Sunday, November 05, 2023

The basement!

After two solid months of being in flux, I'm pleased to announce that our basement is finally ready for action. We have things more or less as we'd like them in both the "main room," storage room, and "LEGO room." We sorted through nearly everything we had down there, gifted a lot of things on the Buy Nothing Group (including—fortuitously—a box full of broken dollhouse furniture that I had weeded out from our collection; I was all set to throw it away when I saw someone asking for dollhouse furniture for a diorama their child had to make for school so I sent them a picture of what I had (broken bits and all) and they said they'd take it!), threw out some things that had outlived their usefulness and...we're quite pleased with the results.

Here's a view of the main room (looking toward the stairwell):

The white doorway on the left is the door to Rachel and Miriam's room—because they have a door now! The door on the right is the door into the LEGO room. I would like to paint it white one day, but we're always so tired of painting by the time we get to thinking about the doors that it hasn't ever happened.

Here's a view of the room from the stairwell:

The corner bookcase (by the bathroom door) is new. It holds so many more books than our old shelf. We had to get a new bookcase because Andrew broke one of our bookcases while he was moving it. To his credit, he was moving things quickly while the basement was flooding. He had to unmount all the bookcases from the wall and have the kids schlepp books upstairs while he lugged furniture about.

One lost bookshelf isn't so bad, considering how ugly things could have been.

And the new one is much better. 

We also have two black couches in this room now. Before we had one couch and some chairs, because we moved a couch into the girls' room. But I scored a cute futon on the Buy Nothing Group, which we put into their room instead, which gave us an extra couch. The couches are much more comfortable than the chairs are, anyway, so we put them out in the main room. 

The chairs went into the LEGO room. I tried to give them away on the Buy Nothing Group, but no one wanted them (they're a favourite target of our kitty's claws) and Grandpa pointed out that we could use some more comfortable seating in the LEGO room so that when adults need to be down there to supervise or kids want to sit and read or whatever, there's somewhere decent to sit. So, into the LEGO room they went. And they really do make the space more inviting:

(You can see the built-in desk and cabinet from Miriam and Rachel's room is now in the LEGO corner; the world map was a Buy Nothing find, and the jungle gym/slide is back downstairs (it had been up in my room so Phoebe could play on it while I worked, but now she's old enough to leave mommy's side and play downstairs with the big kids at times.)

The wall-to-wall carpet also makes the space more inviting. Before we had "island" of carpet, with cement floor running between carpets. With one continuous carpet, the space feels opened up quite a bit—and things are a lot quieter down there, with the sound waves being muffled by the carpet instead of ricocheting off the cement floor. It's quite nice, but—man alive!—was it ever a lot of work!

Because the "footprint" of our basement changed with our renovations (for example, we built a closet into the girls' room and expanded their room by about 8" along one wall because when they put in the wall initially they put it quite a ridiculous distance from the foundation (to account for the duct work; we built a box around it, which you'll see when we show the girls' room)), our old carpet wouldn't be able to simply be put back down. It wasn't moldy or anything (we got it dried out fast enough to avoid that), so we moved it into the LEGO room and put it in ourselves...rather haphazardly (we didn't use tack strips or anything). It took forever—and it is far from perfect—but I think it will be worth it in the long run!

I forgot to take a picture of the other side of the room, but here's Phoebe over at the craft table:

I had taken a video of the room, and the kids showed of a bit of their LEGO creations, but then wanted to come show me up close and personal. Here's the video:

And here are the other LEGO creations (they're all waterfalls):

The teal curtain leads to the storage room. This is the curtain that used to act as Rachel and Miriam's doorway. We had a grey curtain up here previously.

I was particularly proud of the set up you see under the stairs, behind Zoë. I got the paper sorter from the Buy Nothing Group and it fit perfectly under the stairs. The shelf was mounted to the studs in the LEGO room, left by the previous owners. It was a little too wide to fit in the space, but we managed to sit it on top of the paper sorter, with its sides sitting in between the studs. It really works quite perfectly and is much better than what we had there before. Behind it is a bunch of duct work, so we're happy to have that hidden from view.

Here's Andrew celebrating a bullseye on our dart board:

We screwed a piece of wood to the studs behind it so it could sit flush against the surface, rather than wobbling on the stud (as it was before):

Here's a quick view of our storage room:

We have six empty slots, which means we got rid of six totes of stuff.

When we were finished, we sat down to enjoy our put-together space, and then Andrew called everyone to come upstairs for scriptures and prayer. We'll pause for a minute to appreciate the fact that I accidentally chose to paint my walls the exact shade of my pre-existing drapes. I must like this shade of blue. It was rather bold for a wall colour, I think, but it's supposed to be a fun space for the kids. I think we'll probably eventually look into getting different curtains...but they do their job just fine so they can stay for now.

Anyway, Andrew called everyone for scripture study one budged.

"Oh, but you see," Rachel said. "The problem is my brain kind of switched into 'big sit' time, so I'm not actually sure I can get up again..."

It was an exhausting day (plus weeks, plus months), to be sure! We were ready for a good rest in an uncluttered (by our standards) space, but we rallied, went through our bedtime routine, put the kids to bed and then sat down to watch half of Hamlet (we were too tired to finish watching). 

Speaking of Hamlet, we finished reading it on Friday and it just so happened that I was reading Hamlet's very own lines at the very end of the play. And I was getting into things because I'm a very good reader (if I do say so myself). I read with emotion! With passion! With zeal!

"If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, / Absent thee from felicity awhile / And in this harsh world draw they breath in pain / To tell my story," I read as if in the throes of an agonizing death.

And then I saw a line in italics that my brain decided was perhaps Hamlet quoting something?? It was right in the middle of Hamlet's I just read it with as much emotion as before...and kept on trucking through his lines.

"A march afar off and shot within," I read. "What warlike noise is this?"

The kids all started laughing. 

"What?" I asked. 

"You just read the stage directions!" Rachel snickered. 

"With so much passion!" Miriam added.

"A march afar off and shot within!" the children chorused, their voices dripping with emotion. 

"That was a stage direction?!" I gasped. "I totally thought it was one of Hamlet's lines!"

Anyway, we'll finish watching Hamlet tomorrow.

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