Thursday, June 09, 2011

Toys (or a Ghost) in the Attic?

Our house was built in 1892 and because it's an old Victorian, people will often ask us if it's haunted. Although a poltergeist would be a perfect way to explain away the constant state of mess and chaos that exists between these walls, sadly (?!) it's not. At least, that's what we thought until recently.

The house has a walk-up attic. After we had some work done on the basement several years ago, and learned we needed a brand-new steel I-beam, ($urprise!) the door to the attic never stayed closed anymore. So we put a rock there. Because, you know, why fix the door when you can just put a rock there?
door closed1.jpg
The rock has been working well for years and outside of one little slumber party where a group of seven screaming girls accused the poor rock of being a rat, we've never really thought much of it.

But lately... Lately, we've been finding the door ajar. A lot. Like almost every day. And we're trying to figure out what's changed. Our first thoughts didn't go to "GHOST!" they went to "CATS!" because we have two and they, like any cats, enjoy mischief; so naturally we blamed them. We started wedging the rock in a little tighter. And still, the door would open. Could our cats really pull on the bottom of the door that hard? And even when it was open, they weren't up in the attic anyway. Since our cats never do anything for the exercise, perhaps it was all just to befuddle us. It was working.

About the same time the door started opening mysteriously, we began thinking it might be nice to finish out the attic, because we have two six-foot tall teenage boys sharing a bunk bed. We thought we could move the office up there, so one of them could take the bedroom it's in now (Because we're the parents and we need an office with a door that closes, that's why.) We brought a few contractors up to the attic to take a look, and a couple of architects, too. And that's when it hit us. Maybe we disturbed the ghost.
door open1.jpg


Maybe we had a nice friendly ghost that's been living in the attic all these years and he or she realized we were going to change the attic and this is his or her way of protesting. Maybe the ghost is upset and that's why it keeps tracking mud all over the kitchen floor, too and leaving crumbs on the countertop. No wait. I know that "ghost." That ghost has been active here for years. Regardless, it all put a pretty quick halt to any thoughts of finishing out our attic.

It wasn't until yesterday when I was standing in the hall outside the attic door and saw it move, all on it's own, pushing that rock out a half-inch, then a half-inch more, again and again, that I finally understood what made our ghost tick. Every time my daughter slammed the back door, as she ran out and then back in and then back out, the pressure change inched our attic door open a little further.

With the mystery solved, we may just put an office up in the attic. But we'll have to hope the only unexpected excitement it causes will not be the type that goes bump in the night, but merely the kind that goes cha-ching.


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