Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The 'To Do' LIst



I had only two things on my ‘To Do’ list yesterday and I thought, Oh boy! I can spend the rest of the day readingCatching Fire’. (Yes, I got bit by the Hunger Games series.) Anyway, all I had to do was change the filter on the furnace and go to the post office. Tops, I could complete my list in a half hour and play lazy bones the rest of the day.

Changing the filter on the furnace requires a trip down to the basement which requires a pocket in my clothing because I like to take my phone with me when I go in case I fall down the stairs and I’m still holding on to life long enough to call 911. The sweatpants I was wearing didn’t have any pockets and just holding the phone in my hand wouldn’t do because I’d probably drop it in the fall and it would slide across the cement floor, landing in the sump pump. I hate that sump pump so retrieving my phone from within just wouldn’t happen. I’m always afraid I’ll find a snake inside. You guessed it, I had to change my clothes to go down to the basement to avoid all that happening.

Changing my clothes had already cut into the half hour I had allotted for my ‘To Do’ list but while I was in the basement I checked on my “trap line” of d-con and I breathed a sigh of relief when it looked like nothing had eaten any of the poison pellets. Next I decided I might as well bring some stuff upstairs to decorate for Christmas but color me disappointed when I found all the Christmas things are in boxes up high. With my shoulder still under restrictions from my surgeon there was no way I could get them down without breaking his rule about raising my arm above shoulder height. Briefly, I thought about getting a ladder to take my shoulder up higher off the floor but I nixed that idea because I’d probably fall off the ladder, smashing the phone in my pocket, and lay there until my body was mummified.

Finally, I got on the road to go to the post office but on the way home I saw some Christmas trees tied to the tops of cars and that remained me of all the years Don and I would take Starbucks coffees up to Christmas Tree Corners on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we’d count trees coming from the tree farms in all four directions. That memory made me sad that I’d have to forgo any holiday decorations this year… until I remembered the Dollar General near-by where I could pick up SOMETHING. Something was better than nothing, I told myself. Nearly an hour later I walked out of the place with a small, pre-lighted Christmas tree and some small stuff to decorate the cheap little thing. It took so long because I had trouble deciding on the size tree I wanted. I kept resisting that little one because it looked too much like what people bring their grandmas in nursing homes but on the other hand, I didn’t want to waste money on something larger when I had nicer stuff down in the basement. I had several size trees in and out of my cart and various ornaments to fit each one’s scale, and I’d made a mess of Dollar General's stock before I settled on the nursing home special. That left me with no other choice but to spend more time straightening up their shelves.

The tree was a 14” wide by 24” high fake pine that came in a box that measured 5” square by 18” high so as you can imagine it needed serious plumping up and being an x-florist I was up for the task. In days gone by I would have dipped the branches in a tub of very warm water but these branches weren’t plastic and whatever they were made of didn’t look like they could survive a bath, and since they were pre-wired with lights I didn’t think a fire marshal would approve of the bath idea either. I could electrocute myself lighting a wet tree. So I fused over the branches, plumping each one up before I plugged it in to see the lights. They didn’t work. In the box was a paper instructing the purchaser not to return the tree to the Dollar General. If the lights didn’t work, it said, I should email for replacement parts. I ignored the paper, stuffed the tree back in the box and took it back to the store where I was prepared with a story about not having a computer. I didn’t need it. The clerk probably remembered me from the security cameras as the customer who tidied up after herself, so she did me a favor. Or maybe she just didn't know about the note inside the box.

I got the new tree home and started the plumping process all over again. The lights, of course, worked on that one---we tested them in the store---but whoever strung them didn’t do a very good job and of the twenty lights five of them were bunched in one large clump at the bottom. So I restrung the pre-wired tree while I thought about popping some corn to string on the branches. Then I remembered the potential for mice coming into my basement and I knew I couldn’t store that tree down there after Christmas if it was decorated with eatables. And no way was I going  un-decorate it and go through the stuff-it-in-the-box trauma again. I could almost hear that first, damn little tree crying!

