Monday, April 24, 2017

Making it work

Happy Monday to you.  

Did you get rain over the weekend, as we did here in central Kentucky?  I realize that this IS spring, and it IS routine to see ample amounts of rain this time of year, but why, oh, why, does it have to seemingly ALWAYS rain on the weekend?

My wife and I elected to give ourselves a change of pace from our respective routines over the weekend, and traveled to Cincinnati, our preferred getaway destination.  As I've explained in this space before, we love Cincinnati because it's a larger city than Lexington but is only a little more than an hour's drive away, so we can spend less time getting away and more time BEING away!

That sounded a little like a tourism commercial, but no matter.

We normally visit a specific shopping mall that has some things we don't have, and also better versions of what we DO have, here in my home city.  For instance, we love visiting the Apple Store in the Kenwood Towne Center.  Why?  It's substantially larger than the one at Fayette Mall here in Lexington, so it holds more people and there are more staffers there.  So a large crowd here disperses well into a larger space there.

But one place we almost always enjoy visiting is IKEA, the Swedish-based furniture and home store. The nearest one to us is in West Chester, Ohio, just north of the city of Cincinnati.

We've probably been there a dozen times and I can count on one hand the number of things I've bought there.  We bought guest room nightstands (that we later sold on Craigslist when our living room end-tables became available to replace them) and a matching dresser, also for that same guest room.  And we bought ramekins there a few years ago, and they've been invaluable in serving small portions of food, especially to our grandchildren.

But the area of IKEA that endlessly fascinates me is the office furniture section.  From the time I was a kid I've always liked desks, bookcases and the like, and still do.

Full disclosure--I bought "traditional" office furniture for my home office twelve or so years ago, opting for a large wooden desk with a matching credenza and hutch.  I used to also have a matching bookcase but we sold that to clear out more visual space in my office, which was originally a dining room and is the first room one sees when entering our home.

Having that office furniture does not stop me from spending a good amount of each visit to IKEA's office furniture department.

At some point I became fascinated by the "modular" style that one can create, using multiple tables, drawer units and legs to create a system that provides working and storage space.  That fascination has now grown to include sit/stand desks, some motorized and others manual-crank-operated.   We're all learning, after lo these many years, that remaining in a sitting position at a desk, particularly in front of a computer, for extended periods of time is NOT good for us.  So mixing sitting and standing is now a trending but valuable practice.

Another point full disclosure--when I began to work at home full-time in 2003 my first purchase was a Herman Miller Aeron office chair, which can be adjusted in a variety of ways to ensure proper ergonomics.  I've improved the lumbar support and added a headrest since purchasing it, but it has never ceased being comfortable and supportive, and I had back issues long before spending countless hours at a desk.

Anyway, the myriad solutions available from a place like IKEA start my mind racing with possibilities, and since my office is perfectly square (on three sides, anyway) with no windows, arrangements are infinitely flexible.  My ideal solution would probably now be an open table, rather than a weighty traditional desk with drawers, with storage nearby for the shrinking amount of paper materials that I keep.  In my mind's eye this open table would be about the size of my current desktop, or perhaps even a little bigger, and would adjust in height, too.

Realistically, after investing in "good" but traditional furniture a few years ago, it makes little sense to chuck it in favor of something new, and I've posted this set on Craigslist more than once and received a lot of vague interest but no specific offers.

So for now my vision will have to stay in my mind's eye, I suppose!


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