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, July 10, 2019

Ants and Ancient Things


I’ve been invaded by tiny ants, or rather I should say the dog’s feeding area has been invaded. (Although in the process of killing them I found one crawling on my elbow!) It’s the second time this summer they’ve done that and I’m running out of new locations to put Levi’s food and water. This time I had to throw out the contents of his self-feeder---about three pounds of kibble. Hint: when your dog doesn’t want to eat, put your glasses on and look for ants. I don’t have any indoors ant spray because I’m guessing it’s not safe for Levi, so I used Lysol All Purpose Spray which I’m sure is just as toxic to dogs as ant spray but at least your floors get cleaner in the process of mass murdering the devil ants. Why is it that I still feel bad about killing a firefly last week but I have no sympathy for the ant carcass I just smeared all over the floor with the bottom of my shoe? He was a little scout, I presume, looking for his dead buddies that died by Lysol to drag them back to their nest to mourn or feed to his queen. Good luck with that, I wiped at least a hundred of them up with wet paper towels. I’ve seen ants carry off their dead but I made up the part about feeding them to their queen. But it sounds logical to me. It’s a cruel, hard world out there.

I’m struggling to write about something that doesn’t include the 'D' word in it. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know which 'D' word I’m talking about. If not, I’ll give you a hint: It involves moving to a smaller home. I’ve only been at it for a month and I’ve come to the conclusion that this time around it feels different, more joyful. And I’ve further concluded that the joy is coming from a place where I have an exciting goal I’m working towards and not a painful experience driving me forward. I’ve only done the 'D' work twice in my life. Once after my husband’s stroke and once after he died. The first done under extremely stressful conditions, the second under a veil of sadness, tears falling like rain drops from Eeyore's cloud. Both times I was saying goodbye not only to things but to our whole way of life and saying hello to an unknown and murky future. However, I’m doing the 'D' work now because I will be moving on to life style that will come with very few responsibilities and I’ll be able to do my favorite things without the guilt of thinking I should be doing something else. I intend to be that quirky woman in the complex who paints and writes and knits and does the most complicated jigsaw puzzles on the planet---yes, the two-side puzzles, same picture on both side only slightly different view. My favorite one being a photograph of a pile of yellow No. 2 pencils.

I still haven’t decided if I’m going to take any quilting supplies with me but I’ve been thinking I should make one more quilt before I die. I don’t do them by machine so a box of ‘quarters’---quilters will know what those are---won’t take up much room. That box of fabric and a few quilters’ rulers, maybe some books of patterns and oh crap! I’ll need scissors and needles and thread, of my! How much hobby stuff can one fit in an eight foot long closet in my future den/hobby room and still have room for out-of-season coats? 

After my three day marathon of working in the garage and making great progress I took Saturday off to go to Goodwill, recycling and the grocery store and to stop by the pet store for more kibble. As fortunate would have it, I had a $15 rewards coupon so the dog food was nearly free which just goes to prove there is balance in the universe…the ants taketh away, the coupon giveth back. 

But before my afternoon trip to run the above errands I literally spent the morning trying to identify the above object and when Google images can’t ID something, you know you’ve got something rare. I once had a magazine article written about that very object but do you think I can remember what it said or where I put it or even if I kept it? Heck no! It’s a primitive lock---the tail/key comes out---but knowing for sure if it’s Roman or whatever can make the difference between e-Baying it for pocket change or hundreds. I’d donate it to a museum but I’d have to research museums to know which one exhibits that sort of thing which brings me right back to having to ID than dang thing first. It occurs to me that I really do have a lot of obscure information in my head; is it any wonder some of it falls out from time to time? With my last downsizing I donated a large oil and grease chart for a 1905 Reo Motor Car that I matted and framed like it was fine art for one of my husband’s birthdays and the car museum was happy to get it. It’s hanging in their research library where people who are restoring antique cars come to play. Sometimes giving something away feels great.

My house cleaner is coming today and I’ll go to my last book club tomorrow followed by a lunch date on Saturday with a very old friend, so I can almost promise, positively (well maybe) that the 'D' word won’t come up in my next post or two. But be forewarned, my husband didn’t nickname me "One Track Jean" for nothing. ©

30 comments:

  1. Prior to retirement, I hoarded fabrics, sewing threads, etc thinking I'd sort them out and catch up on my sewing after retirement. No deal! Now find I have no desire to sew - so much cheaper to look around and buy stuff on sale, etc.

    That 2-sided puzzle amused me - what next?! I'd only heard about the 3D puzzles.

    I can fully understand your enthusiasm to "D" this time around - the prize is bright and truly rewarding. ~ Libby

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    1. All sewers hoard fabrics, don't they. I haven't sewn clothing since my late 20s and have do desire to go back. Quilting you can do in your lap in front of a TV or outside on a deck.

      Two sided puzzles have been around for a long, long time. There is a catalog of puzzles that comes out around Christmas that always has a few really hard puzzles like that in it. I've done the 3D puzzles and I'm glad I tried them but they aren't that much of a challenge, won't buy one again. I only own 4-5 puzzles and I'll do the same one over every winter.

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  2. Jean, there is a product called Ortho Defense that can be used indoors or out that will not harm pets. I've used it in my kitchen and it killed the ants but not the cats. It says the only "pet" that it will hard are lizards and fish. You can find it at Walmart in the garden section and it comes in different sizes. It also really works, haven't seen an ant since I used it.

