Let’s. Play. Ball!

by Tom Swift

When I say that adding carpet to the basement was a game-changer, I mean that. Literally.

The little buddy and I suddenly have a significant indoor space in which to play our game.

Our game being snout-soccer. Or wind-free fetch. Or chase. Depending upon the minute, the day, the mood. Anyway, you get the idea.

And just in time for winter.

Few decisions I have made have made me instantly happier.

I had known from before we moved in that I wanted to put some sort of flooring down on this half (actually a little more than half) of our otherwise unfinished basement. Not just for B. but also for me. I imagined creating a space in which I could also get a home workout in, especially on days when I cannot get to the gym before work. I didn’t think carpet; I thought more of a rubber floor, a cheap alternative to the sort of tiles you see in gyms. Whatever the surface, I didn’t expect the budget would allow any such option anytime soon. The idea was added to the home-improvement dream list.

That is, until, feeling the Minnesota air shift from summer to fall to (it’s nearly here) winter, I kicked around make-shift options. I became open to something less than ideal, but functional. You can always get remnants from carpet stores, or even big-box stores. I am also becoming a fan of our neighborhood RE Store. Almost always they have slabs of used carpet of various sizes you can buy on the cheap. I went there a couple of times: nothing quite worked; too wide, not long enough. Even for patch-work, it didn’t suit. And, let’s face it, I care enough about aesthetics that one of my hang-ups was that if I was going to do anything at all I wanted it too look good.

When I more or less stuck out at carpet stores I went to Menard’s and talked to a floor guy who has the same last name of a famous comedian (but who clearly had heard enough jokes about his name so I held back and told him only of the time I saw his namesake live). He, as did a handyman I trust, steered me away from the rubber. Dog toenails too easy to slip through the cracks, they said. Good point. He also showed me something better than a remnant: a cheap new carpet that, shockingly, was the right color for the room (Tuscany gray; not sure who thinks gray when they think Tuscany but OK!) . The price was affordable, there was a long enough roll at a Mendard’s on the other side of town, and on the morning I called to prepay, I learned they were having a sale starting that very day. Yay. Also, and this is key, the carpet came padded.

Suddenly, our functional floor space increased by a shade under 300 square feet. And, in our humble abode, that’s no small expansion.

Now the little buddy has a place to run and roam sans the cold and wind and rain and snow. It’s been less than 24 hours since the carpet went down and already we have played down there twice.

I now have a mobility room. I have started scoping options on cheap equipment (when pressed, you can resistance train effectively with surprisingly very little equipment). So it should not take much to have alternative way to train on days when I am too short on time to get to the gym or not wanting to take the car out in the midst of Minnesota weather.

Like with resistance training itself, there is a sweet spot between effort and ease. So happy-making when you find yourself there.