by Sharon Lathan
For several months now I have been eyeballing the extra room in our house to be an office for me. The history of this one room is convoluted and messy! Once upon a time it was my son’s bedroom painted navy blue with jungle animal wallpaper border. Then when my eldest daughter moved out and he moved into her larger bedroom (necessitating the paisley flowers of her room be revamped with a wall mural of a nature scene) the room housed our brand new iMac as the kids’ exclusive computer, and served double-duty as my sewing room (rarely) and general catch-all/storage room (frequently!).
Several years and 2 iMacs later, I decided the jungle print had to go and redecorated yet again. It was 2004 and the room served as the PC and Xbox gaming room since the now-high school daughter had a laptop and my son was far more interested in playing WOW than doing homework! It also was now the cat’s watercloset and so stuffed with junk that a serious re-do was desperately needed. Plus, and more importantly IMO, I needed a place to keep all my Lord of the Rings memorabilia! So with a new, enormous desk assembled, several gallons of sunny yellow paint applied, my son’s collection of LOTR “guys” carefully displayed on the shelves along with my precious statues, and the 12’ x 6’ vinyl LOTR banner draped over two walls our multi-purpose computer room was unveiled. This photo is my adorable son chillaxing in the perpetual summertime room.
Skip forward five years and the clutter/filth that reigns in my childrens’ rooms had grown along with their stature and now invaded all four of the rooms on that side of the house. Even the cat was beginning to complain! In the hope that my pristine presence amid their chaos may rub off (doubtful), and because I really needed a private space to retreat to and keep all my author-related materials together, a renovation was again undertaken.
If left up to me I would have merely done a thorough cleaning, packed away the bulk of my LOTR stuff, and moved my desk in. In fact, that is what I was in the midst of when the news of my mom’s passing reached us. My hubby, bless his sweet heart, decided that keeping my mind and body engaged in heavy labor would prevent me completely falling apart. Plus, and I think the larger incentive, was to get rid of the sunny yellow that he always hated! To that end he led the charge, dragging me to Lowes and Walmart for paint, supplies, and wallpaper. For three days we painted, cleaned, and rearranged. It turned out beautiful and I love having a place that is entirely mine.
What do you think? Nice, huh? I won’t go so far as to recommend non-stop, back-breaking work as a curative for grief, but I can say that in these past two weeks I accomplished more around the house than I have in the past 6 months! And it was definitely worth it as my new, official office is wonderful! I still share it with the cat - or rather he allows the rest of us to muck up his space – but we cohabit peacefully so all is well there. Will the calming blue and secluded atmosphere enhance my writing productivity? Time will tell. But at least this one room will stay clean. That I can promise!