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 1, 2015

Highlights and Disappointments



This past weekend relatives of my husband were supposed to pick up a Hoosier cabinet that had belonged to Don’s parents and that we had restored back to its original glory a few years back. I was giving it to them, just to keep it in the family. It took me two days to unload, sort and pack up all the pressed glass I kept inside. She was thrilled about the idea and had since last August to discuss the decision to take the piece with her husband. She knew just where in the house she was going to put it and less than a week ago she was excited about the idea of searching eBay to complete the original canister set that came with the cabinet when it was new back in 1920s. You can guess what’s coming, can’t you. Saturday I got a call. The husband doesn’t want cabinet, refuses to pick it up and talk about an awkward conversation that one sure was! She felt bad. I was in shock. She suggested she could call around to see if she could “find someone else to take it” and although her saying that shouldn’t have ticked me off, it did. Big time. If I’m going to give away something that I could easily sell for upwards of $700 I’ll be the one to decide who to give it to, thank you very much. No one needs to do me a favor to “take it off my hands” when the auction house’s pickup service is just a phone call away. Thankfully I didn’t say that but the words were itching to roll off my tongue.

After hanging up the phone, I tried moving the Hoosier out to the garage but even though it’s on casters it wouldn’t budge. I walked around the house looking for another place to put the restored ice box when it comes back from the refinisher after Christmas---it was earmarked to replace the Hoosier in my dining area---and I found a place on my sun porch that just requires me to move a small chest of drawers. I spent the rest of the day unpacking my pressed glass and putting it back in the Hoosier. That cabinet can damn well sit where it’s at until and if I have an actually moving date. Between this experience and the bed that took months to pick up, I'm threw with the drama of giving things away! Well, that’s not true. I have some pieces in my basement promised to someone on my side of the family. And Wednesday I’m delivering a mantel clock to my brother-in-law. At least he and his wife discussed the acquisition and are in agreement. I know they did because I was there to witness it. Isn’t it fascinating when the internal power structure of a marriage is revealed like it was with the Hoosier cabinet fiasco? How could a woman know for three months that she wanted to take a piece of furniture and not talk it over with her husband until the pickup was supposed to take place? Or maybe she did talk about it, he listened without saying anything and she took his silence as agreement. Women and men do that. 

On to the highlights. Last night I went to the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas show, a live concert billed as having “dazzling multimedia effects.” I had no idea who or what the Mannheim Steamroller is, but I signed up for the show through the senior hall, hopped on their bus and let the multimedia effects dazzle me for a few hours. And I was dazzled. It was only the second off Broadway show that I’ve ever attended so I’m still wowed with the techno lighting at the performance center---how its colored images flows off the stage and drifts across the fifty ceiling screens above and how the side walls of center changes colors turning the people sitting in the boxes into silhouettes and how the colored lights from the stage flicker across the entire audience, turning us into part of the show. On the huge screen behind the Mannheim Steamroller performers, was an eclectic collection of images going nonstop and most of the time they didn’t seem to connect to the music, so your mind was always challenged to figure out, for example, why ruins in Greece where paired with whales swimming. (Duh, I think I just got it! They probably whale watch off the coast of Greece.) A lot of famous artwork was on the big screen, too. One whole song was taken up with works of Leonard da Vinci’s work. Twenty-seven songs in all were performed, about a third of them Christmas music. It was a good show and, yes, it was worth the $66 for the ticket and bus ride. The senior hall sponsors three or four off Broadway shows a year and they are popular. We had eighty of us in our group. And the more I think about moving away from this townships’ senior hall, the less certain I become about the idea.

It’s good I had the Mannheim Steamroller performance to see so close on the heels of the Hoosier cabinet fiasco because without it to offset that drama I could have got sucked down into a funk. Downsizing is hard enough as it is. The morning after the show I got a Facebook message from the relative asking if I found anyone to take the cabinet. “Yes,” I replied. “Me. And when I no longer have room for it, it will go to the auction house.” I ended the message with a joke about getting my glassware thinned down and washed so she’d know there’s no hard feelings even though, just between you and me, that’s not 100% true…but give me a week or so and it will be. As soon as my back quits hurting from moving around heavy boxes of pressed glass then I'll be able to forget the whole thing happened. ©

18 comments:

  1. Oh gosh! What a pain in the butt! Frustrating, huh? It does make me curious too how couples communicate -- or not. I don't care, really, until it impacts me!

    As to Mannheim Steamroller....we love them! Have seen them twice in concert. We have all their Christmas CD's and they are family favorites. Our sons grew up with them being the soundtrack of Christmas, so that music is part of our tradition. Glad you got the "highlight" after the "disappointment".

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    1. Me, too, on seeing this show the day after the pain in the butt happened.

      You'll be glad to know the Mannheim Steamrollers have a new Christmas album out. I'm not big on Christmas music but a lot of those in our group bought it.

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  2. Family can be...well trying at times. Bless their hearts.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the show. That was a nice thing to replace all the drama.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I'm always amazed at the drama that takes place in families.

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  3. Pardon me, but I think he just didn't want to be bothered by the whole thing -- and that he had no idea what the item was worth. Or, who knows, perhaps they had an argument over something else and he was just getting even with her by not letting her have the item. I was once married to someone like that and that's why I jump to those conclusions... I could be 'way off base.

