Thursday, February 27, 2014

Captain Ahab's Focus

I suppose I should admit it to the world something that my wife has known for years: I’m not the best multi-tasker.  I don’t necessarily think of this as a negative though.  In the “glass half full” spirit of things, I see my propensity for avoiding multi-tasking as a direct cause of my single-minded determination.  I have an Ahab-like ability to obsess on one thing at time. 

Once my obsession has taken root, I find it difficult to move onto other things.  For the last two months, my obsession has centered on the construction of a new room off the back of our garage that we’re temporarily referring to as a “man cave”. 

A place for tables without chairs, cabinets filled with paint cans, and rusty file cabinets. 
Before it was the man cave, this room was a thrown-together catch all.  My guess is that former occupants of this house used it as a shop and a place for their kids to shoot their air soft guns.  The structure, such as it was, stood on top of a slightly raised concrete pad that takes up the majority of what was once a good sized patio.  Initially, I thought we could just tear down some of the old construction and put up new dry wall and replace some lights and we’d call it good.  But when we discovered that the entire frame was nothing more than one of those iron patio awnings we knew it was best to tear it all down and start from scratch. 

After we moved in I started filling this space with weed whackers, HD buckets, and gardening shoes.
Although this means the entire project would be much more expensive, it turned out to be a real blessing for me.  I was able to design the new room and add in all the perks that would make it truly usable as an extra space for our family.  Because this room juts out onto the patio, and the back yard as a result, I had to consider the exterior of this room as a backdrop for the garden at large.  To that end, when we designed the room I made sure that there was enough space between the windows that I could put my large planter box/trellis between the windows without blocking any of the light.  

This now fits perfectly between the room's two windows.

I also made sure we installed several exterior outlets making it easier to do things like power Christmas lights, corded power tools, low voltage lighting, irrigation timers, and anything else that comes with an electrical cord.  I also asked for an outlet to be installed just under the eaves because I thought that would be a perfect way for me to realize my Pinterest-inspired day dreams of being able to string café lights up into the mulberry tree that presides over our patio. 

Something like this is what I'm aiming for. 

After two months of construction, the keys have finally been turned over to me and the decorating will begin in earnest this weekend.  Once I have gotten the interior situated to my liking, I am going to turn my obsession to getting the patio set up the way I like it.  

A fresh start always comes with a renewed feeling of hope.
The door on the left now hides the utility meter and provides a little closet storage.
If I knew how to Photoshop, I'd erase those chairs from the picture.  Obviously I don't know how to Photoshop.

At my last residence, I was very much a container gardener.  I probably had 20 different containers on my back patio alone.  I enjoy container gardening immensely.  I used to think that I was a container gardener because I lacked the space to do more traditional gardening.  But now I understand that I enjoyed the restriction of it, the "movability" of plants in pots, the ability to easily change the scenery as my mood dictates, and the experimentation involved.

Nearly time to pull my pots and misc. containers out of storage!
I am definitely looking forward to letting myself obsess about filling up my patio with plants, pots, and power cords.  


  1. Ooo, very nice! I'm sure you'll enjoy your 'man cave'! I don't multitask at all, either, though I like to think that I can at least switch gears very rapidly, which compensates and is kind of a necessity when working as a teacher and a mom. But yes, when I want a project done, I want it DONE. I like to think that it's just called 'enthusiasm'!

  2. Wow, that is definitely a change, and for the better. I could use your obsessionistic personality here, we're sadly the type of people who roam from task to task, sadly. (Castle Aaargh, anyone?) We should take a page from Captain Ahab and you, look at the results! This is a very impressive new addition.