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 11, 2017

If it’s Not One Thing, It’s Three Things




#1: Poor Levi almost got a ride to Animal ER and any dog person knows that’s a stressful decision, not to mention it costs mega bucks just to walk in the door. No Checks, thank you very much. They take and hold your credit card before you even get into an exam room in case you’re tempted to run out on the bill. I hate animal emergency. There are more crying people and kids in their waiting room than I’ve ever seen in a regular ER. 

Anyway, Friday night Levi was acting squirrely, racing around the house like he was on fire. Every few minutes he’d want to go outside where he’d roll in the snow. The wind chill was 7 below zero, and it so cold I was having trouble just waiting at the door for him to come inside! He alternated racing around and going out to roll for well over an hour. Finally, I started gathering up everything I’d need for a trip to the doggie hospital when I remembered that I’d given Levi a flea and tick treatment Friday afternoon---a different brand than I usually use. So I got out the Dawn liquid dishwashing soap---if it’s safe for ducks it should be safe for dogs---and I washed the area where the medication was applied. And I gave Levi a baby Benadryl which I know is safe because the vet prescribes them to Levi before and after he gets vaccinations. That did the trick and within a half hour he settled down. Saturday morning I had to pick up an order for Levi’s heart worm pills so I took the box of flea and tick medication with me. The technician said that’s Levi's behavior was a common reaction to the over-the-counter meds and that I did all the right things. “Keep him on the Benadryl the rest of the weekend,” I was told, “and bring him in on Monday if he doesn’t seem himself.” Frontline Plus is the only OTC my vet recommends. So the brand I bought for $10 less than Frontline Plus turned out to be more expensive because I’ve got two dosages left over I can’t use. 

#2: Between the holidays we had a day when the temperatures were above freezing and I took some Christmas stuff down to the basement only to find some water on the floor. Long story short I found a crack under my daylight window were the water was trickling in. I called a basement water proofing company, got the estimate and the crew was out on Monday. $480 to drill holes along two cracks (one not leaking but could down the road) then fill the holes with epoxy and cover the cracks with a membrane. It could have been far worse if it had been determined the fix had to be done on the outside of the wall. I was also advised to get longer downspout for one of my rain gutters. There’s always something that comes with home ownership. Still, I am not ready for group living in a condo or apartment. They don’t come with red roses and dark chocolate every day, either. 

#3: I was able to get a new Fitbit at the grocery store. I love that place! For decades they called themselves ‘Thrifty Acres’ because of its size and the good deals they offered, then they changed their name but not their business ethics and policies. It’s such a busy place you never have to worry about expiration dates and when you live alone, that’s important. Online the Fitbit cost $149.00, at my grocery store I paid the same $149.00 but I got a coupon for $15.00 off on my next shopping trip. It’s a typical ploy they use to keep you coming back. Well, heck, I don’t know which direction to take this paragraph now. Do I go on singing the praises of a store I’ve been loyal to for my entire adult life or do I go on to express how happy I am to be able to track my sleep pattern and my calories burned again? Five hours and ten minutes last night and 801 calories so far this morning, in case you’re remotely interested. It took me about an hour to get my new Fitbit up and working and most of that time involved reading posts in the Fitbit community boards. It’s always a comfort when you find others having the same issues setting up or syncing a device. That old-but-simple-and-often-overlooked trick about restarting your computer was all it took. Bingo, I’m a happy camper! 

The Charge 2 Fitbit has features I didn’t have on the Charge HR, like guided breathing. The first time I did it, I thought I’d pass out from all the oxygen going to my brain. Ten minutes to the hour, it also vibrates and flashes messages like, “Get up and move!” "35 steps to goal" “Want to stroll?” but only if you haven’t done at least 250 steps in the past fifty minutes. Levi was greatly entertained by seeing me jump up from my knitting and speed-walk around the house. He took a break from his rabbit patrolling to follow at my heels. As gadgets go, I never lost interest my Fitbit and I had the old one for a year and a half before I broke it. With the new features---including aftermarket interchangeable, fashion bands---I’m glad I was forced to buy a newer model. And I’m guessing Levi feels the same way. ©

35 comments:

  1. Sitting at my desk and having someone tell me to get up and move would either annoy me to pieces and make me break it or give me permission to stop talking to customers and walk away. I fear the former. :-)

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    1. It's a readout and vibration rather than a voice, but so far I'm fascinated with it because the message to move is always worded differently. You can also set the time frame in which you want the messages or turn off the notifications all together. I have mine set for 10 AM to 9 PM and so far, it's making me get up and finish off the 250 steps per hour. Sometimes it only takes 35 steps to do that. Once it said, "Want to go for another 250?" Once it said, "You rocked it!" I'm too sedentary so it's a good tool for me.

