We Don’t (Just) Go For The Meatballs
I talked a little bit about this in my Year of Weekends page from yesterday. I’ve been on the lookout for a monitor stand or riser to bring my monitors up a few inches because I found that I would slowly start to hunch over when working at my desk for long periods because they were just slightly below eye level. As a result I started feeling the pain in my “I’m not 20 anymore!!” shoulders and back. I’m seeing a new chiropractor for that, she’s great. It’s not a great long-term solution, though.
In an idyllic world I would buy a large monitor arm with all sorts of robotic-like joints and levers so that I could swing these suckers anywhere I want on my desk. But those kinds of arms cost several hundred dollars and that’s not the sort of operation we’re running. Plus they might feel a little industrial. But mostly, it’s the couple hundred dollars. I just say “Well they’d be a little too industrial” so that I sound as though a large, robotic dual monitor arm was ever a real possibility.
And you can pretty much scratch the idea of finding a solid monitor riser that’s almost four feet wide. Not going to happen. I could have found two monitor risers and set them side by side but I want to maintain a certain level of clean order back here and not start having a mish-mash of stuff on my desk.
Whenever I get an idea in my head I go to one of two places: Amazon.com or IKEA. They make my budget happy. Almost everything in my office came from IKEA, actually.
Like my desk is two of these VIKA ANNEFORS:
I love this setup because my computer slides into one of the legs if I move the shelf all the way to to the top, and then that shelf works perfectly for stowing my WACOM tablet. Stowing the WACOM tablet is a big deal considering we live with Mr. VonChewsALotOfCords (a.k.a. Sisko) so we always need places to “stow” things with cords.
Then I have two of these SMART table lamps on each side of my desk for lighting. I like the uplights because they actually cast light up from behind my monitors so I don’t have any glaring overhead light or shadows cast by lampshades. These are just nice cylinders of light – and they have soft white compact fluorescent bulbs in them, so they never get hot and they’ll last forever.
So that’s my current desk set up, and it works well for me except for the monitor height. We went to our local hardware store to see if we could buy just a narrow piece of white shelving to attach some legs to, but finding something to use as legs was proving problematic. On Sunday we decided to bite the bullet and drive the 90 minutes to our nearest IKEA. And I picked up this EKBY ALEX wall shelf, which just happens to be the perfect height (~4” tall) to raise my monitors up to eye level and it has the added bonus of giving me two drawers on my desk to stow more things.
And this is why I love IKEA, because where else will you find a wall shelf cool enough to use for something like this? Nowhere.
This isn’t a new “IKEA hack” by any means, it’s a well documented solution for computer monitors on the Internet. Most people add legs to the bottom of it and in the store they had it displayed on a desk that way – and we tried that but it wound up being way too high then. Apparently that set-up is for tall people, and I have never been accused of being tall.
Today my chiropractor said she noticed a lot of improvement in my neck, so it must be working.
And as for falling down the stairs at IKEA, the damage from that has already healed, too. (Except for the damage to my pride, obviously.) I wanted to clarify that I didn’t take an epic, movie-quality tumble down the stairs. Had I done that I probably would have wound up with a few broken body parts because the stairs and floors at IKEA are concrete. What happened was I started to fall, but luckily I was right by the railing, so I only fell about 3-4 steps before I managed to grab onto the railing and stop myself. So it wasn’t a totally sensational fall or anything. But it left me with a sore shoulder, wrist and ankle for a few days (and a big bruise on my leg) just from the jarring, jerking motion of stopping yourself mid fall by grabbing onto something stationary and then slamming up against a concrete stair wall. The Russian judge only gave me a 6.0. I feel like I was robbed.
And of course, now I will endure comments about how I need to start wearing sensible shoes. Because 3” heels and concrete IKEA stairs are just a disaster waiting to happen. Point made, Universe! However without the heels all of my pants would be too long so I’d just be trading one safety hazard for another, right? Right!
Also it bears mentioning that I routinely fall down stairs – I’m balance impaired, I’m telling you! The only reason people don’t hear about me falling down stairs more often is because I finally wised up and bought a one-story house. And even that’s not a total fix because I still have some near misses on the stairs going down into our basement from time to time, because apparently carrying ANYTHING severely increases the odds that I’m going to make a total fool of myself on a set of stairs.
In our house in Indiana (two stories), back when Nicholas was a toddler and I was going up and down the stairs dozens of times a day, I would find myself kissing those stairs at least a couple of times a year. I guess we can’t all be good at everything, right? “Staying Upright on Stairs” is a skill I never mastered! I’m pretty okay on level ground, though.
No wait, I take that back.
I’m great at sitting, though. I almost never fall over while sitting.