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, May 14, 2016

Luncheons and Tech Savvy Guys


This week flew by and one of the reasons why is because I spent six hours spread out over two days volunteering to help with the Mother’s Day luncheon at the senior hall. Since I’m not a mother this event seems like a good place to do my suggested-but-not-required volunteer commitment for the year. It’s kind of fun to see a room get transformed from totally empty to tables set up for 115 people complete with colorful placemats, napkins, condiments and table décor. Some patience person made origami birds and they looked cute “pecking” at chocolate kisses placed on the corner of each placemat. The paper birds brought back a memory of my dad. Every night after reading the newspaper he used to make a paper hat or two to take with him to work the next day---Dad could make several styles. He wasn’t alone in that habit. The factory where he worked was not the cleanest place and the guys of his generation knew how to recycle just about everything. I still have a tiny paper hat made especially for one of my teddy bears.

The day of the luncheon is crazy and I would not want to be the luncheon chairperson. She’s in charge of assigning jobs to the volunteers and she has to make sure everything is done according to a time chart. A couple dozen water pitchers get filled and placed on the tables. Coffee and tea gets made and when it’s ready they are served by township officials or candidates running office. We’ve met judges, mayors, representatives, etc. this way. Then when the food truck arrives we volunteers man our stations on an assembly line. I was the potato salad scooper this year. Ten high school kids doing required public service hours run the plates out to the dining room. After everyone is served we get a break until the entertainment is finished, the door prizes have been given out and we volunteers have been thanked while we stand at the front of the room. The cleanup starts so quickly after that that it’s a wonder the people leaving don’t get trampled. They’ve been doing the luncheons this way for years. Somehow it all works out and I’m happy to say I was not the person who dropped a whole tray of salt and pepper shakers.

The next day Nate, my tech guy who makes house calls came to reinstall my printer that mysteriously quit talking to my computer. Windows keeps sending messages wanting me to schedule an update to Windows 10 so I asked Nate if it was a good idea. He said if I don’t upgrade, I won’t see those messages after July because after that everyone who hasn’t done the free upgrade will have to pay for it. If I have any trouble, he said, I have his phone number and he’ll talk me through it. I wish that guy was my grandson! Have you ever seen the TV commercial where a grandmother greets her grandkids at door with a bunch of electronic stuff in her arms and says, “So great to see you! Here, none of this works. Come on in.” That’s the way I feel when Nate comes only I can’t pay him with a pot roast dinner and cherry pie.

Nate’s house call was not the end of my tech issues. After he left I discovered my laptop wouldn’t let me log off. I needed to log off because it’s time to bring it into Nate’s computer repair shop to get its yearly “clean up” and virus control software update and I decided I’ll have them do the Windows 10 upgrade while it’s there. Ya, I know I could do some of that stuff myself but I have more money than time I’m willing to devote to things that drive me crazy. 

Speaking of tech inspired headaches, I finally got my smart phone issues resolved and the credits came through on my credit card for the company’s screw ups. It’s a wonderful gadget and I’m glad I got it but I was disappointed to discover that OnStar raised the data rates for Wi-Fi in my car. Unless I give up my house and move into my Chevy Trax I wouldn’t be paying $15 a month just so I can play on Google while I’m away from the house. If it were a matter of life or death, I can still buy $5 worth of data for the day and do it with the blue OnStar button in the car. I hope my old brain can keep up with all this stuff! ©

NOTE: The photo above was taken at the Mother’s Day luncheon. The guys are playing harmonicas, one of which is 93 years old.

20 comments:

  1. What a wonderful volunteer contribution.

    I hate upgrading especially operating systems. I'm still resisting the new Apple version (El Capitan, I think). It changes every program just enough to make me scream. I need to find a local Nate.

