An Office of One’s Own

One of the wonderful things about the New House is that it has an extra bedroom. There are many other wonderful features, which led to the renting of this house, of course—the fenced yard, the nice location, the extra footage, the spacious kitchen, the little craftsman touches, and the giant basement, as well as the simple lovely fact that it’s a house. But the extra bedroom is key.

Now that I’m a contractor for a living, I’ve become accustomed to a much different environment than the one where I was a full-time employee at the same office building for 4 years. Now, I rely on extensions—basically getting rehired every 6 months—for stability. Now, I have to provide my own technology that’s up to the job’s requirements. Now, I only work two or three days on-site and spend the other days working from home.

Offices like this one are super cute, but where is the work actually happening? Where are the project notebooks and print-outs? And for the love, where are the coffee mugs?

The extra room has gotten even more wonderful recently. As of about a month ago, I  don’t even have a designated desk at the office when I am there; I just sort of gypsy around the break-rooms and lounges, squat at open desks for a couple of days, or—as is the current situation—use my client’s office while he’s traveling.

In any case, I no longer have my own space. Nowhere to leave an extra power cord or a box of Kleenex, spare change, an extra pair of flats for walks, or a can of soup if I forget to bring my lunch. Nowhere to store my files and notebooks, other than packing them around in my bag for the whole day. I have to pack lighter, be ready to jump up and leave if I get kicked out of a space. I have to work harder to keep up the light-office camaraderie I’ve been building for the last year with my former workspace neighbors, not to mention working harder to stay on top of the impromptu and important work conversations that just happen when people know where to stop by and find you. It’s been a rough adjustment, and a little lonely sometimes. And it’s definitely an incentive to finally clear out the unpacked boxes (yes, from last April) and get my own office finally, truly set up!

Sometimes more than half my work needs to happen in my home now. In the little apartment, that meant hunched over the dining room table, with the husband, LittleBird and I all in the same square 50 feet. Not that conducive to concentration. Especially when conference calls were conducted sitting cross-legged on my bed, with Sesame Street creeping in from the living room, just a few feet down the hall.

Hooray for the New House and the Extra Bedroom!

It’s upstairs, away from whatever anyone is doing downstairs, which gives me quiet for conference calls and writing, and the husband can now record his voice-over auditions without hiding in a closet. And although it’s murderous hot in the summer, the hot part of summer around here only lasts about 2 months.

I’m also excited to actually design a room, and not just shove our existing things in there and get to the business of living. It won’t be anything like the delicate, perfectly balanced and bare naked office spaces I see on all the design blogs I read, because for me, work=documentation, which means piles and pinned up papers, and proofreading materials everywhere. Within reason. BUT, the office is also our spare room, so I have an extra incentive to make it a nice calm, cozy, organized room.

We recently got a nice new futon for the spare bed, and PortlandMomandDad have at least told me it’s fairly comfortable. And today, I battled IKEA, on my own with LittleBird to purchase our new desk. Well… the pieces of the desk. In several heavy, giant boxes, which I then had to cram into the little car, drive home (carefully!) through the fog, and haul up the stairs myself while the husband is at tech rehearsal. (Pretty good workout, really!)

I had intended to get a nice, small vintage writing desk with a roll-top, but it really makes more sense to have one long workspace where we can both have enough storage and organization. Because yes, I really do intend to share the lovely new space with the Husband, and I want us both to be comfortable and energized to do our work in it.

Anyhow, there are things happening, and I’m pleased. Pleased to have a space of my own, and to finally stop over the new dining table at the New House. Pleased to have a place to put my files and my Kleenex and a plant and a picture or three.

And now that I’ve stuck it out here on the internets, I have to get it done!


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