I have been working from home for a week now, only leaving the house to take walks after dinner (I'm averaging 4.5 miles per day!) and I'd be lying if I said it wasn't starting to get to me a little bit.
My wife and I don't have kids so we are left with a lot of downtime after the work day is done (thankfully we have not been too vastly affected despite working for a non-essential business). I've already read two books, we're plowing through HBO's "The Wire", and I've found two YouTube channels that I now love and will turn to in the future, but I'm quickly growing tired of screen time and can only walk so much after dinner.
While our human situation is not to be taken lightly and we are indebted to medical and logistics professionals who keep us safe and alive, staying at home can quickly be a drain on your daily routine. With no live sports, I've been crossing things off of my streaming list left and right and our apartment is cleaner than ever, but I can only wipe down the kitchen counter for fun so many times.
One of the things I'm doing to pass the time is teaching myself introductory woodworking techniques. Going to Home Depot or a hardware store is a no-no right now, unless something horrible happens like a pipe bursts or a window breaks, but now is the time for designing so you can hit the ground running come summer time. I don't know anything about woodworking, but the aforementioned YouTube channels have helped me learn the basics and I'm in the midst of designing an above-ground garden box with an attached trellis so when we're allowed to go out and about again, my first stop will be the lumber section at Home Depot.
Another great DIY project for beginners is a set of cornhole boards (if you call the game "Bags", kindly close the tab and rethink your decisions)! They don't require a lot of skill, it's a good project for a team (AKA distract your kids for a bit), and it will pay off in the future in that you have a new lawn game to play for the better part of the year.
What exactly do you need for a DIY set of cornhole boards?
- 2 pieces of 24" x 48" x 1/2" plywood for the landing surface
- 4 pieces of 48" 2x4 boards for the sides of the frame
- 4 pieces of ~21" 2x4 boards for the top and bottom of the frame
- 4 pieces of 11 1/2" long 2x4 boards for the legs (the 1/2" plywood will make the height exactly a foot high)
- 4 1/2" x 4" carriage bolts with washers and wingnuts to attach the legs to the frame
- 3" deck screws
- 1-5/8" deck screws
- wood putty to fill in the holes from the screws upon completion
How do you assemble it? (These are quick and dirty instructions)
- Using deck screws, attach the plywood surface to the 2x4 frames
- Build the legs. Cut a 2x4 to 11-1/2" tall and 3-1/2" wide. Use a compass to draw the arc at the bottom if you want rounded legs or play with the angles and use a saw to cut it accordingly.
- Attach the legs using your carriage bolts
- The board should all be in one piece now but it's not done yet! Measure 9" from the top and 12" from the sides for the center of the board's hole. Use a compass to measure a 6" diameter for the hole, and then drill a pilot hole and complete the circle with a jigsaw
- Sand everything down from the edges to the hole you just cut
- Prime, paint, and finish!
One of our customers has made his own cornhole boards and decorated them with our decals; they look amazing and have a nice customized finish that you won't be able to buy off of Amazon. Thanks in advance to Mitch Fountain (@mitchfo3 on Twitter)!
Making a cornhole board is like a family recipe for chili; everyone seems to have their own way and swears by it.
- He suggested using 1" x 3" pine boards rather than traditional 2" x 4" boards because they are much lighter and match with most other woods for stain and finishing
- After you're done with the construction of the board and you are applying a decal, he suggested a thinner lacquer finish for white decals because it won't have a yellow-ish finish and a classic polyurethane finish over colored decals to make the board look great and last a long time.
Look at some of the cornhole boards that our customers have made with our decals:
We've been adding more and more decals to our collection for more universities, but we also do custom decals! We can do your dog, your last name, your face, and mostly anything else within reason. As your cornhole boards come together and you realize it's missing something nice to finish it off, let us know how we can help!
So what else can you do to pass the time?
Find a creative outlet. Everyone is creative in some capacity, but not everyone feels like they have the free time to pursue it. Begin writing, start doodling (adult coloring books are so hot right now), experiment in the kitchen, try some graphic design, or whatever else you want to do! Now is the time because, to be honest, what else are you going to do?
Be active. Go for a walk or a bike ride or workout from home! Gyms are probably the worst place to be right now, but that doesn't mean it's an excuse to be a couch potato. Even if you do a few sit-ups or push-ups in between Netflix episodes, it's better than nothing and will help maintain your sanity if it feels like the walls are starting to close in.
PowerPoint Party. This one sounds a little weird but it's a fun idea. This is one that my sister suggested for our family to do to spice up our Google Hangouts - everyone picks a topic of their choice and simply does a PowerPoint on it. It could be persuasive (for example: here's why cheesecake is a garbage dessert and it's for people who call cornhole 'bags'), it could be informative (here's how casting over Wi-Fi works!), or it could be entirely fictional (like developing the world of Quidditch within Harry Potter to mimic today's college football recruiting).
Declutter. This one sounds no fun, but it is Spring after all, and that means Spring cleaning. Take this time to go through your drawers and see if there are some clothes you can donate! Go through your personal files and get rid of old bank or investment statements (remember to shred!), or rearrange that bookshelf.
It's a weird time, but try to maintain your optimism and see these days at home as an opportunity rather than a drag. As a married person with no children, I know that's much easier for me to say than it is for others, but here it is from my perspective!
How are you passing the time?