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The Little Devil in My Details

My devil in the details

In my quest to make my windowless office less disconnected with the world on the other side of its walls, I’ve feng-shuied the shelves, and power-positioned the desk and acclimated myself to working in a room without windows.  I’ve explored other ideas too.

The aforementioned mirror threatened to eat the entire tiny decorating budget, and, aiming for a flexible solution (I’m a creature of change), I decided to install either a bulletin or magnet board so I could tack up my dog-eared sketches and family photos.  Thinking of the bare feet that frequent the mom-cave, I opted for a magnet board, hoping a lost magnet would do less harm than a dropped pushpin.  But the devil, as they say, is in the details.

I found a board on sale at the big box.  That purchase and a can of spray paint kept the project comfortably under budget.  Painting the board to match the trim in my office, I dropped a few hanging hints on the Big Guy.  I also bought a few cheap packs of magnets that looked like colorful neutered pushpins.  I figured they’d be easy to find, and I was right.  Thing2 found them right away.

The board was still leaning against a shelf when the kids came home from school the next day.  Twelve-year-old Thing1 and I dove into homework drama right away.  Behind us, Thing2 quietly danced around the room.  My antennae were out of focus because normally, that kind of silence means trouble.  The movement eventually ceased, and Thing2 curled up on the easy chair with the dog, waiting for a break in the action.  Thing1 finally left for his desk, and Thing2 popped out of the chair.

“I’ve got a game for you, Mommy,” he said.  “Let’s play Hide-and-Seek.”

I noticed an empty magnet package on the shelf behind me.  Thing2 began flitting around the room, showing me all the clever places he had stuck the magnets, and I decided to play along.  A few magnets were stuck to lamps.  I found a couple stuck to hinges.  By the time we had found seven of the 10 hidden, however, Thing2 was seeking in earnest, having forgotten a few of his more clever hiding places.

We moved books and papers and boxes.  Then my heart stopped.  At the back of my pull-down desk, near the hole the Big Guy drilled for my power cords and lying between my iPad and my computer was one of the clear, colorful plastic magnets. Illuminated by the tiny bit of light coming through the hole, the tiny green piece of computer Kryptonite had rolled dangerously close to my backup hard drive.  I grabbed it and then carefully lifted everything up to make sure no other ‘surprises’ lurked.

From behind the desk I heard Thing2 cheer.  “I found the other two, Mom!”   I breathed a sigh of relief and then laughed as I s at back down.  We had a chat about the things that kill computers and asking before we hide things that belong to other people, and Thing2 dutifully arranged the magnets on the board where they belong.

Once upon a time, I would have stewed for hours after the near-death of my digital life, trying to foresee and forestall every other potential mishap.  But Thing2 isn’t a mishap.  He’s an integral part of our plan.  And as much as we plan for and around him, the bubbling cauldron of creativity in his brain has taught both of us that not everything in that can be controlled.  That can be terrifying, but it can also be a good thing.  It makes otherwise mundane moments memorable in a way we might not appreciate if we weren’t forced to change our plans once in a while.

The board is still on the floor leaning against the shelf in my office.  The magnets have been artfully rearranged at least 3 times.  The installation hasn’t progressed exactly as I’d planned, but the computer is alive, and nobody’s had a tack in their foot.  I’d call it a qualified success, and that’s definitely good enough.