7 Simplistic ways to get out of a rut

Last week Patrick seemed dispirited and I glanced away from my iPhone long enough to ask if everything was okay. He responded, ‘Yes, but I’m in a bit of a rut.’

We’ve had to adopt a strict routine now that we both work full-time jobs Monday through Friday and I thought about how our lives resemble Sheldon’s on The Big Bang Theory, where he can only sit on one end of the sofa and goes into a crisis if someone suggests eating Thai food on pizza night.

I knew we had to do something to disrupt the status quo.

Mr. Potato Head helps farmer Bill get out of a rut. Photo by Shallow Reflections

Breakfast in London: One morning when I cooked eggs for breakfast, I fried some bacon and sausage, added a grilled tomato and poured boiling water over P.G. Tips tea bags nestled in our coffee mugs. After enjoying the meal and the memory of breakfast in London, we were certain we heard the chime of Big Ben as we dashed to the loo.

Learning a new skill: We researched ‘hotel toilet paper-folding’ and realized there are many variations besides the simple ‘V’ shape. Did you know there is an art called ‘toilet paper origami’ AKA ‘toilegami?’ By reviewing photos and YouTube videos we were able to learn a new skill while simultaneously creating the illusion of a spotless hotel bathroom.

Spontaneity: I suggested dinner out on a Thursday night, but Patrick reminded me we have choir practice every Thursday, so we settled on next Monday. I have butterflies in my stomach imagining how I will feel when I awaken Monday morning, knowing we’ll be eating a spicy chicken sandwich at Wendy’s that evening.

Spending time outside: It’s difficult to spend time outside during a Maine winter when frigid air triggers an asthma attack, but that didn’t stop us from having coffee on the patio. The sun was a brilliant backdrop for us but immediately disappeared behind a spiteful cloud as we settled into our lawn chairs. When violent shivering caused coffee spatters we moved inside freeing the sun to once again reveal its elusive rays.

Photo by Pixabay, edits by author

Adventure in the bedroom: Spending time inside doesn’t have to be boring, especially if you get creative in the bedroom. I suggested we switch sides of the bed and it was going well until I slammed into the bureau during a middle of the night bathroom trip, nearly prompting a 911 call. On a positive note, I’m confident the scar will fade by the time I don a pair of shorts next July.

Surprise in the bedroom: One evening when I got home before Patrick, I hid under the bed and when he entered to change his clothes I reached out and grabbed his ankle. By his reaction I believe this was as thrilling as a trip to Universal Studios during Halloween week.

Out of town trip: Too lazy to traipse across time zones, we began to explore options for foreign travel while staying in our home state. With numerous Maine towns named after countries, we narrowed down the choices to Denmark, Paris, Naples, Sweden, Poland, China, Peru or Mexico. In the end, even that was too much effort, and we piled into our salt-encrusted car, cruised to south Brewer (the next town over), and ate foreign cuisine at Pepino’s Taco Stand.

Now that we’ve implemented these simple strategies into our everyday lives, we’ve seen a boost in our household morale. With another week of practice I’m convinced we’ll be ready to sit in an alien section of the couch.

What strategies have you tried to pluck yourself out of a rut? Do share!


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25 thoughts on “7 Simplistic ways to get out of a rut

  1. I didn’t read the other comments, but men do like surprises in the bedroom, just not the same kind as you wrote about. My wife would kill me if I hid and scared her!

  2. Absolutely chortled when I read the bit about hiding under the bed and reaching out for the ankle. Hysterical, Molly. As for being in a rut, I suggest that the two of you branch out into ice sculpting. Imagine the fun that could be had chowing down on London’s finest, whist chilling outside on the patio underneath a giant frigid swan clutching your puffers between his beak! Glorious!
    As for myself, I’m partial to seeing how many words I can make out of the take-out menu titles. Lately I’ve been making up a whole new language. Iku sgogh nexngyb?

  3. Nothing like a bit of spontaneous action to stop you getting in a rut – we had an impromptu lunch date at a local pub yesterday as we both had a couple of hours free! A glass of pinot grigio & a chilli really was divine ? Love your ideas though too!

  4. Toilgami? This fits my motto: Learn a little bit more today. Love it and all your tips. The foreign travel one is a great idea I hadn’t considered by using city names. Off to look at the map of Colorado. 😉

    • Thanks for embracing my ideas, Rajean. I look forward to hearing about your ‘foreign’ travel in Colorado. Of course, we haven’t made it south of the Taco Stand, but you have to have goals, right? Thank so much for stopping by the blog and leaving a comment.

  5. Yeah, even after almost 4 years of marriage (our second-time around) there is a mild rut. We switched spots on our sofa and chair, then changed spots on the bed. Once windsurfing season comes around, we’ll easily slip into that rut 🙂 Hilarious as usual Molly–sad that you can’t wear shorts until July!

    • I wish I was exaggerating about the shorts thing, Terri, but June can be cool and rainy in Maine. I think you and your husband are very adventurous to be playing musical spots on the sofa, chair and bed! Definitely shows that you are still newlyweds. 😉

  6. Love your creative spirit — and great writing skills. When you mentioned East Brewer it brought back a flood of childhood memories. You may not know that I lived in East Holden and went to elementary school there until my parents moved to Washburn in the summer of 1963. Wilson Street in Brewer was a familiar path to my mother’s best friend’s house. And I remember hunting for tickets in the “glove box” for the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge that were required back in the 1950’s and 60’s whenever we ventured to Bangor. Thanks for the memory lane experience this morning. Totally a “rut” changer!

    • Thank you Amy, so nice to hear from you. I did not know that you lived in East Holden. I also remember the fee to go over the bridge because my Aunt Amber lived in East Holden too and we would take family trips to visit. I go across the new replacement bridge every day on my way to work. Glad I could help you reminisce and get out of your rut!

  7. You really know how to live on the edge, Molly! Tea spurted out of my nose when I read about your bedroom surprise…you are a real adventuress since, at our age, you have to be careful about triggering the “fight or flight” response! 🙂 One way I mix up the routine is to use the guest bathroom instead of the master–we have a “comfort height” toilet in the master so when I go to sit on the lower guest-bath toilet, there’s a quick moment of surprise when I don’t hit the seat as quickly as I expect to. Keeps life interesting, ya know?

    • This is genius Roxanne. We also change up which bathroom we use but we don’t have toilets with different heights. We are about to redo our master bath, however, I am going to put my vote in for a ‘comfort height’ toilet and then watch for the revelry to begin!

  8. Oh, Molly, I’m outta my rut, cuz I was belly laughing!! Thank you!!
    ‘toilegami? sounds like the best hobby ever!! I’m so excited for you, that you get to go out to such a fine dining experience next Monday!!
    And the bedroom adventure, sounds like a regular weeknight for me!
    Yes, the scar will assuredly fade by July! I can attest to that!
    Wonder how I can sneak into XH’s house, to try the bedroom surprise????
    Hey you went south! You accomplished your goal! Did you experience Montezuma’s revenge, as a bonus??

    • Yes, it is particularly hard to handle the Maine winter this time of year for me. One day it is in the 40’s and the next day single digits with a harsh wind. Like riding in a violent roller coaster without a seat belt. You have to do something to distract yourself from this madness!

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