The Workshop Part 2: The Construction Begins

For well over 20 years I had been a landscaper by trade. During that time I owned my own large commercial lawn maintenance and landscaping company, which at times had well over 30 employees. So doing the little bit of work that was going to need to be done to make a place to set my workshop was going to be a breeze … or so I thought. The first part of the process was simple, cut down a tree, which I did and by the time it was said and done I had about a cord and a half of really great firewood. I also had a big stump. The smart thing would have been to have someone with a stump grinder come in and grind the stump down. No not me, I was bound and determined to grind that stump down on my own. I had a great chain saw and a shovel and everything that I needed, but it still took me almost two full days to dig out around that stump and cut it down low enough so that it wouldn’t be in the way of construction. This by far ended up being the hardest part of the whole project.

 

The next step was going to be to remove the sod from the 28’ by 30’ space that needed to be created for the foundation of the workshop. I remember how happy I was when the county called and said that our permit had been approved. I had previously called “No Cuts” who had come out and looked for any buried lines, so as soon as the permit was approved, I rented a sod cutter and cut up and removed all of the sod from that space.  I had a few yards of fill dirt brought in and I rented a very small hand-operated front loader to spread out the dirt and helped me compact and level the area.

 

After much research and a lot of shopping, we hired a local shed company called Tuff Sheds, to prefab the workshop shell and install it. We also hired a fence IMG_0340coIMG_0338mpany, made a down payment on the fence, and had it scheduled to be installed. Now I had approximately 4 weeks to fabricate the foundation that the workshop would set on.

 

Workshop Part 1: Planning

I must have drawn 20 different floor plans trying to figure out the exact layout that I needed for my workshop to be as efficient as I could make it. I had a certain number of workbenches that I wanted to have as well as all of my tools that needed to fit into a space that was small enough to be affordable but large enough that I wouldn’t trip over myself when I worked. Of course while I was doing this, I was also searching the internet to find pre-built buildings or sheds and pricing them.  I also researched county zoning laws to find out exactly what permits would be needed to put a building in my yard and to help me decide exactly where I wanted to put it. I pretty much knew where it needed to go but I needed to know if the zoning laws would allow it and just how big it could be.

A door in our laundry room exits to the garage and on that same wall to the right is a door that opens to the backyard. The space between the house and the property line is approximately 28’. This was the space that I wanted to put the workshop in but there were IMG_0306several obstacles in my way. The main obstacle was a very large tree. Now I will admit that the tree was sick and half dead; we were in fear that it would come down in a storm so we had previously discussed taking the tree down anyway. The stump at the ground had a diameter of about 24” and because of the root system it stuck out of the ground about 12” after it was cut.  The second obstacle was the chain length fence that was around the backyard. That fence extended from the left rear corner of the garage about 18’ to the property line and connected to my neighbor’s fence that extended the length of the property towards the back. Decisions needed to be made how I was going to handle both of these obstacles.

After much research and many drawings, I finally decided that the smallest the workshop could be was 12’ wide and 20’ long with an 8’ ceiling. It was also decided that because of the current workload that we had, as well as everything else that would have to be done to any building, we would have the shell of the workshop pre-built and installed on a foundation that I would create in the space that we wanted it to sit. I would then construct the interior of the workshop, including the loft and the electricity, exactly as I wanted. I had also decided that I was going to be very nice to my neighbor and I needed to put an 8’ high fence around all of this that I was going to build to somewhat hide it and to act as a sound barrier. This project was already getting more expensive by the day.  

The slave and I visited several fence companies to see the available options, decided what type of fence we wanted to build and hired a company to build it and install it. IMG_0307We also decided on a pre-fab building company in our area that would build a 12’ wide 20’ long 14’ high barn style building that when all was said and done would allow me to have a 4’ loft the entire length and width of the building for storage.

I collected all the necessary permit paperwork and submitted it along with my drawings and it was approved in about 2 weeks. Now the real work began.

Decisions, Decisions!

