The Office Day 9: Das Desk
Krissie got here yesterday which is good because I see things through her eyes and think, “Okay, that has to be done.” Also she almost died trying to get from the kitchen to the office yesterday, so really it’s time to go back to work there. I let everything here go to catch up with other things, but almost losing a sister in the debris means it’s time to get back to work. Also I really, really need my office.
The most important part of an office is the work surface. So of course that’s the part that’s giving me the most trouble. When I bought the house which had been unoccupied for several years, I told them not to bother moving the contents out because there was this fabulous old blond teacher’s desk with even more fabulous clear Lucite knobs and it was going to fit almost perfectly in the space in the pantry that was to become my office. Then I left for Ohio and when I came back it was gone. Still don’t know what happened to it and I’m still bitter. I’d spent a long time scraping the blistered veneer off the top to put new on, and the desk would have been amazing.
Let go of the desk, Jenny.
Then I bought a cheapo one-drawer desk at Home Depot ($150) and I liked it a lot, but it wasn’t right for the space, too light and only one drawer. It’s going to be a magnificent sewing table so that’s all right, but still, I need a desk. And I have no money. I do have two mismatched end tables with drawers, but one is an inch shorter than the other and both of them are too short to support a top that had to be 30″ off the ground. Still, you work with what you’ve got, so I spray painted both of them black (Rustoleum Ultra, I love you),
Once I had them painted, I put 1x4s on the sides to raise the tops, and then scrap boards across the top of the shorter one to bring it up to the height of the other. In a miracle, that actually made them level. I did have to turn one of the cabinets sidesways to make it fit which means its three drawers become secret spaces under the desk. Well, not secret to anybody who looks under the desk but still out of the way.
Then I cut a 24″ wide board to put across the top. I like it, but it needs to be twice as thick. Fortunately I have another one that I got to put across the top of the printer bureau on the other side of the room that I decided not to use, so later today, I will cut that one down. Then I’ll screw the piece I have on there now onto the support boards and glue the second piece to the top of that. Then a lot of gloss white paint and I’ll finally have a desk. Here’s the desk in progress:
Over the desk I needed a big cork board because that’s how I keep the truly urgent things in mind and how I keep the notes to myself on stories and projects. I’ve already got a good-sized decoupaged-with-fabric one on the door to the garage, but I need much more so I’m recycling my old standby corkboard to go behind the desk. I’ve repainted that thing so many times, it’s never going to die: the paint will keep it together. This time I-mod podged the pink fabric on the frame (I’d just done the door and I was on a roll), but the board itself is white because the room has enough color in it.
Across the middle of the corkboard is a shelf for the collage for the book I’m working on now. I have the board and supports to put a shelf over the corkboard but I decided not to because most of my collages are taller than this one, plus I wanted one wall with no shelf looming over me. I’m going to have to move the lamps up to get the second desk top in, I think, and that’ll mean moving a clipboard and my Marilyn quote*, but this side of the office is very close to being finished:
Then I can put my computer and monitor on there, plug them in, and see if I killed one of them when I dropped it. Always something to look forward do at Squalor on the Lake.
Please note the lighting: two plug-in Real Simple white wall lamps on swing arms with these great shades that are covered at the bottom so you don’t look up into a bare bulb. There’s a different fancier one that’s twice as much that I didn’t see when I bought these two months ago and that I’m investing in when my money shortage eases, but these are perfect for this small office. Plus, they plug in so I could install them (and now probably reinstall them) myself. Bonus: the switch gives me both dim and bright options. I love these lamps.
It’s still a mess in there, but I’m getting so much closer. Finish the desk, put a shelf over the opening to the kitchen, make curtains, possibly hang a small shelf to get the router off the printer surface, finish cutting the last two carpet tiles . . . really, I’m very close. The place looks like a seraglio done by Staples, but I think it’s the New Me: Wildly Romantic and Colorful. Or at least that’s the kind of book I want to write in future.
Tomorrow, I’ll finish the desk. If I say that here, I’ll have to finish it. Of course that involves the use of my jigsaw and I’ll probably cut my arm off, but hey, anything for Argh.
*The quote is “I don’t want to make money, I just want to be wonderful.” Who knew Marilyn and I were soulmates? Although I wouldn’t turn down money if it turned up, and I suspect Marilyn didn’t, either.