We’ll be moving into our new place in a few days. In the intervening days, we’ve got some project to tackle — like cleaning the basement, which was my assignment today.
Basements are weird. They’re dark, dusty and cobwebby, full of machines that make odd noises. German Village basements are even weirder because the houses are older. Our new house has a stone foundation, a brick fireplace that extends down to the cement and brick basement floor, and support beams designed for a time when people were shorter. As I worked there today I bumped my head repeatedly. It’s going to take a while to get used to the various nooks and crannies.
This place still feels like somebody else’s basement — and that feeling is accentuated by the fact that the prior owners left a bunch of random stuff down there. The abandoned items include boots, a lawnmower, yard care items, stray clothing, tools, a Shop-Vac, and home improvement knick-knacks. It’s as if they left hurriedly, under cover of darkness.
So part of the effort today was trying to figure out exactly what was down there and make an initial cut on whether to keep it or not. It felt, though, like I was intruding on someone else’s space. Hmm . . . guess the people who used to live here really liked to garden. Why would they have saved this incredibly rusty padlock? Well, at least the Shop-Vac seems to work pretty well. What do you suppose this machine is supposed to do? And I swept up decades of dust and bagged up junk and pulled down cobwebs.
By the time I was done, my forehead jarred and my glasses coated with dust, the basement felt a little bit more like ours.