While writing a different blog post earlier in 2022, I had written a bit about the office my ex-wife has in the house that, up until recently, was directly paying the mortgage on, versus the one I had in that very same house. It didn’t fit in that post, but I liked the idea enough that I thought I’d make it its own post.
For various reasons, I didn’t ended up posting it back then. And, given the divorce proceedings were ongoing, posting this back then probably wouldn’t be prudent. Since then, new things have come to light, and I think the office story goes back much further than I thought.
In 1998, we bought a house in Spokane, WA and moved there from the San Francisco Bay Area. The house was a nice 3 bedroom with an unfinished basement. I took my job from the Bay Area with me, and thus one of the bedrooms became my home office.
Then we had a baby. Even though there was another bedroom I could use, I ended up moving down to the unfinished basement, which we partially finished to be useful. The basement was, of course, hidden away. As for what she had as an office, I can’t remember.
In 2002, we moved to Port Orchard, WA (other side of the state), and ended up building a house. My office ended up being the “bonus room” above the garage. Again, hidden away. Her office, such that it was, was a nook between the kitchen and dining area.
When we moved into the house we bought down the road in Gig Harbor in 2007, she finally decided she needed her own office. There was one in this house: downstairs, right off the entryway. Initially, it was outfitted with folding tables from Costco that I used in my office in the previous house, a filing cabinet, and some other stuff that I’ve since forgotten. Over the last several years, her office got a paint job and brand new furniture from IKEA complete with storage. While it is often messy, when she tidies it up, it looks quite nice.
My office in the Gig Harbor house was a bonus room above the garage, which was much bigger. It was at the end of the hallway… upstairs… above the garage… and tucked away where no one could see it. I stuck with the folding tables from Costco and added a leftover cabinet made from plasterboard, and whatever leftover chairs we had. As I needed storage, I used plastic bins I bought from Costco for that. One of the walls still had cork board stuck to it from the previous owners and the room was never repainted. Over time, the office also started containing “overflow” from my daughter’s bedroom, not to mention items from her and her mother. Cleaning my office was next to impossible as a result. That said, I wasn’t terribly concerned with looks and made a decent living in that office over 15 years.
Additionally, my bedroom, which had been separate from hers for at least a decade, and moved to what was my son’s room for reasons I don’t fully understand, became the dumping ground for my son’s extra stuff when he moved back home during the summer…or during Covid. Not to mention it having the stuff that was still there from when he vacated.
The long and the short of it is: even spaces in that house that were my spaces had stuff in it that wasn’t entirely mine. My efforts to get those rooms cleaned out of other people’s stuff were rebuffed continuously.
My offices in 2022 have been a bit different. At the beginning of 2022, I ended up being in a hotel for a little over a week because I literally had no place else to go. My employer came through big time on that, given I didn’t have any credit cards because my ex cancelled mine and froze my credit, making it nearly impossible to even open a bank account, much less have a credit card.
Then I found a room I could rent via Airbnb. It provided a place to sleep and a small desk where I could work. I added two large storage bins with some cardboard stacked on top to create a flat space on top. I had a small airline blanket I bought years ago covering said cardboard. Given the hosts had their daughter staying there with a six month old baby and three dogs who are, to put it mildly, loud and overly friendly, it wasn’t the quietest environment.
Three and a half months later, I packed up my Prius and drove to Tennessee. Since there was a bit of a delay between when I got there and could move into the condo I signed a lease for, I ended up in a small apartment in Kingston for a week. My “office” was the bar between the kitchen in the entryway in this small apartment.
My office today is in a third floor bedroom in the condo. As the condo is furnished, there is stuff in here that isn’t mine…at least in terms of furniture. I had to disassemble one of the beds and put it in the closet to make room for the folding tables I bought at Walmart.
My office is entirely my space now, which despite its modest appearance is an upgrade from what I had before. Whatever my ex does with her office is of no concern and on her dime.