Tag: desk

New Office: Assembly required

Environment matters. Nature versus nurture aside, we know successful work can be promoted by the proper surroundings.

My sons had the music cranked while they worked on homework. I prefer the sound of silence while I’m concentrating.

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to optimal work space.

As a writer, I spend most of my time working at home. I love this, but I have to admit the cramped quarters of my old office inhibited me.


Now I have a big, beautiful new office. And everyone knows a new office needs a new desk.

Is my clever title beginning to make a little more sense now? Did you really think I was going to talk about setting up my office space?

My husband loves to build things. “If I won the lottery, I’d quit my job and work on a construction crew.”

Yep, that’s what he says. Unfortunately, my husband has the worst luck when it comes to home improvement projects.

He may love to build – but it doesn’t come easily.

Thus, the reason my two sons found themselves assembling my lovely 71 x 71 inch L-shaped desk this past weekend. Hubs was wrestling with water hoses for the washing machine and converting circular dryer vent pipe to fit the oval-shaped ductwork.

Meanwhile, I was unloading boxes (mainly shelving books and sorting items into the donation bags and boxes).

“Those two need supervision,” my husband told me.

Of course, who am I to supervise the construction of anything? Well, a lemon meringue pie maybe.

My youngest son had the assembly manual. (Yes, it required a manual to convert two heavy boxes of boards into this lovely desk.) My oldest son lined up the parts and wielded the tools.

It’s amazing how manufacturers have learned to label all the boards (A-K for my desk) and include pictures of even the smallest screw. I’m convinced the poor sap who spends his days writing the assembly instructions has the most boring writing job in the world.

My oldest son predicted the desk construction project would take five hours. He’s learned to estimate high after watching how things don’t come together for his father.

Each time I stepped into the doorway (the entire floor of the office had been requisitioned for organizing the parts and equipment), I smiled. They were working together – and getting it done.

These sons of mine argue about everything. Mostly, it isn’t because they disagree. It’s because they like to rile each other up and cause friction.

It doesn’t help that they both think they know everything. (You remember that, right? Between 14 and 25, you didn’t need any help because you had all the answers. Or maybe that was just me – and my sons.)

There were some debates early on in the building process. When my husband sought me out as an overseer, he had just stopped them from assembling things backward.

It's a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.
It’s a beauty! Those Hughson boys can assemble a desk, I tell you.

After the first hour, most of the criticism went to the manual writer. I learned this when I mentioned I might review my desk at the online retailer. After all, I really liked it.

“Make sure you mention the manual was written by an idiot.” Yeah, I’m pretty sure that won’t make it into any review I write.

Someone had to take the fall for the difficulty my genius sons faced in assembling this central figure in my new work space.

I’m not surprised it was the beleaguered manual writer.

What’s one feature you love or would change about your work space? Any thoughts on assembly instructions?

One Good thing about Moving

Moving isn’t all bad news. In fact, there are a few things I’ve enjoyed about the whole “getting a new house” ordeal.

            In a word: shopping.

Not the usual kind – groceries to keep us fed or toilet paper to…you know. I’m talking about decorating a new living space from the ground up.

Maybe not the ground. I’m not buying floor covering. Unless bath mats count. No? I didn’t think so.

            Online Stores

I am a reason that Amazon is super successful. They should pay me for my dedication to searching their store and making purchases.

As an introvert, the idea of strangers pushing past me while I’m checking out towels and window coverings at Target holds zero appeal. Especially when I’ve had success shopping from the Brylane Home catalog for such things.

In this case: beautiful teal and nautical blue cotton towel sets for the master bath. And an eight-piece comforter set for the master bedroom. Don’t forget a new comforter and sheets for the “guest” bedroom.

All of this spurred me toward a smiley face. Even when the total surpassed $200. It’s only money, right?

Blinds for the windows in the bedrooms and living room are essential. After all, our nearest neighbor is twenty feet away (thankfully, there are no windows into bedrooms on that side of the house).

After comparing several sites, I ordered samples from justblinds.com. A few days later, they arrived. I held the three inch ultra-mini blinds up to the window. How much light would they block? How transparent could they be under the right circumstances?

Heading to my computer, I placed my order. Another $450 on the Discover card. Think about all the cash back I’m earning for using this account to decorate my new home!

            Online “Window” Shopping

Some things need to be seen in order to invest in them. Namely: furniture.

The World Wide Web offers a unique opportunity to narrow the field, however.

In my new home, I’ll need a new dining set, living room seating and a desk for my office. (Yes! I’m going to have a real writing haven in this new place.)

Surfing the net, I found a general idea for the dining room. I know I want a counter-height table. Most of them are square, with legs at the corners only. This also appeals to me. Now if I can find a color and chair styles to suit me…

Couches, chairs and sectionals require in-person shopping. Seriously. Do people actually buy furniture without sitting in it to see if the cushions act like hungry beasts or solid rocks?

I’m still debating about the leather issue. Leather makes me hot. It doesn’t breathe. I envision myself slicked up in the summer by my own perspiration, sliding onto the floor like some sort of cartoon character.

No thank you. I like the way leather looks, though. I haven’t been completely impressed with the durability of microfiber fabric. (And I’m not talking about the claw marks. That will be handled before a certain feline is admitted to the new house.)

I’ve had the most fun frustration searching online for a desk. I know exactly what I want. If you think this is a plus, you haven’t been shopping with me.

When I say I know EXACTLY what I want, I mean I have a picture in my head that I expect to find replicated in real life.

            Now you see the issue.


Lovely, right? Only $1,768 and this desk could be yours.

Isn’t there a huge market for computer desks with keyboard trays and a set of drawers connected to a five-foot work surface to run perpendicular to it? They call them L-shaped workstations or desks.

The selection of styles and sellers boggles even the Google search engine.

Sadly, my mental image has yet to find its perfect match. Sigh

This means I will end up settling. Because I refuse to pay $1,300 for the set-up. We all realize my annual income since becoming a professional writer has been in the – $600 range. This year – even with a contract – it looks like it will be closer to -$2,000.

I can’t justify decking my office out with solid maple furnishings.

Should I settle for a $250 flim-flam setup courtesy of Staples? That remains to be seen.

            Beating the Pavement

Eventually, the search heads for the street. The number of furniture stores pales when compared to the frequency of drive-thru coffee klatches.

No, that doesn’t mean it is easy to narrow down the search. Or maybe it is. If you just choose the place nearest to the Barnes and Noble bookstore where you worked while leaving your house empty for an inspector.

I love shopping. Especially when I know what I want and I have the money in hand to purchase it.

What is your experience with online shopping? Share your nightmare stories – or amazing finds – in the comments so we all can be warned.