From Where I Sit – Two Lousy Choices

Some days, I feel like blowing out the walls of our 1100-square-foot home and enlarging this 1960s house to better accommodate the needs of a couple in the 21st century. I’d start with our only main-floor bathroom, which measures seven-and-a-half feet in either direction. That is microscopic when you realize that the tub, toilet, and vanity eat into those measurements; we’re not talking open floor space here. Extreme homes have tubs bigger than this whole room.

Adding a few feet to the west would enlarge the master bedroom. Does anyone else have a five-foot closet? Roy uses the closet in the second bedroom, which has become my office. If his clothes weren’t in there, imagine how much office storage it could accommodate.

Hands down, the space that causes me the most grief is the office. For someone working from home, It’s too small, too crowded, too over-stuffed. Of course, I’m a huge part of the problem. I keep buying books.

Right now, I’m buying and reading books about death and grieving as I continue learning for my new role as a Funeral Celebrant. And while the average person wants to avoid the subject at all costs, I find the books enlightening and comforting. None of us will make it out of here alive, so unwillingness to talk or think about death seems counter-intuitive.

But back to my space. An entire bookcase is holding my growing collection of resources for the Celebrant work. I’ve managed to fill two shelves with books on death and bereavement and books containing quotations and readings. I still need space for binders and the CDs I can draw on when families request specific music. The iPod will help, but it isn’t the total answer.

Every other new undertaking I embrace needs its space, too. The files and papers from my just-completed contract event co-ordination job are still front and centre as I finish the final report. I have about four sets of marriage interview notes waiting for me to write the ceremony and complete the paperwork for Vital Statistics.

I came up with a brilliant contest for the library board to run this summer, so I’ve got more notes and paper tied to that. I have been receiving grant applications from the local not-for-profit groups who want a piece of the $25,000 up for grabs. That, too, will take up space when the committee sits down to open the documents.

And of course there are the countless reference books I have to support, encourage, and guide my writing habit.

Is it any wonder I need more room? Yet, as I dream of a big, new house with a library/den/command central, I can’t help remembering the toil and anguish with which my mom, and more recently an elderly aunt, downsized. So, if you hear a big ka-boom in north-central Alberta, know that I finally snapped. If all’s quiet, know that I purged and am making do. Two lousy choices, from where I sit.

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