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, August 8, 2020

Dogs and Good Friends


It’s been thirteen days since the dog has three teeth pulled and his gums treated with a process where they put cement-like stuff along his receding gum line to keep bacteria and germs from getting down inside and causing puss pockets. A normal dog has 42 teeth, Levi has fifteen left and the ones he has left are the most important ones for eating and keeping his tongue from falling out of him mouth. He’s twelve years old and in human years that makes him 84, way older than my great-niece who had a Facebook posting today announcing that she’s scheduled to get most of her teeth pulled and will end up having a full denture plate on top and a partial plate on the bottom. I was shocked. She has children who aren’t even old enough to be in school yet. She wrote that the pain was daily and she couldn’t stand it anymore and she didn’t want any lectures on how she should have taken been care of her teeth. I left a comment about sending healing thoughts and hugs her way and Levi got an extra helping of sympathy at the same time. I’ve only had one tooth pulled in my entire life, knock on wood, and if I’ve ever had a toothache it wasn’t bad enough to remember.

Tomorrow Levi can go back to having hard food and treats again and not a minute too soon. He’s been a royal pain with his fussy eating and begging and I’m SO ready for him to go back to his regular fare. I bought him two weeks’ worth of canned foods that he had zero interest in so I gave it to my house cleaning girl for her dog rather than return it to the pet store and possibly exposing myself to Covid-19 again. Frankly I don’t blame Levi, that stuff looks disgusting. In its place I’ve had to soak his regular kibble in warm water for him to eat. I don’t know what that stuff is made of but it takes FOREVER to soften up…a good half hour. It’s a half hour of hell and frustration because I keep forgetting to factor that into our dinner hour. He likes to eat when I do. Don’t let anyone tell you schnauzer stubbornness is a myth. I’ve had dogs all my life and even after twelve years Levi and I are still fighting over who is the boss in this house. Hey, lady, where is my dinner? You should have served me fifteen minutes ago! I swear he’s got a clock in his head that gets the signals sent out from Fort Collins in Colorado that keeps all the atomic clocks in the our country in sync.

Thursday the son-I-wish-I-had was here to pick up a load of stuff to drop off at the auction house. I love that guy and it pains me that he’s a Trump supporter. He’s also a devout Christian, a straight-as-an-arrow honest person with a wild sense of humor and a ton of grandchildren. He married his childhood sweetheart, both virgins on their wedding night and they are totally devoted to one another. I try so hard to understand how he can support a man with no character, no moral compass, who lies about all things large and small. All I can really pin point regarding his support for Trump is that he lives in a small town of under 3,000 people, in the reddest of red rural counties and he’s totally surrounded by people who are FOX devotees. 

When I asked him how he can support such a mean-spirited person whose words and actions are so un-Christian he said, “I’m not voting for a minister, I have one of those.” I told him the president has made us lose our standing in the world but he sees that as plus, likes the go-it-alone isolationism that Trump brings to the table. On the pandemic he said that Trump can't do anything more than he does because we're not supposed to be a Federalist country and it's up to the states to deal with it. I didn’t try to change his opinion on anything, where would I even start? But hearing him talk I'm worried about the election because I know so many people who are planning to vote Trump back into office. I’ve even questioned if I’m not the one who is brain-washed, that I’m not seeing any of the so-called good things that Trump has done for our country. And I keep coming back to ‘hell, no!’ All I see is divisiveness, disrespect for the Rule of Law and incompetence.

The son-I-wish-I had was here for two and a half hours and we had a great visit! We touched on a dozen topics, swapping e-Bay stories, sharing memories of good time. We talked local auctions verse Market Place and we bartered a couple of great deals that made us booth extremely happy. He’s going to paint my porch ceiling and four outside door trims in exchange for me giving him my 1920s Hoosier cabinet. And we bartered him digging up Levi’s fire hydrant so I can sell it and moving an oak bookcase from one room to another for a 1902 Malt Maker that I had put in the auction lot he was here to pick up. He’s lusted after both pieces for a long time. It was a win-win deal for both of us and it felt like old times. We've had a bartering history that goes back nearly forty years. ©

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

August Goals and a Question for Other Bloggers

Have I mentioned how happy I am that August is here? I’m old so if I’m repeating myself I’ve got an excuse. Yes, I’m not above playing the Old People Card or the Absent Minded Flake Card or the Woman Card---whatever works for you.

