The Virtue of Basements

I’m still getting used to having a house instead of an apartment. I suppose that’s understandable, since I lived in one apartment or another for 13 years and I’ve only lived in my house for five months. Sure, a house is more responsibility, and if something breaks I can’t just call maintenance and make them fix it for free sometime in the next six months. Instead, I have to call the builder and make him fix it for free sometime in the next seven (until the 12-month builder’s warranty is up – after that, I plan to either fix things myself or ignore them and hope they go away). He no-showed me yesterday morning after I told him the house is settling on my back door and I can’t open or close it without scraping the drywall above it, and that if the outlets in the living room work, the one that controls the jacuzzi jets upstairs does not. He no-showed me several times when I had a couple of other things that needed attention the month after I moved in. But he’s a pretty good guy, so I just bug him every day until it gets done.

And there are lots of times that I have to remind myself that I can do anything I want now. Like when I walk a little too hard across the floor. First reaction: “Oh, the neighbors downstairs are going to think I’m an elephant.” Second reaction: “The only thing downstairs is the basement. Haha! I win!” and then I stomp just because I can.

When I take a shower, I no longer have to think about communal hot water. Sure, I have to pay the bill, but only one person lives here and that means I can take up the average amount of water for four people and still not be judged by society, because society judges based on a family of four. I don’t have to worry about trying to shower before or after the guy upstairs or the old lady next door.

I don’t have to turn my television down when I get home late at night from work (for 1.5 more weeks) and want to watch The Daily Show or catch up on my DVR until 1am. I generally don’t like the volume that loud anyway, but no one can say to me, “Hey, I heard your TV at 1am.” And I can yell at the TV during sporting events without concern for others’ opinions of me as a lady.

I can flush the toilet late at night and not worry about waking up the baby downstairs. Or accidentally slam a cabinet because the handle slips out of my grip. Vacuum whenever I want. Clang pots and pans. Sing out loud a lot. Do laundry at odd hours.

Last night I woke myself up coughing my head off because I got a cold from Neph 1. Before buying my house, I would have worried that I’d wake a neighbor. Now, I have the freedom to worry only about dying alone and not being found for days.

I can paint. And I did. I painted the shit out of that house. Soon I’m going to paint the front door.

Wait. I just read a how-to thing on painting a metal exterior door. I might not do that.

But this morning I might have discovered the thing I like best about my house. As temperatures on the east coast made a bizarre climb and I refused to turn on the air conditioner out of principle, it occurred to me that it might get too warm for my wine.

And then I remembered.

I have a basement.

A gloriously cool basement.

Ah, the joys of homeownership.


15 thoughts on “The Virtue of Basements

  1. Can you please forward this post to my asshole neighbors so they understand what apartment-building consideration is? And then let me tour your basement so I can drink all your wine?

  2. I had Apartment Syndrome for a long, long while after we moved from apartment to house. Everytime the dog would bark or I’d drop something I’d wait for the inevitable angry knock on a shared wall.

  3. The fact that your FIRST concern when the heat went up was your WINE makes me love you just a little bit more. And I also will not turn the AC on out of principle and out of an avoidance of paying a huge BGE bill this early in the year, but the hubs is the opposite and when he came home from a business trip late the prior night and found the house steaming, he flipped that switch so fast. I was already asleep, so I could not prevent it. Damn.

    • I have no one to fight with about this except the cat, whose name I change to Scarlett in the summer because she’s oh so verrrry dramatic about the heat and winds up flopping limply down on any cool surface she can find. Yesterday it was the exact middle of the hardwood floor. Conveniently.

  4. When we lived in an apartment years ago’we never had neighbors as thoughtful as you. They stomped and banged and flushed (among other things) without mercy. We’ve been in CA so long I’ve forgotten how nice and cool a basement could be on a warm day. Enjoy.

    • In my last place, I lived on the top floor and tried to remember how much it sucked to live downstairs. I think nice neighbors are among the best things in the world, so I tried to be one. Especially since I got home late. The other benefit with my basement is that I can go down there if I’m home on a day when it’s warm but I don’t want the AC on. I have it tricked out like a suite. Bed, too, so if it’s too hot upstairs I can just stay down there.

  5. Pingback: the Infinite Monkey speaks: on the value of home ownership | steadily skipping stones

  6. Hilarious!
    I had thoughts like that cross my mind when stepping on the roof to wash windows. How long would it take before someone found my body? Would my husband look outside after work tonight?

    • Uh, you step onto the roof to wash windows? I was just trying to figure out how I would wash my upstairs windows and getting on the roof is not an option. I don’t have roof access anyway, and I don’t have a ladder that tall… because I don’t have a garage to keep it in… so… dirty windows it is!

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