To The Man Cave!!Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
It's been a few years, but I'm finally getting my garage again. Not just any garage though. It is, as my son calls it, our Man Cave.
He has been excited about getting a Man Cave for a few years, because I made him watch a show by the same name one day, and we talked how we could create an awesome Man Cave. His then 5-year-old brain reeled at the possibilities. I think he was envisioning some sort of sports bar with a fire pole, a bar with working beer tap, and secret passageways. Or maybe that was me.
(I capitalize Man Cave, because it's so manly, mere lowercase letters cannot contain the awesome power of the Man Cave.)
When I lived in northern Indiana, I had an awesome workbench. It was 12 feet long, was built with Southern yellow pine lumber (which is stronger and heavier than that wimpy Douglas fir most houses are built with), and the top was made from red oak plywood and had three coats of heavy-duty polyurethane on it. This bench could have not only withstood a tornado, it would have dope slapped it and sent it crying to its mama.
I named it Johnny. Johnny W. Bench. (Fans of the Cincinnati Reds know what I'm talking about.)
My garage was my Man Cave. It was 576 square feet of pure, lumber and peg board lined manliness, except for where my wife had her gardening supplies. And her car.
But other than that, it was my Man Cave. I would sit out there and watch TV (I had installed a cable outlet and a phone jack), drink beer, and smoke cigars.
Unfortunately, when we moved, I couldn't take Johnny with me. Partly because we weren't going to have any room in our new house, but mostly because I had bolted the thing to the wall with three inch lag bolts, and nothing short of a twin hammer impact wrench was going to remove them.
So we hugged each other tightly, Johnny and I, thumped each other on the back in a manly way, and I drove off into the sunset, a single manly tear brimming in my eye.
For the next three-and-a-half years, we could never get settled. We moved four times, finally buying a house north of Indianapolis. Not only did I not have a garage workspace that entire time, my tools sat neglected and unused, tucked away in their little corners. I couldn't have built a new bench if I had wanted to.
That all changed this past month, when my wife surprised me with her plans.
"I'm turning the office into a music studio," she informed me.
"But what about my office?" I said. "Where am I going to work?"
"Turn off the TV," she said. "I already told you all this."
The plan is to convert the garage into a work and living space. Drop some extra electrical outlets, a light, and a heating duct — and a cable outlet! — and turn it into my office.
"Hey, we're finally getting our Man Cave, daddy!" said my son. Then I remembered: he's been dreaming about the Man Cave for almost three years.
Admittedly, I don't get the entire garage. My family has a few things they want to store, including my wife's jewelry making equipment and supplies. But we have created our own Maginot Line of male and female hormones. The taped off line between Bobby and Peter Brady. Her female stuff may not cross to my side of the garage, and my Guy stuff and I will stay on the manly side of the garage.
Except when I have to go to the bathroom, because the door is on her side.
The new Man Cave will have many new features that the original Man Cave did not have. For one thing, with the new vent, it will be usable space all year. It will also have a dividing wall which will support a new workbench, and create a third wall for my office space. We already have the carpet laid down, and I've been mentally working on plans for the wall and workbench. I've already moved my desk and office accessories out to the Man Cave, and claimed it as my own.
All that's left is to build the back wall of the office, and then build a new workbench better than the last one (if that's possible), and the Man Cave will be complete.
I think it's what Johnny W. Bench would have wanted.
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