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Editorial: Why buy it when you can make it at cost?

Since March 2020, like many of you, my family has faced and adapted to many obstacles the COVID-19 pandemic produced. Some of the biggest hurdles came with the realization that the entire family is working and learning from home.

My husband Chad just finished a month-long refueling outage and was transitioning back from working 12-hour nightshifts to his normal 10-hour a day in-office position when we learned he would be working remotely from home through the duration of the pandemic. 

The first few weeks were, as I like to put it, “a rolling ball of craziness.” Chad would often make an exit to the garage or take over our oldest son’s bedroom during work calls to escape the shrills from our rambunctious toddler, while I would assist our oldest with remote learning, try my hand at taming the toddler and try to find a time and place to conduct my work.

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It was a constant tag-team match. Once Chad concluded his calls or timely work, he would tag me out to try to accomplish the same. 

We came to realization that this routine would more than likely continue throughout the remainder of the year and we needed to put our heads together and come up with a longterm solution. 

Our home contained one office area that he and I built one year prior to the pandemic for my occasional work-from-home days. The scenario seemed to always be the early bird gets the worm — the first to wake would claim that area for the day, leaving the other to find a makeshift area. This normally meant the use of folding dinner trays and/or sitting criss-cross applesauce in a bedroom with headphones on. 


My grandmother came to mind when it was announced we needed another workspace area. “Get out the graph paper,” she’d say in moments like this. Granny would strategically measure and assess to come up with a plan, sketched out to a “T.”

I would like to say that I followed her mindset of putting every detail on paper, but I am my father’s daughter. So, I quickly took measurements, did a rough sketch in my head and worked through each hiccup as it arose. I spotted an area that could work as my office and that’s when things got rolling.

Now, my husband is very supportive of every task that I take on and is even willing to search and find whatever item I need; however, I find it very overwhelming to search through thousands of products, only to pay for one that might get the job done. 

Why buy it when you can make it at cost?

Like my father, I love to create things. Add it to my wish of becoming a jack of all trades, but l am always under the mindset that it is cheaper and more rewarding to build things yourself. Now, does it always come out cheaper? No, sometimes it can cost a little more, but everything is customized to suit your needs.

I will admit that tools and crafting materials are my weakness. I never worry about having to hide new clothes, shoes or purses from Chad, but I have been known to hide a stash of yarn (or two) under our bed in hopes he wouldn’t notice until the, “I’ve had that for awhile now,” excuse could be told in truth. 

It comes with the promise of two parents to always support and promote the success of their child, especially during stressful and uncertain times.

I did not choose to write this to only showcase my office space or even the one Chad and I built together long ago, but to focus on our latest project that wielded the most excitement and meaningful experience to date. 

Jessica’s work area.

Our oldest son began his 5th grade year learning remotely from home and we had decided to continue remote learning from home.

I do not wish to engage in political debate surrounding this issue, but only to share that the choice was made because our family is in a position that could support that decision. 

In doing so, we faced the same obstacle as before. You see, our son did have a desk, Chromebook and the tools to make this remote learning a success. But that $20 Wal-Mart special desk did not offer the same excitement that a new classroom would. 

So, the ideas started flowing of how we could create a desk that could house all items and offer ease of access to each of them, while also creating an exciting learning area for our son to flourish academically.

Just like I reference my father, I get my strive to complete a task as quickly as possible from my mother. So, yesterday was the day to begin and complete this project. 

The process included many cuts with a handsaw, lots of sanding and drilling and lastly, driving finishing nails to complete assembly.

Shade from our tree offered little relief from the sizzling sun. At the end of night, Chad let me know that my smell reminded him of his high school two-a-days. I couldn’t disagree with him. It was very hot.

We chose a simple dark stain for the desk for now, but our son will decide on the final colors.

As I type this, I wince from sharp pains shooting through my arms, but all the pain, all the sweat was worth seeing the smile on our son’s face when we unveiled his new desk.

This desk was more than just a workspace. It comes with the promise of two parents to always support and promote the success of their child, especially during stressful and uncertain times. 

Jessica Hartmanhttps://www.thecountygin.com
Jessica Hartman is the publisher of The County Gin and a realistic dreamer with creative expression. She can be reached at jessica@thecountygin.com or (979) 533-0122, but careful — she's a talker.

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