storage room blues

Oh man, I forgot to share the most ridiculous story in my last post!

Okay, so, Jared & I decided not to go to Boston for Christmas this year. This is a major departure from tradition. The only other year we didn’t go was 2012, because Ramona was a tiny fetus-baby who had just been released from the NICU on Christmas Eve & definitely would not have been cleared to fly. She’s three this year & neither of us relished the idea of flying with a threenager (even though one great thing about living in Kansas is that nowhere in the continental United States is more than a two & a half-hour flight away!), & the free place where we usually stay was not available this year because its full-time inhabitants recently had a baby of their own, & it just seemed like a big money dump when we don’t really have a ton of money to throw around.

So Jared’s parents decided to come to us! In fact, they are probably flying over Kentucky right this second.

They’re not staying with us, but we will probably spend a lot of time here anyway because it’s not like we’re going to have Christmas dinner at the Virginia Inn on 6th St. (That’s the sketchy motel where they are staying. Who knows, maybe it’s nice. 6th St. in general is just not my fave.) So we’ve been trying to tidy things up & zero in on those “invisible corners” that every household has: you know, the random dumping grounds that become a teetering pile of burned-out light bulbs, junk mail, broken picture frames, take-out menus, etc, that accumulate in one spot until you just don’t see them anymore.

Our house has a weird storage room that is probably supposed to be a mudroom. Our next door neighbors have almost exactly the same house layout as us (same landlord too) & they have a functional mudroom with a backdoor & little steps leading up to it. That’s where they keep their fridge, because our kitchens are too tiny to accommodate refrigerators. (We keep ours in the dining room.)

Our “mudroom” fucking sucks compared to the neighbors’. Truthfully, everything about our house sucks compared to the neighbors’. Our houses are literally exactly the same, except that we have a tiny, creepy, useless closet where they have a second bathroom, they have shiny new wood floors where we have disgusting carpet, they have lovely bay windows that curve out over the sidewalk where we have a row of non-curving windows, we have basement that has apparently been spraypainted by every punk in the history of Lawrence while their basement does not inspire nightmares, they have an attic that is accessible via a little ladder & trapdoor while we have naught but a creepy hole in the ceiling that opens directly into a hellmouth with a broken window, etc. & while they have a functioning mudroom, we have what I call a “hostage capsule”.

At some point, the stairs leading to our mudroom broke, & rather than fix them, the landlord had the exterior door boarded up. Have I mentioned that I have always had a weird phobia of boarded-up doors & either steps that lead to nowhere or doors that cannot be accessed because there are no stairs? & now I live with both of these things in my house.

We defaulted to using this room as a storage room because the previous tenant left some random junk in there when she moved out (a gross carpet, a plastic bookcase, a bunch of empty plastic bags, etc). Our house came with an extra, non-functional refrigerator (thanks?) & a portable dishwasher that was taking up serious real estate in our minuscule kitchen, so we moved those things to the “storage room,” & gradually other things have migrated in there as well: cleaning supplies when we realized the cabinet under the sink was infested with black mold, Ramona’s airplane car seat, a bike seat she’s outgrown, some suitcases, the cat carrier, etc etc.

Jared took Ramona out for a bike ride the other day, & I decided to seize the alone time to whip our “invisible corners” into shape & tidy up the storage room a bit so our extra chairs would be readily accessible for when Jared’s parents get here.

So I moved a bunch of stuff into the storage room & shut the door behind me so our new kitten couldn’t get in & get trapped in the rolled up carpet or whatever. I took my time re-arranging things & maximizing the space, listening to podcasts on my iPod & looking forward to getting back into the main part of the house, which has overhead lights & heat, unlike the storage room, which is illuminated solely by two tiny windows way up on the walls & is suspiciously unheated.

When I went to open the door & make myself a nice hot lunch unencumbered by a three-year-old literally plucking the food out of my mouth…the door was locked! From the outside! I was trapped in the storage room & no one was home to set me free!

I tried picking the lock with some cardboard (I am pretty good at picking locks with credit cards), but that didn’t work. Jared’s drill was in the storage room & I considered using it to remove the doorknob, but that wouldn’t make a big enough opening for my hand, & it was the lock a good six inches ABOVE the door knob that was the issue. I tried opening the windows so I could get out that way, but they were nailed shut & honestly, too small for me anyway. & also a good 12 feet off the ground, which is kind of a big jump. I considered breaking the glass in the door, which is probably what I would have done if I lived alone & knew no rescue was forthcoming, or if I had hours to go before Jared was due home, but our landlord is so shitty at fixing things in a timely fashion, I didn’t want to break the glass just to save myself an hour stuck in the storage room.

& that’s how long I was in there. I did try pounding on the door & calling for help whenever I heard people walking by outside, but they either couldn’t hear me or didn’t want to get involved. Worth noting: we live directly across the street from the police station. I just kept thinking, what if I was an actual hostage? The police are literally like fifty feet away & they have no idea I’m in here. It was not a good feeling. (Not that I’m like “yay cops,” but you know.)

Luckily I had my iPod, so I could listen to podcasts & pretend I was doing something, but I was pretty cold & kind of hungry & it was just claustrophobic in there. It’s not a large room & it is packed with stuff to the ceilings. I started thinking, what if a fire breaks out? What would I do?! I guess I’d have to break the glass in that case.

Anyway, finally Jared came home & set me free & I was kind of laugh/crying about it, & he only laughed. & then I took a walk to rid myself of the claustrophobic feeling. & now I’m totally scared of the storage room & don’t go in there without putting like nine pieces of furniture in front of the door to prop it open.


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “storage room blues

    1. i know! i was so pissed that i didn’t have a book to read. i could see my phone sitting on the dining room table from inside the storage room, but i was trapped. i considered breaking the window to get to the lock, but our landlord sucks at fixing things (we’ve had a broken attic window for at least a month now), so i knew it would never be fixed.

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