I retired from teaching in 2007 and enjoy living in a small townhouse development where I get to look out on a protected green space with dense vegetation and lots of wildlife. After my children graduated from college and found places of their own, I converted the lower level of my house into an Airbnb apartment with its own entrance and deck overlooking that beautiful green space. The business allows me to meet people from all over the world, as well as giving me a broader understanding of the community in which I live. I had my first guest in March of 2016 and since that time, people from China, S. Korea, Germany, Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Canada, Bali, and at least 20 states in the U.S. have stayed at my place.
In the past, I was a secretary at Oregon State University, a 2nd grade teacher at a small school district in Eastern Oregon, a general contractor for two personal homes, worked for Building, Planning, and Engineering Departments in the cities of West Linn and Lake Oswego, and spent 17 years teaching 5th graders in a suburban school district outside of Portland. After leaving full-time work, I took on a temporary job with the 2010 Census and was a substitute teacher—quite possibly the most unfulfilling job on the planet, but the supplemental income did finance a trip to Europe. (…and, boy, did I need it!)
During my career, I used some pretty uncomfortable office furniture: heavy, virtually unmovable solid wood desks with difficult to operate drawers, no options for putting my computer screen at the appropriate height, and chairs so bad that I brought in adjustable chairs from home (or chair pads) so I could at least reach the writing surfaces. After all the construction building out my Airbnb unit, I developed arthritis in my lower back. My 20-year-old heavy, small, oak desk wasn’t appealing to me any longer. I’m Scandinavian and have always been interested in sleek, minimalist workspaces, practical organization, and comfort, but hadn’t realized that there were other options “out there” until I retired and companies started showing up online with great, reasonably priced and quality products.
My first purchase of ergonomic furniture was a task chair with casters and armrests. It was lightweight, had a supportive mesh seat and back, and was just plain cool looking. After that, I was hooked on great designs and was determined to improve my “work” experience. I added a memory foam cushion, and it was perfect (at least for sitting) for awhile. Unfortunately my spoiled ragdoll cat “Ted” also discovered the benefits of the chair for napping, so when I’d stand up to get something, he would jump on the chair and hiss at me if I tried to move him. So I started standing at my single-height desk, leaning over my keyboard or taking my laptop to the bar counter in the kitchen—an early version of my sit/stand desk, I suppose.
Ted walks with a leash and rides in a pet stroller.
I researched products online and when I saw the Ergo Depot (Fully) website, I was impressed with the philosophy of the company and the product lines they offered. They conveniently had a Portland location, so I was able to get good advice from staff and purchased the Jarvis bamboo contour standing desk with the automatic lift mechanism, with black wire tamer cable trays, and a black base. Also, I liked that Jarvis used sustainable bamboo for the desk of my choice.
Now Ted is able to have his way with the chair, and I get to stay healthy pressing button #2 on the programmable memory unit, forcing me to stand for awhile. Stretched out from head to tail, Ted is four feet long, so he can also fit on the rear edge of the desk and there’s still room for my laptop. I subsequently bought a second chair, so that when Ted took over mine and I still needed to sit, I’d roll him out of the way, and roll in the second chair. (Sad, but true).
I actually enjoy reading instruction booklets before building things, so after constructing Dania and Ikea furniture in my past, putting the Jarvis desk together was different, but something I knew I could do.
The location for my new standing desk was an easy choice. I needed it to be on the middle level of my townhouse, as that was the best location to allow me to keep records and supplies close at hand for the Airbnb business, but was also convenient for getting food and other items to my disabled husband on the third floor.
My workspace is the first thing I see when entering the front door in my home. The desk overlooks the green space through two large corner windows, so I’m able to see wildlife (deer, coyotes, squirrels, birds), all kinds of weather events, and those beautiful fir trees. To complete the space, I added a file storage unit that sits at desk level, and a file cart that holds all of my supplies. For the desktop, my cords are neatly hidden away so I have plenty of space for my laptop and a matching bamboo easel for my iPad (so I can watch Netflix while working).
The desktop is large enough to accommodate an iHome radio/iPhone charger/music player with enough space left over to do some hand written projects (by pushing the laptop to the back of the desk). I spend hours each day completing tasks for my business, my personal finances, and keeping up with the news on my iPad or phone. My little work area is my favorite part of the house, and I credit my desk and chair for that.
I have always been active and, as a teacher, chose an upstairs classroom that was as far away as possible from the school office, gym, cafeteria, etc. so my students and I could get some exercise during the day. I'm that person who runs up escalators instead of standing still, waiting for the steps to deliver me to the next floor. I park far away from buildings, took up walking and set a goal of finding a penny on the ground before I could stop (that was the 7 mile mark on one day), have ridden in four Cycle Oregon week rides after turning 60, and probably won’t EVER slow down. Ergonomic furniture is a natural fit for me, although I haven’t even begun to experience all that it offers. As my budget allows, I plan to add items as they are developed and my needs change.
I do enjoy telling people about Fully, and sharing how much enjoyment I get from using my desk. Shortly after my purchase, my son (a professor at the University of Washington) stayed for a few days at my home and took notice of my desk, using it for his work during his entire stay at my home. He also commented that mine was much more stable than one he had purchased for his workspace the previous year. When he headed back to Seattle, I headed to the Portland Showroom again to purchase a desk for him for Christmas that year. It was a rare instance where he let me buy something for him…and the fact that a workspace setup for a multi-tasker with multiple screens and electronic devices in constant use, says a lot about the quality of the Jarvis desk.
I've recently added the Tic Toc chair and Tic Toc stand, and Lumen Lamp! Each one of them seem to have already taken on a specific purpose that fits my personality: In addition to the height adjustable seat, the chair’s swirling function allows me to have fun while problem solving. The Tic Toc stand “forces” me to move when I'm simultaneously listening to music and working on my laptop. And I’ve already found benefit in the various light settings on the lamp, depending on how much daylight my living room has at any given time of day. I promise you, these items are appreciated and will be used regularly to keep me moving.
I’m happy that Fully had a great website and Portland showroom so I could evaluate my needs with the help of people in your office. I was able to purchase a wonderful piece of furniture that hides all of the messy cords, looks beautiful, allows me to stand so I can protect my neck and back, and is designed to fit right into my home’s decor. It has been a positive purchase, resulting in making my complicated life much easier.
BTW, I forgot to include my favorite sandwich place: Try Fern Kitchen at 3211 S.E. 50th. I loved my grilled cheese sandwich!