Slow News Day. Let’s tour the new office!

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You know how I was belaboring the point that I wished I had my own room? It’s a very spoiled thing to wish for. I live in a very beautiful house with many rooms. Each girl has their own room. We have a giant living room/dining room, a nice big kitchen, an office, all the main rooms have vaulted ceilings, there is even an atrium!  Everything feels very big and grand and there really is no lack of space unless you fill it all up with knick knacks and tchotchke, like you do.

The main problem, that is really not a problem at all, is that there are a lot of windows in this house. Windows that I love. Light pours in everywhere creating all kinds of beautiful spaces (except when it’s shining onto my computer screen and then it is the stupid angry sun out to get me but usually I love it.) But this also means there are no walls that are bare. All the walls have either windows or furniture against them so I am constantly looking for blank walls to shoot un-distracting pictures against. It’s a losing battle and usually I end up walking to a nearby park and shooting in the handball courts instead, which is also very cool.

That said, I was kinda wishing I felt less cluttered and had some space to call my own. I do call the kitchen my own because I am the boss in there but it’s also the kitchen. Not really somewhere I want to hang out when I’m not cooking.

I couldn’t figure out a solution. I scoured every nook and corner of the house looking for a space that I could set up my desk and make a special office just for me. There was nothing. All the rooms are packed. There is no empty corner anywhere. I just gave up and thanked Payam that at least we have an office. It really is a luxury that I don’t have to use the dining room table for work and pack up my office every meal time. I have a lot to be thankful for.

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But then Payam was wishing he had a blank wall too. He is a recruiter and makes a lot of video conference calls. It’s part of his job. He went through the same conundrum, moving his laptop from space to space trying to find a background for his calls that wouldn’t have his clients reading all the books on the bookshelf or judging us for how much alcohol we keep stored in various nooks.

So we stood and looked at our cluttered office and hemmed and hawed. There had to be a solution. We can’t just move into a loft office space downtown somewhere. (Though can you imagine how great that would be?!) We had to make this beautiful house work for us. Should we just do a giant purge and get rid of everything on the one wall that we have? I was all for that idea of course. But all the things on the office wall are Payam’s things.

Payam is a car aficionado and this wall is the one place where he can hang his car posters (that I don’t love). Believe me, I give him a hard time constantly about his car posters and if he didn’t love me so much he would probably tell me to get my things and go find someone else’s house to rearrange. But he does love me. And I love him so I think I can let him leave his car things up and his Barcelona soccer scarf and his karate black belt fake nunchucks hanging next to his African masks and beaded necklaces from Hawaii….etc etc. You get the idea. It’s a very Payam wall and I’ve Brenda-ed up the rest the house enough. I need to let it be.

Yet there had to be a solution. Like that time I lived in a mobile home out in the sticks and I didn’t know where to put my office so I just divided the living room in half and even though it was shocking and weird it totally worked and I had the most awesome living room/office ever. Remember that?

So we divided the office in half! Dun! Dun Duhun!!!!

Payam put his desk in the middle of the room against my big expedit bookcase. We put all our plants on the dividing wall bookcase to create kind of a privacy wall between us. I left my desk where it was. We moved the collaboration table that was in the middle of the room, pretty much collecting junk, to my side where it has now become my art table which is pretty much what it was anyway. Now I am in charge of the junk collection and I’m much better at it so that makes me immensely happy.

Payam positioned his desk so that his computer camera points to the one point on the wall that is not covered with car memorabilia and he even has more room to move his chair around and relax a bit without butting up against the collaboration table.

I realize you are probably lost by now because my descriptions must seem terribly confusing but the bottom line is we are together but we each have our own space. I don’t have a blank photo wall but I do now have this big giant space that is all mine!!  I love it.

