Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ok, so I'm chilling with my cousin Rodney in Philly. The house on Player Drive is new enough not to register on my GPS. It's a big, red brick Georgian in a new neighborhood of upper-middle class Indians and Russians.  A police officer's family lives across the street. Inside Rodney and Cheryl's home is peaceful, serene, white walls, area rugs and sofas with well-appointed touches that mirror the Islamic faith that she practices and lives. She maintains a beautiful prayer room upstairs. Much of the furniture has been collected in the course of their extended travels through the world, most extensively through the Middle-East. Their military and government service has afforded them rich opportunities to build both valued professional and personal relationships in the heart of the region. He teases me, "Say, Man, you ever been to the Burj Al Arab in Dubai? Ever have lunch at the Muntaha? Two-hundred meters above Jumeriah Beach, The Palm and World Islands?" 
But when asked to chose his favorite spot,.."Man, I like Bahrain..."

     So Rodney mentions that he could use some help moving some things around in the basement. "Here, I wanna show you somethin'..",
He opens a door in the hall at the foot of the stairs.  I had already walked by the door several times since my stay, assuming it was closet. We descend the stairs to the basement.
I notice how much space there is under the house. Lots of storage in here...lots of Rodney's hoard of custom-made suits, stacked piles of moving boxes, and stuff they've picked up over the years.  So with a big grin and a flourish he laid out his goal to me... "Skip, me turn this space into a Man Cave, where I can come down here, play my music, play some pool and chill."

So I ask him, " You wanna get started now?"  

yeah, Cuz'.
That'll be great."
and like two gophers digging out a new hole, we got to work.

We put together several portable wardrobes and grabbed suits in turn by the armful, stuffing them in neat and tight..and out of sight. We waded through the boxes like water. We shoved, shifted, pushed, dragged, lifted, tossed and hauled  until we had a system in place, and a place for everything. One area was cleared out and swept. Half an hour later, another six square feet of space is unburied and freed up.

"What's the story on the pool table?""Hey, it's heavy, but we can put it up if you wanna try... let's do something special with this room first, before we put up the pool table."  Searching through a large box he pulls out bolts of fabrics and curtains purchased at Bahrain's famous Autumn Market. I'm selecting Afghan rugs, and rustic Iranian furniture. Then go through their collection of original paintings and drawings from Naples, Sierra Leone, Spain and Djibouti.  As the concept begins unfolding we agreed that we're going for a look and atmosphere of a sultan's tent in a desert oasis. Or a private club tucked deep in the maze of a crowded souk in Damascus or Baghdad.

Twenty four hours later we're putting on the final finish of the Man Cave.
"My Baby is going to be happy with this, Man..." 

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