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Category Archives: Man Cave Monday

The Longbox Graveyard comic book man cave.

Man Cave Monday: Windows of the Soul

Surprise!

It’s been months since my previous Man Cave Monday entry, but I thought I’d wrap things up, for now, with one more post — about the windows in my Secret Headquarters!

The windows in my garage Sanctum Sanctorum look out on … trash cans. Yuck. Not much of a view!

Trashed!

Since my den of inequity requires little sunlight, I thought it might be nifty to transform those windows into display space for art.

I hunted around on the intertubes, and dug up some removable, self-sticking wall decals that were perfectly-sized for my windows.

The decals are shipped in rolls …

Tube City

… which are unrolled, and applied with surprisingly little effort to flat surfaces — like walls, or windows!

Window Thor!

With a decal applied to each window, it can look like a Silver Age church when the light shines through …

Silver Age Church!

I’ve actually had these decals up for several months, but I was holding off on posting until the whole thing was “finished” — I wanted to put a simple valance across the top of the window, to finish and frame the whole presentation (this is why we didn’t center the decals, leaving more space at the top).

However … we never did get that valance built, so I am going to declare this one “done” — and not least of which because it seems certain that I will be moving my secret headquarters in the next month or two.

That’s right, sports fans, no sooner do we get my man cave all tricked out and perfect that we are going to sell our house!

But that is a story for another time!

For now, enjoy the windows!

 

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Man Cave Monday: Broken Backs

It’s taken six months, but we’ve finally broken the back of my Man Cave Monday project. Just in time for Father’s Day, the hardest part of the job (which began as a New Years resolution) is complete!

Those desiring the full blow-by-blow of the transformation of my horrid garage into a comics collecting and reading space can take a look at my past posts … for everyone else, suffice to say this job has been a bear-and-a-half. But ultimately, it was worth it.

In my last update we’d gotten the garage emptied out and the floors freshly painted with epoxy. The next task was to install cabinets and start moving stuff back into the space. A previous comment here at Longbox Graveyard warned that sometimes putting stuff back can undo all the effort of cleaning stuff out — and I admit that dire prophecy was ringing in my ears as we restocked and reorganized the garage — but after hauling some of the detritus to the dump or the local charity, the “garage” side of the garage looked great …

the "garage" garage

… and the “Longbox Graveyard” side of the garage was coming along nicely too, with paint on the walls and cabinets installed to hold my voluminous board game collection.

transition

games to go

Those cabinets were a bit more expensive than I’d intended, but they have bevelled doors that look better than the standard-issue low-end garage cabinet, and the added benefit of feet that elevate them from the floor in the event of a flood (such as from a broken water heater). They also have little pistons in the hinges that let them close softly and automatically with a nudge.

The greatest benefit of these cabinets are that I can close my game collection away behind doors and not have to look at the riot of colors and sizes the boxes present. I’m not the gamer that I used to be, and I am still in the process of trimming down the collection (about a quarter of which — everything in that cabinet above — I hope to sell off), but with everything behind closed doors, I can reduce my collection at leisure, instead of having to look at THIS every time I walk into my garage …

back side of game divider shelves

Paint on the walls, floors all cleaned and painted, cabinets installed, and all our stuff put back into place … which meant it was time to turn this garage from a storage space into a living space.

First came the critical assembly of a reading chair.

building the chair

In the background you can see my graveyard of longboxes, which still need some attention, but time enough for that later.

That chair anchors the main reading corner of the new space …

reading space

… which is a heck of a lot better-looking than the disaster I had at the start of the year …

the sad state of the Longbox Graveyard

And so the back has been broken on this massive project, something I could never have accomplished without good friends breaking their backs on my behalf (Andrew, Tom, and Gretchen — I owe you big time). Special thanks are also due my wife, Rita, for her indefatigable support throughout this project, and for her own back-breaking labor every step of the way.

I am pleased to report that the space has proven comfortable enough that it has attracted not only your humble narrator, but also my cats, who find the new seating options intriguing, and also my wife and kids, who have all snuck out there at various times this weekend to read, or steal a few minutes to write on some portable device, or just to soak up the ambiance of the new and improved headquarters of the Longbox Graveyard!

This marks the conclusion of the major portion of this remodeling project, but Man Cave Mondays will continue as an irregular feature here at the blog. There’s still plenty of little jobs to do — baseboards and crown moldings and windows to tend to, and also more than a bit of decorating ahead — and I intend to bring it all to you with the mind-numbing attention to detail that has characterized this series of posts (and for a photo record of this project — past, present, and future — check out my “Secret Headquarters” Pinterest board).

But that’s all for another time! Now it’s time to get back to reading … and thank YOU for reading as Longbox Graveyard continues boldly into the future!

(Or is it the past?)

done!

Man Cave Monday: Floor Show

My masterplan to turn my garage into a comic book shrine slumbered through the month of April, but lurched back into motion this past weekend as we attacked my ugly garage floors. This weekend kind of marked the crossing of the Rubicon for this project — it is one thing to make a resolution, or to pack your things away; it is another thing to put in a wall; but to actually empty out your garage and scrub the floors with acid requires a real gut check.

That’s right, I said empty the garage. And not just any garage. I had to empty this garage, home to the sprawling Accumulation that is the Longbox Graveyard!

mess

Where does all that stuff go?

I don’t recommend it … but we put it all in my living room!

livingroom

After a day of lifting, carrying, and stacking my garage was … empty!

empty

From the outside, you can get an idea of the scale of this job. That section on the left is the future home of the (organized and spiffy) Longbox Graveyard collection.

front

My ass well and truly kicked, I fell asleep early that night, and then was up bright and early to greet my friend Andrew, who had offered to come over and spend some of his garage mojo on behalf of Longbox Graveyard. Normally I wouldn’t try something like this myself, but Andrew had already done the job in his own garage, and I was emboldened by his example.

