My Office


A few weeks ago, we built me an office in the garage. This sounds somewhat insane, but it was done for practical purposes. We have a split bay 2 car garage. Unfortunately, the bay closest to the house is not wide enough to park a car in. They took about 3 1/2 feet of the garage when they built the utility room, out of one bay.

Even J’s 4 door sedan doesn’t fit on this side (he drives a 90s model Toyota Avalon to and from work every day). He has to come in at an angle to park it. Our other cars a Toyota Highlander (mine) and his Chevy truck definitely were tight. After scratching my SUV down the side of that 3 1/2 foot cut out of the garage, we stopped parking cars in that bay. The Highlander is the only car we still have a loan on, so it gets parked in the other bay. But we don’t use our garage everyday. It gets used more during the winter than the summer. Mostly, we use the garage when we haul in groceries and other big items.

Also, I smoke. We don’t smoke in our house, but I am allowed to smoke in the garage. When I’m writing I smoke more. I light cigarettes, take a drag or two and then they mostly burn out in the ashtray. Our garage has heat and air in it, since it’s under the house. But during the winter, it’s hard to keep it “warm” enough to be in it. I never thought about how difficult it was to heat a split level with 3 sides buried. The only part not buried is our garage doors. And while I originally used the basement just for smoking cigarettes, Kelly changed that. When I use the upstairs office, Kelly climbs on my laptop and refuses to let me work. After a few weeks of battling with that, I moved my laptop into the garage on a folding table to set up a work space.

During the summer, it takes next to nothing to cool our house. Our electric bill runs around $150 and that’s if we keep it at 70 degrees for J and Lola. Winter is another story. To keep the basement at 70 degrees requires extra heat. We have an indoor thermometer in the garage and most days, it’s between 54 and 64 with the upstairs heat running (depending on the temp outside and whether we have a car parked inside the garage or not). Unfortunately, 64 is too cold for me. Cold increases my pain levels. And I can’t use the basement living room or come down to work if it’s that chilly in the basement. We bought a decorative space heater for the living room and I keep one in the garage. But our electric bills during the winter are running about $450.

We decided to put up 4 solid walls with insulation, cut another vent in the garage and see if that helped with heating the garage. Building it has been surprisingly cheap. A friend was selling a sliding glass patio door. We told him we wanted to buy it and when J went to pick it up, he refused to take any money for it. My FIL bought a bunch of lumber at Home Depot that was on clearance because they had cracks in them or were otherwise damaged. Meaning we had to buy about six 2x4s for studs, the rest of the lumber was given to us by J’s dad. We had to buy drywall, paint, a bucket of screws, and some insulation. That was it. Total we spent $150 building the garage office.

However, for two weeks, my office has been in disarray. My desk and other items are in the dart room. I have barren sheetrock walls on two sides. Cabinets are sitting on the floor of the garage waiting to be installed on the walls after we paint. I have a table set up with my laptop on it for work space. But honestly, it’s been difficult to work in the room up to this point.

I require some clutter when I work. For instance, if my desk is completely cleaned off except for my laptop and mouse, it’s a distraction. But I’m learning it has to be “my clutter” and “chaos” on my work space. My table currently has a box of screws and a container of Dry Erase markers (that will be mounted to the wall eventually) and some other construction stuff on it. There’s a box full of stuff under the table that goes back in the cabinets that go over my desk. And the table isn’t in the place I want it. So I come down and try to work and think about the fact that I need to freaking paint and I need to get stuff set up so it can be hung back on the walls. Also, I need to figure out what furniture I want in here when we’re done and we need to pick out trim for the entire room.

Instead of concentrating on my book (which I need to write the last chapter of), I cause myself a stress headache staring at the stuff that needs to be done. And therein might be why I cut all my hair off. When I’m stressed, I tend to color my hair. I find it relaxing to massage the color into my hair and then rinse it out. It’s something I can control. Friday, I went in to get my normal summer bob cut, chin length, slightly longer in front and walked out with my hair 2 1/12 inches long. I cut off 11 1/2 inches. I had considered it in the past, but I’ve never had really short hair and I was always a little afraid of it. For some reason, as I sat waiting to get called to the chair, I decided to cut it all off. I had expected it to be cute and easy to take care of. I was wrong. It doesn’t look cute nor is it a wash and wear style. Now, I’m just hoping it grows fast. And I still don’t have the final chapter written.

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