Sunday, November 25, 2012

A space of my own..........

So, today I worked my ass off getting the Christmas decorations up and cleaning and organizing several areas of the house. I didn't really work my ass off, but wouldn't that be nice? Nope. Still have the ass. Anyway.......

I really, really wanted the house to look and smell all Christmas-y when Jeff and Arlie came home. Jeff spent the day hunting on the east side of the mountains, and at the end of the day, he picked Arlie up from her long weekend at her mom's. We finished in time for them to come home to a nice, clean, decked-out Christmas-y house that smelled like peppermint.  And, to boot, I washed all our bedding, put new sheets on the bed, and new fluffy pillows. Plus did several loads of laundry.

When they got home, I was upstairs vacuuming. Arlie said a brief "hi" and didn't mention the decorations. This kid LOVES Christmas so I half expected to hear a squeal of delight when she got home, but, alas, nothing. When I went downstairs, Jeff asked "What are you doing?" to which I replied "Hurting!" since my back was really aching by this time. He said "Why do you keep doing stuff then?" which if you're a woman, you know what a stupid question that is. Duh. To get it all done. To not leave things half-finished. Because no one else will do it. Sigh.

So, I went to the garage to put something away, and I saw that the few decorative items we moved out of the living room to make room for Christmas decor were stacked haphazardly on top of some bins in the garage. Breakable items, I might add. I had asked the kids to put them in the "office." Which I should pause here to explain.

When my house was built, we splurged on an extra room. It was to be my office/craft room. Basically, a space of my own, to keep things, to craft things, to have my own desk, to basically have a household headquarters that was all my own. And it pretty much was that, except that I often called it our "second garage" because anything and everything that didn't have a home was tossed in there and I'd have to spend hours every few months cleaning it out and reorganizing it. But it was MY space. Granted, there were some toys in there because it's not like I really ever got to be in there alone. Unless it was midnight and everyone was asleep. So, although I often had the company of a small child in there, I did have my own place with ample room for crafting, scrapbooking, paying the bills, writing, creating.

When Jeff and I combined our families and households, we first had Arlie and Hannah share a room. That didn't work for too long because Hannah had her dream room with a jungle theme and Arlie liked pink and Hello Kitty. We tried to divide their tastes but it didn't mesh too well. So, I reluctantly packed up my beloved office space, relocated everything to my bedroom and the laundry room, painted my office bright pink and gave Arlie her own room. Later, Arlie switched rooms with Hayley and my old office became Hayley's room, which is how it remains.

Our other office, the one that was part of the original design of the house, now had to house both me and Jeff. The first thing he did was to fashion some homemade shelves - in fact, a whole wall of them - to put his "stuff" on. I didn't love them (still not my favorite) but it was an o.k. addition I was willing to let slide. He had his side, I had mine. Eventually, though, the office just became too much - too crowded with "stuff" and, also,  we decided to relocate our treadmill there. Previously it had been in the family room and I just really wanted to hide it. So, I gave up my "side", and moved everything to my own small desk in my room and a small built-in computer desk upstairs that was part of the original design of the house.

So, the "office" has slowly evolved into a "workout room." And I have no more space of my own. But I have several shelves in the laundry room with bins organized and labeled. I have stacks of photo boxes on my dresser. And I still have my little desk, albeit it very messy at times. I move my computer all over the house depending on what's going on where, and I even have a small, portable "office" with important papers and the bills and such that moves around with me.

So, that's how some items ended up in the "office" which is really more of a "workout room" with a closet where I still stash things like school supplies, and.......our "everyday" decorative items that are temporarily displaced at the holidays. When I asked the kids to put stuff in there, they stacked it neatly on a chair. I thought it seemed like a fine place to stash those things for a few weeks. However, the first thing Jeff did upon arriving home was to move those few items into the garage because they were in "his space."

And I lost it. I blame the severe back pain from cleaning and decorating all day, plus my lack of my "own space" in which to stash things, plus just general frustration from working hard all day and barely having acknowledgement by the two people I thought would appreciate it most. I unleashed all of that on Jeff and, although I apologized later and tried to explain, I just don't think he cared all that much that 1. I worked hard all day to transform the house into a winter wonderland, and 2. that I was offended that the first thing he noticed was one tiny indiscretion that infringed on "his space."

I get that everyone needs their own space. And I know that Jeff really likes his space. I know that he, himself, was displaced when he moved into the house we already inhabited, having to give up the majority of his furniture and move into an already-established home. But in the six years we've lived here together, he has become the master of the whole garage, plus he now pretty much owns the workout room formerly known as "the office." I no longer have "my space" and sometimes that is pretty frustrating. Like when I need a temporary home for stuff at the holidays. I stuffed it into the closet in the workout room. Compromise.

If I had my way, and we had the space and the money, I would have a yoga yurt in my backyard. A place I could decorate any way I wanted and just go to chill, relax, think and, yes, do yoga! Of course, I'd also like my own writing studio with space to craft. There is not one space in my house that I do not "share." I was going to say my side of the bed is all mine, but as I write this, my oldest is inhabiting that spot watching "The Walking Dead" with Jeff. My bathroom is constantly being used by kids who leave behind "clues" like leaving my bobby pins on the counter or an empty toilet paper roll. I don't do that. I put my things back. And I know how to change the TP roll. The kids use my makeup and wear my clothes. I even installed a key lock on my bedroom door which I use only occasionally when I'm fed up with "sharing."

I am fully aware that once you become a parent, nothing is sacred. Kids get into your stuff, things get messed up, and no one bothers much to put things away, or keep their paws off someone else's property. But it was nice, for a couple of years, to have my own "space" that I kept the way I wanted - messy sometimes, super organized other times. I could leave something half-done and not worry about it getting messed up because no one bothered my stuff when it was in "my" room. I miss my space.

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