I hadn’t planned on doing a post on the pandemic that’s hit the world, but I thought about how I’ve enjoyed (maybe enjoyed is not a good word) reading other bloggers posts about how they are doing, what’s happening where they are, or what they are doing to keep from going insane. So I thought I’d share a little bit of my Coronavirus story here in Southern California.
First and foremost, in case you were worried, I have plenty of toilet paper. Right before (and I mean RIGHT before) everything went down, I had purchased one of those big packages from Costco, along with a big package of paper towels. I got it home and realized I already had a bunch of toilet paper I had already purchased, and felt dumb for buying more when I didn’t need it. But then everything started to go nuts, and I was very happy I had my supply!
As many of you know, I manage an after-school childcare program at an elementary school. Initially, I started to hear about this virus and wasn’t too concerned about it. We were extra careful at work with the kids, but then parents started asking me what I thought about what was happening. I was confused at first because I hadn’t thought about it at all beyond stepping up our safety measures. Because of their concern, now I was taking notice. I didn’t know if parents were asking if we were taking steps to ensure their child’s safety, or if they just wanted my opinion. Either way, I needed to be informed so I could answer their questions knowledgeably.
Turns out, they mainly wanted my opinion and reassurance. They also wanted to know if I believed the schools would actually shut down. I didn’t even know that was a possibility at that point! I didn’t think that would happen in a million years! But now, the virus was becoming a big part of our conversations at work. Rumors were circulating about quarantines in cities. I still didn’t think it would happen. It still sounded preposterous, but at least it was on my radar, and I was getting more informed about what was happening. We had gotten through all those other epidemics like Ebola, MERS and Swine Flu, which were pretty bad. Ebola scared me to no end, but schools weren’t shut down and cities weren’t quarantined. I still didn’t think it would happen.
Then, my coworkers told me about how the NBA was canceling their games. What?! I literally thought I’d heard wrong. After that bit of news sank in, I finally realized how different this situation was, and how things were changing rapidly. I still didn’t think our schools would close. Everyone was getting nervous about their jobs and their safety. It was all anyone could talk about.
Then the shortages started to happen. We aren’t allowed to use hand sanitizer per licensing because of the alcohol content and the danger it poses to kids, but now everyone wanted it…and we couldn’t get it. I was running low on the antiseptic wipes I used to clean things, and they were out everywhere. At this point, I started to see where things were heading, but I wasn’t panicked over it. No wipes, no problem, use something else. Worst case scenario, we would have to use soap and water to clean things, and that was just as good, if not as convenient. I still didn’t think our schools would shut down.
Then, my son came from college on a Thursday and said his school sent everyone home and finals would happen from home, that the professors would figure out how to administer the tests. They said that classes would tentatively return the second week of the new quarter in April, with the possibility of not returning at all for that third quarter. That was the first time I actually believed it was possible that our elementary schools would shut down.
The next week, Disneyland closed its doors. Disneyland! That’s when I KNEW our school would follow. Nothing was announced, but I knew it was inevitable. By this point, my bosses and I were trying to deep clean our facilities and we met at a Costco to try to buy supplies. I was parked outside the store and was amazed at the never-ending line that was wrapped around the store. I still wasn’t panicked, but the reality and severity of the situation was really sinking in. My supervisor was already inside and he said they were pretty much out of everything. I told him there was no sense in my getting in that line and going in. We decided soap and rags would have to do. By now, I was very informed about what the CDC said was acceptable to use in lieu of all the products that were out. Soap was one of them. We also bought some other approved substitutes from the 99 cent store and Home Depot. We were as prepared as we could be and were going to be for a while.
That night, our school board had a meeting where they voted NOT to close our schools. Staff was happy, but I believed that more than likely, we WERE going to shut down. I wanted to be prepared for it. I was very, very informed now and all the signs were pointing to a shut down. The next morning (Friday), we found out the city of LA and San Diego county closed down all their schools. They had also voted NOT to close them the night before, just like our school board had done. I knew that would be it. Our district announced that day they were closing down as well. So with little notice, we shut down our program that day, and our sheltering in place began.
