Archive for January 2013

Improving the home

When we bought our house 10 years or so ago, I had wonderful thoughts of finishing the rather large basement that came with it, complete with an extra block of height just for the purpose of making it a living area.  It’s an L shape with a separate area for a bathroom that has all drainage needs already installed.  The walls are poured concrete and it was, at the time, an open expanse. A blank canvas, if you will.

Not long after we moved in, a crack formed in a sort of relief joint, flooding the basement somewhat.  It wasn’t enough to reach the sump pump, but it was enough to destroy a few unneeded items and require an emergency visit from a repair specialist.  Other than one other crack that we noticed during a tornado, it’s held up pretty well.

It took me a couple years to get started on the basement, and I had grand ideas about finishing the whole thing myself, including framing, insulation and drywalling, as well as a dropped ceiling and some sort of flooring yet to be determined.  The only thing I’d probably farm out was the installation of the bathroom fixtures, especially the toilet, because Lord knows I don’t want to mess that up.

I bought a BAMF of a framing nailer and proceeded to frame pretty much the entire basement, insulated the walls, ran electrical, installed a vapor barrier, and even did a pretty fair amount of the easy drywalling.  90% of the work was done perfectly.  It’s the other 10% that burns my ass to this day.

First of all, I learned while drywalling that I didn’t do a good enough job aligning everything, and at one point I was caking an area of the wall with drywall mud to fill a massive difference between two panels.  I also learned that my vapor barrier was installed incorrectly, and now I’m not even so sure about the framing job I did, although the walls are absolutely solid, with no give whatsoever no matter how hard you reef on it.

So now I want to rip it all out and redo it.  This is an expense that we need in no way whatsoever, but since I abandoned the job I started 8 years ago, the basement has just become a mess of storage and garbage, and I’m sick of it.  I’d love to trash as much as possible that’s down there, tear out my work (which is probably 10% perfect, after all) and start all over.  It’s an unbelievably monumental task, and I need to be sure that considering many other things going on in our lives, it will be worth it in the end.

We can certainly afford to clean it, however, and get rid of as much stuff as possible that’s down there.  For that matter, some of it is salvageable, but again, that’s maybe 10% of what I’ve already done.  There’s also a lot of tedious work to do to dismantle it all, since I ran a fair amount of electrical through it as well.  I’m excited about the possibility of doing it again and hopefully getting it right this time, but I’m not excited about the work involved.  I think I’m going to fool myself into calling it my exercise program, because hauling all that crap up the stairs will surely be physically taxing.  Perhaps even some day we can make the proper modifications to the house to be able to call it a living area, such as installing an egress window.

For now, I think I’m going to go home today and bring a box of garbage bags downstairs.  Also, don’t tell my wife, but I think I’m going to fill the garage up with garbage that will need to go, and get the basement as empty as possible.  I think this will be my new hobby.  I’m sure nobody will complain.

Write every day

I’m still one to make New Year’s Resolutions, and like just about everyone I know, I never follow through on them.  I’ve resolved to lose weight and get in better shape for probably each of the last 15 years, and this year is no different.  Again I think I’m going to get up at 4:15 tomorrow and get on the treadmill and eat a good breakfast and be at work by 6:15.

Getting healthier gets more important every year, and now that I’m 40 I feel I need to finally grow up and get it done.  2012 did nothing to improve my health, as I exercised maybe ten times and continued to sit in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day for my job, and then again for a couple hours a night after work.  If I sprinted to the mailbox and back I’d be wiped out for hours.  I used to be an athlete.  I played sports regularly and was in relatively good shape, but since we had kids I’ve been lazy.

Anyway, that’s all excuses.  I hope I don’t use them anymore.

Other than exercise, a resolution I made for 2013 is to write much more regularly, and I plan to write every single day.  I’m not often inspired to write, but I think I should continue to write if I want to be better at it.  It may be here on this site, which I’ve cleared just for this purpose, or it might be privately via journaling on my own or even screenwriting.  Please don’t dump me if something I write is crappy, because I just want to practice, for the most part.  To be honest, I don’t really expect anyone to keep along with me.  That’s not what this resolution is about.  I’m happy if you’re along at some point, though.  So this is today’s writing.