Wednesday, August 17, 2022

A (former) room with a view

| June 27, 2021 12:00 AM

Having worked from home the previous eight months, coming back to the office at the beginning of June has taken some adjustment.

I’m not sure why, since, incredibly, I’ve sat at the same desk for nearly 19 years at the Inter Lake, which those of us on the inside refer to as the DIL. Actually, among the editorial staff I claim rights to being the only staffer who has never changed desks ... which, while weird, is quite incidental.

My home office was a comfy retreat in our loft. I’d climb the stairs every morning, coffee mug in hand, slip into my “office” slippers like Mister Rogers, and begin the day by looking out the window over my West Valley domain. Hawks, eagles, robins, sparrows and, seasonally, flocks of Canada geese would soar past at literally bird’s-eye level — all lovely to behold from one’s office desk.

I shared my home office with a benevolent-looking antelope mount from east of the mountains, an indifferent European (bleached) elk skull from the Monida Pass area, and an heirloom longhorn steer rack my parents had bought as a souvenir decades ago on a family vacation that had hung in our downstairs rec room for ages; I was too young at the time to remember where we were when they bought it, but it’s kept its sentimental value.

The loft is also a flotilla of family photos, a peanut gallery of ancestors and descendants, and a repository of decor of dubious taste. In other words, it feels like home.

I imagine the first week or so of working from home I felt like a klutz as I learned how to do everything remotely, from figuring out the ins and outs of call forwarding to how to email noncopy-and-pastable documents from my office Mac upstairs to my Windows laptop downstairs so I could then scan them in the basement and re-email back to my Mac (a mini-workout consisting of four flights of stairs). It doesn’t sound very efficient, but it was the only way I could get copy and pastable text).

Eventually, I fell into a work-week rhythm and came to appreciate my remote, if solitary, surroundings. Therefore, coming back to the office has required accepting change yet again.

I look at those months that spanned three seasons as a chance to be in the one place I previously never could be all these years while at work — home. My husband and I even got the chance to take a dry run at what our future retirement would feel like. (It felt pretty darn good!) I also learned just how quiet an empty house can get.

But, just as our staff made remote working work, so have we risen to the challenge of returning to the office. I believe we’re better for the experience. We learned what we could do independently, what work-arounds we could create, and how to be both happy at home alone, or at the office working side by side. I see those eight months as a sort of gift, a chance to try something completely unfamiliar and maybe a little intimidating, and grow comfortable with it. And I know that my work can be worthwhile no matter where my office is.

Community editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or

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