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.


  1. Jennifer replied:

    Congratulations on surviving the construction, and yea for the new basement!

    I get scared of dark places, too, and I also say to myself: I will not be scared of my own home! Sometimes it works : )

  2. alala replied:

    I’m scared of basements. It dates back to my early childhood in Ohio, and the scary, poorly-lit concrete basement with too many shadowy corners. Our current basement is perfectly livable, but I still sometimes have to lock the door to keep the monsters in.

  3. kdubs replied:

    Oh that’s awesome. I hate basements as well. They freak me out. We’ve lived in such a tiny pad for so long I’m scared to go bigger. Really. After I moved out of my apartment and into our duplex this summer I freaked. LOL… next summer we’re going to move and I’m a wee bit scared. Silly eh? I can leap off a 90 foot cliff but I’m scared of a third level. LOL…. I never said I ddn’t have issues. 🙂

    That’s sweet your kiddos have a new room to hang!

  4. Amy replied:

    Oh, I always loved basements as a kid. If they were finished, usually there were tons of toys and maybe a video game or two to play with, and if not, they were great places to explore. In California, it is extremely rare for a house to have a basement. I would love to have one, so the kids would have a place to play, and I would have a place to put all those plastic toys! Good luck with yours, I’m sure you’ll love it now.

  5. MetroDad replied:

    Thank God you got the basement finished, LM. I got scared just reading about it. Glad you don’t have to worry about serial killers in the basement anymore. Now, you just have to worry about the boogeyman under the bed!

  6. Library Lady replied:

    God, I wish I had a basement. One that the Man could waterproof and everything else proof and store his books in.Never mind the kids–my HUSBAND needs a play place!

    Enjoy the new space and congratulations on surviving the construction!!

  7. jayne d'Arcy replied:

    I’ve never liked unfinished basements for this very reason; they are scary! And it didn’t help that in one house we owned apparantly everyone in my family was weirded out by that particular basement. Glad to hear you got yours all fixed up.

  8. jackie replied:

    my partner loves basements– it’s close as he’ll ever get to his own BatCave! but our current basement is not even full size because of a high water table around here– we have to stoop when we do the laundry down there, and we’re both shorties. it’s on our list for the next house we buy– a finished/able basement.

  9. chichimama replied:

    Yeah! I also have basement fear, I put off doing laundry until M is home. I keep telling him our next house has to have an upstairs laundry…

  10. Andi replied:

    We don’t do basements in Texas, and I can only thank my lucky stars and a variety of deities because I DO NOT do well with dark, low places. Axe murderers don’t bother me so much, it’s those darned aliens. For some reason I think they probably like basements. I’m sure I would constantly try to convince myself that if I found anything surprising in the basement it would be Sawyer from Lost. But I fear it would never work.

  11. croutonboy replied:

    Glad to hear you finished…I’m jealous! I’ve always wanted a nice place with a comfy basement for a pool table, workshop, and ginormous TV. Oh yeah, and laundry, too. No more Silence of the Lambs moments, eh?

  12. Carrie replied:

    I’ve never lived in a house wiyh a basement, but they sound creepy! Congrats on the non-creepy basement.

  13. Phil replied:

    After finishing your post, I could swear I heard the voice of Macauley Culkin saying, “I’m not afraid anymore! You hear me? I’m not afraid!”

  14. The Scarlett replied:

    Oh, how I wish our basement was finished. Not to banish the basement fears but so that I wouldn’t hear how other families have playrooms in theirs.

  15. Comfort Addict replied:

    I used to sometimes run up out of the basement at night. I think that I was recalling a classic childhood nightmare where I thought someone was chasing me.

    I’m happy that you’ve made peace with your inner basement.

  16. Ashley replied:

    OOh.. I wish I had a basement. I have to admit I agree that unfinished basements can be quite creepy.

  17. chip replied:

    Congrats! Sounds great. It does make such a difference to have a pleasant room to do laundry in. We just moved our laundry room upstairs after a one-year long project (originally thought it would be three months…) finishing off a room in our walk up attic. It is absolutely wonderful not having to go down to our basement anymore, to be able to do laundry in a bright sunny airy white room, with a folding table, and a floor that is clean enough so that if something falls onto it I don’t have to rewash it again.

    Enjoy your new laundry room!

  18. Kathryn replied:

    Evil basement be gone! Isn’t it amazing the difference a few lights, some drywall, carpet and a splass of paint makes? Congratulations on the transformation!

  19. Anjali replied:

    I don’t fear the carpeted/lighted part of my basement, but still fear that the unfinished part is where Samara from The Ring lives. (But don’t worry, if she’s living in my basement, she can’t be living in yours, too.)

  20. BBSP at five years « Bumblebee Sweet Potato replied:

    […] #9–Beware the Basement. Is everyone afraid of their own basement? It seems this is a far more prevalent problem than I ever suspected. […]

  21. $¡3rr@ replied:

    I sleep in my uncles basement. Its all finished, except for the laundry room. ive always been kinda leery about being down there, especially at night (i pull the blankets up over my head and lay as still as possible so nothing that is “hiding” can “see” me. Last tuesday night, I had a dream that an ex boyfriend murdered me and I saw him in the laundry room in a white lab coat, rinsing blood and chunks of flesh off of a giant cookie sheet (dont know why I would have this kind of dream, cause he never laid hands on me, AND he doesnt know about my uncle or where I live). Creepy shit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback URI

%d bloggers like this: