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, November 15, 2017

Saving the World and other 21th Century Dilemmas



I am going to start living in an alternate universe of my own making. Yup, screw the fact that nuclear annihilation is a real possibility and that my schnauzer would make a better statesman than some of those running the world. Screw the fact that sexual predators are coming out of the woodwork and that some people are using the story of the Virgin Mary and Joseph in an attempt to normalize pedophilia. I’m designating my worrying time, my advocacy time, my resistance time and my time to help save the world to the weekends and during the week I’m going to play hooky from reality. No more going to the grocery store, for example, and peering into my cart to discover that it looks like I’m stocking a new-age ark. Two bags of ethically sourced coffee, two cartons of Liberte` organic yogurt, two boxes of bio-degradable trash bags and how did those two bars of Endangered Species Dark Chocolate get into my cart? I can’t even shop without trying to save the world! 

And can we all agree that I’m not in charge of other people’s conscience? Like at the grocery store when a guy in his thirties and I were both putting groceries in our vehicles---mine in environmentally friendly cloth bags, his in plastic. When it came time to walk our carts to the cart corral he watched me go and I could see the electrodes in his brain firing back and forth, one side telling him he should follow my lead and the other side was telling him, “Screw doing the right thing!” He took his empty cart and parked it on the other side of his truck where it was temporarily out of my sight. Until he drove away. That was funny all by itself, but it was even funnier when paired with the fact that I had debated with myself about taking a thirty foot detour and offering to take his cart along with mine but the selfish side of my brain spoke up and said: I’m more than twice his age. He should be offering to take my cart! Gosh, was that the start of my alternate universe where every man is out for himself? It was Friday so I was okay. In my new universe I only have to care about being nice and socially responsible on the weekends. 

Speaking of grocery stores---again---my favorite one spent the entire summer remodeling. They got new flooring, shelving, lighting, bathrooms, checkout stands and carts plus freshly painted ceilings and walls and they moved entire departments clear to the other side of their store. The parking lot covers 10 acres and it had 25+ semi-trailers lined up for the work crews. Shopping in that 250,000 square foot store during construction was like going on a scavenger hunt. But every month they sent me coupons for free stuff that I usually buy in the brands I like so it was like getting paid ten bucks a week to continue shopping there. The biggest change is they nearly doubled the beer and wine department. It was already pretty big so what does that say about our society? It says they quit stocking Hershey’s syrup in cans and other old school stuff to make room for people to have more choices for getting drunk! I’m in mourning over that. I have a can in the refrigerator and when it’s empty I’m washing it out and keeping it. Hershey syrup in cans have been in my life since I was born so I’m hoarding that last can for my nieces to throw out when I die. 

I’ve also been trying to buy d-CON to feed the mice who like to winter over in my basement. The shelf at the grocery store where it’s supposed to be was empty three weeks in a row. I went to Lowe’s and found the same thing there. Time to order it from Amazon, I thought. Wrong. Every Amazon.com vendor, in every size bag of d-CON I tried to buy, said they were temporary out of stock. Mice are going to rule the world! What’s going on? Google had the answer: “The 12 d-CON products being canceled do not meet EPA’s current safety standards. All 12 of the products are sold without a protective bait station. Bait stations are required for consumer products to protect children and pets from contact with bait pellets.” Oh. My. God! I need to find a black market source for outlawed d-CON! I refuse to use those sticky, mouse pad thingies. They look like cruel and unusual punishment for just wanting to live in a nice house. And the spring-style traps? In my neighborhood the mice have figured out how to out-smart them.

After my unsuccessful trip to Amazon I went to a mama/papa hardware store known for still having stock on their shelves from the last century and I bought the last bag of off-brand mice blocks they had. I felt sleazy, like I should have been wearing dark glasses to fool the satellite imaging that was no doubt tracking my illegal purchase. But I was doing it during the week, keeping my commitment to myself to only try to save the world on the weekends. So all is well and good in my new alternate universe. Hey, I wonder if that hardware store has any cans of Hershey’s syrup! ©



31 comments:

  1. You made me laugh, especially about the dark glasses to buy your off-brand mice block. The safety police try to protect us from everything so we will be here for nuclear annihilation. You wouldn't want to miss that, would you?

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    1. I was trying to make myself laugh and I'm glad you joined in. But seriously, between the satellites and our cell phones knowing where we go there is no privacy.

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  2. weekend Resistance. Not a bad idea...I'm still trying to find the right balance on this. It ain't easy. :: hugs ::

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    1. The sweet spot for me is going to get my haircut once a month and finding a shop full of young women who educating themselves and becoming involved in the resistance. When our generation burns out, they will be ready to take our places.

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  3. I completely understand. Resisting 24/7 is exhausting; I have an hour every morning of writing, phone calls, and emails. Recently, I've had to knock it back to 2-3 times a week because I'm getting burned out.

    I live my mission, as you do, so the small behaviours are not stressful for me, but trying to function in this Alternate Universe is taking its toll. I feel like a stranger in my own country, among alien beings. It's uncomfortable.

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    1. We have so many alternate universes right now, the least of which is the one the Trump supporters live in where they are willing to overlook the moral compass that has always guided our country. Alt-right wingers are trying to claim that adult men touching teenage girls is just fine, for crying out loud, at a time when Anthony Weiner is sitting in jail for two years because he sent pictures of his junk in a text.

      This is not the country we grew up in where we at least we tried to do the right things and tried to elevate the best in people, not the worst.

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    2. Jean R.: your response above to commenter Nance says it all for me.

      PS I've often thought that Weiner had the jugular-instinct that the Democrats seem to generally lack, and that he, (minus his failings), would have been good for the Resistance. ~ Libby

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    3. Libby, I agree. It's hard to understand how a guy who clearly had a talent and passion for politics could throw his home life, reputation and career away for such stupid, juvenile behavior.

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  4. Oh how this made me giggle. First of all, it's so frustrating with the D-con. Going through this right now with a product I am looking for. I thought the same thing? What is going on that this isn't anywhere?

    The cart thing is a huge pet peeve of mine. You are correct he should have helped you. 2. I am the person who goes to put my cart away and they are all willy nilly and I spend time rearranging them to make them nice as you are suppose to put them in there. It's not brain surgery people - they fit together nicely.

    And speaking of outrage - since when is Hershey's in a can old school? Boy I may have to go underground.

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    1. I am SO glad I'm not the only one who rearranges the carts in the cart corrals! I hate when people do that. They've walked all that way over to do the right thing and it would take them two seconds to put them in the small cart lane or the large cart lane, but they don't.

      I did some research on the Hershey's in a can. It's not being pulled from the market BUT the company says a lot of stores have quit selling them because the younger people like the plastic squeeze bottles better and aren't buying the cans. They've been putting the syrup in cans for nearly 100 years but I bet they won't last in cans another decade if stores stop carrying it.

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  5. Had to smile at your hunt for no longer produced d-Con. I seem to have a passion for products doomed to become "no longer available."

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    1. I really panicked on the d-CON. Where I bait the mice it's only 2 inches wide and up high. I can't fit the bait boxes up there and no pet or child could reach the blocks I set up there. I have to use a long-handled reacher to get them up there.

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  6. Ah ha ha ha! Quite a lot of us out here feel exactly the same. I would love to live in another happy and productive universe. Unfortunately, in any grouping of humans .... politics prevail ....

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    1. You know that all too well, being on your condo board.

      I'm not upset about politics per say---I love politics---I am upset at the lowering of decency standards that some people are willing to accept in the name of partisanship.

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  7. I had the same problem with d-con here a while back, it seems everything we are accustomed to using, like Hershey's syrup in a can is no longer available, I waste a lot of time in a store looking for stuff they no longer sell...

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    1. I just hope d-CON doesn't have to sell a bait box with each block of mice poison. That could get expensive.

      I do, too, Jimmy...look for stuff that isn't there. But my store is huge if they don't have it, it's a pretty good chance I won't find it anywhere in town.

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  8. I just saw your president on the TV hearing about his trip to Asia and all the great things HE did and how bad the other presidents were when they were office. I want to go to another world where I don't have to threw up. Does he know that over 50% of the US people don't like him. I read the Windsor Star, the paper in Windsor. They were showing about a group of retired teachers, aged 68 to 75 were going over to the Fisher Theatre to volunteer just like they've been doing for the last 10 years. They were pulled over, forced to stay for 3 hours, fingerprinted, picture taking and after being told don't come back to volunteer anymore.Why? Because someone called and complained that Canadians were taking jobs away from US people. What is this world coming to? The Fisher Theatre couldn't get people to do the job so these teachers who enjoyed the theatre did it but now they were told not to come back. You are not needed anymore. I'm beginning to worry when I have to come over to get my flight, will I be told to go home, you are not allowed to get that flight. Dear God!!!!!!!!!
    See ya Jean, sorry for writing and taking away so much of your time.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I just saw the same speech/reading and couldn't believe all the B.S. he spouted. He actually does live in an alternate universe, doesn't he.

      Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about the volunteers being treated that way! Canada and the U.S. have been friends for so many decades and centuries. I have to believe that friendship will survive a few years of Mr. Trump and civility will be restored again.

      Never apology for a heartfelt comment! It's what I live for.



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  9. One of the grocery stores I use went through the same remodeling process you describe. They also rearranged product placement in the store. I’m still trying to find what I want to buy without having to go up and down every aisle. I no longer enjoy that tour and want to just zip in directly to what I want, then out again.

    I haven’t been too impacted by product changes to environmentally safe, or whatever, but I can sympathize with the frustration you have with the ones you use. I do find the safety cautions on many products absolutely ridiculous. Anybody dumb enough to not know the obvious probably can’t read either, much less understand the caution if read to them. Let’s just do away with all these cautions, have people sign contracts when they buy items, or we could have folks take intelligence tests in order to buy certain products. It’s all about lawyers coming up with language so people can’t sue the manufacturer.

