The first project this summer was The Great Bedroom Swap, which I have already blogged about and is really wonderful now that it's done. It's amazing how our old room (the girls' new room) had 5 windows and our new one has 3, but it's SOOO much lighter...and the rooms are side by side! But I digress...
The second project has been The Great Basement Makeover. See, in FL people don't have basements because the aquifer (our source of drinking water) is very close to the surface, and if you dig a basement, it's likely to be underwater. But we are built into the side of a hill, and our basement is really at ground level on one side of the house. So we have a basement. A 1200 square foot basement. Yes, you read that right-it's actually larger than our first house. And when we moved in...Oh! The plans we had for it! But I was pregnant with baby #3, and my other kids were 3 and 1 at the time, so the reality was anything that got put down there (which was anything I did not have a definitive place for in the house) stayed down there, untouched for years. Ahem...like 10 years.
I mean, sure, we went down there. For a brief period, maybe even a year, part of it was actual usable space. But really, our trips down there were mostly to bring up Christmas decorations in December and put them down again in January. Or to put a box of outgrown clothes down there for the next sibling or retrieve one for a child in need. And the answer to ANYTHING that we were given didn't have a home? Put it in the basement.
But the rub is that we live in an old house, and there is no storage space. Each passing year saw more and more homeschool supplies and longer and longer school days meaning the dining "room" (really a large area outside the kitchen that you have to pass through to get to EVERY other room in the house) was constantly cluttered, sometimes the table was buried, and we were running out of places to put things like globes and microscopes, etc. And all of that is just crazy when you have 1200 sq ft sitting right below you being used for absolutely nothing important. And sooooo, this summer finally brought The Great Basement Makeover.
I have no true "before" pictures. See, when I first began my work down there about 2 weeks ago, I started in a small room I call "my room" because I used it to house all my craft supplies, and all the gifts I shop for year round for special occasions for others or for my own kids' holidays. Well, when I started moving things in "my room", I found (if you are eating right now, stop reading...really) 50,000 maggots. Okay, not really 50,000, but probably well over 100. And I popped every. Single. ONE. And they aer what they eat...trust me on this. The stench was indescribable. Combined with the subtle stench of something that had clearly died somewhere behind a wall (hence the maggots) and the high humidity (this is summer in FL after all) and the lack of air conditioning, and it has been one truly nasty experience. There just are not words...and I was a little to busy to take pictures- you wouldn't have wanted to see them anyway-trust me.
So I cleaned it all up, and mopped the floor with bleach water, and wiped the walls with bleach water, and we used expandable foam to plug the gap where we think the critter died, but wouldn't you know it...
About a week later, it was like Lord of the Flies. I mean, we went from no flies to flies thick enough that you didn't walk down there with your mouth open in one day flat. It was beyond description, except to say it was disgusting. They would land on you...in your hair...on your body...ewwwww....
So my son Scott and I went on a killing spree...and that night The Hubs brought home 10 fly tapes. We hung 7 downstairs and 2 upstairs (one broke right in the container). And I did take some before pictures then, so if you look close, you can probably see flies whizzing by. ( You can definitely see them on the fly strip!) And today, I took some "during" photos for comparison. Be very prepared to see a colossal mess.
You can't fully appreciate how many flies are on this strip...it is covered all the way around. And there are 6 more just like it.
Here is the far side of the basement in its "before" state.
Below is what my husband's project was all day long. Before we moved in, they had installed a drop ceiling down here. But the ceiling is LOW, and we are tall, and the drop ceiling was clausterphobic, not to mention it really meant if you were over 6 ft. you hit the ceililng. See the picture below this one? That's my fingers marking how tall I am, and the white metal bar shows how close the ceiling was to me. We got the ceiling tiles taken out months ago when we had electrical work done adn needed to access the wiring, but the grid came down today...I could not be more excited- I wish I had a picture. I'll get on though.
See all that junk below? That's all The Hub's stuff. It's 9 computers, 2 monitors, a printer, 2 BOXES of cables, several boxes of books, and tons of miscellaneous computer parts (he works on computers for a living). He has to go through all this, so I just put it all in one place for him :-).