I’ve lived in this house in Omaha for almost 21 years. I just realized that’s longer than I’ve been in any one abode in my life. Amazing.
The basement is unfinished. When Nancy and I moved in here, we didn’t think we would ever finish it, so it has just been the “catch-all” storage space. We had all sorts of memorabilia from our sons, of course. When her grandmother passed, we inherited decades of family photos, almost century-old college yearbooks, some fancy dresses from the 40’s and 50’s, and things I’m still not sure about.
The boys have been through a few things, taken most of their own stash of childhood and high school leavings. They’ve recently gone through some of the familial flotsam and jetsam and chosen memories of their great-grandparents, grandparents, and their mother. I have boxed up several things that I intend to donate to the county museum. I mean, really. I referred to the basement as my museum. You wouldn’t believe the things I had accumulated. I could hardly walk through the place.
It was always my goal to be able to use the space for something else. After our anniversary trip to Napa last summer, Eleanor and I made a “wine cellar” in one corner. We bought some new kitchen appliances and had the old ones taken to the basement. Eleanor likes to can, so she has a second kitchen there. With the onset of this quarantine, we’ve been stockpiling grocery items. The “kitchen” is now our personal grocery store. Our gym closed. We now have our own workout space in one-fourth of the basement.
In order to “organize” these spaces, everything else has been boxed and pushed into one corner. When I can finally get to donation sites, almost everything goes!
It’s still an unfinished basement, however. Only one small “basement” window lets in any sunlight. Neither one of us likes to feel completely buried, so we decided to paint the walls in the gym. I wanted something bright and cheery. Eleanor chose a Sherwin-Williams paint called “Fun Yellow.” Perfect. We painted the two walls of the gym. It looks great.
Guess what. Just a little brightness in one corner isn’t enough. We’re moving things around and painting all the walls! I can’t believe the difference. Just a little sunshine, even if it’s simply “Fun Yellow” paint, makes it all more inviting.
The whole place is metaphorical for me. I still have boxes full of memories there, traces of the sunshine moments in my life. Now they’re spilling out and splashing all over the walls. Many new memories, as well. Often when I’m sweating my way through another morning in the gym, or tasting a great wine in the cellar corner, I think about the sunshine in my life. I’m down in the basement. It’s unfinished, just like my life. But the past is beautiful. The present is amazing. The sun will come up tomorrow, and I’ll have “Fun Yellow” everywhere.
Paint a little fun in your corner, too.