The plan was to scrub and acid wash my oil-stained garage floor …

concrete

… and then hose everything out …

washed

… which marked the end of the second day of labor on this job.

Sunday was painting day. With the floors thoroughly dry, we mixed up our epoxy formula and got to work painting the floors.

Andrew paints the floor

We had a minimum of misadventures (and Andrew shouldered most of the labor in painting the floor) with good results.

drying floor

Better than it was, that’s for sure.

Next up will be paint for the walls, putting in cabinets, and the brutal task of moving everything back into the garage and seeing if the parts fit. Stay tuned for more thrilling garage remodel adventures in the next Man Cave Monday!

Man Cave Monday: Another Brick In The Wall

Another month, and another Man Cave Monday. My ambitious plan to convert my garage from a disaster area into a comic book shrine continues. Slowly. But it does continue. (Deep background and more shabby garage photos are on display in my January and February updates).

About the only thing that is certain about this project is that I wanted to wall off one section of the garage and make it a more friendly space for storage and for hanging out and reading comic books. I’ve been making up the process and the order of operations as I’ve gone along. I didn’t intend to put a wall in this early in the process, but when some very capable friends offered to come visit for the weekend and do the job for me, I was happy to jump that part of the job to the head of the line.

And so, after picking up a hundred bucks worth of lumber …

a hundred bucks and a hat-full of dreams

… it was back home to marvel at the carpentry skills of my buddy Tom, who hauled a virtual workshop to my secret headquarters just to do this job.

skilled labor

After some misadventures (and let’s just say that we didn’t quite hit the gold standard of “measure twice, cut once”) we had the frame up in place. Here my lovely wife, Rita, holds up her end while Tom anchors the frame to the floor. On the right you can see a couple comic posters from the secondary garage door that will serve as the back wall for the new comic space.

framed

And here that wall/door has been opened up for air and light, while the drywall goes up to complete the wall. Also in frame here are Tom’s wife, Gretchen, who did a fine job on the drywall, and my pal Jim, who passed through town for a visit for the first time in five years, and of course was put to work for his pains.

I am surely blessed with more generous friends than I deserve.

all hands on deck

Next we will have to sand the wall and apply a coat of paint. Then it will be time to make some decisions about cabinetry.

There’s still a ton of work to do, and in the aftermath of this weekend, it looks like a bomb went off in the garage, but for the first time in memory, this actually makes me happy — because the disorder doesn’t denote dysfunction; it demonstrates progress!

Onward!

Man Cave Monday: Resolution Resolution

The thing about New Years’ resolutions is that they don’t often survive the new year. Everyone makes them, and most people don’t follow-through with them, so it’s easy to forget your January courage, abandon your plan, and just blend in with the crowd.

I made a New Years’ resolution last month here at Longbox Graveyard. I am far from done with the job, but I haven’t given up, so I suppose is it still a resolution, though no longer a part of the New Year. Call it a “resolution resolution.”

the oath of oathes!

my oath renewed!

You may recall my previous Man Cave Monday entry, where I pledged to organize and remodel my garage to better accommodate my hobbies.

A little over a month later, there has been some progress, though it takes a trained eye to spot it.

I noted before that “The first step will be clearing out the existing space, installing closing cabinets, applying some fresh paint, and doing something about the floor.” That was putting the cart way before the horse. The first step had to be getting a handle on all the stuff that was crammed into every corner of the garage.

I thought on this for awhile and decided the job was just too big to take on all at once. Instead, I decided to chip away at it, one weekend at a time. I determined my first step should be to pack as if I were moving. After everything is packed away in boxes, we can move the contents of the garage into a temporary storage space and begin on the remodel in earnest.

This stack of boxes proves that I have made some small progress toward that goal.

pack as if to move!

So far I’ve cleaned out my hobby desk and boxed up most of the contents of my dysfunctional wire shelves.

(obligatory “before” shot so I can feel better about myself)

ugly game shelves

(and my nicer “after” photo, to prove I’ve made some progress)

empty wire shelves!

Most of my boxed games have gotten packed away. Here is the “before.”

back side of game divider shelves

And here the “after.”

empty shelves fill me with joy

I’ve also managed to pack up the old bookcase that contained volume after volume of old role playing games. I don’t have a “before” shot for this one, but trust me, it was a mess.

shelf

That wooden bookshelf and everything on it is eventually bound for eBay or the charity pile. I’ve secured a commitment from my oldest son to rip all those CDs to iTunes before we bid them goodbye.

Also in that shot above you can see most of the eponymous Longbox Graveyard, which will continue to be the center of this project, but it has (almost) gotten to the point where I can live with it. The garage organization, more and more, is pushing into the frontiers of other hobbies, most notably my gaming and miniatures hobby. I keep a hand in those hobbies but not nearly like I used to, and I hope to cull and sell off a bunch of that stuff as I get deeper into this garage remodel.

One thing that struck me in going through my gaming stuff is that it reflected endless hours of preparation, but significantly fewer hours of actual execution. I have box after box of carefully-painted miniatures but only a fraction of them have ever hit the tabletop. There are lots of role playing games and adventures I’ve created that received only limited outings (if at all). There’s even a massive collection of hand-crafted dungeon stone that I couldn’t be bothered to deploy during my last Dungeons & Dragons campaign, mostly because I lacked the organization and will to transport and set it up.

While I did get some joy out of crafting all these preparations, it gives me pause when I wonder why I spend so much more time planning than doing.

But that’s a pathology to unpack another day. In the meantime, the packing continues!

Man Cave!

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