The initial research and planning phase of my dungeon bag project became pretty much an everyday occurrence during that first month.  Trying to organize what I needed to do and how I needed to proceed step by step.  Of course it all remained flexible, because I knew that things would change over and over as new information came to light.

The one thing that stood out however, was the workspace. There had already been many discussions previously with the slave concerning the direction that our backyard was going to take, including fencing, a storage shed, landscaping etc. We certainly had a mess to fix. Because of inheritance and moving our families together, between her and me, we had accumulated the contents of three houses and were completely overrun by our “STUFF”.  Between what was stacked in the garage and stored in two additional outside storage facilities, we were overrun and completely overwhelmed as to what to do with it and how to handle it all.  Several of the houses, including the one we were living in were in disrepair and seriously needed attention, and, we were consistently moving “STUFF” just to be able to this we need.  I knew that moving forward with ANY plan to acquire or build a workspace, would also have to include additional storage.  I had to un-bury us in addition to everything else.  Several key decisions would have to be made in planning the workspace.

1) I first had to decide how the space needed to work for me, including different areas in the workspace for different phases or steps in the construction of my dungeon bags.

2) After figuring out step number 1, I pretty much had to figure out what tools I would need.

3) After figuring out steps 1 and 2, I would need to figure out what size of space I would need to fit all of this into making the space;

a) Making the space big enough for me to comfortable work in;

b) Not have it so big that I wasted space; and

c) How to incorporate additional storage for both personal and business

As I planned on how I was going to reconstruct my dungeon bag, I carefully created step by step notes, parts lists and a tool list. I knew of course, that when I physically started to rebuild the bag, all these lists would change, perhaps many times over, but as I recreated the step by step process in my mind, I was more than positive on how I would want the bag to look as a finished product. So even though some of the minor steps would change, the major steps and parts used to create the dungeon bag would not, though I might have to add or take away from the list later or upgrade some minor things within a short period of time, I had pretty much figured out exactly how I was going to build the bag step by step and the major tools that I would need to do that.

At this point my next few steps became quite clear. I had to decide what size the space needed to be and whether I was going to build it or have it built and whether or not we could even afford it. It was certainly going to take some time to recoup whatever cost was involved, so the decision would certainly be one that could not be taken lightly.

Passions

I have had many passions in my life. For the most part, my greatest passions have been directed towards the women in my life who have submitted to me. I guess I could say that I have been a very lucky man. During the many years that I have been involved in this lifestyle, I have had many beautiful, intelligent, sexy and strong women submit to me. One may say that I have been luckier than most since there have been 3 of those women who brought out my deepest ability to love as well as my strongest passion. Once or twice in my life, there has been an idea or a career choice that has aroused my passion and become a very strong driving force. Such is the case with my dungeon bags. I knew that when I finally decided that I was going to build these bags for a living that it would quickly become a very strong and deep passion in my life. I also knew that it was going to be difficult, but I never realized how difficult it actually would be.

I have been involved in building a business from the ground up several times in my life. They were service businesses, they were not physical products. Nor did building either of those businesses involve building a website. I certainly had a lot of research to do, and I was positive there would be a huge learning curve.

I am somewhat of a guru on researching and do tend to over research the topic of interest. This is a compulsion to and part of my anal nature in regards to organization. Anyone who knows me well will attest to how anal I can be during my research and organizational phases (it must be a Dom thing…).

 As I sat there that 1st day making my list of things to do, and trust me when I tell you the list became longer and longer and longer, I struggled with the decision of exactly where to start. Frustration set in so I decided to do what I do best, research. I went into my closet, pulled out my dungeon bag, emptied the gear out of it, took it out into the garage and began to disassemble it.

I knew something had been bothering me but I just couldn’t figure out what it was, until it finally hit me.  “BUILDING A BETTER BAG!”  You see, when I was building my own dungeon bag, little mistakes and imperfections didn’t matter that much. NOW I was going to build them for other people, “OH MY GOD!!”, now they had to be perfect…

In addition to perfection, I had to figure out how I could build more than one or two dungeon bags in a month. What if this business really took off and the demand became so high that I couldn’t keep up with it? After all I was going to advertise that my dungeon bags were “HANDCRAFTED BY DAMONDARK”, so in my mind I had to be the one that was building them.

