Welcome to the Grosh
March 19, 2017 7:32 PM   Subscribe

User "Mazdeuce" on the Grassroot Motorsports forums bought a house near Houston with his wife thirteen years ago, and it included a somewhat collapsing detached garage. Being a stay-at-home dad, the time finally came that he tackled the menace in 2013.

Tearing the existing structure down part-at-a-time to slab and brick, he completely rebuilt and revamped it over the next four years (and 90 pages of forum thread) into the multi-story "Grosh", as his young son calls it.

Mazdeuce has also been recently featured in publications such as Road and Track and Roadkill for his efforts to rebuild the engine in a rare Merceds R63 AMG minivan ... by himself in the Grosh, in order to save $57,000.00.
posted by mrbill (43 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
I discovered this from the Roadkill link to the thread about the R63 rebuild.. and then branched off when someone posted a link in that thread, to the "Grosh" thread.. and then spent about six hours yesterday reading the entire thing. It's the most amazing DIY project I've ever seen.
posted by mrbill at 7:34 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


This makes me want to go out and build something. I'd probably give up after five minutes when I realize that building stuff is hard, but still.
posted by simen at 8:51 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


This is marvelous. I love forum threads like this.
posted by rtha at 8:53 PM on March 19 [1 favorite]


Berkeleyingly epic.
posted by gwint at 9:06 PM on March 19 [7 favorites]


I can't imagine where someone gets the energy to take on a project like that. I'm getting exhausted just looking at the pictures.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:05 PM on March 19 [2 favorites]


*Such* an engrossing read.
posted by Pronoiac at 11:18 PM on March 19


I loved the early bit about having loads of time to do the project after the kids go to school and the cleaning and shopping is done and taking a break to get lunch with his wife....loads of time available! And later someone in the thread offering to "manny" the kids in exchange for a room in the garage.
posted by amanda at 4:09 AM on March 20


That's a pretty impressive build.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:43 AM on March 20


~I can't imagine where someone gets the energy to take on a project like that.
~I loved the early bit about having loads of time to do the project after the kids go to school and the cleaning and shopping is done and taking a break to get lunch with his wife...


I read things like that thread and , after beating myself up severely for not having anything close to that level of ambition and ability, wonder where they keep the mountain of money required to do all of it on, apparently, a single income.

Impressive work, if more than a little demoralizing personally.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:50 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


Thorzdad, he mentions at some point that his wife drills oil wells, which goes a long way to answering the question we both had.
posted by wotsac at 7:08 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I'm guessing they live in an area with a low cost of living. That probably makes having a stay-at-home parent both economically feasible and desirable.

Anyway while I'll never have this level of energy and ability, it has inspired me to get my damn basement in order.
posted by xthlc at 7:10 AM on March 20


I want to be part of a community where the user ranks are all some variant of "Dork" <_<
posted by xedrik at 7:11 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I have also deduced that the forum has a filter that switches "shit" to "E36 M3"
posted by quaking fajita at 7:20 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


Thorzdad: I had a similar knee-jerk response where I beat myself up for not being that ambitious. Damned annoying things, brains are.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:51 AM on March 20


> I have also deduced that the forum has a filter that switches "shit" to "E36 M3"

There's also one that switches some word (can't figure out exactly what" to "berkeley".

As far as finances, at some point in one of the threads he mentions that they paid cash for the house/land, and keep 1-2 years of living expenses in the bank at a minimum.
posted by mrbill at 8:13 AM on March 20


He's also in an area (Huston?) that doesn't need things like building permits, have mandatory inspections or have any zoning laws. The spare room over the garage would need an occupancy permit at least in my neck of the woods, something a straight up garage might not require, for instance.

There's a few places where he could benefit from talking to someone who knows code. He messes up his insulation and has to retrofit a fix meaning more roof work at one point. He sort of gets away with it too because he sees no real cold either, but he really lacks proper roof ventilation still.

But he's an enormously fast worker for a DIYer.
posted by bonehead at 8:31 AM on March 20


Woke up this morning wondering if it was a dream I had that a dude raised a roof by himself.
posted by gwint at 10:25 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I'm super curious about how much this kind of thing might have cost - scrounging and DIYing for 4 years, vs. hiring it out and getting it done over a month.
posted by rebent at 12:23 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Somewhere in the middle of it all he adds up receipts and gets about $15k for the main garage. Doesn't include quite everything, but maybe 85%. Then he adds the covered parking, etc. so figure a few more bucks. That's pretty damn cheap, all things considered. Doesn't account for his time, though.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:31 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That thread has more twists than The Village.

