Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Work Area, 21st Century Organized Family Historian, A Tana Failure

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

Michelle Goodrum over at The Turning of Generations has a very interesting project/meme going on, she is trying to help us all get our files, digital and paper, organized.  I have seen Michelle organize via her blog before, she is VERY good at this.  I am following along, because I just know she will challenge me or teach me something new.  I can use all the challenges and hints I can get.

Somehow, I felt Michelle was talking right to me this week when she posted as part of her challenge and directions for the week:

"  We will need an area where we can work and return to. This week's project is to set up or designate such an area.

For those of you who don't have a space to dedicate for these projects, due to small living area or living the mobile lifestyle, you will have to get a bit more creative..."

Well, yes, we do live the mobile lifestyle and yes, it is a small living area.  Were you talking to me Michelle?  LOL

I took that challenge personal, and then, I looked around Tana, and I started giggling.  And, even though I really don't believe I am going to do this, I am going to show you why finding a dedicated space for a work area is just NOT happening.  I grabbed Sony and started taking photos, I did not clean up, nor pick up anything, this is what it REALLY looks like to live in a less than 400 square foot RV.  True grit sorta stuff here.


Let us begin.  Below:  my kitchen on one side and the office on the other.  The office is a small desk and yes, the kitchen dining table as well.  What you see on the desk is my computer to the far right (under a pad of note paper.  To the left is the keyboard and the monitor.  Yes, I could do without both of them, but, well, NOT happening!  As much as I work and use my computer, I want and need that monitor and keyboard.  They stay!  Let's see what else is there, web camera on the monitor, a wireless mouse, my Ott light (that stays as well, you don't want to be around me in the winter sans Ott light.)  There is a small cup of pencils, pens, emery boards.  My small external hard drive.  Back in the far right corner, my earring board, beside it on the wall, is a gray plastic file folder thingy, it has papers in it, and I also dump my fanny pack, diabetes testing kit, battery charger for the camera and cords for the camera in there.  Hanging from the Ott light is my headset with microphone, the cord for the scanner and my little iPod Nano thingy, with ear buds.  Between the desk and the table, are dog crates, dog bed, and a bunch of other stuff, a BUNCH of other stuff.  Oh, and down in the foreground, right, Man's foot resting on an electric heater! LOL

Below:  Here is the rest of the office, the kitchen dining table.  Shelf with plants, a photo digital frame, that small wooden basket holds our salt and pepper and stuff.  Man and Captain Hook are sitting at Man's computer desk, err, the kitchen dining table.  Assorted papers.

Below:  a closer look at my desk area, let's see, a bottle of water, partially finished, some walnuts for a snack, hand cream (the really good stuff, made from goat's milk, yummy) and even a pair of earrings near the wireless mouse.  There are any number of cords, including 2 USB hubs.  To the far left is my cell phone, upside down in a little wooden wall thingy, getting charged.  And, please don't look at all those electrical cords plugged in behind that.  Whew.  Maxed out.  And, my string of holiday lights,   I have 4 of these in the main living area of Tana, they look so nice at night, make it cozy and warm, atmosphere enhancers.

Below:  is the space just to my left when I am sitting at my desk, currently not covered with something, frequently covered with papers, or other office equipment.

Oh, geesh, I thought hard before I included this photo.  SIGH.  This is a closet in the bedroom area.  Down at the bottom, my washer/dryer combo.  LOVE my Splendide.  But, what I wanted to show you is where I stash some of the other techy toys.

Below:  On the shelf immediately above the Splendide you will find, an extra set of wireless headphones for Man (in a black box), the scanner (which is currently not in this storage area, it is in the office), the printer and the projector, as well as the laundry detergent and fabric softener, our bath towels, one of Man's shirts he wants laundered, a 3 drawer storage container, and a couple of rolls of toilet paper.  The techy toys are stored here because it is a very stable place for them to ride when we are running down the hard road.  In other words, stuff does not bounce up here, those drawers will slide open, (that is why the bungie cord), but nothing else moves.  It is safe for my techy toys.  I like safe places for my techy toys.

Below:  back out in the kitchen/office, when I want to scan I may use this space:

Or, I may use this corner of the kitchen dining table.  Note that little round thing beside Man's computer, is his new compass to assist in finding the best direction for the new Dish satellite to be pointed.  And, to the left, a few papers waiting to have something done with them.  Piles of paper have a habit of showing up just everywhere!

