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, March 28, 2020

Laundry Day and Cows



Buying art for a living space that isn’t even built yet might sound like I’m putting the cart before the horse---especially given the fact that I have a lot of signed and numbered prints to sell before I move. And given the current state of our country could even cause my plans to move to fall through all together. Too many what ifs are motion right now. What if the stock market doesn’t come back or the housing market is dead when I need to sell? What if I can’t get downsized in time? The what ifs are endless. But I’ve always been a long range, detail planner so under ordinary times anyone who knows me well would not be surprised that I just ordered a couple of canvas stretched, mass market prints for my future home. But these are not ordinary times and common sense tells me I shouldn't have bought them.

What send me off shopping for art? Two things, 1) I needed something positive to focus on, and 2) looking at the floor plan and schematics of a new unit I’m buying I couldn’t get past the empty space above my kitchen sink that will be all white subway tile and it’s the first thing most people will see when they entry my unit. I’ve never not had a window above a sink and that’s a space I couldn’t let stand naked in my mind. I have a vintage window frame that would be the perfect size to go there and at first I played around with putting a print behind the window panes of something like a lake shore or boats off in the distance, but then I worried that hanging something as heavy as a an old wooden window frame would pull the subway tiles off the wall, even an ordinary art frame with glass would keep me up at night worrying about those tiles falling off the wall. Then I played around with the idea of using a stretched canvas of Salvador Dali Girl by the Window. The idea of having a print of a window with a view tickles my funny bone, but after a whole lot of hand wringing I couldn’t live with a vertical print in a space that calls for something horizontal.

Thus I did a search by shape at AllPosters.com and came up with two themes that speak to me in the right shape, in the right colors. The cows’ print is called Country Drive Cows II and the other one is called Laundry Day. Back and forth I went for several days and finally I decided that the cows would read better from the distance of my doorway as people come into the unit. And it speaks to my soul in a different way than the other print because it reminds me of the cottage where I spent all the summers of my youth. There was (and still is) a large dairy farm on the corner where we turned onto the road leading to the cottage, and since the whole theme of my unit is going to be “summer cottages” the cows will whisper in my ears and they’ll be saying, “You’re here, you're at the lake! Let the fun begin.”

 
Everyone hates cookies when websites use them but I found out that if you keep going back to look at two prints at AllPosters.com they'll offer you a one day only sale of 60% off. The $150 price tag for each stretch canvas print was dropped so much I couldn’t resist buying them both---the cows for over the sink and the Laundry Day I ordered in a smaller size to hang on a wall near a signed and numbered print I already own of a bird on a clothesline. That bird-on-the-quilt print will be above my restored oak ice box---what old cottage didn't have one of those. And I paid the same thing for the two new canvas wrapped prints that I would have paid for one if it weren’t for cookies. 



I used to have a collection of 100 clothespins---all different. The collection is stuck at the local auction house in a lot of other vintage laundry room stuff. But I kept eight of them, handmade pins known as gypsy pins. I’m so excited that I finally know what I’m going to do with them in my new place. I have two matching shadow frames and one will hold that Laundry Day print and the other will hold the gypsy clothespins. There’s the perfect wall near the ice box where I can stack-hang the two frames (one over the other). I’ve been hemming and hawing about sending those frames off to the auction house. Now, they contain prints of gas pump faces that were a gift from the artist who used my husband’s antique gas pumps to inspire a line of prints that he still sells today. The frames would cost a small fortune to replace and I’ve been looking for a way to re-purpose them. 


