Sunday, September 24, 2006


I just finished reading a little article in today's issue of the Centre Daily Times about how men today are fixing their garages, basements, building sheds, barns, adding on rooms to their homes that gives them their own really private place to do what they enjoy best - whatever that may be.

My son-in-law has done that here in my house too. Ok, his "den of iniquity" isn't anything fancy but it is what we joke about here and refer to as Bill's Bat Cave.

He has commandeered my basement!

Such as it is, more power to him is my opinion.

My house is an old place - built in 1903 by my Grandparents. The original basement only ran under the area that now is the living room. Back in the 20's, when my grandparents moved back here from West Virginia, my grandfather and uncles began working to expand the basement and as such, the excavated under what was then the kitchen are of the house - now the dining area - and dug that part out, by hand, and wheelbarrowed the dirt out as they dug. Or something to that effect, so I was told in family history chats I overheard as a youngster growing up here.

Sometime apparently in the 30's - not sure exactly when the family did this - what had been a L-shaped porch that ran across the house from the mid-section in front of what had been the kitchen and along the side of the kitchen - this porch was enclosed to make a sunporch in the front and change what had been the kitchen to a dining room and the new enclosure on the side of the house then became the kitchen. What had previously been two rooms - dining and living room - was opened to make one big living room. And, when that was done, they also dug out in the basement under what became the kitchen area to give sort of a "three room" effect to the basement.

Being pretty much the standard of most old basements in old houses, this place wasn't much different - low ceilings, cob-webby all over the place, dark, poorly lit, etc. My son-in-law, when he moved in here, decided it was the perfect place for him to mess with some of his favorite things.

Since then (5 years ago now), it has served not just as our laundry area but also as a band room for him to have his drum set in place and where he would retreat often to practice drumming.

He also revamped a few things too down there - nothing spectacular since funds are still of a very limited commodity within our household - but he installed more shelving to house his car parts and other and assorted "junk" he accumulates. Yeah, I know "One man's trash is another man's treasure" - I'm not saying his stuff is all junk, that's just a little catch phrase for anything when I have no clue as to it's earthly purpose.

He's used this area to drag in some motors, engines, transmissions and the like and work on them there - since we have no garage to give him a better place to do work like that.

During hunting season, it gets transformed into a butcher shop with the carcas of the deer he has brought home from the wild hanging there, waiting to be cleaned, cut-up and frozen to provide extra meat for the family during the coming year. Most years, it has seen more deer than my son-in-law has bagged because a friend of his whose family all hunts, do it for the sport, not for the meat and as such, they have frequently given us their kills for Bill to butcher and freeze for our use.

And, back in 2004, when my son decided he was moving back home, one room in the basement got converted into a nifty little bedroom with the wildest paint job you'd ever hope to see! The guys worked their butts off removing the old plumbing in there from my grandmother's laundry room era as well as from the years that room also served as the bathing part of our bathroom facility. (The commode was at the foot of the stairs in what we refer to as the "furnace room" and the tub was in the laundry room along with grandma's old wringer washer and two laundry tubs.) They then put up plaster board in the room, closing up one of the two little windows in the room in process then. After that, my son took over and painted the room purple with lime green flames along the bottom part. Quite an interesting place, it was.

My son-in-law converted two old wall cupboards into storage spaces with the one making a transition to a built-in entertainment center where he had electrical outlets as well as a cable hookup for tv viewing. Pretty neat, actually.

My son lived there for about 3, almost 4 months as our own special "cellar rat" and managed to survive till he found an old house in the village in dire need of upgrading but otherwise fairly solidly built and purchased his own place.

Since then, the son-in-law has been trying various and sundry little things to improve on his storage area within his space. His goal is to someday have a garage all to himself in which he can have all his tools, parts, music paraphenalia, magazines and you name stashed in handy places. I'd like to see that happen too so I could have more storage space for myself to use for my fabrics and yarns and patterns and such that wouldn't entail my trying to climb into the attic to access them!

But reading that piece in the paper today also reminded me of a neighboring village which has always had a reputation of being kind of a "goody-two-shoes" place since it is a "dry" village - no bars or saloons allowed out there. Many of the former residents - the towns founder types - tended to put on airs to the rest of the folks in the township that they, being of a higher moral code, didn't indulge in those type of activities. Yeah right! The hell they didn't! Those closet drinkers all made their way down the road either into Winburne or Grassflat!

But it also reminded me about one local resident out there who took refuge in his garage, brought his beer home in a shoebox and stored it out there with out the prying eyes of his wife. Yep, that was his "manspace". His private domain. And, the funny thing about that furtive action was he actually thought no one else knew the stuff was there!

Most everyone probably in the whole doggone township knew about Ray's "manspace" and his private stash there. Fortunately for him, none of the local kids ever decided to invade it though and steal his beer!

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