Thursday, May 03, 2007


I have packrat tendencies, always have had. I used to really like my little treasures; less so these days as I am seeking simplicity in all areas of my life. It occurred to me this afternoon that work might be a little better if my office was a little more attractive. Just a little.

The photo above is the wall to the right of my desk. My warehouse is in a complex of buildings right off Route 66 in midtown Tulsa. It doesn't look like a warehouse and it stretches nearly a block in length, though it's kind of skinny.

It is ugly, though. We wholesale antiques to a number of dealers across the country, sell some things online and to local designers. I make it very clear that we are a wholesale warehouse so I don't have to (a) dress up to go to work or (b) tidy up that which will only get messed up again once a new truckload comes in. The photo below is my phone book, a compilation of former employees, suppliers, delivery people, one accountant, two accountants, a friend now in prison (Mick ~ VIP), friends free to roam, plus the phone number of the lady living next to my building, the one whose Beagles yodel in my back window and frequently make clever escapes.

I had a pickup at the shop yesterday, a rare sale to a "homeowner" who lived nearby. Homeowner is the (jaded) dealer's term for those ninnies who flat out will not quit bidding on something at auction (usually something I crave for myself) and who drive the prices to dizzying heights and thus bring great cheer to auctioneers. This homeowner was trying to load a set of six chairs (beautiful bird's eye Queen Anne with carved knees) into her tiny little car. It was about to rain, so I threw them in the back of my pickup and we headed to her house.

I helped her carry them in because I'm nice like that, and the moment I walked in the door I knew she had a problem. Boxes stacked to the ceiling in several of the rooms. Eau de cat from overflowing litter boxes. Papers everywhere, piles of fabric, clothing, and more boxes, boxes, boxes.

I am pretty sure she's a hoarder. I am pretty sure that these chairs will go the route of the other three sets of six that were strewn about the living and dining rooms.

This is not new. I've had a couple of major buyers over the years who had serious problems. In one instance, a woman died in her Chicago apartment surrounded by so many unpacked boxes she could not move from one room to the next except on little 18" wide paths. Her estranged husband contacted me after her death to see if I'd take back the thirty eight (38!!!) large pieces of furniture I'd sent her in a six month period. I had started by sending her small treasures via FedEx and ended up sending her huge pallets of furniture which, she assured me, would be precisely what was needed to redecorate her new home.

This last photo is a typical shot of my computer: not open to email, in the midst of reading the latest Truthdig or similar. Anyway, I look around my office and I think I could spiff it up a little, maybe frame my anti-Bush propaganda and the newspaper clipping of the doc who saved my little husband's life. I could take all of those little bits of paper down from the walls, paint them. But is it worth it? I'm just not sure it's worth the effort. It's not a self esteem thing, I would be worth it, but I don't really care. I only feel like I should care when strangers come to call. When I want a change of scenery, I can just walk out the door and go home. Pretty home, no ugly issues there. What would you do with this nasty ass office? Anything? In a way it seems to fit the rough and tumble warehouse atmosphere. Maybe I need some Playboy pinups to really give it that authentic aura. Do you work in a pretty place? Would this drive you mad?


Blogger lisalgreer said...

HA! I love it... my desk is sooo messy. Well, not as messy as it was, but still messy. At least my kitchen has improved ;).

May 04, 2007 12:40 AM  
Anonymous Tater said...

should be on my way to the gym, but am procrastinating. I am so happy you decided to share a little about your professional life, I feel like I've just gotten to know you a little bit more. There is a story on those walls, on the little scraps of paper, notes, and images. I like the photo of Bush next to Hitler BTW. I just cleaned out the studio warehouse, better known as the garage, but a warehouse nonetheless. It was entirely liberating. It took a 20' dumpster and took out one of my shoulders, but it was worth it. I even scrubbed and washed the floor, and moved and restacked all the firewood (yuck).

I wouldn't change much if I were you. Your space just seems to fit who you are. There is idealism on those walls, anger, hope, gratitude, and of course, brass tacks business Belle. I am trying to remember where I used to live in Tulsa when I was a little boy. I can never remember previous addresses. I tried to Google Earth my old grade school and home, but couldn't find them. I was born at St Johns Medical Center, went to John Marshall Grade School, and lived near that Castle looking place (hotel or restaurant?) off of Peoria Street. If any of that rings any bells, let me know, and I will retry my google search. I don't know wether that would be near midtown or not anymore, it must be 30 years since I have been to Tulsa, even though I still have family there.

Thanks for the peek at "business Belle" I will try and post some pics of the studio, and my messy office as well, it's kind of fun to see where my people browse the "internets" from.

May 04, 2007 5:07 AM  
Blogger Lori said...

I vote for leaving it the way it is; it reflects you as a person and I love the phone numbers on the wall. If you felt that there was an organizational issue that bothers you, then fix that one thing.

Knowing me, I'd probably have the same kind of office with periodic lapses of organizational bursts which would last about 2 hours and revert back to its original state.

You've reminded me of a book I once read eons ago by Larry McMurty, "Cadillac Jack." It's about a picker. If you haven't read it, you might enjoy it.

