The heavenly underwear of office decor

We are finally down to putting the finishing touches on the office remodel with a checklist that might rival a roll of toilet paper in length. Smack in the middle of that list is creating what I’m calling Modesty Panels, giant boards of wood covered in fabric to hide the clutter underneath our desks. Modesty, of course, to hide what is really going on down there next to the hard dri— INSERT DATED BILL CLINTON JOKE HERE.

Tangent: we were working out with our trainer the other day, and since I’ve been doing much more cardiovascular work than Jon has throughout the week, he tends to exit the workout before I do. Do you see how diplomatic that last sentence was? How I didn’t brag that I’m in way better shape than he is? Because I totally could have.

He was trying to bring his heart rate back down while I was doing a new exercise my trainer made up where I go down on one knee, then the other, then back up to standing one leg at a time. Repeat at full speed until you see vomit.

It went on and on, and by the time I was done my knees were swollen and covered in splotches several shades of red. I could barely breathe, but I managed to squeak out, “Looks like I’ve been in the Oval Office!” Jon just shook his head and asked why I couldn’t have come up with a more current reference. Right. A more current reference. Having just spent a good two minutes at my anaerobic threshold, my heart rate monitor about to explode. Cut off your oxygen for two minutes and see if you can come up with a better blow job joke.

You guys, I am in so much better shape than my husband.

End of tangent. FOR NOW.

In our old office we had our desks facing each other, and in doing so we solved a couple of problems: one, you couldn’t see the mess of cords underneath, and two, we couldn’t see each other. People used to ask me all the time how I survived working with my husband day in and out, and I’d always recommend turning the desks this way. We were in the same room, we just couldn’t see each other. It could be anyone over there.

Unless you’re really familiar with your spouse’s farts. The illusion sort of fails in this instance.

In the new office, however, it seemed impractical to do it this way, just from the layout and enormity of the room. I also didn’t want to shove my desk up against a wall because I didn’t want to turn my back on the amazing windows and light that fill the room. So here we have this huge mess of cords and machines just sitting in the middle of the floor like a giant dry booger that you’ll want to wait until you’re sitting in traffic to pick.

We were going to gather the cords into nice and neat piles and lines, yes, but I wanted to take it a step further. So I came up with the idea of Modesty Panels, something we could create on the cheap (plywood, batting, fabric, and a staple gun) and attach to the desks we already owned. I even had enough fabric from an old project lying around that we didn’t even have to spend money on that part of it. Look at the resourceful Mormon in me! Next thing you know I’ll be canning our apricots and letting the third wife have an extra night a week with Jon!

Except there were a couple of roadblocks in the way. Tyrant and I were supposed to handle this project ourselves so that Jon could concentrate on other parts of the office, but neither of us have ever upholstered anything in our lives. Two? STAPLE GUN. UGH! No, let me rephrase that: are you out of your goddamn mind?

You guys, I have a really, really crippling aversion to loud, popping noises. I’m allergic to them. They make me break out in hives and speak in tongues. One time we went to a birthday party for a three-year-old where the parents handed out balloons and air pumps, and after an hour of TOTALLY PSYCHOTIC BALLOON POPPING OH MY GOD Jon had to call an ambulance and have me professionally removed.

Enter: that cheap staple gun. Multiply that by: Tyrant’s love of torturing me.

Jon had to hand hold us through the entire project, and I can’t count the number of times Tyrant pretended to aim the staple gun at me, pretended to jam it into my hand, pretended to jam it into his own hand, and pretended that he had stapled his arm into the board. And I fell for it every time. Of course I did. If I’m looking straight at you in broad daylight and you jump out at me, I’ll scream.

By the time we had finished upholstering the first one I was singing Yankee Doodle Dandy in Portuguese. Backwards. No way, no how was I going to be involved in the second one, so Tyrant finished it on his own. What a great guy, right? Try this great:

Tyrant, on the phone with Jon: “The exterminator just left. He found and killed a black widow in the basement.”

Jon to me: “That guy found and killed black widow in the basement.”

Me to Jon: “Tyrant is lying. He’s telling you that to freak me out.”

Jon to Tyrant: “Heather thinks you’re lying.”

Tyrant: “What?! If I were lying I’d say he tried to catch it but it slipped away and went running up to your bedroom singing, ‘IMMA GET THAT BITCH.’

…….

Disclosure: Many thanks to Verizon for helping us take this next step. This house requires a phone on one’s person at all times, so another big thank you to Verizon for the 3 Motorola Droid X phones that help us stay connected during this time of chaos and adjustment as we redo our office. We’ll be sharing some behind the scenes photos and videos over the coming weeks. Learn more about how Verizon helps keep you connected here.

  • labradoris

    We just made a similar panel for our bedroom (but as a headboard) and every time the shotgun, I mean the staple gun, went off, I swear I whimpered. Too loud.

    And I’m totally with you on the balloons – I have footage from my 3rd birthday party where I REFUSED to participate in the popping of the balloons. Fast forward to my 27th birthday, and I still refuse to pop balloons. Ick.

  • labradoris

    (Not that there was any balloon popping at my birthday – I just mean that I now have drooping, giant “Happy Birthday!” balloons in my house because I refuse to be in the same zip code when they are punctured.)