As I sat there in the garage on the stool disassembling my current dungeon bag, it became blatantly obvious to me that regardless of how I decided to move forward with this project, building dungeon bags in my garage was not going to work. I needed a space that was specifically designed for and had all of the correct tools at hand for my research, testing and the construction of my bags. What I needed was a workshop!

Before me on the garage floor lay a bag shell, PVC parts that I had used for the fame, several pieces of wood, and an assorted pile of nuts, bolts and hooks. I didn’t know it then but it was going to be a full year before I would see another completely assembled dungeon bag sitting before me. For the next year, I became one of THOSE Dominants that was forced to use a $10 duffle bag to haul my gear to the local dungeon.  What I did know though, was at that very moment, I was more excited about the potential of what was about to happen than I had been about anything in a very long time (as a matter of saving my neck, this does not include how excited and thankful I am that my slave has entered my life and continues to be the most important thing to me, however, the dungeon bags are a real close second).  My passion for building dungeon bags was already very strong and my journey had unexpectedly and decisively taken another turn.

A thought …

By very early 2011 my life began to settle in ways that I never imagined. Moving forward, I became more than ever involved in the lifestyle community. I mentor, I teach and I live a high protocol lifestyle 24/7 with my collared slave. Of course I am aware that there are many opinions and attitudes about the meaning of and the ability of anyone to live our lifestyle in high protocol and this blog entry is not written to debate those views or opinions, I reserve that debate for a future entry.

It was early in 2011 that I and my slave sat with friends at a local dungeon when the topic of my dungeon bag came up. It was complimented as usual and that particular evening, discussed in great length. That conversation carried over to the next day at home as I sat with my slave during dinner. During this conversation it was decided that I should move ahead with creating a commercial version of my dungeon bag that would be marketed via a web site and also by vending at conventions throughout the country.

I had never considered building my dungeon bags commercially for other people and truthfully I wasn’t sure that I could do it in a way that would provide the consistency, the quality and the dependability that I would need for the bags to have if they were going to be sold for other people to use. I was fully aware that when I put a Dungeon Bag together for myself, little mistakes and imperfections had always been acceptable because it was mine. But now I was going to build them for other people, mistakes and imperfections were unacceptable. That anal person deep inside of me was screaming “Oh my God, NO!”, however, with continued encouragement and support from my slave and my close friends, I began to research the possibility of creating Dungeon Bags for other people.

When I started to organize this idea, I had no idea going in how complex the construction truly would be. I also quickly realized that it wouldn’t be cheap and from my own experience, I knew that BDSM life-stylers, including myself, were not the richest of people. I also came to a quick realization that it was going to cost me a lot of money before that first dungeon bag could even be built.

It took several months of thinking and planning for me to come up with the basis of my product line. I researched bag shells, I contacted vendors and manufacturers throughout the country to examine ideas, quality and adaptability. I know I must have written a hundred emails in the matter of a few months. The other obstacle that I faced was how and where I was going to build these bags and cases. I had a few tools, but I knew that if I was going to do this for a living, I needed to have the ability and the means to produce as many bags and cases as I could at the high quality that I demanded of myself and in an efficient and profitable manner. There, I finally said that word, profit. I’ve relayed so far only a few of the basic problems and issues that I have had to face. As I move forward, I hope to help you see how this project has moved from inspiration to action and all of the steps in between.

Changes

Changes throughout one’s life are inevitable. I know that once BDSM entered into mine, I quickly realized that my life would never be the same.

Life experiences and relationships that we have throughout our life, I believe, ultimately define who we are. When you learn and grow and BDSM is part of your life, sometimes, but not always, you find a path and whether or not that path goes in one single direction or eventually splits into several, is sometimes but not always, within your control. I certainly was D/s when I entered into the lifestyle but through my experience and my research and the relationships that I held, my path has become one of a Master/slave mindset and attitude.

