Clean Slate

English: The Great Dining Room. Chatsworth House

NOT MY DINING ROOM: The Great Dining Room At Chatsworth House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Daily Post prompt “Clean Slate” wants us to explore the room we are in as if it is the first time we have encountered it and describe the person or people who inhabit(s) it. Or this is the prompt I am attempting with a little of my own paraphrasing.

The room I am in right now is an office slash dining room. Most of the walls have bookshelves starting from about four feet off the ground to the ceiling. They are jam-packed. Fuller than capacity. They hold mostly books but also a lot of mementos–not just bric-a-brac–but things that seem to be meaningful.

There are two desks which are really doors professionally finished off to look like furniture placed on six filing cabinets. One might wonder what it is in the filing cabinets as there are a lot of files and paperwork neatly piled on a shelf, under a shelf and on the desks. The room  looks neat as if it had been cleaned up for Christmas.

The dining room table has a lace tablecloth on it, and though one at first glance would not know it, the table is pretty clean compared to its usual state. The people who live here probably do not eat at the table formally every night, but on occasion.

The room has a laptop, business phone, an old fax machine unplugged so that no incoming faxes can be received, a combination printer/scanner/photocopy machine, and a calculator.

Book shelf

Book shelf (Photo credit: jayneandd)

If you were to come into this room you would think that the people who live here read a lot. And you would be right. You would think that there is a writer in residence from the titles of some of the books, and the names on some of the files. You would think they were running a contracting business from the names on the other files, and the calculator sitting on the dining room table may mean they do their own book work. You would think looking at this room that these people had potential. And you would be right. The people who live here have lots of potential, some of it still unrealized.

There seems to be an attempt at organization  in some areas. The rug is worn and in need of replacement. Kids were brought up here. You can tell by some of the pictures and memorabilia–basketball trophies, some Lego figures, pictures of boys at different stages of their school and athletic careers. And you see signs of creativity–homemade things, written things, projects unfinished. There is a picture propped up on one of the desks of a young happy couple on their wedding day. Seems to be from the early 1980’s from the style of the clothing.

This is a well-used room. It has a TV in one corner and an old stereo that is over a quarter of a century old. A CD player has been added to the works, but the record player still holds a place of honour. There are a few records and lots of CDs.

This is obviously a room where life is lived and work is done. It has seen blissful times and hard times. And it will see more of both.

Do you have a room that has seen blissful times?

Published in: on January 13, 2013 at 2:33 pm  Comments (66)  
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~ Tour of My House In Words ~

Cover of sheet music for "Home! Sweet Hom...

Cover of sheet music for “Home Sweet Home”. Words by H.R. Bishop & John Howard Payne, music by   H.R. Bishop, Chicago: McKinley Music Co.1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I have a sign that says “Dreams…do come true” casually propped up on a bookshelf in my office. On the bulletin board over my desk is a handwritten note that says ~ “Everything you want is just outside of your comfort zone.” It is attributed to Robert Allen–I do not know who Robert Allen is, but I like what he said.

Over the doorway of the staircase that leads to our second floor is a quilted homespun sign with this message: “A clean house is the sign of a life misspent.” Suffice to say that I have not misspent my life, at least in the clean house category.

Above the door leading from the kitchen to the dining room is another sign. It demands in bold letters ~ “Give Me the Coffee and No One Gets Hurt.”

Upstairs in the bathroom is yet another sign. It is one that my husband chose and says: “Changing the toilet paper does not cause brain damage”. He loves this sign. No one pays any attention to it though.

Tucked into my bookshelf in my bedroom is another note–printed this time in black ink. The words are those of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  I read it almost every night before I go to bed–it says:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day: you shall begin it well and serenely….”

So much for a tour of my house. Do you have any signs hanging in your home or handwritten notes tucked away?

Dreams Do Come True

Name That Shakespeare Play!

Name That Shakespeare Play! (Photo credit: Tracy Lee)

Intro to Organizing -101

I have a sign that says “Dreams…do come true” casually propped up on a bookshelf in my library/office/dining room/really, really messy, messy room. Over the doorway of the same room is a quilted homespun sign with this message: “A clean house is the sign of a life misspent.” Suffice to say that I have not misspent my life, at least in the clean house category.

My decades old dream is to become organized. And the fact that I may live for another 40 years, it is a worth pursuing. (Mind you I will be really close to 100 years of age, but they are predicting that we will live longer these days.) I also would like to have a clean house, and finally take down the quilted sign which is brown with age, and curling at one corner in a most unattractive manner.

Let me introduce you to my office, which is one of the rooms in my house that needs to be organized (this is the understatement of all understatements.) It is where I write and meet deadlines for the weekly newspaper I work for, as well as articles for magazines and a variety of other venues (who am I kidding here, I write for whoever will pay me). I am also supposed to be the office manager for my husband’s contracting/kitchen remodelling business. I am not a really good office manager. I really dislike paperwork, which may sound odd for someone who writes, but paperwork and writing are diametrically opposed. I do some minor bookkeeping, which I do not altogether understand, but our accountant walks me through it. He speaks to me in short sentences and words I mostly understand. I have a decent education, but all the courses I took in Shakespeare do not help me with rudimentary math.

English: Wooden File Cabinet with drawer open....

English: Wooden File Cabinet with drawer open. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The whole song and dance about bookwork explains why this room is so messy, as my filing system is remarkable (I know this as my husband John remarks on it all the time). In a nutshell, I am afraid to file things away. I am an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of girl. I am an “outie” not an “innie” when it comes to filing, and I am not referring to any parts of my anatomy. There have been studies done that prove that some people can file things away and actually find them again, and others need everything out in a jumble, to sift through every month in order to keep their books, and every year to do their income tax returns. (I will tell you the Christmas cake story later to prove my point that I should not put things “away”).

My office consists of two longs desks (which are really flat doors that my husband framed) set on a number of filing cabinets. There is a lot of stuff in the filing cabinets, some of it well over twenty years old that I have been meaning to throw out or re-file. The desks form a kind of L-shape against two walls. Right now one desk shares my writing work files with John’s business files and financial files, plus piles of newspapers I still have to clip my column out of. ( I write a weekly column, which you can partake of in this blog–called  coincidentally– On The Homefront and Beyond.)

The other desk has a phone, a printer/copier, a dictionary the size of a small house, and more files and papers destined at some stage to be put away, plus a myriad of bills, and important papers that I must look at–someday for some reason.

In the middle of the room is our dining room table with my laptop, surrounded by (you guessed it) more papers and receipts, and right now Christmas cards and last night’s copy of the Agenda for the municipal Council meeting I attended and have to write up. My day book is laying there forlorn, almost forgotten, and a calculator sits at the ready for me to finish this month’s bookwork (as well as the last 12 months). There is a lace tablecloth on the table to remind me that this is a multi-tasking room and not just an office. There are occasions (though few and far between) when I actually clean off the table, and we eat glorious and festive meals gathered around it. I believe Thanksgiving was the last time in recent memory.

As this blog entry is getting a bit long, I will continue later, but I think you are getting the point–the success of the rest of my life really does depend on me getting organized. I have a number of books I will be calling on to point me down the right path, and will tell you more tomorrow (or the next day, remember I am just getting organized, I am nowhere close to reaching my goal yet.) Oh, in case you were wondering, that is a minus sign in front of organizing–this is not like Economics 101 or Psych 101–it is me learning how to be organized, not teaching. I am just taking you along on the journey.

Hope you stick with me–

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 8:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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