I began the morning full of sass. I’d found a keyboard tray I was pretty sure would work with my new desk. The first few steps on the instruction sheet were simple and straightforward. Everything went swimmingly and I only had one more thing to do. According to the instructions, the brackets are attached to the tray first and then to the desk. That wouldn’t have been a big deal with an extra pair of hands. But that was not a possibility today and since that whole thing of doing things myself is such a big deal right now, I decided on an alternative that allowed me to do it all by myself.
Still in my pretty Eileen West nightgown, I lay flat on the floor under the desk, put the tray up against the bottom of desktop and used a Sharpie to mark where the bracket screws needed to go. Then I dismounted the brackets from the tray. I went digging in what I call the “Heart of Darkness”–the part of our garage possessed by my husband and filled with deeply mysterious things that look like they could do far more damage than good, though I know that isn’t the case. The picture above suggests far more light than can really find its way to that space when the garage door is closed. Occasionally, there are the rustles and scurries of other living creatures and even a possum has been known to find its home there. It is a mark of just how brave I’ve become that I dared to go digging around in there.
Armed with a power drill and determination, I went back into my office space and began mounting the brackets. The desk is just high enough that I couldn’t lie flat and use the power drill. I worked my abdominals till I got cramps. The daggum blasted screws kept falling off right before I’d begin to drill, mostly they fell on my face. With all this incarnational stuff, I am discovering a whole new, far more satisfying dimension to cussing. I am not sure why, but when you are sweating, and your muscles are cramping up, and your arms hurt and shake and the screw won’t cooperate, a few choice words of remonstrance against the universe and the elements are extraordinarily comforting and just. so. very. right.
There was much about work that was tough. We are all in transition, there are some pretty big pastoral needs brewing, a to-do list that doesn’t get shorter, and in fact, just the opposite, offhand comments that cut to the quick, a frustrating sense that I am not doing anything particularly well, that I am fragmented and scattered. I got home feeling defeated with a to-do list waiting for me as well, including some stuff I had not planned or wanted to do.
I decided I would stop and finish my keyboard tray project. It would do me good, I said. I’d feel great, in a masochistic kind of way, making those abs work hard again. The B-words, as Maria calls them, would give me a sense of righteous vindication. And then I would have a keyboard tray so my laptop won’t keep biting into my wrists. I got on with it, stopping quite frequently to let my arm rest or dig around the floor for a screw that had gotten away. Then, I went to attach the tray to the brackets. It didn’t work. I swear I measured right this morning but obviously, I didn’t. And I ignored the 1-10-1000 rule they taught us in the 90’s when TQM was so popular. Stop and check your work a lot. Catching a problem early avoids all kinds of trouble.
The brackets are about 3/4 inch too far apart. I will have to take two of the brackets off and try again.
The cussing is fun. Working my muscles, problem-solving, learning all these new things is really great. But there is also loneliness. Whether in this new place I find myself with ministry, or running our household while Sherod heals, or taking responsibility for the things that need to be done so I have a functional office space, doing it by myself makes even this off-the scale introvert long for companionship and laughter, a sense of community. Including because more than likely, someone else would have gently prodded me to check and check twice. I’ll try again tomorrow.