August, for me, means new goals and a break from e-Baying to do Facebook Market Place sales.  Hopefully. I’ve never done them before but others seem to make them work. I’ve got a Hoosier cabinet, a vintage butcher block/kitchen island, my childhood dollhouse, an antique fire hydrant, a dog cage that Levi out grew, a large glass sided showcase and some art I’m hoping to move. I’ve already started ganging this stuff up in my garage so buyers won’t have to come inside, but I have to wait for the son-I-with-I-had to help me move the showcase into the garage. That sucker is big and it held hundreds of tiny things that I’ve mostly sold off over the past year. And you have my heartfelt promise if I ever get married again to a collector he’d better collect classic cars or something easier to dispose of than obscure-but-valuable tiny things that nearly wore my brain and eyes out to research.

August will also include sending another lot of stuff off to a local auction house. With the last load I sent off in the spring I proclaimed it would be the last one and I proclaimed the same thing with the lot before that one. But I keep identifying stuff that I’m ready to let go of locally---lower prices with less work than shipping with e-Bay, so I’m playing the Woman Card here that says it’s our prerogative to change our minds. I’ve got the lot almost ready to be picked up and it includes stuff like my husband’s teddy bear, a WWII helmet, glassware too fragile to e-Bay and some cast iron collectibles too costly to ship and still be a good buy for those who want them. My beloved antique folding chairs are going this time, too, because let’s face it I’m too old and ‘fluffy’ to be sitting on antique chairs created two centuries ago when butts were obviously small and compact. Ditto on the 1854 patented piano stool I’m sending. I’m up to 94 items readying to send off. My goal is 100. Gotta admit, though, that pickings are getting slim and choices are harder. Mostly I’ve got rare books and art left to sell and neither are good candidates for the local auction house where all bids start at a dollar.

August will also bring me something exciting to do---actually two exciting things unless our state slaps another hard, lock-down on us. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen. The first ‘something exciting’ is a hardhat tour of my future home at the continuum care campus that is being built that I have a deposit on. Apparently by mid-August there will be enough progress for us to see to get our excitement level back on track.  Masks, hardhats, orange vests and goggles required plus social distancing and we had to read and sign a safety-on-the-site document. Before the pandemic struck in March, the non-profit building this place was holding monthly get-togethers as part of their marketing budget. I’m hoping they will re-schedule a few of their programs that got canceled. I was just starting to get to know (and remember) some of my future neighbors. The second exciting something I’m looking forward to doing is making a trip out to my oldest niece’s cottage and we’re working on getting my youngest niece to come over too. I haven’t seen either one of them in forever…at least a year. We keep in contact with occasional emails, Facebook messages and text messages but it’s not the same as being in the same physical space where organic conversations take place.  

Okay, I’ve got to ask those who read here who are also bloggers a question. Are you getting a daily dose of a comment that promises a naked photo if you click on their link? I been getting them for a couple of weeks now. They usually come with a meant-to-be-playful line that includes kissing, begging and teasing, short but just as obnoxious as the long, anonymous commenter whose been hitting us all for months with the baby-boomers-are-evil nonsense. Putting these comments in the spam folder does absolutely nothing as far as I tell, not like when you put them in your e-mail spam folder that your provider evidentially finds and stops them from coming. So I pulled out the Delusional Card thinking I could find some help at the (fictitious) Blogger support forums but all they say is to just delete and forget the comments and change our settings to not to accept anonymous comments.

