The Deep Joy of Squirreling It All Away

The dump trucks rattling with gravel were bad. Worse were the cement mixers lined up down the street, one of them stretched like a growling triceratops across our driveway. I had to plow over a flower bed to leave my own house.

But it was the masonry drills that sent me over the edge. An entire day of screaming masonry drills will drive a person to madness.

In the back of our family room, 50 feet from the construction site that was once our late neighbor’s home, stands the old plywood table where I habitually write. My husband built it for our children’s perpetual artmaking. On that table, it didn’t matter if they spilled paint or glue or glitter. There is no way to ruin plywood.

As our sons grew, that table became the place for homework sheets, and then for laptops. After the last boy left for college, I claimed it for my own work. Tucked beneath four windows that open onto bird feeders and a pollinator garden, it spans nearly the width of the room. I wrote three books there.

Now my writing table overlooks a construction site.

In the immortal words of Taylor Swift, this is a champagne problem. In fact, I have an actual home office. It’s the size of a walk-in closet, but it happens to be as far from the construction as I can get without squashing a flower bed.

In recent years, my little office has served mostly as a time capsule. It’s both a relic of the days when I hid away to work while a sitter kept the children entertained and the place where I pile all the books and papers and mementos that I don’t know what to do with or can’t bear to discard. When the drilling started, I had no choice but to make my office functional again.

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