Category Archives: Privacy

Personal Space? Possible Even in Tight Quarters

Happy Wednesday!

Before I start, here’s an exclusive coupon for Lowe’s if you’re thinking about doing some remodeling and freeing up space.

Where are these weeks going?  I swear they fly past quicker than I can even think.  Granted I’m sure part of it is that my email in-box is starting to fill up with the beginning of the year requests.  I won’t complain about this one bit. As they say, idle hands!

So as is normal policy around the D.Coop Bloggie, Wednesdays are meant for trolling the interweb and leaving my mark on someone else’s page. This week?  Our normal coup at MomtrendsTuesday we went all gangbusters on the mancave but what happens when you’re short on space?  I know that we all can’t live in big(ger) houses with multiple rooms and we sometimes resort to 1-bedroom junior suites. Or studios. Or Grandma’s attic.

Even an apartment dweller needs a personal sanctuary! 

Enjoy our little moments of personal bliss on Momtrends and of course, I’d love to know just how you have accomplished a personal sanctuary with minimal real estate.

And PS: We’re almost there!  Friday is just on the horizon!

Image via Apartment Therapy

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To Mancave or Not to Mancave? That is the question.

Mancave, noun: A room, space, corner or area of a dwelling that is specifically reserved for a male person to be in solitary condition, away from the rest of the household in order to work, play, involve himself in certain hobbies, activities without interruption.

– Urban Dictionary

Grunt.

I am also pounding on my chest but because I’m not so well versed in the art of You-Tube and I still don’t know how to work my webcam (do I even HAVE a webcam?), you won’t get to see it.

I’m not hairy (save for several random hairs on my big toe, what’s with that?!). I regularly purchase and use deodorant. I don’t club my women. Well actually, I don’t club men either (I prefer my date alive thankyouverymuch). And my teeth are regularly inspected by a member of the American Dental Association. So I utter a few grunts and groans when falling out of bed each morning.  And yes, I CAN apply for car insurance online.  I think that this means, by last count, that I am not a caveman. Score!

*makes note on resume*

Granted, I’m not your normal guy. I don’t do sports (and by don’t do I mean don’t do without a drink in my hand). I’ve never read Playboy (by read I mean read without a drink in my hand).  And I’ve never fist-bumped three of my other buddies because a really big guy in tight pants carried a Stewie shaped ball over a white line and did a “Hand to Jesus” move.  Big shocker right?  Should I make a Steelers joke right now?  Probably not… don’t want to lose the one reader I have from Pittsburgh.

So, Mancave. Let’s talk about this for a minute. The last time I checked, we’d made it past the evolutionary stages whereby we all walked as if we lived in a French bell-tower (ie: hunched over), grunted our orders, and screamed Yabba-Dabba-Do at the top of our lungs. This isn’t the stone age and a great majority of us haven’t eaten Dinosaur in years (Though I’ve heard it’s quite a delicacy). Yes guys, I know the Mancave is that one space in the house that is all yours.  With the “Keep Out Girls” sign on the door even though Pamela Anderson has held a place of honor on the wall since her first surgery.  You know what I’m talking about.

“Everytime I hear the word Mancave I’m struck by what a giant step backward it is.  Does making a room sound like it has Neanderthal-esque appeal make it more attractive?”

– Meredith Heron Meredith Heron Design

Sure.  It is the one place in the house that you are free to do guy things.  Like play X-Box.  Or watch football.  Or fart.  And yes, some of these actions may seem a little caveman-esque (if I hear “There is more room on the outside” one more time…) but isn’t calling your room your cave just shy of asking to be hairy and grunty again? Bears live in caves. Cavemen live(d) in caves. Trolls live in caves.  Scratch that.  Trolls live under bridges.  But men, we have this great thing the Oxford English Dictionary calls a vocabulary.  Say it with me. VOC-AB-U-LARY.  I tend to think of the great TV men.  Dick Van Dyke. Darren Stevens. Al Bundy. None of them had a Mancave. Van Dyke had a study (and a chair with a really dangerous ottoman). Darren had his office (which I believe was actually immune to his mother in law).  Al Bundy had a toilet in his garage.

Call me old fashioned but isn’t referring to our “space” as the Mancave, no matter how we say it (try it with an English accent, it’s fun!) a little disrespecting?  A little self-depreciating? We’re men yes.  Are we gentlemen?  Some of us. But are we cavemen?  Not unless you’re in a Geico commercial. So what’s the point of referring to ourselves as such?

Before you get your knickers in a bunch (another indicator that we are definitely not cavemen – we wear underwear; most of us anyway), I know that it all comes down to semantics. That Mancave is nothing more than a word.  That in the end, it all comes down to one of man’s most essential needs (after bourbon, football, and sex).  Personal Space.

“In my vernacular, the media/theater room is a space for the entire family; whereas the Mancave is just for the men of the house to be a testosterone-filled play area.  I love the idea of men and women having separate spaces to relax.”

– Angel Robinson Write Robinson Couture Stationery

I totally get it.  The further along you are in life, the more chance there is that people are encroaching on your personal space. Usually it’s little people and they’re trying to play with your toys.  That’s Daddy’s Playstation, Junior!  Steve and I are only two people with a dog and even that can be enough to drive me to drinking. As such, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a room or a space or at least a futon of one’s own.  A domain that isn’t public territory.  To be the master of your own land. It is totally key and although it doesn’t necessarily need a door, it should become a personal reflection of its owner.

BUT, and this is the big but, can we please open up the dictionary and call it something OTHER than a Mancave?  Study. Library.  Mantuary.  Salle des Hommes. My personal preference?  Lair.