So my second question: if you stopped accepting anonymous comments did that stop the flasher and/or the hates-baby-boomers comments? Some of my favorite commenters use the anonymous feature and I don’t want to shut them out if the juvenile spammers just find a way around that setting change. I double these spammers even read any of the blogs they poop comments on but just on the off chance one is reading this post I liked to say, quit playing the Dumb-Ass Card! You will never, ever get past the moderate comments feature. ©

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Pandemic Park Fun and Games

July is finally over and good riddance. I didn’t like it since the beginning but I tried to give it a fair chance. It promised sunny days. We got them. Then it promised summer fun and that fell flat on its fat little keister and by the time July was ready to leave my calendar I was ready to take a butcher knife and carve her up in little pieces. But I told myself it wasn’t July’s fault that America is still struggling to wrangle a world pandemic down on its knees like a cowboy would grab ahold of a longhorn steer and force its head down on the dirt so its body would have no choice but to follow. Nope, they screwed up the order of that rodeo and sent in the clown first and by the time the cowboy came into the arena the bull was so out of sorts from the clown messing around that the cowboy got himself gorged and is struggling to recover in a hospital ward. Okay, so it’s a bad metaphor. Just play along, I’m not going to wear out my brain writing another one and, yes, I'm aware that you can't have a keister that is both fat and little at the same time. I already tried to find other adjectives but my tongue likes the way those two roll.

The first part of July was okay but then the heat rolled in. I can take heat. I wasn’t bothered. Then it was the humidity piling on to our discomfort but, heck, I’m from hardy stock and when it came time for one of my bimonthly brunches in the park with my Gathering Girls pals a breeze from the near-by river was keeping us cool and so happy that the five of us sat there for nearly three hours. We were spread out, social distancing on a couple of picnic tables when I had a mini meltdown. The lady closest to me had just finished telling us that she wasn’t afraid of getting the Covid-19 virus, “If I do I do,” she said, “I’ve had a good life.” She lives with her son and daughter-in-law who both work outside the home and she has frequent contract with grandkids who visit so she’s not as isolated as I am. I, on the other hand, haven’t been closer than six feet to anyone since March expect the eye doctor and the dentist who were both suited up like they were taking a trip to Mars. She no more than said that about not caring if she gets the virus when she started scooting closer to me, closing in on my six foot social distancing space. Neither one of us was wearing a mask so I started scooting in the other direction. “Hold still!” she says. “You’ve got a bug in your hair.” 

Maybe it’s because I’d been reading back-to-back psychological thrillers that made me panic when she stretched out her arms to touch me that made me looking at her as if she had an axe in on hand and butcher knife in the other and I nearly screamed, “No, don’t touch me! I don’t want your Covid-19 germs!” The look on her face would have been priceless if I hadn’t put it there. It was a blending of shock, hurt feelings and embarrassment. I was embarrassed too but I was prepared to backpedal my butt right off the end of the picnic table to get away from her. But she withdrew her arms and grumbled, “I don’t have Covid germs” to which I quickly snapped back, “That you know of.” Our friend who was sitting across the table half way in between the two of us thought the whole thing was hysterically funny and she said, “That’s our OCD Jean.” I don't think of myself as OCD so that shut me up, wondering if that's the kind of vibe I give off. But I suppose the proof of that pudding is in this paragraph.

And believe it or not, that was the highlight of the second half of July. The next day I had $400 antique lamp get broken in shipping an e-Bay sale which had both me and the buyer mourning its loss. But I've shipped at least 1,000 packages this past 18 months and it was only the 3rd thing I’ve shipped in nearly twenty years of doing e-Bay that got damaged in shipping. Refunding the guy his full payment plus his shipping was the easy part, beating myself up for not doing a better job of packing was harder to swallow. But swallow it I did because, really, I had no other choice. Actually, that’s not true. I could have had him hold the packaging and lamp for the postal inspector to come see it for an insurance claim, but all that would have done is waste the buyer’s time. I questioned at the time I packed it if I had enough cushion around the lamp, but I reasoned that it was metal and couldn't break. I was wrong. Cast metal does break. The moral of that story was that I needed to give myself a timeout from e-Baying for being careless and not listening to my inner voice.

So here I sit typing away while waiting to pick up the dog from getting three more teeth pulled and his receding gums treated to keep out every germ on the face of earth except Covid-19 from destroying the rest of his teeth. The check to the veterinary hospital: $963.00. This past ten-twelve days I've pretty much blanked out on everything but the bare necessities of living. I know it's just pandemic and politics related depression but I'm vowing to start fresh now that August is here. Has anyone got a Mary Poppins costume I can borrow? ©