Unusual pandemic pastimes follow COVID-19 work from home

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WATCH ABOVE: Professionals sent home due to the pandemic are tackling some unusual out-of-office endeavours. Jennifer Crosby reports on some surprisingly successful COVID-19 hobbies. – Sep 9, 2020

Chris Henderson has a dream. And it involves Gordon Ramsay.

“Ultimately, I’ve got this thing where maybe I’ll run into Gordon Ramsay at Heathrow Airport and I’ll be like, ‘You, me, French omelette. Anywhere you want, right now!’

That makes more sense when you learn Henderson has been using COVID-19 isolation to whip his chosen pandemic pastime into fighting shape.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to learn to make French omelettes.’

“And, you know, be the best French omelette maker of anyone I know. And I picked the French omelette because it’s supposed to be a legit skill,” Henderson said.

“I started making them every day, sometimes a couple of times a day.” 

Read more: All the free things you can do online during the coronavirus pandemic

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That was more than 150 omelettes ago now. Has he made a perfect one yet?

“No. No, I have never hit the perfect one,” he said.

“Something always goes wrong.”

Despite that, Henderson has become part of a cohort of sorts. Members of this cohort are not actually connected. But they are all professionals, stuck at home, tackling new and unusual out-of-office endeavors.

“Another thousand omelettes or so, I think I’ll be ready for Gordon.

Gardening by Google

Amanda Ash’s previous attempts at gardening were kind of disastrous. But the move to work from home changed everything.

“In the past, I’d say I had a 50/50 chance of growing something,” Ash said with a laugh.

“Even my husband doesn’t buy me plants because he thinks I’m going to kill them.”

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“And really, it’s true,” she admitted.

But with the distance between home and office compressed to zero, this year's garden had a shot at survival.

I think COVID kind of put it into the realm of something I would try,” she said.

“I’ve done some pots and stuff before, but… I would always forget to water them. Even this year, I had some flowers out front and I forgot to water them. So they did die,” Ash said.

READ MORE: Most Canadians expect to continue working from home post-pandemic, study finds

But being home all the time meant remembering to water more often – and no daily commute left more time for research.

“I call myself a Google gardener, learning about different plants that I’ve bought and how to grow them and what might be wrong with them.”

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That family of disbelievers has become fans of her backyard experiment, which is bursting up and over the edges of her raised beds, tomatoes and squash ripening faster than she can pick them.

True COVID fashion… influencer?

When Justin Archer went home from his downtown Edmonton office this spring, he wasn’t sure when he’d be back – or when he’d be wearing a suit again.

“So I made an Instagram story and I called it, ‘In True COVID Fashion,'” Archer said.

“I talked about my fashion, which was actually like a hoodie or something.”

That post lead to a tongue-in-cheek video fashion blog of sorts, delivered over Instagram.

'In True Covid Fashion' became his way of bringing some levity to a serious situation.

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“One day we were all working at the office and the next day we were all at home. And we didn’t really know how it was gonna go,” Archer said. “I was trying to maybe bring a smile to people’s faces a little bit.”

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The satirical posts caught on. A friend even sent him some company swag to wear in a video, prompting Archer to joke he was now an Instagram influencer.

“My career as an influencer was very short-lived,” he said with a laugh.

So what’s next?

He calls it “flowvid.”

READ MORE: To cut or not to cut?  Salon owner warns of ‘Corona-cuts’

“For the longest time, you couldn’t get a haircut. And then once you could, I was like, why even would I want to?

“So I think the next thing we should all do is ‘flowvid,’ where we’re just letting the flow go,” he said, running his hand through the locks he can almost tuck behind his ears.

There’s just one problem.

I realized what I really wanted to do was kind of go for Bradley Cooper, but what I was getting was a lot more Ryan Smyth.”

Former Edmonton Oiler Ryan Smyth with his trademark locks. Edmonton communications strategist Justin Archer referred to Smyth when coining the term ‘flowvid” for hair grown long during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dave Carels, Global News