 And that’s the reason why putting the cart before the horse makes perfect sense when downsizing for a move---at least under ordinary times. Doubts disappear and decisions of what to keep and what to let go turn into exciting marching orders. That old window frame that I haven’t wanted to let go of? I’m turning the panes into mirrors and hanging it right next to the door so I can check myself out before answering the door or going out, and maybe it bring some sunlight down to that end of the unit space. Wall art has always been important to me and what I’m living with now was mostly selected by joint decision with my husband when we were on various vacations out West. I still love our James Bama, Paul Collins, Bev Doolittle, J. Snidow, Charles Eurings and Wayne Cooper paintings and signed and numbered prints but I’m leaving all western memorabilia behind and in the next chapter of life I want to feel like I’m Grandma Moses renting a cottage near the beach. If all works out according to plan... ©

56 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed it all works out well for you. At least there's a good chance things will settle down by the time you're supposed to move in.

    My daughter and son-in-law are moving halfway across the country for a new job for her. The movers come Monday and the truck is supposed to start the trek Wednesday. What a mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought about that, what would it would have been like if I had to move now instead of next year, with all that's going on. What a mess is right. I hope it all goes well for your daughter.

      Delete
  2. What lovely additions to your future living space and it is so important right now to have a positive future focus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, that's what I was trying to do, keep a positive focus and play the long game.

      Delete
  3. I smiled when I saw Dali's Girl by the Window. I used that very painting as an illustration for one of my posts. I don't have any idea which one, and I'm not willing to take the time to figure it out, but I love it. On the other hand, I enjoyed both that you purchased, although Laundry Day is my favorite. Once upon a time, I needed an illustration for a post about laundry, and that would have been perfect. Now, I can't even remember what I was going to write about. Of course, I had to stop and think yesterday what the next month in line was going to be. It's hard to believe that it's April already -- no wonder everything is blooming!

    I smiled at your "what ifs," too. I very nearly wrote a post about the perils of what-iffing in a time like this. I still might. My mother was such a great iffer that she'd put you right to shame. If I were to take the trash out at 9 p.m., the things she could imagine would leave you breathless. Of course I learned from the master, and had to unlearn a little of that. Every now and then, I find myself what-iffing and have to give myself a lecture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that Dali painting, too. I've never been fond of landscapes, preferring anything with a person in it. When I got the two new pieces last week I was very pleased with the quality even though it's cheap art, and I knew I picked the right ones for the right places.

      The what ifs can get to you if you're a worry-wart but on the other hand, it's just a series of questions to ask myself when I'm sorting out a path to some goal or another. The important thing is what you do with your what ifs. The an be a call to action to alter your course or a call to sit in the corner just watching and waiting.

      Delete
  4. It is fortunate that your moving date is quite a ways into the future. You can use this time to decorate that new home. I loved Dali's Girl by the Window though the cows do fit into your locale.
    We will get through this, one day at a time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may get the Dali painting after I move. I'm trying to plan all the walls like I am my furniture but sometimes the lighting matters with art work and I won't have as much natural daylight as I'd like.

      Ya, I'm glad my move wasn't scheduled for now. The whole state is on hold.

      Delete
  5. That Dali painting is so evocative. There are so many emotions in it: wistfulness, serenity, a little loneliness, longing. It's a powerhouse. I love it. You can almost feel and smell the air through that window.

    My whole kitchen is cows, cows, cows. I'm crazy about them; have been since I was a little kid. You just cannot go wrong with a picture of cows!

    I'm glad that you chose to spend some time planning for your future and looking forward during these days fraught with concern. And having some fun doing it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know. That Dali painting is really powerful in an understated way. You nailed how it makes me feel when I look at it.

      I have a few cows in my kitchen now and will keep them. Two are small, turn-of-the-century pastoral scenes and then I have a small herd of De Laval Creamery tin cows walking on the top of my door frame. Glad to meet another fan of "cow kitchens."

      Delete
    2. I have a restored oak ice box that belonged to my Great Uncle. He had 3 cottages along side a lake that he'd rent out to others during the summer. Growing up, my family always spent at least a week there in the cabins. He had cows too that he kept up on the farm. Good times:) I love the "Laundry Day" print that you ordered.

      Delete
    3. Wow, oak ice boxes, cows and summer cottages...we have a lot in common.

      The Laundry Day is really interesting to study up close. I see something new each time.

