walking along the boardwalk at the beach a few weekends ago (hello spring!) pierre spotted a plaque on a commemorative bench for a woman who “never missed a deadline. loved by all.” apart from that being an amazing epitaph, i feel like one could say the same about me when i’m gone — the deadline part for sure, the loved by all thing i feel like you can’t acknowledge about yourself while you’re alive, but fingers crossed.
my background is publishing, so there’s nothing that inspires and motivates me like a good deadline. they’re usually self-imposed and totally unrealistic, another indicator of having worked in books and magazines. i’ve been very careful not to set a deadline for the basement, seeing as it was an already unwise project to begin in the first place, right at the end of my first semester of grad school. but if i’m honest with myself, i definitely didn’t envision working downstairs once the temperature got above 12°c — gardening and porch weather! i thought the semi-finished basement would be a great space to cool off in this summer, not a space i was still slaving over.
so at our office christmas party last november — before the walls were even down — i definitely told my colleague anna, who lives north of the city, she could totally stay at my place the night before the cn tower climb, a mandatory event that requires all wwf staff to be downtown by around 4am. the cn tower climb was set for the first weekend in may — 6 or 7 months away at the time i made the offer — and i figured we’d have a pretty adequate guest space by then.
anna reminded me of the offer at our earth hour event last month, and i nodded and said she could totally stay on my couch — which i didn’t yet have, but had 4 weeks to get. nothing like a good deadline to nudge this basement towards the finish line!
let’s get started, shall we?
this is one of our before photos. it’s very basement-like. the walls are pretty gross, the floors are pretty bad. that light is the worst.
can you spot the difference? i know. it’s hard. this isn’t much better, but the walls are painted and the major cracks (sinkholes?) in the floor have been filled with top ‘n’ bond. the light’s still there and so’s our shop vac, champ that it is. i’d love to get rid of the light because 1) it’s ugly and 2) the floors look better in indirect light. alas, we’ve put/are in the process of putting shelving in this corner and i can only imagine pierre’s rage at going downstairs for the crockpot… if only he could see.
next, i started painting. we (i) cheaped out on the floor paint a little bit. the behr 1-part epoxy garage floor paint was $40/gallon, whereas the 2-part epoxy was $109. we calculated we’d need three gallons to cover the floor (two coats) and $300+ just seemed (to me) too much to spend on something that was truly temporary. (the idea is that any furniture we buy will also be part of our final basement so i don’t mind spending good money to buy what we want in that department.) with a rug or two in some of the higher-traffic areas, i’m pretty sure (not sure at all) the cheaper paint will hold up okay. we’ll do most of our “living” on the hardwood floors anyways, as that’s where our gym equipment and couch are hanging out.
my impending sleepover definitely pushed me to get things into a company-friendly state over the last month. there are some details still to work out, a shelf left to build, and some furnishing still to do (i need so many rugs!), but if it was me, i don’t think i would’ve been too put off being asked to sleep in this space. and, conveniently, pierre was also away this weekend — so no awkwardness about sharing a bathroom in the middle of the night with a strange boy. of course, as he was going away, he took his sleeping bag (our only sleeping bag) and his pillow, so i was borrowing various guest items from our neighbours at the last minute, like the pro-host that i am.
not that anna was doing any laundry, but i hand washed my first shirt since moving to the house today! small victory over the basement.ps. anna said she slept like a champ — at least for the all of four hours we got to sleep. setting my alarm for 3:45am is really not something i like doing, as i’ve just discovered. am i monster for offering her a “guest room” that turned out to be an unfinished basement? i hope not.
still left to do:
- build one more pine shelf
- macgyver a pendant light fixture for over the washer and dryer
- buy so many rugs — i need a big one (like 14′ x 10′) for the somewhat purposeless area opposite the laundry area and a runner for in front of the pine shelving at least