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  3. I can advocate strenuously for Home Defense! We use it at our city and our lake homes and it is a miracle. As long as you let it dry before a pet gets in contact with it, you're fine. I've even put it on a cotton ball and wiped it along the back edge of the countertop (where no food contacts it). Just don't get it on window glass.

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  4. Knock on wood, I've never had them on my countertops. In the house I had before moving here we had large black ants that you could see a mile away. I hate these tiny ones. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  5. Mary Lou & I have ants around the kitchen every year and we use Windex. It will kill the little buggers and after awhile they stay away. Boiling hot water does the job also and a mixture of vinegar and salt will also help.
    D is a nice letter Jean. I believe you can use the letter D anytime and anywhere.
    We have fully agreed to sell our house and we are looking for another small one. Thank God. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I thought about using Windex. Good to know it works. Great suggestions coming in on this post.

      I'm glad you and Marylou are on the same page about selling. Downsizing is in your future, but if you really like the place you're moving to, that will help make the job easier.

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  6. Our cats get into everything, so we've had to find a way to deal with ants that doesn't endanger them. The answer for us was to buy outdoor ant stakes and put them around the doors and basement windows outside. They just stick into the ground and kill the ants, which stops them from coming into the house.

    Before that, it was a losing battle, as we have an old house with a rock foundation. Now I never see ants, as we just replace the stakes every spring and throw out the old ones.

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    1. I never knew they had such a thing as ant stakes! How interest. I need a trip to Lowes to check out all the stuff available. I use a spray on the foundation for spiders and I know that works really well. The stakes make perfect sense. Thanks for chiming in.

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  7. I love that you have seen this as the adventure it is. I am happy for you. I think it's exciting when we aren't quite sure what is on the horizon but it's all new and exciting. At my age new and exciting don't happen a great deal together. :-)

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    1. It could turn into a disaster but at least I'll be more portable to move anywhere, if something goes wrong. But it is fun when you set aside the guilt of having accumulated (and I might add enjoyed) so much stuff.

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  8. Really good to know about Ortho Defense. Don't have ants yet but will be prepared when they hit. Glad you posted about this problem.

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  9. I sprayed vinegar everywhere I saw ants when I had those little buggers in my house last year. Seems it interrupts their "trail" and none of their buddy can follow it! It worked really well!

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    1. Now, that sounds like the safest idea of all. Thanks!!!

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  10. The trick is to use those little ant pods (plastic containers the size of a silver dollar) and place them in the path of the ants. The ants enter the trap and pull out the poison carrying it back to their nest - killing the next and the queen. Those little poison containers are attractive to ants. The hardest thing is waiting a few days to allow the poison carried back to the next to work. Drove me nuts. But it works.

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    1. That's what I used the first time I got invaded and they worked for about three weeks. This latest invasion was only 8 feet away but maybe a whole different family of ants. We've had such hot weather, I think that is what is driving them inside.

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  11. I wonder if the archaeology department of a good size university/college could ID that lock? I think I would check with them, (try several different colleges if necessary, although they may check with their colleagues anyway). This is interesting enough that I don't think you should take a chance on shortchanging yourself. You've got time yet. Also, if you truly think it may be authentic Roman, I'd definitely take a look at the British Museum. They have tons of Roman era items. Who knows? One of those may be interested in acquiring it!

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    1. That's really a good idea, Pippa. If it was a fake or reproduction I'd be seeing them all over. One of the padlocks I sold recently had been reproduced and I found an article on how to tell the difference. Fortunately, I had the real thing but we have gotten bitten once or twice by a fake.

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    2. After reading your comments, Pippa, I found a lock musuem and sent them a couple of photos of my lock. They display locks going back to the 1500s but if mine is older, they'll probably know. I'm hoping.

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  12. I used to get those tiny ants around Lizzie's food all the time and finally ended up moving it. Meanwhile, I killed zillions with those clorox pop-up sheets. Not that it stopped it forever, but for awhile!

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    1. I should research what part in the Eco-system ants play. Maybe I would be more patient with them. LOL

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  13. Fine with me to use the D word as often as you like! Reading about your
    D adventures with great interest! I will be D-ing soon enough.

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    1. I don't think anyone could stop me from writing about downsizing if they really tried. It's either that, or quit blogging because it's what my life is all about right now.

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  14. We use Terro Ant bait traps (borax, really) but Levi might be too interested in those. Borax is deadly for ants but could make Levi sick. Our dog doesn't seem interested in them.

    I love hearing about downsizing ... since I am not the one doing it! A lot of emotional work for sure. So glad you have a few more months than you thought. Take your quilting stuff ... that won't take up much room. I don't sympathize with anyone who has to have space for "out of season" coats. Everything of mine fits in a 10x13 room with a 6' closet! Three coats and two capes.

    Your collection of things is beyond fascinating. Keep sharing!

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    1. I'm amazed at how many people have solutions for ants that I've never heard about before.

      You don't really have seasons that require different weight coats like we have here in Michigan. During our power outage last winter I had them on in layers, too.

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  15. The D word....I hear it a lot from so many friends. I listen and watch with awe and inspiration.

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    1. I hate the 'D' word, actually. It reminds me of how materialistic I've become over the years and now it's become fashionable to be minimalists....probably because those young kids can't afford to be anything else. LOL

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