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 4, 2017

January Mishmash



Over the past few weeks I’ve discovered my tolerance for being without human contact is four days. On my fifth day with no one to talk to but my shadow I was royalty tempted to tackle the guy who walks his dog promptly at ten and three every day. He’s really cute. The little terrier, not the man although he’s not bad either. Levi thinks so too. He waits by the window twice a day for the terrier (not the man) to leave him pee-mail. How in the heck do dogs tell time? 

When I have too much time on my hands, my brain goes rogue and starts obsessing about things like why two large box stores---Lowe’s being one of them---don’t carry light bulbs that fit inside my refrigerator. Granted mine is fourteen years old and granted the power company sends me a tree’s worth of paper trying get me to invest in new, energy efficient appliances but I’m not buying that you actually save money. Is phasing out large based light bulbs for appliances part of a vast conspiracy to sell more refrigerators? What happens if you put a bulb that isn’t meant for cold temperatures? And how many times do you have to open up a dark refrigerator before you quit being shocked? I went to the Whirlpool parts website and could find icemakers for $243.82, trim parts, screws, crispers, bins and shelves but no light bulbs. But get this, my local grocery store had both the small base and bigger base refrigerator bulbs. I bought two. If they last as long as that first bulb I’d be over a hundred before I’d need another. Darn, I should take one of them back.

Speaking of New Year’s Eve…well, I wasn’t but the light bulbs reminded of the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when I was at the grocery store stocking up on yarn, light bulbs and party food for one. They had all thirty-one lanes open with long lines backed up behind them all. Call me crazy but I like being there when it’s that busy. The energy is different when people are last minute shopping for holiday and super bowl parties. People talk to each other. People covertly snoop in each other's carts while waiting in the checkout line. People ask questions like, “Have you had that cheese before?” “Will you push my cart forward when the line moves? I forgot to get sliced ham!” Sure, lady, but only if you give me a slice of ham in the parking lot to go along with my cheese.

I’m so accustomed to associating the Tournament of Roses with having a big brunch on New Year’s Day while watching it on TV that I forgot that every seven years it doesn’t happen that way. The parade never run on Sundays. When the parade was going on this year I was getting a haircut. What a bummer that was until I discovered it was re-run later in the afternoon on the Hallmark Channel. Can you believe it, I’ve been watching those parades since 1949 when a friend of my parents bought one of the first televisions on the market---a large, boxy piece of “furniture” with a small, black and white screen. There were twenty-some people crowded around his living room that New Year Day. 

In my younger years it was on my Bucket List to volunteer to work on one of those flower covered floats. A floral industry magazine made it sound easy for floral designers like I was back in the day to get a volunteer position helping the week before the parade. They listed contact information and said they’d even help us arrange for accommodations in private homes. My boss at the time didn’t like the idea of two of his employees being gone at the same time and neither one of us wanted to go alone. Booboo! 

My personal “running of the bulls” took place yesterday. It’s the scramble to get my RSVPs in for the next two months of events at the senior hall. You can’t register before 9:00 AM (If you try it, your RSVPs go to the bottom of the list) and by 9:02 much of ‘good stuff’ are already filled up and you go on a waiting list to see if enough people signed up to add a second bus or date. I’ll probably regret not signing up for an off Broadway musical salute to Motown and a dinner show with a guy impersonating Tom Jones but I’m looking forward to the twelve events I did RSVP to including a trip to our art museum. I’m geeked up about going to the art museum even though I’ll have to sit through a classic black and white movie first. I don’t get that pairing---I’d rather do lunch and the art museum---but I’m grateful the senior hall director works hard to give us so many choices---thirty-one with this newsletter, not counting the book or movie clubs and all the exercise classes. I wish those classes didn’t take place when the terrier go by the house. I close the library door when I go away cutting off Levi’s window to the world and getting his pee-mail is a highlight of his days. How’s that for an excuse for not doing Zumba, Pilates, tai chi or yoga? ©

* Stock photo, not Levi.

30 comments:

  1. lol I remember when my mom used to go to a lot of those senior activities, and we'd sometime join her. She doesn't anymore, but they were fun! LOL re the pee mail. ;)

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    1. It's not unusual at this hall to have three generations from the same family attend events. It's a very busy place.

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  2. Pee-mail. Ha! I'm sure the terrier is more dependable than our mail carrier. We never know when the mail will arrive.

    The energy is different in grocery stores just before a big holiday. H went to the store the day before Christmas Eve. When he came home, he said, "Those women were so focused. They were on a mission." I told him it was because they had a million things to do, and no one was doing the grocery shopping for them. I assured him that the men would be in there on Christmas Eve because the women would be at home cooking and waiting for that one ingredient they forgot to get.

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    1. I wish we had a mail carrier who walked to mailboxes. They drive in this neighborhood, never had that before I lived here.

