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

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Day Trip and Lawyers



Thursday I hopped on the senior hall bus for a short trip to have lunch, then tour a city facility. Raise your hand if you’ve been to a plant that turns what you flush down the toilet into clean drinking water. That’s where we went. I must say, that place was cleaner than any factory or commercial building I’ve ever seen. The walls were white, the floors light gray and the computerize equipment was black. The giant piping, motors, blowers and holding tanks were painted in colors like salmon, aqua, pink, yellow and blue. The outside is designed to look like a large farm. I’ve driven by the place 100’s of times and never guessed what went on in that collection of buildings. Only one building had an odor inside---where they make dirt (like in gardens) in huge vats that look like cement mixers. And the air from that building is piped to another building that filters out the smells with a house-size block of charcoal before releasing it into the outside air.  

This state-of-the-art water and sewer authority services thousands of homes plus everything that goes down the storm grates in the streets. They discharge the end resulting clean water into our river that takes it out to Lake Michigan where it eventually ends up in our tap water. The neighboring city, and thousand like it across the country, skip the middle man---the river and Lake Michigan---and pipe their cleaned sewage directly into tanks that supplies water to the city. Anyone who was brave enough on the tour could have tasted the water that came down its last trough. It’s certified as drinking water---looked crystal clear---and is held to a standard higher than our neighboring city that pipes the water directly into homes. If you like glass beakers of every size and shape you’d love the lab in this place. They test constantly. 

I learned a few things I won’t forget: 1) never flush "flushable" wipes because they don’t break down and often bring neighborhood pumping stations to a halt. When that happens, the pump automatically places satellite calls to several people who get the yucky job of cleaning out the pump; 2) whenever I buy toothpaste and facial scrub I need to check the labels for micro-beads because they can’t filter those out and eventually they end up in our bodies. They are finding them inside Great Lakes fish in great enough numbers to be seen with the naked eye; 3) never flush medications because many of them can’t be filtered out, especially antibiotics and anti-seizure meds; and 4) they can’t filter out artificial sugar or caffeine so even if you’re trying to avoid those chemicals, you’re going to get them in your water. 

I had to go to my lawyer this week, too, for a three year check up on my legal stuff. It was pretty simple since none of my heirs have moved, died or done anything to make me want to cut them out of my will. I had a few questions about having a will and going through probate vs. having a trust---the pros and cons of each. And another question about why the banks keep nagging me to put beneficiaries on my accounts instead of ‘the estate of Jean so-and-so.’ These are topics that come up at the senior hall often but I keep forgetting the answers as to why my lawyer recommends what she does which is the opposite of what the ladies at senior hall say is smart. I’ve been called “dumb to do it that way” often enough that I actually had a session with the free legal services for seniors just to double check what my own lawyer was telling me. The second opinion, confirmed the first for MY situation. I hate this kind of stuff! I would rather bury my head in the sand and sing “la, la, la, la, la” when it comes to money and lawyers. On the good side, my lawyer gives hugs to senior citizens. Very firm hugs. I haven’t had one of those since I asked my lawn care service guy for one a month ago. He gave me two. Don’t be alarmed. I haven’t take up accosting casual acquaintances for hugs. My lawn care guy is also my nephew. ©

14 comments:

  1. We don't put anything down the toilet except waste. Okay toilet cleaners too. Yikes. That would have been an interesting tour.

    We've done all those things years ago and the family knows where to find the folder with all the information they need. I don't care much about doing that stuff either.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. It was an interesting tour! I asked the tour guy what the weirdest thing is they've found in the filters. He said, money and my imagination thinks it might have been from a drug deal and the cops were beating on the door. But they get dead birds, toys, combs, razors, etc.

      Enjoy the weekend.

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  2. I'm like you with money...I would prefer to ignore the details and have done so for so many years that I am now trying to educate myself!

    Years ago I heard a report on the radio that said that you shouldn't throw ordinary tissues down the toilet either...that they don't break down in the same way as toilet paper. And I know that there have been many issues with drugs being flushed down toilets and remaining in the water but I didn't know it was equally true for caffeine. We really are our own worst enemies.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. The tour guy said that had so much trouble in one neighborhood with the pumping station coming to a stop because of wipes they had to send letters out street by street to pinpoint the people doing it. That would be embarrassing to have them come knock on your door. LOL

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  3. I went to the water treatment plant when I lived in Saginaw. Amazing it is and yes, I tasted the water. We have well water here, but none of us drink it. I will drink the well water up at The Farm, but not in this place--to many people living here and using chemicals on their lawns!

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    1. I didn't drink the water, though it looked amazing. I filter my water here in the house but I do have city water. My little filter changes the taste so I know it's doing something.

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  4. How interesting. I keep learning something new from you. First the definition of an island and now about the micro-beads. I didn't know about those. I should have, but I didn't. I will have to check on it. We had such a time with one of Dad's caregivers. She liked to flush the 'flushable' wipes, and no matter how many times we asked her not to, she continued. My brother had to get the line cleaned out several times. I never flushed Dad's meds, but interestingly enough, on the night Dad died the hospice nurse flushed all of the meds after asking one of us witness it. H did the honers.

    We have county water, but we filter it through a filter on the fridge.

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    1. There is a movement to try to pass a law to get micro-beads out of products, at least sold around the Great Lakes---they are pretty new to begin with---so I had heard about them before this tour. I'm surprised that a hospice nurse wouldn't be up on the latest recommendations for getting rid of drugs. Here, we can take them to a drop box at the police station if we don't want to put them in the trash after mixing them with a little water. I dropped off all of Don's.

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  5. You do the most interesting things! What a great tour. And ... good advice to have a tune up meeting with your lawyer every few years. I've already softened on my stance from just two years ago so every three years sounds perfect. A work in progress.

    Actually, I'm going to be happy to just get out and about soon!

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    1. My lawyers sends out a letter every three years to touch bases with a free appointment. I'll bet yours will, too.

      Knee surgery recover is going well for you!

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  6. Fascinating information about water treatment. It makes me realize the ways that Maine is ahead of the curve on clean water issues: all pharmacies have to take back leftover prescription medicines so that they don't get flushed, and the legislature just passed a law banning the sail of products with microbeads. At first, I was upset about getting artificial sweeteners, which I studiously avoid, in my drinking water -- but then I remembered, I'm on a private well. ;-) -Jean

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    1. Here, the pharmacies can take back medications but returns are not mandatory. Unfortunately, some pharmacies have been caught reselling them which isn't legal. The police stations take them back, to keep them off the streets. I think laws to ban products with micro-beads are working their way through the courts of the Great Lake states. Hopefully, companies will voluntarily remove them if enough states get on board. I use a scrub with them in (just found out) and I will miss it.

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  7. I can help you out with that scrub. I've moved over to all Zum products -- no artificial anything, and I just love them. I use their lotions, bath salts, soaps, and -- facial scrub. Here's my fav. Because it's sugar based, you just scrub along until it's dissolved, rinse, and go. That $14 sounds a little high, but it does last longer than you'd think. I use it at least 2-3 times a week, and it lasts for a couple of months. Their lotions and soaps are wonderful, too. You'll have fun browsing the catalog.

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    1. Thank you for the recommendation! I'm almost out of mine and I do need to try something new. I had thought the sugar based is the way to go but I didn't have a clue which ones had it. Now I'm going over to the Zum catalog.

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