What happens when one of us (“us” being one of the GeekDad community) and his kids try a slightly different weekend project, a Geek meets This Old House mashup kind of thing? Well, I thought it was about time to give it a try.
My “office” has been a somewhat sad little corner in the deepest, darkest part of our basement. You know the kind of set-up: the walls are dry walled (none too carefully) but only covered with a dull, flat white primer. The floor is concrete and covered with twenty year old press and peel vinyl tiles in a pattern that was probably discounted the moment it left the factory. The floor around my desk also sported fashionable smears of pink from when my daughter came down for a visit and spilled a jar of nail polish she was carrying. Cobwebs and piles of stuff that no-one wants to find a home for but they also don’t want to go to the extreme of throwing it away: solution, pile it around Brad’s desk, that’s a flat surface. A nearby refrigerator and freezer for added ambiance.
Most of the writers I know who also have kids are in a similar situation. That awesome home office/library/writing room you put together became the combination guest bedroom/office when the spare bedroom became the nursery. Even that arrangement only lasts until the next kid arrives, then it’s down to the basement with you and your computer, toys, books and gadgets. Actually, I did attempt an intermediary step and set up in the dining room, but that didn’t go over so well. So, since we now have three children and McMansions and writing, for some reason, don’t typically go hand in hand, I’ve been set up down here for the past while.
This weekend, we undertook a mini project to spruce up my office in the hope that I’d stop procrastinating in a less dismal atmosphere. It actually took three days, not just a weekend, but that was only because those twenty year old floor tiles resisted removal mightily. I handled the painting and flooring, we put in some nice cabinets to create a bit of a fake wall (some day I’ll rate real walls and maybe even a door too), and generally brightened things up. The kids helped out with the important stuff, arranging action figures and Star Wars Lego pieces in inspirational locations. And as the final touch, they dipped their hands in paint and put their handprints all over the walls. Those handprints help to remind me about what’s important, add a touch of irreverence to everything and give the kids a permanent sense of having been a part of it. And I’m pretty sure they’ll give any actual home decorator fits and that thought helps to keep me amused.
Here’s two pictures of the finished product- the business (computer set-up) end of things, anyway. Note the white hand prints and the careful placement of action figures (really, who else but a kid is going to suggest that HellBoy belongs beside The Grinch)?