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

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Egg Cookers, Moving and Genealogy



I bought myself an egg cooker. It seems like a stupid, space eating gadget to buy when making hard boiled eggs in a pan of water works perfectly fine. But I told myself with an electric egg cooker I can walk away and not burn the house down. That’s called justifying my purchase to label it a safety device but, darn it, I can’t hear the stove timer go off anymore…or the doorbell and who knows what else. Now if I could figure out a way to justify getting a new blender I’d be a happy camper. The one I have works fine---I use it every day with the high protein diet I’m on---but I’ve got a bug up my butt about owning one that is chrome and black and matches my coffee pot and toaster. Maybe I could pretend that Bush is still in office and he just told us all to go out shopping to help the economy. Practice patriotism with your credit card, I’m still smirking about that idea from a sitting president, no less.

I’ve been very busy on the computer this past week researching everything from vacate lots and new home building prices to used and brand new condos to manufactured home parks and manufactured homes---both new and used. The more I learn the more frustrating it gets. I should have known better, but I didn’t follow Glinda the Good Witch from the North’s advice about starting at the beginning so I wasted a lot of time picking out floor plans and dealers of new manufactured homes when I should have done more research on the two home parks where I’d like living. “Surprise, surprise, surprise.” as Gomer Pyle used to say on the Andy Griffith Show, they don’t have any lots available to place a new manufactured home. (Let’s be politically incorrect here and call them ‘trailers’, ‘manufactured homes’ is too long to type.) My favorite of the two parks is expanding but they don’t know when. Okay, I could wait a year, in fact a year would get a lot downsizing done. But they can’t give me a time table when they expect the expansion to happen. Both parks allow dogs BUT if your dog is a problem then they can tell you to get rid of it. That would be like asking you to get rid of your kid! If Levi barks too much is that any worse than teenagers who annoy old ladies with their skate boards and yelling? I think not! Everything has a yin and a yang. You love your kids and your dogs, hate the noise they make, but a world with too much yin or too much yang would slide off its axle.  

And that dog policy at the “trailer” park is what led me to researching condos in my target area. I found one that is a zero steps community with a clubhouse and social schedule. Perfect. But before I get my head fully emerged in their floor plans I have requested their pet policy and condo fees rate. I hate giving my contact information out to these places but there is no other way to get vital input that will help me decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. Levi will only be seven on the 23rd of this month. It’s not like I can wait for him to kick the bucket to make my decisions and choices easier and even if he was two feet under---I can’t dig a deeper grave at my age---I’d probably want another Levi in my life. Only next time I’m getting a dog that is no bigger than a bread box, has a bark like a cricket. One of my niece’s daughter-in-laws has a dog that is smaller than most cats and I swear it has a bigger wardrobe than I do. That may be a slight exaggeration but I can’t help it, I have dog-size envy. When I got Levi they told me he’d only grow to twelve pounds and he is pushing thirty, and no, his vet only wants him to lose one pound, so he’s not doing protein shakes with me. Come spring, he’ll be able to walk that pound off, no problem.

I’ve also started working on a genealogy tree and eventual book for my Mom’s side of the family. (I did one for my Dad’s side in 2013.) Already I’ve found a scandal. I’m actually building on some research that was done by my great-aunt in the pre-computer age and she claimed that my great-grandfather was assigned to an Army post at Leavenworth, Kansas but the 1900 census shows that he was listed as an inmate. I’ll bet she never thought that cat would get out of the bag! So here I was at midnight trying to research why he was in prison…most likely for desertion from his infantry post, I suspected. Wrong. When I mentioned this to my oldest niece she was able to find proof that in 1900 Leavenworth was a hospital, not a prison. My great-grandfather had taken a bullet in the head during the war and was mostly likely he was being treated for reoccurring issues. It’s funny how people you’ve never met can come to life when you start fleshing them out on a genealogy chart. Then again, I’m the person who thinks an electric egg cooker is fascinating, so don’t go by me. Most people’s eyes get glazed over from boredom when you talk about genealogy too long, so I’m stopping right here. ©

18 comments:

  1. Everybody is more interesting when fleshed out. Alive or dead! Are there diaries or letters your mom's ancestors left behind?

    I'm curious to know, in three months time, where the egg cooker will live. It sounds like less work. Fool proof. But lousy company. For this gal, it would have to deliver a chirpy 'Hello! How are you?" along with its perfect soft boiled egg, plus crispy toast and hot steaming coffee.

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    1. The egg cooker does make perfect eggs with three different settings. In three months it may not as much use (I made 6 a week now on the diet) but it's not going anywhere, I've made a space for it in the cabinets.

      One of my mother's aunts was a newspaper editor from age 16 to her mid-nineties, and even after that she still set type for printing orders until she was 101. She lectured about history at the schools and wrote three books on local history. She also wrote 12 pages of history on one of my mother's branches going back to 1550. I have a cousin who did other side of my Mom's family. Basically what I'm doing is feeding it all into ancestry.com to double check the facts. Plus that will allow me to import that information in the form of trees and charts, census records, passenger lists, photos of historical markers, time lines, etc. into my book. When my aunt died, 100 years of newspapers bound by year documenting a town's history went to a near by college. (Her father before her started the newspaper.) Now, it's time to put mom's family history into a concise form that my family will keep. And as for diaries, several relatives way back were famous during Revolutionary Times and their writing is easy to find and my aunt's research includes lots of stories of relatives she knew personally who were born in the 1800s.

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    2. Wow. Cool. A lot of record keeping in your family! What would you like done to your diaries when you're gone?

