(fourteen) March 2001. We were talking this past weekend about our lives here before we had a stair between the floors of our house. An actual working connection between the living areas of our house. It seems crazy to think about now, but it makes such a good party story. (When told late in the party, when anyone will listen to anything.) We had one functioning bathroom in the house at the time. It was located on the second floor. And we had our bed set up temporarily in the dining room on the first floor. Note the date of this photograph – we had lived in the house for six months at this point, traveling up the ladder and back down again, just to answer nature’s call. My father didn’t have indoor plumbing until he was in elementary school, so I didn’t complain (much). M wondered if I could even find a photo of this, but I accepted the challenge. And now I’m faced with the challenge of finding something about this corner of our house to celebrate in this advent season. Maybe it is this: I love this tall, skinny house with all of my heart. But there are some nights, and we arrive home late with sleepy girls in tow, when we all sort of melt at the base of the stairs and contemplate the effort ahead of us. Suitcases to lug up, laundry to disperse, children to hoist or cajol or drag up the eighteen-then-another-seventeen more steps to the top. “Remember the ladder!” Remember those days, the way the rungs felt on bare feet, cold and rough and thin enough to hit the tender areas of the foot in the wrong way, how expertly we scaled it after months of practice, how one miss could have meant disaster. Thank goodness for photos; we’ve gotten stair spoiled around here.