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, December 26, 2018

The Mini Christmas Trip


My brother had three kids and those three nearly perfect human beings (in my eyes, anyway) had five children between them. As it happens in all families, my brother’s grandchildren grew up, got married and started having babies. Now, our family has eleven little ones under four plus one ready to greet the world any minute now. Counting all the spouses that brings my family up to a grand total of twenty-nine going on thirty. With all those little “activity machines” running around, my nieces have been renting the community hall in a small village for our Christmas Eve parties. Due to Michigan’s snowy weather, the distance and me not driving at night, I don’t always make it out to the party. This year, however, Levi the Mighty Schnauzer and I got an invitation to stay overnight at my oldest niece’s so my drive out of town and back home again could be in the daylight. And with no snow in the forecast, I accepted the invitation, thrilled that I’d actually wake up Christmas morning to a tree standing next to a cut stone fireplace in a log cabin that could easily be featured on the cover of Holiday Magic Magazine. 

Let me tell you, Levi getting invited was a big deal and I wanted to be sure he was on his best behavior with all the comforts he enjoys demands at home. I’d use the same packing list for Levi whether it was for an overnight or a month's stay: a crate, crate pad, blanket, old towel (to clean his feet when coming inside), brush, anti-itch pills, food, water and their dishes, leash, treats, winter coat and microchip information. Sounds simple, doesn’t it, to pack for a dog and it would have been if when I got his travel crate up from the basement I hadn’t discovered that Levi no longer fits unless I could teach him how to imitate a headless sardine in a tin can. (I haven’t used the crate since before my husband died and Levi was still a growing boy.) That crate wasn’t a good option so I made a mad dash to three pet stores in the area and none of them had what he needed. 

Amazon had a soft-sided folding crate in a color I could live with, in a size that I thought would be perfect for him. I ordered it, paid extra for two day shipping and Amazon got it to my door at 9:30 PM the day before I was to leave. I unpacked and set it up, loved the style but it was big enough to hold a whole litter of Levi’s which would have been okay-ish except it didn’t fit in my car which kind of defeated the whole purpose of having a travel crate. Oops. When I called my niece to explain my problem she said she had a baby gate we could use to confine Levi in bathroom while we went to the party. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t push it over trying to escape if not for the fact that my niece has a cat. Worry wart that I am, I had visions of coming back to the log cabin after the party to find out that Levi had busted out of lockdown, chased the cat up the Christmas tree, tipping it over into the fireplace and fire department was just putting out the fire as we drove in. 

Thankfully, the cat---bless her heart---hid out in the basement the entire time we were there and Levi amused himself by letting his nose track the “mythical” cat around the house. But he’s afraid of steps and the cat’s afraid of dogs so it was a match made in heaven. As a house guest, Levi was a model of doggie decorum. He didn’t bark at anything, didn't beg at the table. He didn’t jump on the rich, brown leather furniture grouped in front of the fireplace. And he didn’t pee on the Christmas tree or anything else in or outside the house that wasn’t his designated porta-potty area. 

The photo at the top is of the two youngest babies in the family. They’re not twins but their mom’s accidentally bought them the same party dresses. I don’t believe in putting photos of kids online without parental permission---and I’d never ask---but you can’t really see their sweet little faces and, of course, no one knows who Santa is but one of my niece’s is rumored to sleep with this one. At one point or another both these babies were nursed while their mom’s sat in the mayor’s chair on the dais at the front of the hall.

You’re not supposed to have favorites in a group of babies and toddlers, but one little girl who hasn't been walking very long captured my heart. In my younger days, I would have been down on the floor with my camera following her every move. She has black hair that was caught up into a Peddles from the Flintstones topknot and when she wanted to pick something up from the floor she’d do a sumo wrestler pose that cracked me up. She could hold that pose for the longest time, her dark eyes laughing while her red dress hiked up over her outstretched knees and her diapered bottom nearly touched the floor. Oh course, any toddler who isn't afraid of me is a winner in my book and this year there was quite a few at the party.

Except for the dog crate I have to exchange, it was a wonderful Christmas mini trip. ©

20 comments:

  1. Oh I am so glad you had a lovely time. Those babies are adorable!
    I too am glad Levi was invited. That helps so much and it would be great if more folks understood that.

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    1. Yes, it would. My Levi and your Izzy are part of our families. People who aren't dog people don't understand that. Levi was invited back anytime.

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  2. Glad you have a lovely Christmas, Jean! All the best for 2019!!!

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    1. I did and I hope your day went well too. Can't wait to see what 2019 brings us all in the blog world.