Seriously though the Deuces remind me a lot of my family (unfortunately except for the high-paying oilfield engineer job). Decaying autocross project cars, house and outbuildings in a constant state of construction, "how hard could it be to build a second story addition?" "Oh shit that wall was load bearing!"

Doesn't account for his time, though.

He's a stay-at-home dad with 4 kids in school. I'm not saying his time is worthless, but I will say that rebuilding the garage is probably a more productive hobby than working on his golf handicap.
posted by muddgirl at 12:37 PM on March 20


mrbill: There's also one that switches some word (can't figure out exactly what" to "berkeley".

Several words are automatically filtered to keep the forum family-friendly, but they are filtered and replaced with unorthodox alternatives as follows: E36 M3: for the "S" word. Berkeley: for the "F" word. Bob Costas: for the "P" word in the context of the female anatomy. Shiny Happy Person: for the "A" word.
posted by hanov3r at 12:59 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


He explicitly mentions that he didn't want to HAVE a garage (though obviously he does), he wanted to BUILD a garage.

Mission accomplished.
posted by chrominance at 12:59 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I read this through and then had dreams about it. All I remember from the dream was someone building a small aircraft, which is not much of an exaggeration.

He and his family seem really nice, too.

I wonder if that corrugated steel siding will look so good in five years...
posted by zompist at 1:44 PM on March 20


I wonder if that corrugated steel siding will look so good in five years...

Some of it is coated to prevent rust, and some of it is intentionally purchased uncoated so as to get a rusty look. (I live in the southwest, askmehowIknow.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 2:32 PM on March 20


Using E36 M3 for "shit" is absolutely perfect and hilarious. I swear that car broke every time I looked at it.
posted by Lame_username at 2:34 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]


This makes me feel much better about my garage. Of course, me feeling better about it doesn't fix the roof, so when I see how much further the gable is sinking, or how big the gaps are around the windows and door, I guess I'll let my mind wander to this garage, and this man, and the amazing things that people can do when motivated until my garage roof falls in.

Sounds like a plan.
posted by eclectist at 3:18 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Am I doing something wrong that I don't see pictures, or are there no pictures? I can see inline pics from people who comment, but nothing from this project.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:59 PM on March 20


Am I doing something wrong that I don't see pictures, or are there no pictures? I can see inline pics from people who comment, but nothing from this project.

If you're behind a corporate firewall, chances are it's blocking Photobucket, which is where all the project photos are stored. I found that out this morning while on the work VPN.

The thread just keeps going and going. I thought I'd finally gotten to the end and then suddenly Mazdeuce is like "guess who likes building trusses" and I was like WAIT what are you even talking about, and it turns out...
posted by chrominance at 5:22 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I've been reading this thread on and off all day (it really does keep going) and let me tell you this dude is mindbendingly excellent at starting projects, and the absolute worst at finishing them.
posted by quaking fajita at 5:29 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I'm off work waiting for my surgical scars to heal up, this is just the kind of thing that makes it all tollerable... I'm at page 69 and loving every minute of it, especially the story about boxes a page or two ago.
posted by MikeWarot at 7:10 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I'm only at page 35 (and enjoying the heck out of it), but one thing that's making me a little sad - because I've been reading the whole thing in gulps, probably, so it's sort of more concentrated - is his self-deprecating comments like "None of the success is mine, it's all her, I just watch the kids and cook dinner" and "Due in equal parts to my wife's completely unfounded support for all of my silliness and my baseless belief that simply trying is 95% of success, I will be attempting to build my own cabinets" I want to go DUDE you are homedad for FOUR KIDS! And you build all this stuff! And cook, and shop and all the other stuff that goes along with being the stay-at-home parent. That is a lot! It's huge! Your kids will remember this forever!

I'm happy that he wants to gives props to his wife and give public recognition to the ways in which her paying job support his being able to do this, I just wish he could do it without cutting himself down. He seems pretty rad and if I were closer to Houston I would love to go sit in his grosh and drink beer with him on a rainy day. I can't do carpentry but I would bring the beer and I can sweep and put things in Dumpsters.

Also, does this forum really not have permalinks for the comments?? Or am I running some script that is somehow blocking them?
posted by rtha at 7:31 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I have zero idea what he's talking about most of the time, but his enthusiasm and get-it-done attitude are really appealing. Thanks for sharing!
posted by soakimbo at 9:23 PM on March 20


I want to go DUDE you are homedad for FOUR KIDS! And you build all this stuff! And cook, and shop and all the other stuff that goes along with being the stay-at-home parent.

