Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Basement: It's Where You'll Find Adventure

In our basement, I'd bet you'll find many of the same things you've got in yours.

There's a revolving cast of odds and ends.

We've got boxes of books that will never be read again, or read for the first time. There's Christmas decorations, luggage, a shelving unit filled with DVDs we'll probably never watch again and piles of stuff for coddling and entertaining newborn babies.

"Hot. Warm. Vacation." Pretty sure the boy is still on the hunt
for the "Limitless Fun!" setting. 
In a far, dark corner closest to our washer and dryer we've got cans of paint, brushes and other household tools.

In one well-appointed corner we've got an old TV set up with part of our sectional sitting in front of it.

Sometimes this stuff gets dragged upstairs or just reorganized to make way for more of the debris that everyday life kicks up.

You get the picture. It's a typical, organized mess. Amidst this mish mash we've got a few things that can't move around.

I speak specifically of a hot water heater, a furnace, a dehumidifier and a water softening unit. Now with all of the items I rattled off above, which do you think attracts the boy's attention greatest?

If you said, "Hot Water Heater, Mr. Blackwell!" you'd be right.

It's a fairly regular occurrence that when we go downstairs, the boy walks right by the piles of toddler toys and his giant play tent and heads straight toward the one appliance that, if screwed with in juuuuust the right way, could send our entire family into orbit — fiery, fiery, orbit.

In fairness to the boy, he's getting the message and staying away with greater frequency. Perhaps the girlish screams I yelp when I see him fiddling with the heater are really connecting with him. There's a big, red wheel that says "Warm, Hot and "Vacation" that draws him in. Who could resist?

So, he's moved on from the water heater to the dehumidifier. And, really, I can't blame him here either.

This thing is always buzzing. It's got a hose running from it and, most importantly, it has a digital display and a bunch of buttons on it that make a loud "Beep!" when pressed.

It's a particularly jarring moment when I'm on the other side of the basement and I learn his exact location because the noise coming from my dehumidifier sounds like the checkout at the grocery store.

This machine prevents my basement from turning into a moldier version of the Amazon, so I need to be sure it stays set. Now that I think about it, if it didn't make that "Beep!" I'd be going days with my humidity set at 10. Thanks to whomever decided to make this wondrous machine beep.

So, because the furnace is too big to tackle and because the water softener is a particularly boring machine, the boy is running out of items and appliances. He's been forced to reaaaallllly stretch to find danger in the dark recesses of our home.
Why just read your Leap Pad tablet when you
can risk your neck while doing so? As a
point of interest, we frequently find
him sitting like this.

Fortunately, if there's anything little boys do best, it's find danger.

Which brings me to this Wednesday.

The boy and I were on an adventure in the basement ("Jake and Neverland Pirates fold laundry too, son!!!") when I made the rookie mistake of turning my back for three seconds.

During that time, he managed to scale the stacks of plastic tubs Mrs. Blackwell keeps her winter clothes in. These things are about 24 inches tall and, when stacked on top of one another, not exactly stable.

So that's where I found him: grinning ear to ear while gently swaying back and forth upon a teetering tower of Tupperware.

Naturally, he was completely oblivious to what the concrete below would do to him if he fell from that height.

Because, that's also what little boys do best — smile widely, brightly and innocently into the face of potential paralysis or death.

They do this while their parents move only as parents can which, in my case, means frantically, awkwardly and ultimately, slowly, to remove their child from peril.  

Somewhere between my first step and my last the boy started laughing at me — joining the legions of others who, through the decades, have delighted in my sheer and utter lack of grace.

Usually when I remove him from a perilous situation he's annoyed and he let's me know. But, as I grabbed him and set him down this time, he continued to smile. He'd enjoyed this moment and enjoyed making Dad dance.

It would be great if I could keep him entertained sans the elements of danger and terror being involved. But, like I said, if there's anything little boys do best, it's find danger. I'm just now learning that the danger isn't always his alone to bear.

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