Working from home isn't easy unless you have a supportive spouse. I don't mean to suggest that my family pesters me, but when you all like each other, it's difficult not to come share earth shattering trivia.
"Hey, did you hear the news?" My husband said, watching TV while I sat at my desk and tried to work. "Canada has a surplus of, like, 2 million flu shots. They've been hoarding. I say we invade." I ignored him. Fifteen minutes of channel surfing later, he interrupted my chain of thought yet again. "That's gross!"
Automatically I said, "What?"
"That television announcer just called Kid Rock sexy."
"You're a guy, John. You're exempt from the issue."
"Hey, you never know when you might get stuck on a deserted island. Anyway, you're a girl. What do you think?"
"About you being stuck on a deserted island, or about Kid Rock?"
"Kid Rock. Is he at all attractive?" I peered at the strange little man boinging about the television screen. "Um. That's a tricky question. To be honest, he's not so nasty that you couldn't imagine someone dating him. It's just more like you hope you're never in the position of having to scrape that far down toward the bottom of the dating barrel."
"So kinda like the male equivalent of Christina Aguilera?"
"Bingo," I nodded at him and then, looking at the clock, realized a fundamental truth. "You know, if I'm going to get any work done, I think I need my own office space."
"Is this about me leaving my dirty underwear on your desk?"
"No, my own space as in... where we can't see each other."
John looked at me, insulted. "You want to stop seeing each other?"
"We're married, John. And no, it's not that I want to stop seeing you, it's that I need to have a place away from distractions if I want to get anything done."
"You're leaving me for Kid Rock, aren't you?"
"No, I'm trying to leave you for the deserted island."
"Is Kid Rock on it?"
"Please God, no."
But all hassling aside, by that evening John had set up a lovely cubby for me in a corner of the front room, complete with desk, comfy couch and view of blooming roses, lantana and sage. "It's perfect!" I was delighted.
"Yep, and it's the lowest traffic area in the entire house. Nobody comes here but the dog." John patted the family's geriatric German Shepherd on the head, where he lay sprawled across the couch.
Thirty minutes later, I was deeply involved in a wonderfully uninterrupted stream of work when I smelled something. Glaring at the dog, I pushed the incident out of my mind and returned to work. Twenty minutes later, my nose hairs curled again. The dog shrugged apologetically at my glare and I tried to get my head back into describing women's fashions. Not a quarter of an hour went by before the reek was refreshed yet again.
"Go away!" I shouted at the dog. Offended, he got off the couch and took his creaky bones to a hard spot on the floor ten feet away. Now he was in discomfort as he stunk up the room.
John came wandering out from the back of the house. "Did you shout...? Oh, baby," he looked accusingly at me and fanned the air.
"It's not me, it's the dog! He's like one of those plug-in room fresheners that puffs out a cloud of scent every fifteen minutes, except he doesn't come in Vanilla Fields!"
"Sure. Blame the dog," he rolled his eyes and left.
All the rest of the evening, I alternated between chasing the dog away and trying to write. It wasn't working. For years now, this area of the house had belonged exclusively to him. He was not going to change his habits because some whippersnapper with a sensitive nose had delicate preferences.
The online staff meeting that evening was a source of support, if not solutions. "I have that problem, too," empathized a contributor named Audie. "Does he jump up and spin in circles, barking at his butt?"
"Um, no," I typed back.
"Oh, you're lucky. My terrier does that all day long."
"Oh, you have problems with a German Shepherd and wind?" Wendy entered the on-line chat late. "I have that problem, too. Last time, Kodiak got so scared he jumped right through the window."
"Ouch. Good thing you live in a ranch home."
"We don't. It was two stories up. He landed on his head, got up and continued running around."
I was shocked. "Because he passed wind??"
"What?" Wendy typed. "No, because of a wind storm. What were you guys talking about?"
"Nothing," I typed back, then fanned the air and glared at the dog, wondering if he'd do just as well as Kodiak if I threw him out the window.
There was no help to be had online, but the next day John came to my rescue again, this time with a pack of sandlewood scented candles that effectively burned the offending gases from the room. "Don't worry about it," John shrugged off my exuberant thanks as he gave me a kiss. "I was just worried that if you got used to the smell, you might leave me for Kid Rock."
Comments and love poems about Kid Rock to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.
This article first appeared in the October 23, 2004 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.