I know some people don’t like basements. They can be dark, dank, musty. Cobwebs – and their spider inhabitants — can jump up at you out of nowhere. They can flood.
I love them anyway. I grew up in houses with basements; in Massachusetts, pretty much everyone has one. Some are fun, finished rec rooms, places for parties and games and TVs and sports memorabilia. Others aren’t polished, but even with boxes piled high, they can serve as a getaway space. They’re spots for hide and seek (and for hiding crap that you just don’t want “proper company” to see). In fact, they’re the places you don’t bring “proper company.” They’re the places you bring family and friends and just hang out.
Sometimes, some of those friends are spiders. Ah well. You take the bad with the good.
So, all that’s to say that when we were house hunting, we really wanted a house with a basement. That feature led us on a bit of a Goldilocks hunt. Some of the houses had cellars – true cellars, with cracked floors and super-low ceilings, and almost no hope of becoming the basement we wanted. Others had finished basements that were almost too finished – with options well beyond what we needed or wanted to pay for. One was almost just right, except for the pesky problem that B couldn’t stand up in it.
And then there was our house. It had everything we wanted – closet space, more than one bathroom, play space for Teddy, a decent kitchen, a driveway, and a basement. An unfinished basement, but one with good bones that we could make our own.
After a football season of squeezing into our small living room, we set a goal of finishing the basement before the 2014 season kicked off. We had contractors come out to the house to check out the space – who then disappeared without even submitting bids. We figured we could handle another season of fall Sundays in the living room.
And then we found out that about halfway through football season, the Player To Be Named Later #2 is going to take over our spare bedroom. Again, something we could deal with (AeroBed, anyone?), but then we lucked into a contractor who came with rave reviews – and a big open hole in his schedule, just begging to be filled by our basement project.
Construction starts Monday. I’d love to think that it won’t be that disruptive, that it will all get done on schedule, that they won’t find any surprises. But we’ve been through renovations before (see, the “awesome” timing of redoing our kitchen in the condo while on the low-iodine diet), I’ve lived in this 90-year-old house for more than a year now, and I’ve watched enough bad HGTV shows (“What do you mean we have to double the price of the project? I am shocked about this and no one wrote this line for me to say in an exaggerated tone of voice”) to know that the basement project may not be as simple as it seems.
But for now, I’ll stay in my optimistic cocoon, surrounded by Pinterest boards and paint chips and tile samples, and think about all the fun we’ll have…soon.