From the first realtor’s tour two Decembers ago to this month’s freezer upheaval, the basement has been our arch nemesis.
I’m sure there’s some kind of motivational talk / Bible study material here — you may be cute and quaint with lots of potential, but if your soul (basement) is flooded and rusted and rotten, you’re still as much of a project as the rest of us.
Or something like that.
Fortunately, since we’ve devoted many painstaking hours to scraping crap out of our house’s soul, we are on the cusp of a less creepy basement. I’m basking in the whiteness of the new paint on our walls and treasuring the feeling that if I happen to breathe or touch something while I’m in the basement, I might not die.
I’ve posted a few pictures of our basement in the past year, mostly just to complain or to prove that my descriptions weren’t exaggerated. But since we’re making — what’s it called again; I’ve forgotten — PROGRESS, I’m feeling more eager to share.
Next to the massive project of rewiring the entire house (after Hurricane Sandy kindly indicated that we would need new wiring by blowing up the original system), most (and the most complicated) problems have originated in the basement:
1. flooding : there’s been so much water running through our basement that our first guess was that there might be a spring forcing its way through a hole in our floor. it’s also possible that it’s just some overly eager groundwater. Josh is working on digging a trench (we borrowed a jackhammer — what can I say? we have friends in high places) and redoing the apparently nonfunctioning French drain.
2. freezer : weighing in at an estimated 800 pounds, this mammoth rusting appliance stopped working years ago — and houses rotting meat that’s at least three years old.
3. well water : one of the oldest homes in the immediate area, our house is equipped with a well — which is swell (see what I did there), but also means that purification
rituals was necessary to ensure that we won’t move into our hard-earned dream home only to poison ourselves and die. (I salute my father-in-law for his extensive knowledge and assistance.)
4. radiant heating (adventures in HVAC, the continuing saga): functioning, but not finished.
5. plumbing : Our HVAC project halted this August (for, like, the sixth time) when the man in charge informed us that our plumbing had been done all wrong. As mentioned in #1, Josh decided to do some of the initial plumbing work, like beating out old toilet drains and digging trenches (parlez-vous French drain?), to save labor costs.
6. trash : including but not limited to ceramics, paint, canned foods, rotting rugs and furniture, cinder blocks, rusting shelves, and a freezer that wouldn’t fit up the stairs (see #2).
7. yucky walls : required double bleaching (because: mold), scrubbing (because: dirt), rinsing, and painting.
8. crooked stairs : because they were generally just terrible — and because their placement in the middle of the kitchen floor made no sense — we had a new staircase put in.
Without further ado, I give you . . . the basement in December, 2011:
And the basement a few months ago, nearly cleared out but not cleaned yet:
The difference in the walls when we started painting earlier this month:
The unimpressive room you’re looking at, in reality, represents days and days of work.
Now (with the new staircase):