The Gabber’s semi-regular advice column, Dear Gabby, is here by reader demand. Have a question or a conundrum for Gabby? There’s no problem too small for our resident advisor. Send your questions – they can be anonymous – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve been working from home since the pandemic began. The truth is, I love working from home – I get a lot done, I have cats for coworkers and I can wear my pajama pants all day. The problem is that this is maybe too much of a good thing? If I’m honest, it’s a little bit lonely. Not ready to be around people yet, but what’s the alternative?
One of the biggest challenges to working at home and sheltering in place because of the pandemic is that the lines between work and leisure are blurred. Some of what you’re feeling may be the monotony and boredom inherent to being at home 24/7 – all the days and hours seem to blend together. Let’s shock the system. Let’s freshen up our routines, and a simple way to do it is to… Step away from the pajama pants! Relinquish the loungewear! Save your pajamas for bedtime and sleeping in on Sundays. Get up every morning and get dressed for work. Initiate an after-work virtual Happy Hour with friends or sign up for a free virtual event on Eventbrite (there’s a ton and you can search by your interests). And guess what? Get dressed for that, too! Getting back into the habit of dressing up for things you would normally get dressed for can help you create a bit more enthusiasm and energy for the things in your life – both virtual and actual. And get this! Since you’ve actually got pants on, you can go for a walk in the park or even your own neighborhood, which is a great way to be around people but not around people, as there just may be a few others trying out that whole wearing clothes thing, too!
My boyfriend and I are finally taking the plunge and completely remodeling our master bathroom! It’s scary and exciting – we’ve saved for a few years now – but as we brainstorm, it’s clear that we don’t have the same idea. He wants a cold mid-century bathroom with a shower, and I love warm, country style things and a big bathtub. There have already been a few… disagreements. How can we compromise?
Clash of the Toilets! Showdown at the Double Vanity! Midnight in the Garden of Tub and Tile! This is fun! Though it sounds like remodeling the bathroom with your boo hasn’t quite been the HGTV Love Birds edition you hoped it would be. Mid-century versus country-style is quite the contrast, but there has to be a way to find a middle ground. Perhaps you can try finding a contemporary style that has elements of both – a hybrid style that ain’t even got a name yet! Looking at each bathroom element separately, then together, can be a great exercise for your relationship, too. What individual styles and preferences do each of you bring into your relationship overall? In what other ways have you made sure that your individual selves are reflected in your coupledom? Keep that same energy for the bathroom. Seek out examples of how that sleek, spare mid-century look can contrast AND complement the soft, welcoming country vibe. Get on Pinterest. Check out designers who experiment with iconic styles. You might find that what felt like an either/or is actually a both/and that makes y’all new bathroom unique and trend-setting!
I love to cook. At one point, I thought I might even be a chef, so the pandemic has actually had a silver lining in that I now cook every day. I cook for my family (me, my wife, and two kids who like to eat). I also cook and deliver meals to friends and neighbors. It’s fun for me and I’m happy to do it, but I have completely run out of ideas. I can’t figure out if I’m burned out on cooking, or I just need new recipes. Help!
How do I get signed up for a plate? I’m laughing, but I’m also very serious! The COVID-19 Cook-Off that took us all by storm once we committed to stay safer at home has gone on a little longer than any of us anticipated. I do most of the cooking at my house, and I would guess that what’s happening is a little bit of both. Consider taking a break by encouraging someone else in your family or one of your friends to try making one of their favorite meals to share. Or, switch up the process by inviting your wife or the kids to be your sous chef, making it a family activity that takes some of the pressure off of you. There are also ways to energize your menu by exploring different cuisines. Make each week a different country or culture, and try your hand at new flavors while also learning new things about that country or culture. Essentially, make the cooking less rote and make it more of an adventure. You might find new favorites or commit a few foodie flops, but it’ll be fun, interesting and give you fond memories and stories to share.
A Milwaukee native, Sheree L. Greer is a local text-based artist, educator and taco lover. In 2014, she founded Kitchen Table Literary Arts to showcase and support the work of Black women and women of color writers and is the author of two novels, “Let the Lover Be” and “A Return to Arms.”