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, February 22, 2020

Happy, Happy, Happy Until I Wasn’t Anymore


It was already a beautiful day in the neighborhood with the bright sun making the newly fallen snow sparkle like an explosion in a glitter factory when I opened my email and found an invitation waiting for me. I jumped right on it with my RSVP since it said space was limited. With any luck weather-wise, in March I’ll be going to a fancy-schmancy country club for lunch and a presentation titled “Organizing and Preparing for the Move.” The Continuing Care Campus where I’ll be moving early next year sure knows how to keep our interest peaked. I got to pick between two dates which means I won’t be seeing all my future neighbors but I’m hoping they’ll be a few faces I’ll recognize from past events. Either way I love being around the sales coordinators. They get me, my sense of humor and silly side. Or, maybe they are just pretending they get me because they’re good at their jobs? Nah, they might be able to fake-smile at all the right places but they can’t fake the twinkling eyes that go with those smiles. 

This email came on the heels of an open house I went to this week at the CCC where they had all the interior package choices spread around the sales building for us to see and get samples of to take home. Next month we have to make one-on-one appointments to finalize our choices of flooring, carpeting, backsplashes, counter tops, paint color and appliances. Those will be an easy choices for me since I love silver, grays and white and I never get tired of living with those colors for the bones and basics. We also get to choose our light fixtures and that’s my biggest dilemma. Do I go with a throw-back to mid-century or with the ultra-modern cylinder style or bubble-like things that look like you'd need a safe cracker to change its light bulbs. Not that changing lights bulbs will be an issue because their maintenance department supposedly will be at the ready for all us oldies-but-goodies to present them with our To-Do lists. I have a month to drive myself crazy over my light fixtures. First world problems…what can I say other than I know how incredible lucky I am not to be living on the back streets of Calcutta and depending on foraging in garbage piles for my next meal. 

While at the open house I got to watch a man have a mini melt down and tell the sales coordinators that he wants his deposit back (while his wife didn’t) because he just found out the place is going to be firearms free. He found this out by asking how big the elevators are going to be because he has a huge gun cabinet that won’t fit in a normal elevator. He was also concerned that his kayaks won’t fit either. He has eight and plans to store them all in their spare bedroom! I guess he didn’t get the downsizing memo. I’m not sure I want to live near a guy who wants to be ready to take out a mass shooter from his third floor balcony. (Yes, he really did say that.) But on the other hand he’d probably make good blogger fodder when he accidentally sends a kayak down the staircase and takes out a few unsuspecting souls at the bottom. Fifty-two units, fifty-one stories (besides my own) I'll be able to tell. Sounds like blogger's heaven to me.

And then my week went downhill faster than an Olympic, two-man bobsled. I was happily doing my thing on my keyboard having a wonderful time loading up my e-Bay listings when everything froze up. I have a desktop model and I rushed it down to the computer repair shop, thinking I had no time to waste if I was going to get it back in time to close my next e-Bay auctions and print the necessary shipping labels. The geeks share a store with a cell phone repair service and as I stood at the counter using old-lady speak trying to explain what happened to my computer I swear the guy’s eyes glazed over. Usually they are able to translate what I’m saying and give me a theory of what the problem entails and how long it will take to fix it. Finally I said, “You’re the cell phone guy, aren’t you.” “Yes, the other guys will be in tomorrow.” 

I went home and fired up my backup laptop, tested it to make sure my printer was still attached through the magic of Wi-Fi. It was. But after a couple of hours the Wi-Fi quit working. Talk about Panic City! I tried every trick I knew and nothing helped. Okay, time for backup plan three---trying to access e-Bay on my Kindle. If worst came to worst I could hand write shipping labels but I ended up setting up a whole new e-Bay account! I still don’t know how that happened. I blame those tiny keyboards and a wrong box checked which only reinforces my pledge to never, ever do banking on my cell or Kindle for feared I’d transfer a bunch of money to a scam artist/Algerian who supposedly is going to release a billion dollars to me once I’ve paid the taxes. When I was finally able to get my desktop back I asked the geek about my Wi-Fi issues and he said they hear that a lot and there are drivers in laptops that can wear out. Who knew!

