All I wanted was a cup of chai…

and it snowballed out of control from there.

My office is smallish – about 10′ x 10′ – but it has rather a lot of largish furniture in it. I have a horse-shoe desk with a big hutch on one side, two bookcases, a wall locker, a big poofy comfy chair, a smaller less poofy chair on wheels, my desk chair of course, and a large coat rack. It’s, y’know, cozy. A nice feature is that I am not capable of walking around my desk without bumping my thigh on a corner of it. So on the days I am too befuddled to remember if I made it to work or not, I can just check my thighs for new bruises.

Another interesting feature of my workspace is that my building was built in WWII. Electrically it has been retrofitted to some extent. At least, it has three-prong outlets. But the wiring I’m not so sure about. And because of the extraordinary furniture:floor space ratio of my office, I had access to two outlets. One was next to my desk (handy). The other was behind my door (less handy). So my computer, monitor, and speakers were plugged into a surge suppressor strip in one plug of the outlet by my desk.  My space heater (our HVAC system is also an antique) was in the other. I have Hot Shot, a teeny-tiny little appliance that heats water for tea, and the only place left to plug it in was into the surge supressor. Well, technically I guess I could put it into the outlet behind the door, but I would have to set the boiling-water appliance on the floor in the path of traffic. That seems unwise.

Most days it works just fine. The Hot Shot takes about 60 seconds to heat water for tea, and then shuts off automatically. It’s a good little gadget. But yesterday was just One Of Those Days. Yesterday I poured the cup of water into the thingy, pushed the button, and every computer and appliance in my office and my clerks’ office next door turned off. 

Thus ensued a 15-minute hunt for a person who knows the circuit breaker panel location. I looked first in the building and grounds division. The building maintenance people were largely missing in action, and the one guy who was present was not familiar with my building. It took one of my own wonderful clerks to rescue me, identifying not only the panel location but the appropriate breaker quickly and efficiently. I do love my team, have I told y’all that before?

Okay, so the Hot Shot has to go in another outlet. Must find another outlet. Not the one behind my desk, me and five strong guys couldn’t move that desk. That leaves the one behind a bookcase. But the bookcase is really heavy. No, wait… bookcase is light – books are heavy. Take the books off, then move the bookcase, plug in the thingy, move it back. Yay!

Well, I started taking books off of shelves, and realized that even though I dust between and around the books semi-frequently (yeah, okay, couple times a year) I don’t really dust behind the books. Ugh.  That’s gross. Find the Swiffer!

Then I took the plant, machete, and picture of Roy off of the top of the bookcase. Just for good measure, best run the Swiff up there too, right? Good in theory, scary in practice. Once again I dust the accessible part from time to time, but the back – behind the stuff – not so much. Once that was done, I went to pull the case out from the wall just a little to plug in the Hot Shot. But there were leaves and rabid dust bunnies and general grossitude behind the bookcase, too. So I pulled it all the way out to the center of the room and went to hunt down the vacuum. Which was not in the cleaning supplies closet. Apparently we store it in the Admin division office now. Go figure.

Vacuumed that whole corner, plugged in the Hot Shot, and found that the cord was too short to go from that outlet to either a bookcase shelf or the windowsill. Now what?

Okay, we’ll just move the bookcase to the corner, bring the wall locker over in front of the outlet, and set the Hot Shot on top of it. Like so, see? (The other black thing on the top of the locker is my trash can. It didn’t stay there, I promise.



 To make a long story … uh … slightly less long, suffice it to say that by the time I left yesterday afternoon, every piece of furniture in my office was cleaned, organized, and in a different location than it started. Except the desk, which I really need a trained elephant to move unless I disassemble it first. I even moved my hutch and computer to another leg of the desk – partly to reduce the glare on my screen, partly to keep everybody and their uncle from looking over my shoulder and commenting on my work every time they poke their head in the door. 

I am sore from my hairline to my toenails from moving furniture alone (drat my independent streak). But I like the new arrangement. On Monday I need to take in a screwdriver so that I can swap the desk drawer and the keyboard tray, and then I will be done, and my office will be hopefully a little roomier and more functional.

And yes – I DID make and drink a nice cup of chai!

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