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My day off started in the usual way: with mounds and mounds of office work.

There were my own things: bills to pay, papers to file and calls to make.

There were things for the Beaver Beacon, the news magazine that my partners and I put out every other month. I had a pile of subscriptions to update, gift subscriptions to enter and send cards for, advertising payments to document, at least a dozen seasonal address changes and a few letters to answer. Plus bills to pay and a bank deposit to prepare.

I’ve been behind in all of it. It is embarrassing to get a shut-off notice, simply because I haven’t taken time to pay the telephone bill! I couldn’t deposit monies to the Beacon account before I had made the necessary changes to expiration dates, because I simply can’t trust my memory anymore.

I was delayed by long, exhausting work weeks, some enjoyable company that I took time for, and the Beacon deadline. I had to edit things that were sent to me, type things that were handed me, turn all of my notes from various events into news stories (WHY don’t I do that right after the event, while it’s all still fresh in my mind??) and write up a couple things I hadn’t thought of earlier.

With all of that temporarily behind me, today I was able to dedicate time and energy toward getting my desk cleared.

I worked pretty steadily, too, until mid-afternoon.

I ran upstairs, then, to retrieve a folder. I noticed the clock in the corner was flashing: at some point, the electricity must have blinked out. Because the clock was on a high shelf that had a clothes drying rack leaning against it (such is my life!), I couldn’t get close enough to see what I was doing, but pushed a couple buttons in an attempt to get the numbers to stop flashing. No luck, and I gave up on it.

I’m working hard at staying on task these days, not allowing myself to get distracted and pulled away from the job at hand by a drawer that needs tidying…or flashing numbers on a clock.

Back downstairs, and back at work, I started hearing a repeating buzzer. What was it? My little dog, Rosa Parks, was sure it was her arch-enemy, the road truck, backing into our driveway to turn around. She started madly barking, and running through the house, frustrated that she couldn’t see outside. I realized pretty quickly that it was an alarm clock. In blindly hitting buttons to set the time, I had inadvertently set the alarm instead.

I ran upstairs and turned it off. The dog was unconvinced. She continued her wild barking until I let her outside, to see for herself that we were safe.

Poor Rosa Parks! I rearranged the living room furniture a few weeks ago. It’s a small room, and there are only two places the sofa will fit. I had moved it to the south wall, just for a change. It hadn’t occurred to me that in moving it away from the window on the west wall, I was taking away Rosa’s ability to see the yard and the road in front of the house. Her only view had been through the sliding glass doors, into the back yard. Not much activity there, most days, for a dog intent on guarding the homestead.

For the sake of Rosa Parks, I decided to rearrange the furniture. Much to her delight, I moved the couch back in front of the window…

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…where she’ll be the first one to spot the road truck, should it dare come by.

This arrangement, however, reminded me that a coffee table was needed. I had taken the old one – built by my then-husband, of 2 x 6 boards, more than thirty years ago, altered and painted and given a hundred different uses in that time – to use for file storage in my office space.

I had a plan, though! I purchased an old suitcase in a sale many years ago. It is handy for storing afghans and extra sheets. On end, it kind of works as a narrow, somewhat wobbly, side table. Not the best solution, but okay. Then I saw a similar old suitcase – on legs – in one of those design magazines. It was brilliant! I ordered legs and stability plates from “amazon dot com” weeks ago. I already owned a cordless drill (which, if I have not told you, Kate and Jeremy, is one of the most used if not absolute best Christmas gift I have ever received!). I was only waiting for time, opportunity, and courage to tackle the job.

Today, my day off, was as good as any.

I emptied the suitcase, fit the drill bit into the power tool, measured and marked where the legs would go. I drilled four holes without a hitch. My confidence was building. I threaded the bolts at the top of the legs into each hole then, from inside the case, screwed the plates onto the bolts. There were four little screws to hold each plate in place. They had to go straight in so that they would go into the thick top of the legs. The suitcase itself was too thin-walled to hold them. I replaced the drill bit with a #2 Phillips bit in a magnetized bit holder. Ready!

Those sixteen screws nearly finished me! How to get the right angle while working sideways inside of a suitcase? How to put enough pressure on the driver to get the screw started, without having it jump out of the holder? How to stay on my knees that long?  I turned the air blue, with my language, every single time I had to retrieve one of those screws from inside the hinge of the suitcase, or the rug underneath. But I finally got it together.

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It’s a bit shorter than I’d like. The legs are a way too close together (what made me think a sheet torn from a legal pad and folded in half lengthwise was the serendipitous “perfect” distance from the edges?? I don’t know), reminding me of a very large person with very tiny feet. That will have to be changed. The top surface needs some attention, too, now that it’s laid out for everyone to see. I don’t mind the scratches, but the ringed water marks will have to go. Not today, though.

Though I let distractions take me away from my work today, I got a lot accomplished. Rosa Parks is happy, and so am I. It was a good day off!

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6 responses »

    • Yes, Yvonne, she’s happy to have her high perch back. When I moved the sofa, I thought of replacing it with an upholstered bench, for Rosa Parks. Until I actually get the bench, I guess the couch can stay in front of the window. Thanks for reading, Yvonne, and for your comments!

  1. I love your suitcase coffee table! I’m glad you found some time for projects like making the table and clearing off your desk. A tidy house is a productive house, right? Now you’ve inspired me to get mine tidy, and to tackle some of those “projects” I’ve been meaning to do for years. I have several doors I want to repurpose. As you know, these things take time. Years. When the time is right, right?

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