Wednesday, March 31, 2010

keeping my albatross

A few months ago I posted about my need for my own space. The tiny kitchen desk area is overrun with family stuff--Boy Scout schedules, homework, permission slips, art projects and so forth. My writing was getting crowded out and I was literally feeling the pinch. I had to clear off the desk to make room for my notes and laptop, put everything back before my tribe returned at the end of the school day.

My library is the obvious choice for a writing desk.
Yet I have a hutch from my grandma that can't go anywhere else, so there's that to contend with--one entire wall is all bookshelves, floor to ceiling, and the other wall is mostly taken up by the French doors. The remaining wall was given over to my albatross. Years ago I bought a piano and cannot bring myself to get rid of it. Warning: Never get a piano. It is an albatross, a heavy and unwieldy one, chained around my neck and I'll never be rid of it. I only pray that my sons will unleash themselves from this beast of an instrument when I die someday. I'm sure they will.

But I digress.

I had to find a desk to fit in a snug corner of my library, a desk that wouldn't overpower the room, but still provide ample room for my projects. This would be my go-to space for writing and separate me from the clutter and chaos brewing in the kitchen. Only my writing would go into and onto this desk. Nothing else.

Crate & Barrel answered my prayer by designing the perfect desk and darling Mr. D presented me with a gift card for Christmas. The results are spectacular--Behold!

The piano and hutch are still there--but betwixt them I have room to write. Notice, Jan is propped on a canning jar ring, keeping me company.

My new desk chair is the perfect height and so comfy.

When not in use, the desk rolls back together in a modest little box.

I made some rules to "earn" this desk--including NO online games (mahjong's a serious time suck, people) and some firm writing goals and deadlines. Last Friday (before I went to the Twin Cities to meet Minnesota Matron) I wrapped up my manuscript and fired it off to my Screw Iowa writing group. I owe my diligence to the desk. There are NO distractions in my library like in the kitchen. The view out the windows inspire more than my previous view of the refrigerator and stove.

And now that my writing isn't battling the family stuff for space, the kitchen area is more organized and efficient. My sons can do their homework where I once piled everyone's papers and forms.

Truly win-win.

Spill it, reader. What's your albatross? Have you figured out how to accommodate it, or do you have the stomach to rid yourself of it?


  1. Just one!?! Let's see...I have a couple of old chairs that need redone, carpet that needs to be laid and a bathroom that needs finishing (yes...since January!!!). Somedays I wonder if it would be easier to light a match and start over ;)

  2. my albatross was a 7-foot-long sofa, upholstered in beautiful antique teal, with genuine down cushions. It had been my grandmother's, and my mother foisted it onto me and then insisted that I keep it. My friend finally helped me take it to the landfill and throw it overboard one day when I was moving into a space too small for the sofa. I was so happy to be free of it. Then after my mom passed, her friend said she'd been so hurt that I'd gotten rid of that sofa. Why?? If she'd liked it so much, why didn't she keep it for herself??

  3. The orange chair. My original comment was so long that I've decided I need to write a full blog entry about it.

    Stay tuned! (But don't hold your breath.)

  4. Mine is a piano, too. I have an old upright my grandfather bought me in third grade. I now own a small Yamaha that I play. But I can't throw out the upright. It is currently sandwiched between the back of my bed and a window seat, obstructing my path to said seat. Anyone want a free piano?

  5. Great desk! Cute little knick knacks that belonged to my mom....I will never get rid of them because they were hers, but they seem to get pushed further back on the shelves every year.

  6. Looks awesome! Congrats on your own little space. It looks cozy. =)

  7. This is beautiful, Melissa!! A contrast to the great outdoors you tend to.

  8. Love your new "command center"! (That's what I call my desk area, with the computer and calendar and bulletin board.)

    I need to deal with my family's clutter, which is the always-present albatross around my neck.

  9. The perfect corner!

    Last year I could have come up with a whole list of albatross(es)? But I got rid of them! After ten years of living in this house, I cleaned house, so to speak, and now I'm free!! It feels great! :)

    I enjoyed your list below.

  10. My baby grand piano is lovely, but a bit of an albatross. I do play it, and I keep it (sort of) tuned. But it is big.
    But... it's the family heirloom piano, a true antique, and we know its history. It was a player piano first, then got converted, and the original owner's family still lives in town.
    And I don't have a Jan to sit in the corner and look adorable while I play it, either.

  11. Boxes and boxes of high school and college memoribilia. when we cleaned basement this winter, I got rid of alot of it, but there's alot of crud left over that I just can't part with. I tried, but then later I started to cry and pulled it out of the garbage pile. Back it went into the rubbermaid containers and thrown into the corner of the basement, until Farmer wants to clean house again.

  12. We too have a piano, a drum set, multiple guitars and those aren't even my albatross(es) ;)

    If you saw my basement, you'd know the truth. I'm working my way up to a spot on Hoaders.

    I'm going to have to work on that - and I mean working my way down that ladder to another reality show.

  13. Niiiice! Happy writing there! But I prefer it opened up, not packed away. Looks inviting.

    My albatross is my own desk. It's an antique, drop-down-in-front, with pigeon holes in, and inlay. I remember playing with the things in it as a child, at my granny's house. Now, my husband and dad are saying that it may not be a good idea to ship it to the UK. SOB! What to do?

  14. Oh dear lord I too succumbed to owning a piano. We all took lessons and I envisioned evenings and holidays of sing-a-longs. Guess what? Dust collection – nothing but. Sheesh.

  15. Dh would have a list of my albatrosses (albatrossi?) pages and pages long. but I am working on them.
    I would love to have a desk that folds up and hides my inner thoughts.

  16. I think it might be my desk. It's big and industrial looking, but it has a lot of work space (when not piled with junk) and nooks and crannies (stuffed with other junk). I think I should get rid of the junk and opt for a gorgeous one like yours.

  17. A piano - any piano - is only an albatross if nobody's playing it.

    Take a few moments and play your pianos, my peeps! Fulfill their destinies! Make them happy! Just one round of 'heart and soul' to remind them why they were built!


Spill it, reader.