      H has learned how to cook since retiring it's only fair that he learns the ins and outs of holiday shopping. LOL

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  3. For some reason, dogs can get into a schedule and keep it better than I could!
    When the light blew in the old fridge, I found one at the Dollar Store. If you like the refrigerator, Amazon sells some electronic device that you can plug it into and then into the wall and supposedly it reads (over a period of time) how much juice it's sucking. Before we got the new one, I suspected the old one was guzzling the juice - turns out it was the plasma TV.
    I used to love the Rose Parade, but I haven't seen it lately.
    Well, now, you have a lot of activities coming up - Poor Levi.
    My longest stretch not seeing any humans is about 3 weeks. Of course, I did talk a couple times on the phone. Myo2 guy came with a delivery and I talked his ear off! I can go days without interfacing socially with the exception of the internet, but that 3 week stint was a bit much. LOL!

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    1. Interesting the gadgets you can buy! I love my refrigerator. I can't wrap my head around the idea of spending nearly $1,000 to save 2-3 dollars a month on electricity. When I replaced my ancient washer and drier they said I'd see a drop in my electric and water bill, but I didn't.

      I count internet and phone calls as human contact. LOL

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    2. SO ... you went four days without internet and phone calls? I definitely count email and phone calls! 90% of my social life!!!

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    3. I average getting two phone calls a MONTH. I've never been a phone person, but got more when my husband was a live. My computer got a malware not long ago and had to go in for major work. They usually have a quicker turn-around but it was over a weekend and a snow storm. Thankfully, I had a blog in the scheduler so I didn't miss a beat here.

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  4. Okay--this is what you do. Since you know the "dog's" schedule, you just casually be at your mailbox or something and you say "Hi" to the doggie, not the man. Something like, "What's your name puppy?" Then since the dog can't answer, the man will. By the time spring and warmer weather arrives, you and the dog AND the man will be on speaking terms. HAH!

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    1. I'm way ahead of you. We already are on speaking terms. When I walk Levi I often see the guy in his yard or at the very least we hear the terrier barking at Levi when he returns the pee-mail. He's a nice guy but his dog (who is half the size of Levi) wants to fight. My husband used to take his wheelchair over to the guy's house and I didn't even know it until after he died.

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  5. Human contact. I used to enjoy my alone time. Sometimes I wouldn't leave the homestead for days. Now I lock my granny pad door and tell the boys I'm working or chilling out. Even the little guy will knock on occasion and ask if "Deacon chill out with Gramma?"

    I wish our Adult Center was as good as yours! And mine IS the best I've seen so far! I've visited others around Portland with friends and of course, the Maui ones. They are the most pitiful. But not well funded.

    I have days where I never step outside! One day recently we ALL stayed in our PJs all day. Jesse kept a fire going and Kate made cookies. We bundled up some stuff for Goodwill. Played new games the boys got for Christmas (Kerplunk is the favorite).

    Anytime you want "contact" email or text or .... call!!!

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    1. You have to look at the mission statement for Adult Centers. Our purpose is for "life long learning" but a lot of them are more social services orientated. Our director built a part time job into a full time job with a part time paid assistant. She's dedicated. She knows how to get grants and partner with places that pay for a lot of our programs. Lectures, for example, come with a table of info and a representative from the partner paying for the lecturer and snacks. They can be anything the sells goods or services to seniors. Tax payers pay for the building but after our hours it's rented out to the community to offset costs. That's how we're able to get quality speakers.

      Thanks for the offer.

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  6. Sounds like your new year is off to a good start. Our chihuahua could be sound asleep when the neighborhood dachshund went by and ours would suddenly spring to his feet and bark even though he couldn't see the other dog.

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    1. I used to think Levi could hear dog tags clicking from a long distance---I still do---but that doesn't explain it all. He actually moves to the library at certain times of the day and if the terrier is late, he has a different posture.

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  7. I liked the humour in your opening paragraph on the man/terrier!

    Your Senior Center's programs ideally should be a mix-and-match - a logistical nightmare for the organisers though! I puzzled over the 9am - 9.02am time slot to book your preferences for outings. I cannot imagine people being able to be that fast!!! Yet it can't be 9.02pm either since that would be a wide time slot?!

    Interesting to read about the dogs' habits. I don't have pets. But, I do have plenty of garden skinks (very small lizard like creatures) in the backyard. They seem to have their own personality. We have a mutual dislike of each other and generally they move very fast and hide. But I came across one that was literally paralysed at the sight of me. Initially it skittered frantically trying to get under an adjoining log. Then it just froze in place, in absolute terror. The other skink(s) who used to drape itself over my kitchen doorstep (its sunny there) seems to have gone elsewhere - hope it remains there. ~ Libby

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    1. Your skinks are my kind of creature...runs at the sight of me. We don't have lizards where I live but I know I wouldn't like them.

