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

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Antiques, Art and Soap Suds

October 15th my lease will be up in the antique mall where I’ve had a booth this past year and since they are going out of business before the end of the year, I wanted to move out before we get into the unpredictable cool, wet and windy weather of fall. I could have stayed for a 50% reduction in rent but instead I spent a crazy long Monday packing stuff and wheeling and dealing with a friend (the son I wish I had) who used his truck to help me move all my things home. I gave him a 1940s coin operated motel radio/night stand for the use of his truck and he was elated. (I hope his wife feels the same way when he brings it home.) We never had the key to the coin box so he took the piece to a locksmith to see if they can make a new one. Part of the thrill of old things like that is the mystery of not knowing if you’ll find a rare coin inside. I hope he does. Then I traded him a hot fudge dispenser from a 1950s soda fountain for a set of snow shoes to go with my Adirondack backpack basket, circa 1900. He’s been lusting after the dispenser all summer and I’ve been lusting after the snow shoes. Bartering makes us both happier than exchanging cash. Most antique dealers are like people giving away a litter of puppies; we like to know when something has found a good home.

Moving out day I also sold a lighted showcase to a guy who will use it to display his hood ornament collection which turned out to be one of those happy/sad sales. Happy that a showcase I’ve always liked will be used in a way my husband would have wholehearted love and sad because the decision to sell it signifies a formal acknowledgement that I’ll never have a booth in a mall again. Having a booth when I no longer own a truck isn’t a good mix which is just a cop-out excuse so I don’t have to admit I’m getting too old to work that hard. All totaled this was my fifth booth and it was the least prestigious mall of all of them. Before my husband’s stroke we were in one of the biggest and busiest antique malls in the state---over 200 dealers all in one beautiful, well managed building. Those days were fun. The mall would throw huge Christmas parties for their dealers and customers to co-mingle and they’d have annual outdoor swap meets in the summers with pig roasts to feed us all. The owners also had an auction service and we’d often go to them as well. We sure accumulate a lot of memories in one life time, don’t we?

Tuesday I shifted gears and went to the senior hall to: 1) To hear a lecture on our city’s free public outdoor art, and 2) to register so I can vote in the world’s largest art competition hosted here in town. Art Prize, as our 19 day art competition extravaganza is called, is giving away $560,000 in prize money this year, half as jury selections by a panel of experts and half awarded by popular, public vote. (Ten cash prizes in all.) This year there are 1,536 entries that came in from all over the world. You never know what someone will call art. The most controversial piece this year is a collection of silhouettes of armed men standing on the tops of buildings downtown…totally creeps me out but the experts put it on their short list. I took the tour bus down last year to see the top 25 that resulted from the first round of voting but this year I’m having too much knee pain to get on and off the bus twenty-five times in two hours. Boo-hoo! (An appointment with my orthopedic doctor is coming soon to check on the knee replacement he did seven years ago.)

The guy with the deep pockets who has $560,000 to give away is the son of one of the co-founders of a local business that made their money making laundry soap. You guessed it, there’s big money in selling soap via a method that was once investigated for being a pyramid scheme. The Federal Trade Commission ruled in the company's favor, though, because the company had a little known policy of buying back unsold products. In a true pyramid scheme distributors are stuck with what they can’t sell. Still, everyone who lived in this area when they were first growing their business knew someone with a basement full of unsold soap. And you couldn’t go anywhere without a friend or relative popping their trunk open to try to sell you laundry soap or to try to talk you into becoming a distributor so they could become millionaires like the recruiting seminars promised to those who worked hard at bringing others into the pyramid. The company was, however, found guilty of “making exaggerated income claims” and they were ordered to stop but they violated that order several times and paid some hefty fines. Just think, I met the co-founders of that company back when we were still all single and all they had was a pyramid scheme---I mean a pyramid dream of getting rich. Hummm…maybe I should have titled this blog entry, Lost Opportunities to Marry a Future Billionaire. ©

Here's a taste of Art Prize 2013
2014 Art Prize but the 2013 video is better done. 


  1. My husband wanted to get in on the ground floor of that "soap" company and we went to lectures and...he thought it would be a good idea if I was the distributor, because he worked so many hours in the factory. I nixed the idea and glad I did. Later, Pammie and her husband were roped in--we didn't know it until afterwards, when they told us. They couldn't get anyone to "join" their "group" so they didn't make a dime, but did take a couple of nice trips for the conventions..

    Is your knee problem on a knee you have already had replaced?

    1. It boggles my mind the among of money that company has made since starting in 1959. They are now in China selling the dream of wealth to them, all over the world, really. They are doing some great things with their wealth now that they are old like building a hospital (to put their names on) but it's hard for some of us who knew them back when to respect them. They are listed by Forbes in the top 30 privately held companies. So is our local started grocery store chain who made good in one generation, too. But you have to look far and wide to find anyone who has a bad thing to say about how they grew their wealth. I can't say enough good about that family.

      Both of my knees have been replaced 5 and 7 years ago. I think I injured it in Zumba class and have dropped out until I find out what is going on with it. Between that and my shoulder popping in and out of the socket, I'll have a lot to talk about with my bone doctor today. I hope he's got an easy fix for me other than to shoot me like a worn out horse.

  2. Must be bittersweet to quit doing what you've been doing for so long. You friend that helped you move everything home sounds like a sweetheart and then some.

    Sorry about our knees. Hubby has bad knees and replacement will happen at some point. It's a bugger getting old.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    1. "Bittersweet" is a good word for many things as we age isn't it. I have some good news/bad news on my knee and shoulder but I'll write about it later in the week.

  3. VERY interesting about knowing the soap people!

    BOO on the knees. I kinda wonder about replacement. It doesn't seem worth it if we still are going to have trouble with them afterward. How was recovery? Oh, please do a whole blog on knees!

    1. Having my knees replaced was the best gift I ever gave myself. The pain of recovery was far less than what I was living with on a daily basis. I'll write more on the topic for my weekend blog.

  4. You missed the Billionaire train! I did the same thing... well, not billionaire exactly... but millions. I dated a very good looking guy back in the day. Cute, yes, but I didn't spot him as a guy with great prospects at all, but what did I know. He became very successful and the rest is history... or not.

    I have one knee that's giving me a little trouble.... not to bad yet. A good friend has had one knee replacement with great results. She will eventually have to get the other one replaced.

    I'm thinking that packing everything up was a bit of an ordeal and a little sad. I'm glad you had a friend with a truck. Trucks are so handy and so are friends.

    1. Tell your friend not to let too many years go in between getting her second knee done. With one good leg and one bad, you develop back issues. That happened to me.

      Thankfully I had a very small booth so packing was as bad as after Don's stroke when we had two large ones...still sad.

      Same with the Billionaire here and I can honesty say I like how my life turned out with the guy I had. With all that money comes too many 'have to does' for appearances sake, etc.