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, October 5, 2019

Rain, Rain Go Away!


We’ve been getting so much rain lately that worry-wart me has been going down the basement daily to make sure the sump pump is working. Even with a daylight window in the basement, I hate going downstairs and I hate sump pumps even more. I still have visuals stuck in my head of the time the sump pump quit working during a record breaking streak of rainy days and my basement got flooded to the tune of $3,000 to get the water pumped out, a new sump pump installed and a couple of treatments to prevent mold---not to mention the stuff that got damaged and had to be thrown out. I’m especially worried this time because my gutters need cleaning out which is causing rain water to go right over the top of the eaves troughs and land in the zone where it will end up in the sump pump to be pumped out farther into the yard. I had the gutters cleaned in the spring and usually they don’t need it twice a year but apparently they didn’t do as good a job as I’ve had in the past. I’m on the wait list to get them done again but like everything else that requires manpower, there seems to be a shortage of workers in this area. I’m also on the wait list for an arborist to trim my shrubs and for a painter to get a ceiling painted. 

Now that I’ve decided to move, all these house maintenance chores are starting to get to me like they never did before. I feel like I’m losing control. I am losing control! I never felt like that when I could do the work for myself or hire it done but how do you keep things maintained when you can’t even hire stuff taken care of in a timely manner? Even my cleaning service is moaning and groaning about not being able to hire enough people. Did I mention that I lost my cleaner who was also a college student working on her degree to teach art? I was not surprised but I’ll miss our great conversations. On the good side starting in November I’ll be getting the OCD cleaner back who gave a baby up for adoption and regretted the decision. I lost her because she quit working on Fridays and at the time it was the only day of the week I had free. There’s only one catch, she can’t fit me in for October because I have a bi-annual doctor’s appointment on the only day she has free. The service is working on finding me a temporary for this month. I’m not worried about it, though. I might be too old to clean my rain gutters out but I can still clean toilets and sinks if I have to.

This week I did get out of the house long enough to get some R&R from e-Baying. (Just in time to celebrate selling one of my husband's bug boxes for a whopping $610.00). I went to a lecture called Project One. I had to force myself to go because the night before I slept a grand total of three hours plus the topic didn’t look all that exciting, especially given the fact that there wasn't enough coffee in the world to make me want to go anywhere but back to bed. I would have passed on the lecture but they always have a long waiting list so the guilt over not using my RSVP would have been a bitchy companion.

It was about a couple of large art installations in town with a theme of ‘Crossed Lines’ which according to the exhibit’s description, “is meant to explore the way boundaries affect our sense of belonging. The results is a multi-site exhibition that connects disparate parts of the city, crossing dividing lines of neighborhoods, as well as socioeconomic and racial enclaves.” Call me old fashion but I can’t relate to things like the roof of a house laying on the ground and calling it ‘art’ and I’ve decided I don’t like public art installations that make you think you've blown a few brain cells because you don't "get it." Give me marble or metal sculptures that have passed the test of time or the moodiness of the Impressionists any day of the week except on Sundays when you can throw in an Andy Warhol soup can for a laugh or two. 

One of the classes my x-cleaner/art student had to take was on doing art installations in public spaces. Apparently, it’s a thing. Apparently art for public consumption no longer needs to just capture a mood or a moment. It’s all about bringing head-scratching or controversial conversations into public spaces. Whoopy doo. Okay, I admit my negativity here might be part sleep-deprivation. However, I like art that doesn’t need to be explained to me and certainly not explained more than once. Half the time artists are just making stuff up like that unattached roof, “is exploring boundaries" line of bull. Is this what getting old is all about, rejecting new ideas and concepts about things we dearly loved in its old forms? I’ve always prided myself on trying to stay current but I can foresee a time coming soon where I’ll be a grumpy camper---as opposed to a happy camper---living a half century behind the times. ©

31 comments:

  1. "..However, I like art that doesn’t need to be explained to me and certainly not explained more than once."

    Fully agree. I'd in fact keep it to: "I like art that doesn’t need to be explained to me." ~ Libby

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    1. Welcome back, Libby. Honesty, why would someone pay a commission for a roof like the above? What a waste of materials. All it does for me is remind me of the people who've lost their homes to hurricanes and tornadoes.

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  2. Hoping today is a better day all around.

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    1. No rain today! The weather looks good for next week and the arborist is due on Thursday so things are looking up.

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  3. Hmmm... not my kind of art, either. I wonder how someone's mind works when he or she decides to make that kind of art? Looking for attention I'd guess. It's beyond me.

