Bug Gets a Chalkboard in her Room.

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From time to time I like to rearrange things in my house and purge out all the unnecessary flotsam and jetsam that gets piled up without anyone really noticing it. This past weekend Bug got her turn. I’ve been nagging her to clean up her room but it always seemed to be impossible for her because she never has enough room to put everything.

You know what that means! Add on another room? Nope! It’s time to purge because there must be a place for everything and everything must be in it’s place. I am so much fun that way.

So we decided to rearrange! She’s really into gaming and she does her homework in her room now with her computer so she needed more desk space. We needed to make a little office in her room so we did what we always do: we flipped the expedit bookcase! It was vertical (see below).

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Now it’s horizontal! And since space is tight we put her desk on top of the expedit bookcase, creating a tiny little nook with some slide-around work space to the side of her. It’s tight but super functional. Especially since we moved the rug over that was seriously hindering her chair-sliding mobility.

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Then, since we were fixing things, we decided to take the old frame that used to be Bug’s faux headboard (That thing has nine lives.) and make it into a chalkboard, which is something she’s wanted since day one. It was really cool as a headboard but unfortunately it was never bolted in correctly and every time the bed got pushed up against it too hard, it would wedge out dangerously. It was just kind of a pain in the head.

We had bought the chalkboard paint way back when we first painted Bug’s room but we ended up not using it because we were worried about chalk dust and it just looked weird painting a square randomly on the wall. Now, however, we had this big picture frame just sitting around waiting for a new use so we decided to use it to frame in the chalkboard. We’re still worried about chalk dust but using this frame kind of keeps the dust contained a little. Bug can just wipe the bottom of the frame with a damp cloth instead of her floor and bed which is much easier.

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Payam bolted the frame into studs in the wall so it really won’t budge and then Bug and Payam got busy with the black chalkboard paint. We waited a day for the paint to cure properly and then Bug primed it with a layer of chalk. It wasn’t as much work as I was worried it would be.

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Now her room is much tidier (we got rid of a ton of out-grown clothes and books that she doesn’t read) and it looks a tiny bit better. She still has a ton of stuff but what can you do with a ten-year-old pack rat? Actually, she has gotten so much better at throwing stuff out. She used to be super attached to anything that had a face, no matter what it was. Now she at least can pass things on to people she knows will appreciate them as much as she did.bugs-chalkboard-1

That’s that!  Bug is happy as a clam with her new chalkboard! Now it’s time to make one for Joon.

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?