Some people keep things minimal (a shed) while other folks go all in (tricked out ADUs with electrical, heating/cooling and water/bathrooms). (Photo: Shutterstock).

 

By Mary Lynn Bruny

The good side about the pandemic is we got to spend a lot of time with our family. The bad side about the pandemic is we got to spend a lot of time with our family. How can we miss them if they never go away? Worse, how can we stand them if they never stop talking?

This is the case for many couples. The pandemic may be over (more or less?), but now many partners are both permanently working from home. Often one person is constantly yammering on phone calls or tele-meetings while the other partner – and perhaps other family members – are quietly trying to work or simply exist. The acoustics, layout or size of some homes do not allow for sounds to be muffled. Thus the quiet partner/family is subjected to constantly hearing blabbing about thrilling topics like maximizing the historic TLZ438 line in the mid-Atlantic region while transferring over to the new TLX892 line in Q4 of 2022. Fascinating stuff to be sure, but enough is enough.

How can a couple get by without one of them wanting to stuff a sock into their beloved’s yacking mouth? My husband recently told me how the wife of one of his associates named Tony has handled this: She stuck Tony in their backyard shed.

This made me laugh until I cried. I envisioned this poor schmuck heading to the backyard shed at the crack of dawn with his laptop, phone and cup of joe. The sprinkler system comes while he’s en route, drenching him and the family dog that’s traipsing behind. Both squish into the small, dank structure (crammed with dirty gardening tools and old pots) for the day’s tasks, a white plastic folding Costco table and chair brought in for the affair.

But then I thought about the cheerful butter yellow shed I had for gardening supplies at a property we lived at when our kids were small. I did not like it just because it was a cheerful butter yellow color. No, I liked it because it allowed me to get out of the house and away from my amazingly wonderful family that was driving me bonkers. I often found I needed at least an hour of blessed quietness to rearrange my tools. Sheds do have their charms, it appears.

Anyway, Tony and his wife are not alone. Many folks who are now permanently working from home are adding sheds or prefabricated ADUs (accessory dwelling units) on their properties to serve as offices. It makes sense. They require less effort to install compared to building a structure from scratch. Some people keep things minimal (a shed) while other folks go all in (tricked out ADUs with electrical, heating/cooling and water/bathrooms). As long as HOA and local building codes are met, people can do whatever works best for them and their budgets.

But back to Tony: When my husband was on a tele-meeting with him and other work associates, he noticed a bucket in the corner of Tony’s shed. “Is that your bathroom?” he asked jokingly. After some chortling from the gang, Tony said, “No, I’m allowed in the house for bathroom breaks and food.” That seems like a good sign.

But if you are working in a shed and your partner brings out a sack of food and a sleeping bag, you may have a problem. If they let the dog back in the house but lock you out, you may want to rethink some of your life choices. The good news is you’ll have plenty of alone time to do so in your cozy shed.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn writes about local real estate and home-related topics for At Home Colorado. Email her at [email protected] To read previous The Lighter Side articles, go to athomecolorado.com/
the-lighter-side.