Still! Basement is clean! My head is weird and I feel very funny about the whole thing, but the basement is no longer a source of mental grimness. I hadn't been down there since the vertigo got bad, more or less, so it had sort of grown in my head until it was something like the underground bits of Paris, except instead of Renaissance skulls it would have things of immense personal significance, jumbled together in water-damaged boxes with dead bugs and all manner of unpleasantness. In reality it was a great deal more straightforward, and while we have a big trip to the charity people ahead of us (or a big visit from them, not sure which), and while there are more boxes to break down for the recycling than you would believe (oh seriously, the boxes), it is now a basement and not a pit of woe. And in fact it is a basement the furnace people can work in on Thursday without me fearing they're going to accidentally set the new furnace down on my grandfather's compass set or my glass Aslan or my old copy of Peter Duck. Or even a saxophone catalog from 1997 or a Gene Autry songbook.
One of the purposes of sitting in the library with the dog and a book nearly every morning is that it is good fun and the dog likes it. (This is the opposite of "a waste of your time and annoys the pig.") But another is that we are periodically reading books and adding the new ones we've just read to the shelves, and I like just sitting there getting the feel of my books around me, so that I know how the whole of it goes. And I feel like it's going to be impossible to do anything like that with the basement for awhile, because there are so many steps to go before it's done: the plumbing and the electrical and the, y'know, walls and stuff. But once we get there I think it will be immensely satisfying to have gotten there.
My friends have learned not to believe me when I say my house is a mess, and in turn I have learned not to apologize for the mess that is my house because it really isn't very messy, all things considered, and they will become intimidated and refuse to invite me over. But trust me when I say that this basement was orders and orders of magnitude messier than I am comfortable with in the rest of the house, and I am so happy that it has been brought back into the fold.