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 31, 2019

Cool Cottages and Fancy-Ass Fashion Shows



"cottage"
Decisions! Decisions! I sat outside the senior hall trying to decide if I wanted to go back home and get my hearing aids or not. I had the time before the lecture began if I wanted to give up my prime parking space, one that allows for a quick escape after lectures are over and a 115 cars are funneling out of a single exit. Defensive parking, I call it. The senior hall is a great place to get your car dinged, bumped, backed into and scratched. While I was sitting there I had a brilliant idea. Why on earth don’t I just keep my hearing aids in the car? I never wear when I’m alone in the house and I always remember them when I’m in a parking lot waiting for an event to start or an appointment time…I’m a habitual early bird.

I opted not to go home because the deck crew was there finishing up and I didn’t want the dog to think he was getting an early release from his bedroom prison. He stays there all night long by choice but add a baby gate to the doorway and he gets his nose out of joint. He’s used to having the run of the house when I go away but with people working on my wrap-around deck, the dog barking to protect his domain would drive them crazy and their noise would drive him crazy. The deck, by the way, turned out great although it took them forever. Partly because people over 60 don’t work fast and partly because they only worked two to three hours at a time and I was getting truly sick of seeing them around. They not only stained the wood but also replaced the lattice work and had to dig down almost a foot through a tangle of roots to get at the bottom runner. The depth of that runner keeps small animals from burling under but it doesn’t stop them from chewing their way in and out from underneath my deck. Nearly twenty years of chewing really did an evil number on the lattice. 

The lecture was titled, “The Historic Cottages of Mackinac Island.” People outside of the Great Lakes area may not know much about Mackinac Island---a popular summertime tourist place that draws a million visitors between May and November---but those who do know, know that the word ‘cottage’ is a misnomer. These places are more like mansions that line the eight miles of bluffs overlooking the waters of Lake Huron in between lower and upper Michigan. Gables, wrap-around porches, widow’s walks, bay windows, turrets and towers. The lecturer was speaking my favorite language. The few places that are currently up for sale are listed between three and five point five million. Yes, for a place you can only use in the summers. Only one house on the whole island is occupied year-around and if that isn’t quaint enough for you there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island. Getting around is by foot, bicycle, horseback or horse drawn vehicles but on Sundays people often take their yachts to church. Which begs the question, what happens to the horses in the winter? The internet had the answer. The majority of the 400 draft horses are taken to the Upper Peninsula by boat for the winter, a process that takes two weeks to move them all. Those left behind are used for sleigh rides for Christmas parties for those who venture over to the island across the frozen water on snowmobiles.

The lecture wasn’t the only fun thing I did this past week. I also went to an event called Sip and Shop sponsored by the CCC where I will be moving. It was a fashion show in an upscale store that was all marble, glass and chrome. I don’t know if champagne and yummy appetizers are served at all fashion shows because fashion and shopping are not my thing but I wanted to go because the other invited guests are my future neighbors, and I’m jumping into these get-to-know-each-other games full throttle. My wardrobe is so outdated it’s practically back in the last century so I decided to buy a new top to wear. I found one I liked but after getting it home I was bummed out that what I thought was a small black and white pattern was really navy blue and white. The only thing I have in my closet that is navy blue is a pair of underpants and underwear don’t have to coordinate with blouses in my world unless maybe I’m going to a doctor’s office. I looked at the calendar, breathed a sigh of relief that I could still wear white. So I paired the stupid blouse made for younger people with better eye sight with white pants and black sandals and called it good enough. 

I had a great time, laughed a lot and was the source of a lot of laughter because I couldn’t keep my sense of humor under wraps. If you care about the fashion trends coming here’s what you need to know to be in with the in crowd: Fake fur paired with tweets and animal prints are going to be everywhere. Dark floral prints are also going to be hot as well as blazers. And ankle length dresses and more fitted waist lines are coming to get us again. Someone did ask about the white-after-Labor-Day rule and, yes you can wear it. But you have to pair the white with heavier weight stuff like sweaters, scarfs or boots and put your scandals and airy fabrics away.

