Manly or Progress

Blog No. 190

13620959_10153952836757293_5930181575599118072_nFor the last few years I’ve been living at my brother’s house. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement (usually). He gets someone in the house who can keep an eye on things and help out a bit, and I get a cheap place to stay as I follow my financially ruining dream of becoming a writer. While we have been known to butt heads from time to time (a common thing for brothers). Luckily we happen to be good friends and most of the time we are able to talk out the majority of conflicts. Threats may fly, but blood is thicker than water (even though that saying means something different).

A few years ago, we noticed that there was water leaking in the basement (the location of my room). While we monitored the situation, it got much worse quite quickly. Large portions of the basement would flood during every rain. On one partially bad night, water ran freely from many places, running to a low point (a drain spewing water the wrong way). With a submersible pump working nonstop and a shopvac being frantically dragged around nonstop by me. It was a losing battle with the casualty of my foot being crushed by the falling shopvac full of water while carrying it over the pump. It was not a fun night.

The decision was made to gut the basement and fix the problem. We filled a huge dumpster (the kind you rent when doing major renovations). Three of us, with occasional help, took the basement down to the concrete walls. Then, with more help, we dug out all the old weeping tile (not a job for the weak), replaced it, carried down dozens of bags of concrete, and filled it all back up. We were left with a big empty (filthy) unfinished basement, but we had solved the water problem. We cleaned and the rebuilding process began.

Initially the process was fast. Walls went up, drywall on top of that, wiring was redone. It was great to see. We all felt a sense of accomplishment. Then we all go busy, and it slowed to a crawl. A few things were finished, but no real progress was made. Eventually, in a crunch situation, we finished the majority of a room (the place I reside currently) but there was so much more to do. Other priorities seemed to take over and as humans often do, we changed our perspective and found a new normal. The basement was my home and the bathroom was shared. Honestly, we didn’t have it bad. Life was and is good, though, no progress was made.

IMG_20160713_122453781Over the last few months, both my brother and I have made a few life changes. We are more active again, healthier, and more dedicated. There are ups and downs, but I feel like I’m on a good path. That renewed vigour has led to a renewed interest in finishing the basement. I had forgotten what a feeling it is to start with nothing and build a wall, frame a room, create a space. It’s a good feeling. We’re back at it and progress is being made. The goal is to have the basement completed, finished, and furnished in time to restart and annual Christmas party. Even with five months to go, that’s a lot of work. We did manage to make a good dent the other day though. It’s possible. Progress is being made.

4 thoughts on “Manly or Progress

  1. I know the feeling! I moved into a fixer-upper ten months ago and got a lot done initially, then my writing beckoned… and money got tight with a layoff. Still lots of fixing and upping left…

    1. It feels like it’s never ending right? I’ve gotten better at being satisfied with the small victories. One wall dry-walled, 500 words written, not a bad day.
      The money issue is a tougher one to ignore. Good luck! You’ve got to start selling those stories.

  2. Dominique Camlis-Spicer

    I can relate. We had a cracked chimney that caused water to come pouring into the master bedroom. The room had to be gutted to be repaired when I was pregnant with the youngest. Now with 3 kids, finishing the basement and adding a second bathroom has become a necessity. It’s a slow but very rewarding process. Good luck!

    1. Ouch, that one sounds rough. Few things worse than water damage. Must have been a mess.
      Finishing a basement is a good idea. Like you said, extra space! And the reward is a nice bonus.

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