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    1. I don't get it either. I think they've broaden out the definition of "art" too much so that anything goes. The art critics, last year, were really snobby about one of the people's choice awards given for an 8'x 16' fabric art landscape quilt but they'll raved over an "installation art" piece of several clotheslines with clothing hanging on them.

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  4. Since My basement in my first home was flooded with storms over night and my sump pump couldn't handle the water, my second home has a double sump pump and I haven't experienced any problem. I guess our warm weather has gone. We still get sun ( once in awhile )but the temperature it has decided to fly way. Oh well, Halloween is near then Thanksgiving, the Christmas and finally my cruise. Whoopee!!!!!! See ya Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. The only time I've ever had a problem was during that 100 year flood but it sure puts the fear in you.

      Don't wish your life away, Paul. The holidays are a long way off!

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    2. Jean, I live day by day but I like to think about what's ahead. I could die today but at least I was able to think of what was lying ahead for me. See ya tomorrow, maybe.

      Cruisin Paul

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  5. Too bad they didn't make the "Art" usable as maybe an eye catching tourist information office. Oh that wouldn't be artistic I guess.
    Understand your frustration at having to hire work you use to do. I'm looking for a pruner also.

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    1. I really miss the old telephone books for finding services. At least you knew they had a brick and mortar business longer than a year to get in there. The internet advisers style websites don't cut it with me. My pruning will get done on Thursday if all goes well but I have to cancel a lecture that I wanted to hear.

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  6. Yeh, I don't "get" some art and I prefer to just think about my own ideas. Our little town has a huge amount of art installation. We have fun making stories up about what we think of it. It's a very big line item on our budget!

    This summer, on two different nights, two pieces of art were vandalized. The City is creeping out to the burbs. We have a few homeless people, a few families who beg at the entrance to our two grocery stores, and potentially a vape store opening on the main street...

    I'm so glad I live in a condo so I no longer have to find gutter cleaners, window cleaners, critter gitters, bug infestations, etc.

    YOU CAN DO IT!

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    1. I'll be leaving a lot of maintenance issues behind, that's for sure. Just got to get through the next year first.

      I think one of the reasons why artists are going into the art installation 'business' is because they are getting paid really big commissions for that crap/temporary art. Think Betsy DeVos when you think of that roof. Her son runs the art scene in town.

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  7. Jean:

    I have hrd time understanding this modern art, being left brain dominant & engineer I always wondered how can any artist make a living in this world. For me math & numbers come easy then understanding art. congratulations in getting good deal on ebay, seems like there is market for everything in the world if you know how to sell it right.

    hope your sump works well or rain stops. BTW did you see post on facebook about hostpam your old strokenetwork friend who used to call you mom. I am still sad & shocked by the news.

    Asha



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    1. I'm just the opposite. Numbers can be hard for me. Making a living at art, like with music, is a real crap shoot and mixture of talent+being in the right place at the right time to be noticed.

      Thank you so much for letting me know about Pam! It would have been a month of Sundays before I would have seen her obituary if you hadn't. We sure spent a lot of time together in the chat rooms and behind the scenes with S.M. Before she left, had half the site calling me mom. 55 is too young to die. Do you know what she died of?

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  8. no jean I have no idea what caused her death,I just saw her obituary & was shocked, it took me at-least few days to connect the dots. you both were my lifesavers though pam used to be less politically correct than you & rough in around edges but did straighten me out through my grief. I agree 55 is so young.
    Asha

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    1. She could get away with being "less politically correct" because she was a survivor (not a caregiver) and therefore was more easily forgiven when she stepped over the line or ticked off someone. I think we probably made a good tag-team because she could be so hot-headed and I was always measured and well-thought out with my advice. We were kind of like a good cop/bad cop in that regard. We sure did have some good times behind the scenes in the middle of the night when things were slow and grew close.

      Asha, you were your own lifesaver. We might have been your sounding boards but YOU did the hard work of working through the post-stroke acceptance issues and putting your life back together. I'm really proud of you!

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  9. We have art installations on the boulevard by my house. I have to say there are some I don't even bother to photograph because, like you, they are just not my idea of art. Others are more old school or less avant garde and I enjoy seeing them when I walk the dog. It is probably true the majority of us will not appreciate the "new things" that interest our children and grandchildren so there will just be a wealth of us old foggies ignoring what we don't appreciate.

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    1. We're not in the only century that had clashes between the new art and the old school stuff. But it's hard to keep that in perspective sometimes. It wasn't all that long ago that I posted about a portrait that caused a scandal because the strap on the woman's arm was painted slid down on her arm. The "old foggies" were outraged.

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  10. Well, art is very subjective. It's like other forms--literature, architecture, even landscaping and food and wine. There have to be some people who break the boundaries and challenge the norms. There have to be risk takers. And not everyone likes the same stuff.

