I’m just thankful I don’t drive a giant SUV

The last winter I got to garage my car was in 1995. After that, not only did my wife fill half of our two-car garage with her garden gear, she claimed female privilege and filled the other half with her car. So my car was relegated to the driveway and I faced daily scraping all winter. And then after we split I spent a few years without a garage, and then I bought this storage-challenged house. Everything that didn’t fit? In the garage.

This season, the snows came early โ€“ and something inside me snapped. 15 straight years of gouging ice off my windshield! I will not make it 16!

I got ruthless with my excess stuff. One big pile from the garage went to Goodwill and another went to the curb. The car still wouldn’t fit, so I moved a bunch of tools and gardening equipment to the shed out back. Finally, I screwed hooks into the ceiling and hung the bikes. And with that, I drove my car in for the first time since I moved here more than three years ago.

And it is glorious! Every morning, I go from my warm house to my warm garage (the furnace is out there). My car starts easily and runs smoothly because it doesn’t have to fight the freezing cold. And when the ice storm hit last month I was mercifully spared from having to blast two inches of ice off my car โ€“ including breaking the car free from the driveway, to which it certainly would have been frozen.

But it’s a tight fit. The passenger-side doors open only a few inches before striking the wall, rendering them useless. The rear driver-side door won’t open all the way either, thanks to my workbench, but if my sons contort themselves a little bit they can get in.

My house was built in 1969. Consider that year’s Chevy Impala, a common family car. It was a whopping 18 feet long and almost seven feet wide โ€“ more than four feet longer and about a foot wider than my Toyota. And so I ask: Who in his right mind would build such a tiny garage in 1969? The Impala would fit in my garage only if I emptied it โ€“ no shelves, no workbench, no washer and dryer. And I would have to be super careful driving the Impala in and out, as it is almost as wide as the door!

The couple who built this place must have owned a Volkswagen Beetle!

Actually, I wouldn’t mind having the Impala. I love classic cars. Check out my visit to a big muscle car auction.


10 responses to “I’m just thankful I don’t drive a giant SUV”

  1. versa kay Avatar

    I cherish my Tata Nano, for more such reasons.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Now that is a small car!

  2. Lone Primate Avatar

    Congrats, JG! I love that. That kind of proactive, pays-dividends industry is often is own reward. Fifteen years, yow. I hated just parking outside at work and having to scrape the car fifteen, twenty times a year because of it. I sure can relate! One of the “must haves” on my list when I was looking for a place to buy was indoor/underground parking.

    I’ve wondered a lot about the cars of the 60s in parking lots. Do we just repaint the lines narrower now, and thus get more spots, or were they that narrow back then and people just squeezed out of their cars? I’m inclined to believe the former, but I honestly don’t remember seeing evidence of wider spots anywhere, and you’d think there’d be some…

    1. Jim Avatar

      They did repaint parking lot lines. I remember at first seeing certain sections repainted, often with “SMALL CAR” stenciled on the asphalt. Then entire parking lots were repainted with narrower spaces. Makes me wonder how ginormous SUVs handle parking today, with all the spaces sized for smaller cars.

  3. Convoluted Logic Avatar

    Ahh, the little things in life… After four years in the land of ice and snow I’ve yet to obtain a garage. Looks like you guys had someting similar to a mild Minnesota winter, glad you survived the ice storm.

  4. ryoko861 Avatar

    But you have to remember, in 1969, they didn’t have as much stuff!!! My parents house was built in 1957. Cookie cutter housing was just starting, and they jumped on the bandwagon. It has one garage. They fit our 1950’s Mercury in it! And if certain items were strategically placed along the walls, forget it. But we didn’t have nearly HALF the stuff we have now. You should see what we did to our two car garage. We managed to get another car in it! Yeah, ain’t we special?

    1. Jim Avatar

      You’re right, we have way more stuff today. But you gotta understand that I bought this house post-divorce and I didn’t have very much to begin with! My living room had no furniture for 2 years!

  5. ryoko861 Avatar

    Oh, and congrats on getting the car inside! I can relate to that feeling! Nothing like a nice, dry, warm, toasty car to get into on a freezing cold day!

  6. Todd Pack Avatar

    Congratulations, Jim. It’s a good feeling, pulling into the garage for the first time in years. Good observation about the size of the garage, though. I think people have more stuff now than they did then. We have a 2-car garage, and we’re lucky to squeeze 1 car in there.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Todd!

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