Today is our contractor's first day of work on the house — so naturally, Sue Miller, Astrology Czar, posted a monthly horoscope for Leo that included the following:
People you may hire to work for you could be problematic too, and you may be disappointed with the quality of their output. You'll have to hover over them more than usual, just to be sure they understand what you need them to do.
Well, that is wonderful news, Sue! Thank you so much for coming to this party.
The guys are primarily here to work on the garage. (And the kitchen; more on that later.) Because we live in Southern California, garages used as actual car-storage facilities are not terribly common unless you have a gigantic one. We're not hiding our cars from any actual weather, see, so we can throw caution to the wind and sun-shades on our dashboards and turn those spaces into guest houses, or game rooms, or offices. We have friends who've done it, and almost every house we saw — except for this one, apparently — had been given the goods by its previous owners.
Our garage is at the back of the house: You go up the driveway, through a car port and a chain-link gate, then across a small chunk of patio before pulling inside. (Not that we have ever done this; it has never been empty until today.) So this little tucked-away space is ideal for hanging out: You can close it off from the driveway, roll up the garage door, and leave it that way, so people can party on the patio or wander in and watch TV or play Wii or what have you, maybe go around to the hot tub… plus, Kevin can keep a workstation in there for himself. Ah, the possibilities.
But of course, we couldn't do that while the garage was a musty, dusty, rotting hell-cave.
You might be thinking, "Eh, it's just a garage. Big deal. Garages are funky." But if you consider actually sitting down in there to do anything pleasant… no dice. People don't want to go in there. Hell, one Halloween, we played up its spookyness, hooked up an old TV back there and played Kevin's old homemade horror movies, made Kevin's old bowling table — now gone, having been nabbed off our curb by hoarders — look like a ghost, and put in strobe lights to make it all haunted and ugly, and STILL people didn't even want to go in there. Not even the people IN the old homemade horror movies.
I can't imagine why. It's so pretty! Also: I know that may look structurally unsound, or moldy, but it is neither. Or so we've been told. I won't promise, because that will tempt the planets to spin into my house of GOTCHA. And check out this groovy door:
Bowed in the middle, splitting along the bottom…
Purest awesomeness. Although actually, we did just find out that the reason it never opened all the way is because the brainiac who installed the lock — which we never used; I know this because I never found out it existed until two hours ago — put it so that the mechanism blocked the door from moving completely. Well done, ace. So that makes the door look about ten years more ancient and worthless than it actually is, but… it's like the difference between an 80-year old and a 90-year old: Sure, one has more marbles in the bag, but still not enough to play a game. You can imagine how good it felt today to watch the dudes smash through it with a sledgehammer (or whatever it was; I couldn't see because they busted through it from the inside, but I may have applauded).
The trick is to do all this work so that it's still legally, real-estate-wise, a garage — which basically means, it has to have a garage door that's operable, so that no matter what you do to the floor, theoretically somebody someday could drive into it and leave their car there without leaving a giant pile of rubble in his or her wake.
So, we're swapping in a garage door with windows up along top, and some sort of method in place wherein we could put up a shade or curtains that won't impede the door's function but would keep asshats from peering in at our stuff while we're away; cutting a regular-size door (with a step down to the ground, to make it flood-safe) and a window into the right-side wall, which will overlook/exit next to the hot tub; making the ceiling flat so that it creates attic storage above it, and adding a descending ladder; doing an epoxy floor; putting in wall storage; cutting a drainage trench outside the door just to be safe; putting in an edit station for Kevin in the corner; adding plenty of outlets; installing a small a/c unit and replacing the ceiling fan; adding recessed lighting on zoned dimmers; insulating it and dry-walling it… and a bunch of other things, many of which use words like "joist" that make my eyes cross and sound like a sex act.
The idea, then, is to put a TV and a couch in there, probably our dart board, a spare fridge, and other things so that on a nice football Saturday we can open it up and let the dudes play in the yard or in the garage, without fear of them getting splinters or eating sawdust or making close friends with something that has "mite" in its name. And if Kevin has a halfway decent yet still sequestered editing space, he can try to come home early some nights, be here to tuck in the boys, and then go back into his Man Cave and work in relative quiet with minimal distractions. (I considered using it as an office, and someday I may want to, but for now Mama is way too afraid of the spiders in the Valley wandering up her leg while she's blogging. Theoretically they could do this inside the main house, also, but we don't think about that LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.)
Of course, this all led to Kevin TiVoing every episode of Man Caves, which is how we came to see the one for the gun enthusiast that they tricked out with black wallpaper bearing the whitened silhouettes of handguns. GUN WALLPAPER. Obviously Kevin is copying that. It's so us.
As for Sue Miller:
If you travel even a short distance for any reason – and it is possible that you will – you must be sure your car is in good working order.
I almost ran out of gas on the freeway on Friday. Does that count?