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 13, 2017

Windows, Book Club, Computer Hacks and Fat Dogs



I have a six by six window in my bedroom---actually two three by six, side-by-side windows set in the same frame---and they’re so drafty that I can see my Venetian blind moving on windy days. It was on my list of things to do this summer to look into getting them replaced. Enter the cold-canvas representative from Andersen windows, the supposed Cadillac in the industry. “We’re in the neighborhood setting up appointments for estimates.” So I took the bait and the next day the salesman showed up with his slick and polished monologue. Sure, they’ve got a twenty warranty, but I don’t so that doesn’t sway me, I told that guy. Sure, they’re workers are all bonded and insured. Most service people are these days. Again, I was not impressed. Sure, they are trained professionals. Sure, sure, sure… I could go on with all the stuff their salesman told me, but he couldn’t guarantee that my Venetian blind would still fit inside the window frame because these replacement windows are so much thicker than the ones I have. Call me picky but I don’t want a Venetian blind set on the outside of the frame and I’m not getting drapes, thank you Mr. Salesman/Amateur Decorator.

When he got to the estimate, I was in severe price sticker shock. $7,032.00 if I ordered within a month, $6,032.00 if I ordered that day and a whopping $8,032.00 if I want a price guarantee that will last a year. I was expecting around $2,000 give or take a few hundred. I said, “I’m not prepared to pay eight grand and I don’t make decisions like this on the spot, so I’m not ordering today.” “Not even to save a thousand?” he asked with disbelief in his voice. Then he hauled out a chart of payment plans with rates as low as $80 a month. He got a little pushy asking if I could afford that payment. I got a little insulted by how he was trying to reel me in and I stood up to signal we were finished talking. I wanted to say, “don’t call me” but I’m pretty sure he knew he wasn’t getting an order to replace those windows. That kind of money can buy a lot of window insulation kits at seven bucks a box. A new sheet of plastic and a roll of double-sided tape every winter; such a bargain! I might try Polar Seal Windows for another free estimate, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to continue living with the draft.

My book club met this week to discuss JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You. If you don’t know the storyline it’s about a quadriplegic in his early thirties who decides he wants to leave England and go to a Swiss clinic for an assisted suicide. But he promises his wealthy parents he’ll wait six months if they'll respect and accept his decision when the time is up. He’d already attempted to take his own life before the promise, so his parents hire an off-beat girl to essentially be on suicide watch and to maybe help him find a reason to change his mind. Let's just cut to the chase and say it was a great read (and movie) and we had an interesting discussion. Though I was surprised that five of the ladies in the club thought the guy could have “tried hard to be happy.” I didn’t say it but I was thinking that's a naive thing to say about a guy who had no control over any part of his body but his brain. The Stephen Hawkings’ of the world who are able to find meaningful work and a dedicated support team are few and far between in the world of quadriplegics. 

I took my backup computer into my repair place for its yearly tune up and antivirus control software update. They use Kaspersky, which is one of the largest and highest rated antivirus software in the entire world and I asked the tech guy if he still trusts this Russian company not to put a backdoor into their programs so they can mess around inside our computers. He didn’t raise an eyebrow or look at me like I was a crazy old lady when he replied, “Our government reverse engineers their programs all the time and haven’t found a hidden backdoor yet. If they are putting them in they’re very good at it.” I don’t know whether to be comforted or scared about that answer.

Levi my Mighty Schnauzer got his yearly checkup at the veterinary clinic this week. That little stinker is not so little anymore! He gained two whole pounds since last May! He weighs thirty-one pounds and I’m thinking I should figure out a way to smuggle him into the YMCA to run the treadmill with me. Sure, I live in a neighborhood with sidewalks but I’ve been watching too much Judge Judy and Hot Bench on TV lately where they fight about who pays the vet bills for dogs injured in neighborhood dog fights. Plus I’m not fond of feeling like I’m in a fish bowl when we walk around here and the nature trail is ripe with ticks. The vet said at Levi’s age cutting his food back would make more of a difference than increasing his exercise. I asked him if he’s ever been around a schnauzer when he's hungry. He laughed. “They do live up to their reputation for being stubborn, don't they.” Oh, yes, that’s an understatement. ©

29 comments:

  1. The persistence of your salesman reminded me of my on-going battle with my Toyota dealership. The local folks who owned it for years sold it to a high-power Houston conglomerate, and the con-glom's been trying to get my beloved Princess away from me. I keep getting phone calls from "Sarah" and emails asking me to sell my car back to them -- in exchange for a shiny new one and a car payment, of course. In your dreams.

