There is a room in the Mansion that is almost too horrific to describe. A room that occupies a full fourth of the basement, separated from my dark lair by one thin wall. Officially, it is Farmer H's workshop. In my mind, it is the Piddle Shop of Horrors. The place where Farmer H would go to piddle, if it was not so full of his hoarder treasures that no piddling can occur.
We're not talking about piddling, like a new puppy might do on the living room carpet. There's a special room for that, directly adjacent to my basement office. But without carpet. No, Farmer H's piddling takes the form of starting a project, then abandoning it when he sees something shiny.
The basement workshop was once a space to be reckoned with. It has a black-and-white checkerboard tile floor, except for the strip where Farmer H ran out, and installed red-and-white checkerboard tile. The left side, along the concrete exterior wall, is a long workbench made of sturdy 2x4s salvaged from crates used to ship rolls of industrial steel. The area below is open for red metal tool cabinets, and for storing tubs of Christmas decorations and assorted labeled treasures. Above is a section of wooden cabinets, with more storage space on top. On the right, Farmer H has a white metal cabinet, with a smooth top for a work area, for such things as soldering. There is a pegboard full of tools on the wall above it. The heating/cooling unit occupies the corner of the workshop. Then there's a tall bookcase full of books that I had boxed for donation, which Farmer H unboxed and put on shelves. Behind that is a treadmill. Then a foosball table. A water heater. The right wall, against my office, has more work space and more cabinets. The rafters are full of luggage waiting for trips, Easter baskets, Christmas wrap, and stuff I don't want to know. The far wall has small shelves displaying auction treasures like metal tins and glass Avon bottles. The metal door that exits to the pool area is barely accessible, due to a full-size TV on the floor by the water heater. I have no idea why we need a TV there. It could be better used in the BARn.
I know that TV is there, because every time I go out the basement door, I knock my right shinbone on it. Or I step on the snaky cord. On days when I am home by myself, without my Pony helper, I sometimes drive T-Hoe around to the basement door to enter with my precious 44 oz. Diet Coke. That saves me a trip (and possible TRIP) down the handrail-less interior stairs with my precious elixir and my Bubba cup of ice water.
The proper exterior basement entry procedure is to leave the main basement light on, and open the workshop interior door for illumination before embarking on the trip to town. Sometimes, I forget to leave the light on for me. I'm no Motel 6. I know my way through that straight-line maze. But even I can be spooked by Farmer H's inadvertent shop of horrors.
My daytime nightmare goes a little bit like this:
I unlock the metal basement door and step into the darkness, grasping my 44 oz. Diet Coke by the base. For a few minutes, I sweet-talk my sweet, sweet Juno to see if she wants to come in with me for this errand. She does not. Today she stepped in with all four feathered feet, whimpered, and scampered out into the light and fallen leaves. I stepped further in to close the door and keep out the nosy blue-headed turkey. Of course I barked my left shin on the TV. Then I took a step and rolled the plug-in cord under my sole. With no light on, I was a blind gal walking. Something dangled from the rafters and whipped into my shoulder. My mind screamed SNAKE, but I'm sure it was only an extension cord. I veered a bit off course, and rubbed elbows with the treadmill. There's a towel hanging over the front end. Like mummy wrapping. That set me off kilter to the right, where my thigh rammed a cardboard box flap and spun it a quarter-turn. I'm not sure what was in the box. Something that left behind an unused direction manual and some styrofoam blocks. I was only a couple of steps from the interior door. All I had to do was refrain from impaling myself on the metal pegs bereft of tools. Yes! I had successfully navigated the inside passage, and could continue left, past the piano and pool table, past the #1 son's downstairs desk, past the old Nintendo gaming TV area, past the NASCAR bathroom, into my dark lair. I deposited my caffeiney treasure, and exited the way I had come. But with light from within. Juno was holding vigil. Our reunion was a happy one.
Farmer H really needs to straighten up his shop. There is not even room now for #1 to break light bulbs and drop fruit in water for his artsy fartsy photographs.