Dad Garages | May 25, 2022

It’s graduation party season, which means that Kyle gets continuous access (and I get continuous commentary) to some of the awesome garages in Grand Forks.  Before we were married, I foolishly assumed the purpose of a home garage was to protect your car from the elements.  Now, after eighteen years with a guy who feels about grass edging the way I feel about throw pillows, I know that a garage is more than a place to store Fourth of July decorations; it’s a way of life.

Specifically, it’s a home-at-home for the type of dad who owns more than one hammer because “they do different stuff.”  For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to call these Dad Garages, even though HGTV insists they are Man Caves (or Mantuaries, which…well, is hard to believe is a common usage) and even though plenty of women and child-free men hang out there.  The thing is, women trust themselves to also sit inside the house, and child-free men don’t need to aggregate all of their possessions into a single room so as to protect it from sticky-fingered/-bodied goobers.  Related, an important part of being a dad is comparing your cool crap to the cool crap owned by other dads, and so a garage is necessary for a dad to causally display his collection of Bluetooth headlamps and combo digital skate sharpener/fish knife/engine de-greaser so that his friend dads can say, “Oh’d you get that at Scheels?  How much’d that set you back?”

The baseline requirement for a Dad Garage is a place to seat at least six adults.  Appropriate seating is crucial because you want to be able to sit in the garage but also still have full visual and physical access outside the garage so as to get your daily required fresh air and monitor all passing vehicles.  Plus, if it’s cold enough, a dad will usually supplement his in-garage heat (because this is North Dakota and a heated garage should be a right, not a privilege) by dragging a fire pit onto the driveway, meaning all of the dads need to be able to watch that the kids don’t mess around with it and also say things like, “Where’d you get the wood, a log guy?  I got a spot down by the river where you can get it for free.” 

To achieve this type of seating, in most cases the vehicles need to be removed from the garage.  One of our friendly neighborhood dads got so tired of moving his truck in and out for parties that he added on an extra bay – not for seating, but to park his truck.  His logic was that people needed direct access to the bathroom inside the house, and if he put seating in the additional bay (instead of the main) everyone would have to walk around his vehicle to go inside.  This was very thoughtful, and also made Kyle very jealous.

Speaking of the bathroom and Kyle being jealous, another one of the dads didn’t want his gentleman friends to have to take off their shoes every time they had to go.  As such, he put a little fenced-in enclosure outside of a garage side door so that the dudes could do their business under the watchful eyes of the moon and stars and nothing else.  As you know, Kyle was pretty put-out that his outdoor bathroom opportunities were taken away when we moved to town, so I hear about that privacy fence a lot.

Typically, seating is accomplished through camping and deck chairs; however, when a dad is really serious about fun he will incorporate bar seating (and, of course, a bar) into the space.  If you’re going to have a bar, you might as well get some beer taps, and if you’re going to get some beer taps you might as well get a kegerator, and if you’re going to get a kegerator you might as well add in those bottles that dispense alcohol shots, and if you’re going to have hard alcohol you probably need cabinetry for all that glassware, and if you’re going to have glassware you should probably get a sink, and really, every garage could use a sink because hoses “do different stuff.”  Our garage has a fridge and a deep freeze, which is “okay for now,” according to Kyle.

After that, the sky’s the limit for Dad Garage features.  One of our friends was recently divorced and Kyle went over to his new house “to check on him.”  Three hours later he came home and announced the friend has a TV and a surround sound system AND a couch; “So he’s fine,” Kyle said.  Another dad put in a window and bench seating along the back so that his kids could have their own warming house – which also serves to educate those boys on space layout options for their own turn as a Dad Garage owners in the future.

For my part, I support Dad Garages by saying, “Oh, really?” and “That sounds neat.”  When I am invited to sit in one, I bring bars and comment on the importance of being outside as much as we can and also, is that a new “I got lei’d in Hawaii” sign, because I really like it.  I also commiserate with Kyle that ours is filled with our post-move junk and dream about the day when Kyle can have a pee spot all his very own.

The photo above is of Kyle with his light-up bar sign – a gift from our boys who felt “he needed it” and he heartily agreed – in our own garage.

This week’s news has a license plate artist and a pack of scouts.  Read on.


This is the story of Grand Forks’ Cole Reimann‘s life-saving bone marrow donation, and also his work to create a national donor leave policy because one of the reasons donors back out is due to lack of PTO. (Grand Forks Herald)

Teachers in Divide County figured out a way to artistically engage Ransum Zaug, a 14-year-old with autism, and now the sky’s – and also, the map’s – the limit. (KFYR TV)

Two parks in Mandan now have Play Communication Boards to help kids interact with one another. (KFYR TV)

Devils Lake Scout Pack 28 gathered up more than 1,665 pounds of donated food for Hope Center. (Devils Lake Journal)


Let’s Be (Official) Pals!

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