beware the basement

In my whole life, I’ve only lived in one house that had a finished basement. In fact in that house, my bedroom was in the basement. And in every house where I’ve ever lived, the basement creeped me out. Especially when it’s dark outside. I am not a person who does well with horror movies (gore is okay, it’s the suspense of waiting for the gore that kills me. Pun intended).

Before we bought our house, landisdad and I (and the Bee, after she was born) lived in the bottom floor of a duplex, which had a washer and dryer in the basement. To get to the basement, you had to go outside and unlock the basement door, which was semi-hidden by an enormous bush (or perhaps just an enormous weed—we had the world’s worst landlord when it came to stuff like that). You had to walk down the basement stairs in the dark, carrying your laundry, and walk all the way to the front of the house. 9 times out of 10, I was convinced that a serial killer was going to come in and murder me while I was doing the whites.

When we moved into our house, I resolved myself not to be frightened of the basement. In this house, our basement access is through a door in the kitchen, and therefore less vulnerable to the wandering axe murderer. However, the basement under the back of our house is basically a black hole with an open sump pump—in the daylight, not that pleasant, but at night, forbidding and creepy. The lights in the back room are the kind of fluorescent bulbs that take about 18 minutes to turn on, and then flicker in a sort-of-sinister way until you turn them off again.

For the nearly six years that we’ve lived here, every single time that I went to do laundry at night, I would repeat over and over to myself, “I am not afraid of my own basement. I am not afraid of my own basement.” It mostly worked, until I had to walk up the stairs with my back to the black hole. (BTW, landisdad is no doubt laughing his ass off as he reads this. Because I’ve never once shared this with him. I’m not that much of a wuss.)

But now, those days are over. Our basement has new wiring, and actual lights that work. It has drywall hung, and some of it’s even primered. There’s a door separating the finished part of the basement from the unfinished part. Shelving has been built. The sump has been enclosed, so I no longer have to worry about one of the cats (or the kids) falling in. And today, the carpeting was installed. Oh, the carpeting. No more cement. A playroom! Storage that will keep things dry! French drains!

It cost an arm and a leg (thanks landisgrandparents!), and it took twice as long as they said it would, but I’ll never fear the basement again.


March 17, 2006. random other things. 21 comments.