I’m back from the dead, I mean, the basement. For four months we endured one of the slowest basement finish projects ever taken on by man. It must be said that the aforementioned man and his pals worked maybe three days a week and a workday consisted of showing up at 10am and leaving by 3:30. Things got to a point where I did not want the man and his pals to work on anything else in the basement because every time they fixed something they broke or maimed some other fixture in the basement. The short list of fixes would grow from 5 to 40 in a week. I happily gave the man the check labeled, “Full & Final Payment,” knowing I was going to finish the rest of this basement myself.
Since then, I have spent every minute I had away from London in the basement. Even when she was awake I occasionally brought her down to the basement, installed her in the high chair, and queued up Sesame Street. I’d even push it to see if I could get her to watch two episodes in a row. I got pretty damn close a few times all without coating her with drywall dust, paint, caulking, and spackle. Success.
I had told the man that I could handle the painting of the walls,
but somewhere along the way he thought that meant I was painting all the baseboard, trim, and doors. Rookie mistake on not clarifying that. However, after seeing how the man painted the ceiling, I felt quite confident I did not want him painting anything else in the basement. So, I took care of those things myself. The doors were easy, just time consuming if you want them to look good and show no roller or brush marks. The baseboard was a different story. I did not have the opportunity to paint it before it was flush with the hardwood floors downstairs. Painting already installed baseboard takes ten times as long as painting pieces of baseboard fresh from the hardware store. This is what really took up the majority of my work.
Other things we had to take care of ourselves: cleaning off the adhesive on the window frames left by this crazy,. strong, fireproof tape used to install insulation in the basement, installation of speakers in walls, caulking all trim/baseboard joints, filling nail holes, mounting doors, installing hardware, painting shelves, ceiling paint touchup, replacing a light switch, installing blinds, painting quarter-round trim, and finally, assembling Ikea furniture, which actually was given the final touch last night. All is not done. I have yet to paint a couple closet doors, paint the stairwell, install carpet on lower half of stairs, and paint an exposed I-beam. Kate and I agreed that when all that is done we will feel as though we finished a quarter of the basement ourselves.
Throughout this process I have been aware that we saved a substantial amount of money by using the people we used. We had expressed an interest in using the same people to finish the bathroom in the basement, but we will now be doing that ourselves. That will, undoubtedly, turn into a bigger project than it is in my mind and it will mean I may have to take another long break from writing, but this break may have been for the better too.
I’ve missed writing. Writing helps me destress. When I don’t have the opportunity to do it I have this horrible nagging sensation that if I were writing right now I would be writing some of my best stuff. Of course, this is not true, but it’s hard to ignore this voice, which always creeps into my life at the precise moment that sitting down for a couple hours to write something is an impossibility.
I promise no regular blogging at this point. I can’t even say for sure when I will write again. Like I wrote above, there are still significant projects to be completed before I can sit in front of a computer to write for even 30 minutes, but that time is closer now than it has been for months. I like that.