Now, I can’t get my printer back online! It’s always been finicky, losing its drivers whenever Windows does one of their mystery downloads in the middle of the night but usually I’ve been able to get them back. Not this time. I uninstalled and reinstalled that printer at least 15 times. Color me stressed out and no longer happy, happy, happy. But on the bright side, in the First World money solves almost everything. If I can’t get the printer working soon I’ll go buy another. ©

42 comments:

  1. I have a friend whose printer keeps going offline, and she uses it a lot. Her frustration level can be something to behold. I should say it kept going offline, because she finally threw up her hands and bought a new one, after a multitude of reinstalls that would endure for less than a day.

    My time's coming. The printer is fine, but I'm in the process of cleaning up files in preparation for the move to Win10 next week. I intended to put it off as long as possible, but when my antivirus program started nagging me, I decided the risk of not upgrading wasn't worth it. We'll see how it goes.

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    1. I transitioned to windows 10 on both my computers without a hitch and in less than two days I could get around easily. But I was fearful...

      I bought my printer on sale only two years ago but unbeknownst to me it was already an older model and thus windows 10 doesn't like it. It can go along for weeks without going offline but when it, it's always when I need it the most. It's SO frustrating, even knowing the steps it takes to get it working again can take forever.

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  2. Ok, lots to say here. I'm in awe of the fact that you get to pick your color scheme in your soon-to-be apartment. How cool is that? I like your gray and white decorating bones. I'm with you in that you keep the bones basic, the rest will look great juxtaposed against it. Not a fan of mid-century lighting, fwiw.

    As for the wacko old fart who wants to bring his gun cabinet with firearms + a million kayaks to his new home, I hope TPTB bump his sorry butt out of the place before he gets there. As if any of his junk is a good idea? What a fool.

    I agree with you about not doing banking online. We keep paper files of all our banking/investing information for the exact reason you mention. How can you trust the internet systems to be on your side? You can't.

    Love the image at the top of the post. *tee-hee*

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    1. I like the basic whites and grays for the bones because you can swap your brighter accent colors out when you tire of them. I don't like living with a lot of color. It effects my mood too much. We all had quite a ceiling fixture debate when I went to the open house...such strong feelings we all had. We can buy our own fixtures and have them swapped out after we move in if we want. I can live with the choices they offer.

      I'm really hoping gun/kayak gun won't be moving in. He claimed there was another CCC place on the other side of town that will let him have his guns but that place doesn't have a lake for his kayaks. He can get his deposits back no problem and the sale coordinator trying to placate him with a 'grandfather clause' regarding his guns since he didn't know that rule when he paid them. (He Asked.) She just smirked and said "it's your decision, but you can't have them here." Even if he tried to sneak them in, he'd get caught because a monthly cleaning service is included in our fees. (No one says it, but I think the cleaning service keeps tabs on any unsafe things they might see in this continuum care place. Hoarding, rotten food, guns, letting your dog or cat pee all over the place---that sort of thing.)

      Cyber wars are going to be the next frontier of battles between countries. Not having hard copies of financial stuff is just plan dumb, but I know plenty of people don't keep their own records.

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  3. OMG Jean that nut who wanted his guns! What a great rule to have in a community of hundreds/thousands. I am glad they did not roll over for him. I would feel safer if he was there with no gun. Besides if he is a senior in a senior community he is not much help. His mind and ego thinks he could take down a kid but c'mon we all know better don't we? He would just inflict more damage if you ask me and you didn't. :-)

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    1. An old man who has that kind of ego could easily kill an innocent bystander or misunderstand what he's seeing and kill some for no good reason or shoot at my dog because he doesn't like him. Not to mention it's a SENIOR community with step downs to dementia units. His mind like the rest of ours could go at any time. I didn't know about the no guns rule but it does make me feel safer knowing it's in place.

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  4. Oh my - the poor wife of the gun and kayak guy! Hopefully they won't be moving in as he would be a hard resident to deal with I imagine. Your decor decisions sound great!

