Call me the senior cabinet minister.

Because those cabinets are complete.  Aren’t they fun?

I happen to think they are a lovely color.

Do you?

Spraypaint is terribly invasive stuff.  You think you’re covered up.  You’ve got your dustmask on.  You’ve got your dumb-looking hazmat poncho on.

But that suffocating, sweet scent just gets right into your nostrils.  And if you know anything about the science of olfaction, the fact that you’re smelling something means that solid physical particles are actually making their way into scent receptors in your nose.  You don’t believe me?

I am perturbed. Now do you?  I’m not going to show you the inside of my nostrils, but I can tell you that they looked silvery-blue.  It was really unsettling, because I was definitely wearing the dust-mask the whole time.  On the previous day of painting, I discovered before my shower that my eyebrows and eyelids had been dewed over with a similar glaucous sheen; I felt like a cut-rate Kevin Barnes.  That, too, was unsettling, but a different flavor of unsettling.

Anyway, with the kitchen in some state of relative refurbished-ness – the cabinets having been cleaned out, scrubbed, and painted, the floor having been washed and scrubbed of any spilled paint, and only the reorganization of every pot, plate, and pan remaining to be done, I decided to turn to the basement while the paint dried.

The basement is a treasure trove.  Some of it is gross, some of it is wonderful.  Today, I found and disposed of a petrified mouse.  No, I did not take a photograph.  But I did take a photograph of the huge can that held only a part of my mom’s collected correspondence.  There are at least three boxes of her letters, and I asked her – she said I could read ‘em.

For some reason, this can reminds me of my friend Kallie, as though it might be the sort of thing her parents would have in their basement:

Yuh need a shave an' a hair cut -

The first thing I decided to tackle was the pile of stuff under the stairs, which I finally realized was a workbench, belonging to the people who lived here 30 years ago.  It hadn’t seen use in some time, and the cleaning products, joist-putty, and spackle all looked to be at least 30 or 40 years old.  I found a Milwaukee’s Best can that looked to be from about 1962.


After several days of cleaning, sweeping, and spot-vacuuming, I managed the get the whole area looking something more like this:

Slightly less filth!

You can see the wall for tools behind the light fixture I found and cleaned up (and later replaced with a high-efficiency CFL).  It, admittedly, doesn’t look that much cleaner, but believe me when i say there was a good ten pounds of dust back there.

I ended up buying a relatively cheap set of speakers (that’s the black boxes down there) today at the Radio Shack, because I can’t do this sort of work in silence, and I can only wear iPod headphones for so long.

you get these weird welts behind your ears.  It's no good.

Lately, I’ve been listening to Teaching Company lectures by Prof. Bill Messenger, who is a delight to listen to; he’s been lecturing on the history of American popular music, particularly the music of the American theater.  Sometimes I talk back to Bill, and then wonder whether or not my (so far) four days of near-complete solitude are going to take a mental toll on me.  Or maybe I’ve always talked back to podcasts.

I found some unused halogen shop lights in the basement, and decided to install them.  I hooked both of them up to a hardwired outlet in the ceiling, which means that when I flick the light switch that turns on half the incandescent bulbs in the ceiling, the shop lights go on, too.

It's beginning to look a lot like a workshop.  Hell, they've got 'shop' in the name!

I’ve also been polishing the gross brass pipes along the wall that go into the truly excrescent sink, both of which I cleaned like a champion today.

I will make this basement totally steampunk. Cutest thing I found today: a little wooden penguin toy.  You walk it forward and its little rubber flippers go flap-flap-flap.

He needs a name

I didn’t get to take my constitutional today because it was raining this morning, so I’m going to go take it now.

Also, hey!  Wasn’t this supposed to be a food blog?  Yes, yes it was.  Don’t worry. I’ve been taking pictures of that, too.

I’ll be back later, with a post of the BGC, and maybe what I had for dinner.  BUT I MAKE NO PROMISES.

Oh! And the beermaking – I haven’t started that yet.  I’m sanitizing the enormous pot first.  But oh, it’ll happen.

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