Sunday, July 22, 2007

My Cave

Last week I discussed how I've always been a geek and how my wife has always been accommodating towards that. I've always had a place in our home for my hobby stuff - usually some place we could close the door so I didn't have to keep things as orderly as my wife would like (okay, and yes, to hide the geek factor).

In our first house, I had the spare bedroom for my stuff - bookcases and my desk, and the closet to store the comic boxes. That lasted until my son was born - then it became his room. Some of my stuff rolled to the guest room closet while others got packed away. Very inconvenient. All that lifting of long boxes to get to the ones on the bottom wasn't fun either.

In our second house, I had the bonus room over the garage end of the house. There I had plenty of space, even for a large widescreen TV. It also had a huge walk-in closet to store my many comic long boxes and such. Okay, maybe closet is misleading. This was more like the size of my bedroom growing up as a kid! Plenty of space. Sure, I had to share half of it for other storage, but it made it much easier to access my comic collection, my other hobby stuff, etc. I really liked that space a lot!

Two years ago, we had to relocate for my change in jobs. So, when we were house hunting, my primary criteria was again what little space would I be able to carve out for my own. We managed to find something that would meet my needs as well as what my wife had in mind for the rest of the living space. In our current house, I have a nice 'cave' in the basement for my stuff (a room with no windows). It is about ten feet wide by fifteen feet deep with an open archway on one wall to the bottom of the steps (on the other side of the steps is a door that leads to the rest of the basement). There is a large florescent light in the ceiling to give the room proper illumination. Because the room is completely underground, it stays very cool all year round. This room is solely my own and I am able to decorate things however I like.

Stepping inside, immediately on the right is my computer desk and chair. This is where my laptop computer and scanner. The two filing cabinets, covered with all-new Wacky Pacakge stickers turned into magnets, are the home for the many volumes of APA's (amateur press association) I've been involved with over the year. In the drawers are also folders full of stories and art and such that I work on.

There is a recliner chair as well with a tall lamp nearby, for a relaxing place to put my feet up and read. And there is plenty of reading material all about the room. The six bookcases are full of paperback novels, other reference books, comic reprint volumes, and gaming binders. There are also various stands full of DVDs and CDs.

Atop one bookcase are various glasses, all souveniers from the years I was in Student Orientation Service (SOS) during college. Above those on the wall are the framed group photos of the SOS committees from each year, intersperced with the awards I was given at a couple of the year-end banquets.

Atop another bookcase is a statue of Superman, done in the animated series style. My wife and son got that for me for Christmas at the Warner Brothers store many years back. Next to that is a Superman themed cookie jar and a whisky container in the shape of Ben Franklin; this later item came from my grandfather's brother's house. Also there is a ceramic Goofy that my father's sister made for me back in the 1970's.

Atop one of the taller bookcases sits a topographical map of North Carolina that my son worked on in the 4th grade. Next to that is a wooden Snoopy music box, with him dressed as a WWII fighter pilot atop his dog house. I've had the music box since my childhood as well.

Also on the walls are a a floor-to-ceiling vinyl Spider-Man 2 movie poster my brother game me for Christmas a few years back, a framed poster showing all of the original Wacky Packages, a framed promotional poster for the Justice League video game that came out last year for the Playstation 2, a framed poster that came with the Crisis On Infinite Earths hardcover collection, and framed drawings of varous role-playing characters of mine over the years - done by friends, myself and artists by which I've had commission work done at conventions. There is also a framed collage I had made from the color Sunday DC Super-Heroes newspaper strips from the late 70's (my parents had the collage framed and gave it to me as a gift a number of years ago. Next to that is an autographed picture from the artist of Superboy And the Ravers, a prize I won from a contest in the comic book. Scattered about the room are pictures of my wife (one taken as part of her wedding pictures) and my son.

On the shelf of the coffee table, beneath the glass surface, sit two encyclopedia volumes - one for DC Comics and one for Marvel Comics. Sometimes I'll swap those around with coffee table tomes that cover the complete history of Hanna-Barbera cartoons and Disney animation. It really just depends on which ones I had out to read last.

On the back of my hunter green covered fouton is a Superman throw blanket my in-laws gave me last Christmas, a large stuffed purple crayon pillow, and a stuffed Cartman I picked up at the San Diego Comic-Con back in 2001 for cheap. I also have folded up there a DC super-heroes sleeping bag, very faded, that I had as child growing up in the 70's. I managed to hold onto that treasure all these years. Finally there is an embroidered pillow with a boykin spaniel on it. My wife and son got that for me after we lost our first boykin spaniel - the picture on it so looks like our Mikey. The fouton is a perfect place for taking a weekend nap, since the room is very dark when no lights are on.

My comic book long boxes are in the other part of the basement, all housed on a couple of high quality shelving units we got from the local hardware store. They are arranged in such a way that I can just slide the box out a bit, lift the lid and locate whatever books I'm wanting to read. This is by far the easiest access I've had to my collection. The coolness of the basement and the ever running dehumidifier keeps everything nice comfortable.

This is my place, my refuge, my Fortress of Solitude. It is where I can go to chill out, read, or work on my stories or art.


apachedug said...

Martin, I enjoyed reading about your cave--AND IT JUST HIT ME, I think I know why I've been afraid of getting married...I'm afraid of giving up MY cave! (Half kidding, but it's true too.)

It's interesting you took the time to write about this (you described it very well but I wish we could see some pictures!) as for YEARS, I've called my apartment either my "Batcave" or "my quarters". One good thing about being single--you don't have to have a special area, you get the whole place--whether you like it or not... :(

Martin said...

Doug, I'll see what I can do about adding some pictures one of these days. You are right, getting married means limiting your personal space some. But, in some ways, it keeps me from going overboard. With one room, I have to prioritize and keep some perspective.