Thursday, May 19, 2011


Perhaps you remember Alanis Morissette's song from the mid-90s called, "Ironic." Many of the situations she mentions in the song could not really be classified as ironic (how ironic is that?) because irony, by definition, does not merely refer to coincidental or improbable events. Irony speaks to the incongruity and poignant nature of a situation. To quote one of the free online dictionaries: "Something is ironic if the result is the opposite of what was intended; an ironic event is an incongruous event, one at odds with what might have been expected."

In mid-April we delivered our spare futon and frame to some friends so that they would have a comfy bed for visiting family members to sleep on. We let them know that if they liked it, they could keep it. We have been considering re-purposing our spare bedroom, which does not really get a lot of guest traffic these days, into an office for me so that I can study in peace while Dean makes a lot of noise in the living room. I estimate that out of 365 days of the year, the room only gets used by guests about 30 of those days. In contrast, I use my office about 350 days of the year. We still want to put some sort of sleeping solution in place, but it would be something that takes up much less space than a full-size bed.

While we have been looking into different options regarding desks, bookshelves, futons that unfold into beds, murphy beds, built-in storage, and sofa-beds, the room has been pretty much bare. And since the bed exited our condo a month ago, I have had 3 sets of unexpected house guests. Ironic. Truly. We borrowed air mattresses from friends and most of our guests have been happy to pretend they are pseudo-camping and have not complained. However, it is far from ideal. The guests are not being fully accommodated and I have no improvement in my office situation. The challenge of finding a workable and beautiful solution that provides much needed storage space for all my books and files and expands my working space while easily converting into a temporary guest room is proving somewhat complex. One of the most innovative and efficient solutions, the murphy bed/desk combination starts at about $3000. Hmmmm.

And when the guests do drift through, I wonder how practical sharing an office with them will be. I need access to my officey stuff pretty much every day for several hours, much more if I am in the middle of a school term. Do I sit in my office and write at my desk late at night (as is my custom) while the wanderers snore several feet away from me? Or do I move books, files, and my computer out of the room for the duration of their stay? How important is it to welcome others into our home? Very, I would say. But how does it practically fit into work, study, life, and available resources?

I would love to have a very private space for guests to enjoy. I would love to have a dedicated office space that never gets disrupted. I would love for Dean and me to have our closet not located in the guest bedroom! I would love for guests to have their own bathroom. However, that is not how things are right now. At this point, every time people stay with us, we must all graciously share a bathroom, a small kitchen, closet space and balcony access.

Sharing. It seems that I need to learn how to do this better. And it is what our guests will get a chance to do, as well.

This is a photo of two tomato plants sharing space in a planter on my balcony.

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