The Coffee Incident

I am relocating my workspace from the living room to the spare room upstairs. This has largely come to happen following the Coffee Incident. It could more accurately titled, Husband Wants Attention, or Mocha Meets Towel, but in my mind it shall always be called the Coffee Incident.

As a married, childless graduate student, my husband sometimes does interesting things. Men in general have an innate tendency to do amusing, blog-post worthy things, at least the men that I’ve chosen to associate myself with, but I’m told even ‘normal’ men tend to have their fair share of highly interesting events. Note please that I am not saying this in a bad way. Like I said, I tend to gravitate towards men who have more of these peculiar incidences than may be called normal, so clearly my subconscious must find some appeal in it.

As is common in the world of academia, students and teachers alike work hard and have uber long breaks in between semesters. We’re talking a month long vacation for Christmas. This was fine when we were both in college, but now that he’s in university and I’m writing (usually at home), it means that I’m working and he isn’t. This usually isn’t much of a road block for us, but after two or three weeks of me trying (and somewhat failing) to write, I began to ignore him. It is easier to ignore my friend’s five year old.

One morning, I was just really getting into writing, I’d done about three hundred words, and I was finally on a roll. He strolls out of the shower. I ignore him. He tries a ‘Hey Babe’ line (that may or may not have been the exact words), and I might have given him a scowl in reply. After a week of constant interruptions and managing to hardly write anything at all, I was in no mood for distractions or wooing.  Now, we’re both stubborn people. Like, really, really stubborn who make stubborn people comment on how stubborn we are. In keeping with our shared nature, I did not soften, I wanted to write, and he did not get discouraged, nothing discourages the manly-man.

What happened next was funny, after I’d gotten over my week or so of being utterly annoyed.

He yanked off his towel and did a towel-whip, with complete hip-thrusting and outstretched arms. No point in doing something if you’re only going to do it half-way, right?

Now if that had been all that had happened, I would have hardly looked at him. But, no. The towel caught my coffee and sent it in an arc down the table, the shelf under the table, and all over my clothes. Shirt, pants, even my socks. Nothing was safe from the beverage, except thankfully the computer itself.

My husband had not intended to knock over the coffee, obviously. He somehow had missed it laying on the table in open view? The entire mess was a huge surprise to him, and he suddenly had the air of a kid who was caught doing something they knew was dumb, but did it anyway with predictable results in full view of adults. I’ll be completely honest at this point–only raising two puppies and being a substitute teacher enabled me to convert my amusement over his shock into annoyance. Because you don’t reward bad behavior with laughter. You just don’t, unless you want to encourage it.

I had to work fast to rescue the computer mouse from a puddle of cocoa, because this is me we’re talking about and I usually like an extra boost of endorphins in my coffee. It also made it more difficult to clean up. Since the sweater I was wearing happened to be all wool, it couldn’t go in the washing machine (I don’t allow it, that cableknit is too pretty to be felted), it meant I had to wash it in the bathtub. Four dry-clean only pillows followed when I realized how far the coffee had gone. All my clothes had to be washed, in addition to my skin. And the floor had to be scrubbed, same with the shelf and the table. All this time, I was amazed how far 6 oz of liquid could go. How was it physically possible to do so much damage?

Upon talking with my husband while cleaning up, it became all too clear that in his mind, when I’m home, I’m not working, and therefore am free game for interaction. He felt guilty about the spill, but I realized that the time had come for me to etch out a completely private space which was out of the way where I could “go to work”.

There is a spare bedroom upstairs, with a closet with a shelf, a bed which takes up most of the space, and that’s it. I moved my books and various art supplies and project folders onto the shelf, and it’s actually orderly. Since I’m keeping up with my drawing a day (so it’s burst drawing, I skip a few days then frantically catch up…it all counts, right?), it means I have a lot of random drawings to display and no money to buy frames or indulge in any cool idea. Plus, the whole renting thing makes me not want to plug holes in the walls. So, I Blu-Tack the drawings straight to the wall in rows. It’s actually looking good. Gives the room an art-studio vibe, but my husband says he won’t be impressed until the whole wall is covered in drawings. Challenge accepted.

Currently I’m trolling the used furniture stores for a sofa table or computer desk to stick up there, and then a chair and I’ll be good. Presently the computer is on a coffee table and I sit on pillows on the floor, so I’m looking forward to this upgrade. I’ll do a picture of how the office ends up looking. For now, you know the story behind how I got a room of my own.

-Nicolette

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