When we lived and worked in London, in dreary, crowded offices, Tom had romantic ideas of living in the countryside, and having an office in our house that looked out over rolling hills, a winding river, and apple trees. A room that would be his sanctuary, his quiet space, where he would sit at his late grandfather's old antique desk and write his first novel about the end of the world. The walls would be lined with his vast book collection, and a piano would sit along the far wall, along with his array of guitars.
Tom fulfilled his dream, and he now has this office, where he works from home, plays his piano, and listens to weird music. And before we had children he began his first novel.
Two children later, the novel is still unfinished, and his room has slightly changed form. Despite having a playroom in our house, his space now has toy shopping trolleys, ride-on bugs, and glittery fairy pictures lining the walls, and plastic tea sets and lego strewn across the floor. It also has two miniature beings whizzing across its long wooden floor on scooters and bikes, and bashing at his beloved piano, at will, with no consideration that 'Daddy has to work'. The kids aren't totally to blame though, as I too have now claimed part of his room, and have planted my own desk in there, because I also wanted to sit in a nice place and write, while staring out at the fields.
Despite all this, I believed that the set-up of Tom and I sharing an office was working, and felt a little bit smug that we seemed to be the ultimate, modern day, cool couple, who could sit and write/work together in harmony, while the kids were at preschool/school.
However, Tom recently announced that he finds my presence off-putting, that I tap the keyboard too loudly, that I sigh and tut a lot, that I make him feel self-conscious with my comments about his telephone conversations with his work colleagues, and that he indeed needs to work alone.
I coolly suggested that he invest in a garden office, where he could sit in peace once more, and watch his pumpkins grow, and gaze adoringly at his chickens, while getting some work done, and finishing that novel.
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