Character flaws

I’m a sucker for anything with “character.” You know, one of those people that real estate agents market “charming” properties too. Also, the type that buys a new lipstick simply because its packaging is just so darn beautiful. And last but not least, the buyer of highly impractical, but terribly cute shoes.

I can see how this could be considered superficial. It’s that whole form over function thing. But so far, this has not led me wrong.

Back in 1998 when we wanted to rid ourselves of our landlady, we chanced upon a century-home which had a view, beyond enormous mature trees, of a river. And it was in our price range. Too good to be true? Oh ya, you know it.

What we didn’t notice before buying was that it had not a single closet, nor even doors for the bedrooms. It did, however, have lovely green shag carpet in the bathroom.

Indeed, the place needed serious help, but we saw only its “character.” Since then we have welcomed a dog, a daughter and a son to this home and now it really feels like a part of our family too. Albeit a member of the family that is often a pain in the ass, and demands ridiculous amounts of attention.

Sure, my friends’ homes are far more functional, roomier and offer greater creature comforts, but we still like it here. And so goes the story of my life.

When we decided we wanted to get a puppy, I happened to see an ad in our community paper. I called and went over to see the litter. Oh, I was smitten from the very moment I saw them. I especially loved a male one that had floppy ears and long, soft hair. Yes, long hair. Contrary to everything my husband and I had decided upon in a dog — a medium-sized, non-shedding, clever breed — I brought home our Riley, who was very large and very hairy. And as for clever, let’s just say that he was the only student who didn’t pass his basic obedience course. But you know what? He turned out to be the sweetest dog ever.

See what I mean … character over function. It works for me.

That is, until now.

I’ve been working from a home office since 2005. And in all this time, I still haven’t set up a “professional” working space. Instead, I choose to work on a desk that is solid oak, and made by my grandfather’s hands when he was a student in grade 7.

It’s a beautiful desk. Created before computers, it doesn’t, however, have a proper keyboard area or shelf for a hard drive. Nor does it have enough desk space for a wireless modem, camera, calculator, files and the rest of my tools of the trade. I also can’t really fit my legs under it properly so most of the time I sit cross-legged in my chair.

Ah, who can worry about such details when you’ve got deadlines to meet, right? Well, apparently I better start taking notice now. I’ve developed a really sore arm — from my hand all the way up to my elbow on my right-hand side. I’m not sure what you want to call it … repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel. Whatever it’s called though, it hurts. Alot.

So tomorrow I will be dragging myself and my sore arm into some big box store for a desk with far less character. Paying good money for something that is functional. Who would’a thunk it.

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2 Comments

Filed under Living, Observations, Shopping

2 responses to “Character flaws

  1. XUP

    Can’t you just get one of those really compact computer desks and still use the oak desk for your non-computer work? Or trade in the big cumbersome computer for a laptop? Or have a keyboard tray attached to the desk somehow? (I hate to see you giving in to characterlessness)

    • coffeewithjulie

      Hi XUP – thanks for the suggestions. For functional reasons, I’m really looking for a large desk that accommodates the computer and provides me space to have my paper resources quick at hand while I’m typing. BUT, I think I’ve found a solution that still provides for “character” — I’ve just concluded a deal with someone on kijiji for a wood (solid wood apparently!) desk that has a computer keyboard tray, a matching bookshelf and a high-quality computer chair too. I’m thrilled, since I went around to Cosco, Staples, Ikea and the like and couldn’t pull out my wallet. Of course, I’ll never get rid of my fave desk from my grandfather, despite our space limitations here. It will take on a more decorative place in our home (and another much-needed place to store books!).

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