The World of Bar-soon*

Bar-soon vs Barsoom

As I write this, I’m delaying opening up the 5-gallon bucket of paint for a little touch-up in the room that we used to call the spare bedroom, but, for all intents, was really a junk room.

You can probably imagine the kind of stuff in there, as you probably have a room, closet or corner of the same ilk. It was piled with objects we used to use and still loved. There were a few pieces of art that hadn’t found a home on a wall — in 13 years, no less. A pile of stuff to itemize and drive to Goodwill.

This is the room that will soon be our bar.

Most nights, we enjoy a cocktail, be it a shot of whiskey with a splash of water, a microbrew from the growler store (Maltitude, in our case), a tumbler of absinthe if we’re feeling all hipstery, or a glass of the dry peapod wine that we made ourselves. Very soon, I’ll take a stab at beer making as well, and I envision the bar as the staging area for the fermentation of beer, five gallons at a time.

Jenn has been lobbying to get rid of our TV altogether. And while I’m not willing to go there yet,2 I did agree the bar might be a better place for it than the den, since it’s farther away from the bedroom, in the event I’m binging my way through “Game of Thrones” and its bone-crunching, head-lopping, iron-price-paying gore.

A couple of problems kept the project at bay for too long:

1. Four walls in seriously bad condition. It’s the only room in the house in which we chose not to redo the drywall in ’03, because we were pinching pennies and decided, stupidly, that “it wasn’t too bad in there.”

2. That collection of crap in the room, including, in no particular order, Jenn’s childhood canopy bed; two antique “portable” typewriters; some big pieces of music gear from my old band days, including a 35-year-old bass guitar that is the epitome of badass. The guitar has a giant eagle on it. Carved. Into. The. Wood.

We needed a bit of a war chest to make this bar happen. Sheetrock repair would require materials, and we needed paint, and I wanted to add some built-in shelves for a Sonos speaker and the PlayStation that serves as our portal to Netflix. But as you might guess, money was going to be an issue this year, the 12 months in which we’re trying to live on a minimum-wage income.

I was able to solve the clutter problem and the money problem in one swipe — once we committed to selling the sentimental stuff that we don’t, technically, use any more.

So we continued last year’s Great Purge for another couple of months, filed away a bunch of things in our memory palace and sold ’em at pawn shops or on eBay.

Indulge me in this final sentimental goodbye to:

  • A Univox “bicentennial” bass: Did I mention that this 1976-edition bass guitar has a giant eagle carved into the body? It’s a highly-sought collectors item these days and sold easily.
  • Vintage typewriters: The seafoam typewriter is the same model that Larry “Lonesome Dove” McMurtry famously used. This one’s been in my family for ages. The other was a gift from Jenn, which, with her blessing, I sold for four times what she paid.typewriters
  • 1950s Turner mic: I bought two old Turner microphones at an estate sale 10 years ago in West Point, Ala., where they’d been sitting in a garage since its owners big-band days in high school. I kept one of them and sold the one I liked least.turner mic
  • Mic stands: Atlas cast-iron stands that came with the mics. I was able to date them to the 1950s based on the stamping on the bottom. A doctor in Sweden bought them.mic stands
  • Aflac ducks: My collection of, like, 70 plush ducks from the time I worked at Aflac. My mom is still cross about this. But hey, I told her she could’ve bid on them… buncha ducks
  • Canopy bed: Posting a picture of Jenn’s childhood bed seems creepy, so I’m not doing it. We gave this to good friends who have a young girl.
  • Slava Brodinsky painting: We picked this up for about $500 at an art-auction fundraiser. It struck both of our fancies and was bought at a time when we were TINKs (Two Incomes, No Kids). Now we’re, I guess, OINKs, and not as flush. And when we saw what Brodinsky’s oils paintings were going for, the decision was easy.brodinsky 500
  • PlayStation 3 and games: My PS3 was about as old as they come. The batteries on the controller were dying and the wireless connection was acting sketch. But even with full disclosure, a pawn shop seemed happy to give me some cabbage for the unit and all the games. (No photo here, either. Because boring.)

In all, we cleared a little better than three grand for the stuff we sold, which was enough to fund the full renovation, upgrade to a PlayStation 4, stock the liquor cabinet, and buy enough paint to re-do the whole house.

Aw, crap. I guess that’s a new project.


1 Re the post title: I realize no one gets this. Sigh. Barsoom is the Martian word for Mars in the John Carter books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

2 I did have misgivings about buying another giant electronic contraption, even as our current telly’s useful life is clearly coming to an end. We found an interesting compromise that’s made us both happy. I’ll talk about that in a future post, when we give y’all a tour of the bar.

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