Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Basements



My safety basement at our Pennsylvania house - 1980
This past Sunday as we were driving into our development we noticed that one of the empty lots had a big hole dug in the ground.  Bill wanted to get out and see what was going on.  Shortly after he approached the big hole, an older man from a nearby house came bounding out.  Turns out he had brought the lot for his son and was building a house.  

The workers on our new house in Pennsylvania (in the woods) - 1980

The hole in the ground was for the basement.  He complained "I don't need a basement but the homeowner's association says we have to have a basement."  He then said "Who uses a basement anyway? I don't and I don't see why anyone else would." Oh Mary, Joseph and Jesus, I didn't want to disagree with my neighbor but I USE A BASEMENT.

The entrance to our basement at our Pennsylvania house - 1980

In fact, I wouldn't live in a house without a basement.  Eight years ago, when I ventured into the model home at Henlopen Landing, the discovery that the home had a basement SOLD me on that home.  Yes Virginia, we have a basement.  Oh so many reasons why we have a basement. Let me list them:

Protection from tornadoes
Cool in the summer, warm in the winter
Storage for all my junk
A place for Bill to live

The basement entrance to our Pennsylvania house - 1980

There are just a few reasons folks why I HAVE to have a basement.  I don't consider a house complete unless it has a basement.

Another view of the basement entrance of our Pennsylvania house - 1980
I grew up living in a second floor apartment.  I didn't live in a house with a basement until 1958 and then for only one year.  The next year I graduated from high school and joined the Army.  No basement housing in the Army folks.

Finished basement entrance - 1980

Then after the Army I lived in a series of apartments and then Bill and I bought a house in center city Philadelphia.  It was a townhouse, 16 feet wide and 50 feet deep.  NO BASEMENT.

Bill at the basement door - 1980

We lived in that townhouse for eleven years until we moved out "into the country."  Then I insisted on a basement.  The series of photos in this blog were taken in April of 1980 during when our house "in the country" was being built.  As you can see I had my safety basement.

Bill at our Pennsylvania house basement ready - 1980
Basement below - our PA house 1986

We now live in a beautiful development in Delaware where all the houses have basements (in our community that is).  We have a totally finished basement.  Did it cost a lot?  You bet but it was worth it.  Bill lives in the basement.  I have my "magic room" in the basement where I store all my mementoes that I've collected over the past seven millennia.  I often go to the basement.  

Me (of course) at the basement door - 1980

Two years ago we had a tornado pay a visit to our area.  I'm here to tell you that I was scared sh__tless but I knew I could go to the basement if the worse happened.  Thankfully we were spared unlike those poor people in Oklahoma.  I feel so bad for them but come on folks, why not a basement?  I hear that the reasons for "why not" was because it costs too much.  Really?  What's a life worth?  Red clay?  That's stopping you?  From what I see of the devastation most of the folks there could afford the big SUV's and trucks.  Hopefully some lessons are learned and some of those folks in Tornado Alley will pony up for a basement now.  

Our beautiful Pennsylvania house which we could no longer afford to stay (taxes) - Bill misses this house everyday

12 comments:

  1. our 1941-built house has a basement with steel beams in the ceiling. yeah, they knew how to build houses back then.

    I can see why bill misses the house - just gorgeous!

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    1. Anne Marie,

      Not only was the house gorgeous, the 6.875 acres were perfect. We had a winding five hundred foot driveway through the woods to the house. Unfortunately, Pennsylvania's tax structure is such that we could no longer afford to live there. Bill and I had planned to live and die at that property. Bill put so much work into it too. Such a shame. But that's Pennsylvania, a beautiful state but crooked and incompetent politicians and a confiscatory taxing system that penalizes senior citizens. Pennsylvania will never change. They're worse now that the Repugs are in charge.

      Ron

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  2. Love that house! And I love basements, but sadly, no house I've lived in since 1993 has had one. I lived in the basement of the one before that - the old slave kitchens. It was awful. But most of my parent's houses had basement, and we kids used them to death, not to mention it's a good place for the washer/drier, and a dry spot to work on the vehicle if it's raining. Can't think of a good reason NOT to have a basement! Wish I had one now.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      That was a lovely house. We called it "Whispering Pines." My dad gave it that name because of the sound of the wind through the fifty foot pine trees that lined the five hundred foot driveway to the house. Such a shame we had to give it up. In our Delaware neighborhood we have neighbors who also gave up their houses because of the high school taxes of New Jersey and New York. We're a bunch of tax refugees here in Delaware, making new lives for ourselves.

      Ron

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  3. "Protection from tornadoes
    Cool in the summer, warm in the winter
    Storage for all my junk
    A place for Bill to live"

    You've moved from that wonderful house but those four lines remain moving. I know a love poem when I read one. Don't ever change a word of it.

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    1. Geo.,

      Hey, I'm a poet and don't know it! You're right, it is a "love poem." Bill loves basements. He practically lived in the basement of our Pennsylvania house too.

      Ron

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  4. there are no basements here in AZ.
    Basements tend to accumulate more junk than attics, so I suppose the lack thereof keeps us clean
    I loathe the task of clearing out my parent's basement, after they pass. shudder.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      Our basements never accumulated much junk. Bill likes to shame me and show off my "Memory Room" as a junk room but he's wrong. To me, a house without a basement is a half a house. I understand your concern about cleaning out your parent's basement after they pass. I was stuck with that job when we moved my Mother to my brother's house in South Carolina. God, I thought it would never end. We got it cleaned out though. My other brother lives in the family house now and he is very spartan. No problem for his kids to clean out after him. Now with me, when I pass someone or some thrift store will hit the motherlode.
      Ron

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  5. Randy in NEB12:50 AM

    Ron, It's too bad you couldn't pick that house up in PA and move it to DE. From the inside Bill would never know. From the time I was born,I lived in a house with a basement. Unless you're a fanatic or something, almost every house here in Nebraska has a basement. The main reason like you said tornadoes plus it's a great place to store your junk. Years ago my cousin and his wife moved from here to centeral Texas. She didn't like the fact their new house has no basement. The problem is inland, 3 feet down is bedrock and close to the coast, ground water. I really feel sorry for the people 800 miles south of me. Sound like helps on the way. Randy

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    1. Randy,

      To me, a house without a basement is a half a house. What I especially like is if the air conditioning gives out, as in a power outage, we could retreat to the basement and not suffocate. Same as in the wintertime, the basement provides warmth whereas upstairs does not.

      Our basement where we live now is totally finished. I've always wanted a finished basement. It is poured concrete so there isn't a problem with leaks of mold. I remember when I was a kid and used to deliver newspapers to an Italian neighborhood, they LIVED in their basements. I always thought that was so cool. Their upstairs was for display only (furniture covered in plastic).

      I understand that some people can't have basements but mostly it is an issue of cost. Our finished basement did cost big bucks but it was well worth it. We use it everyday and appreciate the "extension" of our home. It is the ONLY way to go.

      Ron

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  6. I agree with you completely. A basement is a necessary part of a home - - not only for storage, but especially for protection from severe storms and tornadoes.
    Unfortunately, here in west TX the ground is so damn hard that it's impossible to dig a basement. Few homes have them. Ironically, in the Missouri Ozarks few homes had basements because the ground was too soft (mud and underground springs). I would have given ANYTHING to have a basement shelter when I was battling all of those Ozark tornadoes!

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    1. Jon,

      People can build basements anywhere. It's just if they want to spend the money cutting through that bedrock. To me that would be an ideal basement, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plus, very safe from tornadoes and hurricanes.

      Ron

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