      I love the image of you walking away in the middle of talking to customers and customers following along to get their 250 steps in, too. LOL

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    2. What a terrific feature! A gentle reminder to MOVE this old body!! Even if it is indoors. We got about 7 inches of snow overnight!

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    3. Wow, that's a lot of snow for you guys, isn't it.

      I do love the reminders.

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  2. Can the Fitbit be set for less than 250 steps every hour? I walk to my bathroom every hour,, but it's only about 40 steps round trip. I'd be pleased, in the winter, if I got in 400 steps a day! I can do over 1,000 on the days I go to Thrifty Acres. I need a Fitbit for Old Senior Citizens. :-)
    Poor Levi. Can you even imagine the horrible, burning itch he had?

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    1. If it can be set lower than 250, I haven't found a way to do it. I can do a full 250 steps by making 5 turns around my kitchen and dining room. Doing that 10 times a day makes 2,500 steps. When I go to 'Thrifty Acres' I don't register any steps because I'm pushing a cart which is a bumper. Got to have that arm swing to register a step....at least with the wrist model.

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    2. That arm swing thing is how my hair sylist gets 20,000 steps in ... but she doesn't believe me!

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    3. That's funny that she doesn't get it and it would be so easy for her to prove to herself.

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  3. I don't remember if you mentioned and I am simply curious...how did you break the first Fitbit? I'm asking because I thought they were relatively durable!

    That is incredibly good diagnosing with Levi! Wow! It is so fortunate that you were able to remember the flea collar. I'm sure that saved you a lot more hassle. And I'm glad he has recovered.

    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. In my last blog comment section, Donnajurene and I just exchanged the fact that both of our Fitbits broken in the exact, same place and were about the same age---the plastic around where you plug in the charger cord. They've changed the design so you're not putting pressure on that point now, so I'm sure the company knew it was a weak point. She emailed the company and got a 25% discount on a new one.

      I figured I saved myself at least $400. But it was gathering up his medical records that reminded me of the flea treatment. He reacts to vaccines which is why I had baby Benadryl in the house. Now that I know how he acts with the itchy, I can give him one early. He passes out in the vets office after vaccines. I have a lot of allergies so I can sympathize.

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  4. Glad Levi is feeling better. Sounds like he was pretty miserable. My son and his whole family are loyal Fitbit users.

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    1. Thanks. He was miserable.

      I loved my old Fitbit and this one is even more fun. It's got me back tracking my calories in and calories burned, got me walking more too.

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  5. Up like a shot, and off she goes, with Levi romping behind. I can picture you. lol I'm afraid I would 'lose' my Fitbit, if I had one. Come to think of it, I DO have one. I bought Microsoft's 'fit' band last year and haven't even taken it out of its package. It's quite happy on its shelf, and I'm quite happy looking at it now and again. Don't feel a trace of guilt. I've been trying to start a meditation practice for three weeks now. Sitting still is what I need to practice.

    Congrats figuring out what was up with Levi. Could you post a review of your experience with this product on Amazon, or the product website?

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    1. I don't ever take my Fitbit off except to shower so no way of losing it. Why don't you return the 'fit' if you don't plan to use it?

      I buy a lot of stuff at Amazon but not dog medications. LOL I could probably take the unused part back to the store but I'll probably just pass it alone to someone whose dog already uses that brand without issues.

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  6. Poor Mr. Levi! Good thing Mom had her thinking cap on! Saved him a lot of stress (and you) as well as money! Poor little guy. Thank goodness you saved the day!!

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    1. He was starting to show signs of escalating stress which is why I made the decision to take him in which led to remembering the flea and tick treatment.

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  7. Wow, just shows a person not to use the cheaper off brands, although not sure about their safe use either.
    I've changed my mind about getting a fitbit, there is no way I could walk that much.
    Everything comes in threes, "they" say.

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    1. You can turn off that notification to move if you want. It can be scheduled by hours and days, too. 250 steps an hour really isn't that much. In the summers I can do 5,000 a day without even trying.

      I've always questioned the safety of those flea and tick medications, too. BUT ticks are common around here and they are dangerous, not worth taking a chance on. Levi's used the preventative his entire life but this is the first time I've changed brands or he's reacted and he's never had a flea. I know people who don't use preventatives and they've had to have their houses bombed/fogged to kill the fleas their dogs brought in. That's not healthy for people to breathe in either.