    Happy Friday the 13th (still ... my time!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't got my laptop back yet but already I'm sorry I decided to dot he upgrade from Windows 7 to 10 but grateful it's not desktop. Nate says the changes aren't hard on the learning curve but what does he know about old lady learning curves. He's in his early 20s. LOL But he does know how to talk to old people.

      Delete
  2. I was told NOT to upgrade unless I had a lap top with touch screen and all that stuff. It took me months after XP was defunct to upgrade to Windows 7. I am going to do the same wait and see game with Windows 10. I love my desk top PC and don't want a lap top, nor a smart phone, or a GPS or anything too techy and modern. HAH

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the security issues that Windows 10 is suppose to fix plus you are right about the touch screen aspect. Windows 10 interfaces better between devices, I'm told. I had a hard time leaving XP behind but it didn't take long to learn my way around it 7. I have Windows 7 systems disk so I could go back to that on my laptop if I don't like 10. But I will try. It's brain exercise if nothing else.

      Delete
  3. I do wish our country had a better system for organizing. Volunteers can do so much but aren't being utilized enough. In fact I've found it kind of hard to break into volunteering here.

    I didn't even start with all the new Windows stuff. I just went to Mac. I've used Macs about as much as PCs and prefer so many things about Mac that I didn't even make an attempt at Windows. We have Windows 10 on a computer our daughter got for Bob thinking he would be about to operate it easier, not. Nobody touches it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our Sunday newspaper has a column just for people looking for and wanting volunteers for all kinds of organizations. I'll bet there are other places that collect that information, but if we aren't looking it doesn't jump out at us.

      I picked up my laptop today and after playing with it for about an hour I think I'm going to like Windows 10. I can see how their start screen could be simplified and personalized for an older person to get the around easily. But someone would probably have to do that for Bob then show him how to do it. There are tutorials online.

      Delete
  4. I made a different decision -- I have a brand new machine that I've had for a week, and it's running Windows 7 Pro. I'm completely happy with it. The interface is great, and it's blazing fast. It's a desktop, but I had it built rather than buying it off the shelf. The guys who put it together run a pc/cable company here in town, and they're still reluctant to install Win10 unless someone insists on it. In time, MS will push out the service packs, and all will be well, I'm sure. I've got enough RAM and storage now to keep me for a while -- some gigs to grow on, so to speak!

    The only "complaint" I had was that it took me three days to find my freecell game. It was hidden in the system, but now all is well. We do have our priorities, after all!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the tipping point for me to try Windows 10 is that it interfaces better with my phone and the tablet I want to get in the future. I will not put it on my desktop until I'm sure I really like it, though. I love my desktop just like it is.

      I just wish the computers would quit changing!!!!!

      Delete
  5. I have just returned from a day in Ottawa, Ontario with 21 members of my band. We have a sister band in Ottawa that we get together with twice a year. They visit us in November, hopefully while some of the autumn leaves are still on the trees and we visit them during tulip festival in May. For the past few years the band in Montreal has been a part of the gathering as well. We had over 100 people today. We played music for three hours and then had a wonderful pot luck. This is all people over 50 many of whom have returned to playing instruments after many years. So your picture of the men playing harmonica was especially relevant today for me. I think it is so exciting to see older people being involved in such worthwhile pursuits as music. For me it has been superb!

    Our computer died about a year ago...the tech guy thought it might have been hit by lightning. We were going to replace it but months went by and we didn't. All we were using our computer for was to store pictures. My husband and I both have an iPad and they seem sufficient. Eventually we have to find a way to store our pictures from the camera but I think ipad will eventually have the needed cable. No more windows for me once I worked on apples!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful and inspiring event you took part in! A 100 people all playing must have been amazing. Can you believe one of the guys in that harmonica band was 93! They explained each of the instruments to us which was really interesting.

      My problem with laptops and Ipads is I can't seem to type on them without a lot of mistakes. I have one of the curved keyboards. I have never known an Apple user who was not happy with their device.

