When we moved 6 years ago, we downsized considerably. Current house is about 1,000 feet smaller than North Muskegon’s and all on one floor. The biggest plus is it’s substantially closer to our three kids. Consequently, several of our antique furniture pieces needed to find new homes. We (it was me) picked our dearest treasures and the ones without a lot of family history intertwined in their refinishing, grain and scratches moved to family members who had years to go before they need to downsize.
The next few months were spent making this new, smaller space our own. New driveway, sidewalk, deck, central air unit, paint, flooring, appliances, landscaping, tree removal. The house was built in 1963. Part of a large housing development of reasonably priced, smaller homes destined to be either a starter home or a finishing one (the category we now find ourselves). Several years later, (but way before we came to call it home) the single attached garage was converted into a family room and a 2-1/2 stall garage was added a few feet in back of the house.
The smallest room ended up needing the most work (and money so far, but we’ve yet to tackle painting the kitchen cupboards, new countertops and sink). The bathroom needed to be gutted to the studs. With closet space and storage at a premium, everything we own needed to find a permanent place in this home. As you stood in the bathroom doorway, just to the left was a clothes chute. Goodness, that’s just so 1963. My first thought was to ask Duke (contractor and super all around guy) to eliminate the chute in the wall. But unless I wanted to hang a clothes hamper/laundry basket from the ceiling, there was not a handy spot within 20 feet to toss your dirty socks and undies, so we decided to keep the laundry chute. Keeping a laundry basket in the basement, everything landed about 3 feet from the washer. Well how practical is that?
Keeping the laundry chute was a good idea. Kind of reminiscent of a different era of family life. The chute door has its own little squeak, which originates from the springs to keep the chute door closed. It doesn’t snap shut, just slowly squeaks its way closed once the clothes have plopped in the basket. Once in a while a bath towel clogs the chute if it’s bunched up, only to have me discover days later half of a laundry basket filling the wooden trough. I can usually slink my arm deep enough to loosen the traffic jam of grungy duds.
Our granddaughter Ariana and 4-year-old great-granddaughter Jovi have come over for supper on Tuesday’s almost as long as Jovi’s been on this earth (thanks God, she’s just the best, ok, they’re both pretty great). Neither are fussy eaters and I’m all about comfort food. They’re both addicted to mashed potatoes, so often it’s stuffed chicken or a beef roast.
Invariably, Jovi will have to use the rest room sometime during the meal. She no longer requires one of us to be nearby, usually leaving the table with her own set of instructions, “I need some privacy please.” We can hear her singing or talking while she gets the job done. If I’ve not put the small step stool by the sink, she might ask for help with washing her hands, otherwise she’s pretty independent and needs no assistance.
About a month ago, on a Wednesday, I went downstairs to get some meat out of the freezer. Glanced at the laundry basket to determine if I needed to start a load and noticed a full roll of Northern toilet tissue perched on top of the soiled laundry. Jovi! The little stinker! Once upstairs I held the roll for Hubs to see. Raising his eyebrows he queried, “Where’d you get that?” “Umm, it was on top of the laundry basket downstairs.” “Jovi,” he asked with a laugh? “That would be my guess,” I said as we admired her ingenuity.
The following Tuesday during supper I said, “hey Jovi, did you throw anything down the clothes chute when you were bathroom last week?” Her eyes went from grandpa to mommy to me, wondering if or how much trouble she might be in. “Yeah, I throwed toilet paper down there,” she answered nonchalantly.
None of could disguise our smiles around the table and Jovi knew immediately she was not in trouble. I however, should have been given 30 lashes with a wet noodle for bringing it up in the first place. Because we have now created a laundry chute monster. I swear she thinks long and hard all through the week what can be tossed down the chute when she’s here on Tuesday.
The next week, 2 mega rolls were downstairs. I keep extra rolls of TP in a small antique wooden box. Again, because there’s not an inch of extra space to be wasted this box sets right next to the heat register in our narrow bathroom. The following week, I decided to just leave the wooden box empty and put the extra rolls in the linen closet until after Tuesday’s supper. Wednesday morning we found 2 long strips of loose tissue (which appeared unused-at least I hoped so) and my new TV guide (which is kept in the family room, not the bathroom).
Two weeks ago my nighttime sweats (I hang them on the outside shower door railing) were no where to be found (haha, I knew where they were-all crumpled). Last week Tuesday, as I was changing from my (now clean night sweatpants) to my pj shorts, I discovered they had somehow disappeared during her new supper ritual would be my guess.
I know sooner or later Jovi’s going to tire or forget her Tuesday bathroom antics. Until she does I’m not sure how far I wanna take trying to eliminate the closest items she can grab to toss down the chute. If I get rid of everything within her reach, will she continue to search for something/anything to pitch into the squeaky door of darkness? Probably. So far, my toothbrush has remained unscathed and in its designated holder every week. A bit of a stretch for her near the back of the vanity, yet it’s remained in place (and dry) after she and Ari have headed home…