May 04, 2007 7:49 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

Tater, the castle looking place was a hotel called the Camelot. It was a huge deal when I was a child. I grew up in Ponca City (Conoco kid) and we made a little trip just to see the incredibly elegant and gorgeous castle on the river.

Looking back, it wasn't elegant or gorgeous at all but it did have moats and a drawbridge and it was unique and new.

Funny how tastes change. I didn't know back then that Tulsa has some of the finest art deco architecture in the country. I only knew the Camelot, the Oral Roberts prayer tower and the Golden Driller.

Sounds like you lived in the southern part of Brookside. John Marshall is now surrounded by housing projects and high density apartment complexes. That's resulted in having a wildly transient population of kids and a lot of difficulty for the school. There are still nice residential areas over there. Marshall sits on 56th & Peoria, and just north of 56th, west of Peoria (toward the Arkansas River and the River Parks) are some lovely homes which are older and surrounded by lots of green due to the great soil and high water table.

Did you go to River Parks back then? Your school and the Camelot both sit between Peoria and Riverside Drive, which runs along the park between downtown and Jenks (now).

There's a lot of new development on the southern part of the river and much discussion about what to do with it nearer to town. The warehouse district downtown is being converted to businesses and lofts ~ a nice thing, in my view.

Two gentlemen from San Francisco (ahem) arrived to buy up a dozen or more buildings downtown, with an eye toward turning them to living spaces. This made me quite happy, as I trust the Gentlemen from San Francisco in all things taste-related and I am certain they, too, used waxed paper ;-)

These two gents-of-taste believe Tulsa is an "unclaimed treasure," a phrase which reminds me of a fat bottomed man I worked with in juvenile parole, who used to mack on me all of the time and would smile with this lascivious, goofy look on his face while whispering I was an "unclaimed treasure." Yeeeech. I think he assumed since I was unmarried that I was pure. Heh. Heh heh.

Well on that note, I'll end the tour of Tulsa. I'll try to scare up some photos over the weekend that may bring back memories for you.

May 04, 2007 10:30 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

all of that to say that where you used to live is called midtown by south tulsa snobs, but it's actually south tulsa :-)

i live in midtown, north of the fairgrounds, between harvard and yale, an area of cottages built in the late '30s and early '40s. not quite florence park, but charming nonetheless.

May 04, 2007 10:31 AM  
Blogger Beula said...

I have hated all my offices because I mostly hated all my jobs. I also hated having an office. I wanted the buck to stop somewhere else. Much deep dark psycho stuff here I have not looked at yet. And I am not going to start today.

I found when I tried to pretty up my office it was because I was trying to make some part of the job at least bearable. If your office is efficient that may be enough. Soooo un-Martha of me.

Stuff. I feel like I am being crushed by the sheer volume of ugly inefficient(?sp) stuff we own. My mission this summer is to get shed of some of it.

May 04, 2007 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

Yes, we went to River Parks! It was a blast. I called my mom and found our old house. We lived at 135 E 57th Place, Tulsa OK. I remember going to the river as well, and the Native American Art Museum (Gilcrest, Field crest, something like that). My dad and I used to go fishing all the time at Greenleaf State Park (in fact there are pictures of my dad and I hanging there somewhere, my dad won lots of their fishing tournaments) driving by Oral (sp?) Roberts University, and fondly, John Marshall with its magnificent pecan trees that I ate from often. You have flooded me with memories. I am going to have to road trip it back some day and check it out. My Aunt still lives near Jenks but in a ritzy area of Tulsa. I think my cousins all went to Jenks high school. Thank you for being so informative, it helped spark my synapses!

May 04, 2007 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Tater said...

My favorite candy store (the only one nearby I'm sure) was the "U-Tote-Um" on Peoria. We would ride bikes there on "the dirt road" (which is eventually where those apartments were built I'm sure) and load up on 1 cent bubble gum, baseball cards, bottle caps, pixie sticks, rootbeer barrels, etc. They also used to give us STP stickers, which we thought were cool to put on our bikes. Sad to hear that the old neighborhood is in sad shape.

May 04, 2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Just be glad your office doesn't smell of "eau de cat" (LOL), it could be a lot worse!

May 04, 2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger David said...

I need my office space to be neat and organized (big surprise, right?). But for you, I say do what makes you comfortable. If it doesn't impact productivity, morale or the bottom line, then why worry?

May 04, 2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

so funny . . . as i wrote that this morning, i thought "david is going to choke on his oatmeal" :-)

May 04, 2007 3:06 PM  
Anonymous rini said...

Not so ugly: you keep your scissors in a vase.

May 04, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Well my cell - and that is what it is - is a mess. Organizing paper has never been a talent. But the views from my windows and those around me are pretty damn nice. I was afraid with the new job that they would move me to an inside cell but...

I posted a few pics of the views during the cold of February:

Back to the office on Monday and I will get some shots of the incredible greener that fortunately fills our Capital this time of year. Sadly I won't be here for the autumn display - another thing I'm going to miss. And I'm moving to Rome why???

And Lady, being unmarried of course you were a virgin - all unmarried women are. My sainted mother told me so and she wouldn'T lie.

May 04, 2007 4:35 PM  
Anonymous lynette1 said...

Willym, please make a post about the Rome thing? When, why, what prompted it, etc.

May 04, 2007 11:49 PM  

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