by J.D. Roth

Warning: This entry contains graphic images that may not be safe for children. (Or for you.)

Our house has a cellar. The cellar does not have an earthen floor (as you might expect from the house’s age), but one of concrete. At the far end of the cellar there is hole in the ground. In the hole in the ground is a sump pump.

There isn’t much light in the cellar. There’s a small window above the sump pump, and the previous owners installed a light fixture without a switch. Meaning: to turn the light on, you screw in a 100-watt light bulb; to turn the light off, you unscrew it. If you forget to unscrew the bulb, the parlor floor gets warm and you can smell an odor like warm oak.

Last Spring I was down in the cellar, rooting around for something or other. I didn’t have the light on. I turned around and began to walk away when suddenly I plummeted thigh-deep into the sump-pump hole. I was stunned, more out of embarrassment than anything. I sat on the floor, twisted and tangled, for nearly a minute. I was angry. Finally I pulled myself from the hole and hobbled upstairs.

When the bathroom was being remodeled this summer, our contractor pulled me aside one afternoon. “Did you know there’s a hole in your basement?” he said. I nodded. “Well,” he continued, “I’ve put a milk crate over the top of it.” He didn’t say it, but it seemed clear that somebody had stepped in the hole. The milk crate was a great idea. After construction was finished, I left it there to protect against further accidents.

Apparently Kris, however, was unaware of the milk crate’s noble purpose.

On Christmas Eve she went downstairs to futz with wrapping paper and ribbons and suchlike. A few minutes later she came limping upstairs in pain. “I stepped in the hole,” she said.

“Didn’t you notice the milk crate?” I asked, perhaps not as sympathetic as a husband ought to be.

Fortunately, Kris isn’t severely injured. She is in pain, it’s true, and her foot has turned blue, but she’ll live. I think. Meanwhile, she’s completely fascinated by the various bruises on her feet and toes.

Two facts about Kris Gates: she bruises easily, and her feet are her worst feature. (Kris has many wonderful qualities; her feet are not one of them.) Her already hideous hoofs have mutated into something even more grotesque.

“Take some pictures!” she commanded last night. “You could put them on your weblog.” As repulsed as I was by her hideous feet, I obeyed. Aren’t you glad I did? Here is closeup of Kris’ toes.

sigh I was going to eat lunch after posting this entry, but now I am no longer hungry…

Updated: 28 December 2005

Do what's right. Do your best. Accept the outcome.
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