From The Car Guy - Sept 10
By Lance Lambert
Several years ago my family began searching for our next home. The current one was just fine with one big exception, at least as far as I was concerned; it had a very small garage. The single car garage was an original; built in 1927 and, like many things built in 1927, perhaps with the exception of Gina Lollogrigida, was falling apart. My wife and I, having a combined I.Q. of nearly a three digits, did the sensible thing and had a new garage constructed. Good plan, right? Perhaps not. The current building codes required a thicker foundation, thicker walls and, as was proved by my actions, me having too thick of a skull to realize that the new garage would end up smaller than the old garage. We paid the contractor for his work and put the house up for sale.
Many of you know the drill; visit the open houses, talk to agents and inspect homes that are still available, usually for some very good reasons. “Quick access to downtown” means your driveway and the freeway on-ramp is one and the same. “Needs TLC” means the departing biker gang removed the graffiti on the walls with their fists, and “Pleasant view” is of the well maintained graveyard across the street.
We spent a couple of months in the search and even made an offer on one home. My wife and daughter made it clear that a non-acceptance of our offer would somehow be considered my fault and, as a result, I would be residing in our still un-sold miniature garage, and my daughter would not invite me to her school’s next Father & Daughter weekend retreat at the Happy Daze Campground & Jiffymart. The offer did fail but I was eventually forgiven for not doing whatever I was supposed to do to keep the deal together and, as a result, very soon the perfect house did fall into our laps.
My daughter and I were dropping her friend off when her parents mentioned that Edna, the nice lady next door, was considering selling her home. A call was placed and Edna invited me over. I knew immediately that the home was way out of our financial reach but what harm would come from a quick look? Two momentous things happened in the next few minutes; first was upon entering the home I immediately knew where all future Christmas trees (whoops, sorry; holiday trees) would reside. This realization was accompanied by a small increase in my pulse rate. As we got closer to the garage the hairs on the back of my neck began to stand up along with those on both thighs. My pulse rate increased even more as Edna’s tour brought us to the garage entry. The chorus of angles were about to sing.
Upon entering the garage I realized that before me was the Bat Cave, Taj Mahal (the building, not the singer) and the Playboy Mansion, or at least Playboy carriage house, all rolled into one structure. Again I saw where the Christmas tree would be located (yes, I actually have a tree just for my garage), and visualized where my 1960 Thunderbird and 1962 Studebaker were going to be parked. They would reside in warm and spacious splendor and still leave enough room for my wife’s daily driver, at least until I talked her into leaving it outdoors in the sunny Pacific NW weather so I could buy a third “but I really need this old car” car. No doubt that while reading this story you are dancing for joy around your living room or, more appropriately, your garage, over my good fortune. You’d better sit down because there is more.
Just off of the garage was a small room that soon became known as the “car den”, or as a friend later remarked, “Lance’s I love Lance Room”. It was the perfect size to display decades of car guy junk while providing a personal retreat in which to feel the warmth, being snug amongst my automotive memories (Why yes, that is a car show trophy that I won in 1988 for “Best Taillights”).
The family was immediately contacted and introduced to Edna and her home. My wife was smitten by the view (not of a graveyard but actually of a large body of water), my daughter realized that she would have her own bathroom, and I, once they could extract me from again admiring the garage and “car den”, realized that we could actually come to an agreement with Edna that would result in her getting her price and in return my family would only be required to forgo food, new clothing or participation in any form of entertainment for the next 30 years. The deal was done, we moved in and the garage was, much to my surprise, quickly filled to capacity.
Perhaps I should remodel the garage and make it just a little a bit bigger?