Tuesday, May 17, 2011

412. The Black Hole of The Garage

It has recently come to my attention that garages were initially designed to house cars. Who knew? We like to consider our garage as more of an annex of the house, or should I say giant storage closet.

Our garage had morphed from innocent free spot to store a few bikes and some empty cardboard boxes to full-blown storage unit containing an ancient refrigerator, extra wood doors, children’s toys, old paint from our last house, a floral-print couch, wheelbarrow, sawhorses, electrical cords, wooden crates, a desk from someone’s trash, and a broken piano.

The garage was a Black Hole of indecision. Should we keep the broken football? Put it in the garage and we’ll decide later. Do we really need 5000 boxes? Possibly—just keep them in the garage. Where did all these doors come from? Who knows—but there’s plenty of space in the garage in case we lose any in the house and need a quick replacement.

I decided it was becoming a problem when The Husband struggled to close the garage door after putting away something. What was he putting away? The lawnmower—the one thing we both agreed needed to be stored in the garage.

We got out the calendar, and with much military-precision caliber planning figured out a weekend to tackle the problem. We were both dreading the reality of dealing with our house’s giant junk drawer on steroids.

The Husband woke up early that day to pack his bag for Canada to get started on Operation Clean Out. I looked at my calendar hoping for some sort of forgotten salvation: a children’s birthday party, work at the high-end kitchen store, an emergency grocery shopping expedition … anything to get me out of cleaning the garage.

Seems I needn’t have worried. When I waltzed into the garage at the leisurely hour of 8 AM, the entire contents of the garage had already been emptied onto the driveway. I was confronted with a big, empty room.

My mind was racing—I could do so many things with this space. Art studio! Exercise room! Home office! Spa!  Mini-guest house!

Tall walked in and immediately claimed the space. “Oh, wow, this is so perfect for our top-secret fort,” he began.

Fort?” I queried, “Don’t forts belong in trees?” I was not giving up on my art studio/ exercise room/ home office that easily.

Short showed up about that time. “I get to have a new game room!” he chirped. “The air hockey table can go right over there.”

The Husband returned from his 700th trip to the driveway, sweating like an Olympic medalist. “What’s going on?” he asked.

“We were just discussing future plans for this space,” I offered enthusiastically.

“Ha! Well, don’t get any ideas because I’ve already mapped it out.  This is going to be Party Central.  I’m going to buy a flat screen TV and a pool table.”

I could not visualize putting my new art easel on top of a pool table.

“No, I don’t think so,” I contradicted. “I have other plans.”

“Too bad!” he cut me off, “You’re not the only one in this family, you know.”

Ignoring him, I began to explain the future color scheme. “Turquoise,” I said confidently, “we’ll need to buy some Tiffany-box turquoise to paint those ugly walls, install some French doors over here, and refinish those ceiling beams an antique white for contrast.”

“Beams?” The Husband pointed, “You mean those? Those are called rafters, and they are the perfect storage spot for my soon-to-be-purchased canoe.”

“Canoe?! Are you out of your mind? We are not buying a canoe.”

Ultimately, the garage did not become the home of my imaginary art easel or Short’s coveted air hockey game or The Husband’s fictitious pool table. The garage reestablished its secondary purpose after storing a car: shed. Now the wheelbarrow nestles up next to the lawnmower and a bag of fertilizer. A few pieces of sporting equipment hang neatly from hooks on the wall. Tools are housed in a small cabinet in the back of the garage. A car can actually fit if we want.  If there was a magazine called Garage Beautiful, we could be featured on the cover.

The next day, I happened to get on the computer before The Husband had signed off. There, on the screen, I saw a Craig’s List offering: Canoe, $50.

It might fit in the basement.



  1. how were you not horrified by your stuff all out in the driveway? i can't bear the thought of cleaning out the garage because people will drive past our house with everything we own - all our priceless junk that we house in the garage - and judge. All the while my car grows moss in the crevices for being parked outside.

  2. Hahaha... cool!
    Moral of the story: Sign off everything before you leave your machine. :P

  3. I forgot to say The Husband put his truck blocking the bottom of the driveway so it was not so much a "look-at-all-our-junk-fest" as it could have been. Thank goodness for that! Plus, people in our neighborhood are not up at the ungodly hour of 8 AM on a Saturday.


  4. How many people stopped thinking it was a garage sale?

  5. mearow-- I was worried about that, but no one did stop. Now, should I be insulted by that because our particular brand of junk was so spectacularly bad that no one deemed it even worthy of a garage sale?!?



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