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A Desk is a Desk is a Desk » Jolana Malkston
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Jan 212015

When Macho Guy and I relocate to Florida in the winter, the most difficult aspect of the move for me is to do without with my computer desk—and my HP Officejet All-in-One—for the duration of our stay in the Sunshine State. ::sniffle, sob::

Home Office Corner Computer Desk

I absolutely adore my golden oak computer desk. It is the anchor corner of my writer’s cave. It has shelves for books, nooks for electronic devices and for a wheeled computer case, slots for music CDs [Mozart, especially, for when I’m plotting], slide out under-desktop shelves for an external keyboard and track pad, drawers for files and office supplies, and a large flat surface on which to set an external monitor and spread notes out—and make a ginormous mess, prominently featuring several tall untidy stacks of papers, each representing a different work in progress. Nirvana. Sheer nirvana.

The multi-function Officejet is also tough to get along without. Its substitute, a portable HP Deskjet 400, has a very small footprint and can fit easily into my wheeled computer case along with my MacBook Pro. It does color printing but not duplex printing; it prints on one side only. It can’t scan. It can’t copy. It can’t fax. A triple threat. On the other hand, I shouldn’t whine because it beats the alternative. A baby printer is better than no printer at all.

For the last three winters, Macho Guy did his valiant best to create a semblance of office space for me in the rentals we inhabited for the two months we spent in Florida. He set up a folding, height adjustable worktable as a makeshift desk in one corner of the living area. We arranged my MacBook Pro, Deskjet, electric pencil sharpener, notepads, office supplies, and my current book-book [thank you, Merline Lovelace] on the makeshift desk in the most efficient layout. At that point, I began missing my ergonomic computer chair, which I left behind in my office back home. Kitchen chairs just don’t cut it when you sit at a computer for several hours at a time. I felt the difference in the two Bs—my butt and my back. Drat. I’m whining again.

Makeshift desk in FL cottage rental

When we arrived at our rental cottage this January, a pleasant surprise awaited. The owners replaced some of the furniture in the living area and made one very valuable addition—a desk. It wasn’t large. It wasn’t golden oak. It wasn’t even a computer desk. But it was an actual desk with three drawers and a large enough working surface for me to set out my MacBook Pro and my little baby printer. No more folding, height adjustable worktables for me.

01-14-15 Vacation Desk

I still have to sit on a regular straight back chair though, but Macho Guy came to the rescue. He found a fabulous seat cushion for me at Brookstone. It has a little cut out in a very strategic spot that provides maximum comfort for one’s gluteus maximus. Trust me, that cushion makes a huge difference. It enables my hind end to handle a straight back chair for the next two months. I’m darn sure I’ll be sitting pretty from now on.

  14 Responses to “A Desk is a Desk is a Desk”

  1. Enjoy your trip. I can relate, but then I lost my office to my son who lives with us. 🙂 As I write today, I’m curled up in a chair in the living room near the fireplace. At least I’m away from the yucky roads.

    • I can relate to living room writing, Melissa. When Macho Guy whines about being deserted when I’m in my office, I sit with him in the living room and a lap desk with my MacBook Pro set on it becomes my workplace. Occasionally, you have to do whatever works at the time.

  2. The right seat cushion makes all the difference in the world! Cute desk setup. I have two desks in this house (they used to belong to my grown daughters) but I need to buy some lighting to make them usable in our dark Michigan winters, so most of the time I write at the kitchen table or in my recliner. Have a great time, and we’ll look forward to reading more from you.

    • Lighting is important, Patricia. The last thing a writer needs is eyestrain. Macho Guy came up with a terrific idea for my computer desk (in the first photo above). He installed a light fixture under the hutch bridge shelf that is above the computer station. There are times I believe the man is a genius. 🙂

  3. I know what you mean about a chair fitting correctly. I need to make some adjustments to my desk chair. Every time I get up I’m more than stiff. But whether it’s at a real desk, the kitchen table, or the recliner, the important thing is to write.

  4. What a wonderful work setup! I can see why you hate to leave it. At least, writing is one of those things we can do almost anytime, anywhere, as long as pencil and paper (or laptop and printer) are handy. We’ve come a long way from the days of typewriters and carbon paper and whiteout. But…but…when you have the work space set up just the way you want it… I’d hate losing it, too, even temporarily.

    • I suppose my setup has me spoiled, Paul. Being away from it for a couple of months makes me appreciate it that much more.

      Typewriters and carbons and Wite Out, oh my! Years ago, I used one of those IBM Selectrics when I worked in an advertising agency that used dark tan stationery. No way to use Wite Out on dark tan paper. I didn’t relish retyping pages over and over every time I made an error. Being the evil genius that I am, I came up with a way to save myself all that extra work. I found chalk the same color as the stationery. I rubbed the chalk on a correction strip, placed it against the stationery over the error and typed the erroneous letter again. Voila! The chalk filled in the error and it “disappeared.” So, it was perfectly understandable that the first time I used a word processing application, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. 🙂

  5. Beautiful desk, by the way. The at home one, I mean. Diane’s right. The important thing is to write. Until I read this, I bemoaned the fact I can only compose in longhand. No formal desk or chair required. Just me and my backside planted somewhere with a notebook in my lap and a pen in my hand.

    • That used to be me, Margo. I was forced to learn to write directly on a typewriter when I landed my first job as a reporter. Until then, I wrote in longhand first and then transcribed it. I still write notes and scenes in longhand when I’m away from my MacBook. I always keep a pencil and pad handy. A pen will do in a pinch, but for some reason the words flow more easily when I use a pencil.

  6. Cute little desk for your home away from home, but the big one is glorious! I don’t blame you for loving it. I wonder if I can find that seat cushion online? I’ll have to do some Googling.

    • Lucy, I pinned that cushion to the board titled “I Tried Them and I Love Them” on my Pinterest page, pinterest.com/jolanamalkston/. Check there for the product details. 🙂

  7. Lana, I’ll have to send you a picture of my work area here in Florida. (Actually my work area in Michigan isn’t much better.) I envy you both locations. A door blank that’s attached to the wall (and it’s not a wide door) is my “desk” top. I need more surface area. On the other hand, I sure love the sunshine here and that I can sit at my computer wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Hope you’re enjoying Florida.

    • Maris, I am enjoying the Florida sunshine. I’m in the panhandle area, which is cooler than southern Florida but still warmer than Michigan. No snow, thank goodness. I’d love to see that picture of your workplace. Send it, please.

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