  • armstid

    cute panels but you could have achieved the same solution without the staple gun torture. our desks are white so we bought a sheet of white formica from Home Depot, cut it to size, and attached it to the legs with velcro. our desks are up against the wall facing the windows, so the panel blends in and just looks like wall beneath the desks.

    can’t wait to see the finished room!

  • susanruffin

    Did I hear Jon say you’re going to have your own show? When, where. The modesty panel is a great idea but I have a kneehull credenza for a desk…any ideas for the spider web of wires on the side(they won’t fit in back)?

  • danagw

    Oh, John’s trying a tough-love approach. “Listen, Heather, if you’re going to have your own show on tv, you’re gonna have to get used to that”. But then he bursts into laughter. Too cute.

  • TexasKatie

    Yeah, I totally wanna know when the show is gonna air.

    And what in GOD’S NAME is that blue thing Chuck is next to?

  • lisdom

    I think you and I have very similar issues with sound. Your aversion to whistling and loud popping sounds is the same as mine. I found a book that explains it as sensory processing disorder, but I really do go a little crazy, and can totally sympathize with the staple gun problem.

  • tokenblogger

    I thought those blue things were stools, but the look awfully small and kinda fragile — so what are they? Piggy banks?

    I totally get your noise aversion, too.

    Really. I know.

    P.S. Why is there a captcha when we have to log in?

  • tallnoe

    I kinda just fell into love with Tyrant. Even tho he would never love me back. That comment at the end… *sigh*

    BUT, I feel you on staple gun probs… they skurrrrr me like carazy!

  • freckleface

    I haven’t been reading the comments here in a while and I’m sure you’ve heard of this, but as soon as I saw this I thought of you. And reading your comment about letting the third wife have her extra night reminded me of it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvsVZdO6FJU

    Totally normal right? Anyways, I like the modesty panels! You are too cute with your jumpiness. And I hope Jon was serious about the show…

  • saliesas

    I got shot with a staple gun before. My best friend, Bev, and I were trying to be all big bad independent women types and close an opening between her basement and the duplex next door.

    I call a staple gun truth in advertising – the name tells you all you need to know. Maybe she didn’t get that because she picked it up and while pointing it at me pushed the handle! And she shot me! In the boob! The crazy thing was I tried to duck like it was an actual gun. Didn’t hurt much though.

    Do I get street cred for being “shot”?

  • missusclark

    All the women in my family have the jumpiness problem. We will scream like little tiny girls if startled. I think the problem is an hyper-responsive adrenal gland. When triggered, it just pumps out WAY too much of the fight-or-flight juice. Interestingly, we all have problems with low blood sugar, too. Just remind Jon that if he ever wants to get lucky again, he should not purposefully scare you and laugh when you hit the ceiling. My husband did that once, early on, and learned his lesson right quick.

  • jon

    I said IF. IF, people, IF.

    Y’all might recall when Heather drilled my butt:

    http://dooce.com/archives/daily/09_23_2002.html

    This is payback on a very minor scale.

  • originalpenguin

    You know those biscuits in a can? The ones that may or may not burst open at any moment with a loud explosive noise? Yes, those. I hate those biscuits.

  • justgreat

    OMG. I’m not the ONLY one who can’t be in the same room with inflated balloons?? I plug my ears so hard in anticipation that they bleed, and may as well have a string of tin cans tied to my pant leg :(

    I make my fiance open biscuit-dough cans.

    I also tap staple guns from max-arm-distance in case they try to eat my face off.

  • cadavis

    upholstering is super easy! and fun! glad you figured it out! the colors are beautiful! Tyrant! Black widows are no laughing matter!! haha ok well i guess they are as long as they’re not in your house! Be careful.. maybe you can aim the staple gun at them. You might start liking the loud popping noise then!

  • adamsrice

    I find myself daydreaming about how a drill-butt video could of been a hit.

  • Schnauzie_Mom

    Why do home improvement projects always seem easy in theory but always end up in tears and threats of bodily harm or sleeping on the couch? Home improvement projects are not easy. Ever. Under any circumstances.

  • Amanda Patchin

    You kill me woman. And I needed the laugh today!

  • signot

    I hate those cans of biscuits too! I always make someone else open them, AND I leave the room.

  • d3 voiceworks

    i think jon should chime in more often here to reel in the “telephone game” that happens from time to time.

    but IF there were a show, likely it’d be staple-gun-free

  • booner32

    HA! Funny video.

    Maybe that’s why Maci freaks out when she hears loud abrupt sounds. Must be a recessive gene in the family blood line. I feel better now. Thank you.

  • eventide82

    I’m the same with loud popping sounds, especially balloons popping. Oh, and champagne corks popping scare the crap out of me because of the loud pop and the fact that it flies out of control around the room. I’m always scared it’s going to take out my eye.

  • Greta Koenigin

    Thanks for talking about the dry booger. It’s been taboo for thousands of years. Until now.

    Tyrant rules.

  • The Prima Momma

    “IMMA GET THAT BITCH!” Priceless.

    I think Tyrant needs to stumble upon a very realistic looking spider about the size of a nickle. Do they make those?

  • copywaitress

    nice panel but the movie is… awesome :)

  • Figtron

    Dude…I came THIS close to stepping on a spider the size of a DESSERT PLATE last night. It was lurking in the dark, on the floor in my bathroom. And when I went for my final pee before bed, I narrowly escaped stepping on the wretched hairy beast just as I flicked the light switch on.

    I beat it to death with a can of Lysol.