The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to our household, and one of the most significant ones was that our empty nest of two transformed into a full house of 5 adults. In a week, three of our adult children returned home for the duration. Before their leaving, they had been transitioning to independence. However, with shelter-in-place as the law of the land, our home has once again become a place of family time.
We are fortunate as our kids are good-natured and considerate. However, it was an adjustment for all of us to have everyone return to the mothership during a lockdown. We have kept many of our traditions. I have been doing a lot of cooking with the kids, and Julie has been playing a variety of games with them. We enjoy each other’s company and conversation, and we all eat dinner together. I believe that our living situation works as we are respectful of each other’s privacy. Each of us has claimed a zone in the house that we call our own. Julie alternates between the living room and the family room couch. Kathryn cocoons in her room. Grace has claimed a large chair in the family room, and Will is fond of my old Telepsych studio space in the basement. My zone is the chair in my study.
My study is a small room that is located in front of our house. You enter it by taking a left from the foyer. The place is squarish and has wood paneling around the lower third of the walls. Directly opposite of the door are built-in bookcases, which are overstuffed with books. Directly in front of the bookshelves is a large brown leather recliner-style chair. Next to the chair is a small table holding a traditional brass lamp. To the right of the chair are two large multi-pane double-hung windows. The wall directly in front of the bookcase has a desk with a powerful computer and two monitors and wall shelves that contain speakers, a printer, and other functional items. The remaining wall has my prized roll top desk. The room is crowded but cozy.
My usual working spot in the room is at the computer desk, where I sit in a mesh style office chair. It is there that I edit photos and videos, watch YouTube videos, and write. However, this is not the right place for the extended time that a shelter-in-place order commands.
My go-to chill-out spot is the big brown leather recliner. That recliner has become my COVID crib. The chair is supportive, but it also has soft overstuffed goodness. I can position myself in a variety of poses that range from a traditional sit to hanging my legs across the arms as if I was reclining in a chaise lounge. My chair zone offers me everything that I could need for hours of education and entertainment. If I twist to the right, I can quickly look out the window to the sidewalk and street beyond. With the lockdown, my neighbors have taken to walking, and there is a never-ending stream of people and puppies marching past my house. The little table is the perfect spot to hold a cup of coffee, a pen, my iPhone, and the cool Apple earbuds that I got for my birthday. My phone equipped with the earbuds serves as a communication center for voice calls, FaceTime calls, Zoom calls, and text messages. My regular computer is too bulky for my lap, but thankfully I also have a tiny MacBook which I use for my Starbucks writing adventures. That little device is perfect for surfing. The MacBook connects me to social media, the news, and YouTube. I pair the computer with an inexpensive lap desk for an excellent writing system. In fact, I’m writing this post with that very setup.
Mornings will typically find me sitting in my chair with a cup of steaming hot coffee beside me on the little table. I like to grind whole beans in a Breville coffee grinder, so it is super fresh and vibrant. My Bunn coffee pot has a thermal carafe which allows for hours of hot refills. Morning is the time when I check the latest news and catch up on Facebook and the world.
Afternoon is the perfect time for people watching. All I have to do is swivel my body slightly to the right for full access to the sidewalk and street. I live at the end of a T-intersection giving me a comprehensive view of my neighborhood.
In the evening, I enjoy the spot as I call friends and family, write, and think.
Dear readers, to be clear, I am not spending every moment in my chair. However, it is there for me at any time of the day that I need it. During a crisis time, it provides me with the comfort and familiarity that I need to get through the day. It is a spot that is functional enough to do real work and cozy enough for a little nap.
I think that it is essential for each of us to have a zone that we can claim as our own. It doesn’t have to be a room; it can be a location in a room. My site is my overstuffed chair, which I have outfitted to contain items that make it a functional spot. I hope you have a similar place in your COVID crib. If not, considering creating one.