July 21st, 2015


Basements and authors and friends

I haven’t been talking about it much (because I haven’t been talking about much of *anything* much,) but for the last few months I’ve been doing a TON of work in the basement. The largest driving force behind that has been the desire for actual hot water. Tepid showers in June suck, but there aren’t words for them in January (or at least not words I’ll use here.)

It started with cleaning out the crawl space. I don’t remember why I started there, but I know that there was a reason – and then it just sort of got out of hand. I got on a roll, and didn’t want to stop. I got rid of a LOT of stuff. Basically it was a lot of things that I was never going to have room for in this house – and keeping them in a box in the crawl space unused didn’t make any sense. So lots and lots of boxes of stuff of mine went to GoodWill, along with a ton of other loose stuff from the basement. Then once I’d gotten all that stuff OUT of the crawl space, it was time to put different stuff IN. That’s a good place for the empty tubs that we pack on the trailer to go out to Pennsic. It’s a good place for the various Ikea shelving components that aren’t currently in use. There’s a ton of empty wine bottles and bottle boxes (and I should get the empty bottle boxes together with the big pile of loose wine bottles against the wall… We really need to get some of that cider bottled and given away.) And good grief is there a lot of Bob’s “stuff” under there. But this is the compromise: if it’s not under my feet, I don’t need to nag about boxes of (what looks to me like) junk. It’s all still there – just in the crawl space. So far, we can both live with this. Or it might be more accurate to say that so far he hasn’t objected to it.

So I dug out the crawl space, and then I refilled it while digging out the basement. I threw out a lot of trash. I put a bunch of big stuff to the curb for bulk pickup. And last Thursday when the technician came I had room not only for the hot water heater, but also lots of room for him to work.

Then something else changed. On Saturday, my friend Eilis came and pulled her dining room set out of the basement. I haven’t minded storing it –  kebbykate stored a *car* for my husband for years, so paying it forward was definitely in order. I’d needed to move the china cabinet in order to put in the water heater, but now a whole new swath of the basement has reappeared. It’s pretty astonishing. It was also absolutely fantastic to see Eilis – it’s been years, she looks great, and she’s always so much fun to talk to. On her part, she was a little horrified at how big Charlotte is – other people’s children do that to you every time.

I got in a good visit and got the truck all loaded, but then I bailed out. Now, why would I leave while old friends I never get to see were still there? Because I drove up to Simsbury for a SciFi/Fantasy author’s panel. Tor has sent four of their authors who have new books out to chat with the fans and press the flesh, and one of them is my favorite new author, Max Gladstone. I jumped at the chance.

Gladstone’s books are genre-defying. They’re *kind of* urban fantasy, but with a whole different spin from what I’m used to – because I’m generally not a fan of urban fantasy. “Three Parts Dead,” for example, is basically a murder mystery/bankruptcy/finance thriller. It just so happens that the contracts are sorcerous, the party in bankruptcy is a god, and the suspects in the murder are animate gargoyles. I’m not doing it justice – just know that I really liked it. And with what I do for a living, I really REALLY liked it. I bought and devoured the second one, waited impatiently for the third, and preordered the fourth (which I binge read the day before the panel.) The panel was fun, although the level of social awkwardness in the room was astonishing. I’d forgotten that fandom makes the SCA look well adjusted. But it was fun nonetheless, the discussions were quite interesting, and I feel like Max is someone that I would enjoy getting to know. I won’t get the opportunity, but he seems like someone who would be a lot of fun to talk to at a party – I hope he does very, very well. I picked up his books in paper while I was there (I had originally read them as e-books) and got them signed. So much fun – and buying them there instead of on Amazon helped support the library.

When I got home, Eilis was gone, but my basement was much emptier – after I had lunch and marveled at that, we went out to run one errand, which turned into three. Jerry’s had loose gold leaf (and WOW has the price of gold gone up) but no lead white. No matter. They also finally had a drafting chair that suited me. Mine died years ago, but I haven’t been able to find one that I liked. Bob was a sweetie and bought it for me. Then we got my glasses adjusted, grabbed dinner, and got some books at Barnes and Noble for Charlotte to take to Pennsic.

On Sunday I went down to play in my less full basement – spent some quality time sweeping and moving things around, and I can actually see a light at the end of the tunnel down there. If we get the storage loft built in the garage, the camping gear and lawn chairs will move out there, and there will be even more room. I’m having visions of a workbench of my own, and enough room for the wood working tools to be easily accessible. Hey – a girl can dream, right?

But for right now, I have room to walk down there, and that is beyond exciting. Now I should really start prepping for Pennsic. I think this is going to be another year where I just pack blindly off the spreadsheet and don’t worry about it. I’m so glad that Charlotte’s clothes still fit.