I’ve been looking for escape since the day I was born.
We all do it in our own way, trying to lose ourselves in fat novels or graphic video games or growing tomatoes the size of small moons: whatever works for us at that given moment in our lives.
Since the dawn of man people doing time on Earth have been trying to flee from the daily grind of their everyday lives by figuring out some way to mentally and/or physically remove themselves from the running dialogue in their own head by going to some place in their imagination/or in their yard/or at the stove/or at the bar or in the bed of another.
Not me, though; I don’t need any of that.
Because when I run away from it all, I open the back door to the house and head for the garage.
I’m a Garage Man. And I’m not alone.
And this is how I roll.
I don’t know much about the history of the man cave, really, except that it probably started when some caveman suddenly realized, “Hey, why am I keeping all these logs and mammoth tusks in here with the kids when there’s a whole extra cave sitting empty right next door?!”
And, as it is with the human persuasion, one thing inevitably leads to another and before long it dawned on the guy that, “Jeez, these people are driving me up a stone wall. I’m going over to the bone shed for a little peace and quiet!”
So, that was that, I guess. The whole man-cave thing was on.
Turning to our garages (if we’re lucky enough to have one) for escape, to tinker with some lawn mower engine, or spray paint a lawn chair, or just throw some darts at a dartboard while we listen to our yard sale Doobie Brothers 8-track tapes is about as close to a regular Swedish massage as most of us can get. Seeking a bit of alone time, some Me-Time, out with the gas cans and the power tools and the twelve inch black and white rabbit-eared TV is a fantastic/realistic way for people to wind down their own hard-chugging motors a bit, and to just spend some priceless stolen moments doing something relaxing and therapeutic by nothing much at all.
Last January we had a fire in my home. We all escaped okay and for that I’m real thankful, but the blaze was a bad one and we had to leave the place for the next six months while our home was repaired. Now, though, I’m beyond happy to say we are back and that the house is stronger and more welcoming than ever for my family and I.
But. My garage has suffered. A lot.
In the wake of our forced move away, a slew of construction guys took up shop inside of her, crimping rain gutters and sawing moldings and just generally creating a brand new world of dust and chaos in place of the man-cave sanctuary I had built up out there. Then, about a month ago, when we were able to return here to live, I ended up storing all of my garage things in a heaping mountain off to one side of the joint while I waited for the construction crews to empty out their tools and supplies.
Just this past week, they took their stuff away and so now I am the proud sole proprietor of my hideout once again. But the place is a mess. It’s dirty and dusty and I’ve got a billion things to re-hang and re-sort.
My screws are all mixed up with my fishing stuff.
My screwdrivers are all mingled in with my extension cords.
Nothing is where it should be, or where it once was and I need it to be once more because I miss hanging out out there more than I even realized I did. I need it to be neat and organized and personal again.
I need to make it all mine again. But, I’ve been overwhelmed…there are just so damn many boxes to unload and so many things to sort out. I was stalling on the job at hand. I was procrastinating to the point where I wasn’t even coming out here (Yes…I am actually typing this in the garage. It’s also my writing room!).
Then, out of the proverbial blue, came an offer to help Home Depot promote a bunch of cool new items designed to help make organizing our physical worlds a little easier.
I couldn’t believe my good luck! And I leaped at the chance; it was the kick-starter I’d been looking for. It was time for me to wipe the mud off of my old friend’s face, with some help from the men and women in orange.
This will be a FOUR PART series of articles on me and my garage and so I hope you’ll keep checking back to see what I’m up to. Here in Part 1, I wanted to present you guys with some background about what I’m setting out to do in my garage, which is basically everything.
–First, I need to clean her out to the best of my ability without lugging out all 578 boxes of crap I’ve already got spread all over the place.
–Then, with about a 150 bucks worth of organizing stuff from Home Depot, I am going to set things up my way, neat and orderly but still sort of shabby and rustic. (I’m not a ‘eat-off-the-sterile-floor’ garage guy by any stretch.) Now, I’ve been to the store and the stuff I’ve picked out to help me do the job is this:
1) a cool set of 6 foot high steel shelves from Edsal
2) a nice portable steel tool chest from Husky
3) two Husky heavy duty storage bins
– And finally, I’m going to show you the fruits of my big labor and fill you in on exactly how one 40-year-old guy in the middle of Pennsylvania has managed to take his one car garage and make it into his own private hideaway that’s equal parts storage shack/workshop/writing quarters/and fishing tackle shop.
So, join me, okay?
Because I am really psyched to make this old garage just right one more time.