    After asking, to no avail, to be taken off their call list, I finally had a firm discussion with the guy who fields "Sarah's" return calls. I told him if I got one more call, I was switching dealerships. He solved the problem for me, by putting a fake phone number on my account. He said, "Just remember, when you try to do something like scheduling service, to use your name and email, because your number is out of the system." Good enough for me.

    Here's what I'm wondering: does the vet's advice about cutting back food apply to humans, too? The way things are going for me, the only problem might be that I'd need to cut back to nine hundred calories a day to start reversing the scale.

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    1. The vets said, "just like people when dogs get older their metabolism slows down and it's harder to lose with exercise." It's very discouraging to do a lot of exercise and not see the scales drop which is what is going on with me lately. I've been warned against doing a 900 calorie day too many days in a row because it drops your metabolism slows down to preserve as many fat cells as it can. Gotta vary the calorie count daily with a couple of 900s thrown in a week. I hope exercise helps the dog. He hasn't been walking since last fall and he's going to start going on the days I don't go to the gym.

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    2. P.S. It's sad when high pressure salespeople have to make you resort to tricks like you did with your dealership. I keep getting letters wanting to buy a car I haven't owned for three years!

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  2. Isn't it a shame to have a salesman waste your time while he talks himself out of a sale, I have no patience for those types.


    That was definitely a good movie, I haven't read the book as of yet, but think it will be just as good.

    Wow a 31# Schnauzer, I bet Levi would get along with Dixie my 30# Dachshund she sure loves her meals too ha ha, seriously the vet has restricted Cindy from giving her anything from the table, with that minor change seem to be helping, Dixie is not happy about it though.

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    1. The movie follows the book very closely and I think it helps when reading it to have seen the movie first because you can visualize the characters better. I read the book first, saw the movie, then had to read the book again for book club.

      Levi is supposed to weigh 27 pounds so at 31 his weight is definitely a problem. I have to quit eating crackers and cheese at bedtime just so he doesn't get any. I can't even wait until he goes outside because he looks in the window, watching me. LOL

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  3. Anderson replacement windows are lovely, but very, very expensive. Don't you have well advertised vinyl replacement window companies over there. We have two very reputable ones in this area. Probably even Lowe's or Home Depot has them? Get the double pane ones with the Argon gas in between the panes. I have nary a whisper of a draft, even in this trailer. :-) My two cat kids need a cut back on food also, but I do get irritated when they meow and cry all morning if they think they're hungry!

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    1. Polar Seal are made right here in town and they have the Argon gas in between. My next call.

      I can't stand to hear Levi barking to be fed. Cats are just as persistent, I'm sure.

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    2. Do you have Wallside Windows over there. They have been in business for decades. They make their windows, so if there is a problem, they fix it. Great company!!!

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    3. I vaguely remember the name. I'll have to check it out. I miss the old phone books for stuff like this. Half the time with websites you cant' even tell where a company is at.

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  4. WOW! That is some sticker shock! 8 grand for a double window unit? Have you priced the same window through a major lumber yard? We replaced our windows shortly after we bought this house. (Not Anderson) I swear they actually put in the cheapest brand they could find. I think they were part of a bait and switch scam. The windows leak cold air in the winter and the curtains even move in the high winds we sometimes get here on the hill. Of course, the company is no longer in business ...

    I'll have to look up that movie.

    J n J gained quite a bit of weight last year. Jack had fat hanging over his 'elbows' and he weighed nearly 25#. I made a big deal about their 'treats' and cut them way back. Jack is back to closer to 20# and has more energy. Jill seems to find food in the air, and is still about 36#. Consuming less than what your body needs (ie; 800-900 calories) just shuts down your metabolism and puts you in starvation mode. Best to cut drastically for a few days then eat sensibly for a couple days and alternate. I just have trouble cutting way back without raping the refrigerator the next day. I know that part is all in my head and DH doesn't help with his goodies. I have zero resistance to goodies.

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    1. My biggest fear with replacing those windows is that I'll get another set of drafty windows and those companies go out of business often just so they don't need to stand behind their product warranties. I had that happen with a blind in the house, broke and the company that bought out the blind company won't honor the warranty even though they kept the name and phone number.

      What you're saying about the starvation mode and a low calorie count is exactly what the Y trainer told me. I don't even enough some days, then the next day I eat the wrong kind of calories.

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  5. YIKES is right for windows! We did the whole condo for less than that ... 7 windows!! Double paned with gas in between. I would trust Lowe's or Home Depot.

    Poor Levi. That's a LOT overweight .. 15% ? I wish you would be able to ration out my food!

    I have not read the book or watched the movie ... sounds sad.

