Sunday, August 07, 2011

On Your Feet!

Don't take it sitting down!

Inspired by Anna's post on IKEA Hackers, I decided to make myself a reasonably economical standing desk. Not, perhaps, as economical as Anna's, but still a heck of a lot more affordable than most of the options out there. The Anna in the IKEA hacker post is not to be confused with my own ten-year-old Anna, who is, don't get me wrong, brilliant and creative, but has not yet to my knowledge invented an item of furniture of any kind. Give her time, for crissakes, she's only ten. Sheesh.

I used my existing desk as a base, though I'll probably replace it with another Vika Amon 23.5" x 45" tabletop ($19.99) and four of IKEA's $3.50 table legs. It'll look a little more uniform, and anyway, my old desk is a cracked and peeling piece of crap.

So the thinking here is that I spend most of my waking time sitting at the computer, which is a polite way of saying that I spend most of my waking time sitting on my ass. I've read a few articles about what a bad idea this is, and it only makes sense, doesn't it? Standing at the new desk, I tend not to stand still; I shift my weight from foot to foot, idly lift a knee to stretch one leg behind me, march in place, dance around a little bit, in a fidgety way. It's about four hours a day - quite a bit more on weekends (this is my home workstation) which was spent in almost total inactivity, now spent in light activity.

So here's what I used to make my desk:

1 - cheap ass cracking peeling piece of crap old desk - $0.00, tax included
1 - Vika Amon 23.5" x 45" tabletop in black finish - $19.99 plus tax
1 - 4-pack 8" Capita legs - $14.00 plus tax
1 - Ekby Jarpen shelf - $9.99 plus tax
2 - Ekby Tore brackets - $5.00 each, $10.00 plus tax

Note that the shelf and brackets do not include screws, which is kind of weird for IKEA, who usually provide not only the hardware required, but many of the actual tools needed for assembly. Fortunately, I have a pathological inability ever to throw away anything that looks as if it might possibly be useful in the future, with the result that I was quickly able to get my hands on the screws needed to assemble my shelf without ever leaving my house (again - IKEA is in Round Rock, or possibly Houston). There's a lesson in that somewhere, but it probably isn't a very good one.

So that's $54 to convert my desk from sitting to standing. Once I add another Vika Amon tabletop and the Curry legs, the total will ratchet up to a whopping $88. Not really too shabby!

I did also spring an additional $30 for a barstool at Wal-Mart (I'm sorry, I realize that I've just contaminated this post beyond all hope of usefulness to anyone) so that Anna (my ten-year-old, not Anna from IKEA Hackers) could still use the computer. She's short, I'm sorry to say, but she's doing her best to amend that fault as fast as she can, eating all her vegetables, etc.

And speaking of height differential, here are a few notes on the finished size of the standing desk. The keyboard/mousing surface is 38" high, which works perfectly for me at 5'5" tall. If you need a lower desk, the Capita legs are also available in 4" and 6" heights, for a slightly lower price. If you need a taller desk, you can buy bed risers/bed lifts, which can add another 4-8" to the length of the legs, for around ten bucks.

A couple of additional notes:

1. I live about one mile from the Congress Avenue bridge, and I have never witnessed the famous bat emergence, which takes place every evening at some unspecified time determined only by the caprice of a million winged rodents. Or not. Maybe they're not hungry. However, in two trips to IKEA last week, one to scope out available materials and one actually to make the purchase, I TWICE saw a colony of bats emerge from underneath I-35 in long, smoky coils. Beautiful! A coworker of mine, who lives in Round Rock, said, "Oh yeah, we call those the 'white-trash' bats. They don't even go south for the winter." And apparently, they are not too proud to show themselves to passing motorists, while hordes of spectators along the Congress Avenue bridge, or even on bat-watching riverboat cruises, every single evening from March through October, may well go home disappointed. Fucking hipster bats.

2. My feet are KILLING me, especially the heels. From what I read online, this is perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. Once my feet and I come to an understanding about who is responsible for standing and who is responsible for being stood upon, I plan to convert my desk at work as well. This would necessarily mean no more wearing high heels to the office (sigh).

I have a couple of different options for this:

a. Go to the doctor's office. Get a note that says I need a standing desk. Wait around in the waiting room (on my ass, incidentally) for an indefinite amount of time, and fork over a $20 copay. Work pays for whatever the actual desk costs, probably a lot.

b. Go to IKEA. Buy the super-cheap white VIKA Amon tabletop, 4 Capita legs, and an Ekby shelf and brackets. Total cost: about $40.

For the time being, I'm about ready to offer sexual favors in exchange for a good foot rub. Or I could get a pedicure at River Salon and Spa for $20, which is probably a better deal, because it includes getting my toenails done.

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At August 07, 2011 7:12 PM, Blogger Sara the Brown said...

The bats come out right after sunset (which changes slightly every night). If you call any of the riverboat operators, they can tell you about when to expect them. The tours are fun, too, giving a bit of Austin history before the bats come out and a better vantage point to see them. IMNSHO. :)

At September 06, 2011 11:58 PM, Blogger giraffeintexas said...

who does everyone i know hate hipsters? and now they hate hipster bats, too?

At October 20, 2011 11:13 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Thanks for sharing this on Ikea Hacker. Built this for my wife and she loves it.


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