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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.


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!


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.


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!

Man Cave Monday: New Year’s Resolution

One of the reasons I founded this Longbox Graveyard blog was to keep myself on track as I sorted through my vast comics Accumulation. The idea was to hold myself accountable to the continuing job of shedding old books and organizing what I elected to keep.

As the Longbox Graveyard continues well into its second year this mission hasn’t stalled out, exactly, but it has changed a bit. Attempts to sell my comics haven’t been greatly successful (though you can help me out by checking out my bulk comics deals, or buying a select single issue). eBay has been a continual disappointment and I’m just about ready to grant a general amnesty to about half of my remaining comics (and trash the rest).

Either way, the “organizing the collection” phase of the Longbox Graveyard experiment is moving towards its end game. So what’s next?

I’m thinking about substantially remodeling my section of the garage to better house my comics, and to create a living space where I can better appreciate and enjoy what I’ve got.

the sad state of the Longbox Graveyard

The current space is just short of a disaster. My books are better organized but you’d never mistake my garage space for someplace where you’d like to crack out a book, sit down, and read.

ugly game shelves

I have a vision for the way I’d like things to look, but I will keep that to myself for now. This post is all about the “before” — a shameful exposé of how far I’ve let things go. As my Longbox Graveyard posts helped keep me focused on curating my comics, I hope these occasional Man Cave Mondays will keep me on track in the year ahead as I face the very big job of transforming the garage.

The first step will be clearing out the existing space, installing closing cabinets, applying some fresh paint, and doing something about the floor. I may also be putting in a wall …

back side of game divider shelves

would like to replace this shelf space with an actual wall

Wish me luck!

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