I’m not really sure how it started. The Gort may have said something like ‘I really wish I had an office.’ And I, remembering the thrill of pretending to be an adult when I was little, thought it sounded like a great idea and probably said something like ‘well, let’s make an office for you.’
Envisioning a nook in the basement with a little desk and chair and stationery…..some day…after I cleaned said basement.
But my oldest, being impulsive and overeager when it suits him, took matters into his own hands. I have a vague recollection of him saying ‘is this a good place for my office,’ and, without looking to see where ‘this’ was, I answered ‘sure’, distractedly.
Next thing I knew he’d set up an office in the living room. In the tiny bit of space between the couch and the wall, which measures roughly two feet by two and a half feet.
‘Come see my office!’ he invited me after he’d set it up. So I went over to inspect the little burrow. He’d taken a step stool and repurposed it as a desk. He’d ‘borrowed’ a stack of post-it notes from his dad. And a white coffee mug from the kitchen, which he’d filled with writing utensils. He’d scribbled a few things on paper and taped it on the wall, as art.
It was reminiscent of the Seinfeld home office episode, where George’s dad sells computers with George’s childhood nemesis. ‘Put another one on the chalk board, Mr. Costanza.’
And then, as with all things chez Johnson, ‘the office’ took a turn for the bizarre.
I’d walk around the house looking for my oldest who was nowhere to be found. ‘Where are you?’ I called from whatever room I happened to be in. ‘I’m in my office,’ he yelled back. Which, frankly, sounds ridiculous coming from a six year old’s mouth.
Naturally the Hen was very curious about his brother’s new diversion. An interest that was well-received, initially. ‘Do you want to come in to my office?’ the Gort would ask his toddler brother. As if he was a CEO on Wall Street with a corner office. And they’d squat down in the tiny space for a few minutes…hanging out in the office. But, true to form, things turned ugly soon after. I was standing in the kitchen when I heard the Gort yell ‘get out of my office!’ to his younger brother. And the Hen, who repeats whatever his oldest brother says regardless of its personal applicability, yelled ‘get out of my office,’ right back.
Two little people shouting at each other over six feet of space….beside a couch. Priceless.
There was also the matter of office accessories. ‘Look mom, I wrote on my cup,’ my oldest announced as he held up the white mug he’d designated for his markers. He’d taken a blue ball point pen and written his name across it. Which was somewhat endearing: the kid clearly pays attention to what’s going on and he’d seen the mug in the (real) office with his dad’s name on it. The odd pottery mug I’d painted yellow and green for the professor as a one year wedding anniversary gift.
We were living in Nashville at the time. I’ll blame the aesthetic misstep on the overabundance of country music and humidity.But keen powers of observation aside, the mug was still my coffee cup. And I didn’t want blue scribbles on it.
The professor came home after dinner and I told him about the new office in our home. And how the Gort had told me, with utmost sincerity, ‘I’m going to have to do a LOT of work now that I have an office.’
As we were hanging about in the few minutes between dinner and bedtime, the Gort looked at us. ‘You guys need to clean your office. It’s really messy.’ I didn’t feel like telling him it’s quite difficult to keep an entire room-sized office clean. Especially when three little people wander in and out like it’s their own personal playroom.
Instead the professor and I stayed up until midnight. Cleaning.