Spoiler: we haven’t binge-watched anything. Yet.

The morning routine hasn’t really changed. Tony and I rise at our regular hour and enjoy French press coffee and a couple of Cara Cara oranges while skimming headlines. They are the most superior oranges, in our humble opinion. It may appear we have fallen victim to Orangen Hamsterkaufen with our stash, but no one else is buying them. I suspect Knoxvilleans don’t even head to the produce section because they are too busy HOARDING BATH TISSUE.

Yes, the kitchen backsplash is atrocious. If and when our contractor ever returns there will be the master bathroom to finish, so Tony and Jack just might be taking on the kitchen backsplash improvement project this coming weekend. Oh yes, Jack is home now, as well. 

Where our morning routine differs now is that we must wade through not just the regular doom and gloom, but what seems to be wishful thinking on the part of certain media/celebrities that America should “fail.” Some almost seem to be cheering for each and every nugget of negative news, real or imagined. So we have stopped reading most news. A check on the CDC site for any updates and a skim through headlines from the press on both sides of the aisle, for balance. That’s it. Our mental health thanks us.

We take our temperatures and record them. With Anna Grace having transited through three airports, we’re heeding the advice of the wise Benjamin Franklin and preventing a pound of cure, though Ben was talking about fire safety.

Then our days begin. I am the essential household employee; and because I had seven years of training in Austria (an equivalent of more than nearly two year’s worth of store closures in total) I am also the designated grocery shopper, as only I can put together a meal from whatever might be on the shelves when the desired item is not. Tony retreats to my office to begin his day; the college student manages her own schedule, emerging mostly to eat or walk the dog. She’s in good company with all of the other bored coeds walking the family dog. Last week we were graced with a couple of deliciously warm days that proved to be perhaps a little too warm for the Foxhound; partway into their walk he needed a break.

Al fresco distance learning. The new patio furniture I ordered the day Anna Grace announced she was heading to Knoxville was delivered just in time! White probably isn’t the wisest color choice, I know.

Gorgeous Potatoes Dauphinois to pair with our grilled chicken al fresco supper on this evening.

On Tuesday Jack rang with the news that his class was graduating early, as in…Friday! in order to give the newly minted graduates time to reach their field offices before any potential travel restrictions went into place.  Jack’s field office is however shut down, and he is being encouraged to work from home to the extent possible “for the foreseeable future.” Guess which “home” Jack chose?

My first ever cast-iron deep dish: Potato and Rosemary White Pizza

The following morning I made a run to Trader Joes, and was extremely pleased to see that the staff had implemented social-distancing protocols. They had marked the sidewalk entrance to the store with “X’s” so that all queued customers were properly one turkey-vulture wingspan apart.

The handles of all carts were disinfected; staff limited customers in the store; and there were indicators on the floor at the cash registers to keep us socially-distanced. The atmosphere was calm and no one was hoarding anything. It reminded me of one of the Snowpocalypse days in D.C. when we all piled into Tony’s SUV and went to Dean & Deluca’s in Georgetown for fancy food: just a few of us in the store, buying crazy-priced things.  (On the drive home along the GW Parkway that day Tony and Jack had to push a vehicle to safety: apparently the driver was an ambassadorial newcomer from a sunny clime and had not one clue how to drive in snow. Good times.)

Where was I? It is now Wednesday. An exciting day! My bathtub arrived! Of course, by the time the restrictions are lifted and the contractor resumes his work we will have retired, sold the house, and settled into either a fixer-upper on Cape Cod or a flat somewhere in Paris.  😷🤣😷

For lunch on this day I was feeling culinarily inspired by a Servus newsfeed for Spinat Knödel, a dumpling-esque creation of spinach and breadcrumbs. I always cheated when we lived in Austria, relying on the farmer’s market Omas who were selling these delicious carb bombs. But, having spinach that needed to be consumed and a freezer bag of bread crumbs at the ready, I gave the recipe a whirl.

Deserving of the good silver, I thought.

Thursday. Jack confirmed his flight to Knoxville in two days. Cletus had become quite insane this week, whining incessantly at a low pitch for hours in the morning; eventually I encouraged Tony and Anna Grace to take him to the park for a wander while I prepared lunch. In retrospect we think he was (and still is) confused. The two-person routine he had adjusted to had become three-person and yet there was nothing resembling a new routine. I am sure dogs all around the world can relate.

While the family was at the park I opened the windows in the sun room to let Spring waft in and spotted a dozen or so dead insects on the floor (of what appeared to be the stinging variety, at least based on their little corpses).

Strange, I thought as I looked around the room. And then I saw it. A cluster of said insects on the ceiling. I left the room carefully and called the exterminator.

Friday. Jack rang around midday with news that he is official!  We cheered him from our little hamlet and wished him safe travels the following day.

We also cheered the good word from the exterminator who dropped by that we had a temporary invasion of carpenter ants. A spritz of something to eradicate the hangers-on; and a gentle admonishment to not leave the cover off on warm days when there is water in the spa, something we had done the day before while refilling. Whoops.

Some people live by grocery delivery; I am definitely not one of those people. Case in point: I mistakenly selected “Key Limes” because I saw the picture of a bag of limes online, a more cost-effective selection. Sigh. My favorite little baker was happy to turn them into a batch of Key Lime Cookies, though, and Tony was happy to serve as the QC Manager. When life hands you lemons  Key limes…

With Anna Grace home a favorite meal was requested: World Peace Curry. The dish is an extravagant blend of 20 ingredients, some of them unusual for a curry and not counting the chicken to be curried, that just knows how to coexist in harmony. In some ways curries are better than some humans.

I had 19 of the components on hand. The missing component was an essential (I’m not liking how this word is being tossed about these days, by the way. Essentially the word is the new #Hashtag.), but guess what? My pantry to the rescue, and I was able to create my own essential Ingredient 20, Red Curry Paste. Ta-da. Dinner was saved.

Saturday morning dawned. Jack messaged that he was literally the only passenger on the flight.

A couple of hours later and Jack was now back in the nest, too. Reverse nidifugous, if you will. Circumstances aside, #FamilyTime

Next week: From Home Quarantine to “Safer-at-Home” to “Stay-at-Home.”