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    1. I really hope he doesn't move in too, because you've got to know that even if he didn't bring in the huge gun cabinet he'd sneak some handguns in. He doesn't belong in a place like that with all his kayaks either. Who hauls that many kayaks to a third floor unit! And who does he think is going to use them all? Grand-kids, I'm guessing. Someone said there are storage units nearby that he could rent for his kayaks and he said, "Why should I when we a spare bedroom to put them in?" The poor wife indeed!

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  5. Wow! That guy sounds like a trip. And, knowing a bit about the area you're moving to, what shooter does he think he can take out from his third floor balcony? I mean, seriously. Guy is delusional. Maybe his wife is hoping move him before he loses it completely. And I can see a kayak or two, but eight? Honestly, how happy are you that he's not your problem? LOL.

    We went through choosing all our finishes last fall, and it's really kinda fun. We are also in the neutral court and adding color with furniture, art, etc. My brother helped us remodel our bathroom and said we needed to add some COLOR to the room. My DH's response: We are the color in this house. haha. Lights were our hardest choice, and we ended up taking two of ours from this house. Mid-century modern is back in a big way...the ceiling lights make me think of the Dick Van Dyke show.

    As for printers. My computer completely stopped recognizing mine a while back. I updated the drivers, etc., and nothing worked. Finally, I deleted it from the options, then reinstalled it and that worked. But who knows for how long?

    Enjoy the SUN!!!!

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    1. That's exactly what I have to do when my computer won't work..delete it and go to the Epson site to reinstall it with a download. But sometimes I screw up the steps that follow and have to do it again.

      I can't wrap my head around Mid-century but I have niece who is crazy about it. I have learned to put 'mid-century' in my eBay listings when something is from the 40's to 60s because it does help sell stuff. I think when you're old enough to remember the style from the first time around it just doesn't have the same appeal.

      Someone asked the gun guy what mass shooter come to a place like that and he said "they would if they find out it's a gun free place." Give me a break! I felt sorry for his wife. She was pulling on his sleeve a lot, trying to get him to shut up.

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  6. The gun case wouldn't fit and the kayaks would have?? What a nut job and hopefully he will go elsewhere. Sounds like a great rule in that organization. Unstable people heavily armed do not make good neighbors.

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    1. No, he wasn't sure the kayaks would fit either but they were light enough weight that they could carry them up and down the stairs if needed.

      I got a big kick out of the fact that I was concerned with rules about bird feeders and he was concerned about enough guns to supply an army unit.

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  7. My goodness, I have no objections to neighbors having guns, and he keeps them responsibly in a gun safe. The 8 kayaks is the wacky part, as far as I'm concerned. If he still kayaks one would be enough. I am still happily living in my home on my own, and have been a widow for 3 years. Not strictly on my own, my dog and cat would remind me!

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    1. Ya, I wish I had asked him why eight. I'm guessing for grand-kids that come to visit or to haul places to use. We have a lot of lakes and rivers in Michigan and it is a cool sport. He will only be allowed to keep one at the community dock. I could even see keeping a second one in his unit for his wife but with that many he needs off site storage or downsize like everyone else.

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  8. Oh my, I hope GI Joe won't be moving into the complex. And the kayaks! One or two maybe... but eight? He sounds like a bit of a nut job (but, you are right, good blog fodder). Wouldn't it be wonderful if the CCC offered an IT person on-staff? I imagine many residents would pay for that convenience.

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    1. I'm actually going to suggest an IT class. We're being told we can set our own agenda for using the community building that is now the sales building. We get to make suggestions and vote on stuff and they will implement our ideas, if there is interest. Book clubs, quilting clubs, art. etc.

      That guy was very much someone I don't want to live near. Too hot headed and a little paranoid in my opinion. I'm guessing they won't waste any time getting him his deposit back, so I'm hoping he doesn't change his mind about that. I don't understand why he didn't ask the 'firearms' question in the first place. I asked about it being dog friendly the very first question I asked and wouldn't have signed up if it hadn't been.