I really like the management team for the CCC. I'm trying my best to just be me around these people and my future neighbors, not the filtered Jean I usually show the world. So far, so good. One of the ladies from higher up in management than the two I usually deal with came over afterward and introduced herself and said, "I won't forget you." Why, you ask? Because I was in a wise-cracking mood and called out stuff like, "Now she looks like she just had sex" when they were demonstrating how a hair product "puffs up" limp hair. The model was quick-witted and replied, "You've been talking to my husband haven't you!" which had everyone laughing. Like I said I had a good time and I needed that. ©

26 comments:

  1. I'm glad you had a great time and felt free to relax and be yourself. It bodes well for your future there.

    I also think leaving your hearing aids in the car is a brilliant idea.

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Makes sense doesn't it. I'm going to ask the audiology first if freezing temperatures will harm them. It gets cold here in Michigan.

      Ya, the fact that they accepted me into the place knowing from my questionnaire that I don't share their governing body's faith made it easier to be me.

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  2. I like that you have an unfiltered side that you are willing to show the world. As someone who often blurts out what I'm thinking, I am always in search of kindred spirits. Sadly I'm often around Negative Nellies who disapprove of me.

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    1. At least as we grow older people excuse us more for blurting out stuff that we think is funny and others might not. I've always had an unfiltered side but I usually have to know people better than I do these people before I start showing it. In some groups it never comes out.

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  3. I'm ready for animal prints! LOL.

    Actually, I'm not. I do love a nice cheetah or leopard print, and keep my eyes open for things in these patterns, but have found nothing I love yet. I'll look harder now. ;-)

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    1. I still have a leopard print purse and hat that I was going to downsize next winter from my closet from the first time they were popular in the 60s.

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  4. I miss a true navy that is blue. This “black navy” has resulted in more than one mismatch that only shows up after you are dressed and go out into strong daylight.
    Animal prints and fake fur. Hmm. Think I’ll go window shopping to see these combinations.

    Happy to see your new neighbors will enjoy your sense of humor as much as your readers do.

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    1. That's what happens to me with navy all the time and it's the reason why I banished it from my closet all together. If I had bought this in a store near by I would have returned it but I was in a part of town I rarely go to and I had a time crunch.

      I hope my new neighbors and I continue to bond. I want to go out of this world as my authentic self 24/7. Not sure if that is even realistic for anyone...I should blog the topic sometime.

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  5. Good for you. My little community is nice but I have to make myself be friendly and stop and talk when I pass someone. Of course, everyone knows my barking chihuahua and I am probably not the favorite of some of my neighbors.

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    1. I think the fact that all of us are going to be moving in at the same time makes a lot of difference in how we'll enter act. It feels like moving into a dorm at the beginning of college right now.

      I will have the barking dog problem, too, so I have to be extra friendly to make up for Levi. He barks when he's happy, though, never menacing.

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  6. I love the idea of having a wrap-around deck. It sounds like you are really enjoying the summer. I loved the ending about both you ladies talking about sex. At our age, even talking about sex excites me but that's about it. LOL See ya Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. The wrap around deck is wonderful until you have to pay to have it maintained. But with any luck this will be my last time doing that.

      I'd wish you a happy holiday but I don't think you celebrate Labor Day up there, at least not at the same time we do in the States.

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    2. Yes we do Jean. On Monday, the 2nd we celebrate Labor Day. Wow, we are same. LOL See ya my friend

      Cruisin Paul

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  7. Glad your aren't trying to be a filtered version of yourself. Seems to be working and will save you energy in the future. The model was pretty quick also.

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    1. I figure by the time this place is actually built---they are breaking ground this fall---I'll know if it's a good fit for me. I can get my money back up to the time they say they are ready to hand over the keys. So much better than moving to a place and find out you don't like your neighbors.

