After the house became too noisy during pandemic mayhem, this working mom moved her office to the driveway. (Jennifer Bardsley)

After the house became too noisy during pandemic mayhem, this working mom moved her office to the driveway. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Her pop-up home office makes pandemic life easier — and quieter

After the house became too noisy, this working mom found silence in the tent trailer on the driveway.

I have exciting news to share: I signed a two-book deal with Montlake Romance and the first book comes out next summer.

“Sweet Bliss” is a small-town romance with themes of what it means to be a caregiver — to an orphaned infant and to a small seaside town — and how love brings out our best self. It will be published under my real name, Jennifer Bardsley, as opposed to my pen name, Louise Cypress.

Hearing the good news was thrilling. But once the champagne wore off, I remembered that I was stuck in the middle of 2020 and that my current situation was much closer to a dystopian novel than a sweet romance.

The kids were home, my husband was home, the poodle had separation anxiety if we walked outside as far as the mailbox — life had become weird. I didn’t even have a writing desk anymore because I’d given it to my husband to use for his work-at-home space.

But the great thing about being an author is that I can work anywhere (theoretically). So I set myself up on the kitchen table, opened my laptop and began work on my next book. I got two sentences in before dirty breakfast dishes that someone abandoned bugged me so much that I stopped what I was doing to load them into the dishwasher.

While I was at the kitchen sink, I wiped up the crumbs my son had left from baking bread the night before. Then I cleaned out the water bottle my daughter had dumped into the sink. By that point, Roomba had turned on and scraped across the wood floor. I turned off Roomba, vowed to ignore the rest of the kitchen mess and got back to work.

Starting a new book is hard. That first chapter has to be perfect. The amount of mental energy it takes to invent characters and imagine how their lives intersect is so draining that it often leaves me numb to everything else. But once I “get in the zone,” I’m unstoppable. The ideas flow and I crank out 3,000 words a day on repeat until I finish a 75,000-80,000 word book.

Unless, of course, someone interrupts me.

“Mom, where’s my phone?”

“Jenny, Can you add graham crackers on the shopping list?”

“Where are the chocolate chips?”

“I need toilet paper!”

Working from home is a joy on many levels, except when it’s not. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was four chapters into my book when I figured out a solution to my predicament. I asked my husband to set up our tent trailer in the driveway.

At first, our neighbors were confused. Some of them didn’t know I was a writer, and I think they might have thought that I was moving out of the house. But no, it was just me and my computer in my new office.

Hear that silence? It’s sweet bliss.

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

Talk to us

More in Life

Washington’s most beloved state park turns 100

Deception Pass State Park, which draws as many visitors as the best-known national parks in the U.S., celebrates a century of recreation and conservation

Hydrangea and rose
July checklist for Snohomish County gardeners

After a slow start to summer, things should take off this month. So keep planting and nurturing.

Caption: The 12 week Edmonds Community Police Academy was a free opportunity for private citizens to learn about law enforcement.
An inside look at how law enforcement works

A pregnant mother. A man who rescues abused horses and donkeys. A… Continue reading

Kid 'n Play members Christopher "Kid" Reid, left, and Christopher "Play" Martin perform on NBC's "Today" show during the "I Love The 90's" morning concert at Rockefeller Plaza on Friday, April 29, 2016, in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

Relive the music of the 1990s with Kid N Play and other stars of the era at the Tulalip Casino Amphitheater.

So-called relaxing summer vacations can wear you out

To truly enjoy a family getaway, tone down your expectations. Everything won’t be picture-perfect.

Gimmelwald, built in an avalanche zone, yet specializing in alpine tranquility.
Roaming the Alps brings cultural insights along with the views

The Swiss have great respect for Alpine traditions and culture — and contempt for tourists who disrespect both.

Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?

After Stanley Wales cancels his diving trip to Bonaire, he files a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking them so long to respond?

Contestant chef Brian Madayag (left) of Edmonds and West Coast team captain Brooke Williamson on “Beachside Brawl.” (Food Network) 20220616
Edmonds chef reps Pacific Northwest on new Food Network show

Barkada owner Brian Madayaga will compete on a new Food Network series that premiers Sunday.

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’ (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Kosteri’

This Hinoki cypress is graceful and beautiful, and is very drought-tolerant once established.

Photo Caption: Butter prints like this one pressed a design into freshly made butter as a decoration or for marketing. Today, collectors search for antique butter prints and consider them folk art.
19th century farm families’ butter prints are coveted folk art

One example with a flower-and-heart design recently sold at auction for more than $5,000.

After two years of wellness, Covid finally hit this family, but thanks to vaccinations, the symptoms were mild. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Jennifer Bardsley’s fighting COVID-19 with vaccines and TLC

But even with vaccinations, the disease is scary for people like her with less than robust immune systems.

Turkey vultures’ pervious nostrils are among the features that help them feed on carrion. (The Columbian files)
In praise of turkey vultures, nature’s cleaning service

These raptors should be revered, not reviled, for their disposal of stinky, disease-laden animal matter.