      Delete
  6. I think it helps to look to the future. Gives you hope. We have had sad news (my brother's friend died last night from the virus) so it is easy to wallow in sadness but it isn't about me. I am fine and safe and lucky. Got to stay positive. Thanks for posting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your sad news. It makes it doubly hard when families can't even have a proper funeral during this world crisis.

      Staying positive comes in waves for me as I'm sure it does for others.

      Delete
  7. What a very clever idea to make your own window over the sink! And the shadow box idea!! For sure decorating has been one thing I've given up by living together. This is definitely "their" home (except for my room). Magnetic letters and words on the freezer in the dining room. Artwork in the halls held on by masking tape. The wonderful black cubbies have been filled with books, games and art supplies. Legos have a 6 cubby cabinet with a beta fish on top.

    Staying positive is becoming more challenging with each day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These shadow boxes are top drawer, expensive so I'm thrilled to find a new use for them.

      Living with several generations would be a challenge decorating wise but I'm sure the trade off is worth it.

      I totally agree with your last sentence! But I'm working on it.

      Delete
  8. New life, new decor. I am thinking along the same lines as you, Jean. Your new art is going to look great in your new place.

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As hard as it is to let go of the past, the future planning is so much fun. Can't wait to see where you end up.

      Delete
  9. Those are great pictures! What you are doing is exactly what we need to be doing! Planning for and looking forward to the future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bounce between looking forward and spinning my wheels.

      Delete
  10. Your ideas sound wonderful. I've bought three different pictures for my dining room since I moved here and they are all nice but not the perfect picture. I should look at that website too. Might find just the right one. I do line clothes on the line. I can just catch the smell of the sun on the sheets if I closed my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing---NOTHING smells better than line dried sheets that have blown in the wind on a sunny day.

      Delete
  11. Laundry day here today 2 loads done on the line but no cows anywhere

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you're not beating your clothes with a rock to get them clean in a river. I might have to start doing that.

      Delete
  12. awesome and to decide to create a new decor for your new life, even better...
    when I downsized, I ditched all the big furniture, some I sold, some I gifted and when I came here, I had so little - someone helped me get smaller footprint. Not necessarily what I wanted but most of it is okay...for now

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thinking about the future now is the perfect antidote to the present we are facing day after day. One day it will all be over and time spent on pleasant subjects will not have been wasted.

    I hope it all works out for you (and everybody else). Good luck

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks and I agree. I did get a little bad news on the future front but nothing I didn't expect. I'm writing about it for Wednesday.

      Delete
  14. You have had the most eclectic collections. Now you tell us clothespins? How cool is that! I love both the prints you ordered. I've been remarkably good about shopping online during this but I did cave for a couple of Easter treasures due to arrive next week. I think you are due! And I don't think you need to worry about downsizing in time. Worse to worst, you put what you know you are getting rid of in storage, settle, and then get back at it. But at the rate you're going, I think no problem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had full boxes of clothes pins from the '40s with really cool graphics and three washboards from the turn of the century plus a short clothes line with all 100 of my pins on it. It was a cool display. I still have collections that I haven't written about, how's that for a cliffhanger to keep people coming back to my blog?

      But I won't be doing a storage unit, I'll just cut my losses before I do that and send anything left to the local auction if I run out of time. I did the storage unit after Don's stroke and didn't have time to get back to it for another 2 years. Not cost effective, for one thing and extremely hard to have the unfinished business hanging over your head emotionally.

      Delete
  15. As another long-range planner type, it makes perfect sense to me to buy art to hang on non-yet-built walls. And I also agree that, as deliciously tongue-in-cheek as the print of a view out a window would have been, having a vertical piece of art in a horizontal space would be jarring every time you looked at it. Having the art ready to go up on the walls will make your new place a home as soon as you are able to move in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes I'm glad I'm a long range planner. It made me good at my job when I was in the work force and it's comforting to have a plan to lessen any unpleasant surprises. On the other hand, sometimes I really admire people who are spontaneous and fly by the seat of their pants with all their decisions.

