why couldn’t i be two inches taller?

so i went to the hardware store yesterday specifically to buy an air filter. i wandered around the store for about an hour and declined several offers of help from the associates. i looked at pretty much everything they had to sell before deciding to actually buy filters. i stumbled on a welcome mat that embodies “my house” and decided only to buy it if the filter cost more than $10. and what a range of filters are on the market! whoa. $20 for 2 filters, $18 for my welcome mat and i was off to the trunk of my car (and the pet store for dog food and dental floss but thats neither here nor there) and then home.
allow me to briefly explain the front walkway of my house to you. the house appears to be very very tall and in fact it is because of the lovely vaulted ceilings. the exterior walls are all beige and the eaves of the roof are painted a dark beige. from the sidewalk by the street rises several uneven red steps made of square pavers. when i say uneven, i mean that the depth of each step differs from every other step. they are all very level but its hard to judge where to step next. the steps lead to a sidewalk that goes straight to the door. at the left of the sidewalk are dying aloe vera plants that occasionally shoot a stalk up for the fun of it. they are surrounded by dirt. to the right of the sidewalk are river rocks scattered all over the front yard with dirt and the occasional weed popping through. the blue tarp the owner put down underneath the top layer of dirt to prevent weed growth is also showing through in spots. as you approach the house, the wall to the kitchen is parallel to your left side and a tall scraggly dead bush appears at your right and blocks the window to the front bedroom. the door itself is beige. the porch light fixture is losing its battle with gravity after all these years and there’s dirt and dead bugs on the windowsills that line the left of the doorframe from top to bottom. the hardware to the door is also dated. the visitor then crosses a dark puddle stain on the concrete before stepping onto a mat that is so old and worn that it doesnt say “welcome” anymore. the color of it is somewhere between the gray of the sidewalk and the beige of the walls. and it’s a semi circle/rectangle. perhaps i put too much thought into it, but it seems to me that a welcome mat makes a first impression. i want mine to say that i care about the visitor and want them to feel good in my house.
so after these three months, i finally rolled it up and threw it away and then swept away all the dead bugs and little leaves and dust that have collected under, on, and around the mat and plopped the new face of my residence in its stead. here’s a photo of the new one in all its glory:

welcome mat

new welcome mat


maybe its presence will also inspire me to dig out all the aloe vera and replace it with white and pink jasmine as i so long to do.
so with my welcome mat all rolled out, i set my sights on the real project of the day: change my air filter. aside from the fact that its been two months since i moved in, i knew it was time to change it when the old one bent in half because the air conditioner was trying so hard to pull air through the vent. i also noticed that the existing filter was filthy. just CAKED with dust. i don’t want to tell you how long it took me to actually buy a filter after the other one bent in half but i put it off for a bit because of the treacherous placement of the intake vent:
vent to hell

airvent placement


yes there you have it. it is at the top of the stairwell, on the wall over the steps. i don’t know if this is unusual as this is my first house, but i was pretty afraid to risk life and limb to change this filter. glad i waited till the boys were home. standing on the very tips of my toes on the third step down, i could just reach the top screw that held the front of the vent on and unscrew it. the second screw below that i could easily reach. naturally, i did not decided to keep the screws in my pocket or on my person at all, but to put them on the cutout in the wall at the top of the staircase. i also had it in my head that the front of the vent would open like a door on hinges as there were only screws on one side. boy was i wrong. i went to swing it open and it nearly came all the way off. now i know no clumsy skinny girl like me is going to be able to accurately and easily get that vent back up there without a fight so i held on for dear life. so there’s me on my tippy toes on the stairs holding up the airvent with my left hand and reaching as far as i can with my right hand for the replacement filter, which was on the landing at the top of the stairs, willing it to come toward me. not happening. i called to my eldest son who slowly came up the stairs. i frantically cried, ‘get the other filter!” and he reached into the bag for me. in the meantime, i’d removed the old dirty nasty filter and dropped it on the stairs so that my other young son could try to tiptoe around it on the way upstairs. my oldest handed me the new filter and i slapped it into that frame faster than i ever thought i could. i swung the door shut and reached for the screws which were just close enough to my fingertips. i almost couldn’t reach the top screw to replace it till i remembered i’d been one step higher and leaning and balancing over certain death with the zeal of a fool. i went directly to the trash with the old filter and am counting the days till i have to repeat the ordeal.
maybe one of the boys will grow to be taller than me. hope that’s sooner rather than later.

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About Renee

Native to Tucson and a mother of two! Been practicing yoga for over 6 years and making art for most of my life. I want to help people learn to communicate with themselves and others. View all posts by Renee

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