Working From Home

musings 9 months into working from home

I chose this March to finally paint my house. Or rather, I decided to paint the kitchen and living room. I spent a chunk of February scraping the popcorn off the ceiling(the spackly kind, not the tasty exploded corn), and was really nearing coming to a decision about what paint colour I would go with. Anything was better than the ketchup mustard and zombie skin combo my house’s previous owner decided to paint the place. Nothing says “Let’s Eat” like a kitchen the sickly green-beige of a Scooby Do villain.

If I had to do the popcorn again (and I do… in three other rooms)… I would do it SO very differently. Don’t trust that it can be vacuumed up! don’t do it!

A critical thing to note is that in order to paint my kitchen and living room, I had to move all of the things from there to the two bedrooms… so when the world started talking about lockdowns and working from home, I found myself frantically racing to finish painting so that I could set up a (LARGE) desktop computer somewhere other than in my bed or in the bathroom, the only two spaces in my house that weren’t stuffed with furniture or covered in drop cloths.

Gollum, as portrayed by Doodle, in the zombie-beige kitchen. The lighting doesn’t do it justice.

Covid got me to pick a damn colour (purple!) because it seemed very likely that the paint store would close at any moment.

Covid also gave me free labour in the form of a sibling laid off and living with me through the spring lockdown. Thank goodness, because she was able to progress the priming and painting while I was at my office during the day. By the time it was official that I HAD to go home, I had the ability to lay out my living room and include a desk area.

Why yes, I don’t have a real desk…

The first few months working from home were full of the constant overwhelming anxiety of the whole world going to hell in a handbasket, compulsively refreshing online news outlets, paranoia that I wasn’t being productive enough and would, at any moment, get fired, finding yet more dust from taking the popcorn off the ceiling, and melting in my un-airconditioned house in the summer.

Now that I’ve mostly acclimatized to the hell-in-a-handbasket element, and we all have rules to follow to keep each other safe, working from home has grown on me.

I can listen to my music without headphones, and no one can sneak up on me.

The coffee is MUCH nicer, though on the down side, I am paying more for coffee and cream than I was when I was only drinking the free stuff available at my office.

Pajamas/sweatpants/yoga pants. While I did try out camp “dress for work so you’ll do work”, I quickly decided it wasn’t for me. I really like being able to sit cross-legged in my office chair.

Functional breaks – when I need a few minutes to think on a problem or just be not-facing-a-screen, I can fold laundry, check on my plants, play with the dog, do downward dog, or any number of other things that aren’t limited to things-that-are-appropriate-at-work.

I miss being able to swing by my coworkers’ desks to catch up, but I mean… look at my new office buddy!

The couch directly beside my work area.

Where necessary – lunch naps.

Also where necessary, but less healthy… going back to work after taking the dog out at 5pm.

What was your biggest adjustment to working from home? What’s your desk setup?

Halloween

My favourite thing about Halloween is pumpkin carving.  And costumes.  And candy.  And the movie ‘the nightmare before christmas’, and hocus pocus too.  But mostly the pumpkin carving.  In our family, it’s kind of the thing.

My office changed from having an office costume contest this year, to having an office pumpkin decorating contest.  My initial response was, yes, finally, I shall triumph over all! with maybe a bit of evil laughter.  I don’t often meet people who meet my level of pumpkin carvery.

my pumpkin from this year - tonight, he'll have a glowy tiny pumpkin hanging over his slightly baffled angler-fish face
my pumpkin from this year – tonight, he’ll have a glowy tiny pumpkin hanging over his slightly baffled angler-fish face

However, my office then clarified that, for insurance purposes, inviting us to come to the cafeteria and handing out knives and gourds would be a no-go.  But you’re welcome to come join us in the cafeteria for some pumpkin decorating!  We’ve got pompoms and furry wire things and glitter and paint!  Yay!

And I was just like, “no carving?  What does that even mean?  Why won’t you give me a knife?”

you don't trust me with a knife?  what about my carving tools?  I have many tiny pointy things
you don’t trust me with a knife? what about my carving tools? I have many tiny pointy things

FYI, painted on eyebrows are fun.  Trust me, it doesn’t matter what face you make to go with them, it really works.

Dinosaurs - Friday Nights at the ROM, in full costume only happens once a year, and it is MAGICAL
Dinosaurs – Friday Nights at the ROM, in full costume only happens once a year, and it is MAGICAL

I’m an ARTISTE, I don’t decorate pumpkins.  Look at my face!  Look at it!  And costumes aren’t even the most important part of Halloween for me.  PUMPKINS are!

FACE!  BOVERED!
FACE! BOVERED!

FACE!
FACE!

I considered just carving my competition pumpkin at home (I will stand by my convictions!), but decided I’d play by their rules.  It might have been a decision impacted by the fact that the ‘decorating’ party included a couple cauldrons of candy.  I might be an addict.

So I made a non-carved pumpkin, in exchange for sweet sweet tiny chocolate bars
So I made a non-carved pumpkin, in exchange for sweet sweet tiny chocolate bars

And on the morning of halloween, I woke up inspired not to paint my face, but to go for something easier and somewhat more work appropriate.

I've even got a beard.  But no axe... because if the insurance people were worried about pumpkin carving, I can only imagine what they'd have to say about an axe.
I’ve even got a beard. But no axe… because if the insurance people were worried about pumpkin carving, I can only imagine what they’d have to say about an axe.

Happy Halloween, I hope it’s full of spooks and ghouls and frightful things!  And candy.