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Cornered Office

with Mir Kamin

I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.

To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at

There’s a hole in my bucket

Categories: My boss is an idiot, Now I'm free(lancing)


I used to love that song as a kid, you know… the one about how there’s a hole in the bucket, dear Eliza, dear Eliza. Nothing seemed funnier than the notion that a string of relatively small misfortunes could lead to an endless loop of inability to do anything.

Now that I’m an adult, I know that that song is a pretty good metaphor for life, if you’re not careful. Heh.

So here’s my current bucket: I’ve decided to paint my office. This causes me plenty of anxiety already, because my office is currently just the way I want it, and there’s a lot of stuff that has to be moved and taped in order to paint, and I won’t be able to use this space for a few days, and when would be a good time to not have access to my office, exactly? Never? But it’s okay, because I have my laptop, and really, I can work anywhere, so I need to just chill out and settle down.

The first issue I ran into was the color. I’ve been living with a dreary brown (not of my choosing) for nearly six years. I thought choosing something better would be easy. That was before I started looking at paint colors, though. I described this on my personal blog as “falling down the rabbit hole” because that’s exactly what it felt like to me: as someone who tends not to be overly visual/observant, to start surveying an entire palette of color possibilities and trying to imagine how it would feel to be surrounded by any of them was overwhelming, to say the least.

But it turns out that the color-choosing is the least of my issues.

Was there ever a home renovation that didn’t feel like the first domino in a very looooooong line toppling over? Maybe it’s just me…?

So here I am, looking at paints. I ordered a bunch of paint chips to tape up on the wall, so that was the first step and I feel like I’m on the right track. But…

… looking around at the walls sparked a spirited conversation with my husband about whether or not the closet in here needs painting. He says yes. I say “I’ll just close the door.” But he’s right, it’s gross in there and I should paint it. Though that should be painted white, not whatever color I go with. Of course we just put shelves in there and unloading the closet is pretty much my worst nightmare. Fabulous.

… if I’m painting the closet it occurs to me that I should probably consider whether the bathroom off of my office needs painting, too. The paint in there isn’t too bad (it’s fresher than the office walls, I think), but it’s very dark and it’s a tiny bathroom and… yeah. I should probably paint in there, too. It needs to be lightened up for sure. And that’s a whole ‘nother project. But that’s okay, it’s just paint! Paint is easy!

… now I’m trying to decide if the paint colors I’m considering will go okay with the carpet in here. Of course the carpet is pretty disgusting. But we’re not replacing the carpet right now. No way, no how. As long as it’s not a situation where it clashes terribly, it’s Good Enough. For now.

… the shades on the windows in here are pretty ugly, too. Do I buy new shades? Do I care? Probably I don’t care. I’m sure I don’t. Mostly.

… my office is right off of the kitchen. The kitchen which desperately needs renovation. Do I try to make sure the paint I choose works okay with the colors in there, even though I hate some of the colors in there? Even though I know a kitchen renovation is the sort of thing that may happen after the kids finish college (i.e., far in the future)?

… at what point, exactly, do I curl up in a little ball and decide that really, the brown in here isn’t so bad after all…?

So there appears to be a hole or five in my office renovation bucket. But I just remembered that I can probably take the paint and other expenses of reno as a tax deduction, so that cheered me up considerably. (Uh, not if we renovate the kitchen, you understand. But the office stuff.)

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3 comments so far...

  • There are people who love this process and people who hate it. I am in the love it group, my husband not so much. Before we moved into the house we’re in now we had to paint, had to. [I talked to the woman who designed the kitchen and she said she tried in vain to talk the builder/owner out of the colors he chose because they were way too bold for someone who had not selected them.] I spent hours looking at and thinking about colors so I could then share options with my husband. Here’s what I learned: we never went wrong in going with lighter rather than darker; we picked colors that make us feel good wherever we see them, not just on the walls but in nature, clothing, etc.; I have to like the name of the color. We haven’t regretted one choice.

    The house we lived in before was a much older house. We moved in knowing we would remodel as we went, and we did one room at a time (and most more than once) for 30 years. I got overwhelmed when I started to think about all the rooms down the line. I had to focus on one room at a time, and if I always went with paint/wallpaper that I liked it would eventually all come together. It was a small house, and in the end one room flowed nicely into another which opened it up quite a bit.

    Enjoy the process. The end result will be beautiful if you go with what you like.

    Sharon  |  March 15th, 2013 at 10:30 am

  • I feel your pain as I am going through something similar. My family moved from a house to an apartment a year and a half ago, and I had convinced myself that it was just a temporary move so i didn’t do much decorating at all. I work full-time and have two young kids, and my husband works a lot at night/weekends, which means a lot ot the time I’m single momming it. I didn’t want to put a whole lot of time and energy into fixing up my place. I made the kids’ bedroom and bathroom look kind of cute and then got caught up in other life events.

    But as it turns out, I got really bummed out when I would come home and I realized our entryway was making me sad. It was cluttered and really not put together at all. So I started making an effort to get it organized and we did a family art project to hang on the wall. And then I started obsessing about how to make it better and how to improve every other room in the apartment. Yes, the domino effect. This is why I didn’t want to start on this, because once begun I never stop! I have learned I really have to cultivate patience.

    Paint your office a nice light soothing color. And then when you’ve recuperated, paint the closet. And then whenever you can get to the other stuff, do that. But go easy on yourself. That is my recommendation.

    Lisa Blah Blah  |  March 15th, 2013 at 7:33 pm

  • For me, there’s another aspect to the challenge. Knowing how much I hate the process of making a decision and following through on it, I want to make the One Right Decision so that I never have to go through it again. Knowing that there isn’t necessarily One Right Decision doesn’t help; I am paralyzed in making the decision. This pretty much happens for any medium-to-large life change: paint job, new car, you name it. Even if it is reversible (painting CAN be done over), I don’t want to have to do it.

    Rosie  |  March 19th, 2013 at 12:28 pm