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, March 18, 2020

Living Under House Arrest


It seems weird to live in a town of over a million people and know that nothing social is going on anywhere. The schools, colleges and universities' extension buildings are closed until for the foreseeable future. The public libraries ditto. Churches canceled services and Laugh-Fest folded up most of their annual and very popular venues. Even the butterflies are flying around in our huge tropical conservatory without the thousands of visitors coming to see them. Their doors are locked, school buses full of children are not lined up at their entrance and won’t be this spring. All state Indian Casinos are closed and our state's Tulip Festival that brings 48 million dollars worth of tourist dollars into the economy was canceled. And on the boohoo-so-sorry-about-that front all elective surgeries in the area hospitals have been canceled so if you were hoping to get some fake boobs during spring break you're plum out of luck. All kidding aside, it's getting serious, people! This afternoon our president told the nation not to go to any gatherings of more than ten people and our governor ordered all bars, restaurants and coffee houses to close (except for take-outs and deliveries) for the next two weeks.

None of those closures affect me personally but I'm bummed out that I can’t even go through the take-out window at the Guy Land Cafeteria because just before the coronavirus came to town they had a kitchen fire and are closed for remodeling. God, I miss that place and while I don’t usually go through their take-out line, preferring instead to go inside where my people watching skills have been honed to perfection, I would have used it during these Code Red days we're in. They cook in plain view so we'd know if they dropped stuff on the floor and put it back on plates to serve. My nephew got fired from a line-cook job because he saw another cook do that and when my nephew challenged him about serving the steak, he was told to keep his mouth shut. So he followed the server to the table and told the customer not to eat it and why. The other cook kept his job, my nephew didn’t. 

My other go-to place when I’m out and about, an oriental take-out place, I’ve cut off my list because the odds are high that some of their workers aka family members are international travelers. Not that it matters with the travel ban on but I've got that irrational thought stuck in my brain and it won't move along. A few weeks before Code Red put us all in social distancing mode, I’d already stopped buying deli at the supermarket because who knows who might have been breathing on my favorite chicken/grape/walnut salad and a day ago my favorite store closed their deli counters altogether and will package stuff up in individual containers. I might just have to start cooking. This week I did stock up on Atkins liquid diet meals and comfort foods. I don’t like to stockpile comfort foods opting instead to buy them as needed. If they're in the house, they'll end up on my hips sooner rather than later. But trying times call for drastic measures. Between the diet meal replacements and the goodies I refuse to name because they might incriminate me, my digestive system will be asking, “What the F is she doing to herself?” And I’ll have to explain---for the millionth time in my life---that I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m a stress eater and living in a Code Red world is stressful. 

It’s all in the mind, though, isn’t is. Other than a few canceled events that I’ve experienced many times during winter ice and snow storms, my daily routine hasn’t really changed. It’s the fact that I'm being told I'm under house arrest that has me anxious and wanting to be on the go. I’m still e-Baying my brains out. I’m still going to the post office and I'll keep my CPA appointment today to get my incomes taxes done. I’m still playing on the computer and writing my silly little posts, hoping if I sent them out in the world something I write about will resonate with someone. If I was a more elegant writer I’d phrase that more like May Sarton: “I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree sows seeds every spring…” Yup, that's me spreading my coronavirus paranoia out like pods off trash trees that no one wants growing in their yards.

I’ve heard about people taking the lemons growing during Code Red and making them into lemonade…taking the opportunity to do deep cleaning or finally getting to the bottom of their mending box. And let's talk about the obvious baby boom coming after everyone is freed from house arrest. (I'd like to suggest we call them the lemonade generation.) In my own family two of my relatives work for a company that makes and sells hospital beds world-wide and they were told to work from home until June 30th….can’t chance any of their critic workers getting sick and spreading it around the corporate offices. They are packing up their lives and going up north to their summer cottage, happy as clams for the opportunity to do that, which makes me wonder how the person who coined that ‘happy as a clam’ phrase knows if clams are happy or sad.

