We are house sitting. Although the place is only a ten minute drive from our two bedroom unit in Bondi, it is a world away from how we are used to living. It is a beautiful five bedroom, two storey house with a newly installed lap pool. It is spacious, light filled and elegant. The three of us and Nitro the Two Toned Cavoodle have been loving it. Except perhaps for one thing. The stairs. It’s not that we are unused to going up and down stairs. We have to do so everyday to get in and out of our block of units. So much so that it’s not even a thing I’ve ever given any thought. But for the past week, stairs have suddenly become something that I have been giving increasing consideration. Each time it is necessary to go up to the second level, I make sure I get everything I may need for the foreseeable future. Early in our stay there were times when I bounded up the stairs, grabbed something and headed back down only to realise that there was something else I needed. Gradually my bounding transformed into a trudge. Parts of my body that have never before complained about stairs are now grumbling. The fact that the staircase is fairly steep with a vanishing hand rail does not help. But there is one member of our family who seems to be enjoying the novelty of internal stairs. Nitro the Two Toned Cavoodle has always felt obliged to follow me wherever I might go. Now that this involves running up and down a staircase – all the better. While he always follows on the way up, he makes sure he leads on the way down. This provides an amusing view of his little bullseye butt bouncing up and down as he hops down each step. I’m anticipating that one day he will over balance and go tumbling down head over bullseye butt. I’ve noticed that his lightly shaded bullseye actually matches the colour of the carpet. Of course there was a time, many years ago, when I lived in a house with several staircases – a huge three story house (four if you counted the basement) in Canada. I remember how the stairs from the first floor went down to a landing and then split into two – one heading toward the front of the house and the other towards the kitchen in the back. I sometimes found sanctuary in these less used back stairs, often a great place from which to eavesdrop on conversations in the kitchen. I also recall how my little brother, ever the daredevil, thought it was fun to slide down the stairs encased in a sleeping bag. And through the windows of each landing, we had a perfect view of the huge stain glass window encased in the church next door. These were special stairs. Stairs of my youth. Not stairs that make me feel old and creaky.
Welcome to the real world, mate. I had to go back downstairs to get my glasses in order to read this; and wait until your animal (a cat in our case) is determined to always walk, not in front of you or behind you, but exactly where you’ve planned your next step when descending the stairs.