I killed my fish. No, seriously. Half of this bench was taken up with a 25 Gallon fish tank that previously had been home to a Rainbow Shark, 3 or 4 Chinese Golden Algae Eaters, and about a dozen little red eyed guppy like fish. Well over the years the shark died, and then the Algae Eaters died off one after another in bizarre places and ways (strange fish I tell you), and then most of the guppy fish died off over time over time, until there were only 2 left.
2 small guppy fish for a 25 gallon tank.
For the past year I wake up every morning walk into my kitchen and hope they died. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. I put them on a DNR/No Special Measures order meaning I’d feed them and replace the water that evaporated out of the tank but other than that – forget it. No tank cleaning, no filter replacing, no rock re-arrangement to keep them entertained. Nothin.
I now have a theory that these two actually conspired to kill the other fish to have the tank to themselves. Fucking immortal fish I tell you. That tank got FUNKY and still they persisted. At one point a “friend” (ahem) accidentally dropped a mostly full beer in there and that didn’t even phase them.
So this weekend, confident in their ability to survive even the worst havoc, I put the fish tank and all the miscellaneous crap that goes with it on Craigslist for free (say goodbye in 20 minutes), and I gave these two the last frontier and with a grandiose SWOOSH, sent them into the sunset. Now, it’s true – I don’t know they’re dead. In fact I have every reason to believe they are alive and well. But I still feel a little bit guilty.
On the up side, I now have this great workbench.
I don’t think about my dad much, but building this this weekend, I couldn’t stop. To walk into our house growing up, you had to walk through the “shop” to get there. It was the first thing anyone ever saw coming into the house. I think now this must have annoyed the hell out of my mom as I recall the first impressions of everyone who ever came over was usually a – woah, okay, lets walk through the shop to get to the living room! If mom ever wanted a “nice” house, well it wasn’t the one we grew up in. Not to say it was bad or ugly or dirty – it wasn’t. And I guess it sorta depends on your definition of a “nice” house, but in my experience nice houses don’t typically mandate you walk through a full woodshop full of stretched and tanning animal hides to get to the foyer.
Turns out my dad and I are quite a bit alike. Aesthetics are nice, but there’s a real underlying framework of utilitarianism in both of us. We are both clever, both fixers and fiddlers. And our work areas tend to be rather organic and multi-hued, ready to adapt to any project we might fancy. Because like my dad, I have projects. Things I’ll get completely into. Projects that invariably need “stuff” and “space” and will invariably generate it’s own amount of “crap”. This weekend, finally organizing my workspace, I couldn’t help but realize how close he and I had become in this fashion. And how comfortable and at-home it all felt when I was finished.
And though completely unintentional, like the house I grew up in it’s in the first room in my house (my kitchen), and whether I like it or not will be the first thing anyone sees, will be the first impression anyone has before they make it into my living room. As if to say, this is Scott, surrounded by his work at home – just like his Dad.
There are worse statements to be made about a person.
In fact I think the only thing my shop is missing to match up with my Dads would be a sander slaved to a salvaged washer motor via pulleys and timing belts. Not kidding.
I’d like to point out the contrast of my bench and tools – which have been accumulated one at a time or in collections lost and found over the years as compared to say, my friend Chris’s bench. Keep in mind, these are pictures of our benches completely new and unused (yes, mine starts out looking like this, I’m so screwed).