In 2002, I entered into a poly triad MMF relationship. As a group, it was every bit our goal to eventually add a fourth, another female, into the group and become a quad. Although the relationship was D/s based, I strove and worked towards making it M/s. We formed a House and lived together and in 2004 I began to put together a Book of Protocol that contained the rules, rituals, etiquettes and protocols of the House. This Book of Protocol became a four year project that would again help to solidify in my own mind exactly what path I had to take in my chosen lifestyle.

As I stated earlier in the blog entry, changes are inevitable and after 8 years together, the three of us went our separate ways. The two people that I held that relationship with are two people that I will always love and hold close in my heart. I know that the three of us over the years, saved each other many times. It is a relationship and an experience that I will never ever forget.

Since finding this lifestyle oh so many years ago, there are many, many stories and adventures and people that I could write about and perhaps someday, I will. This particular part of the blog that you are reading (My history) was created to help the reader understand who and what I am and the qualities, the wisdom and the experience that I have gained over the years that defines and qualifies me. As I add more and more to this blog, I will occasionally step backwards in time, but for now, it is time to flash forward to 2010 where again change entered into my life, share with you the beginning of one of the biggest and most rewarding adventures that I have ever had.

The Slave Manuals

In an earlier blog, I mentioned that after jena left my research into the BDSM lifestyle became intense. I must admit that I had no idea what exactly that research would lead to, only that I was driven to do so. The wealth of knowledge that I accumulated from mid to late 90’s amazes me even to this day. The stack of articles and writings that I had accumulated from the internet pretty much filled the entire bottom drawer of a filing cabinet. I never really bothered to organize it; I read it and printed it and then stuck it into that bottom drawer for future reference.

One evening, I was sitting with a submissive at my feet, watching television and the topic of the articles came up. I had never showed much less shared my stash of articles and writings with anyone prior to this, and somehow the idea of organizing the research into some form of training manual was mentioned.

I had accumulated somewhere around four to five hundred articles over a two to three year period and eventually I would accumulate around 800 articles that would take me six years to organize and categorize. The slave manual slowly took on a life of its own, and when I had finished the first edition, it was four inches thick and had approximately two hundred articles in it that ranged from philosophy to journaling and everything else in between.

Sometime around mid 1999, I ambitiously decided that I was going to break the manual up into four different books for ease of handling, add titles, table of contents and art work. After about two years, I finished the upgraded edition and ended up adding 150 or so pages to the finished product; The result has been described by some of those closest to me as a college course in slavery, so I guess I accomplished what I set out to do. Since I finished the slave manual sometime around 2002, I have tweaked it a few times, adding some material here and taking some material there. The slave manuals were never meant to be published; they are strictly for my own personal use. However, I have shared them with a few other Dominants and slaves. I am not sure what will happen to them when I die, whoever gets them though will be holding my life’s philosophy in their hands and I hope they will be continue to be shared for a long, long time. The manuals say a lot about me as a person, and reflect my deep spiritual philosophies and beliefs. They are sprinkled throughout with personal writings, other’s writings and prose as well as pictures that resonate deeply.

Knowledge is Power

All of my life I have been a researcher. Even when I was little and I found something that I was interested in I would investigate and research it in any way that I could find. Reading was a passion, however, I wasn’t into comic books, or the normal things that most kids my age would read. No, I started reading Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. There was also a little known magazine that my mother subscribed to by the name of Fate Magazine. Fate magazine contained articles about the occult, life after death, flying saucers and just about anything else weird that you can think of.My interest of science and the occult at such an early age led me in directions and into interests that most people my age would not normally venture.

My early teen years were incredibly full and very busy. When I was 11 years old, I built my first Soap Box Derby racer. I raced for three straight years; my last race was when I was 13. I’ve always been thankful for being a part of this amazing event as my knowledge of tools and building techniques that I learned back then has stayed with me for all of my life. Needless to say during those three years, my research about Soap Box Derby cars, aerodynamics and design helped me to build a better car every year, and during the last year that I raced, I reached the local semi-finals.

