Tina Ding
Dear daughter helps dear husband clean the insulation hose.

Dear husband rockin' the insulation attire.

With the nip of winter in the air, I shudder a bit when considering whether or not our home is insulated adequately. The conversation has come up at our dinner table -- several times, in fact, particularly when approaching the holiday season. Endless chit chat about turning out the lights not in use, closing doors securely or drawing blinds when sun sets occurs as our children turn a deaf ear.

Not so long ago, our teen son was a kiddo who endlessly played with Legos, wore amazing pirate costumes and sported a mean Buzz Lightyear collection. And with all that stuff was a whole lot of dust. Since the baby was asleep and sis was taking in an episode of "Max & Ruby," I started scrubbing. The Legos bathed in soapy water as endless costumes were laundered. Once the room was fully dumped into the hallway, walls were scrubbed. For some unknown reason, I turned to face the closet. An impossible chore, I pulled the knobbed doors apart -- to consider sorting seasonal clothing. Nah.

And then I looked up. Not a good idea. Up there, above the tip-top of teetering stacks of clothing, was a door. An attic door? Hmmm.

The clothes were dumped into the hallway. A step-ladder came next. I peered into the opening above the closet and learned we had very little insulation at all. I felt with my fingers and found we had less than a couple of inches of fluff up there. Not good, I thought.

I called dear husband to share the good news. He was less than thrilled. But it wasn't our first rodeo. We'd pumped insulation into attics previously and knew the ropes. He purchased a pallet of the insulation that required a hopper and blowing device. This time, however, it was different. We had three children underfoot and the attic space was difficult to access, being upstairs and through a closet.

While awaiting the big day, the bedroom was quickly pushed back into place. Spic and span.

The big day came and dear husband suited up. White disposable coveralls, bags over his feet, a shower cap, goggles and mask -- totally attractive. He went up, I went down. As he held the 25-foot hose, I pulled open endless bags of insulation, dumping them into the hopper. I was in control of the turn-off. When we reached the last layer on the pallet, I switched the machine off and awaited our pre-arranged signal to come to fruition.

Shortly thereafter, dear husband poked his head out the bedroom window. He thought we could use a bit more. The agreement was I'd switch it off when complete and the job would be good to go. After just a few bags, our son came outside to let us know the baby had awakened. I turned off the noisy monster to chit chat for just a moment. Long enough to count out "just three more bags." I switched it back on, and let 'er rip. Three; now two. Just one more.

When the window opened, I wasn't quite sure whether to cry from horror or laugh. There stood dear husband. This time he was clad in clumps of insulation. He'd dropped the hose when the machine air stopped. With a whoosh of dusty air, the hose slipped quickly from his grasp, shot out the attic opening and raced around the bedroom like a wild garden snake. Nothing was spared the covering of muck. Open Lego buckets were filled to the top, the light fixture had inches of fluff, and the costumes -- well, let's just say they didn't win the laundry battle this go 'round.

These days, we no longer care to take a look in the attic. As long as snow sits atop our roof in the winter, we call it good.

Tina Ding is a teacher, freelance writer and grad school student with plenty of time for her husband and three children. She also loves photography, scrapbooking, reading and traveling.