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PARTING SHOT: The 'perfect' home office
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PARTING SHOT: The 'perfect' home office


As a child, I dreamed of having a home office.

My mom’s boss – an implement dealer – had a roll-top desk in his and more farm toys than you could imagine. Occasionally, he’d let me snoop around and the visits sparked visions of my own home office.

I was convinced I’d have an electric pencil sharpener, reams of construction paper, scissors, glue and an electric stapler. The desk would have cubbyholes, too (like a post office) and plenty of envelopes for mailing all sorts of things. My walls would be filled with photographs detailing key moments in my career. And, of course, I’d have all those toys.

In my pre-teen years, I’d spend hours at office supply stores drooling over the possibilities. I even bought sleeves like you’d find in library books and date due slips, so I could turn all my books into a Dewey Decimal dream.

Life, however, has a way of changing those childhood plans.

I now have a home office, but I can’t tell you the last time I sat in there – if I could. The room has become a repository for everything that doesn’t have a home. Sure, there are toys, but they don’t add up to anything (except a lot of trips to theme parks) and the photos I have hanging aren’t of me.

This is really the land of sweatpants, unused exercise equipment, seasonal decorations and receipts. Occasionally, the vacuum cleaner takes up residence.

The closet I was going to turn into my own little office supply store is so stuffed with crap I wouldn’t know what to save if a fire broke out.

There is an electric pencil sharpener in there (a gift I got in 1983), but no pencils. I have a printer, too, but the darned thing is such an ink hog I barely install a new cartridge and it’s thirsting for more.

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And the toys? They run the gamut. Some are Happy Meal surprises; others are stuffed animals I couldn’t abandon.

Walking space is limited. I have cleaned it (usually around tax time, when I’m furiously searching for receipts) but, for the most part, I leave the door shut.

Now, because we’re working from home, I’ve thought of clearing the veldt.

My “real” office either resides on my dining room table or a chair where I can perch my laptop and still watch TV. There are papers arranged in a system only I know and enough pens and markers to make my 8-year-old self very happy.

A fancy home office? That plan will have to wait until retirement. Then, I’ll have the time to sort, arrange, catalog and file and I won’t have the need to find something at midnight because I’ve got to have it the next day.

The shelves will be artfully arranged, too, (John Deere next to Massey Ferguson next to International Harvester) and I’ll prop up a photo of me from my “working” years.

What it’ll say, I have no idea. I’ve been pondering my options but until I find my “good” camera, it’ll just have to wait.

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