      I can't stand it when I see people hanging art that doesn't fit the space properly. One time some good friends of ours were into modern art and they had a piece hanging horizontally over their living room couch. I took one look at it and said, "are you aware that the artist meant for that people to be hanging vertically?" Easy to figure out by the signature, if you were balance and design challenged. I assured them that only someone else with a degree in art would notice. God, that was funny.

      Delete
    2. OMG, what a stitch that your friends hung their art sideways. LOL.

      Delete
    3. They have a wonderful sense of humor and loved their 'secret'.

      Delete
  16. I'm Glad you bought the Art, so as to Feed your Soul right now! I too bought an Art Print, it hasn't arrived yet, should get here from Great Britain by about April 4th is the projection, it's already been shipped and they send you tracking by e-mail. The Man will think I've lost my ever lovin' Mind buying Art Online during a Pandemic, but he's not likely to say anything, knowing this Sheltering Quaratine is harder on me than on him... plus I'm responsible for everyone and that's a great weight, to keep them as Safe as I can manage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Online shopping sure does feed my soul right now. Not much buying, just looking mostly. Can't wait to see what you bought.

      Delete
  17. P.S. I ADORE that Girl At The Window piece! I feel rather like her I think right now...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. I'm hoping after I move in to find a place to fit her in.

      Delete
  18. I never knew there were so many different clothespins. I’ve only seen two kinds which I still have some of though I no longer use them. They fall into my better keep those as you might want to use them someday and probably cant find any in the stores anymore syndrome. I really like the girl in the window. Appreciate your rationale for cows you chose. Do hope you keep your sanity in these trying times between the virus and economy. Oh yeah, while you’re at it stay healthy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved looking for and collecting clothes pins. It was like collecting Cracker Jack toys and wooden nickels in that they were cheap and not terribly hard to find, but hard enough that it made antiquing fun. I'm quite sure there are far more than 100 different styles of clothes pins, that was my limit.

      Keeping my sanity is going to be full time job the longer this goes on.

      Delete
  19. I love all your art choices. The Dali is really lovely, and I wouldn't have thought of putting a window over the sink in a print. I do understand your concern about mounting it and it's weight though. None of us need tile coming down...life has enough problems. :)

    The laundry print really caught my eye. One of the things I loved during our trip to Italy a couple years ago was seeing their colorful laundry hung outside the windows and buildings. The only piece of art I bought on that trip is a small painting of some really colorful laundry. My daughter was with us and she dickered with the artist for a better price. We also have a lovely picture of all of us with the artist and the painting. Really wonderful memories in a tough moment in history.

    As for the real estate market, who knows? Of course, we're frozen in place here in MI. We had quite a bit of interest in our house, but then it stopped when we all had to stay home. I have no problem with that, given I'm not keen on strangers in my house right now, and I'm happy that the builders have also had to stop, because I don't want to own two houses. I was REALLY anxious over all of this for about a week. But there really is nothing we can do right now and we have no idea how this will shake out. I suppose if the market is dead, we'll end up making a bottom line financial decision (i.e. which direction preserves more of our money). But that's all in the future at this point, so I haven't really been losing sleep over it for the past few days. Which is a relief.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've bought a lot of art directly from the artists so I know exactly how you feel about your Italian laundry artwork.

      I've wondered if you'd gotten into your new house, or not or sold your current house. You've got a good attitude about it since there is really nothing anyone can do about the situation. My moving plans are in the same twilight zone---my next blog post.

      Delete
  20. Love both of those prints! Nice choices. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was fun shopping for them and it took up 3 days of my house arrest.

