Sharla asked about our basement plans, so I thought I'd give a little update on that in case anyone else is interested. Point of fact: I have spent considerable time down there today because it has been raining relentlessly all day long, and other than a trip to the library this morning, the kids and I have been finding ways of entertaining ourselves inside. It's hard this time of year, when we're used to playing in the yard and going to the park and generally enjoying the outdoors. This afternoon I played Go Fish and Candy Land, read books, supervised messy picture painting, made bread, got a head start on supper and that was all well and good but come 3:30 we all ran out of ideas until I suggested going downstairs to play. This was met with enthusiasm by both kids, but after an hour of hide-and-seek and closing up Daniel in a cardboard box so he could pop out about 50 times, I just couldn't take it anymore and I begged the kids to watch some TV.
I also poured myself about 1/2 glass of wine. Don't judge me. It's 5:00.
So yeah, the basement. The work won't start down there until autumn because our contractor has other projects to finish up before he can get started on ours. I wish it were done RIGHT NOW, but I'm just being impatient. Really, it's worth the wait because this guy does good work and is honest and trustworthy. Plus, there's a lot of stuff to clean out first. Like old cans of paint that is probably rotten, some baby stuff we don't need anymore, several cardboard boxes, and my not insignificant yarn stash.
It doesn't hurt having some extra time to save up more cash, too, because this is a huge project. It's not just cosmetic improvements like drywall and flooring. The first thing is to cut a couple of egress windows to let in more light and make any extra bedroom legal. We're adding a bathroom, which involves - and this makes me sweat just thinking about it - a term the plumber calls "breaking the concrete". The plumber also tsk-tsked the very outdated piping (1/2" galvanized steel that is nearly 60 years old, same as the house), so that will be re-done. The water heater is older than it should be and will be replaced. Oh, and the furnace is 30 years old and should have kicked the bucket a decade ago, so that's going to be replaced, too, along with most of the ductwork in order for the ceiling to be high enough and to get heat down there. The old, fuzzy, pink fiberglass insulation hanging unattractively out of the walls is going to be replaced with some kind of spray-on stuff that is more efficient. Old storage shelves in the unfinished part of the basement (where the furnace and laundry, etc live) will be ripped out and replaced with better ones - "better" meaning that they won't sag, won't have rusty nails sticking out every which way, and won't be covered in cobwebs, dust and ancient mouse droppings.
I wish I could also say we were going to replace the ancient, inefficient washing machine and dryer, but they are still functional, and what we have to get done is already a stretch financially - doable, but a stretch - so those will have to wait.
The basement project is a big commitment, and I don't just mean that in the financial sense. It means we will not move out of this house, at least for a while. I love our neighborhood and don't want to leave, and this will make staying in this house possible. A new basement will not give us a garage, a dishwasher or a dining room (3 things that I sometimes long for but can live without a while longer), but it will give us significantly more livable space, a badly needed second bathroom, and a better, cleaner place for the kids to play. Also, it will provide private space and a bathroom for overnight guests, which is very important since we have NO family near us and out-of-town visitors are a frequent occurrence. This means Daniel and Anya, who now have to share a room, will eventually get their own rooms. Sharing a room is okay for now, but they will want more privacy and more personal space in a couple of years.
While I'm waiting for the basement work to start, though, I've been making some minor improvements upstairs. I organized my spice cupboard. I picked up some color samples for painting what will eventually be Anya's room. I broke down and bought a new area rug for the living room. (Yeah, I know Anya's not potty-trained yet, and she will probably poop on it one of these days, but this one was only 35 bucks at Menard's and looks 100 times better and was totally worth it.) I want to make curtains for the bedrooms, which have only cheap aluminum blinds at the moment. I'm also thinking of painting the kitchen red...but judging from Stuart's reaction when I suggested it the other night (raised eyebrows and questionable grunts) I may think on that for a while.