First, a little background…
The marathon that is “having a child,” started for me about May of last year . At the same time, my company was starting to prep for launching our Kickstarter campaign for We’re Alive: Lockdown. In fact, the mini series was already deep in pre-production, when my wife, Blaire, and I decided to try to have a child. For some crazy reason, I tend to pile large life events with complicated productions. After all, I was the one who decided to launch the last season of We’re Alive at the same time we got married and went on our honeymoon. We had to make sure to have our recording session completed in advance and that the episodes were edited and “in the can” before we left. Grayson, my co-producer, really stepped up to the plate (and continues to whenever we need him!) He’s a beast. Not only was he running the show when my wife and I left, but the wedding was also at his house!
Then again, there was no way I could have known how long it would take us to conceive. I thought we might have plenty of time to move the production forward before we got pregnant. But, apparently, the first time’s the charm! Things were going to change VERY quickly for me.
I, somehow, tend to collect stress and still function. I think the only way I don’t
pull out my hair let it get the better of me, is planning early. When I heard that I was going to have a son at the same time as my production was launching, you can understand the amount of forethought that was going to have to take place this time! One of the first major red flags that popped up in my mind was, “where are we going to put the baby?!” My son, August [Auggie], would need his own room, for just the amount of baby supplies alone! Our house is pretty small: A little two bedroom in a duplex, with a small patio and detached garage. We desperately needed more space for a new person, and we were already filled to the brim. My first plan: buy the place and add-on another room. If it worked out we’d have the other attached rental property to supplement our income, and as a disabled vet, the VA guarantees home loans. It would have been perfect, but… well, the owner didn’t want to sell. Of course, there’s always other homes for sale in our area, however those are way overpriced. We live in Southern California, after all.
With that plan getting shut down, I had to go with my backup option: upgrade. Since I had previously struck up a dialogue with the owner about buying the duplex, I was given permission to improve the garage space, essentially making our home a “3 bedroom”. It was going to be a lot of work, but I felt we didn’t have any other option. If we didn’t upgrade I would lose my office, where I did all my work editing my [often loud] audio productions. I needed to give up that place, but I wasn’t prepared to give up my workspace. The way I saw it, if having a child meant that it would take me away from my dreams, that wouldn’t be fair to him or me. This addition/change was the only option.
I took a lot of time planning out what needed to be done. It wouldn’t be as simple as just throwing up a few sheets of drywall, no… this was much more, it would require a large multi-step operation. Remember how I said we didn’t have much space, well, most of what we own was stored in that half-garage we were upgrading. Everything inside would need to be moved first before anything else could be started. What made things worse, I was losing my best support, and time was not on our side; Blaire kept getting more pregnant (couldn’t lift anything), El nino was on the horizon, holidays were approaching, and throw in a bunch of baby classes and appointments for good measure.
The overall goal for the what we now refer to as “Outpost 1” [named after the location in WA], was to make a hybrid work/home unit, maximizing storage of our stuff, and also a working studio. Construction would need to be started late in September, with about a one-month window to get everything done.
After the garage was emptied into a nearby container, the next stage was to frame for dry-wall and insulation. The existing structure needed a lot of changes, the pre-existing divider had to be re-enforced, and a door needed to be cut out and added, then data runs, electrical, security system, etc… Thankfully, it was easy to manage and show where everything should go with the diagrams and pictures. The Outpost was starting to come together, with the help of some contractors and a couple friends, but still the remaining piece, large master cabinet, would need to be made soon. It was the piece that tied the function and technology of the room together.
Many hands make light work, so my brother, Grayson, and a friend, Chris, set out to build the entire thing in one weekend. Thankfully, I was given permission to use the workshop at the film school (Dodge College) where I work at Chapman University. In 2.5 long days it went from simple sheets of plywood, to a massive structure 8 feet wide and about 10 feet tall.
The outpost was then dry-walled, plastered, painted, and the mega cabinet was assembled and moved into place. I was shocked at how close of a fit it was. I measured and planned it all out over and over, but there is always still a chance mistakes could have been made. But, it fit! A few more finishing touches were done; furniture moved from my office in the house to the outpost, the old fence was knocked down and a new one put up, we expanded to a new backyard, putting grass in… I could go on and on about what went into the new outpost and the new baby’s room, but here are the final results:
It’s an amazing new workspace, where we can do some limited recording and sound effects… [not to mention it can double as an awesome man-cave]. With the rooms complete, it was much easier when Auggie came, and the book on parenting I was reading was indeed right, I would not be able to do any additional construction once the baby was born. We completed it in early November, plenty of time to spare for the holidays and before the baby shower.
But there were some things left over, inventory and supplies left over from the business (posters/merchandise) I knew wouldn’t fit. Outpost 1 may have been done, but we were just getting started working on getting yet another space for the business, #Apartment2c. More on that in the blog! 😉
Until next time-
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