Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Basement Observations

Several months ago there was a major shake up in my house which saw me moving into the apartment in my basement. As I was alone I no longer needed the two floors and three bedrooms upstairs, and as I'm so bloody skinny I really don't take up much space anyway. Add to that my rather minimized lifestyle, I don't need all that room for 'stuff'. I have what I need, bedroom and living room furniture, computers, TV, kitchen stuff, yadda yadda. Oh, and a drum set.

Given that change in the past months I've taken to noticing things I never noticed before. Things I took for granted or never even bothered thinking about. And as I tend to spend most of my time in this space I've taken to noticing them often. Very often, like all the time often. When something happens once or even twice you may ignore it, put it out of your mind and never give it a second thought, when mundane things happen constantly you start to perk up to them. So here I give you the short list of weird things I notice living in a basement.

1. Cats will go out of there way to sit in a basement window. They will viciously fight for the spot and to the victor go the spoils, regardless of how small the window is, or how utterly impossible it is for them to achieve this perch. I swear they moved my furniture to get up there. Massive bay window in the living room? Nah, 12x24 inch window opening up onto my neighbour's foundation will do just fine.

2. Water metres sound like freight trains at 6:30am. It's in my bedroom and except for this little tidbit I've never paid the dumb thing a second thought. We all have them, and we all ignore them. Now, I know when anyone else has a shower, does the dishes, brushes their teeth, waters the garden, and I know exactly how long it takes them. 

3. I don't know anything about the outside anymore. I no longer know when there is an emergency vehicle on the street, or a weird car roaming, I no longer know when it's raining, snowing, or in some cases, daylight. I can't hear anyone knock on the door, I am completely impervious to the outside world unless I go there.

4. Pipes hurt my head. I haven't quite learned to duck yet, and at least once per day I crack my noggin.

5. I know everyone's every move. This is an old house and as such the floors are not exactly thick. I can hear when someone goes into the kitchen, living room, and even up the stairs. I've started tuning it out, but it gets tough. I even know what TV shows are on in the upstairs living room.

6. It's dark, I don't have the luxury of a huge window anymore, so I have to rely on artificial light, which annoys the hell out of me, but I'm adjusting. When a bulb burns out down here, you may as well be in a deep cave at midnight.

7. Basement floors are cold as a witch's heart. I have to wear slippers, Always. Everywhere. Even my carpeted living room is frosty. However on the flipside to that, I know from this being my former family room that this is the place to be in August. Nice and chilled on a hot summer day.

8. Laundry is much easier. The washer and dryer are right outside my door, so no more hauling baskets down the stairs. Flipside is that like the water metre, I know when anyone is running a load. 

9. It never rains in a basement. I've left all these windows open during the worst storms we've had this year, and not once has there been any indication of rain getting in. For some reason, it just doesn't happen. 

10. I am very attuned to the shortcomings of house trim and finish. I never realized this upstairs, but down here it's obvious that a basement, being the place visitors usually don't go, tends to be missing bits of trimwork from windows and doors, has exposed rafters, concrete floors, and the like. My basement is finished, but here and there, there are places where the people who finished it just seemed to stop caring. 'Don't worry about that, nobody will ever look there'. Yeah, except me. Now I'm looking at these places thinking I have to finish the job.

As I sit here with my open window full of cat(s), I can hear birds outside. I wonder what kind? I wonder if it's raining. I wonder if my clock is correct. I guess I should wander out and see the world for a while, 

Then I'll crack my head on the pipes again on the way to the coffee pot.


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