Ain’t it funny how things change

Things Change 1

This past May I dropped out of grad school. I was seven years into a PhD thesis that I no longer loved, that some academic with better funding had scooped me on three years previously, and it was time to move on. There had been too many delays in the project; some were of my doing, but others were out of my control, and in the intervening time, my priorities had shifted. I no longer wanted to try to prove anything to the academic community, and I definitely did not want to try my limited chances at getting a tenured position in academia. So I left the program. The thesis remains half-finished, and my standing is A.B.D., which means that technically I can go back and finish it at some point if I wanted to. I don’t think I will. And I don’t regret my decision.

Things Change 2

It’s just weird that it was such a huge focus of my life for so long. It was the reason we moved to Newfoundland and had all those amazing experiences. And now it’s over. And this giant shelf that is double stacked with books on the subject no longer needs to fill this particular purpose. I’m not getting rid of the books, but I don’t need them to sit there every day and remind me of something I never finished.

Things Change 3

As I said, my priorities are shifting. The Pie and I are looking for a house to buy but until then we’re stuck in the Tower, which I am growing to dislike more with every passing month. But I don’t want to go through the time and expense of moving. Again. So we make do. And we shuffle things around.

Things Change 5

We only really have one common space with room to move around in and that’s our living room, which is the same room as our dining room. So when the Pie has the boys over and they’re playing games and making noise I wanted a place for myself where I can do my projects (for you, dear readers) and maybe binge-watch a bit of Netflix while I’m at it. Our bedroom is actually the largest room in the house, so we made the decision recently to buy a second TV (don’t judge me), and put it in the bedroom (I can hear you judging me).

Things Change 7

So I ditched the makeshift vanity that I realized I was never going to make (because I would never use it) and shuffled some things around.

Things Change 9

It’s not perfect, and it’s not pretty, but it’s making do with what I have and it’ll do until we move and I can set up something that I like better. For now I’m pretty impressed with how many moves that bookshelf and those two bedside tables have survived.

Things Change 8

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

Okay for real it’s autumn.  The time has come for me to finally start cracking down on my thesis.  My outline has been approved by my committee and I’m ready to go.  The problem is, until Saturday, my “office” (read: the tiny rolling desk I moved into) was stuck in a dark corner of our bedroom for the whole summer.  I love our bedroom, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a place conducive to dissertation-writing.  I wanted my office back.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

But my office looked like this (Corgi sometimes included).  That giant queen-sized bed pretty much takes up the whole room, which is only about 9 feet squared.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

What’s left goes to the freezer.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

We didn’t want to get rid of the bed if we could keep it — it’s very handy to have a spare place to sleep if you have unexpected guests or your spouse is sick or what have you (normally when this happens one of us [ME] sleeps on our tiny loveseat in the living room).  But holy crap a bed takes up a lot of room!  Of course it would be a simple matter to get some form of hide-a-bed or convert this sucker to a murphy bed or something like that.  But we don’t have any money and this isn’t our house, and we’re only going to be here another year anyway.  We just need a band-aid solution to get us through the year — a year that includes me writing the equivalent of a textbook.

So we had to do some shifting around.  And of course when you’re doing this you don’t want to spend an hour or two shoving furniture needlessly across your floors.  No.  You want to go in with a plan.

What do you do?  Well you map it out.  My husband studies cartography, so this was right up his alley.

First, you need to measure everything — the furniture, as well as the dimensions of your room.  Make sure when you’re measuring the room that you include the floor space of the room (that is, from baseboard to baseboard) and not from wall to wall.  Baseboards usually account for an inch or two in depth and that could mean a whole lot when it comes to fitting stuff in.  Also make sure that you can account for the full swing of a door, be it a closet or the main entrance.  You may think you can deal with a door that doesn’t open all the way, but trust me, that will get irritating pretty quickly.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

Conveniently, there are tons of programs out there on the internet that can help you to map out your future room.  The one we used here wasn’t the greatest, but it suited our purposes.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

The big issues for us in planning out our room were that the room itself only has two electrical outlets, and that the longest wall is taken up halfway through with an electric baseboard heater.  Oh, that and the huge honking bed we need to fit in there. So this is the room as it stands right now. The desk and chair to the left are what needs to fit in the room.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

We tried out all sorts of permutations, and eventually we had almost agreed on getting rid of the bed altogether and just sucking it up for the next year.  It was the freezer that was causing us grief.  It would fit in our bedroom, now that we’d moved the desk, but did we really want our freezer in our bedroom?  Probably not. But it had to go somewhere. As far as my office move-around went, however, we ended up putting everything back (virtually) pretty much where it was originally, and just swapping out the freezer for the desk. Presto-change-o.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

In the end, we decided to shove the freezer into our dining room.  I may eventually switch it up with that table in the corner (but as you can see the aesthetics of the place are pretty much ruined with all the craft stuff I’ve got on the go at the moment).  It doesn’t do anything for our dining room, and it makes it a little annoying to manoeuvre around the table now, but we don’t really have the time or money to have big fancy dinner parties anymore, and we really only use the dining room for a workspace and to have breakfast on the weekends.  So it will do.  For now (meaning I’ll probably re-evaluate my priorities and move everything around sometime in the next month or so — the way things are is already bugging the OCD in me).

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

And my office?  Well, it’s not perfect by any means. All the pictures are now hung up wrong. When I sit at my desk I get a bird’s eye view of what’s in our recycling bags. But it’ll do.  For now. It’s a compromise.

Comfort, Company, and Compromise

Comfort, Company, and Compromise