A short time after we moved up to The Inn* full-time, I re-jigged the small room that is attached to our bedroom into ‘my’ new office.
I was so proud.
Then I never used it.
I mean, the printer was there, so I had to go into it when I printed things. Also, we put a dresser in there so I had to go in when I needed a tee-shirt or some jeans. But mostly I was in there to dust.
Which meant I had a dusting room.
I was not super psyched – or proud – about that.
Having the office upstairs was just too far away from the action, I think. It was a pain to collect my computer and notebook and everything and head on upstairs to Siberia. I mean, don’t get me wrong, that was a very nice part of Siberia.
But I would end up writing and editing my photos – pretty much exclusively – on a little desk in my living room. This had me kind of too much in the middle of everything.
Let’s just say that I am either completely focused on what I’m doing, or I’m distracted. There is very little middle ground.
Even so, sometimes he would make me cozy fires in the fireplace, which made the room very warm and comfy.
Distractions were tough – whether the Nearly Perfect Husband on a conference call, or the UPS guy delivering a package (he could see I was there when he came to the door, even if I stayed wicked still). Also, the desk is so small that anything other than my computer caused a traffic jam and things would start falling off… like my coffee cup (So. Many. Times.)
Also, I needed more of a permanent space for the photography work I’m doing. A place where a large monitor can call home. And I didn’t want that space to feel banish-y.
What I was finding, though, was that I was drawn, more and more, to one place in the house… whether when talking to someone on the phone or doing a quick little project.
Granny’s retreat room.
It began its life at my potting room. A room, in the very back of the house that looks out over the back stone walls gardens… hydrangea and roses and bee balm and the evergreens.
It was intended to be the work room for that outside stuff. I’d even designed a built-in potting bench, complete with a great big, deep fireclay sink and an impermeable slate countertop.
Side note: Should you ever want to copy this built-in, do not – do NOT – repeat my mistake of a slatted storage shelf. I have no idea what I was thinking. I mean, a slatted shelf is intended for your dirt to be able to fall through. This would make sense if it were outside and the thing beneath the slatted shelf was – you know – the ground. But inside it makes no sense. It is a pain to clean, and the shelf beneath it gets double the dirt.
Form AND function, Lisa, form AND function!
In 2016, this room was part of the last big renovation project we did to The Inn. The driver for this project was our move to Maine – Granny included – and we wanted to make sure we had room for a bed on the first floor, should we ever need it. We never did, and it became Granny’s downstairs ‘retreat room’.
Painted yellow (a nod to Granny’s ‘Color Me Beautiful’ season of autumn), the room has a television on one wall, viewable from a small sofa/loveseat/settee in the nook that was created should she have needed her bed in there.
An old bench served as a coffee table, and there was a ‘guest chair’ off to the side. When she sat on the sofa, she faced french doors that provided a view to the gardens.
She would give me daily, and often bi-tri-quad-oct-daily, reports on the happenings out there… what was coming up and/or flowering and/or how “gorgeous” it all looked.
We hung a bird feeder outside the window, above the sink, and she gave even more detailed – and more numerous – reports on the birds.
As far as Granny was concerned, we had exactly one or – in the case of mates – two of each type of bird. If a sparrow came to the feeder at 6:06 a.m., and then a sparrow came at noon, it was the same sparrow. No question. Same was true with the Blue Jay. And the Cardinal. And the Dove.
This factoid was challenged each time we got swarmed by starlings.
Then again, maybe she thought it was just one super fast bird. I don’t really know.
But it was all at once hysterical, and eye-rolling, and endearing.
I miss those reports, and her, very much.
Right now, right this very minute, I am blabbing all of this to you from Granny’s former vantage point in the back room.
Though I’ve painted the potting bench red, the room is still yellow.
The same bird feeder hangs outside the window, just above the sink. The one cardinal on the planet just stopped by.
The television is there (It is currently streaming the Nora Ephron documentary, Everything is Copy, on HBO (Granny had a CNN addiction)).
And… a few weeks from now… the hydrangea and roses and bee balm and all the rest will yawn, and shift, and begin their glorious stretch toward spring’s warm light.
I see it all from my new work space, where the energy is such that I feel great things happening…
And wonder how much Granny has to do with that.
Thanks for readin’.
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*The Inn really was once an operating inn, in the early 1900s. Now it is not. So best not show up in your pj’s, carrying your toothbrush. That would be wHeird.