May 26, 2020

The Stay at Home Slide

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Day 60 of Illinois’ Stay at Home Order. Haven’t showered in 4 days even though I went for a run two days ago. I think I’ve been wearing the same socks for two days. Maybe the same underwear too. I can’t remember the last time I put makeup on and I don’t know what day of the week it is.

You might not want to admit it, but I know you’ve been here too. The Stay at Home Slide. Initially you make the best efforts. You get up early, exercise, shower, put on real clothes, make breakfast and you’re sitting at your computer before 9am strikes.

But somewhere along the way, that routine shifts. Maybe you have a few too many glasses of wine before bed one night and snooze your alarm 15 times and then, shit! It’s 9:30 already. So you throw on some sweatpants and stumble over to the couch or the dining table, or wherever it is you call your office these days. And suddenly this new routine takes hold.

If you’re like me, you’ll make excuses. Lately in the spring, Chicago has been getting a lot of rain. We’re talking seven inches in three days kind of rain. And sadly, the city’s infrastructure can’t handle the runoff that all of this rain produces. So to prevent sewage backup into thousands of homes, the treatment plants release untreated wastewater into the river. If it gets bad enough, they’ll open the locks to the lake and let some of that lovely sewagey water drain into Lake Michigan. For me, this is the perfect excuse not to wash dishes or take a shower. Morally, I can’t justify adding more wastewater to a system that’s already inundated.

When this whole pandemic started, I had visions of a beautiful, sparkling clean apartment. Being home all day every day, I was going to have so much more time on my hands. I could actually get some cleaning and organizing done! But somehow, two months in, I’m just as disorganized and dirty as I was 60 days ago. Sure, I cleaned the microwave that one time and I vacuumed under the couch another time. But somehow I quickly end up right back where I started.

It’s easy for cooking to fall into this same pattern of half-assedness. Stick a piece of American cheese between two pieces of toast and call it grilled cheese. Or microwave some random ingredients in a mug and tell yourself it’s chocolate cake. NO! It’s time to shake up the norm and do something a little crazy. Put some real pants on and maybe even a bra if you feel so inclined and bake something like 3-day sourdough cinnamon rolls. Three days for cinnamon rolls? You think I’m nuts! I probably am. But if you time it just right, you’ll have fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast on Sunday morning and you won’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn. Go ahead and have that fourth glass of wine the night before and let the slide continue.

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