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  3. I laughed at your travails when it came to the travel crate. I smiled at the list of Levi necessities, too. It reminded me of the time we evacuated for our first hurricane. Mom looked in the back seat at the scratching post, crate, toys, food, and so on, and said, "If it weren't for that cat, I could have brought a lot more of my toys." Ah, priorities.

    I'm glad your Christmas was such a delight. Now, on to the next big thing!

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    1. I'm laughing now at your what your Mom said, while looking in your back set. That's priceless.

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  4. Sounds like The Perfect Christmas for you! I'm glad.

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    1. I'm so happy that you and Levi were invited to stay for Christmas. Levi is a wonderful dog to enjoy the place and be able to cause not problem. I bet you were wonderful also. LOL. That niece who invited you must be very special also. Your family sounds great and being able to see the Christmas tree must have brought back memories Jean. I'm so happy for you. Now, where you going for New Years? I'd invite you spend time with us but my wife doesn't like dogs in the house, not even our daughter's dog. I guess she's not an animal lover but I'm glad she loves me. LOL See ya my friend.

      Cruisin Paul

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    2. I've been trying to remember how long it's been since I woke up on Christmas morning to a tree in the house and I'm guessing the mid '70s. We always worked long hours during the holidays and was home only long enough to sleep. We spent Christmas day at my mom's until she died in the '80s, so no need to put up a tree.

      My niece is a grannie-nanny to her four year old grandson and already she has taught him how to read...and I don't simple kid's books. I had brought her Michelle Obama's new book and he read the first paragraph outloud to me just as fast as any adult could have: "When I was a kid, my aspirations were simple. I wanted a dog. I wanted a house that had stairs in it---two floors for one family. I wanted for some reason, a four-door station wagon instead of the two door Buick that was my father’s pride and joy.” (Michelle Obama) My niece is an amazing teacher and a very special person.

      My mom used to call our dogs her grand-dogs. I'm guess Marylou doesn't do that with your daughter's four legged babies. LOL Hope you both had a good holiday. Cruise time is coming soon!

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    3. NANCE: Me too. I know Levi pretty well and thought he'd be okay but you never really know for sure. My niece's four year old grandson was there part of the time and Levi's never been around children before and this little boy hasn't spent much time around a dog. But they did fine with each other, gave each other some space without pushing a relationship, so to speak.

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  5. Know the feeling about the dog invite. Well it wasn't easy but you and your niece managed to pull it off. So glad you got to enjoy the multitude. That is how Christmas should be celebrated.

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    1. It was really special. So many things---like the mild weather and my niece actually being in the state---lined up to make it possible.

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  6. Sounds like a special time for you....and Levi. Merry, Happy, Jolly everything to you!

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    1. It was and I learned Levi could actually make the switch to sleeping in twin beds to sleeping in a full size bed, which I'm been thinking of buying next summer.

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  7. That’s very pleasant that you were able to spend the night elsewhere with Levi and have good memories of it! A lot of times the forethought and preparation turns out to be worse than the actual event. Now some of the senior center tour presentations might seem a bit more manageable...or not!!
    Regards
    Leze

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    1. Or not on the senior center tours. The senior hall director is militant about time. When she says be on the bus at 3:40 and if you're still a 100 feet away running down the sidewalk, that bus still pulls out at 3:40. People have been left behind in other cities and trust me, when you're in a bathroom line it's stressful, hoping you have the time you need to get back on time. When I sign up for trips I try not to eat or drink much at all the day before and the day of. I get why she does it, but not a particularly fun way to travel. The destination has to be somewhere I really want to got to sign up...like the train ride last fall.

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  8. This post is so wonderful!!! I can hear your happiness all the way through it.

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    1. It's this brown and green holiday season we're having in Michigan that has made me the happiest. I know you are enjoying getting around without the snow too. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow when you have your family party.

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  9. Your babies are adorable with Santa and it sounds like the most wonderful time. So glad Levi was invited. We left Lizzie home while we went to the kids and I hated that but cats don't travel or live well in a home with two big dogs (both of which Rick is now dog sitting!) So glad you had this good Christmas -- and no bad weather. I'm all for what we're having now -- and 50 tomorrow!

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    1. Me too on the weather. I just came in from running errands in the rain...in December in Michigan. I just hope we don't pay for this mild weather by getting snow into April or May.

      Cats are so much easier to leave at home for a couple of days than a dog. Levi's kennel gets booked up really early and any kennel that wouldn't be booked so close to a holiday, I wouldn't trust.

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