off limits

The "look" I give the trespassers...

repost from 2010

I do a fair amount of work from  my home office. It’s pretty nice, I have it set up specifically for work and writing.

I’ve had the same rule for the kids their whole life regarding my office: Don’t touch anything in my office! A few times over the years I went as far as telling them, “Don’t even step foot in my office”! –“I don’t even want you to breathe in there”!

This was usually followed by one of the kids borrowing something from my office without asking. I never knew the exact moment they were breaking the rule. I only found out something was missing when I desperately needed it.

It’s a game I thought I could win! I’ve tried everything. When I went shopping for some of my basic office needs, I’d go out of my way to make sure everyone else in the house had their essentials as well. Not so much because I’m a good guy, I just didn’t want any juvenile hands pilfering through my organized things.

Can you say Jumbo Pack? If I needed paper I’d buy the 40 lb. box. When it was time for a new stapler I’d buy three. The count on mechanical pencils must be up to around 1 million. There was a time when I had several calculators, more than five retractable erasers, and at least three architectural scales.

Yesterday? I had nothing…Zero, zilch, nada. I was a regular “Old Mother Hubbard.” It’s funny (not ha ha, more like peculiar) how no one is ever at home when I discover that my office has been raided. I talk to myself… I know I’m all alone, but I ask the question anyway, “ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME”?!!!

Apparently no one’s keeping the house rules when it comes to my office. Everything was gone except two empty staplers. My office was like Whoville after the Grinch’s raid.

Instead of getting work done, I rifle through the house on my personal “Treasure Hunt.” My list is always the same and I never ever find everything on my list. When the kleptomaniacs get home they never seem to remember taking anything. I’m not sure Sherlock Holmes could solve these seemingly obvious mysteries. Although I haven’t gone as far as dusting for finger prints just yet.

I look up from my frustration and am surrounded by pictures of the perpetrators. They look kind and innocent in the pictures. I spot the picture over the fireplace of all of my girls taken about ten years ago. My wife was taller than all of them back then. Oh, don’t think that I’m not aware that she too does her share of pilfering!

I study the picture of all four of them at the lake on a oversize inner tube. They don’t really look like criminals. I see the sketch of the three sisters done about seven years ago at Lego-Land. They didn’t want to get it done. I made them stand in line to get that done. Sure glad I did.

I see the team sports pictures spanning the big girls High School years. I spy the pictures from children to current day. I’m remembering all the times of frustration spent trying to prevent my office supplies from disappearing. I also recall all of the time spent recovering some of the lost articles.

I have to laugh… I wouldn’t trade these memories for anything. Whatever taken from “The Forbidden Room” was used on school projects. They figured out how to succeed. None of them were going to let a simple house rule interfere with what they knew was important to me as much as them.

I spot a picture of my wife at about two years old. There I am about the same age with a plastic phone in my hand. Right above us is a photograph of my wife’s parents on their wedding day. Over to the left is a picture of my mom and dad taken around 1969. That’s my favorite picture of them.

This off limits room I call my office, I cherish. I don’t blame my family for breaking a few rules every now and then.

I guess they already figured that out…