No hammer no glory

What feels better than taking a sledge hammer to the wall? Landing your blow and having the lights go out.

While visiting our family and friends in St. Petersburg, we got a chance to do exactly that.

Our friends Masha and Ljosha are getting ready to open their first craft store, a Russian version of Joann’s with a hipster twist.  It’s called Fat Cat. You should see the cat that inspired it.

August first was their first day of remodeling, and a dump truck came in the morning to haul out what had been left from a drivers’ ed school that used to occupy their space. Even a dissected engine was gone.  But the vault had stayed.

By the time we came in around lunch, it was time for brutal force. On a side note, it’s difficult not to admire people who had a vision and guts to transform a torture chamber with institutional yellow walls and a musty smell of test anxiety into a place that inspires creativity and lets people play with their buttons and ribbons and create things that become tokens of love.

On a practical note, I also admire the fact that they not only do they have the guts and knowledge to launch a business but also how to remodel the space with their own four hands. Which wall to break and which to build. How to make two bathrooms out of one. And how to pull a brick wall apart to make room for a new front door without having all five stories collapse.

One thing I’m sad about is that we didn’t write our names, or anything else for that matter, on the newly sanded walls about to be covered with wall paper. That was our one shot at posterity and we blew it. On the other hand, we can say we were instrumental in the transformation:


Also while in Russia, I saw this commercial for – meaning – a site for all sorts of power tools calling itself a “territory of male shopping.”  A guy gets left with a to-do list of household chores by his supermodel wife, gets up from his soccer game and … makes dinner with a chain saw.


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