Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Basements In Florida??? Nah!

When we first met with our awesome real estate agent Niki Lee Hurst, I mentioned that it would be strange buying a house without a basement. She replied matter-of-factly that "in Florida we call basements swimming pools". Of course she was right. Dig down 3 or 4 feet & you're likely to hit water, but I still can't help but think that kids down here are missing out on a real Yankee experience.... gettin' the crap scared out of 'em on a somewhat regular basis.

The basement in my parents house, where I grew up & where my mom still lives, was one spooky nasty place. It would have been the perfect hideout for Lucifer himself. My parents were pack rats, and the basement was where every oddball thing landed, hidden away for me to 'find' at the weirdest times, always an urgent assignment of course. (I've never been a pack rat - maybe this is why.)

We had these rickety wooden stairs that plunged to the depths below. The ductwork was low enough to restrict headroom wherever it criss-crossed. The lighting was lousy, a couple of bare bulbs spaced far enough apart to ensure falls & broken limbs. It smelled old & musty. Mixed with strategically placed spider webs it was very Vincent Price-like. It always helped that my mom mentioned many times that some old lady passed away in the house before I was born & that she (the old dead lady) visited us frequently. (She was kidding - but didn't admit it until years later.)

There were 2 & sometimes 3 things that I could usually count on. 1st - My mom always needed something from 'downstairs' in the middle of a thunder storm. 2nd - The light bulb would burn out, or power would fail, as soon as I was far enough away from the 'safety' of my lifeline, otherwise known as the stairs. 3rd - The heater would kick on with a loud bang once all was dark & I was disoriented. PERFECT. All of which led to me wordlessly freaking out - tripping, falling, cracking my head on duct & stumbling my way up the pitch black stairs in a breathless state of unbridled terror. My mom thought it was funny. Me? Not so much.

Consistent with my mom's sense of humor, I've been informed that her will names me as the sole beneficiary - entitled to everything in the basement. Sheesh.

The fact that my sister never had to run any basement errands was never lost on me. Then again, I always wondered why she never had to do any chores either. Hmmm... that would be a good topic for a future post..... She would hate it.