    After your rave review of Mannheim Steamroller I'm going to youtube to see if there is a video of a performance. You've aroused my curiosity about them. Even though I'm aware that the video won't be equal to being at a performance in person, maybe it will give me an idea as to what their performances are like.

    As always your blog is a blast!

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    1. I don't know what went on between them but she does have a habit of getting tired of things after a couple of years. Maybe he thought the same would happen to my cabinet. Whatever the case, I was really surprised that he the final word on home decorating.

      Mannheim Steamroller has been around for decades, it shouldn't be hard to find them on YouTube, but they have website at:MannheimSteamroller.com

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  4. When I started cleaning out my office last year, I commandeered an empty bookcase in my department's public area and filled it with books that were free for the taking. I considered most of those books desirable; I found many of them hard to part with. But my students weren't particularly interested and most of them eventually ended up in the recycling. It's always tricky when giver and potential receiver don't perceive the same value in the item being given. I am reminded of the mother of a friend of mine who, when she was downsizing, asked each of her children to make three lists: things they really wanted to have, things they would like to have, and things they would prefer to take rather than see them go to Good Will. It worked very well, but I bet she was surprised at some of the items that her children did and didn't value. -Jean

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    1. Gosh, I found books to be the hardest of all to downsize. I did let go of a lot them between the auction house and donating them to the library's sale, but I have a lot more to go that will probably go on eBay, like "The History of Clowns" written in the early 1800s with wonderful illustrations. I would hate to think a book like that would get destroyed because no one at a book sale bought it.

      Your friend's mother had a great idea. When my nieces and nephew had a similar opportunity to pick over my mom's stuff, I was surprised at what they took. One niece went straight to the cupboard and pulled out a yellow bowl that I hardly remembered but to her, it was the best thing in the house. It came with memories attached that none of the rest of us shared, apparently.

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  5. I love the music of Mannheim Steamroller--have many of their DC's. What would irritate me more about calling at the last minute to say they wouldn't be picking up the cabinet, is the fact that they don't seem to want a family heirloom! What is wrong with people nowadays that don't treasure the old treasures--especially family ones?

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    1. This piece actually belonged to the guy's grandparents, not the woman's which makes it even harder to understand. They have a huge house and it's decorated in a style that would have fit right with the Hoosier. This whole thing started when she heard that I was thinking about moving and downsizing and she offered to buy it because she always loved it. I said, no, that I'd give it to her because it would have pleased my husband that it was going to stay in the family. Oh well, let that be a lesson to me.

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  6. DRAMA! I hate it. No matter the reason. But to turn down a family heirloom? Then wait til the last minute!?? GRRRR. Someday we should all do a blog on pet peeves and disappointments and get it ALL off our chests.

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    1. Unfortunately, the people who cause drama rarely see the drama they caused, in this case the packing and unpacking of my glassware. And my back is Still bothering me. I can't quite stand up straight!

      I pretty much blog my pet peeves and disappointments as they happen, so now it's your turn. LOL

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  7. It is interesting to get an inside view of how couples operate, isn't it? I'm so surprised at the experiences you had with the Hoosier and the bed. I'd be a little annoyed at her offering to find someone else to take it, too. She must not realize its worth. As you said, you will shake it off, but it is annoying. I'm like that, too. I get my fathers ruffled, but I get over it... eventually.

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    1. Ya, there are so many worse things going on in the world to hold a grudge over something where no one died but it will take a week or two. At lunch, I was telling the couple's other aunt and uncle about the incident and they, too, were shocked that a couple could have so little communication to let this happen the way it did.

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  8. Bummer about the cabinet. I know she didn't lead you on deliberately, but it would have been nice if she'd checked all the boxes off, like getting her husband's consent!

    Sometimes I wonder what relatives will do with all the big and small items that I treasure, after I'm gone. I don't think they'll have nearly as many heartstrings pulled as I have when I've let go of items I'm sentimental about. In my case, will there even be any relatives left? I'm the youngest, with no children. My nieces and nephews live across the country, with their houses stuffed with their own belongings. Oy

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    1. Reality: Some relatives will just call an estate person in to dispose of things through a sale. Others will call a charity to pick it all up and some will call a trash person to clean out your house. I have a friend who does the latter and he takes most of the stuff he finds in house to an auction house. It shocking the value some families just walk away from because they can't be bothered to look before calling in someone.

      I have a list of small things (jewelry) that I want to go to certain people that is in with my will, but who knows if the house will get cleared out before the list is found. I have given out stuff I'm sentimental about already and I may do more.Then you know they get it and can enjoy it longer.

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  9. My goodness, don't I envy you! I love Mannheim Steamroller, and have for years. We just were talking about them last Friday. We went to a local symphony Christmas pops concert, and they played one Mannheim Steamroller arrangement, and one used by another favorite group, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I tend to prefer traditional carols and older (as in medieval) music, but these two are great -- especially for cleaning house!

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    1. I'm planning to go to more of these kinds of shows. Our old performing arts center had seats so close together that I couldn't tolerate them---my legs would get cramped. But this newest hall makes all the difference. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was there once, so I hope to catch them one day.

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