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  9. PEOPLE!?? You just don't really know people until you get to know them! (Mr. Ralph always said "Familiarity breeds contempt"...first recorded use of this expression was in Chaucer's Tale of Melibee (c. 1386).... He never wanted to get too close to neighbors because it could be awkward if you had a falling out.)

    CREEPY gun guy. I agree that he will try to sneak something in!!! Keep 2 kayaks and let visitors take turns! I bet he/they won't be attending the "organizing and preparing for the move" lecture!!!

    If you can't choose between the offered lighting fixtures (how many fixtures?), you could always buy your own and have them install. I always like a hint of Asia!

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    1. I've always been stand offish with neighbors for that reason and my husband was the exact opposite. Even after his stroke and language disorder he made more friends here than I did. This will be closer living than I've done but I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready for it.

      I actually like the fixtures they offer in what is called the modern package. It's for over the dining room table, in the bathrooms and in the kitchen area...three separate styles that kind of go together but aren't that same. They are simple lines, very plain. They told us we could bring our own but they have to be installed after they get the move-in certification from the city because they don't want just one or two unit holding up everyone's move-in dates. Bare wires hanging from the ceiling won't cut it with the city.

      I'm not surprise you like Asian, having lived in the Maui for so long. They adapt from other cultures, I think.

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  10. Did you completely unplug the printers from everything it is hooked in to? Wait a couple of minutes and plug it back in. Mine is nearly brand new, but sometimes it just loses it's mind and I have to show it who is in control and unplug it from it's life source. Or--maybe like mine on time--couldn't get it to work for anything and later discovered it was out of black ink and wouldn't even attempt to print.

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    1. No, I never thought to do that but it makes sense. I will try that next time. Thanks!

      I don't know why they can't just quit messing around and leave computers and printers alone, but they have to keep adding and tweaking.

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  11. Guns and Kayaks! What a jackass. His poor wife. I can't imagine what kind of hell it is to be married to someone like that. I hope they return his deposit asap.
    Your new place sounds wonderful. I do hope there will be lots of lovely people with great personalities and similar interests.
    Choosing all those fixtures sounds like fun. What about drapes and curtains and the hardware to hang? Do they provide blinds?

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    1. He's the first person I've met that I didn't like. Everyone else has been congenial and fun. When he said he wanted his deposit back, the sales coordinator said, "That's no problem" but his wife was pulling on his sleeve and told him to wait.

      They provide blinds that open from the top and the bottom and if you want drapes or curtains you have to buy them and the hardware yourself and their maintenance will hang them for you. I really don't like drapery and curtains so I'm happy with the blinds.

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  12. I'm impressed that the maintenance people will do so much for you. So far we (Andy) can still change light bulbs, that won't be true forever. I think the place should be gun free!

    My old printer will no longer work with the new Apple operating system. :( So I sympathize.

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    1. Even some of the larger apartment complexes around here that aren't senior specific have maintenance people who will do stuff for you. We lived in a place like that for a year while our house was being built. Free maintenance was the nicest part about living there.

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  13. You are hilarious! I needed a Laugh since I had an incident involving the Asst. Night Manager at our Antique Mall and an Assistant he had that he owed Money to. Long Story that I didn't appreciate being dragged into the Drama and discomfort of! Anyways, the CCC Guy with Guns and Kayaks, he'd make EXCELLENT Blog Fodder... you can't make shit like that up! He's probably a rabid 45 Supporter, just a hunch?! *LMAO* Hope you have a decisive Peace about your Light Fixture Choices... I'm Glad that this was already Tastefully Remodeled with a lot of stuff I probably would have chosen anyway, but would have anguished over... probably... so that alleviated that dilemma! *Whew*

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    1. I'm glad you said what I was thinking about Kayak/Gun man. He just had that 45 Supporter demeanor/look to him.

      Ya, once I got home with my little pamphlet of choices including I had my mind made up within a couple of hours on light fixtures. Now I'm debating backsplashes. They have some really nice glass tiles or white subway tile. I originally thought to go with the glass but now I'm stressing that it might be too much color in the kitchen area.