      Delete
  6. I nearly laughed out loud at your comment, "I just wish the computers would quit changing!!!!!" I'm against all change unless I myself initiate it. :-)

    Fortunately I allow my husband to decide which operating system we use on our desktop computers and, so far, he has decided that we will continue to use Windows 7 for now. He wants all the glitches on W10 to be discovered and fixed before we will even consider changing.

    I enjoy reading your blog, although I rarely comment. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!

      From what I've heard from my tech guy is that since Windows 10 is no longer going to be free in July that the company feels the glitches are out of them. I hope so. I was having glitches with 8 in my laptop so it seemed like a good time to switch. Time will tell.

      Delete
  7. My computer manufacturer (Sony) advised against the upgrade because Sony is no longer making computers and they don't have drivers for Windows 10 to run everything I'm running now. When I upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7, I discovered that I could no longer use my printer because there was no Windows 7 driver for it and could no longer download photos from my camera to my laptop with a cable (I had to buy a special plug-in card reader). I'm planning on a new computer in the next year or so, so I'll just wait and get Windows 10 then. -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you're overdue for a new computer and probably a printer. From what little I've played with the 10 it's not much different than 7 except its more secure, they say, and it's formated for easier use on smaller devices. There is even a feature that allows you to go back to a start menu like on 7 if you don't like the changes 10 made with the start ups in boxes on the opening screen instead of a list form off to the side. I've found some tutorials online so I am having fun personalizing things.

      Delete
  8. Nice to get out of the house plus do a good deed, so well done.

    I hate upgrading computers, but Jean R. is right - it is a mental challenge and keeps the grey cells working. Generally like the change once I'm over the learning curve. However, I've never mastered any system to want to personalise it so go along with the default settings. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm one of those people who buy the manuals (like for Windows 10) and tries different things like personalizing and finding the things I wouldn't have known where there if I didn't read. It's brain exercise. What would we do without our computers? They keep so many of us connected to the outside world...and worlds far away.

      Delete
  9. How neat that you have a paper hat your Dad made. I'd forgotten about those newspaper hats we made way back then. Do you have any photos of your Dad in his paper hats?

    I made the Windows 10 plunge in January, with the latest windows phone and touch screen laptop. It's super! So now, without any effort, my phone, tablet and laptop are in sync. Of course the transition was a pain in the ***. That required hours, driving to the Microsoft store for free hands on help, and hours on the phone (a 2 yr subscription) with the help desk crap shoot. The folks AT the Microsoft store were fantastic, but sometimes I didn't want to drive the 2 hour round trip.

    So I'm happy overall. I still lost photos in the transition. even though they should be on the external hard drive I backed everything up on. Luckily I never erase my camera's memory cards.

    I hate setting aside hours for technology learning curves. We have a life, you know? Remember when conveniences were actually convenient?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may I have a photo of dad in a paper hat, not sure. It was taken at work and he's wearing a hat but I don't know were to find the photo right now to check if it was cloth or paper.

      I have Carbonite on my desktop so there is no way I can lose files, programs and photos if I go to windows 10 but I will lose my printer hook up which is a pain in the neck since I just paid to have it set up again. We don't have a Microsoft store anywhere around here. Boo Woo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
  10. I told my daughter-in-law on Mothers Day that they should move next-door. I could use some tech-savvy next-door neighbors. H is pretty good, though. He usually can figure things out with a little effort and time devoted to it. I don't have the patience.

    That is so cool that you have the paper hat your dad made.

    It sounds like the Mother's Day dinner went off without a hitch... except for the salt and pepper shaker incident. :( What a nice event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually do have a IT guy by profession living next door but I don't really know him well enough to go to him for help. He's also got two kids under 4 and doesn't have a lot of time at home and I wouldn't want to take him away from his family. His wife is a veterinary so I'm saving my favors for emergency situations with Levi.

      I'm always amazed at how well our senior director makes everything go so smoothly with a bunch of volunteers.

      Delete