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, November 18, 2015

Condo Rules, Widowers, Breasts and Pocket Change---Oh, My!



I went to an open house on Sunday of a free standing condo in my target area and price range. Loved the place except for the carpeting and paint which are easy enough to replace. They have a beautiful dog walking path, perfect for Levi and me. Flat as a pancake and it starts within 50 feet from the condo. I asked about the dog policy in the community of 50 condos and found out you can’t even put in an offer on the place until you get approval on your dog from the condo board. You fill out a form, provide a photo and DNA of your dog and wait for them to call you in for a doggie interview. DNA? Okay, I do get why they want a poop sample for residences who might make a habit of not picking up after their dogs but why would you have to pay to provide and process one before you’ve even made an offer on a house? 

I called the condo management company the next day to see if I could get more information on their dog rules like weight and breed restrictions, etc. I know many places have a 25 pound limit and Levi is 27 pounds and he’s got nothing to lose. The woman started rattling off restrictions pertaining to keeping birds inside your condo. Birds! Inside! Only one per condo. In my wildest dreams I never dreamed condo boards would get that deep into your pet business. Then she started in on cat rules but I was still processing that they have a bird rule and I didn’t hear what she was saying about felines. Finally, she got to the paragraph on dogs and it was vague on size and weight saying only words to the effect that everything was at the discretion of the board. You can’t have underground fencing---duh, you don’t own the land---or tie a dog by your back door. You have to walk it every single time. And anytime they want, the board can vote your dog off the island. “Put your condo up for sale or take a trip to the kill-shelter,” they could order. “Last night your dog peed ten feet short of the dog walking trail and we have yellow DNA in snow to prove it.” But the condo board are all lovely people, the manager told me when I balked a little about the each and every time rule. Yes, lovely people who get bent out of shape about someone having a cage full of parakeets.
 
On the way home I stopped at the Guy-Land Cafeteria and an old guy struck up a conversation with me while the cashier was off chasing down change for 100 dollar bill from a customer ahead of us in line. “I see you eat breakfast anytime of the day,” he said. “I do. Especially when I come here.” “Me, too,” he replied. Then he went on to tell me about the wife he lost who always made big breakfasts on Sundays and how he can’t seem to make everything come together at the same time when he tries to make breakfast at home. “Don’t feel bad,” I told him, “I’ve been trying to do that my entire adult life and I still can’t do it.” I visualized him taking out a pencil and crossing me off the list of possible lady friends. Seriously, though, I don’t know how long ago he lost his spouse but it was still painful for him to talk about his loss.

The Guy-Land Cafeteria does get a few women customers and this time there was a table with four generations in attendance. When the youngest one got hungry her mom took her to the bathroom where I found the young mother still sitting on a toilet stool fifteen minutes later. It made me sad/mad to see her there nursing with toilets flushing around her. One of my great niece-in-laws is militant about (discreet) breast feeding in public places and I admire her dedication to the cause. I've followed some of the Facebook discussions on the topic and I can’t believe how much attitudes have changed since I was a kid when I often saw breast feeding mothers. When did it become disgusting to so many people to the point that we have to have a movement to bring back the notion that breasts are not pornographic when used for the purpose they were intended?

After lunch I stopped at the dollar store to pick up some things for a Red Hat Society tea later in the week. We’re packing Christmas gift bags for nursing home residents again. As I paid the cashier she asked me if I wanted my (seven cents) change. “As opposed to what?” I asked thinking there must be a charity box for change near-by and she was suggesting I donate it. “Well, a lot of people don’t want their small change,” she said. This was the fourth time this year that's happened to me and at three different places. One time my change was seventy-something cents! All I could think of to answer back was “Yes,” but I wanted to ask the cashier where all that extra change goes at the end of the day. What ever happened to having retail registers balance at the end of the day and cashiers couldn’t leave until they did? I’m age-challenged to understand why/how this ask-people-if-they-want-their-change thing came about. Wanting my seven cents made me feel both church mouse poor (as if I really needed it) and Mr. Scrooge rich (as if I didn't want someone else to have it) at the same time. I couldn’t decide which but it wasn’t good either way. ©

20 comments:

  1. I haven't had anyone ask me if I want my change yet, but I have been asked if I want to donate a dollar to.... whatever the cause de jour was. Also, there was a thrift shop that I frequented when I lived at Dad's. They kept a jar on the counter and always asked if you wanted to donate your change.

