Friday, March 11, 2011
After much consideration, Brad and I decided to rank the places in our home that we would fix up in order of importance. Having the maturity level or two teenagers, we felt that doing our basement was the number one most important place in our home to invest in.
I mean, think about it, we could have renovated the kitchen, either of our outdated, disgusting bathrooms, the third floor - I could go on and on - but WE chose to do our basement and to buy custom cushions and surround sound for our deck. Who does that?
However, I will say, that we use the mancave ALL of the time and it is the nicest, coziest room in our home. There are two rooms - a children's playroom, and an adult room. You should have seen our contractor's face when I asked him if he could install the doorknob to the playroom backward in order to "lock my children in there when the need arises". The light switch is also right outside the door, natch.
The other room (or what I refer to as the bowels of the basement) is the only room in the house that our kids are not supposed to play in. Now the operative word here is "supposed" because I don't know about your kids, but my kids don't listen to me. The Wii is hooked up in there, but I do not encourage this because I am usually down there watchin' my stories.
To be clear, Brad and I had not renovated anything in our entire lives. We ended up spending double what our budget was, because at the time, I was nursing and I kept coming up with ideas at 12, 3, and 6 in the morning. Let me tell you, the contractor, Tom, just LOVED this. It was really funny because after every idea I had, Tom would say, "OHHH you don't wanna do that." Then I would do it and he would tell me how good it looked, but we had to go through our little dog and pony show first. We laugh about it now, but I don't really recall him laughing about it then. He did, however, come up with the idea of having a urinal in the laundry room. So now, between my budget conscious husband and our "practical" contractor, this is what I was dealing with.
The basement turned out better than we had imagined. We did not cut corners except for not raising the ductwork when we drywalled the ceiling so it has all of those interesting lines that nail you in the forehead if you are over 5'7''. You have to kind of duck into the main room at the end of the stairs but we tell ourselves that it gives the room that perfect touch of whimsy - like crawling into a rabbit hole.
My husband resides in the basement from Friday until Sunday. If there is a golf tournament, he only emerges to go to the bathroom and when he smells food. He then fills his plate and returns to his mancave. My girls call it "Dad's room". It is a relatively small room so the surround sound is nearly deafening. It always smells great because I put my best candles down there. The couch is a sectional with a huge ottomon which faces a stone fireplace outlined in brick with a large flatscreen above it. The small bar has a built in fridge and a copper top.
From time to time, my husband will invite his degenerate friends over to watch some sport that requires at least a four hour block of time. (There needs to be tailgating and take down, I suppose.) The process is as follows: you must enter through the garage, pass through the kitchen where you pay your insincere respects to the wife and kids (usually some sort of high five or fist pump that is not reciprocated) who are simultaneously preparing your food and ignoring you.
My husband has this friend named Smokin' Joe. My kids actually call him Uncle Smokin' Joe. When they ask me about the smoking part, rather than launch into an American Lung Association infomercial, I just change the subject and ask everyone what they want for dessert. Now I think they have settled on firefighter as Joe's occupation. It is hilarious, because I have actually heard them playing make believe where "Smokin Joe" is a character - only he is almost always a stuffed animal.
Unfortunately, my husband has never learned to properly light the fireplace. We passed on the "remote" gas fireplace igniter to save money, and it turned out to be a huge oversight. Now, in order to light the fireplace, you have to get on all fours in front of it, turn on the gas, and manually push the ignite button. This wouldn't be such a big deal if there weren't a large c-shaped sectional filled with grown men right behind you.
Most of the time, if I am feeling naughty, I will pull my housepants down just a little to imitate a plumber. This usually is a real crowd pleaser. Then someone asks me for a drink, I pretend not to hear them, pour myself a glass of wine, and go upstairs.
I would be lying if I did not say that the mancave has saved my marriage at times. My husband is surrounded by four girls who are completely disinterested in sports and we average some sort of breakdown about every ten minutes. Concessions are made in every marriage and I guess mine is to pretend that he is the lower level apartment tennant for spaces of time. But now that also puts me in the position of being his landlord and that baby downstairs ain't rent controlled, know what I'm sayin'?
If you are interested in renovating your house at all - Tom Sintic is your man. Contact me and I'll give you his number. There are a lot of freaks that read this blog and I don't want to send him a bunch of spam.