The Office Stripped Bare
Posted on March 11, 2010 Posted by John Scalzi 50 Comments
I noted yesterday that I was spending the day tearing down my office; well, it took longer than I thought and we only finished doing it about an hour ago. This is what it looks like without that massive desk in it; you can see, incidentally, why we’re so keen to get rid of the carpeting in there. It’s over a decade old, and it’s over a decade old in a service of an unbelievable slob.
Krissy is up in the office at the moment with an industrial-strength ShopVac, sucking out the mess and grime, mostly so she won’t feel personally humiliated when the contractors get here on Monday to put down the new flooring. By that time we’ll have painted the walls as well, from their current dingy white to a pale green called “Scotland Road” with the contrasting walls being “Traditional Brown.” Hey, I don’t name the colors. I just put them on my walls.
Until we’re done rebuilding the office, the primary computer is offline; I’ll be on one of the laptops or the other. And then the contractors will be all over the house for the next couple of weeks. I may not have picked the best time to start a new novel. Fortunately I have other, less intensive work to keep me occupied as well; I may focus on that instead.
How are you?
A new novel?
I’m good, John. Thanks for asking!
Unless they have more than that room to do, they won’t be swarming long. A couple good contractors can put down that much flooring in a single afternoon. You’d be back in business in no time.
We’re actually redoing flooring and carpeting in the entire house.
I expected to be done with a novel by the beginning of the current school term, which I overloaded to graduate on time.
Hey, guess what?
It really sucks trying to finish a novel, work full time, and take 12 hours at school.
So what does the furry supervisor think of all this?
Is there ever really a good time to start a novel?
I’m not sure which answer I’d prefer. If you say “yes” then I’m likely to put off starting mine until a better time comes along. If you say “no” then I’m stuck with the realization that it’s never going to get any better.
By the way, I just got a copy of The Rough Guide to The Universe. Nice work!
I’m good. It’s my birthday! (Hooray!) But I have to work. (Boo!) But I can work at home. (Hooray!)
I think the hoorays outnumber the boos.
So, is the novel going to involve a protagonist who, among other things, is constantly being forced to move on by construction crews? Because you’ll probably be in the perfect frame of mind to write about that.
How am I? Sore from the waist down, because unlike you, I decided to replace my flooring myself, rather than hire profesionals.
I am now convinced that the human body do not evolve properly to lay laminate flooring.
I did hire profesionals to paint the whole house a color I affectionately call “Home Depot White”.
It took 30 gallons to cover up the old brown and bright red walls. I’m sure my back could never have taken that much painting.
I’m well, except for being on my fourth consecutive day of sharing my complex with tree trimmers who start at 7 a.m. I can’t imagine having contractors actually IN MY HOUSE. I can only assume you are made of sterner stuff.
On a happy note, I have a meeting with potential representation tomorrow (hooray for writers getting paid!) and get to see Mike Monroe from Hanoi Rocks not once but TWICE this weekend!
While completely understandable that you do not allow the <img> tag to be used in comments, I must admit that interferes horribly with my need to make lame LOLcats out of every cat pic you post.
I am seeking a twelve-step program to either, a.) improve my LOLabilities, or b.) quit the habit altogether. Any references?
I’m confused. I’ve been working two part time jobs for two companies (who have been business partners until this month). Now I have to figure out how to balance working for two competitors when neither one of them is going to cut me slack to get the other’s work done.
Oh mother of crap. It would probably help if I typed the URL properly:
My 404 page is going to be very popular in my web metrics for the next couple of days.
Can you kill zombies on your laptop? That would be a source of grave concern for me.
I’m great, thanks for asking.
When the office is finished, you should send the before and after pics to lifehacker, and see if you can be one of their “featured workspaces”
I would have thought you’d go for a more technologically sophisticated color palette . Maybe “Light Cherenkov Blue” with the other wall being “Valles Marineris Umber”
Doing well thanks. I just bought a novel written by you, it’s my first reading of one of your works(only on page 10 so far)…so there ya go a portion of that floor is courtesy of me…enjoy. The purchase was based on my reading of this blog by the way but whatever. I’ll keep you posted on my journey through your work(s)…
Well duh! Everything always takes longer then you think it will. Not just for you. It’s a law of nature.
