Thursday, May 2, 2013

My New Desk . . . A Metaphor for Life

In tiny pieces the desk sat there on the floor of my bedroom for the past 6 months or more. It mocked me. It smirked. It said, "You'll never change me and put me back together. I am too big for you. Sucker!"

Most of my life, I've harbored the secret wish to own a roll top desk. My husband knew this. When we went to an estate sale back in the fall, there sat such a desk. I negotiated down the price, then told him I didn't think we should buy it. It was a good deal, but it was lovely honey colored oak, which I don't like. At all. Ever. Should we purchase this desk with 30+ drawers, I would have to sand and paint or refinish it. Mt. Everest looked more doable.

My husband bought the desk.

Broken into tiny pieces it came to my home in the back of my minivan and took up residence on my bedroom floor.

I despaired when I looked at it. How would I ever get this thing painted? No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't Kaizen my way out of this one. (See an earlier post on Kaizen.)

Then one day, my husband got the brilliant idea that we could use the paint sprayer (not spray paint), lay it out on a tarp on our basketball court and voila, in the course of a couple of hours or less, the desk would be white.

The dark cloud of doom and gloom lifted. This was doable!

We set the date - this past Saturday. After the early baseball game, we'd have all day to get it done.

My husband removed all the hardware. I laid the pieces out on the tarp. The paint sprayer was loaded. Paint flew. Honey turned to white. Bliss.

The tiny drawers, nooks and crannies and roll top done. All that was left were the base and big top.

That's when the sprayer broke! Why hadn't we started with the big pieces!!! Painting tiny drawers would've been a piece of cake with a brush!

I begged to go buy a new one. My husband handed me a paintbrush and gallon of paint and said, "Get going." or something to that effect.

The day turned out to be warmer than expected and the paint dried as I slapped it on. The three main pieces have drips and flaws. But they are white.

Metaphor: Just when everything is smoothly sailing along is right about the time the floor drops out from under you. Then it's scramble and make do with what you have on hand, i.e. Plan B! This is what I think about when I look at my desk. Life isn't perfect. It's meant to have flaws. Just like my first drafts!

But the saga isn't over yet.

Once we assembled the desk,we installed the lock and shut the roller. Then I handed the key to my husband. It didn't fit. He asked for the other key. What other key? I was only given one for this desk! We managed to jimmy the door back open (without breaking anything) and then removed the lock and threw it away. I'll never be able to lock the desk. I hadn't planned to anyways. I may never even shut it! Plan C!

The saga continues.

We spray painted the hardware to convert it from gold to nickel. Then reattached them to the drawers. Only one of the card holders went missing. So, I search the backyard with a flash light. Nothing. Return to the bedroom to pick up the box I'd carried them in on and it fell off the side. It had stuck on with the paint! Sheesh! Plan D!

But I'm still not done.

The drawer pulls are obnoxious. I need new ones.  We thought they were 4 inches, a standard size. Guess what? Nope! 4 1/8. Really people? Really?! Plan E! Find some online or attach knob pulls instead of drawer pulls. I'll only need 20! I can't shut any drawers or put things in them until I have pulls on so I can open them again. Oy.

The last piece of the saga.

It occurred to me on Monday that I'm missing an essential piece to this desk. A chair!!! Plan F!


So, remember life, writing and desks aren't perfect. That's okay. That's what I think about when I look at my desk. Not perfect but still works, has my mark on it, and reminds me to smile through all the bumps in the road. Because of course, there will be bumps!

So chose between the following questions to answer:

How is a raven like a writing desk?


What is your metaphorical desk?

Happy writing!


  1. Good for you for keeping at it! That is a brilliant metaphor for life. I hope your desk gives you years of faithful service.

  2. It looks beautiful! We dragged home a ginormous roll-top desk that our neighbor didn't want, then I was sorry we had. It's an icky brown and I don't like the hardware. Your post makes me think for a fleeting moment to plan a redo...but the desk is in a spare room and I'm not the one using it, so maybe I'll pass. ;)

  3. I LOVE the desk! It's gorgeous! And I love the metaphor. Thanks for making me think today :)

  4. Holy Moly!!! Love the desk though--you've done a great job. :)
    Get a can of silver satin metallic spray and spray the original hardware--it will look great and fit. :)