Sunday, July 24, 2016

Creative Not-writing

Most creative and/or artistic types express their limber right brains in ways other than being writers, painters, musicians, sculptors and so on.

I rock a bit of the Ageing Bohemian Authoress style in my wardrobe and home, and I also have this thing where I have to change things every now and then. There is a semi-regular seasonal rotation of my living room and bedroom furniture that just gives me a little pleasure looking at the same things in a different way.

Like my mom, I also have a collection of decorative items and wall art far exceeding space to exhibit it all at any one time. I haven't switched those things around much in the past year or two, but used to shift out a small portion of my dad's pewter collection for colorful dishes and Israeli enamel around the kitchen, or put out different knickknacks in the living room from one mood or season to another. Of course there are Christmas decorations, too.

Finding places to put things is a major recreational and practical habit for any homeowner; often, this comes with the question of "How do I store X, Y, and Z?" but some of us just have fun with what's actually out.

This week (I hope!), I'm having my basement foundation jackhammered to the footing and waterproofing updated in this beautiful 66-year-old home, which I moved into fifteen years ago this month. Step one in this job is MY contribution, which has been to move everything down there away from the walls.

Any homeowner can tell you, any project involving moving every single thing in one room in a house ends up feeling like a massive undertaking. As a pushing-50-year-old woman with multiple back injuries to my discredit, it's also one you have to be careful about. Gossamer has fallen in love with my back for smelling like off-brand Icy/Hot, because the wintergreen drives him mad, and I've certainly been keeping the naproxen sodium business going. Hooray for NSAIDs!

And for subterranean dreams.

Moving everything down there presents the opportunity not only to open up a new line of credit debt in the name of resale value I hope not to realize any time soon, and also to Get Some Things Done.

Washing the walls is job one, once the contractors clear out. Just taking a hose to the whole place. Whether I'll follow that with a paint job I'm not sure. in some ways, being able to see the flemish bonding that goes all the way down under the house proper charms me. And exposed brick is a thing.

I *am* rather tempted to paint the floors with something glossy enough to take a good sweeping.

The clothes lines will probably move, but I haven't decided where. Some things will have to develop as things are shifted back into place.

The major workbench will be dismantled and its true two-by-fours kept for some other wonderful purpose, its massive legs saved likewise. This will free up a massive amount of space down there, and some of the furniture in storage will be put to use AS storage, as well as cleaning up the look of the place.

I don't intend to finish it completely, but I may let paternal grandma's easy chair and maternal grandma's dresser and vanity/desk serve some decorative and practical purpose. I have my eye on the vanity/desk as a spot I could set up my sewing machine, which currently stays stuck behind a filing cabinet, but which could have a living/working function in a safe, cleaned-up full basement.

The extraordinarily well-built shelves at the bottom of the steps, I think may be little gussied up, but cleaned and called for duty to hold some of those miscellaneous decorative items not always in service themselves. If I do anything to prettify this spot, it will be simply to hang a shower curtain to keep things safe from the worst dust.

Mom and I have some of our best conversations, stimulating each other's decorator brains on projects like this. It distracts her for a time, too, from the difficulties of being a constant caregiver, and I hope is some relief from the tension.

If nothing else, spending fifteen or so minutes actually starting that job we agreed upon, of dismantling the largest workbench seems to have provided some frustration working-out. She bashed every board off the top (NO damage; mom and I both get physically sick watching the careless destruction inherent in most "demo days" on HGTV shows) before I could even say I still needed it to stack the shelves on as I deconstructed those!

Along the way with creative projects of any kind come the surprises. The incalculable cache' of Gossamer poops, hidden away when he's been in some kind of mood or other. The ASTONISHING weight of a tiny vanity made out of hard rock maple. The fact that the smaller workbench, laden with firewood and appliance boxes I have saved because I am *that* person ("keep the boxes in case you ever have to move!") ... was missing a leg, and just propped against the wall. For who knows how many decades! The exact size of cave cricket poo.

But in a week or so (I hope! I got the call Friday the county permits had not been completed ...), I will be able to indulge some of these fantasies.

Right after I scrub down the falls and remediate the dust. Shew!

So. What's up with you this summer?


Anonymous said...

Just hanging on and avoiding the heat.

DLM said...

One of the conditions with the basement waterproofing is that I won't have the AC on during jackhammering, as using it would blow dust throughout the house. 100+ temps, heat index off the charts. If they CAN start the job tomorrow as hoped (there has been a slight delay thanks to county permitting), I'll be stopping by the grocery for a supply of Italian Ices. I also bought a USB fan for my desk, will keep another underneath the desk, and may have the standing fan behind me. I've been stocking up on ice cubes as well ...

Colin Smith said...

Sounds like quite the project, Diane. As you know, we're having a bit of a clean-out here at Chez (soon to be former-Chez) Smith. I'll be glad when it's over with. It's fun looking around houses, but packing and thinking about where stuff will go, and the logistics of moving piano, furniture, etc... it wears me out just thinking about it!

Would you and your Mom fancy a trip to NC for a few weeks? :)

DLM said...

I suspect my mom would leap at the chance, but we haven't a sitter for my stepfather (more's the pity). She would quite like your punning ways, though!