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Awwww. Home sweet office. Can you believe that stiff old wooden chair never bothers me? It creaks a little but I’m pretty comfortable in it most of the time. Payam offered to buy me a fancy ergonomic chair at Costco yesterday but I passed because it wasn’t cool looking. If they could make one in orange I might think about it. But this old chair that I bought at a garage sale ages ago at the beach and then my Grandpa so kindly fixed for me is sentimental and I think I’ll keep it forever.

I was going to mention my new day planner, that pink book in the top photos that says, “I Am Very Busy.” What a silly book right?  It comes with stickers and prompts like “dress up like a zombie and go out to dinner” and “National Taco Day” etc.. all written in funky writing. I fell for the fun-silliness hook line and sinker. I’ve never been a planner type, I like seeing the whole month at a glance but I do keep a daily list. Well guess what? I started keeping my daily lists inside my planner! What a break-through!!! Now I get what planners are for! You can write down things to come and things that have passed, like a journal and a list all in one!!!  Crazy.

Anyway, it’s really cool and everyone should go rush out and get one though I don’t recommend the “I am very busy” one it mocks me when I am not very busy and I feel like a big fat fake.  I also feel a little bit silly putting heart stickers on date night and coffee cup stickers on National Coffee Day…except maybe I do like that a little bit. Part of me will always love stickers, even when I’m eighty.office-tour-4

Lucy clearly agrees that I am not very busy.

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What else is going on in pet-land? I haven’t updated you on the puppies for about a minute.

Well, there was the peanut butter incident yesterday. As you know we go through peanut butter in our house. Bug and I alone can go through a giant jumbo size jar of peanut butter in about three months, maybe four. Add in some dogs who love kongs and it goes even faster. Yesterday when I realized that there wasn’t any more scraping to be done to get any more peanut butter out of the plastic jar I decided I’d let Cody have a go at it. He approved of that motion heartily.

I can haz peanut butter? 

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But then Whiskey was sad and jealous so I had to give him a chance at the jar and hold Cody back by his collar. Whiskey was very happy and very growly and protective of the jar. He got most of it out with his very long snap-chat filter tongue. It was a great thirty minutes of dog fun.

Aren’t slow news days great?

The Big Move

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I moved! I’m completely moved. It’s amazing. I can’t believe I did it.

I cleaned out my old apartment the other day and stood in the now bare living room and said goodbye to my beloved turquoise wall. So much happened in that room. So much good. I wish the apartment complex would leave it turquoise and it could bring all kinds of good luck and love to whoever new moves in but I know they won’t do that. They have a formula and it’s called white, probably white number 327 with beige number 402 or something like that. They do everything rigidly by the books there and I can’t really fault them since it was the clean white walls that made me fall in love with my apartment in the first place.

Remember how I used to struggle with taking pictures in my old mobile home that belonged to my Grandpa? I was always cloning out the smudges and glue remnants leftover from some wallpaper job that had half-hazardly removed. I longed for clean white walls and then I got them. It was a beautiful chapter of my life. I’m so glad I was able to be on my own for three whole years.

It’s funny how life twists and turns. I would never have expected to be moving in with someone the way I am. But here I am. I’m excited for this new big change. So far it’s been amazing.

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I’m not completely unpacked but all of my belongings are out of my old apartment and stuffed into Payam’s house, literally. It’s a real challenge to combine all the trappings of two 43-year-old’s who were both pretty used to being by themselves and attached to their things. I used to go visit Payam and look around his beautiful house and wonder how in tarnation I could ever fit there. There really wasn’t room for me and my style. I’ve come to really love decorating my own place. It’s part of who I am these days. I love creating little vignettes all over my home.  How could I fit my *beautiful* clutter into his house?

It seemed impossible. He has a very different style than mine. Not bad at all. It’s beautiful but it’s masculine and Persian and he has a lot of stuff! You know, car models and car magazines, buddha posters and expedit bookcases filled with philosophy books…I didn’t want to change him at all but how could I fit into his life without taking over? I’m a very visual person and I just couldn’t see myself putting all my things in storage and living as a guest.