      The senior hall takes over 700 reservations that first two days and it takes three people to process them. They come in by computer and automated phone both. They live by the time stamps. I sit at the computer waiting for the last second to tick over to 9:00 but so are a lot of other people. When they know something is going to be very popular they will start out with 4-5 choices for dates. For example, every spring we go to cooking college in town that serves a very fancy lunch and we could pick any of 4 dates. I play the system and say I'll take any of the dates, gives me a better chance. Some of the day trips that cost $80 to $100 the RSVPs don't get filled the two days but I only sign up for one of those a year.

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  8. Happy New Years Jean. I'm just waiting for my cruise right now. I know I've said that probably to many times but I can't help it especially with this cold weather. I told my daughter said that she hopes the weather will be warmer when we are gone on our cruise and I told her that I'm praying that it gets very cold especially when I'm on the ship in the Caribbean. I'm a mean father. Ha,ha,ha.
    See you soon my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Your poor daughter, leaving her behind in the Canadian winter. Hope you have a wonderful time in the Caribbean. I was there only once but I sure learned to love the steel drums and rum while I was there.

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  9. Animals and their schedules intrigue me. Dixie Rose can be sound asleep in the living room, but when the sunshine moves onto the bedroom floor, she wakes up and heads for the bedroom. And she adjusts through the year, since the time isn't always the same. It's pretty interesting.

    We've got a new store here now called Batteries Plus Bulbs. It's the best store in the world -- no matter what kind of wonky bulb or weird battery you need, they have it. I'm not sure exactly where you are, but you can enter your zip code on the site and see if they're around. They're the only source for the battery for my Verizon phone, now, since I'm still using a Samsung flip phone.

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    1. We have a Batteries Plus Bulbs here, too, but I forgot all about it. I hope I would have remembers it if hadn't found the bulb at the grocery store. They rebuilt a battery pack for me, for a vacuum that would no longer hold a charge. Saved me a lot of money.

      Levi follows the sun around the house too. I never saw a dog do that but cats always do.

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  10. Happy New Year! Sounds like you're set for activities in coming year. Will likely continue with my book club and occasional drop-in type activities that interest me as the year rolls along. I like being spontaneous and not having regularly scheduled commitments after a life filled to over-flowing with them. A few I do have to schedule ahead.

    Granddtr visited at holidays a couple times in past ten years when she was younger and volunteered working on the Cal Poly float for the Rose Parade each year -- thoroughly enjoyed doing so. We finally went to the parade one year which I wrote about with photos on blog then. Our Sr. center usually has bus as Pasadena is just a few communities down the fwy from where I live. I didn't want to hassle driving in all the traffic congestion, parking, etc. if I want to view am quite content doing so on local live TV station that airs without comls. then immediately repeats. Had a lot more enthusiasm for watching Parade on TV years ago when younger & still living back in Midwest.




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    1. I've always wondered what it smells like on parade day. I'd walk in the coolers at work and wish I could bottle up the smell of the flowers and imagine it would smell like that on steroids.

      I tend to over schedule myself just for human contact but I do like the life learn opportunities.

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    2. I don't recall the air being particularly aromatic from flowers as so many vehicles that power the floats, animals in the parade, human bodies packed close together. We have enjoyed several years visiting the area where the floats are on display for a few days, walking among them up close where you can begin to see the intricate floral work and experience some of the fragrance.

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    3. Thank you so much for sharing that! It's something I've always wondered about.

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  11. What an interesting post! I'm finding more and more women celebrating their lives with blogs. It's a wonderful place to be! Self-depracating humour, and just having fun.
    (惄) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

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    1. I don't recall that you've posted a comment before so thank YOU for that and for your kind words. I love the blog community too!

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  12. I'm so far behind in reading your blog! I love this post -- a real glimpse into your life. I am also so envious of your Senior Center activities. We have a Senior Center, but nothing there appeals to me (there really isn't much going on -- bingo? cafeteria style lunch? bridge? 1940's music dances? not for me). Can't wait to get the reports on all you've selected to do!

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    1. Our senior hall is what keeps me in this township. There is nothing even close in other townships where I'd like to live...which is the main reason I'm not moving. The director started a group of senior hall directors to share resources, I'm hoping in the future she'll inspire other halls to get better at planning cool things to do.

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  13. It sounds as though when people near you are doing last-minute party shopping in the supermarket, they behave the way Mainers behave in the supermarket all the time. :-) I've never figured out how New Englanders got the reputation for being reserved. (Maybe it's because they don't say hello to strangers; instead they go straight to "Did you know that toilet paper is on sale for 5 cents less at Shaw's?")

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    1. LOL

      In all honesty, I think when you're in the mood to find friendly people you can find them anywhere. But there is something about long lines around holidays and parties that makes most of us relax and go with the flow, so there are more friendly people to find.

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