Little Boxes

Jan 10th, 2013

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When a heavy box of old junk that another has packed and stored badly *literally* falls out of the pre-fab suburban ceiling and breaks open on the ONE Day out of *hundreds* that YOU happen to be home, and THE OWNER/ PACKER / STORER happens to not be….What is the symbolism there?

At first I thought it was the boiler exploding. It snowed last night in Jerusalem, and temperatures in our town reached record lows. My contractor friends put out helpful emails to their neighbors: Leave on a hot water tap so your boiler doesn’t explode. I did.

I had just sat down to morning coffee on my first snow day in about 20 years. Earlier, my carpool texted me: The roads to Jerusalem are closed. We are not going anywhere.

I jumped up and down on my bed like an eight year old. I didn’t have to go in to the office, a rare reprieve to catch up on independent work: writing, editing, to-do lists, emails. The kids had school. The husband was running a marathon up north with a bunch of other skinny lunatics who think pneumonia can’t happen to them.

It meant that I had the house to myself for the whole day. Only about the third or fourth time it’s happened in the two years since I started working full-time on the outside, and my husband opened up his own practice from a home office. It was quiet, I was caffeinated, shit was getting done.

So when I heard the loud thud in the roof, I thought: Well. What do contractors know?! A closer investigation, however, revealed no gushing water (Glory Be!) but part of a box protruding from the hatch door leading to the attic. And the innards of that box vomiting out in a way that (of course) dared me to open the hatch, even though I was clearly about to get nailed by: 1. A lot of work *I* didn’t create and didn’t have time for but was going to have to do anyway; 2. Whatever hit me as I opened it. It was like an episode of Lost, only no sexy sweating, what with the freezing temps.

Emboldened by gratefulness that my boiler hadn’t exploded, I channeled my inner girl scout and figured out how to minimize injury and mess while facing this unwanted challenge, all before my coffee got cold. Spreading a heavy blanket on the floor, I pulled the lever to the hatch door and stepped away.

Out poured an old electric shaver (of blessed memory); an earthy green ceramic rock garden desk ornament which rained down intact due to my Be Prepared ethos; several issues of the Israel Law Review; a few much heavier, maroon-colored volumes with titles that made me feel deep sympathy for all lawyers; and the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. I fared much better than most who have been hit by Sarbanes Oxley. The avalanche ended with a flurry of certificates (never framed; my husband is a pack rat but never a show-off) and assorted papers.

Still in Amazonian mode, I climbed up to the roof to straighten out the boxes and check for anything that might have caused the fall. The diagnosis: routine shifting of elements due to extreme temperature and *too much crap*, which used to hide in the old office in Tel Aviv, and is now hidden from view of wife who generally throws everything away unless it breathes and has a respectable IQ.

I made sure the piles were stable, and I backed away without throwing out a thing. I just didn’t have the time.

As to the pile down below on the blanket: Surprise. Very little didn’t make it back into the mangled but salvageable box. Mostly because I want to see him have to hoist it back up, completely full.

It didn’t take that long, but I was ready to be extremely aggravated for having to deal with it at all. Then I found something he saved, something hilarious and brilliant that I had written in 2003 (I said my husband wasn’t a show- off, but I never said I wasn’t) and I read it and cried.

That he had saved it. That I used to write ALL THE TIME because that was all I did professionally. That I rarely do it anymore because my work is about much more than writing these days. That I had forgotten about this piece and it literally fell on my head on a day that I really needed to be reminded that I was am a writer.

I wiped my tears and put the paper on his desk.

Then I stole the rock garden for my desk at work. It is the fee for my time and it’s really more appropriate for a chick. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

When a heavy box of old junk falls out of the ceiling and breaks open and you have to deal with it and you, in the end, don’t really mind that much…What is the symbolism there?

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  1. 2 Responses to “Little Boxes”

  2. so…are you not going to share the written note with your fans?

    By Shells on Jan 10, 2013

  3. :) – it was a long poem in honor of a birthday, which I doubt many people outside my family would get. I used to write long poems for people’s birthdays! Sonnets too. Maybe I should start that again.

    By Sara K. Eisen on Jan 10, 2013

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