06 March, 2012

A Matter of Desks

Our house is pretty large by Japanese standards, but with three intense, lively boys we still occasionally have space issues. 


One that I've been trying to solve for months is the homework challenge. Between 4.30 and 5.30 Monday to Thursday we usually have some homework and piano practise issues. Our eldest son does most of his paper-based homework in his room and that now works well unless he's on the computer while his youngest brother practises the piano . . . haven't figured that one out yet, except to give incentives to the piano practices and to physically stand between them!


It's not fancy, but it folds up easily, for the times when we
want more space for entertaining (or a Christmas tree...)
The struggles take many forms but often happen when one child is distracted by another. I often end up sending our middle son into the adjacent lounge room to do his homework. However there is no table in there, so he's on the floor or lounge. So, I've been looking for a small desk that will fit in the one spare spot in that room. While out getting some exercise with the boys on Saturday we rode past a second hand store that had the perfect little desk out the front for sale. We've acquired it and our son is thrilled. As the middle child, he's always trying to mark out his territory. To have something that is "all his", thrills his soul. Maybe later we'll introduce the concept that other people could use it at various times, but for now, he can have it. 


The other desk issue is mine. I have a tiny workstation in the corner of the dining room, wedged between our electronic piano and the sliding door to the back yard. This is where our family laptop and printer sits. There are no drawers and very little bench space. (US=counter, I think.) This is not new, I've functioned with this little workstation since our third year in Japan. But the one thing that has changed is that with my editing work, I'm working on the laptop more than ever before. 


Not the greatest photo, but can you see the desk in the corner?
I've been struggling with headaches over the past few months and we're trying to figure out what might be causing them. I traditionally have lots of triggers including low blood sugar, muscle tension, and fatigue, which can make it hard to figure out. And I continue to wonder about my coffee intake, even though it is very small. I have only two cups of half-caffeinated cups a day. So I am going to try cutting down and then altogether in the next few weeks, to see if that might help. I'm also seeing an Osteopath for massages to see if that will help (thankfully our Japanese health insurance covers most of this). 


On the weekend my husband wondered if hunching in front of a laptop was an issue for me too. So we're thinking about using a monitor and keyboard instead. RIght now I'm trying out a monitor borrowed from school and it definitely has my neck in a more neutral position. As an OT who studied ergonomics at uni, I should have figured this out a long time ago (to take some credit, I have the rest right, an appropriate height of chair, foot stool (short legs) and wrist rest.) Extra hardware isn't something we really want to buy, but as my husband says, if it works, in the long run it is cheaper than osteopaths and pain killers. Not to mention that I'd love to be free of these headaches!


Ah, when you have little space on a modest income in a rented house you have to be a good problem solver to figure it out some issues. Thankfully I love solving problems.

6 comments:

AlyceB said...

1 - could you just buy a keyboard and a mouse and connect it to the laptop which is sitting at the right height for your eyes?
2 - gosh, I'm wondering how we're gonna fit our family into a Japanese house, and that's with 2 kids under 3, not 3 big boys, lol! How big is your house??

AlyceB said...

1 - could you just buy a keyboard and a mouse and connect it to the laptop which is sitting at the right height for your eyes?
2 - gosh, I'm wondering how we're gonna fit our family into a Japanese house, and that's with 2 kids under 3, not 3 big boys, lol! How big is your house??

April said...

There are no drawers and very little bench space. (US=counter, I think.)

A counter is built in, usually just in the kitchen. I think what you're calling a bench space here, is what we'd call desk space or a desktop (pretty sure that's where the computer term came from). You mean the working surface of your desk, correct?

Wendy said...

April, I think I've used "bench" too generically there. Probably I should have used desk top space or something very similar.

Wendy said...

Alyce, you'll find it a challenge. I found a Japanese kitchen very difficult. Only 2 burners on the stove and almost no bench space! But if you're up for the challenge it can be a little bit fun to try and figure out how to fit everything, just don't plan on bringing any Australian sized furniture! Our house has 6 main rooms. I blogged on it quite a bit when we first moved in midway through 2010. Have a look at this: http://mmuser.blogspot.com/2010/08/house-photos-continued.html
Good suggestion on the height of the laptop, we'll have to think about what to use...

AlyceB said...

Oops, double comment somehow!

Yes, we've been looking online at houses for rent and are moaning at the size (or lack of!) of the kitchen! And we're just bringing what we can fit on the plane with us (flying Jetstar = 40kg checked + 20kg carryon each!) and furnishing from scratch (slowly!). I love organising/decorating, so I can't wait to get stuck into it all :) Enjoy your retreat!