    There's a lot of established art that I dislike and don't understand why it's Art: Piet Mondrian, Grandma Moses, Jackson Pollack, for example. But I can appreciate it for what it is WHEN it was.

    Cleveland has its FREE Stamp. I don't really get it, but I like it. Lots of people don't.

    Lots of people like white zinfandel wine; I think it's garbage. My late friend Ann wrote romance novels, a genre I find ridiculous. And you couldn't pay me to read Harry Potter, but it's obviously a wonderful and popular series. I'm just not interested.

    My point is, there's room for everything, and sometimes it's not about pleasing people, it's about making a statement and expressing your passion or your opinion or your talent.

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    1. All very valid points, Nance. There truly is something for everyone.

      I had to laugh at no one could pay you to read Harry Potter. I actually tried reading one of the books, just to see what all the fuss was about and I got about 40 pages in when I gave up.

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    2. I read the Harry Potter books with my son as they came out. We both loved them. But had I not been reading them with someone that age, as they came out, I don't think I would have liked them as much. My son was the same age as Harry, and the books were all the rage with kids that age.

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    3. It would make a huge difference if you are reading the books to a child. Kids sure did love that series!

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  11. Yes, I think for those of us aging alone, house maintenance can be a big source of stress. My plan is to move to a retirement community where someone else is responsible for the maintenance when the maintenance hassles begin to outweigh the pleasures of living in my house. I've always been a bit mystified by people who say "just hire someone to do it" as though that were an easy thing to do. I think part of the reason it has become difficult to find people to work in the trades is that our society doesn't give those people much respect. I always remember something Senator George Mitchell (who grew up in a working-class Maine family) said when he was the Commencement speaker one year at the college where I taught. I may not have the quote exactly right, but this is how I remember it: "If we honor philosophers for no other reason than because they are philosophers and disrespect plumbers for no other reason than because they are plumbers, we will get just what we deserve: bad plumbing and bad philosophy. Neither our pipes nor our theories will hold water."

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    1. We don't have enough people going into the trades, that's for sure. And finding someone for the small jobs is harder than the bigger projects.

      Up until my husband's stroke we never hired anyone to do anything including dry-walling, plumbing, etc. My husband even re-roofed our house. Hiring people is not easy...lots of pit falls involved.

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  12. I SO feel your concern about basements, water and sump pumps. Even with one that works, I dread it won't.

    Is Art Prize going on? You know, I have a love-hate relationship with it. It feels like a lottery to me -- you don't win any prize unless you have something that is a) really big and b) in a prime location. If you're showing a small but magnificent painting or whatever in a restaurant, you may as well hang it up. And I don't get the mega-installations, either. It stopped being fun for me to go, between the weird and the crowds.

    I've got to see (and hope) that my cleaning people will want to come back to me after weeks of being without...

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    1. Art Prize as we've a;; come to know it will only be every other year from now on. At least that is the plan. The alternating years will be five commissioned art installations like this year with no voting. It's on right now but it's not going over very good at all. I'm not sure why the change but I heard that it was getting too big and disruptive to the businesses downtown for so many weeks.

      You are exactly right on the size and location of pieces that win. And if it appeals to the school kids who are bused down and vote, it helps too. I'm okay with the small paintings going into restaurants, etc. A lot of them get sold and get seen by more people than they would in a small gallery and you can see all the art online. I vote online and I've only been to Art Prize twice in person and I do the Arm Chair lectures about it instead where we get to see it on large slides. And in the past our nightly news covered a lot of the art for a full month as it was set up and taken down. Parking is awful at Art Prize. You walk a lot and the two times I went I took the tour bus but you had to jump off and on it so many times where you had ten minutes to see something then get back on. I was a nervous wreck because the bus did not wait for anyone.

      Good luck on your cleaning crew!

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  13. I'm so glad you will be free of home maintenance in the hopefully not-too-distant future. We live in an apartment here in town. It's not fancy, but it's reasonably care free.

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    1. I'm looking forward to that aspect a lot. It's never really bothered me before but now it's just too time consuming.

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  14. I like accessible art too, but when I visit modern art museums or exhibits, I do enjoy scratching my head over what the artist was trying to convey. I move on rather quickly generally, but occasionally I find I'm delighted by the unexpected. That said, public installation art seems to me to have purpose in uniting and edifying and being accessible to all -- not to challenge and annoy. But that's just my opinion, I guess. :)

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    1. I don't like the idea of creating art installations that get taken apart afterward. I feel the same way about creating beautifully, plated food. I put that much effect into something I want it to last. LOL

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