In this age of Google inquiring minds can find anything and I found this: “The phrase ‘as happy as a clam’ is derived from the full phrase ‘happy as a clam at high water’ where ‘high water’ means the tidal waves. The phrase means very happy and content with what a person has. Clams are collected during the low tide. So, during the high tides, the clams are safe from the fishermen.” Just think, I’ve lived nearly eight decades without knowing that. Thank you Pandemic, for helping me learn something new today. Now, please go away!  ©

58 comments:

  1. I've heard that phrase as: happy as a clam digging in the sand with nobody bothering him. Interesting how a lowly clam can come to represent happiness. And with that I'll bother you not, going back to my corner of blogland. Stay well.

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    1. I've never heard that one and google isn't giving me any intel on it. Looking for it I did found 'busier than a one legged cat in a sand box.'

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    2. Now that visual of the One Legged Cat in the Sand Box is haunting me... Thanks! *LOL*

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  2. As always, love your post! Stay well and happy as a clam.

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  3. Hi my friend. Are you able to get so me toilet paper during this crazy times? LOL I guess we have to deal with this craziness. PLease keep safe.See ya from your Canadian friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. No, but I've always had at least a couple of packs on hand. Been to the store twice and they still didn't have any. Heard the closed our border between Canada and the U.S. today!

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    2. So I expect none of us will be doing TP Runs to our Canadian Friends... and isn't it strange, that tho' I've not been an International Traveler for many Years now, I almost WANT to have the Option all of a sudden now that it's being denied!

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  4. It is amazing to see your president advising people to avoid gatherings of more than then people when he is surrounded by at least that number on the dais where he is making the pronouncement, and they are nose to nose almost!

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    1. That dog-and-pony show is amazing isn't it. They could be sitting spaced out in a large room and take a mic around to them. He shakes hands after telling everyone not do it.

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    2. Well, he's likely reading Prompts and not really comprehending the knowledge imparted by the Experts that he's just Parroting... and he's surrounded himself with Goons, so I have low expectations of all of them in this inept Administration.

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    3. I agree completely. He's reading a script and still trying to be the star of today's reality show.

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  5. Ohio, too, is under all the same restrictions, and has had its primary election suspended--at the very last moment--10 pm the night before, first denied by the court and then ordered by the health department.

    I am headed outside for my walk. We can still be outdoors in the fresh air as long as we avoid other people. I can do that!

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    1. We're going to have mental health issues in this country if they tell us to avoid the great outdoors!

      I hope they get geared up for voting by mail for everyone by this fall. This is not going to go away quickly.

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  6. Google beat me to it with the one piece of knowledge about clams that I had handy in my brain. Another poster made me look it up a while ago.
    Your nephew should have gotten a medal instead of fired. Anyway, you and he can be proud he did the right thing. These sure are interesting times and may we all get through unscathed.

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    1. Ya, the owner of that restaurant/bar sure showed his true colors over that firing. No one in our family cried when the place went out of business a few years later.

      I figured out after writing this post that I had written about the clams before and forgot. Oops.

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    2. One can never have too much information about Happy Clams... even when it's not High Tide! *Winks*

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  7. Almost wasn't allowed back in the country on my return from Madagascar. We had an 8 hour layover in Paris and the Customs and Border Patrol in Montreal gave us the stink eye about that before letting us on the plane to Minneapolis. Driving back to Michigan on Thursday.

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    1. That must have been scary! One day later and you might have been stuck in Canada awhile. They just closed that border today, I heard. On the good side gas prices are way down so you trip back to MI won't cost as much as you probably planned.

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  8. We are learning how spoiled we are, aren't we? I am lucky to be retired and so I can stay home but several of my kids still have to go to work. I so appreciate the everyday workers that are showing up to take care of our needs. I worry about those people who live paycheck to paycheck and now cannot work. What will happen to them? The blogs I read are so helpful - giving that connection to others that reassures us and brightens our day. Thanks so much for posting!

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    1. You have a great point about us learning how spoiled we've become. I was more concerned with getting comfort foods than toilet paper.

      There are so many people out there who live paycheck to paycheck or who have small businesses that can't take a few weeks without any money coming in.

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  9. I'm not panicking just being careful. I do have cabin fever and I don't know why because I don't go out all that much but it is knowing I can't run somewhere and look around when I need to stretch my legs.

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    1. I say I'm not panicking but I woke up at 3:30 last night and couldn't go back to sleep, thinking about how all this could affect my future move.

      Cabin fever is very real, isn't it. It's the knowing you can't go that makes you want to go.

