I have moved out of the weepy part of the pandemic into the ennui part, it would seem. I’m super busy – lots of work, lots of cleaning, lots of cooking. But the sheer repetitiveness of it all is really starting to wear me down. I had a few days this week where I just didn’t want to get out of bed to face the same dishes/coffee/work/dinner cycle, in the same place, with the same faces, on the same schedule, for one more bloody day.

However did Caroline Ingalls manage it?

I do have a few things that are keeping me sane. One is that we totally kondo-ed our office, which is a small 10 x 10 foot room that Sir Monkeypants and I now share and spend 80% of our waking time in. For years it has been like an episode of Hoarders – piles of paper all over the place, and boxes full of mysterious jumbles of items, that you had to snake your way through to get to your little cave-like desk area. It was too overwhelming to even think about dealing with.

But then last weekend Sir Monkeypants casually said, “I’d like us to tidy up the office a little, so I don’t go totally insane in the many upcoming weeks I may still have to work there” (not in those exact words). He is the “ideas guy” in our relationship and I am the “manic list-making work-until-drop make-it-happen guy” and so the next thing I knew, I was in the office cleaning out Just One Drawer.

Four days later we had 10 bags of shredded paper, plus three giant boxes of other recycling, plus four bags of garbage and another box of donate items. Which is now a bit of a problem, as we are supposed to be limiting our garbage and recycling as much as possible to decrease the load on our garbage people, and anywhere we could donate stuff is closed, so it might take several months to actually empty the garage, but WORTH IT.

Now I can spin and spin and spin in the office, with my arms out like a little girl in a golden field of flowers, and it is delight. I am already giving the side-eye to the tupperware drawer and the kids’ sock drawers and the sewing scraps bag. YOU’RE NEXT.

Cleaning that stuff out gave me a surprising amount of joy – I think it was just the focus of having a concrete project to do, plus the fact that was something DIFFERENT. I actually LOOKED FORWARD to setting aside work around 3 p.m. each day this week so I could clean stuff out.

This is where we are now. Ennui, am I right?

In other news, despite this being week 8 of lockdown, it has become apparent that my children will never, ever learn to load the dishwasher. It’s not that they don’t try, it’s that they just cannot seem to understand that full-size dinner plates cannot go in the tiny prong areas meant for saucers, or that putting several bowls in the same slot means they will not get clean, or that every single utensil they use does not have to go just the front-most square of the utensil area.

But on the plus side, I was doing some laundry today, and I was up early so I’d sorted it and left it in bins by the machines before the kids got up. I figured I would have to do an extra load later in the day of their jammies, after I forced them to get dressed around 4 p.m., but to my shock, they all three got up, saw the bins, changed immediately, and added their PJs to the bins.


I guess these little wins are going to have to serve as drama around here, and perhaps if I make a bigger deal out of it, it’ll snap me out of the constant drab mood and blah frame of mind. Perhaps I will use some of our precious, precious flour to make some celebratory Laundry Brownies, and we will eat them on the office floor where we can admire the amazing amount of space, and feel something like the spark of being alive again.

5 thoughts on “Ennui

  1. Jacquelyn

    Hi Lynn, I’m glad to hear you are feeling rejuvenated; I’m feeling quite bored of it all. One bright spot in our new pandemic lives is that my teens have decided to build their cooking skills and THEY MAKE DINNER 4 NIGHTS A WEEK! Life-changing for me, the family cook for more than 20 years. Sometimes they work together, sometimes I need to supervise/teach them how to do something. We’re not eating fancy things, but they are getting to be really good cooks. Dishwasher loading, not so much….

    Thanks so much for all the posts you’ve done during this weird time, I’ve enjoyed them all.

  2. Same feeling of “ennui” around here! I’m getting *really* tired to “explore” Baseline and Merivale because I have nowhere else to go. I’m not a huge fan of routine in the first place so yeah, this is kind of my nightmare. I mean, there’s only so much creativity you can come up with with current measures in place.

    I had a real panic attack last week because I felt trapped.

  3. So glad the clear air of the office is helping you feel just a bit better! I’ve long been a believer that cleaning out the closet brings about a cleaning out of the mind and soul!
    Meanwhile, spin, spin, my friend! Shake loose the ennui!

  4. bibliomama2

    Yes on the ennui. Yes on the ridiculous boost I get out of tackling a job that I’ve been putting off forever, especially if it results in a cleaner, open space. When we got rid of the loft bed in Angus’s bedroom we would all go in there and spin around like it was a dance floor. I have been seriously low energy lately, and it’s everything I can do to get myself out for a walk every couple of days and keep everyone fed and achieve a basic level of cleanliness and do a minimum of work. I really should try to do something extra at least once a week. My husband has been a veritable whirlwind of activity every week-end because he loafed for one week-end and felt crappy, and he doesn’t have any baseball obligations, so the backyard looks amazing and I feel extra lame. Half win.

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