There’s a hole in my desk. . .

By Mir
January 18, 2010

… dear Otto, dear Otto… a hole in my de-esk, dear Otto, a hole.

Dear Otto. Dearest, darling Otto. He’s the one putting holes in my desk, by the way.

Okay, I probably need to back this up.

When I first started freelancing, I marveled at the wonder of being able to make a job out of late nights spent hunched over my laptop in the middle of my bed. This is GENIUS, I thought! Who needs an office?

Eventually, though, I moved operations down to a desk in our family room, lest I end up a chiropractor’s dream. And as time went on, I dreamed of having an actual office; a room where I could concentrate on work and close a door between the children and myself when necessary. Surely THAT would be perfect.

Then we moved to this house, and I got my office. And I shared it with Otto, and I liked that, because I am rather fond of that guy. But Otto is tidy and I am perpetually disorganized and eventually he moved out of our office in a snit.

Okay, there was no snit involved. He merely moved upstairs because he needed more room. And also because the state of my desk was making him cry, I suspect.

Now I have the WHOLE OFFICE to myself, and I celebrated having all this extra room by being twice as messy and not utilizing the space in any sort of meaningful way, PLUS I stopped cleaning my desk up regularly because Otto was no longer sitting across the room saying supportive things like, “No, really, can you find ANYTHING when you need it?”

In the meantime, Otto went to Ikea and bought himself a Swedish Fancy Dorm Room In A Box and proceeded to set up his office so that every inch of his new digs is utilized to the maximum efficiency possible, and his desk is clean and pristine and his bookshelves glisten and he knows where EVERYTHING is.

So his office—which is tucked away upstairs, where People never see it—looks all official and fancy. Whereas my office—which is right through the garage and therefore the way that People come into the house 90% of the time—looks like a storage room where junk mail and cardboard boxes go to die.

I would like to be better organized. I would. But I also don’t even have time to clean my desk, so when in the heck am I supposed to redo my office?

Otto started talking about getting me a new desk. A bigger one! L-shaped! So I would have more space to cover with crap plenty of room to stay organized! I nodded and murmured approving yet vague words whenever he brought it up, and then I kind of forgot about it.

We talked about it before my birthday, this past summer.

We talked about it before Christmas.

We talk about it a lot. Usually when I’m digging through piles trying to find something that’s disappeared.

Then yesterday I was headed out to run some errands and before I left, Otto sent me a bunch of Craigslist links to desks for sale and asked if I thought any of them would work. I responded that one in particular looked okay to me, and he said he was going to go take a look. I said fine and went on my merry way.

When I came back home, I had a new desk. And a matching filing cabinet! It’s almost like one is supposed to actually organize their papers and put them away, or something.

The problem is, the new desk is set up here in my office. As is the old desk. And because I am me, once I saw this I kind of started freaking out.

“I don’t have time to go through everything on my desk and get it moved over right now!”

Otto assured me that it wasn’t a problem. I could wait, or he could help, and we would figure it out. It wasn’t going to be a big deal.


The old desk has drawers. The new desk does not. “No problem!” said Otto. “I’ll get you one of those little rolling organizer things and we’ll just park it underneath.”

The old desk has a hutch. The new desk does not. “No problem!” said Otto. “I’ll find you a little organizer thingie for the desk top.”

The old desk had a built-in spot for folders. Otto gave me a wire folder rack he had upstairs.

The old desk contains a tower for a computer I haven’t used in years and a scanner that died, and surely I can just get rid of those things, but moving over the printer/scanner that works to the new desk means taking it off the network and apparently that could be a problem except I’m not sure why. Oh, probably because then I can’t send stuff to the printer when I’m sitting on the couch with my laptop. DAMMIT.

The old desk has all of my wires and such already configured. Otto assures me he will have everything whipped into shape for me on the new one in no time at all. Just as soon as he buys a special saw to drill a hole in the new desk.

A special saw? I may have blacked out at that point.

Of course right now my office is crowded and horrible and the poor dog is all freaked out because we had to move her crate and I think she is not altogether unconvinced that the new desk is out to get her. And we need to rearrange the rest of the furniture once the desk transfer happens, but of course I have too much work to do right now to work on the desk and the thought of unloading all the bookshelves so that they can be moved around makes me want to weep.

I keep trying to explain to Otto that if I had known getting a new desk was going to involve so much WORK I might have passed, but then he looks at me with such pity for my feebleness that I feel like I have to act more excited about special saws and hanging folders.

Be sure to tune in next week, when either my office will be all revamped and lovely or we find out exactly HOW special that special saw is….


  1. Randi

    I tend to work at the kitchen table. Okay, occasionally I do escape to the bedroom when everyone is home. But I find that working at the kitchen allows me to listen to music through the DirecTV and, of course, to have easy access to the fridge :).

