How many of us in our working days would have loved to take a day off? Kick back, relax in front of the TV, eat a frozen pizza for dinner. Here we are in forced self-isolation, spending time at home, and getting bored with life.

Many of us are thrown into time off when we didn’t expect it, and ask “What to Do?” Ben Franklin said “Lost time can never be found again,” and your mom always had the answer to that question: “Make Yourself Useful!”

Here are some ideas to help fill your days.


  • Sort your Christmas cards (all past years), read them again and write a note or letter to the sender who never got one from you. Enclose your letter in a Christmas card and you get five bonus points.
  • Answer all your Facebook “Friend” requests and post a photo of yourself mailing your Christmas cards.
  • Sort your plastic kitchen containers and recycle those with no lids. Have the kids decorate some of those orphans boxes. Lots of ideas online of ways to repurpose stuff, but kids have great imaginations if you just turn them loose.
  • Sort your 2019 receipts and get ready for income tax time. It comes sooner than you think. If you are still on 2018, this free time is a godsend.
  • Clean out the closets, a la Marie Kondo. How many parkas do you need, anyway? Wash those useful clothes that you don’t wear and bundle them for the thrift stores and Salvation Army. Call to make sure they are accepting things before you drop on their doorstep.
  • Men, the garage is your kingdom. It’s time to buff up the castle. How many socket sets and broken fan belts do you need?
  • Locate all your legal documents and put them in a safe place, like the safe you bought last year just for that purpose. You never know when that diploma or wedding certificate will come in handy.
  • Kids can wash the car. They love to blast each other with the hose and this is a way for them to earn a buck while tormenting each other. Don’t scold them if they miss a hub cap, they can get it tomorrow.
  • No gym? Play Twister. Not recommended for everybody. Those of a certain age can play recliner


  • Sort out your CDs by decade. By century. Put your golden oldies on flashdrive, or trash them all and get Music Choice.
  • Dig out your DVD of “Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?” and sing along to “Look on the Sunny Side.” Bonus points for the one who does the best impersonation of Delmar when he says “They turned him into a horny toad!”
  • Play Bible 20 Questions. Bonus points for naming the Beatitudes in order.
  • Learn a new phone app. Update your contact list by deleting anybody who annoys you.
  • Bake a casserole and make an extra portion for a shut-in neighbor. If you don’t bake, make a plate of cheese and crackers or a batch of Chex mix. Wear gloves and mask while prepping. Fill an orphan plastic boxes with snacks, cover with plastic wrap and leave on neighbor’s doorstep.
  • Check periodically for casseroles on your doorstep.


DAY 2:

Stir craziness sets in, so it is good to get outdoors. We are blessed that Mesquite has lots of wide open spaces where you can be a mile from the nearest sneeze. Make use of our wonderful outdoor Nevada.

  • It’s a lovely day in the neighborhood! Take a walk. Check out the new hiking trails and workout park in town. Take a trashbag along and help make our town beautiful. Do a happy dance when nobody is watching!
  • Pickleball and golf are fine if you practice self-distancing and sanitize the ball after each stroke.
  • Flower Power! Gold Butte is ready to bloom. Some globe mallow and Mexican poppies are out; check out the prickly pear blooms. This is a great way to spend time with the family. If you don’t have a flower ID book, take photos and check them out online when you get home. and Jim Boone’s are useful websites.
  • Pull weeds! Your yard will be the neighborhood showcase.
  • Do a drive-by stop at Ace or Star Nursery to pick up plants and start a home garden in pots on your front porch: tomato plants, petunias, anything that makes you smile.
  • Not a gardener? Rake your rocks! Paint your fence or patio wall. Test out the lawn chairs.


DAY 3: Lather, rinse, repeat.

Yeah….it gets old. Some things never get old, though. In the words of City Manager Aaron Baker, “Be Nice!” Don’t let that frustration get the better of your normally kind spirit. Maybe even listen to the entire message of one Robo-Call and say goodbye when you hang up. Those robots are just trying to get by too.

Avoid the non-stop news. How often can you hear the word covid-19, anyway? Breaking News headlines are meant to break the spirit. Don’t buy into it. Find a Netflix movie, YouTube how-to video or Turner Classic. I thought I hit the jackpot the other day when I watched “Butch Cassidy” and “Terminator” back to back, no commercials. Binge watching British comedy is golden.

Take time every day to look at our beautiful scenery. Remember it will be there to brighten your day tomorrow, too.

One of these days things will turn around. And when that day comes, you want to be ready for it. If you have taken my suggestions for Days 1 and 2, you will have a clean house, happy family, smarter kids, grateful neighbors, and maybe even a casserole in the freezer so you don’t have to cook dinner! Life is good.