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Office Claustrophobia

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Back in November our granddaughter, Sneaks, moved in with us.  It was a sudden thing, and I don’t know all the whys.  Her aunt, uncle, and nephew (my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson—Cocoa Bean, Skipper, and Rex) came over and helped move my office to the garage.  I was highly impressed that it only took us three hours in the early afternoon to relocate my computer and desk, the TV and DVD boxes and cords, file cabinet and four other wood and plastic sets of drawers, two tall bookshelves and all those books, the clothes and equipment (some dating back to the 1980s) from the closet, and pictures and paintings from the walls.  Not everything went to the semi-outside (the garage is not air conditioned); some things were blended into the living room and other closets.  Then by evening we had all her things installed there, and the place looked like what it really is, a small bedroom.  I fully expected to spend four to six months in the garage, and planned for the cold days.

   But a week later she and her boyfriend, Little James, found their own place.  So that afternoon we moved all her clothes and furniture to their house.  It took longer this time, half a day with some hours into the night because of the distance.  But I had no desire to endure the task of moving my stuff back, so I told all the helpers to leave it.

   In late December I was still in the garage, donning my old winter clothes and using two space heaters to keep me warm in the mornings, and table and floor fans blowing in the afternoons to channel my smoke out the doors, large and side, often with heaters still running.

   In January I decided to delay my return by ripping out the carpet in my office.  I had heard about carpet strips, but never saw them in person.  They are the devil.  I had to pull them up with a hammer and crowbar, and they left little craters in the concrete floor from where the tacks had been shot in by a nail gun.  According to Google, I needed to grind undercuts before filling them with a special putty, and then sand them flat before installing tile or whatever.  My knees said screw that, so I painted the floor dark gray, craters and all, and tossed in a flat carpet and a couple of thin doormats.

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   By the end of the first week of February I was back in my office.  I wasn’t in a hurry, so I took three days of many breaks to finish moving all my stuff.  But every morning since, I roll my office chair to the garage, carry the master bedroom flatscreen out there to sit it on the makeshift shelves of six concrete blocks and two 1” by 12” by 6’ boards so I can watch the many bad news TV shows while smoking and sipping coffee, and when channels 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, and 30 become games shows, soap operas, and crime documentaries, I bring out my old laptop to write.

   Same for all of March and into this month.  I figured out how to display my laptop on the big screen TV, and wow is that nice!  Don’t need glasses.

   I keep going back out there because the garage is three times bigger and has a refrigerator.  Call it office claustrophobia, though I’m sure I’ll get over it come the high humid months.

  — [email protected]

Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil
Lisa MacNeil is a reporter for the Hernando Sun as well as a business technology developer, specializing in website development, content management systems, and data analysis.
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