Friday, September 11, 2009

Still Cleaning

The basement is creepy. It's dark, the floor is dirt, the walls are stone, the cobwebs are thick enough to mistake for insulation. In spite of this, we want to use this space, and we must regularly access it for a variety of reasons. The furnace and pressure tank are there. The plumbing and electricity all pass through and are serviced there. The root cellar is there. The garage opens off of it. It is, really, the foundation of our house. And it needs some real cleaning.

First, I have to do it alone. Jason is in the throes of getting the catalog to press, and he just cannot help me. The fellow who delivered the dumpster wants to pick it up in the early part of the coming week. He delivered it ten days later than originally planned, so Jason's ability to help was severely compromised. I got the barn emptied and I can do the basement. If only it had a window.

Second, it is a type of cleaning I strongly dislike. There are all those cobwebs, no natural light, a petrol type smell, strange wiring to work around, and so many dark places. I keep thinking of spider bites, startling mice, and tetanus.

Third, I just have to do it anyway. I get surly just considering it.

I started today. I used the shop vac to clean the spider webs, then I cleaned the plastic jugs, can lids, old paint tins, school papers, vinyl remnants, broken window panes, wet insulation, bits of pipe, parts of coolers, and baskets of decrepit silk flowers. Then I vacuumed more cobwebs, and the cycle moved forward.

I'm finding ways to get some light down there, but the stone walls really soak it right up. I figure I'll have to paint something down there white just to help the light move around. I'll also have to really evaluate what to keep. There is an entire shelf of canning jars. The full ones go immediately to the dumpster; I cannot even guess how to sort good from bad. The wide mouth jars are definitely keepers, but the old rubber ring style jars are outside my realm of knowledge. No one I know uses that type, and no one seems able to tell me how to safely use them.

The rusty metal shelves went to the scrap metal pile for my neighbors to pick up, but the wooden ones seem to be holding their own and worth keeping. We could definitely use some shelves in the root cellar, but that seems to be my job, and I'm a bit overwhelmed at the moment.

That's what I'll be up to this weekend. Maybe in my spare time, I'll build a frame for stacking the wood that's in a huge mountain at the end of the driveway and move the mailbox before our mail carrier reports us.

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