“We will be back on Monday, for sure,” one teacher reassured us.

“I don’t think so,” I replied.

My sons kept warning me that I shouldn’t be going into school.  That some of my students were most likely carrying this disease. Local schools were closing for a day or two after a bus driver was hospitalized with the virus. After the students left, the principal announced for us to take home what we might need if we closed for a week or two.

By that afternoon the email was sent out.  We would be closed for 2 weeks.

Over the weekend, my older son was home and we stocked the house with food and of course toilet paper.

We also spent some time playing 9 holes of golf on the VA course nearby. Keeping in mind social distancing, this we felt was a good choice activity. Getting outside is important to help with anxiety.  I need some work on my drives but my putts are pretty close (I don’t think that really counts in golf).

My home, still in disarray from the construction of a new kitchen, was waiting for some TLC.  I started to go through the boxes of stuff I had removed from the cabinets and brought to the upstairs bedrooms.  Who needs 5 dirty old cookie sheets, 40 mismatched plastic Tupperware containers, and 20 odd to go coffee cups that leak?

I did my best Marie Kondo tidying and boxed up quite a bit to bring to the local donation center and to throw in the trash. We drove by SAVERS which was still open and accepting donations but did not go into the store.

Tuesday my younger son moved home.  I have a small apartment downstairs and he has taken over that area, but still comes up for meals. Trying to keep high standards in the new kitchen I hope to enforce cleaning dishes after each use and wiping down my beautiful new stove and countertops!

As my kitchen is now the open concept, the renovation expanded to the living room, dining room and den.

I said goodbye to the old dining set that we had picked up at the St. Vincent’s dePaul thrift store 18 years ago for $65.  We had sanded and stained the top and painted the legs red.  It matched the red wall in our home we lived in for 4 years.  We just never got around to getting a new table.  It wasn’t necessary.

But this week, I did some on line shopping.  I have found some good deals on Wayfair for the bathroom vanity, rug, couches, coffee table, and home decor.  But I had not found a dining room table.

By Tuesday, I had a house full.  Both sons, me and my new hubby sat down to eat a St. Patrick’s day feast of corned beef and cabbage, at a card table.  That would not do!

So Wednesday morning, after seeing an ad that Pier 1 was having a Going out of Business sale, we decided to just see if there was a dining table there.  The store was closed until 12 and since we got there early we decided to have lunch at a nearby Halal joint that served Gyros.  We ate the gyros in the car.  Messy and not really that good.

On the way back to the store we noticed that Peter Andrews was open.  This store always has a fun variety of home furnishings and decor. There was only one car in the parking lot so we took a chance and decided to not touch anything and stay far away from the cashier.

I was thrilled to find the perfect table and chairs at a sale price that would fit perfectly into my small dining room space.  I also picked up an oversized metal compass for the wall decor.  We were the only customers there.  We scurried out with our purchases and gave them a good cleaning with Lysol before bringing them into the house, as per orders from my son.  I heard later on the news that all furniture stores were now closed.

Thursday we were required to “come to work” for Superintendent’s Conference Day.  We were given the option to come into the school and meet in the library or call in to participate in the meeting via the Zoom app.  I tried the Zoom app with 12 other colleagues.  We planned out a schedule to create a curriculum for our Kindergarten students for as long as this distance learning will take.

A sense of grief overcame us as we entered our deserted classrooms.  Projects drying from last Friday remained on the shelves by the window.  The student’s reading bags were full of their special books they had selected to browse through during our Read to Self time each day.  The bus list sat with students names and bus numbers on the clipboard by the door.

Photos of animals from my trip to Africa last summer curled beside the entrance reminded me that I never did make that animal book that I had promised I would make for the kids back in September.  Maybe I will try and make one from home now.

I engaged with some of my kiddos via Instagram and asked them to send me photos of what they are doing at home.  Some shared that they were doing the March challenge packet, practicing sight words, learning home economics by cleaning the house and learning how to ride a two wheel bike.  Seeing their adorable smiles makes me miss them even more.  They are so young and missing out on so much by not being able to play with their friends and learn in school.

Thursday afternoon, I met with my therapist via Facetime.  I have been seeing her since my husband’s unexpected death.  I have met with her during my sad widow years and my adjustment to life after loss.  She is one of the lucky ones in the medical field who can work from home.  My heart goes out to the health care workers and their families during this scary time.

So it is now Friday morning.  I felt compelled to write in my blog.  The future is uncertain.  The news this week in the U.S.A. focused on how irresponsible the college kids are who went to the beach in Florida last weekend.  Maybe they had heard from our country’s leaders that this virus was a hoax or that it was only affecting older people or that it is not even as bad as the flu which killed so many people last year.  These are stories I had heard.

I think the message is finally coming through and hitting Americans over the head.  As restaurants, hair salons, malls, schools, businesses and airlines close down it affects all of us.  This virus is highly contagious and deadly with no vaccine available.  The hospitals will soon be unable to handle the number of sick people and maybe like Italy, decisions on who gets treated and who doesn’t will be made.

How people who live paycheck to paycheck will survive if this lasts a long time is certainly scary.   The stock market affects many who have thought about retiring or depend on income from our investments. Will our government be able to help all these people?

The order to quarantine from cities, states and countries seems invasive but we think it will help.  The question is, how long will this last?

Week one avoiding the Coronavirus