the basement challenge

The challenge: finish the basement by Sept. 1. As much as we would like to, we can’t stay at our dreamy beach front sublet forever. We’re moving into the basement of the house to save money while work on the upstairs continues. When they say construction takes twice as long as you anticipate, they actually mean three times as long!

Here’s where we started.



We’ve cleaned, pealed and chipped off cement from the brick walls.

The biggest decision for the basement was whether or not to drop a ceiling or clean up the rafters and keep it exposed. After much debate, we decided to clean it up – to gain height and keep an industry look. To get it prepared for painting we de-nailed the beams and cut out old piping and wires. We hired workers to scrap the old paint off the ceiling. This was an intensive amount of work… phew, done!


Our neighbor Christian is doing an awesome job with the masonry work for the entry ways and windows. In the area pictured above, we’re adding a beautiful stained glass window my father gave me years back. Christian also built a concrete wall so Pickle can have her own room when she moves in.

To finish by labor day: We need to block up gaps where the basement ceiling meets the first floor, finish concrete repairs, power wash everything, paint, seal lock the brick, add moldings and hang the windows and doors.

Where’s HGTV when you need them!



Meet… Pickle

Welp, I’ve done it again. From the same location I found Fiver, I met Pickle.

Pickle the Cat I’m almost positive that Fiver and Pickle are related – that’s why I had to take her in. I met Pickle three days before we were moving to Rockaway, so things are more complicated this go around. Until we’re settled in, Uncle Al is watching Pickle at the studio in Ridgewood. He’s doing a great job socializing Pickle. In a month or so, we’ll start the Fiver/Pickle introduction process. I know in my heart that Fiver and his little sister will be life long friends.

Also… the facts are in our favor.  Fiver and Pickle, being of a different age and sex, should get along just fine.

It is best to introduce a cat that is different in age and sex to the resident cat. Fighting usually occurs between cats of the same sex and age, especially between toms. While cats of the opposite sex get along best, they should be spayed and neutered. Read More.

Pickle the Cat

A Whole New World

Fiver with tomatoes

This photo sums up our new life – cats, construction and food.

We’ve been making pit stops on our way home, “food shopping” for delicious tomatoes and other vegetables  from Maureen’s garden. (No judgement please; we’re on a budget now!)  This sheetrock container has come in handy. Reuse, recycle, right?

Even thought I’ve been laboring at the house daily, It feels like I’m on vacation. I’ve been body boarding after I’m done working at the house, biking, and enjoying the beach. Shore living is relaxing by nature, I suppose. I’ve also been sleeping better than I have in years. The ocean is like a white noise machine.

Fvier enjoying the view

Fiver seeing the ocean for the first time. I imagine is the equivalent to me waking up on Mars. He was a little freaked out at first but now he’s acclimated. He enjoys watching the waves, surfers, seagulls and planes, which he thinks are giant metal seagulls. He misses eating flies but still loves chewing on my plants. All in all, I think Fiver likes living in Rockaway… and so do I.

Fiver enjoying The Wave



On Seagulls


tagged in b91, ocean, queens