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, November 10, 2015

Touring My Future

I posted this photo on Facebook so I might as well share it here as well. This is the exact model and make of an oak ice box that I have and just sent off to get refinished for a grand total of $500. It sold new in 1921 for $27.45. It will come back after the holidays just in time to replace the Hoosier cabinet/baking center that I gave away to one of Don’s nephews and his wife. I kind of wish, now, that I would have taken the money they offered for it but no one twisted my arm to make me give it away and a deal is a deal. My goal was just to keep it in Don's family since his parents bought the Hoosier when they first got married.

My Belding-Hall Century Refrigerator was built in a town not far from where I live, by a company that was the forerunner of the Gibson Refrigerator Company. I’m only its second owner, can you believe that! The first owner abused it, though, after they got an electric refrigerator thus the need to be refinished. Before Don’s stroke I had taken it apart, intending to refinish it myself but that’s all the farther I got. I’m absolutely thrilled that it will finally get upgraded from the garage to my dining area. I always thought it would be fun to keep cold drinks in that ice box during a party---it holds a 75 pound block of ice---and I may do that if I ever have a party again. But I’m planning to keep pressed glass serving dishes inside, downsized from those I keep in the Hoosier. On top I’ll set my antique malt maker and my blue fruit jars the hold my marble collection. The suitcase in the photo below, by the way, is what my grandfather carried all his possessions in when he immigrated to America from Italy.

 

This week I'm framing some prints I recently bought for the condo I haven’t bought yet. I know, I know, I’m putting the cart before the horse. But it helps me with downsizing decisions to visualize what my next reincarnated space will look like. Besides that, Don had some prints in frames that I don’t want to keep and with the price of framing so high, I will use the ones I already own by swapping out Don’s prints for my new ones. This week I also had a 10% off coupon to a framing shop so I decided I’d take in a drawing I did decades ago of my mom reading to my niece. I wanted to swap it out of its poster frame and into another frame I have. All I’d need was a mat and foam backer. I could not believe they wanted $140 for that little job! With the coupon. I didn’t leave it.

My next stop will be at the art supply store. They sell mat boards and maybe---just maybe---they cut them as well. If not, I may reteach myself the craft. I used to be do it all the time and still have the equipment. I could go through a lot of mat boards, trying to get it right for $140. Yes, this in yet another example of putting the horse before the cart. But after an entire summer of making tough widow-related downsizing decisions I needed something fun to keep me on track. Besides, if I end up not moving, I’ve decided a major redecorating project will be in order. What I have now is a blending of tastes and possessions and eventually a widow has to claim those jointly created and blended spaces for herself. This week's project is the library. I took so many of Don's books to the auction house this summer that I had gaping holes on my shelves. One whole wall of books is now officially reorganized and looking great and the other wall will be done by the end of the week.

my new prints
When I move I’ll be going for the ‘cottage look’ and I’m seriously thinking of using my wicker settee and matching chair instead of buying a new couch. (The one I have now is too big for the smaller condos I’m seeing.) It belonged to my grandfather and I probably won’t have a porch to put it on. Company won’t be all that comfortable, but do I care? I get so little. There will always be my kitchen table and chairs, a coffee pot and cookies for guests---my least favorite place to sit here or when visiting others because it feels like punishment for not eating dinner but others don't have my hang-ups. Or I could order a pizza and revert to my youth and have guests over for a pajama party in the bedroom. Just kidding! But I am seriously thinking my large oak art easel and paintbrush cart will go in the living room, smack dab in front of the biggest window. I go back and forth between having my writing/computer area in the living room and the painting area in the second bedroom space or vice versa. Believe it or not, my writing space is usually messier than my art area ever was. But mainly I’m thinking the light and long-distance views will be better for art in the main living space and I’m getting too old to care about what people think. I say that but it’s more wishful thinking than a truthful statement. I do care what people think. So what do you think? Should my public space portray me as a crazy old, would-be artist or as a crazy old, would-be writer? ©


my grandfather's settee

21 comments:

  1. Cottage By The Sea look is what I have going on here. Everything light and airy. I love the seteee--my grandparents had one and several chairs on their porch, my sister has it now. I suppose for your "public" view you might want to be the artist, if it is less messy. I keep my writing area off to the side from public view as it is one hot mess all the time!!! Piles of whatever I am working on. Book shelves, floor to ceiling and...it is my favorite room. :-) Whatever you do, just be sure to keep on being a crazy old artistic and creative woman!

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    1. I knew you'd like the seaside look because you have so many of the elements in your house.

      That's interesting that your office is messy too. It's like we're so involved in what we're doing/researching/writing that we don't even bother to try to keep things neat for fear it will break the roll we're on.

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  2. BTW--I want one of those prints of the cottages--the one on the right looks exactly like my grandparents cottage on Lake Huron!!!!! Fence and Holly Hocks and all.

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    1. You can buy a greeting card with the image on it at: http://fineartamerica.com/products/green-nantucket-shutters-joyce-hicks-greeting-card.html Frame it and put it on a table top.

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  3. I say do both because one day you may want to paint and another day you may want to write. That way you'll be prepared for either.