We are a society that devalues stay-at-home parents and domestic chores and anyone who does work for free*. We devalue it so that women will do it for free because if someone doesn't do it for free then everything falls apart.

*And, of course, it's not free. It is labor, it is hard work but we pretend it's just "extra" stuff that doesn't matter. And now that the cultural norm has shifted to two parents working, we get to add another dose of guilt on the supported home worker. Just because he's a stay-at-home dad doesn't put him outside of the cultural narrative.
posted by amanda at 6:13 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Of course, I found that kind of thing refreshing because he is a dad. Sure, it would be nice to see people who are doing hard work to feel confident in their labor and time spent. But it's nice to know that women don't experience this singularly. It validates the cultural narrative which so many women are told again and again is just in our heads. "Of course everyone values you, being a mom is the most important job in the world! It's just you who is uneasy with your role in life and not at all about the culture we are in that finds big and little ways to let you know that what you are doing is barely a thing at all. You should just ignore everything and just be you! Now here's an article about how hard it is to be taken seriously when you return to the workplace...and here's a man's opinion on maternity leave...."
posted by amanda at 6:20 AM on March 21


I'm happy that he wants to gives props to his wife and give public recognition to the ways in which her paying job support his being able to do this, I just wish he could do it without cutting himself down.

I think I found it refreshing because the attitude towards wives on these kinds of forums is generally more like, "The ol' ball and chain." In some of the linked threads from garagejournal.com, a couple guys jokingly refer to their wives as their warden! Then when "cool wives" like Mrs. Deuce or the wife in this mega-garage build come along, they are like angelic unicorns that must have the patience of a saint. When really they just have a good partnership and lots of mutual love and understanding.
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


From page 61: "Sometimes procrastination is your subconscious trying to keep you from doing something wrong"
posted by whuppy at 2:30 PM on March 21 [4 favorites]


Okay, just read the entire thread. Resisting urge to go out now in the rain to fix garage roof.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 8:25 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I love this guy, he's insane but in the best way and really, building things is a pretty cheap and useful hobby compared to say, golf or saiIling. I am half way through the car thread and its amazing.

I used to date a guy just like this. Like, when I realized this guy was building his own trusses I had to make sure they weren't cousins or something. Therefore, I have some insight into their relationship: the reason Mr and Mrs Grosh are so happily married is because he doesn't keep asking her to help.
posted by fshgrl at 10:14 PM on March 21 [3 favorites]


> Then when "cool wives" like Mrs. Deuce or the wife in this mega-garage build come along

One of my friends is a private pilot. Their house is a structure exactly like the one in that thread, except the front half is an airplane hangar / workshop and the back half is a two-story house. He lives directly off the gravel runway, so he can just taxi his Cessna out and go. I'd never seen anything like it until the first time I got invited out.

This makes it an AMAZING place to have parties (our main friend circle is Renfaire folks) 3-4 times a year. Put out folding tables and chairs and camp chairs and speakers, etc, out in the "shop/hangar" area.. someone sets up a projector shooting up at one of the walls.. inside the "house" there's people watching TV, messing around in the kitchen, and so forth.. and enough parking outside for 20-30 cars plus 2-3 RVs, etc. I've spent NYE out there for the past five years, and have a designated spot for my cot/air mattress next to the stairs in the house.
posted by mrbill at 6:39 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


... this dude is mindbendingly excellent at starting projects, and the absolute worst at finishing them.

In some cases because of project creep. And I mean the Godzilla of project creep. He starts out wanting to put a new roof on the Grosh and ends up with a second floor and a water closet which are both better finished than anything in his house ... and then he goes on with the lean-to ... and then he decides that he wants to take up cabinetry.
posted by oheso at 6:06 AM on March 24


I just finished reading the whole thing and I'm considering joining the forum, for which I generally have no interest, just so I can subscribe and not miss the evolution of the grosh. Thanks for posting this!
posted by Naib at 6:15 AM on March 24


I was a little disappointed that he hasn't yet gotten to the "tile the bathroom walls with license plates" task even after receiving hundreds of plates from forum members.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:13 AM on March 24 [2 favorites]


I feel confident that if we check in in two years, he will have put up the license plates and finished those cabinets. And probably started on building a trebuchet or refurbishing a submarine.
posted by zompist at 1:39 PM on March 24 [7 favorites]


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