If you need me
I’ll be downstairs
With the shop vac
You can call but I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
But you’ll be OK
Cause you’ll be upstairs
With the TV
You can cry and I probably won’t hear you
Because it’s loud with the shop vac on
No, I’m not sorry.
Busy doing taxes, thanks. The new business I started last year failed to break even (as expected), but the changes I’ve made in how I’m running it (ditch the rented space, ditch the expensive client an hour away) mean that next year it *should* break even, so yay for that.
Meanwhile, I have two new jobs (your gov’t dollars helping to pay for my cat’s vet bills, yo – thank you, Census), and am enjoying the onslaught of spring here in the southlands. Doors and windows wide open, today.
Just a note that cats + drying paint don’t mix well. I speak from experience on this.
Fortunately I have other, less intensive work to keep me occupied as well; I may focus on that instead.
Those zombies won’t kill themselves…
Your photo demonstrates why we went with ceramic tile instead of carpet the last time. Cats, dogs, fish tanks, a parrot, kids, and sloppy adults don’t play nice with carpet. However, dropping a bottle of nail polish on tile ensures a mess will need to be cleaned up, whereas dropping it on carpet is only a disaster if the top is not screwed on tight. (Recent personal experience.)
why does your work on the new novel require an office? can’t you just bring a laptop to a coffeeshop?
LAJ, I suppose that if cats and drying paint don’t mix, then a large furry dog, shedding and bounding around will mix even more poorly?
So is the pale green the High Road or the Low Road? Either way, since I haven’t heard from my contractor yet, you definitely will get to Scotland afore me (sorry, couldn’t help myself).
We are in our third consecutive week with contractors in the kitchen. The new kitchen is taking shape, but our sanity is under siege.
Scotland Road was the name of the long service passageway in the Titanic. Also the title of a play which mentions said passageway. Perhaps the paint is named after the color it was painted?
Probably not, I suppose.
I am doing as well as possible. I had my wisdom teeth removed Tuesday, so I am recovering. I am looking forward to chewing without pain.
Thanks for asking.
I’ve never owned a dog but shedding fur + drying paint don’t mix whatever the species. (Especially if the fur is black and the paint is light). When I had cats and painted a room they got locked out of it until the paint was bone dry.
And I’m feeling fine. I’m recently finished a contract and I am taking a break before jobhunting again so I’m catching up on the large ‘to read’ book pile. (And ‘Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded’ is in that pile).
There’s never really a perfect time to start a novel, just like there’s never really a perfect time to have a baby
Both just happen.
JASONMITCHELL @24: He could, but he wouldn’t be fooling anyone.
I’m doing good wish I wasn’t at work but other then that I’m well your so sweet for asking..
Oh did you hope we wouldn’t catch the part where you have started a new novel?? Are we in it? Is it the sequal to The God Engines? Am I getting annoying yet??
Fine, thanks. I took the cats to the vet this morning. I hate doing that.
You’re doing all the carpeting and flooring at once. You’re either insane or brilliant. It will be difficult to get things done with guys all over your house. I know from experience with contractors. They always have questions.
New novel, huh. Way to bury the lede, John.
Carpet is evil. Particularly if you own cats. What kind of wood are you getting? I hear bamboo wood flooring is great for pet owners. Liquids do not get through, it requires less re-varnishing, and is resistant to scratching. Apparently, big doggies with lots of weight on their nails can cause dents in some wood flooring.
@Kii: I have one more bedroom that still has carpet (won’t say how old it is, but it’s gross). Thanks for the 411 on bamboo flooring. I might look into that.
We have three cats, and a house full of hardwood and tile … except for two rooms which have carpet.
Guess where the cats throw up Every. Single. Time?