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  8. I already love those new FitBit features you describe! I kept thinking I'd just glue the old one and save the $149 when mine still worked "perfectly well", if a bit beat up. I get into the money thing....and then this afternoon I went to an overpriced store at the resort where we are staying and spent almost $120 on two shirts! What was I thinking? And where is my logic???? (I'm sitting here shaking my head at myself....)

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    1. We all have our priorities. LOL

      I emailed Fitbit and got a response that "they are looking into what the can do for me." Did you ever get the free 3 months trainer offer from them? Wish it was summer I might try it. I just got a message that read, "It's stroll o'clock" Some of the messages crack me up. With guided breathing they are trying to be encouraging but it's clear I need to do better.

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  9. What a time you've had! Gosh.
    (ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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    1. I love that little icon you use and wish I could figure out how to do it.

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  10. (ツ) - I copied and pasted.

    You were quite the Miss Marple re Levi's diagnosis - good on you!

    Fitbit's admonishments remind me of when I learnt typewriting/speed typing tests via the computer. I'd get encouraging comments like "Good job! now try just a bit harder". I found it amusing.

    The work PC had some kind of system installed that would remind you to get up and walk every few hours or so. I'm guessing its part of Occupational Health & Safety regulations.

    The downsides to home ownership are as you describe - but, would still have my home than rent, or stay elsewhere! ~ Libby

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    1. Okay, I've got to save (ツ)where I can find it easily. It's SO cute. Thanks for the tip.

      My Fitbit is still coming up with new admonishments every day. Just now it said "feed me 102 steps" and I did. It is better for circulation to get up ever few hours to walk a little bit.

      Except for one year in an apartment after Don's stroke I've always owned where I live. I hate the idea of not having 100% control of what and when I do them. So I take the bad with the good.

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  11. Hi Jean #1 I'm so happy that your sweet dog is feeling much better. #2 Anytime some thing goes wrong, it cost a great deal. Sorry about that.
    #3 Fitbit. I have no idea why you women love the Fitbit. My wife and daughter both have one and their lives are controlled by the darn thing. I wanted to get a radiophone thingy that you put on your ears but I found out it cost over $500 to $1000 . I wanted to bring it on cruise but not now. Why do they make the darn things so that they cost so much? I guess I just bring a book with me.
    18 days to go my friend. I know I keep telling you about the fact my cruise is nearing that time but I can't help it. Sorry about that. You can yell me if you want. LOL

    See ya tomorrow Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I can't wait until you go on your cruise. I hope you blog while you're on it but I'll understand if you don't. I'm excited for you and your wife.

      I thought those radio-phone things would be nice, too, but not for that kind of money!

      I know guys who love their Fitbits, too, but I can see why more women than men do. We're more into dieting. with all the new bands now, it's going to be harder to tell who is wearing them.

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    2. Hi Jean. Just to let you know, While mary Lou & I are on our cruise, I won't be blogging at all but when I get home and I have all my photos are fixed, my entire cruise will be on my blog especially with photos. See ya my friend. Oh by the way, this morning we had thunder & lightning and rain on January 12th. What kind of weird winter are we having? Ha,ha,ha. See ya.

      Cruisin Paul

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    3. Have a wonderful time! I'm be soaking up sunshine vicariously through you.

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  12. Jean,
    I found your blog and I'm so glad. It's a delight to read about your every day experiences -- you write with humor as well as thoroughness. Keep writing!

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    1. Thank you and welcome. I enjoy your blog. I wish I had your talent with brushes and pencils.

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  13. A Fitbit is a great motivator. H likes his. The kids gave him one about two years ago with a two-year warranty. It broke about six months ago, and they replaced it free of charge. I haven't been interested in getting one, but recently I've started rethinking that. It might help me to move a little more. I walk every morning, but I can be very sedentary if left to my own devices.

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    1. The company is really good about that. Mine was out of Warranty but they offered a 25% discount off a new one. I like how you can set your diet goal of 1/2 to 2 pds a week and it will calculate your calories in and out so you always know what how much you can eat at any given time based on your goal and activity.

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  14. And one more thing. Just wanted to say thank goodness Levi is okay... and about your leak in the basement: water is the enemy of a homeowner. We just noticed a water stain on the ceiling in the garage.

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  15. I'm glad to hear you were able to replace your Fitbit so quickly; it seems to really work well for you.

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