Thursday, July 11, 2019

Gone paintin'

It was my idea—painting the basement.

I spent most of my childhood years in basement bedrooms, as far as I recall (though there were a few golden years on upper floors), and I couldn't stomach the thought of putting my sweet girls down in the dark and dingy basement. At least not as it stood.

As it stood, it was covered in garish purple and pink polka-dotted carpet, walls smeared with turquoise and grey paint (which under other circumstances might have produced a whimsical cloud effect, but which under our particular circumstances looked like a Pinterest Fail), dark brown trim, and various ceiling tiles dripping with spiders.

Oh, the spiders.


I'm not sure when I've ever seen quite so many spiders. Fortunately most are simple cellar spiders, also known as daddy long legs (but the daddy long legs that I knew growing up, which are otherwise known as harvestmen). But they're everywhere, weaving their invisible webs, dancing in every corner, leaving little piles of bugs in their wake.

And not only in the basement. They're fairly ubiquitous in our household.

Last night I mentioned to Andrew that I likely needed to vacuum the bathroom soon because every time I went in there...

"There's another spider!" Andrew finished for me.

We were up to four last night: two in the right hand corner, one behind the toilet, and a new one to the left of the toilet very near where one's feet should go. They're just everywhere! Multiplying like arachnids!

So we had an exterminator come—for the spiders, yes, and also for the ants (because we live in the south and had ants marching around our corridors before we even moved in)—and we're waiting for such things to get better. It's only been a day so we'll give it a little while longer before we get impatient. Even though I found another cellar spider in the bathroom this evening.

The girls have taken to naming "their" spiders. I can't remember all the names they came up with (except for Popsicle). It helps them feel more comfortable with them, especially since I explained that they are perfectly harmless to humans (and even beneficial). Still, we'd rather not be too friendly with them.

So we're replacing a few ceiling tiles and painting the walls and—Andrew's little splurge—getting some softer carpet for the girls before we banish them to the basement.

It's slowed down our unpacking significantly and is eating up most of our free time (and thus writing time, unfortunately) but we should be done with all of that soon and can move on to the next project in our mile-long list of things to do.

Right now Andrew's down there painting alone. I had been down there with him but heard Alexander screaming (there's a wicked thunder storm going on right now, which I'm sure contributed to his waking up (I know it was contributing to Zoë being unable to fall asleep). It's been hard to get anything done with Alexander's wake/sleep schedule.

He's having trouble adjusting to the move and all the changes it has involved, I think.

I think this because he's nursing like a newborn and it's exhausting.

He doesn't ask for Grandpa much anymore. He seems to understand that Grandpa has gone back to our old house; he understands quite a lot these days. But he's clingy and fussy and wants to spend hours sitting in the chair together, nursing. I'm sure it will get better with time (and though it would be nice to have more kid-free time to accomplish, well, anything, I am enjoying the extra cuddles).

Surprisingly, the children have been happy to play in the super dark and dingy section of the basement—the unfinished section with no ceiling but the underside of the subfloor, no light but two bare bulbs with pull strings, and the water heater and other such things scarily clunking away. I could hardly keep them downstairs in the Spanish Fork house because it was "scary" but now that we have an actual scary basement they're perfectly willing to spend hours down there.

It makes no sense, but I'll take it.

And then I'll briefly describe one of my basement rooms, just for kicks (and so that my children know that I absolutely sympathize with them about having to sleep in the basement, but like...I over-sympathize because I had to walk to school in the snow, uphill both ways kind of a thing).

In High River, after my sister got married, I had to give up my lovely finished room in the basement so that she and her then-husband could move in. She was pregnant with twins and needed family support. So, they moved into my room and I moved into a space my dad cobbled together.

He partitioned off a would-be bathroom with drywall on two sides. I think I got the drywall on one wall (between my "room" and the laundry); the other wall he made (the one with a door) had the drywall facing the basement, while I got all the framing on my side (or maybe all sides of my room were framing?). The back wall was the cement foundation, and the fourth wall was also drywalled in, but with the framing on my side of the room, revealing all the pipes a bathroom would need—a toilet pipe jutted up from the floor and some sink piping to the side of that.

My parents draped a castle backdrop (which my dad had painted on an old sheet for a church play) over the wall with the exposed pipe and put a metal-framed clothing rack in front of it (since the pipe still stuck out quite a ways).

My bed went where a bathtub could have supposedly been. My dad put some two-by-fours across the room, completely from side to side, and plopped a plank of wood on top. That was my bed. I still have the foam pad I slept on.

My dresser, with the legs removed, fit under the bed quite nicely, and it left a little crawl space behind the dresser/under the bed where I kept a few odd treasures.

I had no ceiling to speak of. Just the floor above me, with all the wires and ductwork exposed.

So, that was one of my unfinished basement rooms (there were others). And after working so hard to get the basement "ready" for our girls, I don't begrudge my parents in the slightest for not getting things fixed up better for me. It's really quite a lot of work!

But we'll power through it and then we'll all feel better about the basement...fingers crossed.

Our mantra so far (no matter what kind of mistakes we've made) has been: it will be better than it was.

1 comment:

  1. I bet you built SO much character in that unfinished room!!! At one point in my teenagedom, my bedroom was...the laundry room. Just right there in the laundry room, on a couch, and over there was the washer and dryer. Sigh. Can't wait to see what your basement looks like when you're done with it!

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