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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Garages

I have a diverse group of people I call friends that fall into two categories--gear heads and not gear heads. These two groups utilize their garages very differently. Gear heads, like me, see the garage as an important part of daily existence. Non gear heads see it as storage.

Did you know that non-gear heads will actually fill their garage up with household storage stuff? Maybe they will fit a car into it, but it will be surrounded with a years worth of acquisitions found at Costco. Or luggage. Lots of luggage. And boxes they have not opened for two or three moves. Yeah, they treat it like one big closet--shudder.

So apartment living aside, I have always treated the garage as my father taught me--a man's castle filled with all of his toys and tools. A place to go and do man stuff. Fix, create, restore, maintain. Objectify. Treat vehicles like they were mean to be treated--with TLC. And collect cleaners and polishes. That is a huge part of garage ownership.

My first house had a two car garage, that for some reason also housed the laundry drier. The house was so small, there was no way to make a change, so I tolerated it. But the rest of the garage was all about motorcycles. I had a nice hydraulic bike lift, drill press, tool boxes, really cool tile floor, stools, refrigerator, stereo and a cabinet full of waxes, polishes and cleaners. This was during the HOT BIKE/STREET CHOPPER days so often there were 3-4 motorcycles besides my 2-3 bikes in that garage. I can't even tell you how many tech articles were done in that garage, but if you were a regular reader back then, you probably saw my garage. It was a nirvana for my riding friends, and a bit overwhelming for my non-riding friends. Side note about the garage refrigerator. There was a kit--paint and some stick on stops to look like tool box drawers--that turned my garage refrigerator into a giant toolbox. It was very cool. I have pictures somewhere that I will find and post one day

Then, I moved to Wisconsin. Um. Well. Yeah, about that. Not the smartest thing I ever did--except for the garages I had a chance to own. House one in WI was a 3.5 car garage. Huge. A single garage door and parking for Marcia's car (Wisconsin winters require garage parking) and a two car door for me. I had my truck on one side, my bikes and lift on the other and in the .5 extra deep spot, my workbench, tools, stools and garage refrigerator. Additionally that garage had storage overhead that ran the whole length of the three car area. Sure the Wisconsin winter was cold and long, but I could go to the garage, mess with my bikes, clean and wax my truck and generally gear head out amongst my stuff.

House two in WI, well it was a gorgeous custom built place on a lake, but it was a bit lacking in ultimate garage space. It was only a 2.34 car garage, but what made it ok was the 3/4 part was a separate room off the two car part. Essentially a workshop that stored my bikes and tools--a little less splendid than the first house, but the workshop feeling was really cool.

Then came the move back to California. We had many requirements for a house, but a three car garage was one of the most important. Marcia had grown used to parking in a garage, I had developed a taste for a clean, nice car thanks to living in WI and my bikes and tools and workbench needed their own space. So when we found a house with a three car garage--and the stuff Marcia cared about--it was a quick, done deal.

Current garage is not as great as the garage-mahal I had in WI house one, but it works. For the most part all I have to do is move the Challenger into the driveway and I have a two car garage of space to work on bikes, fix things, or create stuff. I couldn't imagine life any other way than with a fully functioning garage.

Oh yeah, and I still have a cabinet full of waxes and polishes.