  2. Frank

    Yanno… I must have been sheltered as a child, because I had NEVER EVER heard the song you parody in the beginning… until we bought a CD of Kids music (sung by kids, of course. only slightly less annoying then a Chipmunks album… heard Over and Over… but I digress).
    And I have to ask… if you can print from the couch I presume you are wireless.. so why exactly would moving the AI1 pose an issue? Nosey Geeks want to know…. :)

  3. Mare

    I have an antique side table that is about 3 1/2 feet across with legs that only a child could put their feet under it. I miss having even one desk where I would be comfortable enough to spend the hours I do. But, alas…

    Panic not for the special saw. It will work and be so good you’ll wonder why you fretted over it at all.

  4. RuthWells

    I’m afraid I’m with Otto on this one — viva the new desk! I’m sure you’re going to learn to love it. (Breathing into a paper bag is supposed to help with the hyperventilation. You know, just in case.)

  5. sassymonkey

    The moving part always sucks but once it’s move you shall love it and glorify in it. Or something like that.

  6. hollygee

    We have a horrible time trying to find enough horizontal surfaces to put crap on. Alllllllmost makes sense to put crap away in the first place. But not quite.

  7. Karen

    Um.. I’m thinking I’de be very grateful that he went and got said desk, and is willing to work on helping you organize said office… and you’ll love it once it’s complete.

    ..AND… I’m thinking it would be really funny to march upstairs when you’ve got the house to yourself and rearrange just a few perfectly placed items :-)

    That’s what I’de do, anyway. Just saying.

  8. meghann

    My husband did something similar a few years ago. He bought me a much bigger desk at Ikea, and we rearranged everything for it. Yeah, now the pile o’ crap is just even more impressive!

  9. Javamom

    Utter chaos.
    Of course with the advent of computers came the virtual, um, paper-less office. Rendering paper-mess-on-desks forever gone.

    I just wrote a little post about how much waste we produce in a lifetime (in my grandmother’s case, 92 years) and your post, which reminds me remarkably of my office downstairs (which he has taken over so I’m upstairs on the dining room table with my ittybitty laptop) makes the picture oh so vivid.
    (what a horrible sentence but you probably get it regardless).

    Happy moving the new old office around!

  10. Tracy

    You are living my life…only I want a new home office. I have paint swotches hang up with every color under the rainbow and once I decide on that…it’s all but done…right?

  11. Heather

    Haha well I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out!

  12. Katie in MA

    I think we’re going to need before and after pictures. Of the DESKS, not the “special saw” and all its handiwork. :)

  13. Pam

    If Otto’s ‘special saw’ is one of those drill attachments that cuts circular holes, BEWARE! Because there’s something very appealing about being able to turn almost anything into a Gruyere cheese. I speak as one who knows.

  14. Kate @ And Then I Was a Mom

    Do not be hoodwinked by those rolling under-the-desk organizers. You will ram your chair into it and bruise the sides of your knees on it and curse the day it was manufactured.

    That being said, you have found yourself a keeper. Otto is amazing. As a rule, I am rabidly suspicious of people with clean desks, but Otto? Somehow I think he might be the exception.

  15. MomCat

    Karen, your sense of humor mirrors mine. As I read about Otto’s pristine office, I was thinking it would be funny for Mir to go move a few things around, just for giggles. Cuz I’m disorganized too, and I evidently resent perfectly organized husbands. And cuz I’m a little bit evil.

  16. Dalia

    What a sweet thing for Otto to do! Now maybe if you wait long enough he will clean it all up for you too! I could use one of those.

  17. dad

    The best way to justify that new tool you have always wanted is to create a job where it is a requirement. Bravo for Otto. He has you figured out.

    Now smile and straighten out your desk.

  18. Rachel

    Pictures… before & after, please!!

  19. Lori N

    Ahhhh, the waltz of the office furniture, I know it well. I am in fact sitting in my newly re-organized office. I too did the “I can work from ANYWHERE!” thing for a bit, then set up an office on the 1st floor, then joined hubby in the basement in his office, and have now moved back to the first floor because hubby will soon be moving to an office, but until then his co-worker/boss/friend will be working out of our basement. *taking deep breaths*

    …oh look, something shiny…

  20. Nancy R

    Your Dad said what my sister has always said…’every new project seems to need a new power tool’.

    Good Luck!

  21. Nicki

    You could try my organization method. Move. If you pack it and don’t use it for months, you probably don’t need it. Of course, in my case we don’t always get to pick when we want to move…

    Good luck with the desk.

  22. Brigitte

    If you find that “freeze the rest of the world so I have time to get myself organized” button, let me know! All that paperwork-ish stuff is always at the bottom of the list of priorities, and so I never get it done either.

  23. bonuela

    finally. someone who agrees that no matter how kind hearted and well intentioned, it causes stress when they try to organize us. my stomache drops everytime my guy offers to come over when i’m out and “fix things up”. {{shudder}}

  24. Little Bird

    Twenty bucks says you can rent that “special saw” at a Home Depot. You can probably rent said saw FOR twenty dollars!

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