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  14. All computer-related troubles are irritating enough to make you tear your hair out by the roots. But soon you’ll have something to take your mind of potential digital problems: your soon to be major irritant new neighbour. If he throws his macho, top dog, me-white-man-big-cheese attitude around now, just wait till he gets down to organising the rest of you into his posse. His poor wife.

    I suppose it’s good that you get to choose your interior decoration yourselves but what if you change your mind? Will you be able to change your colour schemes once you’re in?

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    1. I seriously doubt he'll be moving in because of the gun issue. I don't think his wife has the power to make him give them up.

      Yes, if you want to change your mind about colors, light fixtures, carpeting, etc., you can hire it done any time after you move in. But we have a whole month to decide so that shouldn't be too hard to do.

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  15. that man and his toys, lethal all of them if you do it all wrong...but I feel for the wife, maybe she wanted the spare room as a sewing room, her quilting supplies, dress fabrics and so forth...or maybe just a "room of her own"

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    1. It wouldn't be fun married to man, I'm sure. I can't imagine the mess it would cause to drag a wet Kayak through a building, up three floors and across the living room carpeting.

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    2. 8 kayaks stored on the 3rd floor? Wow. And guns too. Sounds like excellent blog fodder but also dangerous to everyone who lives there. I wouldn’t want to share space with someone with a vigilante complex.

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    3. Ya, he caused quite a kerfuffle over the guns. No one sided with him about his so-called right to have them. I hope the CCC holds firm but I've seen nothing in writing about that so it makes me uneasy. So far he's been the only disagreeable person I've met who has bought into the place.

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  16. Hope all goes better — eventually! The sooner the better, obviously. Wonder if your gun/kayak guy will actually sever his contract — poor wife. When the backups to backups in tech go caflooey that’s truly problematic. Wish you well.

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    1. Got all my computer and print wows worked out but it was so weird not being able to go online except on my tiny Kindle and I can't see that well enough to do much but read.

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  17. Ugh. Do not get me started on printers. We had so many knock-down-drag-out fights with ours that it was ridiculous. For no reason at all, it would alternately refuse to communicate with either my or Rick's computer. Then, it would print on only half of the page. The ink for these things costs more than a printer itself!

    So, I feel your angst.

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    1. Don't get me started on the cost of ink! It seems like any time I have some back up cartridges in the house that's when the printer needs to be replaced and the ink goes to waste. The first time my printer wouldn't work, the tech guy who fixed it showed my how to get it back online which has been a godsend but it still usually takes me several hours to get all the stupid steps right. Hate it!

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  18. Tech issues drive me crazy! Love your persistence!
    And that guy with the guns and kayaks. Hope he is NOT your immediate neighbor. I'd have him on my 'stay away' list. He might sign the contract about no guns, but ya gotta bet he'll still have them. And how many kayaks does one guy need???? Is he planning to start a rental biz on your lake?

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    1. I hate tech issues. Every time I have them I wish I had grandchildren who could be guilted into fixing them for me. LOL

      All I know is he was on the 3rd floor, I'm on the first but we could be in different buildings since there are three. I think he will withdraw his deposit. I sure hope so! Someone asked him why so many Kayaks and I think he said he collected them. ????

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    2. I just hate those computer issues. I used to be the go-to person at the office or in the family if there was a problem but I just don't think the same way since I retired. I'm not sure what that means or why it is but it is just the way it is. I'll keep my fingers crossed that it all comes back together in a good way.

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    3. My issues did get resolved after spending $90 at the geek shop and a couple of hours here at home working on my printer.

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  19. Jean, My older brother is a computer engineer and he has that problem with his printer going offline all the time, too. The difference from the rest of us is that he understands why it is happening and how to get it back online.

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    1. Crazy, isn't it, that something as essential as a printer isn't more compatible with computers than they seem to be. I did get mine back online. The second time it happen the computer geek, who charges $100 an hour for house calls, taught me how to do it. Money well spent.

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