The Lovely Louise thinks I'm nuts, and I don't know, maybe she's right. I've worked at home since the 1980s, and in that time I’ve made an occasional attempt at renting an office, but most of the time I'm right here, safely tucked into my house. I have a nice little office in a room over the garage. My desk and Louise's desk are both in there, although she doesn't use hers anymore. She moved her office downstairs into the dining room, which is fine, since we don't really use the dining room. She's also taking over the living room for her painting, which is also fine since I don't think I've really spent any time in the living room in the last seven years. Anyway, in addition to my desk area, I have a couple of four-drawer file cabinets and some bookshelves, which contain hundreds of paperbacks and a television set. I like having the TV on when I'm working because it helps me concentrate; I can't focus if it's quiet. I think that's what sent Louise running downstairs. She likes quiet, or sometimes a little classical music. Not me. ESPN, Dr. Phil, Judge Judy—they're all there in the background. I don't really listen, but they make a nice noise. Often Louise asks me why I'm watching that crap, and my response is that I don't watch it. Usually I don't even notice what's on; it's just white noise to me.
On the other side of the room is my music studio. I have a massive PA system with giant speakers and about half a dozen microphones; five guitar amps; a bass amp; and dozens of instruments. I have a Yamaha Motif keyboard that I don't know how to play, and maybe twenty guitars and basses that I do know how to play. I have a dulcimer, a mandolin, a ukulele, a harpsichord, a banjo, a hammer dulcimer, and a drum set. Some of these I can play pretty well and some not at all, but I have them just in case the urge strikes me to make some god-awful music. With all the electronics, I can make bad music very loudly. I have my iPod hooked up to the PA system so I can play all my albums at a volume that hurts my ears. It’s great to be able to play along with any song I want, and that's how I practice. Who needs a band anymore? With all the “toys” around, I have to be very disciplined if I'm going to get any work done. This is what Louise has trouble with. When she has work to do she just does it. It might be 5:30 in the morning or 10:00 at night. It doesn't matter to her. Sometimes she won't work at all one day and work sixteen hours the next. Me? I can't do that. I sit in the kitchen until exactly 9:00 in the morning. Then I take my coffee and walk about twelve feet to the office. Louise, who may have been working since 6:00 a.m., starts to ask me a business question and I hold my hand up to stop her: I don't start work until 9:00, so hold your question, please. This annoys her, but I don't care. When I sit down at my desk at 9:01, I start work. I work steadily until exactly 12:00, and then I get up, walk downstairs, and make my lunch. After eating my lunch and reading a bit of whatever book I'm reading, I head back upstairs to the office to continue working. I stay at my desk until exactly 5:00, when I quit working and head to the kitchen to start dinner and make the first cocktail of the evening. It's very rare for me to work after 5:00 or before 9:00. I have to be this disciplined, or I'd spend all day playing music, and while that's fun, it don't pay no bills, if you know what I mean. I've been doing this for so long, I don't know how to do it any other way. Besides, any other way would be a change, and I don't do well with change.
Uh, oh. I just looked at the clock, and it says 4:59—which means I have only one minute to finish this, pour my cocktail, and start dinner. Damn, I'm just going to make it.