 6 right now. I will never wear suits again (unless there is a radical shift in how we dress for work or I go totally crazy). If I ever do wear suits again, I will not wear 10+-year-old suits. Why I still have a box of these “small suits” is, therefore, a mystery for the ages. (And not a sign of me being on the road to Reality Show Crazy Cat Lady With House Full of Shit.)
Then there are the boxes of “small clothes” or “lots of pants from when I was fat.” I want nothing to do with either of these designations. The small clothes are probably all size 6 shit. I don’t need to see shit that doesn’t fit. The “pants from when I was fat” should be too big for me now and, if they’re not, I don’t want to know about it. (Truth: I wasn’t that fat. I guess I just like to be mean.)
Some of the labels don’t really help. There’s “shit I haven’t worn for a really long time.” The fact that I packed “shit I haven’t worn for a really long time” into a box and saved it is mildly disturbing, but at least I know I don’t have to bother finding out what’s in there, because if I hadn’t worn it for a really long time when I put it in a box that eventually ended up in the attic, I sure as hell don’t want to wear it now.
There are random boxes with labels I couldn’t figure out, so for these, I asked Ben to describe one article of clothing so I could determine whether I wanted him to bring down the box. It went something like this:
Ben: [reads label that makes no sense]
Me: What’s in that one? Describe something.
Ben: There’s a shirt with a cat on it.
Ben: A shirt with a cat on it.
Seriously? Why do I have a shirt with a cat on it? Note: The correct answer to this question is not “Because you are a crazy pre-hoarder cat lady.”
The stupid thing is that I swore I packed a box of “pre-pregnancy clothes,” which was stuff I wore before I started wearing maternity clothes. This box is not in the attic, so either I’m not as organized as I thought (likely) or Ben figured it was stupid to put shit I might actually want at some point in the foreseeable future in the attic so that he’d have to get out the ladder, climb up there, read labels, dig around in boxes, and be reminded that the mother of his child has a shirt with a cat on it.
Anyway, the box, if it exists, is missing in action. This means that my actual, functional wardrobe is terrifyingly small and I, in fact, have nearly nothing to wear. (I do have, I should disclose, a frightening number of black tank tops, which I suppose is good if a new trend becomes “Charlie Brown style,” wherein people wear the same outfit — or at least what appears to be the same outfit — every day for months.) So if I look like I wear the same thing all the time, please don’t make fun of me. Unless it’s a shirt with a cat on it.