Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Workstation Wangling

I've had a couple of very productive days in a row. This afternoon I opened the WhizFolder File for my 2007 NaNo Novel, Spring Fever, looking for a link I remembered recording in the notes somewhere. This was the first time I had opened that file since late February or early March of last year. I knew what a mess I had made of it and dreaded facing it. But that's a story I'll save for Friday's Foray in Fiction. Tonight I want to talk about wangling my workstation for the third time since arriving at my Mom's the last Sunday of December. I finally got all the pictures I've taken since Thanksgiving off my camera and among them are the pictures of the second and third workstation. The first was operational only the first night and was in the office where my nephew is on the PC most of every day and my sister sleeps in the room beneath at night which meant being distracting and a distractor during the day and distrubing my sister's sleep at night. So my first full day here I set it up on my side of the bed in my Mom's room.

I fussed and fiddled with it for several days but by New Year's Day it looked pretty much like the following six pictures:

Note the back of the purple appolstered chair in the cornor. It was faing the bed and loaded up with my Mom's collection of stuffed RacCoons, my sweaters and a few books.

My desk is that collapsable TV tray I've been using at home since October and brought with me. I frequently move this out to the living room.

Above is a close up showing the items on the mousepad. There in the top left corner of the mousepad are the clip-on reading glasses that went missing on me New Year's Eve and weren't found until the evening of New Year's Day. My nephew found them in the dishwasher when he was putting away the dishes. They had popped off the coller of my shirt when I crashed into the dishwasher door New Year's Eve

The blond chest of drawers had been sitting next to the purple chair when I first got here and unti the late afternoon of New Year's Eve my 'desk' had been set about where you see the blue drawers and I had to sit on the foot of the bed to use it. The blond chest holds my Mom's sweaters. The blue drawers were loaned to me by my sister for the office supplies and project misc I brought with me.

The above picture was taken the night I got back from the ER on January 6th with orders to keep my foot elevated until the swelling is gone. When I took this picture I was sitting on the bed with my left leg on the bed and my right foot on the floor. The foot of the bed was elevated so that my toes were practically in my ear. The 'desk' was pulled clear over so that it partially covered what was left of my lap. I could work on the computer with fair comfort. But I could not reach my reference books on the blond chest nor the blue drawers containing the various project miscellany.

I had to put up with that inconvenience for nearly ten days as my leg healed. But as soon as I could I started wangling my workstation into a new order. Below are the pictures of it I took this evening:

As you can see above and below this note, I move my reference books up near the head of the bed where they are inches from my right elbow as I type this. I managed this by moving that purple chair flush with the edge of the bed and facing toward my desk. I put the Raccoon clan on the floor under and beside it and laid the board I brought from home with me across its arms. One of my purses is on the seat of the chair under the board.

The crescent shaped board on my 'desk' that augments the width so that there is room for a mouse pad was one my Mom had. It is made for use as a lap table for recliners.

Setting on the blond chest now is the Brother printer which was introduced to my laptop in December of 2007 when I began the project of scanning my family photos. I had hoped to come back here last March for another visit and resume work on that but didn't make it. I've been trying to figure out how to resume work on that ever since I got here but it seemed hopeless to find a place to set up for it. The office is so crowded there is standing room only near where the printer was stationed and after injuring my shin it was out of the question for me to work while standing as I did last time.

Then the Brother printer developed issues with the ink cartridge and my sister took it offline. It sat unplugged in the office for a couple weeks. There was some discussion as to how simply scanning pictures into my computer would still work if we could only figure out where to set it up. We imagined the living room or dining room but that would entail clearing off a surface area large enough and my sister was just overwhelmed at the prospect of a sorting/organizing chore added to her already crammed full routine. Besides which much of the 'mess' in question was my Mom's--projects she had been working on just before they left on the fateful trip to her sister's in California where she broke her hip and then suffered a mild stroke just before Thanksgiving.

Last weekend my sister fixed the problem with the ink and got the printer printing again. Now I wanted to hook up to it even worse--I am very anxious to get hard copies of the twenty some poems I written in the last several years during which I've had no access to a printer. I also am eager eager to get a hard copy of several partial story drafts--especially Crystal's story.

So I suggested setting the Brother up on that blond chest which had become a catchall for my purse and odds and ends I was too busy or lazy to put away properly. I cleared it off and voila. I have a printer/scanner stand.

By using the bed to spread out there is plenty of space for the photo scanning project. Printing my documents needs no extra space. That leaves one small problem: my Mom's sleep schedule vs my sleep schedule. I can't operate the printer or scanner while she is sleeping between 9PM and 7AM. Nor while she is napping between 2ish and 4ish in the afternoons. I think I can work around that restriction. I am learning to be flexible with my schedule; to fit small tasks into small windows of opportunity that crop up at odd unexpected moments.

My late night work session is much shorter than I have been used to and I need to preserve it for the writing and research tasks that require focus and thus little fear of interruption. Since those tasks also tend to be quiet, I can do them while Mom is sleeping on the other side of the bed. Though sometimes I have moved my workstation out to the couch in the afternoon and will remain there after everyone goes to bed until I too am ready to sleep. The drawback on that is that I then have to move my workstation back into the bedroom before I can sleep. That entails three to six trips into the darkened room with breath held as I listen for hitches in Mom's breathing that would indicate I am disturbing her. It is a twenty to thirty minute chore. I can't just leave it set up on the couch as my sister and her son do their homeschooling there in the late mornings before I get up.

Above is the top of that blue drawer stack showing several of my desk toys. Blue Mews wears my dolphin bracelet as a crown. My bookmark bouquet is in the mug I won at last summer's read-a-thon. It says on it: Books make me smile. Two small books Blue Mews perches on are inspirational day books that belong to my sister.

That cardboard box you see to the right of Blue Mews was just added tonight to hold notebooks and files which I'd left packed in the attache like bag I brought them in until now. But the only place to keep the bag was to the far side of the blond chest. So out of reach whenever I needed something out of it.

Below is the last picture I took before my camera's battery gave out. It is of the headboard just behind my pillows. I've already moved my clock to the right of the large lamp as the light put too much glare on the clock face to read the number. The card with the blue bird is the 'get well' card Ed sent me the week after my ER adventure. The light from the big lamp does not reach my keyboard so I use the smaller, portable high-intensity lamp, sometimes moving it onto the 'desk' itself. I use it especially when copying off notes or books and etc.

Now that I have all those pictures off the camera I can get some of them added to the posts they were meant to illustrate. Especially the Jumble series of post regarding the room redo just after Thanksgiving and my packing. I still haven't decided whether to post the pictures of my shin but I will, if nothing else, post the picture I took of the dishwasher with its door open and the rack puled out, just like it had been on New Year's Eve when I crashed into it. There are also pictures of my tramp on the front porch--watch for them on the next Sunday Serenity post.

1 tell me a story:

Ann 2/05/2009 7:34 PM  

Hey, Glad to hear your getting settled in at your mom's. Cool pictures, it's always interesting to see how other writers set up their work stations. I've been doing some rearranging on a larger scale, we rearranged the entire library (I swear I moved every book in the fiction section at least three times in three days). I've posted pictures on the library blog if you're interested:
Hope things are going well for you.
Read any good books lately?

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