For some time, measured in decades not years, there has been a beast in the basement. Long before we bears moved in, he lived here. We've never seen him, but they say he's there along with another human; although we've seen them about as much as they've seen us.

Paul at Seattle Aquarium We've been warned neither beast nor human suffer fools lightly. Being bears, we're pretty foolish by nature. So we stay away from the downstairs except when Derrick and Eric are in the hobby room working on Halloween stuff. We've not been here all that long, but if you want our opinion, Paul might actually be the beast in the basement.

We think the urban myth started during his days as a paratransit driver. The story goes he would get up at 2:30 or 3:00 a.m. to start his rounds at four each morning. The job of transporting folks with disabilities isn't an easy one, so getting his rest was important. But he lived downstairs from two men who worked swing and graveyard shifts. You see the problem. Don't get enough sleep and you could become a beast. So, the reputation of being grouchy when Paul was woken up at midnight by rowdy friends visiting the upstairs neighbors wasn't all that unexpected.

Slowly he became known as the beast in the basement. When it was a work day for him, everyone treaded lightly. On the weekends, when the beast made an appearance upstairs it meant it was time to turn down the TV or reign in the party. Today, the three humans that live in the house get along surprisingly well. The two that live upstairs still stay up late; the one that lives downstairs will forever go to bed early and wake up before sunrise. All three work to find a balance.

Paul Paul's not much for socializing. He enjoys alone time quite a bit more than most. He spends time every day in front of his computer doing things he likes. That list would include watching old movies, documentaries, reading ads on Craig's List, and creating graphics which he shares with friends on Facebook. He also has three parakeets that keep him busy vacuuming up thrown out seed and feathers. He enjoys working with HO scale trains, and has a layout that keeps him occupied from time to time. As with everyone in the house, when Paul's hobbies don't seem fun, he goes and does something else.

He's not into Halloween, but he tolerates the two who are. He gives them help every now and then when they ask for it. And, every year as Halloween nears; he wanders out into the front to take pictures of all that goes up. He's far more faithful at posting pictures of the haunt on Facebook than we will ever be. Paul is the best kind of housemate. He's a friend; an incredibly long suffering one, for one that has the reputation of not suffering fools. But maybe that's the trick with the beast in the basement. Pretend you're a beast and everyone gives you just enough room to be who you really are. That in this case, is part of our family.

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