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    3. I told my niece I want them burned 10 minutes before I die but what I'd like to do is go through them, take out the good stuff and put it in a book form and then get rid of the rest. The only think stopping me is that as a whole, the redundancy of my teen and 20s boy crazy years kind of tells a story in itself. One time as a gift to my best friend through out grade and high school I went through my diaries and copied all the quotes about her. She was a diary keeper too but got rid of them all when she got married. This past New Years day was the first time in my life that I didn't crack them open for a few laughs.

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  2. I love to think about a new house -- floor plans, location, size. I'm not even moving and I waste so much time on real estate websites in places I think would be nice to live. At least in your case you have a real plan.

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    1. Right now, it's frustrating because there are so few places for sell in my target area. that will probably change in the spring, but I can see that you'd have to be ready to make an offer the minute something comes up. And I'm not ready to do that. I want to spend the summer downsizing. BUT if I don't keep studying the market and target area, I won't recognize a good fit for me when I am ready to move. I did find out that I can use a bridge loan on my house (because it's paid off) to buy another so I won't have to touch my savings. The loan will get paid off after my house sells. I have a one year plan...

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  3. A senior park is nice. I lived there once and I wasn't a senior yet. I was grandfathered in so to speak. Instead of dogs and screaming kids you have old people that complain about everything. It's a tradeoff. Bless their hearts.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Oh, my, I am generally not a complainer but I know you're right judging by some of the things Judy (in her blog) writes about her neighbors.

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  4. It's exciting to plan for the future. Wherever you land. It's a whole new life practically. Heck, I'm looking forward to making scale models of my condo and furniture to jazz it up a bit ... maybe seasonally.

    I love eggs! Does it really make soft boiled as well as hard? Might be worth a little counter space ...

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    1. Yup, it comes with a little cup to measure the water you put in the cooker. It creates the steam and the cooker automatically turns off when the water is gone. The amount of water put in determines if you get a hard, soft or medium hard boiled egg.

      There is so much to consider when moving. The manufactured home parks have swimming pools and activities but no garages which is a downer here in Michigan. The condos cost a lot more, have garages and only some of them have club houses and activities. I found a condo that is perfect but the international airport is only a few miles away and I'd have to go out there to see how noisy that is. I am going to drive myself crazy before this project is finished.

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    2. After a few months, you won't even hear the airport. I lived on a super busy street, night and day, yet one night there was a horrible crash, right in front of our house ... neither of us heard anything! I'd definitely vote for the garage!

      Who knew there so many kinds of egg cookers! One even poaches! I'm thinking about it ...

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    3. I think my poaches but I've never had a poached egg in my life, can you believe it!

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  5. Hoping this finally posts! Found you yesterday and just want to say thanks!

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Carla! Thank you for trying to post again!

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  6. I have yappy dogs and complaining neighbors. The noisy kids live in the newer part of the park. My manufactured home is very well insulated and double paned windows, so I hear none of this--only in summer when windows are open. Manufactured homes have certain manufacturing standard codes by Michigan Law. They usually have 6 inch walls and blowing in insulation top/bottom and sides. Also double paned windows with the argon gas in between. Supposedly much better than a Modular Home. Some parks do allow garages or car ports. People in this park just have digital starters for their cars. Start the car from inside your home and go out and get in when it is warm and all windows defrosted. BTW--NO park would throw you out because Levi barked--unless he barked 24/7 AND those little dogs are much more annoying to others as they yip and yap in a high piercing bark kind of thing. I personally would prefer a Lab or Rotweiller living next door. but I'd take a Schnauzer any day over the yippy Shitzu like we have around here. :-)

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    1. Shitzus really are annoying aren't that. I don't like the way the look either. I'd have Levi's vocal cords cut before I'd get rid of him if barking became a problem. Or I'd try the collars that curtail barking. He really is a good dog if not for squirrels, morning doves and rabbits getting him all worked up. I'd have to stop feeding them in a denser living place. I've had small poodles and they didn't bark much at all. You can train that out of them. Getting a Schnauzer was a mistake because barking at small prey is in their DNA but I love him now, faults and all.

      That's really great input on the manufactured homes and parks. Thanks for that! I've wondered how they sound inside and if you can feel the wind, etc. I've pretty much ruled out the Modular Homes because they cost as much as regular built houses when you add up the lot, all the site work, putting in a yard, etc They just go up faster than regular building. If I want to spend that much I'd have our builder do new construction because I trust him. I'll have to check on the car ports at my target parks I don't remember seeing them but I wasn't looking for them either.

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  7. Your new gadget looks like fun. Looking for an excuse to buy a pretty, new blender reminds me of my food processor. Dad gave it to us back in the early seventies. It makes so much noise when you turn it on, it's scary, but it works perfectly fine and is over forty years old. How many things can you say that about? So I keep it.

    My DIL did a little research on our family tree. Your grandpa story is a hoot. Nothing like a colorful family history.

    Looking for a new place is exciting. I think it's one of the biggest changes we can make in our lives. So much changes when you move. I love the idea of the zero steps community with a club house and social schedule. Of course, you'd have to find out about Levi first. No one gets left behind.

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    1. I inherited my mom's mixer set that was as old as your food processor and when we downsized to move in this house I had to sell it in a garage sale. I still wish I hadn't. The new ones just aren't made to last. I will probably find a way to talk myself into a new blender. 15% off weekend at my favorite store? Good blender buying days.

      They just said on the news just a few minutes ago that anyone wanting to buy a house in Michigan, now, better plan on standing in line because inventories are shrinking. Isn't that always the way when it's something you want? At least I'm in a good position because I don't have to move which is different than wanting to move. And I can offer cash instead of financing if the right place came along..

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