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I think Gill and I have both written about the phenomenon that is my basement. I complain often that it is like The Smithsonian, the collector of relics and junk alike, badly in need of either a clean-up and de-clutter or a curator. It could go either way.

This basement is famous (or infamous) across the city…a fact I learned at a pre-Christmas party I attended with my boyfriend at a posh local hall. Chatting with one of the other guests (whom I didn’t know), we discovered that she, as a teenager, knew Crazy D and his band. And even better, I shrieked when I found out when she confessed: “I’ve been in your basement!”

I retorted:”I think everyone in this city has been in my basement at one time or another!” At this point my boyfriend looked aghast at me, no doubt wondering how I was connected to this woman, a former employee of his, when I just met her! I get around…

So now, even though all the kids are out of my house, their stuff lingers on. I will, to Crazy D’s credit, acknowledge that he has removed all of his stuff. Lil Sis and Gill still have their stuff piled high. One of the items is a set of wooden stairs that I had made for L’il Sis’s first beagle Willbur when he was in his dotage and could no longer make the jump onto her bed. The stairs are about 2 1/2 feet tall and three feet long…they’re heavy and cumbersome.I forgot they were still here — I actually thought I had donated them to a good cause (some other crippled pet) years ago but when Other Brother needed them for his new dog, L’il Sis told him he could retrieve them from the basement. He did. I assumed he wanted them on a permanent basis…I hoped. One more thing removed from the hellhole!

I talked to L’il Sis recently and she mentioned that Other Brother had returned them to the basement when I was in Mexico.

“I did not know that!” I acknowledged, disappointment oozing from every pore. “I try not to venture into the bowels of the basement unless I absolutely have to.”

I thought about this a bit and then realized that, when my across-the-street neighbor had commented about “my kids, my kids’ friends, their mothers, half the city” having keys to my house, he must have meant he had seen Other Brother delivering the stairs. It turns out, as L’il Sis informed me, that Other Brother had indeed been collared by the neighbor, questioning whether or not he was some random person burglarizing my house. Yup, and all he took was some wooden stairs!

I sometimes miss the days when Crazy D’s band practiced in the basement, had sleepovers, when the kids had parties, and when my basement had the best street cred around. But it appears, from my dinner conversation, that its reputation is intact and lives on in infamy. Not the worst thing that could happen…it almost makes me reluctant to strip it bare of all the junk…almost but not quite.