Thanks for all the input! It really did help me figure out what to do. Which is good, because when I tried to discuss it with my husband he finally just called me from Iraq and said essentially that he has no idea what his opinion is. He loves me more than he cares about the garage, the deck, or the money, so anything I picked that made me happy he was good with. (That sounded really sweet until I realized that he was being no help at all with this decision, but whatever. It’s like I tell my customers when they can’t decide between two violins they like at my store: They can’t choose wrong so they shouldn’t worry about it too much.)
Anyway, based on city regulations, trees, yard space, and car needs, the final plan I’m going with is…sort
of a compromise. We’re knocking down the old garage and expanding it
out toward the alley a little on one side, and right up to the deck on
the other. Currently there is hard to use space between the deck and
the garage itself, so the deck will be spared but the patch of dirt I
will never garden next to it is going. With a one and a half car garage
we’d have space to store our bikes (five people’s worth of bikes is a
lot of bikes) and we can have a door that opens into the backyard. The
gate I don’t like will get taken out and new cement steps up to the deck
from the driveway will be put in. The new garage door will be 16 feet
wide and 8 feet tall, so whichever car we park in there will fit easily,
and I’ll have room to store the yard equipment and toys that are
currently piled up in the basement or getting wet in the yard. They are
going to cantilever an 8 foot overhang in front of the door, so there
will be some protection for the car parked outside. (We can’t build a
real carport because there is no place for a pole to hold it up and
still get a car into the garage.) The wall facing the deck will be
stucco so the kids can paint a mural on it, and the rest will be vinyl
siding to match the look of the house.
It’s not a perfect plan, and it’s more expensive that what I wanted,
but since replacing the garage is more a matter of when than if, it
makes sense to do it now while we have the money to do it and we can get
some real use out of it. I think it will be good. Even my kids, who
are never good with change, are excited about the idea. Last night we
talked about it over mud pie on the deck, and it turns out they miss
being able to play in the garage on rainy days. They used to bike in
circles in the one at the old house. I finally let them inside the
current one for the first time since we moved and they were horrified.
It was so dark and cramped and spooky that every one of them said, “We
need a new garage.” So there we go.
The contractor is going to try and squeeze us in as soon as possible
so that it can all be finished before August. I told the guy I didn’t
want there to be any kind of construction work still happening by the
time my husband gets home. When Ian gets back I want it all to be
settled and done. He shouldn’t have to come home to any sort of
upheaval, he should just be able to enjoy being home. (And by enjoy
being home, I mean enjoy the big list of projects for him to do that
I’ve been compiling since April. —Kidding Sweetie! Kind of…)
So that’s the plan. I hope we like it.
UPDATE: My husband informs me that he did express an opinion! He
said as long as the overhang wasn’t a problem it was worth the expense.
I was probably just too enthralled with actually hearing his voice that
I missed that part. I miss his voice.