One Friday evening, not so long ago, Sven decided to change a light bulb.
It was the one on the fan in our bedroom.
The one that is next to the skylight, way up there on the cathedral ceiling.
Therefore he brought a ladder upstairs to do his handy work.
“Do not take that away,” I said.
One should never let an opportunity such as a ladder in one’s bedroom slip away.
The next morning as the canine who goes by Hunter basked in the sun out on the front porch, and as Sven walked around doing Sven things, I, with a pleasant dark roast buzz, dragged the vacuum up the stairs.
And that is when I got up on that ladder.
Did you know that if left unattended for a couple of years cobwebs do not have a beginning and they do not have an ending?
I didn’t either.
And if you put your hose to your ceiling next to your skylight, you will start to suck up an infrastructure unlike this country has ever seen?
And that there are millions and billions of hairline roads up there that weave in and out of the wooden groves?
And they criss and they cross and they join up with billions and billions, like Carl Sagan billions and billions, of other hairline roads that also criss and cross?
I didn’t either.
Our bedroom and bathroom have eight foot walls, but cathedral ceilings. This means after the walls end it is wide open. Which means the tongue and grooved cedar sided topping is one continuous uninterrupted expanse. Which means these galaxies of spider like roads spread out of the bedroom and across the loft, all the way to the windows on the driveway side of the house. The farthest point.
This is super impressive, from a ladder’s eye view.
And I had no idea this was even going on.
I do not care for bugs.
I find them annoying.
I do not kill any insect that sees me coming at him with a vacuum.
If he starts spinning his eight little legs to get the hell out of my way, I simply look the other way.
This also explains the webbed, dikes, highways and bridges that adorn my house.
I am not proud of this, but at the same time, I am.
There I was, up on the fourth rung of the ladder, which to me is the same as the top of the ladder, sucking up a Spider-Man mess that was in between the yellow-orange metal rays of my very favorite sun that is now hanging above the window in our bedroom.
The one that Sven shot out that crazy night after curling.
That was the moment that November 28, 2007, all came flooding back.
“Sven is okay,” she’d said.
Well, that was very good news.
However, I had not asked Allie how Sven was doing.
As a matter of fact I had not even called her.
She had called me.
And, I was at my desk, at work.
“He’s on his way to the hospital,” she’d said. “We think he might have a broken leg.”
I rushed to meet the ambulance.
There was my sweet Sven.
He was covered in sawdust, under a thin blanket, on a skinny little cot.
The story goes that he’d had a brawl with a ladder earlier that morning.
And the ladder was wearing a gold belt around it’s waist, that said World Champion.
Sven has never been a big guy.
But You don’t have to be big to crush your own ankle.
With your own weight.
“It looks like a bomb went off in there,” said his surgeon, the man who’s eyes rolled into the back of his head while he talked, sometimes disappearing completely, leaving only whites, like his real eyes were in the back searching around on a book shelf to come up with the right words.
We liked that guy.
My sweet Sven spent three weeks on a tropical vacation in his mind, in a bed that was filled with air, all the while he was higher than a kite and pooping into a pan.
While he was busy living the dream up there on the fourth floor, I was white knuckling it through morning snowstorms to get to work, afternoon snowstorms to get to the hospital and nightly snowstorms to get back home.
It was a very dark time.
I was all alone.
I was scared.
It was a great weight loss program for Millie Noe.
And it was almost Christmas.
Each day I smiled exactly three times.
The first smile would spring as I passed the line of famous lit up Christmas trees along University Avenue on my way to the hospital after work.
The second smile would emerge as I passed the yellow-orange, metal sun, that was hanging on the gift shop door on the first floor, before the elevators.
The third smile would include tears as I passed that line of famous lit up Christmas trees along University Avenue on my way home in the black of night on slippery roads.
On December twenty-second I brought Sven and that yellow-orange metal sun home from the hospital.
I was busy vacuuming that same sun from that ladder on that Saturday morning when it happened.
The brush on the end of the hose sucked up a big glob of old gray silk and a Daddy Long Leg ran as fast as he could in the other direction on a tight rope that was attached to many other tight ropes.
He leaped to another fine string that was dangling from the skylight and he held on to this as another line snapped in half below him.
There he was suspended, swaying back and forth, safely, over the bed.
“Phew,” I thought. “That was a close call.”
And I went about the demolition of many years of hard work by many critters.
After satisfying my cobweb sucking desires, cleaning off my favorite yellow-orange metal sun, I moved the ladder a few feet over, in order to reach the dusty ceiling fan.
“Ahhhhhhhh!” I screamed.
I was holding the handle of the long nozzle in my right hand and blocking my face from webs and dust particles with my left arm as I was pelted with debris from above.
Out of a squinted eye I watched that Daddy Long Leg scramble toward the skylight.
But instead, he came along with a sticky mutated mess that was on the end of the hose that was still pointed into the air.
“NO!” I yelled, as he disappeared into the silver tube.
I felt horrible.
He had tried so hard.
He’d probably lost his wife and children because of me.
There he was, headed west.
He was going to start a new life on the other side of the room.
And then I went and accidently sucked him up.
So, I did what any sane person would do.
I stepped outside onto the deck to open the canister to let him go.
Unfortunately the latch is now a blue rubber band.
It works just fine.
You see, I Mother-McGivered the thing myself after snapping off the real latch when I rammed it into the wood box last year.
But that rubber band was getting a little worn and it snapped at a very in-opportune moment when I set it against the railing.
The basket popped open and that spider, along with all that gunk inside the clear cylinder went spinning through the air, from three stories up.
Sven thinks that Jason made it.
That is what I named that spider.
The insect community is busy rebuilding their world up on the cedar ceiling.
They are all safe.
Until Sven has to change another lightbulb.
What I didn’t realize during that dark time when Sven crushed his ankle and it rocked the world that we’d known, is that if your husband is able to hang from a bar, while he is higher than a kite and poop into a pan, and you are able to drive through snow storms every day to see him do this, it ain’t that dark.
It gets a lot worse than that.
I love you guys.