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Wednesday
Mar242010

Vehwee vehwee scawee

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The handle to the vehwee vehwee scawee basement. Which I don't think is scary. But some people might.

I think it's fascinating.

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We have a 110 year old bluestone basement. Complete with tunnels and secret trap doors. It's a Hardy Boys mystery waiting to happen.

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Except the Hardy Boys didn't have compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

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This old building has had seven fires, none of them severe enough to burn the place down. But down in the basement, you can see some of the floor joists that are charred. Rather than demo the floor, they just added new joists right next to the burned ones.

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My seven year old thinks he's a miner and archaeologist rolled into one, and is constantly on the lookout for fossils in the basement. I don't have the heart to tell him that he's unlikely to dig up any dinosaur bones -- it keeps him too occupied. I need the leverage. When he's being pesky I can say, Hey, you know what I REALLY need? I need someone to investigate whether there are any fossils in the basement.

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This system of pipes and bells and whistles is what's making sure we have adequate hot water. Today is the first day we're testing the capacity of the system -- we'll see how it performs.

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IS ALL WELL? DUCK YOUR.

That's what someone took the time to write on the wall. There are at least three hand lettered "duck" signs that I've found so far. Which is helpful. As a tall person, I have no awareness of the location of my head, and it's helpful for me to see in writing exactly when I might need to lean forward.

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When I said tunnels, I really meant tunnels.

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I could probably crawl back there and pop up into someone else's store, if I were so inclined. Which I'm not.

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Like many old buildings, this one is full of idiosyncratic things like windows that look into... nothing. And doors that don't... close.

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If I wanted to film another installment of the Blair Witch Project, I'm sure the movie could open with this shot.

Here's why I think the basement is cool.

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This is a coal chute. There are three of them down here, and they're underneath what is now a brick sidewalk. When this building still used coal heat, the delivery trucks would pull up to these chutes and shovel it down into the basement. Now they're all rusty. But I like that they're here.

And now, when someone writes the history of this building, we'll be a part of it. I like that too.

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Reader Comments (10)

i also think your basement is fascinating! can i come explore it? please?!

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternikki

Windowless places or in this case, places with windows that look into nothing, scare me. But I am so glad that they don't scare you or your dear son.

VERY thrilled that the plumbing issues are under control. Can't wait to see the wonderful things that will be created in your new studio!

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatty (Rugersmom)

I'm so claustrophobic, that I couldn't breath looking at those pics!

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyn (DownwardDogFbrs)

I like your basement. It's a big exploration adventure. It makes me think of "The Goonies"!

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVirginia

Cool old building! I love that it hasn't been "updated". Don't you think history is fascinating???

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Such a cool water heater thingy. Looks like a power plant! Your basement reminds me of my Grandma's house. Hers generally had a small lake at the bottom of it, though. I guess that is why you finish basements in wet places. The history in your building is fantastic. I can imagine a young boy having a ton of fun down there.

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKathy Sue

I need some advice for my blog....I like your layout. Can you help me? 3 2 8

March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShasta Baumgardt

I hate basements in person, but I am fascinated with your "way cool" subterranean exploration zone. So glad things are going well.

March 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteryarnardent

That looks awesome, and I'm jealous. I want to go explore! If I come visit, can I play down there?

March 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Can't wait until you come to town. I used to run a print shop out of that space - as well as live behind it in what could loosely be termed a "loft". Am so glad that someone bought that building from the horrible slumlord of yesteryear and is upgrading it. Believe it or not, the basement used to be worse! I have stories to tell! But, now, I am a "dye" hard knitter and have been spreading the word of your arrival and we plan on descending upon you like locusts! (And then going to sushi up the street!) WELCOME!

March 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHolly

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