So after a good week of vacation, where I sorted many things and put away some things IN THE ATTIC...
You will remember that they were working on my roof while I was on vacation. Now, I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but the we have an attic space accessible by a low door. It's not finished, but there are pieces of vinyl on the floor and two lightbulbs and the previous tenants had fastened a bar, about 4 1/2 feet off of the ground, some 10 feet in length and I presume they hung clothes there. So, since closets in old house pretty much suck, I have hung the bulk of my clothes on this bar and use the attic as a walk in closet. The first month or so I covered them with sheets, but as nothing seemed to ever be on the sheets, I had stopped bothering.
Monday morning, first day back going back to work, I go in, get an outfit, leave.
Tuesday morning, step into attic, feel something sort of crunching beneath my bare feet--strange. Flip on the light. Wonder why it's so dark. Wonder why all my clothes look so DARK.
Yes, all my clothes were covered in 1/4 inch to a 1/2 inch of very fine, black ash. I flick one garment to reveal a white sleeve--well, at least it comes off.
It was one of those moments when the mind goes, to quote Captain Malcolm Reynolds, "Hunh." Not as in a question, but as in a sort of declaratory way. As in, CAN'T THINK ABOUT THIS NOW way.
So I turned out the light, walked down the hall to the bathroom and wiped off my feet. Took a handtowel and wiped up my black footprints, and set about finding something else to wear since all of my work clothes were inaccessible.
I ended up wearing gym clothes and my husband's shirts for the rest of the week.
Well, the good news is that none of my clothes were ruined as far as I can tell so far. My landlady really outdid herself (and I can't imagine my old landlord doing anything like this). First the roofers (who apologized profusely--saying they thought all of the roofs were finished) went in with a leaf blower and blew all of the dust into the back of the room. Then my landlady spent some 6 hours total with a shop vac. Did I mention that there is NO ventilation in this room? That it was a very hot week? That the temperature in the attic had to have been over 100 degrees at all times?
On Saturday my husband and I developed a routine. He would stand with a laundry basket. I would take the clothes off of their hanger, drop the hanger into a box to be washed in the tub, shake the clothes lightly onto a sheet (we threw away that sheet) and put them in the laundry basket. When the laundry basket was full we would walk down a flight of stairs, out onto the little porch where we would vigorously shake every piece again and then I would sort them into trash bags--between dry clean only, washable but delicate and laundromat.
Sunday we took six trash bags to the laundry and spent 50 dollars, (though less time than I had imagined). Then we brought them home and hung them up.
In there too my husband scrubbed the bar, vacuumed again, and wiped the floor. I did loads of laundry in our washing machine (two flights down).
All in all, not the way I wanted to spend my weekend. The dry cleaning is still lying over the stair railing because I can't bring myself to hang it in the attic, and my clothes are all out of order--I was fairly meticulous about woven shirts together, blouses together, pants together... and tomorrow is supposed to be very hot and sticky.
Ah, well...it was not a tragedy. It was an annoyance, a problem, a difficulty, yes, but not a tragedy. I suspect that we will be fighting that soot for a long time to come. When we open the Christmas decorations, for instance, or need the wrapping paper, but each morning there is nothing on the sheets I lay across my clothes each night, so we move forward.
And to think, if I had been lazy and NOT hung everything up at the end of vacation, or moved those shoes into the attic...well, no good deed goes unpunished. So two weeks later I find myself precisely where I was on the last day of vacation--with an awful lot of running in between.