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  8. I would have LOVED that lecture. It sounds great! And so does your CCC management -- they're really doing a good job in building community before anyone gets there and that's great. I'm glad you're enjoying them.

    Thanks for your comment on the Flint Institute of Arts exhibit. I heartily recommend it if you liked what you saw on the blog. I know Flint is farther for you and maybe not so easy as for us (about 45 minutes from Lansing, give or take) but it's pretty easy to find. You don't have to meander through the whole of Flint to get there. The show closes on September 7, so if it's something you think you or anyone you know might like, you've got a week!

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    1. I wish the Flint exhibit wasn't leaving so soon! I was hoping to suggest it to our senior hall director next week. But she needs 3 months lead time to plan bus trips like that. I really enjoyed your post about it...and your one about Mackinac. I am putting the island on my Bucket List which is quite doable.

      The CCC almost feels like we've picked out a college and our freshmen class now being courted. LOL

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    2. P.S. and some of a the people invited ARE being courted because they haven't put their money down yet.

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  9. Why would you hide your wonderful wise cracking sense of humor from anyone? I just can't!

    I have a little case for my hearing aids and keep it in my purse (with 4 extra batteries). I think care would have too drastic of temperature changes. I don't wear mine at home either!!! But do need them for meetings or small social outings.

    It DOES sound like dorm life! If my family ever wants to live apart, I would love to find a CCC that is so inviting. Good job on discovering them, faith or not!

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    1. I don't hide my humor around family and good friends but in large groups I usually don't show it.

      Your idea of keeping your hearing aids in your purse make more sense than my idea. We do get extreme cold and heat here and that wouldn't be good from them. Thanks for sharing that!

      I just hope the dream and promise of the CCC isn't better than the reality of it. Time will tell.

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  10. Happy to hear Jean that you are letting your "freak flag fly" as the kids say. Or maybe that is something they used to say and now they're on to something else? No matter - glad that you are being your true self and that people are appreciating and even loving it! Kindred spirits will be found this way and there won't be any time wasted on folks who don't get you. Rock on!

    Deb

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    1. I love that expression, never heard it before. The problem with "letting my freak flag fly" is sometimes it's hard to tell if people are laughing with me or at me.

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  11. Cheers to you for showing your true self. I do think that as we age, we become more of who we are and are more likely to show it. And it makes so much sense to show your humor to your new neighbors while you're testing the waters. It sounds like they have a lot of interesting activities!

    We love Mackinac Island. I grew up in the U.P. and that was a common summer outing for us. Now that I live "downstate", we have gone a few times on vacation. The last trip found us using a horse drawn taxi to get back to the dock for our ferry. The driver was a lovely, chatty guy who spent his summers on the island, and once the horses left, he did too - for a winter job as a ski instructor(and self described ski bum) in Colorado. What a life! He was single...of course. :-)

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    1. I agree. Age (and Oprah) makes us all want to show our authentic selves to the world.

      My husband and I used to love our summer trips to the U.P. Now I know where the people up there like to vacation. The girl who cleans my house worked on Mackinac Island for 3-4 summers. Said she loved the job as the night life for the workers was great and she met people a from all over. Your driver has a great life-style for a single guy!

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  12. On Sunday the people take their Yachts to Church... cracked me up! And the misnomer of those being Cottages, since... Mansion would be so pretentious a Word for someone whose 'Cottage' is that freakin' grandiose and only spends a few Weeks at Year at it... and in that price point! Anyway, I do Love Old Homes so regardless that they are so underused I'd appreciate every inch of them and the entire History. I could never live there, I mean, not having a Yacht and all how would I get to Church?! *Winks*

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    1. The island has always been a place for rich people and a lot of the cottages have been in the same family for decades. They were originally built without kitchen, and they ate in a community house---fire safety and the guy who owned all the building lots wanted that sense of community.

      I'd solve the lack of yacht on Sunday easily by just not going.

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