    That condo's doggie rules are a little over the top. DNA!?! I've never heard of that. "Everything was at the discretion of the board." I wouldn't be comfortable with that. They should have specific rules that apply to everyone - no arbitrary decisions regarding Levi... even if he can't lose weight. I'd be voted off the island in a millisecond.

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    1. The donate a dollar or round up your change for charity is common around here but it goes in the cash register and shows up on your receipt that you donated. This dollar store and the other two places aren't doing that.

      The dog DNA around apartment houses is common. I just didn't know condos did it too. The 'at the discretion of the board' makes me uncomfortable. I always pick up after Levi but he often he wants to go out after midnight and I can't see myself walking him then, especially in the winter.

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  2. And one more thing... I'm surprised that the board's reach extends inside the homeowners residence. My rebel side would feel compelled to get two birds.

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    1. That's what shocked me, that a condo board could make rules for inside beyond what the township says about animals. When I asked about why a rule about birds she couldn't tell me. She was just manning the phones and reading from a book. This is the first time I've asked about condo rules so I have a lot to learn. I might have to start looking for a small house but I really don't want that because very few around here are built without basements like the zero step condos.

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  3. How in the world do you check a dog's DNA? Here, we have to pay $10.00 extra a month in rent if we have a dog. Used to have a 25# weight limit too and Fred's dog weighed 29#, so I just lied. Now, I see all sorts of big dogs around, so that weight restriction must have been changed. Suppose to pay an extra $10.00 a month for EACH cat too, so I lied again, when we got them. My cats never go outside so who's to know if I even own any? As for the change thingy, haven't run into that as yet and wouldn't quite trust the store to donate it. I keep all my change and drop it in the Red Kettle on the way out of the store. As for breast feeding? Can you believe I NEVER saw a woman breast feeding a baby until my first grand child was born? and even then, with just the two of us in the room, my daughter put a thin blanket over her shoulder and covered the scene. I admit, I would be uncomfortable with a woman openly breast feeding a baby in a public place--without the blanket covering the scene. Back in the late fifties, when my first babe was born, the whole thought of breast feeding grossed me out. It wasn't a popular practice back then--usually only poor women breast fed, formula was supposed to be so much better. Then my husband made some crude remark about desiring to watch me breast feed and that grossed me out even more, so because it wasn't popular, I escaped the whole process. If husband was so fascinated in watching the little nipper eat, I'd hand him the bottle and the kid and HE could feed him. HAH!

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    1. The problem with lying about Levi's weight would be that if anyone had a problem with me or him or just plain didn't like dogs the condo board would have an excuse to vote him off the island. When we rented an apartment while the house was being built we paid $20 a month for him. I don't get charging extra for cats when you own your mobile home and your cats don't go out. Just don't tick of Dar. I could see her reporting your cats if she knew you don't pay the extra fee. DNA for dogs is a growing thing around apartments. A few bad apples/irresponsible owners spoil things for everyone.

      I am shocked you never saw a breast feeding baby until you got a grandchild. Maybe because I had a lot of Italian relatives that I did? But I remember others as well doing it. Formula came on the market between my brother and me and I was the one who got tons of allergies because my mom bought into the "it's healthier" than breast feeding. They know better now. Babies are sweet to watch nurse either way.

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    2. Rules, rules, rules. You can ask (and I would) for a copy of the CC+Rs, ByLaws and any House (or Administrative) Rules. I have never heard of the DNA testing ... but it's a good idea if you have someone who doesn't pick up. They can easily identify the culprit! Expensive, but fair.

      Our condo says 2 domestic pets. They are considering having breed specific or size specific. I may recommend the DNA testing ... we have a LOT of people who do not pick up!

      The Maui HOA rules say a "reasonable number" of domestic pets ... which allows the Crazy Cat Lady to host so many. Now that I am on the Board, we are going to restrict that to five pets.

      I LOVE BREAKFAST!

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    3. I really don't have a problem with the DNA testing for dogs, especially in apartment housing but I'd protect the heck out my dog's droppings so they couldn't get stolen and him set up for a crime we didn't comment. We once had a neighbor who was fighting with another neighbor and that neighbor went around the neighborhood collecting dog poop and put it all over the other person's car.