I hate carpet. I have a friend who calls it “crapet”
Good luck with that. We’re remodeling a bathroom. We’ve been remodeling since January. We’re slow workers and easily distracted.
I think spring has decided to arrive. Last week it was 30F. Today we are hitting 80F.
Traditional Brown, Witch Finder General (ret.)
Scotland Road 11
61010 THE STICKS
Speaking from experience, although you’ve probably got your schedule all set already, I highly recommend painting _after_ the flooring goes in. Especially if you don’t know what’s under all of the rugs. It’s a little counterintuitive, given the whole “clean down” rule of thumb, but I find it generally easier to keep paint off the floor (or clean it up afterwards) than it is to keep construction detritus off the walls, especially freshly-painted ones.
We did it the wrong way around once, and in one room them had to take up an old decayed wooden tile floor. Let’s just say the paintwork within about a foot of that floor was far from pristine afterwards.
Wait a minute…Your wife is vacuuming, because she will be humiliated if a few contractors see it. At the very same time, you are posting pictures so that all of the snarky millions of us on the internets can see it. Pictures that will never, ever go away.
Will she apply the Mallet of Loving Correction when she sees this? If so, please post pictures.
The difference is that here’s I’m admitting that I’m the cause of the mess. Unless the contractors read Whatever, which seems unlikely, they won’t know of my admission.
Thanks for asking, John. I’m feeling pretty good.
I wouldn’t have the guts to take a photo of my office space after moving my desk. It’s been nearly 16 years for me.
Our one regular upchucker (we have 3 cats too) moves onto the carpet to do her thing. She can be on the tile in the kitchen… then she runs 5 feet onto carpet and vomits. If I hear her about to vomit, I sometimes try to place a bit of paper or such under her… but then I have to gently hold her sides so she doesn’t turn from the paper to puke on carpet instead. It drives me nuts and is a large factor in my carpet hatred. The other big one? Hair and stray litter bits. No matter how many times I vacuum, there is still more cat hair and more stray litter bits. FYI, we have been through lots of foods and supplements to stop this vomiting reaction, so far we have only reduced it. Even on an allergy bunny+peas diet! Just another measure of how much I love that cat.
@Kii, Angie: A vet once told my M-I-L that cats throw up on the carpet because when they don’t feel good (are going to upchuck) they like the feel of something soft underfoot. My carpets happen to be cat-puke-colored, which can be … exciting.
What’s really evil: wood floors in the kitchen (tile!) and marble anywhere. You cannot clean marble, not with anything except a scrub brush. No soap, vinegar, baking soda, hot water, nothing. Never put it in a bathroom that gets used, unless you like a fascinating forest of slimy friends watching you shower every morning.
What kinda floor?
Cats + paint + ladders = cat-astrophe!
My siamese decided she needed to jump up on the ladder only to land in the paint pan perched on the shelf. After the shrieking, we could track her easily with her little pawprints on the hardwood floor.
Damn, the dog just threw up on the carpet. The Internets is powerful stuff.
I’m not lying, I just got done doing the blotting up portion of the carpet cleaning spray instruction set.
So, my next refurbishment project will include:
Cat staying at the Cat hotel. Dog staying at the Dog hotel. All carpet being removed. No marble anywhere and an investment in bamboo flooring.
Plus any painting to be done will include international names for greens and browns. (currently the light brownish color we have is called Pony tails)
Did I miss anything?
Not bad John, thanks for asking. I am, however, slightly miffed that I wasn’t able to get a copy of The God Engines in the only national high street bookstore left in the UK. As of yesterday, Waterstones didn’t even have it on their computer system. Since I can’t spend National Book Tokens online, I’ll have to wait and see if the nice man in the shop can wrangle a copy out of the booksellers’ ether.
On the plus side though, you did get a little name tag on the shelf under your other books, so someone in that branch likes you :-)
I will see your office and raise you one gutted, not emptied, bathroom. Somewhat more of an impact since your office impacts your production but the bathroom figures in our output.