Coffee Talk: Life Update & Kitchen Makeover Reveal

Coffee Talk + My Daily Looks

Greetings, friends. It’s been a cold, dreary weekend here in PA, which feels rather appropriate considering the newsreel of our lives at the moment.

I just finished skimming my New York Times daily briefing email, and it’s grim to read about what’s happening in New York and New Jersey, two of our neighboring states.

Not that it’s surprising; we knew it was coming, but it’s still sobering to see it all play out so close to us.

Our area is being affected too, just not as severely. Philly is a much smaller city than NYC, and while the surrounding suburbs where I’m located have quite a few cases of COVID-19, it’s nothing like what the bigger metropolitan areas are experiencing.

That said, our hospitals are already struggling to keep up, so a few schools in our area are being set up as medical treatment sites to help ease the burden.

I’d say that’s a pretty clear indicator that our kids will not be going back to school in mid-April, as our governor and school district leaders have suggested. I assumed all along it will be more like 6-8 weeks, and we’re only 2 weeks in, so only time will tell, but it doesn’t look promising.

We also found out yesterday that another major event we were looking forward to will likely be canceled.

My daughter was super excited about a class trip to Quebec in June with her French class. I knew it was unlikely that it would work out, but I was holding out a wee bit of hope for her.

Well, we got word yesterday that the organizers have until April 10th to make a final decision about canceling, or risk losing the money we’ve already put towards the trip. They’re waiting to make the final call, but I cannot imagine that they’ll be able to go ahead with it.

So that makes one more thing in a string of fun plans we had for this spring and summer that are getting pulled out from under us.

The thing is, I can handle missing out on Paris and our Easter family vacation because I know there will be more chances for those things.

But in the life of a 14-year-old, this Quebec class trip is a pretty huge letdown. Especially when it’s piled on top of missing out on her last semester of middle school, with the spring dance and end-of-year awards ceremonies and all the jazz band events she was looking forward to.

She’s never been out of the country before, and she adores her French teacher and was looking forward to experiencing Quebec with friends. And I was excited for her to have that experience.

I will say this, though. She’s handing the news very well. I had warned her this could happen, so it wasn’t such a shock to get the email from her French teacher last night.

When she found it, she just turned her phone to show it to me, with a resigned look on her face as if to say, “And there it is…”

I know these are small disappointments in the grand scheme of life. We are so fortunate to be healthy and working and able to avoid exposure. That’s all that really matters, I get that. But when you add them all up, it’s a lot to process. And it’s harder to accept these things when they affect the kids.

Speaking of the kids, my 20-year-old son moved out of his apartment this week and brought all his stuff home. So that makes the end of his sophomore year of college as he knew it seem more final.

His classes finally resume tomorrow, after a 3-week break while the professors reworked their lesson plans for remote learning. They will finish out the semester online.

He’s still waiting to hear if summer camp will go on this year. It was going to be his last year as a camp counselor, and he was really looking forward to it.

So far, my 17-year-old daughter is the only member of our family who hasn’t had her life turned upside down by this stupid virus.

Her cyber school extended their 3rd quarter to be consistent with the rest of the public schools in our state, so she’s had more time than ever to cook and bake, and she’s been making good use of that time. It’s a wonder we all haven’t gained 20 lbs. over the past two weeks!

The only thing slowing her down is our ability to buy flour. It’s become as scarce as hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

Paul and I are hanging in. He’s able to work from home, but his job has definitely been affected by coronavirus. That has added to his stress level, and he doesn’t do stress well.

In fact, his diverticulitis might be flaring up, which is exactly what we do not need right now. I’m praying it calms down without any need for medical intervention.

As for me, my mood is pretty much directly affected by the weather.

On nice days, I feel like I can handle this new normal we find ourselves living in. I enjoy long walks in the neighborhood, and sitting in my backyard, and cooking dinners in my newly updated kitchen with sunshine pouring through the back windows.

I can bury myself in work to keep from getting bored, and I’m the one doing the grocery runs and errands, which helps me stay in touch with the world out there.

But when the rainy, dreary weather returns, I start to feel despondent and unmotivated, and the news reel becomes much harder to take in stride. I know that’s normal, and I’m so grateful for the nice days we’ve had.

And I’m beyond grateful that our family can stay out of harm’s way for the most part.

I know many are reading along who are working on the frontlines in some capacity, or have loved ones in those positions, and you have much bigger fears and frustrations than canceled trips and the inability to find flour. I see you, and I thank you. 

When I sit down to write these Coffee Talks, I usually go wherever my fingers take me. They’re rarely planned out, and I didn’t plan for this one to be quite so dark.

You can probably tell by the title that I was planning to share some more pictures of my kitchen today, but now that seems rather incongruous to the rest of this post. I’m not sure even I can make that segue gracefully… and I’m pretty good with random segues!

I’d been holding out on sharing my final kitchen reveal until Alison could come and take professional pictures, and of course I wanted that wine rack touched up where the paint got pulled off.

At this point, there’s no telling when either will happen, so I decided to just take a bunch of iPhone pictures and share it that way.

But this post is long, and I’d rather let the kitchen post stand alone so I can reference it in the future without having it overshadowed by #coronadiaries.

Some day, I think I’ll be glad I have these posts chronicling our journey through these uncharted waters, but today, I kind of hate to put this out there. It feels very negative to me, and I don’t like to put negativity out there.

I’m tempted to save it for posterity and start over after our church services this morning. I’m sure I’ll be looking at the world through a different lens after that.

Our pastor has taken to doing worship services on Zoom, which is definitely interesting! It’s not the same as gathering together, but it’s amazing how hearing his voice delivering the message brings a sense of normalcy and comfort through the computer screen.

How about this? I’ll put this out there, and trust you all to be gracious. If I sound like I’m ungrateful or complaining, please know that I realize how good we have it. I really do. Some days are just harder than others.

Then I’ll come back this afternoon and put up another post with my kitchen reveal, before & after pictures, etc.

I’m sure by then, I’ll be feeling more like my optimistic self.