Last Tuesday, I had an unexpected adventure.
I went to make some dinner. We hadn’t used any potatoes in a while, and I had found a new recipe for garlicky potato wedges.
I was pretty excited about it, and Shane was too. Especially since I’ve been testing out new recipes on him, the poor man.
I got out my biggest mixing bowl, made the stuff I was supposed to toss the potatoes in, and then went to get out my unopened bag of potatoes.
As soon as I opened it, I was greeted by a tentacly mess of overgrown potato babies who were no good to eat.
It was pretty sad.
They had been sitting in our basement apartment for a few humid days with no respite from their dark and gloomy cupboard, and had started to try to grow us some new potatoes. Maybe to apologize for their current state, who knows.
I called Shane in to show him, and we both stood there in the kitchen, surprised and disappointed. The poor potato bag may have taken a few light kicks.
As I dug around in the pantry for a substitute, Shane told me I should write a blog post about it. I was confused, because potatoctopuses aren’t really relevant to a blog about gaming and geekery. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are some unique parts about living in a basement that every gamer-slash-potential-basement-inhabitant should know.
So here’s what I’ve learned in my year and a half of living here.
Have blankets. Many of them.
The thing about basements is that, predictably, they are cold. And we’re not talking slight-inconvenience cold; we’re talking slight-dampness-that-gets-in-your-bones-and-makes-it-worse cold.
Now, you might be wondering whether the heater wouldn’t fix that. You’d be right, of course, but what happens when it’s a suddenly cold day in the middle of a heat wave (which happens, because Canada) and your building has a heat monitor that won’t turn on the system until it’s been below 15 degrees for five days?
Because that does happen.
Large blankets are especially satisfying for console gamers because you can tuck your hands, controller and all, under the blanket without any kind of disadvantage.
Invest in curtains.
This one may seem a little weird, but trust me. The number of times I’ve caught people on the front walk bending over to look in my windows is a little surprising. I don’t understand it.
A good set of curtains will keep the peepers out, and will also stop anyone with less-than-honourable intentions from, say, noticing your gaming setup when you’re out of the house.
Get your own Internet.
I don’t know what living arrangements are like everywhere, but it’s actually really common around here to see people who live in basements piggybacking on the upstairs person’s Internet connection.
This may seem cheaper, but if you do that, you’re not really in control of when you can play your games—or even whether the connection is good enough to play them in the first place.
Take the time to go outside.
Even though I like to joke that I live in the world’s sunniest basement, it still feels dark and gloomy when I’ve been cooped up for a while.
Taking the time to go outside, even if it’s with Pokémon Go and a set of headphones to discourage undesired interactions, can help keep you sane, which keeps the people you live with sane, too!
Have a dehumidifier.
Especially if you have collectables.
Basements get notoriously damp in the summer, and if it doesn’t come with an air conditioner (which many of them don’t), you’ll need something to stop your whole apartment from getting damp and possibly ruining those special books you’ve kept since you were a kid.
Find a self-regulating dehumidifier. Because the only thing worse than a damp basement is a wet basement because your dehumidifier overflowed. Not that that happened, or anything…
Always bring a towel.
Because they have many uses, and you never know when you’ll need one.
Wait, wrong guide. But still true, especially for overflowing dehumidifiers.