47. That’s how many trash bags of insulation we hauled out of the attic. It’s also probably close to how many we have to re-bag because the plastic snagged on something and tore a hole for insulation to leak out of. But at least we’re done.
It took us 12 sweat-soaked hours in stifling heat (and we’d chosen to do it today because it was relatively cool, barely breaking 80), burdened by goggles, ventilation masks, and gloves, me in long sleeves and jeans because I can’t stand the itch of insulation. Joe pried up floorboards and we scrambled around the rafters, scooping up insulation in dustpans and filling bag after bag.
Joe can’t take the heat, so he had to go downstairs once an hour to cool off and stick his mask in the freezer. I worked through, except when the Foxes, family friends of Joe’s parents, stopped by. They had finally come to take “the tour”—too bad they had to bang at the front door (no doorbell) forever before we finally heard them.
I love the Foxes. Gene and Melodee (the only grown woman I ever met with that name, but she pulls it off) spent years renovating their historic home around the corner from Joe’s parents’ place, so they can, and do, empathize. They’re both into gardening, and helped us identify a lot of the plants and trees in the yard. As I showed them around, Mel kept saying, “This brings back a lot of good memories.”
“How can you say good?” I asked. “Wasn’t it awful to live through?”
“Well, yes,” she said. “So we’re glad they’re just memories now!”
Later, as sweat trickled into my eyes while I writhed on my belly, precariously balanced on three splintery wood boards laid across the two-by-threes, straining to scrape insulation out of the eaves, I kept telling myself, Just think about the memories. The miserable, miserable memories.