tale from the cyber monday closet

I can’t remember if I wrote about him before on this blog, but there’s a little man in the closet underneath our basement stairs. He’s upside down, which seems like the kind of detail that might ring a bell, while at the same time feeling completely unnecessary.

I assume he’s still there, but the closet itself is so overwhelming and distracting I haven’t looked in awhile. I open the closet door and several toys threaten to spill out while the one cat – the always-underfoot one who is completely in love with chaos – rushes in to its darkest corners.

This weekend I opened the closet to find cheap stencils my daughter told me I’d never find because she doesn’t understand yet how obsessiveness gets worse by the year. I found the stencils and an old cassette recorder my other daughter promptly fell in love with and also an unused paper doll book to send to a friend. In case it wasn’t clear, this is a magic closet.

It’s also a sad closet full of neatly labeled bins that prove you can’t buy happiness but you can certainly buy too much. Polly Pockets. Barbies. Dress-Up. Crafts. Christmas Gifts You Thought Would Fix Everything And Look Where They Wound Up.

One year it was Cupcakes, legless, doe-eyed and inexplicably hard-to-find dolls whose dresses folded inside out to disguise them as delectable bakery items, which I think we can all agree is normally a dangerous disguise, but was so good they were forgotten by Christmas morning of 2005.

There’s the Polly Pocket Race to the Mall from 2007 and Raiders of the Lost Ark Legos from 2009, which may not have much in common except they both took hours to assemble and were played with for minutes. Also, they are both completely useless when a single part goes missing.

There’s the baby doll pack-n-play from 2013, which the youngest cleverly stuffs all her toys in during cleanup. She’s like a mini adult who’s figured out an unused treadmill is great for hanging laundry. Poor impulse control and improvisation only improve with age, my little one.

You’ve probably forgotten all about the man living underneath my basement stairs by now. The upside down fella? (does that ring a bell?)

He’s real. I didn’t discover him until our second Halloween in the house. I was in the basement looking at the underside of our basement stairs, as people do on Halloween, I guess, when I noticed him and raced up the steps to tell my husband. My husband was like “yeah, I know”. I don’t even think he looked up from what he was doing.

Upside down stair dude – shown right-side up for your pleasure


He’s a mysterious upside down pencil drawing on the underside of step #7 of 11. I assume he came with the house but may have been drawn by my husband for all I know. When we had our basement finished several years ago, I had to use my best not-crazy voice while requesting the contractor please not use sheetrock or paint while turning the space underneath the stairs into a storage closet. I couldn’t bear to lose the little man.

Who better to oversee the magic and failures of reckless consumerism than an upside down fella with a fancy beaded sash and pizza slice pocket? His little hands look like flowers. I adore him.

This year the little man under the stairs used his magical powers to muck up an order I placed for the hard-to-find toy on one daughter’s wish list. He has his hands full already with the Polly Pockets, who probably drive him up the closet wall with incessant giggling aboard the Party Bus (which plays exactly one annoying techno-esque tune). I don’t think he wants anything for Christmas this year except a little peace and quiet.



14 thoughts on “tale from the cyber monday closet

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  1. I love magic closets! Almost as much as I love pecan pie and cats in Mr. Potato Head sacks.
    (yes, I saw your Instagram sidebar photos.) 🙂 Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, K!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have a magic attic. (Not enough closets in this house, magic or otherwise. I kept telling my husband that when we were building the house, but did he listen . . . ???) I don’t think there’s an upside down guy up there, though. We could do with one. Maybe I can print out the picture of your little man and stencil it on a rafter. He really is sweet. I think it’s the teeth and wild hair that attracts me to him. And the flower hands.

    You’re lucky to have him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like his wild hair and teeth too. We could all leave upside down stair/rafter dudes for future generations to find. p.s. There are never enough closets or outlets. Ever.


  3. Oh, a magic closet….sigh….
    I lived in a house with a wardrobe–like a The Lion and the Witch and the Wardrobe. It even had a magic smell all its own and I hid in there for hours with a flashlight reading whatever book I could get my hands on. You always have a way of whisking me somewhere, Kristen. Such a gift you have.
    Now…if only you could conjure one of those “gifts that fix everything” gifts. Maybe I need a little upside down man in my house 🙂


  4. I just this evening, while looking for a meat thermometer, looked through the magic cabinet in my kitchen (and no I did not find the meat thermometer). Perhaps if I had an upside down man he would have found it for me? Congratulations on finding the frantically sought after gift this season, I am currently taking a break from the cyber Monday madness, and I thank you for giving me entertainment while I rest!


    1. We have a magic kitchen drawer too! (Also where I’m likely to get stabbed by a meat thermometer.) and i found the gift and thought i bought it only to find out the order was canceled. It was a blessing, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the mystery surrounding the origin of ‘Upside down stair dude’.
    Perhaps he is a mark left by a visitor from another galaxy far,far away.
    Or the remnants of a once 3d, quite ugly person, willing his friendly personality upon the house.
    Or, maybe your husband is a closet artist in the absolute literal sense.
    Either way, he is cute ( stair-dude that is) and keeping him in the controlled atmosphere of the closet will ensure his longevity.B

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have some odd drawings on the walls behind the wallpaper. Some were nothing to do with us and came with the house… others my kids have added. Now when I re-decorate they reappear with much fun – in our room is one of my son and his baby sister… when we’re long gone I wonder what others will make of them.

    Now… here’s a story… our first ever house. We bought off a lovely old couple, they were dealers in markets, the house was stuffed with rubbish before they left. They told us they weren’t into decorating so had put up thick paper on the walls and painted everything the same colour. I remember a discussion where they said they did it quickly to cover up the last owners stuff. We moved in and I decided to make our newly wed master bedroom all pink and stuff for my wife – she was only 21 at the time!!! Anyway… strip off the paper to reveal… what can only be described as a Roman orgy scene on three of the walls around the bedroom … and it wasn’t holding anything back!!!! I painted over it and papered it as quickly as I could


    1. That is such an awesome story about the wallpaper. Wouldn’t you love to know the story behind previous homeowners sometimes? I bet yours were some colorful people. Love that your kids added their own decorations. In high school, I wrote band names and such in my closet. I remember a friend telling me her boss bought my parent’s house and asked if it was me who was into the grateful dead, ha. I was such a poser.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Very groovy, K. Not sure if I have a tale along the same lines, but I am fearful of closets like yours. I am a neat freak and my wife and kids pack rats, so I wage a losing battle all the time. Except of course when everyone is out and it’s just me and a few garbage bags…ha ha.

    Great pic – regardless who the artist was!


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