In an effort to catch up on a book deadline, I took last week “off.” In other words, I traded my office at work for my home office and seven days of round-the-clock archive research and writing.
Except that there was no round-the-clock labor at the beginning because this standing desk fixation won’t quit. I couldn't sit and work at home. I even, unwittingly, found myself standing in the middle of the reading room at Emory's rare book library. Embarassing.
I decided that no work would happen without a way to stand at home. Using a laptop at the kitchen counter didn't work. So in search of a deal and something attractive, we schlepped around Scott Antique Market, only to learn that (a) there’s nothing new about writing while perpendicular and (b) vintage does not equal cheap.
After all, standing enthusiasts note, Dickens stood to write, as did Da Vinci, Churchill, and Hemingway. (Also, less famously, Donald Rumsfeld.) Could I rationalize spending a sizable chunk of my book advance for a stylish oak, adjustable table of Edwardian provenance? Why no, I could not. Nor could I justify a couple hundred for the industrial metal version swiped from an old cotton mill (left). Not even the sturdily elevated butcher block (yes, from an actual abattoir).
Instead I did what any writer with more ambition than extra cash would do—googled "standing desks Ikea" and encountered an entire subculture of Ikea hackery.
A cruise through the Ikea showroom the next morning revealed that hacking’s not even necessary; there are a few Ikea-sanctioned standing desks, such as the Sunne ("temporarily oversold") and the Galant (ditto). I went for the Linnmon desktop—$10.99!—and four Vika Kaj legs—adjustable!—at $15 apiece.
We assembled it pretty fast. Maxed out, the desk was about thirty-six inches tall. "Is that high enough?" asked my husband. "Oh yes," I said. "Just lift up the monitor so I can shove another history book underneath and raise it a bit.”
When he got home at the end of the following day, I had my keyboard on one thick volume and the mouse on another. The monitor wobbled atop two textbooks and a colossal dictionary.
"I think I might need this to be taller after all," I conceded.
So the next morning we were at the Ikea return counter the minute the store opened, swapping the first set of legs for the Vika Byske version ($30 each).
"God, this crazy experiment costs too much," I whined.
"On the plus side, I think we've learned that the Swedish word for leg is vika," Jim pointed out cheerfully. While it this knowledge might help us if we watch an original Wallander episode and it just happens to feature a crime scene involving hacked off limbs, I felt bad about wasting time and going over budget. (Okay, this was never budgeted for to start with, so make that over-over budget. Also, vika apparently translates as "fold." Go figure.)
The Vika Byske legs did the trick. They are now perfectly adjusted to my bent-elbow height (forty inches) and the monitor rests sturdily on the big dictionary alone.
All that settled, I had a productive week. I can state unequivocally that I get more work done when standing.
But Jim's commentary about the whole episode is far more entertaining, so you should read it instead of any more blathering from me.