How to Assemble a Basement

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Connect Fixture

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No word of a lie, these were the installation instructions for our pool table light.

“HA!” is all I can muster in bitter response. Anybody who has crossed the threshold of a Home Depot in search of a 29.5/32 inch common inverse thread grommet screw nut knows that there are waaay more steps than this involved in the correct, and safe, installation of a pool table lighting fixture-ma-jig.

So, let’s review the steps in greater detail:

1. Upon moving into new home, casually remark to wife as unopened boxes from previous move are stored in unfinished basement that, “if I finished this basement, it would make a great rec room for a pool table.”

2. Fourteen years, and three grown teenaged sons later, announce to family in June 2005 that, “this summer, I am going to finish the basement into a rec room for a pool table.”

3. Have a rough plan in your head for accomplishing this goal.

4. Even though flooring is one of the later steps, purchase 1,200 square feet of cherry laminate flooring from the Home Depot on one of those six-month no payment, no interest deals because it is on sale for $0.99 (Canadian) per square foot.

5. Start a new full-time job in July 2005.

6. Upon reflection, adjust head plans to finish a smaller amount of basement space into a rec room, advise family that it might take longer to finish basement, ignore children’s whines.

7. July – Dec 2005: get settled into new job, lay down sub-floor and start framing.

8. Just before Christmas, pay for cherry laminate flooring purchased on one of those six-month no payment, no interest deals from the Home Despot.

9. Present three grown teenaged sons with a new pair of shoelaces for Christmas. Watch them draw straws to determine which one won’t get one of the two shoelace strands in the package. Announce to family that basement will be finished by school March break. Ignore children’s whines.

10. Jan – Feb 2006: finish framing, install wiring and electrical outlets, test wiring, extinguish electrical fires, hire professional electrician, install drywall, mud and sand drywall joints, observe that drywall joints are about as smooth as the peaks of the Himalayan mountain range, hire professional drywall guy, realize that you forgot to allow for phone and cable outlets before drywall was finished, hire phone and cable installer who hacks away at drywall for professional-looking installation of phone and cable outlets, rehire professional drywall guy, prime and paint drywall, dream about finished rec room for a pool table. Announce to family that basement will be finished by Easter. Ignore children’s whines.

11. March 2006: install suspended ceiling using a six-inch long bubble-level, observe that suspended ceiling is about as level as the peaks of the Rocky mountain range, hire professional suspended ceiling guy, accept invitation to Construction Contractor Customer-of-the-Year Award Dinner, write acceptance speech, install cherry laminate flooring purchased nine months earlier on a shoestring, realize that adjusted head plans reduced finished floor space from 1,200 square feet to about 500 square feet, further realize that there was never even 1,200 square feet of floor space to finish to begin with because of inability to do simple math, listen to the flooring department representative from the Homely Despot convulse in laughter as inquiry is made about returning unused cherry laminate flooring. Announce to family that basement will be finished soon, really. Ignore children’s whines.

12. April 2006: install pre-hung doors, re-hang pre-hung doors to fit imperfectly framed door frames, prime and paint baseboard and moulding prior to installation by hammer and nail, create countless dents in wood from hammer while installing baseboard and moulding, touch up paint the countless dents in baseboard and moulding, observe that baseboard and moulding is as straight as the peaks of the Appalachian mountain range, fill in dents with plastic wood, touch up paint baseboard and moulding again, realize that plastic wood should have been sanded before touching up, sand plastic wood, touch up paint baseboard and moulding one more time, faint.

13. May 2006: watch professional pool table installation guys install pool table while keeping children at bay with pool cue, accept children’s huzzah’s.

14. Follow installation instructions for pool table light, go back to the beginning.

Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and is the principal behind the services of Statistics Courses. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.

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