No Sugar Added: Coming out of the closet (again)
I have a confession to make. I’m done living a lie. I’m coming out. Of the closet.
No, I am not here to tell you, dear readers, that I am a lesbian. Although, during my seven years of dating, I have more than once considered taking the alternate path. No, when I say closet, I am being literal.
It’s holiday time. And while Eartha Kitt sings “Santa Baby” and sexily croons her wishes for a diamond ring, the deed to a platinum mine and decorations from Tiffany’s, I am composing my wish list, too.
I am not interested in fine jewelry, a gold-plated espresso maker or a Ferrari. All I want for Christmas are closets. Real closets. Large closets. Closets with shelves. Closets into which I can walk without clunking my head while retrieving our boxes of holiday ornamentation.
If this is too much, the keys to a walk-in storage unit located within five miles of my home will do.
This epiphany came to me as I was on my knees, crawling to the back of our living room closet, on a hunt for our holiday decorations. It is a closet that extends underneath a stairwell, and one must navigate carefully in order to reach the Holy Grail, the area where the big Tupperware style containers are stored. Christmas. Easter. Thanksgiving. Halloween. It’s all in there.
But to get to it, one must first avoid getting tangled in a web of winter coats while simultaneously climbing over a decade’s worth of tax returns. There is a critical juncture where, if not careful, you will scrape your delicate spine along a piece of wood as you crawl on all fours. Successful navigation requires the agility of Houdini and the bravery of Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."
Sadly, I have no one but myself to blame for my closet situation. I love old houses. My current home dates from 1915. Of course there are no sizable closets. People didn’t own anything back in 1915.
When Drew was alive, things were no better. He loved old houses, too. Our first condo was part of a house built in the early 1900s. There were two closets, smaller than the one’s in my Barbie’s playhouse. Of course, back then, we were naive and considered it charming.
House number two was circa 1870. The closets were not worth mentioning. But there was an attic, accessible via a pull-down ladder.
What made this particular pull-down ladder challenging was the fact that it was located inside a closet the size of a phone booth.
If you gained five pounds, your chances of accessing the attic were questionable. Even if you made it, carrying a sizable box of holiday paraphernalia down through that small opening was akin to a petite woman giving birth to a 40-pound baby. And I’m not talking Cesarean section.
The closest I’ve gotten to anything resembling convenient storage space was our last home in Massachusetts. Built in the 1940s, it had slightly larger closets, and an attic you entered through a (nearly full height) door. I couldn’t stand up straight once inside, but had I been 5-feet-2-inches tall – bingo!
I know of people who have within their homes convenient closet space designated to the sole purpose of the storage of holiday decorations. These are the same people who have “mud rooms” larger than my bedroom and who label their spare keys. I do not trust these people.
The very thought of retrieving one’s holiday decorations, without later requiring chiropractic care, confounds me. I simply cannot imagine living in a house with ample storage space.
Of course, I also cannot imagine living in a house without creaking floors and a fireplace built around the same time that my grandmother was born.
When I think that nearly 100 years ago, someone probably hit their head in the same closet I do, while retrieving a child’s Christmas gift – when I think of the people who treasured this house before me – well, that’s when my dreams of closets as big as my bathroom aren’t so important anymore.
Merry Christmas. May all your dreams come true.