      Delete
  21. Cows and laundry. I'm reminded of my "cow theory." During a time of angst, I looked out at the cows grazing in the pasture thinking how lucky they were. All they had to do was eat, drink, rest, walk, poop. I realized that could be me, too. Now, when life gets out of control, I apply my cow theory. I focus on those things I have control over - diet, fluid intake, rest/sleep, exercise. Gaining control over the basics helps other things to fall into place. I'm working on that now during this pandemic response. The laundry picture reminds me of a trip to Portugal. At one seaside hotel we stayed at, their laundry was hung outside. I trust those pictures will instill good feelings in you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing that! I absolutely love your Cow Theory and I need to work on focusing on the things I have control over. Cows have always had the ability to make me feel at peace. I love watching. When I drive to the cottage (this in the family) I pull up to the fence before and watch them all come see what I'm doing. I've nearly cut all beef out of my diet over the years because I love cows so much. The only thing I can't give up is a good steak once a month.

      I wish I knew more about the laundry day painting but it looks like a commercial laundry from the turn-of-century to me but could literally be any place in the world.

      Delete
  22. Ah the ole leave in the cart trick. LOTS of sites do this. I do it often. I also use a zip code of an area of where I do not live. I learned one time going to a target 15 minutes out of my way in a town that is a bit lower on the economic scale to only those who make these rules, it is far cheaper. My target in my city the patio table was 899. driving for 15 minutes the table was 599. Big deal. So now when they ask you your store at the top, I put in the zip code for that area. It works every time. (yes I check because I am a weirdo) Try that too Jean, you may find you can get some good deals for your new home. (even if you are shipping it to YOUR zip code this works)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the postal zones shopping trick. But if you're already in a middle class neighborhood and put in a lower class neighborhood it can work to your disadvantage because they build in a shoplifting loss to all their goods. Higher class areas going lower, does save you money. Back in the days before Costo my husband used need 12 cases of oil at a time and would go to the same chain all around the city to get that many. But thanks for the reminder of this trick. I will be buying some new, big ticket ideas next year.

      Delete
  23. As always, you knock it out of the park with your wonderful writing.
    My son in law is Don Nisbett. His gallery just won the top prize for his area. He is a wonderful, kind and caring man who is a patient husband to my daughter and a great father. Due to the virus, He is shut down. The entire Port of Ilwaco is shut Dow. I urge you to look on facebook at his art and if you have any cash to throw towards art, maybe consider his..or another working artist who needs to feed his family.
    We had more snow here today. Most folks still getting out and about as though nothing is wrong. Just baffling to me.
    I do hope your new place will be built. The economy is certainly taking a hit and the jobs to build it would be a boon to so many.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I checked out his website. The first watercolor he showed on the video of the moose in the bathtub my husband would have bought in a heartbeat. Loved his titles, too.

      I think the CCC will still get build but if, not I'll still be ready to look for a smaller place to move. The whole world will be in the same state of uncertainty so I'll have to roll with the punches as they come. Tomorrow's blog will explain some of them.

      I don't get people who aren't getting the message either about the virus.

      Delete
  24. I have a lot of beachy decor in my house because, like you, I wanted to feel like I was in beach cottage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Something about imagining ourselves with the sounds and smells of the sand and seashore has a calming effect, doesn't it.

      Delete
  25. I don't want to hijack your blog, but just wanted to mention that Don takes commissions and has an amazing ability to listen to your ideas and create an original from that. I am blessed to have many originals, two we collaborated on. One is two moose ice fishing with beer and bean cans scattered and fish ice skating behind. Caption "The fishing was better last year".

    ReplyDelete
  26. Don't worry, if you weren't a frequent commenter I wouldn't have published your above comment. LOL He is lucky to be doing what he loves and is good at. I hope the tourist trade comes back out where he's at after this is all over with.

    ReplyDelete
  27. We just had a BIG earthquake near here. It rolled and shook and then rolled again. They are saying 6.5, but it is much larger.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, my God! I've worried that we'd have a natural disaster---hurricane, tornado, flood, earthquake---on top of the Covid-19! Hope you don't have any big aftershocks. Stay vigilant and safe.

      Delete