An Elevator in the Kitchen

There’s a story whirling around in my head that I can’t write because I need to finish another one first.

I was thinking about how there are certain kids, when they come to our house, who are drawn to our laundry shoot. Most houses don’t have one. So, they are enthralled by it. Happy to spend their time just throwing things from the second floor to the basement. Stuffed animals mostly. Or they invent games where one kid throws a ball down the shoot, and the others stand in our laundry room and try to catch it.

Maybe not enough for a story, but…

When I was growing up, my best friend had an elevator in her kitchen.

It was creaky. You pulled a metal gate across before it would go up. And when she pushed the button, I was always a little nervous it would stop mid-route. We’d stare through the gate and watch the drywall beyond it moving, holding our breath a little until it jerked to a stop. At least that’s how I remember it.

I think, if the picture in my head is right, they sometimes stored a few cases of Coke in there.

I have yet to be in another house with an elevator. And I think of the boys at my house, running up and down two flights of stairs, through the kitchen a hundred times during their invented laundry shoot games. How magical my friend’s creaky elevator would seem to them!

Which gave me an idea.

There’s a story whirling around in my head…

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The Puberty Excuse

Please note: The nine year old, no matter what he says, is a master chore-avoider. But yes, teenage brothers can be disappointing.

His big brother is being a jerk, so he storms up the beach and sits in the chair next to mine with his arms crossed in anger. “He is such a teenager!”

“That’s no excuse to be mean,” I say, as witness.

“I know! If he doesn’t want to play basketball, he says he’s too tired, because he’s in puberty,” a good mimic. “When he doesn’t want to play football with us, he uses the puberty excuse again.”

As if “the puberty excuse” is a real term everyone uses.

“When you make us switch the laundry, we fold everything wondering where he is, calling his name, and he doesn’t come help. All he has to do is load the dirty stuff, but noooooo. And when we’re all done, we find him watching some dumb YouTube video in his room, and he looks up and says, ‘I can’t help it. I’m in puberty.’”

The nine year old marches off, still ranting, “It drives me crazy.”