Tag Archives: homeownership

In Praise of the Workbench

We’ve got some wasted space in our bedroom closet.

It’s not much space, really. 31″x21″x20″ About 8 cubic feet we’d guess. In a Baltimore rowhouse though, closet space is a precious commodity, and the waste of any of it is silly and shameful. For one such as the Chop, who shops for clothes regularly and likes the room neat and orderly at all times, maximizing closet space is imperative.

So we went to Home Depot and looked for a shelf. We didn’t expect we’d find one that was exactly 31″x 21″, but we were dismayed to find that we couldn’t even come close. We couldn’t seem to find any shelving broader than about a foot.

You can accomplish a lot with a good workbench. Just ask this guy Edison.

It was then that we strolled over to the lumber aisle and found some really nice planks of maple. ‘This’ll work.’ we thought ‘We can cut this to size, use the cut piece as a shelving front, and attach it to the walls, et voilà, custom shelving. We’ve even already got some antique white paint at home to match the trim, or stain and lacquer to match the furniture.

But we quickly realized just how impractical this plan is. Why impractical? Because we haven’t got a saw. Buying a circular saw isn’t out of the question, although it is a very small project to justify the purchase. Even if we had a saw though, we’d probably cut a hand off with it- for we have no workbench.

We don’t even have anything even remotely resembling a workbench. No old folding tables, sawhorses, nothing like that. Without a proper workspace, even something as simple as joining two pieces of wood becomes much harder than it should be. Ditto for painting it, so we’re setting aside the shelf idea for now.

When we enumerated our New Year’s resolutions a few weeks ago, there were a few of them we left out for brevity’s sake, and one of those is to build a workbench area in the basement. We’ve been wanting to do this since before we moved in. Even touring the house with our Realtor we thought that sectioning off a part of the basement for a bench was a great idea. Then roommate moved in, and our basement filled up quick with toys, action figures, T shirts, and sundry other junk which should have found its way to eBay or the dump a long time ago.

Having a bench handy will not only enable us to build and repair things around the house, it will also enable us to build up a decent collection of tools as the need for them arises. As it is now, our humble set of tools is in a box. Not a toolbox, mind you, but a cardboard box. They blend in very nicely with the rest of the junk down there, and we’re hesitant to bring home anything for which we don’t have a place.

Aside from all the practical concerns though, we’ve got to admit that we’re also drawn by the sheer goddamn manliness of the workbench. While we’ve been able to knock out every repair or improvement we’ve faced so far, we anticipate many more in the future around here, and having the right tool for the job and getting it done in a space you’ve designed and built yourself has a deep inherent satisfaction, and we suspect that chasing that satisfaction will have us spending more of our Sundays accomplishing home improvements, and fewer of them sulking around, listening to Belle and Sebastian and looking at the sex stories and personal essays on nerve.com.

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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ 9:30 Club Tonight

Every once in a while, the Chop likes to play a little game called Name a band that could compel us to drive to the 9:30 club. So far, it’s been a losing endeavor. It’s hard to think of any band in America right now that could do it. Some acts (like Morrissey or the Pixies) could, but they’ve outgrown 9:30, and are usually prohibitively expensive. We’ve taken a principled stance against almost all reunion tours, and turn up our nose at them. Most of our favorite bands going today are too small to book into 9:30, and the ones who fit there (like Ranier Maria or the Hold Steady) We’ve seen too many times before to bother with 9:30.

The Gaslight Anthem is the one band who might maybe convince us to set foot inside the 9:30 club.

So we’re totally skipping out on Ted Leo when he plays there tonight with Screaming Females and Obits.

Ted Leo plays the 9:30 Club tonight. 7 pm doors.

We can understand why some indie kids go totally nuts for Ted Leo. We get it. Problem is, we like him just okay. The Chop has seen Ted Leo plenty of times before, and in truth he’s always been one of our favorite performers to heckle. Maybe it’s because all those kids do love him so much. Maybe it’s because he’s a good sport and can give as good as he gets. Maybe it’s because yelling out the names of Elvis Costello songs hits a little too close to home. Whatever it is, we can scarcely help ourselves when Ted hits the stage.

So if we’re not rocking out in DC tonight, what are we doing? Being a responsible fucking grown-ass adult, that’s what. Stacking up that paper, that’s what. Everyday we hustlin’, that’s what.

Yeah. We’re going down to the union hall for the monthly meeting today. While we’re there, we’re going to collect a few G’s that are owed to the Chop. After that, we’re going to stop fucking around and file our taxes so we can get our $8000 Obama Money Tax Credit that we’re owed for buying our stately North Baltimore pleasure dome.

What’s our reward for acting so responsibly all day? We get to go to Target and bring home one of these, so that when we go to watch Brian Matusz pitch tonight with a six of Clipper City and a bag of Utz, it’ll be in icy-cool conditioned air.

The best part? Roommate’s going to the show, and we’ve got the place to ourselves for the night.

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This Is Why You Don’t Deserve A Raise.

As you’re beginning to figure out, The Baltimore Chop is always on top of its game. We do what the hell we say we’re going to do, and when we say we’ll do it. Of course, our timing is always impeccable, and our attention to detail unimpeachable.

So we’re very disappointed when others fail to meet their obligations. We’re not one to lose our cool, but we are highly vexed by those of you (and you know goddamn well who you are) who wait until Friday afternoon to contact the parties with whom you do business, and say in effect:

‘Oh, remember that thing you were depending on me for? Well, I didn’t get around to it, and I need something else from you, and by the way I’m already mentally checked out since I’m leaving the office early today and going away for the weekend and probably taking a ‘personal day’ on Monday.’

This is entirely unacceptable. Don’t do this.

It seems the Chop has been running into these sort of people Every Friday since about the beginning of the recession, when everyone basically stopped caring and was paralyzed by fear. This Friday in particular, its the sales staff at Value City Furniture in White Marsh, who failed to deliver the sofa we had ordered. Normally this would be a mere minor detail, except that the Chop had already arranged for the Louisville Slugger to come all the way from the New York City this weekend, and we had offered him a couch on which to sleep. We won’t have our friends laid out on hardwood floors.

In related news, the Chop had a second date tonight with a very charming young lady whose father had the ill-manners and poor timing to have himself a small heart attack or some such thing, and managed to land himself in a Pennsylvania hospital. Needless to say the date is canceled, and probably wouldn’t be much fun if it happened under those circumstances anyway. We wish our (very remotely possibly) future father in law a quick and comfortable convalescence.

So while we’re tempted to do the call-around, The Chop is going to take this as a good excuse for some quality ass-to-seat time in our new armchairs (which actually were delivered), and probably make our way into Hampden for Bar Bacon Comedy IX at the Golden West.

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Bar Bacon IX is at the Golden West tonight. 10pm. $7.

The Chop feels like we might well be behind the curve having let eight of these things go by, especially since we’ve heard nothing but good things. Jimmy “Valentine” Meyer even won a Best of Baltimore award for best comedy night, although the competition probably wasn’t all that stiff. Still and all, that’s even more reason to respect and support something like Bar Bacon. Any asshole can pick up a guitar and form a band, but there are far too few people willing to try their hand at comedy, and to give it the treatment deserved by the serious art form that it is. So the Chop is excited to finally hear the Bacon for ourselves, and we hope Meyer will keep cracking wise for a good long time, inspiring others to do likewise.

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