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    1. Isn't that ridiculous on the windows!

      Levi's diet is making me eat less. I realize I've been having crackers and cheese in the evening and giving him some. It's easier not to have it than to have it and not give any to him.

      The book/movie has a lot of humor in it along with other family interaction that was so well written. In my book club or movie club a lot of people cried but no one would not recommend it.

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  6. I'm not good at having skinny pets. However, I know of two dog owners who keep their pet's weight right where it should be by substituting green beans for a part of their food. I don't know if the dogs like it but it seems to work.

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    1. Levi loves veggies and everything that goes into a salad. I've heard of using green beans for snacks for dogs. Haven't found a food he doesn't like.

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  7. My Anderson story is similar. We needed to replace LOTS of windows because they were all "failing", where the air gets between the pains and the whole thing turns opaque...ugh!) We looked around at various brands, the big box stores, priced, shopped, compared and got a few estimates; some couldn't accommodate our large openings and retrofit on uneven brick. We've always been curious about why Anderson is supposedly so much better...so we called them too. Same pitch, lots of "we are the best because" (mostly product info, not much the licensed/bonded talk). Then the price -- HOLY SHIT! We sent him packing. We kept looking and looking and .... came back to Anderson. Yes, we paid a ton of money and it still stuns me, but I swear these are the best windows/doors I've ever had in a home. They are sturdy, insulate for noise, keep the temperature even, are attractive and easy to operate. If I live long enough, we might save enough money to replace more of our windows with Andersons; but I doubt it.

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    1. I know other people who have Anderson's and they say all the same things you do about them being so good. If I knew I was going to stay in this house I might be inclined to bite the bullet, but I don't thing I will more than another five years and they won't help with the resale.

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    2. I just want to assure you I spelled PANES correctly in my comment and I hate how blogger always "autocorrects" the wrong way!

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    3. LOL Auto-crorrections should be abolished. It changes 'think' to 'thing' all the time.

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  8. Yikes, I'd want tires and a steering wheel for that price. Wonder how many people they bulldoze with that high pressure. Way to hold your ground.
    I watch Callie's diet closely as extra weight on a dog is just as bad as on us, except they can't see it so they don't understand the fuss and restrictions. Now that it is nice and Callie can run around a lot, she is delighted that she is getting a bit more in the bowl.
    That book sounds interesting--I'll look for it. Thanks.

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    1. Levi and I did too much stress eating last year with the elections and since so now we have to pay the price. He still likes to run around and walk but I'm holding him back because I'm the one who is too tired to take him.

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  9. Everyone is trying to make money right now. It seems that home repair and remodel people are raking in the dough as so many want to redo their home. We would love to do replacement windows but the cost is prohibitive on a teacher's pension.Our power bill is so low, though, I'm not going to complain about the windows. Every time some salesperson wants us to put in solar, and they ask about the power bill, they have to back away when they hear how low ours is. Solar is a huge expense unless you have a large power bill.

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    1. Where I live window replacement does pay off because of our wintertime temperatures and solar is practically non-existence. You're right about remodeling companies having a lot of work right now. Most here are working out 6-7 weeks from when you order anything.

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  10. Look up 'Milgard windows' and get a bid from one of those companies. I replaced my 11 cruddy aluminum windows in my house in 2007 for $5500, and the heat savings was immediate. I'm sure they close to paid for themselves by the time I moved, they looked sooooo much nicer and my house sold quickly. Vinyl, but lifetime guarantee of replacement if they fail for you. Doesn't transfer with sale, but none of those kind of guarantees do.

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    1. Thanks. The heat savings is something I need to factor in. I just tried to do a search of dealers in my area for Milgard Windows and I couldn't find any. Anderson does claim their warranties transfer but I wouldn't trust that at all.

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  11. I should have waited til I read about Levi's weight. Dogs love canned green beans, cooked carrots, and raw and cooked zucchini and all can be used for treats....albeit wet ones. Can also cut his food back by 10% and add any of those veggies to his food. Few calories and lots of nutrition.

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    1. He is not happy with getting his meals and treats cut back but he's glad we're back to walking. I need to buy some cans of veggies for him until the farmers market starts in. I'm getting my veggies in a drinkable form right now. He's getting his teeth cleaned next month so I should be able to see a little tiny drop when he gets on the scales....even if I have to take his collar off. Just kidding about the collar.

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  12. Whew! Those windows are pricy. I cannot stand a pushy salesman.

    I guess Levi will have to endure living on a diet just like the rest of us. Poor little guy.

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    1. Levi's diet stresses me out more than mine. He doesn't understand why I'm being so mean.

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