They said we would come back after Spring Break in the first week of April. Again, I believed that more than likely, we would not be returning that soon. My son’s college had already extended their closure till the end of the school term. And sadly, our closure was extended as well, but only to the end of April. I’m not convinced we’ll return then either. On March 17th, our governor said he doesn’t think our schools will open again the rest of the school year. Our district website still says the closures will go through April 30th but now reads that that could change. I still believe we will remain closed for the rest of the year. I hope I’m absolutely wrong about this, though. I, like everyone else, hope things get better by then.
My family was fortunate in that we had plenty of toilet paper 🙂 and food. We didn’t need hand sanitizer as we had plenty of soap and water so we didn’t freak out that it was sold out everywhere. My husband had his own hand sanitizer so he was set. I wasn’t panicked over hoarding food either. I didn’t go out shopping much but my daughter did. I just told her to get what was available and we’d make do, and we have. It is disconcerting, though to see all those empty shelves.
It’s also a little scary out there with people panicking and hoarding. My husband went to a 7 eleven early on, and said someone asked about hand sanitizer and the attendant said they were out. She pointed out a bottle behind the cashier. He politely told her that wasn’t for sale, that it was his personal bottle. She offered him $10 for it! And another customer got upset and said he wanted it. He said he would pay $20 for it! My husband said it got tense and seemed like the attendant got nervous and looked like he might reach for something under the counter. My husband hightailed it out of there! At that point, I was waiting for the zombies to start showing up! Luckily, although nothing is normal, people seem to be calming down as we all adjust to our new reality. Food is starting to show up back in the shelves, even though it’s not to the levels they were before.
And how are we handling confinement? We are all handling it a little differently, but overall, we’re doing just fine. My son loves being home. For him, it has not been a hardship at ALL. Aside for the reason he’s home, he loves the new situation. Online schooling is fantastic for him. My daughter teaches college courses and had to quickly shift to teaching an online class. She’s super bright (bragging mama here) and she switched gears really well. My husband has found ways to stay active at home as he’s used to playing basketball on a weekly basis. He’s self employed so he’s still working.
Me? I’m doing great. I have so many interests and hobbies, I could be sheltered in place for a year and be totally fine. Reading alone would keep me occupied forever. Crochet could keep me just as busy. My garden is a good outlet as well. Since I’m out of work, I decided I would finish writing my crochet book on dolls that I’ve had on the back burner for a few years. Maybe you remember I was working on that before? 🙂
I’m treating it as my job and I work on it everyday. When I opened it up, I discovered I was almost done with it! The last time I worked on it, I just needed to finish outfits for four dolls and photograph them. Turns out, I finished all the outfits and took pics of the dolls for Instagram. I don’t know why I thought there was more to do. I could have been done a long time ago! But hey, I’m on it now. I’ve worked on it everyday since I’ve been off, and it’s almost ready. It will just be an ebook for now as we are self publishing, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I’m reformatting and tightening it up, but it’s almost ready to go.
I’ve also been working on finishing the Darth Maul themed Crochet Baby Yoda for my brother. Normally, I would have been done with it ages ago but 1) I’m not going to see my brother any time soon, and 2) I’ve been focusing on the book. But I have made some progress on him. I made him a lightsaber, and I’m almost done with his outfit.
Although I’ve been doing fine in confinement, I do miss my siblings. We get together pretty often and now we can’t. We text a lot, but it just isn’t the same. I can’t wait till we can get together again. On a good note, and something I am very grateful for, is that my hubby, kids, and I have had many movie and game nights together. Aggravation is popular and I keep winning (and now they’re all after me!). 🙂
So all in all, I’m super grateful my family and I are together and doing well and my heart goes out to those who suffered a loss or are having a harder time. And I’m grateful for my online community that’s continuing to post so we can feel connected during this time.
Stay safe everyone.