Basement Budget Notes/Weekend Updates. And a Chipmunk.

We’re finishing a room in our basement as part of a Fall In Love room makeover collaboration with a bunch of other fabulous bloggers. Read more about it and find links to all the other bloggers here.


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that we’ve been working on the basement doors, and that the foosball table is seeing some action. I hope to have finished doors to show off later in the week. They’re not finished yet because this weekend was on the crazy side with a math tournament for Dave and opening weekend of a play for Gus. In fact, when Dave and I sat down to plan out a rough schedule for this whole six week basement makeover thing, we realized that we’re also cramming two math tournaments, six Cinderella performances, and a weekend trip into the same window. Oops.

But if we manage to finish the doors this week as planned, we’ll still be officially on schedule, and Dave has a three day weekend with no math tournaments coming up!

Here’s Gus as a Town Crier in Cinderella:

guscinderella01s guscinderella02s

And Milo and Ari playing with the foosball table, which we finally managed to get down to the basement and get the legs back on (we realized when we got it home from the thrift store that the bolts to put the legs on were missing, so we had to pick up carriage bolts at Home Depot before it was useable). Foosball tables? Are really heavy. Also big. I’m not sure it’s going to be able to stay in this room once all the furniture is in, but we’ll see.


And Dave and Abe hugging and pointing at things:

abedave02s abedave01s


Also! I realized I promised you a story about a wildlife encounter and I forgot to tell it. And I know how everyone loves my stories.

So the door was open a lot while we were painting the floors, so that it would dry faster and not be as stinky and all that. At some point a chipmunk took advantage of the open door to come check out our basement. I didn’t get a picture of him, because he was shy, but I’m guessing he looked kind of like this:


Dave spotted him, but, of course, he immediately ran and hid (the chipmunk, not Dave), and we couldn’t find him again. We didn’t really know what to do at this point. Chipmunks are small and good at hiding. From people. But probably not as good at hiding from our cats. Who hang out in our basement a lot. We actually have a humane trap that we bought one time when there were some opossums harassing our chickens (to be fair to the opossums, they ate the eggs but did not seem to bother the chickens at all. In fact, they roosted on their little hutch with them. It was kind of weird. Anyway, we caught them and relocated them to a big, woodsy park nearby). But the trap is much more opossum sized than chipmunk sized. And also much more… sized. You see the problem here.

We were afraid the only reasonable option was to leave the chipmunk and the cats alone to, umm….work things out. As if the chipmunk were a mouse, you see.

But then, a bit later, we heard the chipmunk chirping pathetically in the basement. Gus, the most empathetic child alive, noted this and asked what we were going to do. I hesitated a bit and then hinted at our nefarious plan of inaction. Gus’ eyes brimmed with tears of sorrow and indignation, and so Dave went down one more time to scope out the situation.


A few minutes later he came back upstairs triumphant! When he’d gone down, he’d found the chipmunk cornered but unhurt by Gavroche the kitty, and he’d managed to urge him out the basement door with the help of a broom. Where he probably was promptly eaten by an owl. Or not! Maybe he’ll live a long and predatorless chipmunk life out there in our yard.

Anyway. He’s not in our basement being hunted by cats, and that’s the main thing I care about.


After that story, this little section about basements and budgets is going to seem really boring and without suspense and life or death stakes. Eh.

I’m planning to actually keep track of how much we spend on everything in the basement and give a rundown at the end. We’re generally terrible about this. My idea of budgeting for house stuff most of the time is, “we didn’t have to put it on the credit card, so I guess it was in the budget.” This is probably why I’m not a millionaire yet. That and the whole one income/math teacher thing. Also: need to buy WAY more lottery tickets. Than none. Clearly.

So I’m hoping that keeping track of things will help us keep spending down in here. That along with how this is the time of year when we have to watch money the closest (property taxes! Christmas is coming!).

So far things keep coming in UNDER what we expected to pay for them (the floor paint was on sale, and we didn’t buy the etching stuff), also the doors and the futon cover, but more on that later. Fingers crossed for this trend to continue!

I hope to be back this week not only with a post about the doors, but also with a non-basement related project. I should go work on that. Yep.



Basement Budget Notes/Weekend Updates. And a Chipmunk. — 10 Comments

  1. oh that story is awesome! also i feel like now that the foosball table is in there, you are done, no?
    so i have a funny story your owl comment made me think of- when i was in florida at my grandparents house on vacation as a 9 year old i caught a lizard and loved it. i finally let it go and when i did we watched it run to freedom…. as a bird then swooped down and grabbed it.

    • Oh no! Gus would have been traumatized for life! And that’s a good point about the foosball table and being done. Thanks, Cassie–you just saved me a lot of time! 😉

  2. I was rooting for the chipmunk the whole time. Yay for happy endings. Also I think Abe is really great at pointing at things and I see that Dave is a fast learner too :D. That Cindrella performance looks super. Gus’ costume is super impressive!!

  3. Cinderella – I was removed from my role in a grade-school performance for not doing my homework. I still hate that teacher. Of course it was my fault but hey, mean teacher!

    Chipmunks – they cost us a new deck for our pool last summer. We are only on speaking terms in the wild. Where they steal my food.

    Project budgets: the incidentals always kill it for me – knobs, screws, and glue of all types kill the budget every time.

    • Well, you can send all the chipmunks down here, and my cats will take care of them….wait, don’t do that! Gus would never be able to handle the carnage!

  4. You and I budget in exactly the same way! 🙂 If there’s money, we can afford it. If there isn’t, we can’t. That’s pretty much how we plan our house projects.

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