Unlike my cheeky Irish blogger Radgery, I've yet to be Desked, but I'm hoping.
Instead of his measly one, I've submitted three. Yes, three is my lucky number and the trio of desks under inspection range from filthy and dishevelled to obsessively neat. Kind of like me in person - sweaty and reeking after a run and during the morning school drop-off to neat, clean and smelling like a rose at the after school pick-up.
Drum roll please, for Desk Number One:
This was my hive of activity at the university when I won the contract to write 'Work/Life Balance for Dummies' on behalf of the research centre. Bulldog was just starting to throw her not-inconsiderable weight and ego around, and you can see that my salvation was to be found in chocolate and iced coffee. That day there was obviously no Feel Good Farmers Union Iced Coffee to be found at the canteen on the floor below us, so I had to make do with Rush. A very distant second, but oh so much more superior than Big M which isn't even sold in South Australia.
Note also the apple sitting there on the right; presumably for at least a week. In those days (oh who I am kidding - these days as well) it was my belief - in the mythical yet yearned-for place I'll refer to as 'Kath Land,' that a piece of fruit would immediately cancel out a chocolate bar. Sadly, my thighs and arse disagreed.
Sapphire's smiling face made it into two picture frames, whereas poor Love Chunks rates a jokey pin rammed at the top of his head on the back wall. He photo-shopped his face onto a grotesquely over-roided physique and emailed it to me for a quick laugh, not knowing that I would print it, laminate it and put it on every workspace wall ever since.
I look at this photo two years later, still with a mixture of regret that my working life with Bulldog ended so badly and a big dollop of relief. Escaping her evil clutches and dictatorship was harrowing but provided me with an opportunity to be brave, take a few deep breaths, jump in and see what happens.
....which was spending most of 2008 writing from home in Adelaide, pimping myself on radio, eating chocolates, running seminars, book reviews, giving interviews and providing life to a few bloody ulcers when deciding to sell our house just as the entire globe plunged into deep financial crisis. Despite all that, we moved to a two bedroom/one study house in Melbourne so that I could squeeze in here, at Desk Number Two:
My secretary, Milly the dog, was not impressed. Whereas previously in South Australia she was able to languidly stretch out in a five-by-four metre room with just some bookshelves and a desk to interfere; here she battles for dominance with the piano, the fold-away camping trestle, a wine rack I use as a visual filing system (ie if I don't see it, I forget about it), a real filing cabinet and two bookshelves in a room that is just two metres wide and 4 metres long.
I sometimes forget she's there and get the wheels of the chair bogged in the beans when reaching for the real filing cabinet, startling her so that she jumps up and bonks her rock-hard noggin against the piano stool. She then stares up at me with her big, black-edged brown eyes in confusion, I stop what I'm doing and ruffle her ears, pat her back and kiss her a few times in sympathy, forget what I'm supposed to be doing and lie on the carpet beside her, stroking her tummy...... Oh God, is it time to pick up Sapphire from school already...? I must have dozed off for a second there.... Yuck, the drool's got carpet fluff and dog fur stuck to it.....
If the day is warmer than 25C, the sun blazes directly through the window which makes it an open invitation for Mr Migraine and his sidekick, Rumpled Foreskin to come in, open up the top of my head and set to stirring the contents with some open Swiss Army knives. Being a weatherboard addition, the study also gets very hot very quickly. Typing with sweaty hands and leaking armpits is not a recipe for creativity or productivity, nor is hanging up a tablecloth to cover the roman blind that's already there.
Instead, I give up and move to Desk Number Three:
The kitchen/dining area. The paper decorations on the window were done by Sapphire to celebrate Milly's 5th birthday recently (see the bone and the tennis ball?).
Outside is Love Chunks' Ayers Rock of a Bad Boy Barbeque Beast that almost didn't fit through our gate and the framed artwork is Sapphire, crayon and watercolour, circa 2006.
Unlike the other desks, this one is kept clean so that it's not a hassle to abandon it for dinner, spread out The Age newspaper to read at leisure, unwrap and photograph chocolate and wipe down with a chux in one expert move.
The only problem is that the wooden chairs are meanly solid and uncomfortably, uncharitably hard. So hard that after only an hour my bum is begging for mercy and I start believing that every damn nodule along my spine has a heartbeat of pulsating pain all of their own. That's when I know it's time to get up, find some chocolate (for reviewing purposes, you understand), take Milly out in the garden for a wee, see how Skipper the rabbit's getting along and put on a load of washing.
You've gotta love a work surface that disguises chocolate crumbs.