Turns out, Crazy Lady and the Oh So Feisty One aren’t the only ones with elaborate fantasies about taking over Teen Spirit’s room, when he goes to college. Now Hepcat revealed to Smartmom that he’d like to use the small bedroom for an office.
Hepcat, a freelance photographer and software developer, says that he’s desperate for a room with a door.
Smartmom was fit to be tied. Didn’t they just spend a load of money building a wall in the living room, creating a private workspace for Hepcat? Yes, but that’s not really an enclosed space; the wall doesn’t go to the ceiling and the entry way has no door, but it’s still quite private.
Not according to Hepcat, who constantly complains that the noise in the living room causes him to lose his concentration.
“Lower the television,” he barks from his computer desk.
“It’s a living room. Operative word: living,” Smartmom tells him when he uses that craggy tone of voice.
“But I’m trying to get some work done,” he tell Smartmom
Silently, she thinks to herself: “Well, that’s what you get for having your office in the living room.”
For years, Smartmom has encouraged Hepcat to get an office or studio space outside of the home. But he has always resisted. He says he doesn’t want to spend the money, but Smartmom thinks he’s being penny wise and pound foolish.
Buddha knows, she’s had her own office space for years and doesn’t know what she’d do without it. It’s her sanctuary, her room of one’s own (except for the fact that she shares it with an extremely nice lawyer). It’s a quiet place where she can truly concentrate and get her writing done.
At home, it’s so easy to get distracted by the dishwasher, the unmade beds, the laundry, the mess on the dining room table.
But Hepcat likes to work at home for a variety of reasons:
• He likes to be surrounded by his lovable family while he’s hard at work. The pitter-patter of ever-enlarging feet motivates him and reminds him that there are mouths to feed and college tuition fees to pay for.
• He enjoys being part of the daily thunder of life on Third Street. If he worked elsewhere, he’d miss the ever-fascinating dramedy starring Smartmom, Teen Spirit and OSFO
•He likes the proximity to the kitchen for lunch and snacks and the bedroom for naps. Look, he’s a freelancer!
Smartmom knows that Hepcat likes to work late into the night when the apartment is finally quiet. That is, until Teen Spirit rolls into apartment at 3 am or later. But when Teen Spirit goes to bed, Hepcat works until dawn.
Still, Smartmom thinks he’d be so much more productive and sane if he had a quiet office outside of the home and that’s probably why he has designs on Teen Spirit’s room.
Before OSFO was born, the apartment’s third bedroom was Hepcat’s office. Indeed, he was easier to contain when he had a room with a door. Whenever Smartmom would find a runaway Wired Magazine or extension cord in the hallway she’d just plop it into his office. Back then, she never heard any complaints about the sound of the television or the volume of her children’s voices.
But when she was pregnant with OSFO, she told him that his days were numbered in that room. Thrilled as he was about the impending birth of his second child, Hepcat dragged his feet when it came to moving out of that room.
“We need to nest,” Smartmom told her husband. Indeed, she had big plans for OSFO’s bedroom: yellow paint, an exotic new light fixture, a crib, a changing table and adorable prints on the wall.
Hepcat avoided the subject entirely, driving Smartmom to exasperation (some things never change). Finally, one month before OSFO’s birth, Hepcat rented a tiny office in a Manhattan building and arranged to have Moishe’s move his desk, chair, books, magazines and computer equipment.
When the day came, the very pregnant Smartmom could tell that Hepcat was stressing. He looked pale, nervous and uncertain. Even though he was giving up his office for the best possible reasons — the birth of their baby girl — he was very ambivalent about working out of the home.
When everything was finally moved out of the room, Smartmom was ecstatic. She got out the Murphy’s Oil and mopped the floor reveling in the emptiness of the small space and fantasizing about her future little girl.
Hepcat never used the office space he rented in Manhattan. Soon after renting it, he got a full-time job at a start-up Manhattan. One thing led to another and he ended up with Cisco Systems, though when he was laid off a few years later, he found himself back in the apartment with all of his stuff.
And so began the saga of Hepcat working in the living room.
And now he wants to take-over Teen Spirit’s bedroom. Trouble is, as Smartmom has said again and again, that room is not for anyone but Teen Spirit. Her first born is only going to college. He still needs somewhere to sleep when he comes home.
If he ever comes home again. Sniff.