    Love that old ice box. My mother had one that grandma gave her and when I was little my mother cooks on a wood stove. I remember the old ways.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I would not want to cook on a wood stove...but at least I'd have an excuse for burned food. LOL

      I would love to have both art and writing in the same room but I doubt I'll have the room. But that would be ideal if I could.

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  4. My two cents worth says practice your art in front of the window. I think you'd like that.

    Those prints are so charming. I'd like to walk into those scenes. The prospect of your move is exciting. I wish I could help you pack. I'm a good packer, slow but careful. 😋

    I have the trunk that my great grandmother immigrated with. When I look around at all I have, it's hard to imagine her coming to a new country with only the contents of that trunk.

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    1. I wish you could help pack, too. I'll have to do it all on my own or hire the moving company to do it which I might do.

      I have the same feelings when I look at my grandfather's suitcase. I own so MANY things and he had so little. He worked hard in the coal mines and raised three kids, mostly on his own when his wife died young. I only have a couple of things that were his and I treasure each and every one. All my cousins were offered that suitcase before it was offered to me and my dad. I couldn't believe my luck!

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  5. I say go with the furniture and space use choices that work best for you. At this stage of life, I think our quirky choices make us charmingly eccentric rather than crazy. :-) -Jean

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    1. Quirky is good to a point but when you cross over the line too far into eccentricity, they want to put you in a nursing home. LOL Just kidding. It's interesting planning space when you only have to worry about pleasing myself and the dog. I like having unique things but I'll have less space for them so what I keep has to really speak to me.

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  6. Crazy...why? Because you pursue the things you want and like to do?
    And would-be? Is that what would have been if life had taken a different course? You are writing and you are painting and drawing and we are fortunate to be able to pursue things that were out of reach for so long and for different reasons. I quilt and I play music and I am a learner and will always be learning! How exciting to be able to pursue these wonderful things. And if I were to walk into your new house and saw an easel in the living room, I would think that you were a cool lady and not crazy!!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. The only time I've ever seen a painting easel in the living room I think the guy who lived there really was crazy. He ran out of canvas (or something) and painted on every square inch of the walls---mythical creatures, notes, poems and allegories. He was really talented, though. It is great that we are free to do what we enjoy, isn't it. I guess I shouldn't get hung up on where I do what. But I'll be downsizing from 1,600 sq. feet to probably 1,200 sq feet so it does have to be planned out carefully.

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  7. My vote - Public space for a crazy old would be artist. That's a part of you to introduce and celebrate. The writing part is already up and running, so it's happy wherever. Whatever you come up with, if it makes YOU smile when you walk in to the room, do it!

    I rearranged and painted my living room about the same time you are doing yours - three years into widowhood. I painted every wall a different color. I painted furniture, and a pillar that sculpture sits on. I designed and created lighted cabinets, one for my entertainment center and one behind the couch. I moved my exercise bike in so I could ride in front of my TV. I LOVE it ! Seven years later I still walk in and smile. It's my favorite room in the house. Yeah, people are startled when they visit, but I don't care - the room is 'me' to a T.

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    1. Wow, you're more adventurous than I am with color. I tend towards neutrals and focus on artwork for color. But I do love to look at rooms with color and the fact that your choices still make you smile. I'd just worry that I'd get tired of it and wouldn't have the money to do it over.

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  8. I think you art needs the great light. But YOU should do what YOU want to do! And you will have such decorating a new tiny space, any way you like. I'm watching a series on Netflix ... Small Space, Big Style. So fascinating. Of course, you have to be a bazillionaire to afford any of it. But fun to watch

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    1. I think 'challenging' will be word to describing going from 1,600 sq feet to 1,200 sq feet when I love most of what I have and know it can't be replaced if I let it go. I love those kinds of decorating shows on the GHTV channel but I would not like having everything new. There is one show where the designer goes out and shops antiques to mix in her client's homes---looks good but antiques that someone else picks out for you just rubs me the wrong way. Antiques have a history and you need to connect with them. But then again I couldn't let a designer pick out furniture for me either for the similar reasons.

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    2. I've never hired someone to shop/buy for me so I feel the same way. We went from 2200 sq ft to 1250 in Oregon, 980 in Maui. I feel good living with less ... especially less cleaning!

      And I agree I need a mix of old and new. To each their own!

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  9. Part of the reason you are moving is to be closer to relatives so you may have more company than you currently do... my husband hates wicker -- otherwise I would probably have some in the living room. It must be fun to pick out new colors and "looks" for your new place!

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    1. That's part of my dilemma. I might get more company so I'd feel bad if I don't have comfortable places to sit. Maybe just a couple of great chairs will do the trick.I try not to get myself locked into colors and looks this early but I'm not doing a very good job of it.

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  10. I love those prints and your plans for a cottage look. I pour over magazines sometimes picking out my "next house". We still have downsizing ahead of us and are often at a standstill at trying to figure out when and where... I can't imagine living anywhere but here; our family home of 33 years. But it's big and requires so much maintenance. I want something more modern, more manageable. But without a clear vision I'm still stuck. I think you are smart to create a vision of what you want -- my niece tells me we put our desires out to the Universe and the Universe will manifest it for us. So, there. :)

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    1. Thank you. I love what your niece tells you. I have to write that down.

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