And ladies, naming a room is like naming his … um… tool.  When he comes up with his own personalized tag (because you’ve tazed him every time he said Mancave) don’t laugh.  Especially when he calls it “Grawl’s Room of Magical Delights”. Just giggle under your breath and offer him another beer.

Thoughts?

Images via: ScrapeTv, GQ, Toonpool

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The Big P Word

Congratulations.

You’re beginning a remodel.  Like how I made that sound all sarcastic and stuff?  The amazing things you can do with punctuation these days (though I have a feeling Hemingway or Scott or the Apostles figured it out long before I). Pour yourself a drink and have a seat.  You see, having a remodel is like having a child and then compressing the 18 years (or 22 if you were my parents) into one three to five month long process. There’s always a big mess, random crap shoved in the weirdest of places, and your sex life practically disappears. And that isn’t even the worst of your problems.  I’m sure you think you’ve thought of them all – how you’re going to pay for it, who’s going to do the work, which divorce attorney you’re going to keep on speed dial.  But I bet you forgot the big one.

Privacy. The Big P Word.

I see you grimacing, being very aware that you might be watched.  By watched I mean your home is going to be a virtual whore house of construction activity and there will be no fewer than a minor-league baseball team’s worth of people coming in and out of your home.  Didn’t think of that did you?

On Friday, over a bottle glass of wine I discussed expectations with new clients, prepping them for the remodel of their 1920’s bungalow.  Let me just say that this couple is awesome. Before I’d parked the car, they had a bottle of wine un-corked, poured and ready for me (they could have stuck a straw in the bottle and I would have been fine too, I’m not picky). Even better, they understand my obscure movie references. Maybe it was the wine, maybe they are just a little kooky like me (are you reading this Rob?).  But ultimately the conversation hit on The Money Pit.  For those of you that don’t know, The Money Pit should be a must watch for every remodel virgin. It’s like watching the one botched pregnancy movie doctors (and veteran mothers) urge you to watch before you actually give birth (except by the time you’re watching said movie you can’t back out… you can try but try carrying a teenageer in your womb!). Tom Hanks, Shelley Long, and one HELL of a remodel. Yes, it’s every adult’s scary campfire story (right up there with “Hair grows where?” and “Taxes”).

Just to refresh, there is a scene in which Shelley Long’s character opens her medicine cabinet and the contractor on the OUTSIDE of the house hands her birth control pills, warning her that she’s almost out. Yeah… it can get like that. Like seriously.

Don’t like that idea?  Did I paint a really bad picture in your head (like when you caught mom and dad… um… dancing)?  Then read on…..

Move Out

This is one of the easiest ways to ensure privacy (and sanity) during a remodel.  Seriously though, if you either a) can’t stand the sight of plumber’s crack or b) your remodel is so big that you will not have walls during part of the process, get out of there.  Pack your things and find a Ho-Jos or a Four Seasons.  For your convenience here is the Four Seasons reservations page.

If this is your house during renovation. Get out.

Ok, so you’ve decided to reside in your construction hell project. I understand.  Hotels aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and you probably have an uncle’s best-friend’s cousin that has a pretty big divide at the top end of his jeans.  Or you’re just into S&M and your wife is really a dominatrix.  Meow.

Set Boundaries and Expectations Before Starting Construction

Ignorance is bliss.  Well, not for you of course.  Before you start construction, sit down with your contractor and make up set some rules.  Before rather than during construction is the best time to do this.  Discuss hours (no construction before 8am, forget Saturdays, yoga time is at noon and mats are not provided), boundaries (stay out of the trophy room), and expectations.  And by all means, please ask questions.  The stupid question is the one that goes un-asked (or any question asked of Ms. Cleo).

Make a Schedule and Stick to it

This ties in with setting boundaries.  Time things like showers, meals, and laundry around your construction schedule.  If you’re awake, showered, and dressed before the contractor arrives at eight am, then you’re sure not to have any Who’s the Boss moments.

Designate a “No Construction Zone”

Important!  Sit down with your contractor and give him the No Play Zones. Let him know which areas of the house are off-limits.  Plainly mark them with Do Not Enter signs and if you must, temporarily change out doorknobs with locks (your bathroom should have one already!).  I especially encourage you to make a space somewhere for yourself and your family.  Make this a space where you can relax after work, prepare your meals, watch porn….

Give Contractors Their Own Facilities 

Everyone needs their own potty space.  You need one.  Your contractor (and his subs) will need one.  I’m sure you don’t want your contractor combing through your drawers and finding the medicated itch pads or tampons or prescription for that case of herpes you got during a random trip to Vegas (and they say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). The key?  Separate facilities. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one bathroom (and the other one isn’t being renovated) give your guys a facility of their own.  If a second bathroom isn’t available, splurge on a bright blue Port-A-Potty.  You don’t need to put out potpourri and guest towels but at least you know that you won’t have to worry about a “Sorry ma’am” moment.

*Side note, if you do order a Port-A-Potty for your trades, please be aware of your neighbors.  There seriously is nothing worse than that familiar odor wafting from a neighbor’s construction activity.*

Relocate the Skeletons

Storage Units and Safe Deposit Boxes exist for this very purpose.  Worried that your electrician might find the Playboys?  Your flooring contractor might dig up boxes of love letters from old girlfriends?  Gain a little piece of mind and just get them out of the house entirely.  Lock up the important secrets in a 9×9 at the Self Storage and worries be gone.

Had enough?  I’m sorry to have scared you.  I’m only looking out for your well being.

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