      I think breed and size specific rules are wrong but limiting to two domestic pets in high density areas is fair. I can't believe your crazy cat lady! We have township and city laws against animal hoarding---probably state, too---and I can't believe that Maui doesn't! At least twice a year someone makes the news for animal hoarding and the animals are taken away and the person goes to court. Five is a reasonable number of cats if they are all fixed and can't breed.

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  4. I'd never move into that condo. They must have problems galore. Good grief those pet rules are over the top.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Makes you wonder what other rules they have, doesn't it. I've learned one thing important, though....look at the condo rules before even thinking of putting in an offer, don't just take the owner's word.

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  5. I learn things from your blog. Re small change, it's only a few cents now, then a couple of dollars....Why should I be shamed out of my change?! I prefer to donate to a charity of my choice. Plus, I've never known a store (exception being small owner owned stores) to say - when I'm hunting for the last 5c , to say "forget it". Admittedly 5c multiplied by zillion customers is no small change, but it's the principle of the matter.

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    1. It's the principle of the matter for me, too. The store cash register receipt had a website on it to take a survey about my shopping experience. I usually ignore that stuff but this time I took the time to fill one out and let the change headquarters know I don't appreciate being asked if I want my change. If I hear anything back, I'll let you all know.

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  6. Yikes! However flat the walking paths, a condo association that does not ever allow a dog to be tied outside for a few minutes to relieve itself does not seem very friendly to older people who live alone. What happens if you get sick? Or have a broken bone? No matter -- you still have to get out and walk the dog. I could understand a rule that dogs can never be left out barking and disturbing the neighbors or left to run loose. But this seems really over the top. -Jean

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    1. It's really disappointing! Especially since a good share of the condos in this community are zero steps condos with features for older people like wide hallways and doorways, level door handles, tall toilets.That's one of the reasons I like it. I don't know much about condos so it's a learning curve for me. I might end up with just a smaller house, but that's not my first choice. I want to leave snow shoveling behind.

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  7. DNA testing???? Why? That's just weird. I guess I understand the "rules" on dogs (likely trying to keep out the big potentially dangerous ones?) but really...I'd be worried too that some dog-hating board could disrupt your living situation over a dog issue of their choosing. Nope.

    Breastfeeding. JUST DO IT IN PUBLIC! The more mothers demonstrate the normalcy of it, the less people will find it objectionable. I'm appalled that women have to sit on the toilet to breastfeed. My DIL breastfeeds very discreetly with a blanket thrown over baby and breast. Everyone likely knows what's going on under there, but they don't get to watch. Shame has no place in ensuring babies are getting the best nutrition possible and relegating women to a stinky, germ-ridden restroom should be the cause for shame. Sheesh! (Stepping off soapbox...)

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    1. I can actually understand the DNA requirement in apartment houses and condos that are stacked. Finding poop in a hallway or elevator would not be fun. You have a dog, you need to be responsible. But strict condo rules are making rethink the condo idea. I just can't imagine putting on my winter clothing and boots each time Levi wants to pee.

      You sound like my great niece-in-law. JUST DO IT IN PUBLIC! She's taken part in demonstrations with 20 or so other nursing mothers at malls, parks, etc. I just can't believe that half naked women can walk around or be on TV with their breasts falling out of their dresses and no one complains but take out a nipple to feed a baby and it's like we're back in Victorian times.

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    2. Amen! Crazy double standard. I think it smacks of sexism. Women as sex objects are fine. Women as mothers, caring for their babies? Not so much...since it reminds what those breasts are actually for!

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    3. What gets me is it isn't just men who don't like seeing a baby breastfeed in public. Some women are also very much against it, even discreet breast feeding.

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  8. I would be very, very nervous about those pet rules the Condo association has. Of course, I've heard some real stories about HOAs, etc. The problem isn't the rules when you move in -- it can be what happens after. One thing you might find out is if they change the rules, you can be grandfathered in. For example, if they were to go to "no dogs over ten pounds", would you be allowed to stay? I'd get that in writing and looked over by an attornet before I signed on the dotted line, methinks.

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    1. I know what you mean! it's a scary thought.The fact that they can change the rules makes me nervous! I think a person with a pet has less opportunity to even buy a condo because while you're getting your dog approved someone else without pets could come in and make an offer that doesn't depend on the boards approval.

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