    I wonder who the speechwriter is who concocted that message from our Prez’s fantasyland? Perhaps we could send him off to inhabit his own planet, along with any who might want to go with him, so they could inhabit together his imaginary world.


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    1. I know! We're buying poison when we buy d-CON. Who is going to be stupid enough to put it were kids and pets can get it? I don't use the block outside because of the rabbits and other wildlife.

      The words #45 spoke were bad enough but his monotone is so grating on the ears. But I forced myself to listen so I'd get my own impression instead of having pundits tell me what parts they think are important enough to rehash.

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  10. I have definitely been considering living in my own little bubble and only putting my head out on occasion. There is no reason that we should be tolerating this: as so many people have mentioned: if these corrupt people were in any positions in anything other than government they would have been fired. The idea that we can't fire people before they destroy the world but must instead be condemned to watching them do it is terribly pathetic. I feel like we are all in a tragic opera...a long opera!
    I have mouse poison on my shopping list for today because here, too, they are moving indoors. I don't use the blocks...they don't seem to eat them. I use little blue or yellow pellets and they, too, are hard to find but I know one hardware store that usually stocks them. They are quite effective and I hope I am successful in getting them today.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. I like the "long tragic opera" to describe what we're going through right now. I shall have to beg, borrow or steal that from you.

      I didn't see the pellets either. I used to buy those for my garage and the blocks for my basement but I haven't found the pellets in a couple of years. The mice eat the blocks here. Isn't it funny how mice in different regions learn. My store and Lowe's left the space on the shelves to restock the d-CON so that tells me they that a replacement product is in the pipeline.

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  11. I'm hoping 2018 sees the balance in our Congress returned. That would be the good news. The bad news would be having to listen to Trump whine and complain about the Congress standing in the way of making America great again.

    I don't use D-Con because I had a rat die in the wall, and my location is rural enough that I was worried about poisoning a raptor with a poisoned rat or mouse. I found a reusable mouse trap and went on to trap over 50 mice coming into my house via the garage.

    Did not enjoy that winter! I felt like a rodent Nazi.

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    1. 50 would make me feel like a rodent Nazi too! Can you imagine how many babies they could make if not checked with your handy trap? I quit feeding the birds on one side of my house mid summer and am only using the seed blocks for my woodpeckers on the other side. I'm hoping that helps cut down on the mice hanging around. I found a stash of seeds in the basement so I know I was running a Mice Bed and Breakfast last winter.

      I'm hopeful about 2018, too.

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  12. I've no need for D-Con or Hershey's in a can, but I went through the same thing when Dixie Rose's favorite treats were suddenly no longer available. The internet was awash in whining and crying, with people imploring, "Where can we find Friskie's Indoor Treats?" For a while, some distributors had them, but now they're gone.

    Sometimes, in my darker moments, I think that manufacturers are tracking what we purchase and what we like so they can take those items away from us. It's a fairly paranoid view of things, but I've started going to a grocery store where they don't have any of those silly membership cards that really are a way to track purchases. I started getting nervous when ads for what I bought at the grocery store started showing up on my computer. :-)

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    1. Nothing is worse than not having a dog or cat's favorite treats in the house! They can drive you crazy, can't they.

      I have no doubt the manufacturers track our purchases but I truly believe they usually take away the lowest selling items to make more room for the bigger sellers or new products. I only have two rewards cards and I use them all the time...one for Starbucks and one for the movie theater and they both give out free stuff frequently. The grocery store doesn't have a rewards card but I have a credit card through them. I got it because of the their discount on gas, but they also send me good coupons. Got one for $10.00 off my next shopping trip not long ago.

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    2. There's another aspect to the "disappearing product" syndrome that one of my local store managers grumps about. He said they use computer algorithms to decide what goes and what stays, but the problem is that they often limit the database to large urban stores. If you're a shopper in one of those areas, it might be just fine, but if you're in a small store outside the database, your preferences might not be the same. As he says, "It used to be that managers could manage. Now, computers manage."

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    3. Interesting! Unfortunately, it's probably not just the retail stores where computers are managing.

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  13. If the mice in my neighborhood ever figure out how to outsmart the old-fashioned spring mousetraps, I'm in trouble. I'm dealing with a mouse population boom this year -- probably because we've had two boom years in a row for acorns, meaning lots of extra food for the rodents. I hope next year will bring a population boom of rodent predators like foxes and owls. -Jean P.

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    1. This week I actually had to google how to open up a bait box so I could put a block inside. I doubt I'll be able to do it again without googling the steps again. It's so child-proof it isn't funny. Good luck with your mice this winter. Too bad they don't have a birth control that works for the mice but doesn't kill the predators if they eat the rodents.

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