When I was 12 I joined the Boy Scouts. I probably should write an entire blog entry about my time in the Boy Scouts, but I won’t. I will say that what I learned in the Boy Scouts about social interaction, honor, loyalty, perseverance and most of all friendship, built a foundation of wisdom that has guided me throughout my entire life. By the time I was 15 years old, I had accumulated 27 merit badges, had been a senior patrol leader, was inducted into the “Order of the Arrow” and had attained the rank of Eagle Scout.

Two months before I turned 13, I got my first real job working part time at the local roller skating rink. I started in the coat room hanging up coats but was quickly promoted to the snack bar, where I learned how to cook. I had lied to the owners and told them I was 16 so I could get the job. They also owned the local swimming club and during the summer I also worked there. When I was 16 years old I got my lifeguard certification and spent that summer as a lifeguard. This should also be a whole separate blog entry by itself, LOL.

There were many other things that perhaps I should write about, and I might some time. I competitive roller skated both figure and dance skating in which I had a partner and occasionally a little speed skating. I also played varsity football for my high school from my freshman through my junior year. I sang in my high school choir from my freshman through my senior year and I was also a member of the boys and the mixed ensemble.

I guess my reason for telling you about all of this is not so much about telling you what I did, but how I did it. Everything I touched I researched to the best of my ability and at a very young age I knew that if I was going to do something, I needed to try to do it the right way and the best that I could. I learned that knowledge was power and this was the most important lesson that I brought forward from my childhood.

Kid in a Candy Store

After jena left, it took me quite some time to get past it. For a while, I did very little dating or socializing and it was during that time that my true education in the BDSM lifestyle began. I would work during the day, but at night after I came home, I would eat and shower and then I would sit on my computer and do research about my lifestyle. The searches for BDSM, Master/slave or whatever other topics I could think about would go on sometimes until I fell asleep sitting there.

Even though this was in the early 90’s, there was still a wealth of information that could be found on sites like Castle Realm, The Steel Door, Cuffs and others that led me in many different directions that I never knew existed.

Because of this research I began to print and accumulate many articles that I came across. Articles and writings that I thought were valuable and unique. My intention became to use this information to train, not only myself, but any submissive I might have in the future. I also began to build my library of books. Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns, The Loving Dominant and BDSM 101 were just a few of the books I started with. There were of course many others, including all of the books by and about the Marquis de Sade that I could find.

In addition to the hard back library I was creating, I found a wealth of other reading material that I began to realize was valuable. I realized that in my chosen lifestyle, my ability to control my submissive was imperative, and since my submissive would be a woman, learning about women and what made them tick, became somewhat of an obsession for me.

I know you will laugh when I tell you that Cosmopolitan magazine became one of my greatest tools. I could find no other place that held as much information about women in general as that magazine. As time went on the stack of internet articles, the library of books and the stack of magazines that I accumulated grew and grew.

It took me almost a year before I felt like stepping back out into the social arena and even so, the social gatherings that I attended were still quite limited. My evenings and weekends were still basically filled with research and visits to AOL’s Florida Dom Sub chat room.
It was one evening in that chat room that someone mentioned the Master’s Quest located north of the Tampa area. Again my BDSM life was about to change.

That Saturday evening when I first walked in to the Master’s Quest oh so long ago was the first of many new adventures that were to come my way. The dungeon itself was rather small and moderately decorated with furniture and play equipment, but it was packed with people. Many of them I already knew, but better than that, there were many single submissive women. The opportunity to play and to grow was boundless. I became a regular, sometimes going to the Master’s Quest two or more times a week. I was like a kid in a candy store. My list of friends grew, so did my experience and so did my toy bag.
Over the next few years, I was lucky to meet many beautiful submissive women. Some of them became my play partners, many of them became friends that I have to this day and one or two of them became more to me than friends.

I gained so much valuable experience and learned so many valuable lessons during those years, it is almost impossible to describe. However, I also made some mistakes that I wished I hadn’t made. But everything happens for a reason and I wouldn’t have traded these years, full of adventures and lessons, some wonderful and some, well, not so much, because everything that happened helped to create a foundation for who I am today. There was no doubt that the path I had found was the correct one … so the journey continued.