“Bookstagramming,” the hobby of taking pictures of books and posting them on Instagram, is one of many activities that combat boredom during the pandemic. (Jennifer Bardsley)

“Bookstagramming,” the hobby of taking pictures of books and posting them on Instagram, is one of many activities that combat boredom during the pandemic. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Have you adopted odd enteratinment habits because of COVID-19?

Unloading the dishwasher can be fun — but mostly because fun is hard to come by during a pandemic.

I stumbled into the kitchen at 6:20 a.m., bleary-eyed and hopeful that coffee would wake me up. While I waited for java to brew, I opened the dishwasher to unload it. But the dishwasher was already empty. “Thanks for unloading the dishwasher,” I told my husband.

He stood at the stove, frying eggs. “I didn’t do it.”

“You didn’t? Strange,” I mumbled, figuring I must have emptied myself and forgotten.

But the next morning, the situation repeated itself, and so did the day after that. Cabin fever was getting to me, I decided. I couldn’t remember what I did the night before.

Thankfully, my teenager solved the mystery. “Did you see I unloaded the dishwasher last night after you went to bed?”

“That was you?” I asked.

He nodded. “I emptied the dishwasher the other nights, too. It’s kind of fun. Better than loading the dishwasher, at least.”

Fun is an adjective that’s difficult to come by this fall, as we hunker down in gloomy weather and continue to survive the pandemic. Fun makes teenagers turn into magical helpers in the middle of the night. It also transforms sixth-grade girls into tweens who spend their days memorizing how to say the 50 states in alphabetical order.

“Mom, listen to this,” said my daughter. “Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas…” She continued, rattling off states one by one.

“Wow.” I raised my eyebrows, unsure of what to say. “Just, wow.”

“She learned that from Taylor Swift,” said my son.

“Taylor Swift?” I asked. I knew that the singer had encouraged her fans to vote, but I didn’t know she was giving geography lessons.

“It’s on YouTube,” my son explained.

“Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin,” my daughter said, as she kept going. She ended with a big finish. “Wy-o-ming!”

I clapped, proud of both of them for finding productive things to do. But I was also a bit sad. Sometimes it feels like we are orcas trapped in an aquarium tank, swimming around in circles with nothing but school and work to occupy us. The most interesting thing to do is watch the neighbors build not one, but two sheds.

I’ve picked up weird entertainment habits, too. I’ve gone back to an old hobby, “bookstagramming.” That means taking pictures of books I’ve read and posting them on Instagram. Usually, I stage them with props like greenery from my yard and hot cocoa in one of my great-grandmother’s teacups.

I tell myself that this is smart marketing, building up my social media accounts in preparation for my new book, “Sweet Bliss,” launching next summer from Montlake Romance. But really I’m just bored and looking for something to do.

It’s either that, or unload the dishwasher, and that job’s taken.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

R.J. Whitlow, co-owner of 5 Rights Brewery, has recently expanded to the neighboring shop, formerly Carr's Hardware. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
County craft breweries’ past lives: hardware store, jail

Most breweries in Snohomish County operate in spaces that formerly housed something far different — from boat builders to banks.

Caption: Stay-at-home parents work up to 126 hours a week. Their labor is valuable even without a paycheck.
A mother’s time is not ‘free’ — and they put in 126-hour workweeks

If you were to pay a stay-at-home mom or dad for their time, it would cost nearly $200,000 a year.

CloZee performs during the second day of Summer Meltdown on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019 in Darrington, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The psychedelic fest Summer Meltdown is back — and in Monroe

The music and camping event is on for July 28-31, with a new venue along the Skykomish River.

How to cultivate inner peace in the era of COVID, insurrection

Now more than ever, it’s important that we develop and practice relaxation and mindfulness skills that calm our minds and bodies.

Budapest’s House of Terror.
Cold War memories of decadent Western pleasures in Budapest

It’s clear that the younger generation of Eastern Europeans has no memory of the communist era.

Gardening at spring. Planting tree in garden. Senior man watering planted fruit tree at his backyard
Bare root trees and roses have arrived for spring planting

They’re only available from January through March, so shop early for the tree or rose you want.

Help! My Expedia tour credit is about to expire

Kent York cancels his tour package in Norway that he booked through Expedia after the pandemic outbreak. But the hotel won’t offer a refund or extend his credit. Is he about to lose $1,875?

Veteran Keith F. Reyes, 64, gets his monthly pedicure at Nail Flare on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Stanwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures

Keith Reyes, 64, visits a Stanwood nail salon for “foot treatments” that help soothe blast injuries.

Photo Caption: A coal scuttle wasn't always used for coal; it could hold logs or collect ashes. This one from about 1900 sold for $125 at DuMouchelles in Detroit.
(c) 2022 by Cowles Syndicate Inc.
Coal scuttles of days long gone by now used for fire logs

This circa 1900 coal scuttle is made of oak with brass trim, and sold for $125 at auction.

Most Read