I’m in this for the long haul so we combined.  I’m so glad to say we came out on the other side and we still love each other. If you’ve done a combination of households like this yourself, you know how hard it really is. Thankfully, we’re both pleasers and we try really hard to make sacrifices to make the other person happy but it was a comedy at some points. (And between you and me, I worry that he’s sacrificed too much.)

I have to be careful what I ask for with Payam because he will give away the shirt off his back for me. Well, actually that’s a bad example because I borrow his undershirts all the time for pajamas but you know what I mean. I can’t just mention that I’m craving a latte from the next town over because he will get in his car and go get it for me no matter how inconvenient it might be. He’s like that.

The cats on the other hand have had no trouble at all not getting along with each other. It’s been growl city in the hallway for days but that’s to be expected. We followed all the rules, letting them play with each under the door, introducing them gradually, I even bought that cat-calming hormone stuff you plug into the wall like a fragrance dispenser.  Aqui and Lucy (Payam’s cat) are making eye contact and ignoring each other but Fiesta has taken up residence in my closet and growls at anything resembling Lucy in the slightest, including her mother, Aqui. But Fiesta has always been the grumpy cat.

joon-the-photographerI can’t really report on how the kids are doing in this big combination because Bug has been in Hungary with her dad on vacation the whole time. I know, right?!! Lucky kid! They are visiting Toby’s girlfriend’s family and having a great time. We’ve skyped a few times but she’s more interested in talking about Minecraft and showing me the Rubiks Cube she bought in Budapest than worrying about how I unpack her room (a blessing!).

Joon however has been my constant companion. It’s been hard for her to be stuck in the house with grown-ups who are more interested in unpacking boxes and purging unneeded clutter than going outside and having bike rides. She misses Bug terribly.

Bug and Joon are a funny pair. Bug is an introvert, like her dad, and Joon is an extrovert who thrives on activity. Joon will go and go and go until she drops dead from exhaustion whereas Bug is the complete opposite and is content to sit alone in her room for hours on end. I have to force her off her computer to play. It’s really no surprise that the kids are like this since they are a lot like their parents but I know we will have many many challenges in the future. And they do love each other, you know, like siblings.

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We haven’t been all work and no play though. Joon has convinced me to go out at least once a day for some fun and I have yet to regret it. She’s going to keep me active and I need that.

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We’ve taken a few epic bike rides and come home bruised and sore. We live in such a great town that has twisting bike trails for miles and miles. You really have to be careful how far you go exploring because coming back can take forever. Especially when your biking companion has no interest in coming back.

helpersWe’ve also had a few visits from Lubna. She’s been an amazing, incredible help to me in this move and I am forever thankful to her. She never tires and she is incredibly focused. We’ve tackled packing up my house, lifting boxes up and down stairs for days in heat and humidity that reminds you of a monsoon, (Of all times to move, did I have to pick August?? It’s been so awful and humid lately. If you exert one calorie of energy you are drenched in sweat. Dusty, dirty, sweaty box-moving…you get the picture.) reorganizing and cleaning Payam’s kitchen (and that required taking EVERYTHING out and putting it ALL BACK IN –gasp–) AND cleaning and reorganizing Payam’s entire garage. She is a force.

Lubna and her family threw me a going away party (so sweet, right?!!)  but she still only lives a quick 10 minute walk away. We just don’t live in the same apartment complex anymore and it’s hard because now she has to ask permission to visit me. Her Dad doesn’t always grant his permission because well, you know how protective dads can be of their beautiful sixteen year-old daughters and that’s not even counting that she’s Muslim and needs a chaperone at all times. Before she could stop by whenever she wanted and she practically lived at our house. But thankfully her family values her being helpful so they’ve sent her over a few times and I am so thankful. I know our families will always be close.

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And that’s pretty much it! I probably could blog a thousand more things but life calls. Busy is good. I miss you guys. I’m glad so many of you keep track of me in instagram. :) I try to put up mini blogs there.