Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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The Office

Two weeks ago, in an effort to move things along with the house, I turned to the one job of four (housewife/writer/editor/DIY expert) I've neglected this year. Home renovations. I began by calling lead-paint-abatemet specialists. Actually, no, I began by tracking down my pad of paper and a pen (living room, kitchen), the Lead Paint Assessment from two years ago (bedroom file box), and the phone numbers (living room, Internet). Once ready, I popped up to answer a phone call from Jon (distinctive ringer) and ran around my house (kitchen...no, not in its base, bedroom again).

"I need an office." I blurted into the phone.

"You have one." my rock replied.

"I have to have a finished office."

"Well, what do we have materials for?" Jon asked, supportive but budget-concious.

"I'm going to paint. loveyoubye."



"I wanted to talk to you about some travel."

Twenty minutes later, having discussed the rudimentaries of airline tickets to New Orleans, and (just for fun) alluding to Paris in the springtime, I started assessing the basement (basement).

First, allow me to say "ew." Over the last two years (construction was completed in January 2003), the "office" (bare drywall walls, mostly-finished electrical work, cement floor) has accumulated a few layers of stuff.

You know, stuff.

Televisions. A dog grooming table. An assortment of half-finished projects. Pristine paint supplies, many still in shopping bags. One complete item: an Emergency Preparedness Kits brimming with duct tape, water bottles, and expired peanut butter. Box springs and a mattress that is older than I am (unconfirmed). Cans and boxes, wood shavings, dead bugs (I said "ew." Also "dead.") and dog fur undisturbed in its layer of dust.

I suddenly realized I was prepared for anything, except tackling this.

After ten minutes reasearching how to enter my basement on several design shows (This Old House, Design Rivals), I reasoned with myself. I'm good at talking myself out of getting motivated. Of course, we have lots of excuses. Ahem. Reasons for putting it off. First, consider that we have done a lot of other work on the house, mostly plumbing and organizing. We travel a lot, and I do have three other jobs.

It'd be better to get it all done and finalized, and move on with my life. It'd help to have all my crap in one place. My mind knows this. I wish someone'd explain it to my butt, which loves the chair.

Lately, it's the voice of my 88-year-old Granny I hear, telling me "If you're going to do it, do it right." And "Nothing to it but to do it." And "Wheew-whippee," her most derisive cuss, usually reserved for the truly filthy. In the modern lexicon: "ew."

So I started working, and I'm proud of my progress. I've primed it all (office, hall, closet, back hall) and painted the ceiling once (office). Working a couple of hours a day, with time off for Thanksgiving and other work, I've managed to get that far, and am eager... (yes, eager)... to get back to it. Mostly I want to see the color on the walls.

But not tonight.

I talked to Jon for exactly 8 minutes , and the phone card's dwindling fast. He is in good spirits, and blogging often.

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