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The mess I make

Posted by joeabbott on April 30, 2011

WP_000113The picture to the right shows my home desk; or at least the part of it I’m writing about today. I have this habit (I hesitate to call it a “bad” habit) of just dropping things on the desk to “deal with later”.

As you see, I’m quite comfortable with the notion of “later”.

But, every now and then, even I rail against the slovenly mess and need to clean it out.

One forcing function motivating me to clean this off is my plan to work from home a couple days next week. I need to be home to receive someone on one of the days, and another day I need to get my cats to the vet.

Regardless of the reason, I’m sure I’ll be more productive if I’m not balancing reference materials and my laptop on a pile of paper. So, time to clean.

But, I thought, why not try to capture the mess in a blog post … just what is all this stuff?! So prepare for another in a series of meaningless, vapid posts meant purely for my own entertainment!


The stuff in the picture to the left is at my keyboard and most of it will likely stay. Let’s check things out counter clockwise from the lower right.

My mouse is a Microsoft Arc mouse. It works fine but in that pile to the left I have an Arc Touch mouse. I got the newer mouse just because it was new … I didn’t really need it but thought it looked cool. And so it sits until I can justify breaking it out.

Next you can see a Lego model of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; the real museum is in NYC. I love “Goog” and Suzy knows this. So, for WoJ 2009, she got me the model. What a gal! It’ll stay as it makes me happy.

Continuing the tour, you’ll see some Post-Its, my speakers, and a container of pens. All essential to working from this space.

WP_000115Next up, between my mouse and the Rockstar soda, is a messy USB hub. You’ll usually find my W7P Focus phone in this mess (I was using it for these photos), either recharging or allowing me to sync with the computer.

OK … I’ll clean this part up. I can easily drop some cables off the desktop, thread others behind things, and have a much tidier area. But, let’s be honest, this isn’t really the problem.

It’s other stuff like things you can see in the picture to the right: stuff like the little green wind-up dancing robot (behind and to the right of the Rockstar). He broke and arm joint and I swear I can fix him, so I keep him around. And the camera tripod (to the left of the Rockstar) that’s just tossed on the desk because it was easier than putting it away.

Other things in the picture to the left are a little blue felt “screen cleaner” (really? someone needs a specialty cleaner?), a stack of white “thought of the day” notes Suzy gave me one year to use as a calendar, and some reference notebooks. All should be put somewhere, but are tucked here because it was easy.

To the left above the keyboard you can see the 2010 Seattle Weather summary that I wanted to write about … it’s not going to happen. This will likely be the first casualty of my cleaning! And under that are some CDs I need to rip, a business card I want to follow up on (see if you want to know what I’m after), and some other knicknacks: a yoyo, a collapsible cup (WoJ 2010), a toy I bought at Target a while back that’s still in its package, and a calculator.

WP_000117And let’s do one more section in-depth before we move on.

To the left is the stuff that sat below the Seattle Weather report … which is now in the recycle bin. You can see the collapsible cup I mentioned above; that will go in with my hiking/climbing gear. Below that is the JakPak business card … again, I mentioned that earlier. As I won’t be buying one of these in the near future, I’ll probably toss the card.

imageOn the far right is a watch case for an Armitron watch I recently purchased. I’m notoriously hard on watches … I can ruin them in no time, so I usually get garbage watches. For the last few years I wore a Wal-Mart watch (with a glass crystal) that held up great. It stopped keeping time and I even replaced the battery before tossing it … it wasn’t the battery: it was a $9 watch that lasted two years.

Anyhow, I got my new watch at Target for about twice the price of the Wal-Mart watch and it’s “crystal” is already marred. But, two people at work have commented positively on it. I think it’s the red color … very nice. But, I don’t expect this watch to last until my birthday.

As for the watch case … I was keeping it around until the warranty expired (5/9/2010). It’s probably close enough that I can toss it now.

Below it you can see the box from a Garmin GPS I bought last year: an Oregon 450. My old GPS was intended for marine navigation (GPSMAP 76) that I made due with. Unfortunately, I’d placed it in the top of my pack without securing it … when I leaned over it fell out and the display cracked. It worked OK but when I upgraded my computer to Windows 7, I couldn’t find drivers to work with the unit. So, time to get a new one.

I keep a lot of boxes for my stuff. I’ve had to send things back and having the box is always easiest. But it does lead to clutter around the house. Suzy and I have even set aside time in the future to go through all the boxes in our crawl space. With reluctance, I’ll toss this box.

The orange box holding the Rory’s Story Cubes was a gift from my mother. I’ll move these to the game closet as they’re most fun when we’re not “plugged in” (e.g., hanging out at Whistler) or when we have company joining us. They probably target younger kids, but I get plenty of mileage from them!

As you can see, there are the usual books, a number of CDs, and some computer parts/cables. Ugh, I don’t look forward to those items: they’re not as easy to deal with as the “tidy up” stuff, and I’m not ready to toss this stuff out. So, it makes it hard to address.

But enough of the “details”.

In the “big picture” at the top right, you see a pile of papers. These will take time but are easy to address; they’re old receipts, bill stubs, and letters/cards from my family. All will be stowed I the box or folder that I put this stuff in for holding. Every few years I’ll purge old paperwork but, for now, it’s moving them from one pile to the next. It’s just that the “next pile” is out of site and not on my desk.

And that’s about it. The cleanup will take an hour or so and, in the end, I’ll still have plenty of stacks. A “computer projects” stack, a hardware “take this apart to figure it out or fix it” stack, and a “take the next step with this stuff” stack.

But I think today is the “later” that I’ve been waiting for and, in the end, I’ll at least be able to move and work from here.


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