The printer may occupy either space as well, here I am using it on the sink area.  I have to catch the paper so it does not go in the sink and the printer is plugged in over by the coffee pot.

So, Michelle, my work area is, mmm, where I can find the space at any given moment for the techy toys.  I'll have to rough it, with no specific area set aside for my projects.  In a pinch, I can use the other side of the sink, where there is that huge hunk (about 3 running feet) of counter top, see the first photo.  Don't laugh, 3 feet is a LOT of room when it is free and available.  We were using that the other week when we had 3 computers, the printer, the scanner and two external hard drives all running and working away at the same time.

Not shown:  several cupboards where I have boxes of research and books stashed.  Shhhh, we don't want to upset Man, boxes of research and books are heavy.  Tana needs to loose a few pounds.  Ooops.

Before I added the keyboard and monitor to the mix, I could get the computer, the scanner and the printer all on the desk top.  Oh, well, like I said before, the monitor STAYS!

Looks like Tana and I have failed this assignment.  Michelle, does that mean I have to turn in my 21st COFH badge??



GrannyPam said...

You are lucky to have a desk. We have looked a a bunch of campers lately, and they don't put those in as often as they used to.

Carol said...

That is very true GrannyPam, many of the RV designers do not include desks these days, I believe their reasoning is that many of us use "laptops". That said, in the larger units, you will find a desk here and there. Friends of ours just purchased a 2012 Montana 3402, with desk. She is thrilled, prior unit had none, and she is a full timer.

There are lots of creative ways to handle this situation, there are coffee tables that lift, some of the new couches have little tables that can be attached on the arms, supposedly designed specifically to be used with a laptop computer. Many of us remove some of the furniture and replace with something that works better for us. There is a Amish man in Elkhart County Indiana that makes the most wonderful custom furniture, I have seen photos, I drool! LOL

By the way, this unit was purchased FOR THE DESK alone! It was at that time the first floor plan we had seen, ever, that had a desk that was not sitting right next to the blue screen of death (aka the telie).

And, all that is one reasons we keep this unit. MY desk!


Barbara Poole said...

How nice to see this area of Tana, and where you usually are. Photos were fun to look at, liked the report, had no idea there were washer/dryer combos, and now I see your scanner, which we recently discussed. Thanks Carol for sharing this part of your RVing experience with us.

Carol said...

Thanks Barb, I went a bit out of my comfort zone showing how life in a RV really is. It looks so cluttered in the photos. Does not feel that way, which is hard to understand or explain. Maybe it is that view out the window over my desk, right now, all I see is trees, shrubs, birds, nature.

Splendide washer/dryers are very popular in Europe, believe they are made there. Mine makes my life stress free when it comes to laundry. Not sure I will ever re-coop the $$ I spent on it, over dropping quarters into a laundrymat, but, the convenience is so wonderful, priceless, as they say.

My little scanner is lightweight, does a full sheet of paper (not legal tho). I had to replace when I upgraded to Win 7, the old one, would not and could not be upgraded via software patches. I can tote it in and out of libraries with no trouble, it has a small computer bag to store it in. I can easily toss that on my computer cart with wheels. Lightweight is good for Tana's diet as well.

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

Love the pictures of your home away from home Carol. Looks cozy and homey! Now I admire you all the more for how much you get done in a day! I don't compute much on the road because I do not have a desk, slide outs, or *small* dogs, and we don't stay in one place more than four or five days at a time so I can't really set things up on any sort of permanent basis and I'm very OCD about keeping everything put away all the time so we don't get claustrophobia. Mike is constantly dreaming of an RV with slide outs and I keep telling him "No...this one's paid for. We can deal with a little inconvenience." Now, if we were to be able to go like you and Man, I'd go for the upgrade maybe. But if frogs had wings, they wouldn't bump their butts....

Carol said...

Lisa, different life styles can mean different rigs! LOL This is my home, actually, in some ways, it is my home of choice. My stick built is a lovely home, and sits on a very special hunk of land, but, with Tana my home has wheels, and one month I can be walking beaches at the Gulf and maybe the next month, visiting New Mexico, or boondocking in Arizona, researching in the mecca.

Because this is my home, I have my houseplants, my crafts (even tho I don't find the time to do much of that these days), my volunteer work, my research, my fur kids and all the creature comforts of a permanent home. Not everyone I know travels with plants and dogs and such, but, LOTS of us do. During those times that we travel hard we do things much differently, plants stay in boxes, the monitor may not get used, we take out as little as possible, living out of the suitcase syndrome, just get by till we land somewhere for at least a week. One time we spent 8 days hooked up and traveled 1700 miles.

