Sitting at the spindly card table that is my bedroom work station, I was reminded by the family dog, Max, that my setup for at-home office work stinks.

A Max stinker, come to think of it, is a good way to describe what my sleeping dog unwittingly produced. The degree to which such a little dog can foul such a relatively spacious room is nothing short of amazing. Equally surprising is how on earth the smoke detectors did not sound.

The card-table setup is actually an improvement over the early days of at-home office work. During the first two months of the pandemic — when we had abandoned our offices at the community college — I deployed one of the large, round tables stored in the barn for family reunions.

That type of table is quite sturdy and has plenty of room to spread out lots of papers and files and empty food wrappers. It was fine as a temporary arrangement, but office clutter in the living room is not way to live.

So I went out and bought the best card table that China has to offer and outfitted it with two monitors and a rolling desk chair. It is nice being able to close the bedroom door for phone calls and videoconferencing, but the dog tends to want the door open.

If not for the especially cold winter air, we might keep the window open as well.

Nearly a year into the pandemic, my coworkers and I are still minimizing the number of employees on campus by filing half of our hours from home. That arrangement likely will remain in place at least through the summer.

I’m fortunate to be able to transport most of my work between home and office using my father’s old leather attaché. It holds my laptop computer and a few accessories and files. Packing up for work this week, it occurred to me that my late father might be able to help me shed the old card table, too.

When Dad retired in 1997 from more than four decades of pastoring churches, he moved his books and sermon files into an upstairs bedroom of the farmhouse along with his massive rolltop desk. He did not stay retired and used that home office for eight more years.

Dad passed away in 2008, but Mom says it still sometimes seems as though she can hear his desk chair rolling around on the hardwood over her den. I don’t think she’s really hearing that, but if Dad were to need any of his files or papers on the other side, they are available in his desk and filing cabinets.

Mom’s house being right next to mine, I’m thinking I should reactivate the rolltop and set up shop in Dad’s old study. It’s always nice and warm up there, with plenty of room, privacy — and no Max stinkers.

Mom might even enjoy hearing the old chair creaking and rolling around again.

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