By the time I got my ‘To Do’ list done that half hour I predicted it would take had turned into this afternoon-long saga and I was tired and running out of daylight. And that’s when I discovered how short the cord is coming out from my little nursing home special. There was only two places in the entire house where I could set that tree and still plug it in: on the kitchen counter where I’d been working or on the exercise bike. Neither place would do which meant I would have to take another trip down to the basement to find an extension cord, but by then I’d changed back to my sweatpants without pockets, oh crap! "What do you think?" I asked the dog. "It's not so bad sitting there on the bike, is it?" And I'm quite sure I heard him reply, "Go change your clothes." ©

18 comments:

  1. sweetheart that is SO funny! thanks for the morning cheer!

    hugs, bee
    xoxo

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    1. And ever word is absolutely true which kind of makes a statement about my life, doesn't it. LOL

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  2. I can tell what you're going to do today. You're going to get the extension cord and move the tree. Wonder how long that will take.

    I love the tree. Great plan.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Can you believe it, I bought an extension cord today instead of going downstairs. I was in the dollar store again and thought, why not.

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  3. That's always the way it is, isn't it? A quick chore can and will turn into a few hours fraught with mild curse words and completely exhausting the body!! I had a little tree like that when I worked--had it up on my counter. After I retired, I gave it to my grand daughter for her dorm room.

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    1. Perfect for a dorm room! Why didn't I think of that.

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  4. Do you think it is Murphy's Law in action again? Some days I have just two things on my list ... and end up not getting either of them done! But 50 other things. First World problems, eh?

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    1. You got it, first world problems...or an old people problem. I often find myself getting distracted when I do things around the house. This is new to me in the past few years...my husband used to call me one-tract because it was impossible to distract me from a task in the past.

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  5. Hilarious! And I love the explanation to the doctor of why you haven't been able to get any exercise: "I just couldn't; the only place I could put the Christmas tree was on my exercise bike." -Jean

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    1. Although the tree has since been moved, the idea of having an excuse like that to use for why I'm not exercising tickles my funny bone, too.

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  6. OMYGOD. Laught out loud funny! My husband just asked me what I was laughing at and I told him, "My friend Jean is a riot!" :) Nursing home special….priceless.

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    1. The best part about my day was that I was able to write about and have fun doing it.

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  7. I sat here laughing out loud. You are so funny! I'm sure it didn't feel quite so funny to you, but frustration makes for great blog content. I love the little tree, buy most of all I'm impressed with how you think everything out before diving in head first. I had a sump pump in MD, but I never thought about the snake scenario. We don't have a basement in this house, and thanks to you, I never want one.

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    1. It's kind of spooky but sometimes when I'm having a day like this I'll say to myself, "This will make a good blog." I kind of developed that way of looking at things that go wrong (or great) back when my husband first had his stroke and I started keeping a gratitude journal.

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  8. "If you give a mouse a cookie......"
    That's a children's story we read in elementary school to explain cause and effect. Read it if you haven't heard of it. Your to do lists remind me of my to do lists which always remind me of that children's book! "If you give Jean a furnace filter....."

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    1. I've never heard of Laura Numeroff's book, but it was easy to find and sounds so cute. "If you give a mouse a cookie, after all, he's bound to ask for a glass of milk, for which he'll certainly need a straw, not to mention a napkin, and a mirror to check for a milk mustache, which will only lead to him noticing that he needs a haircut."

      Thanks for giving me something to smile about today!

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  9. I know how it is when you plan to get all this house stuff done...and nothing cooperates. My late husband was very handy so doing home chores can devolve into downloading netflix and having a mimosa.

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    1. 'Ah, yes, home chores can do that, can't they, quickly lead you don't a crazy path before you get to where you need to be.

      Good luck with your book (and blog). I'm sorry you had a reason to write it.

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