But, when we land for 2 weeks or longer, like months, as we are here, I nest, and make it homey, and sometimes, just a bit cluttered.

Tana is home sweet home, home is where you park it.

Renate said...

Wow! Not a failure at all! What an excellent use of space!


Carol said...

Why thank you Renate. That is very kind. When you live in an RV, there is not a lot of space to waste, every corner, every cupboard is, well, WELL STUFFED!! Well, snicker, at least for Carol and Tana! LOL

Greta Koehl said...

Perhaps it doesn't feel so crowded because you are aware that you have much less stuff than you do in a regular house. I think clutter can be a matter of quantity rather than a ratio (amount of stuff compared to available space). Less stuff = less stuff to mess with and take care of = less work and worry = not crowded. (OK, that's GretaMath, but I'm sure you understand.)

Carol said...

Me thinks I really like GretaMath!

It is a more simple life in many ways, that said, still have to grocery shop, do laundry, pay bills, make repairs to Tana and Big Butt, fuss with getting our drugs and occasionally order something fun off the internet.

It is, however, NOT a ongoing vacation. It is just like living in a stick built, only we have wheels and can move if we desire. :-))

Lynne Carothers said...

Gag! Cough! Hiccup! Okay, inhale! I have read and reread this out loud to Walt. We roared! What guts you have to show your Tana in the rough. We don't have the history in our Montana as you do but, in our naiveté, we took out our desk that came with our Montana. Carol, stop shreaking! We turned it into space for our dog crates. However, the last time we were out, we started talking about other arrangements for the future. Slow learners.

Thanks for ending my day on such a humorous note.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Success! Of course you get to keep your badge. And yes I was talking to you. snicker, snicker. I'm glad you took me up. I had no idea you had an actual desk so was imagining you paying your bills and working gene projects from the kitchen table.

I'm liking that closet and the washer/dryer combo too.

Oh. Shhhh. Let's not tell Man about about the boxes of research and books. That can be our little secret!

Thanks for taking me up on the challenge!

Carol said...

Lynne, ROTFLOL If I had your dogs my dear, I may have taken out some furniture as well. I did not have the washer for quite a few years, that space was occupied by dog food! LOL And, under our telie, where many have that lovely fireplace, we have what we lovingly refer to as "yorkie central". At first there were 4 dog crates stored there. That space has evolved over the years and now there are NO dog crates, but there is a bit of other dog gear in there.

Carol said...

Michelle, thank you for allowing me to keep my badge! That was rather a sly way to issue a challenge! LOL And, it worked. Snicker.

Becky said...

Well, I've actually seen you home on wheels and think you do an admirable job with the space you have available!! My "workspace" consists of one of those little lapdesks, LOL. Though I have on occasion pulled out the scanner(s) and used my "bed" as a table. Wasn't very comfortable, but it worked! And that is what really matters. No boxes of files here - it's all on the computer!

Well done, Carol... and Man!

Carol said...

Thanks Becky. I'll bet we could get Man to share "his" desk again, just let us know when. :-)))

Oh, and you are WAY ahead of me on that scanning of documents. I hope to make a bit of headway with that this summer.

Susan Clark said...

Brave, brave woman! Loved this, Carol. I don't have the nerve to actually show my workspace and I haven't your excuse of compact space.

I'm following along with Michelle at my own pace (read s l o w l y) and still working on naming files from the camera and flip-pal. I'll surely have to skip right over this in an effort to catch up.

Carol said...

Susan, not sure it was brave, or just plain ole dumb! LOL I am still cringing when I look at the photos. My work space (large sections of our stick built) at the other house, HORRIBLE, piles of this and that, EVERYWHERE, it is not a pretty sight.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Wow, Carol! I'm impressed! I think you use your space very well! I'm always complaining that I don't have enough room in my house. Too much clutter really. I hate that I don't have a designated space for my stuff. I mostly work on the kitchen table which lets me keep an eye on my kid and his friends whether they are outdoors or in the house. I have to pick up and reorganize (or not) every time we eat at the table. I think you (and Michelle) have given me the motivation I need. If you can have such a nice space in such a small space I can certainly find room in my house! Thanks!

Carol said...

Cynthia, can't wait to read about your new "office space". Time to look around, think out of the box and find your spot!