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  10. Dear Jean, being housebound isn't going to change my life either because I haven't driven--due to Glaucoma--for 3 1/2 years and so I'm used to being alone. The good thing is that I like my own company! But I have decided to try and do some decluttering. So I shall use this pandemic, which is so adversely affecting everyone worldwide, to do something that I've avoided for years. Glad to learn that you are taking good care of yourself and that your sense of the ridiculous is still in tact! Peace.

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    1. Oh, I love, LOVE love that...my "sense of the ridiculous". Thank you for that because it defines something in me that until you shared that I couldn't define.

      When this is all over there is going to be a lot of clean and decluttered homes across the America and probably across the world.

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  11. You are an EXCELLENT Writer and so Satirical that I always laugh my Ass off at your Humor! I enjoy your Posts, sitting here reading them gives me something to do while my bum shoulder, that I cannot get treatment for since it's NOT a high enough priority during a Pandemic, takes my Mind off of minor problems I'm experiencing. I would likely be hysterical if I still worked Full Time and HAD to put myself either at greater risk to potentially Die, or drag Home the Virus to my Loved Ones, or lose my only source of Income! I feel a heavy Heart for those who will certainly lose everything due to having no Work or no ability to maintain their precious Small Businesses or Staffing during this long haul we're in for! I hear the Feds are considering giving some Economic Relief to us little guys and not just the big Kahuna Corporate entities that always get bailed out no matter the Cost. It is somewhat refreshing that they HAVE to think about everyone now and not just themselves and their filthy Rich buddies and those Big entities that have them in their pockets most likely. If we end up with the 20% staggering unemployment projected, scenes like what were seen during the Great Depression could be the Legacy of 2020... I Pray not, but I Fear it is a distinct possibility with how unprepared we were and how staggering this Pandemic is Worldwide. So, laughing at your Post made my Morning... please do be our Tree spreading Seeds of Dark Humor, I'd have a whole Garden of the little Darlings... natch! *Winks*

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    1. You are too kind but I'm lapping up your high praise like a starving kitten suckling from that one leg cat in the sand box up above.

      Your post about your fall sent chills up my spine. To be in a position where you have to decide going into an ER is worth the risk is my worst nightmare.

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  12. I’m already sick and tired of my own cooking! But Also so grateful we are still alive and well, and able to go places outdoors now and then and enjoy walks. I guess you could say we are ‘happy as clams” but our shells get a little claustrophobic once in a while!

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  13. Jean, thanks! I never knew that about happy as a clam. I like that. If money was no issue I absolutely loved being squirreled up in my home with Rick and the dog. But two things, I'll end up so big I won't be able to leave my house and the whole money thing and having to work. But otherwise....

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    1. I would think a lot of people will put off getting their work done if they can, not knowing how this is going to effect their paychecks in the coming weeks. So many small businesses are gong to be affected.

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  14. Since I don't work anymore, I'm not required to be anywhere. But the idea that I CAN'T go somewhere is disturbing. This is such a strange situation, and living under house arrest is a good description. I went to the Big Box Grocery at 8am today and promptly saw a woman whose cart was filled with five or six big packages of TP. Surely everyone will have more than enough soon, don't you think? And I don't see any sign of food shortages - nothing we normally buy was sold out. I suppose if I went late in the afternoon I'd find a different scene.

    I'm getting pretty nervous about our move. Our house had a lot of interest the first week (and what we thought was going to be an offer) and then it just stopped. My realtor says people are still listing and selling, but overall everyone needs to adjust to the new normal whatever that looks like. I pray he's right, but I'm pretty anxious and won't be surprised to own two houses for a bit. Hopefully not for long.

    The testing kits are just not ramping up fast enough. My brother and his wife work in rural medicine and their local health department was excited to get 10 tests last week. TEN! It's cold and flu season anyway, and no one has any idea whose cough is spreading this virus. It's just beyond disheartening. And Dear Leader keeps telling us, in his inane daily news conferences that reliably tank the markets further, that he's "ordered" this and that. I no longer believe anything that comes out of his mouth. And I'm convinced he thinks he's the star of a reality TV show about a pandemic. SAD.

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    1. I was at the largest chain grocery in our city on Monday. I went around 1:00 and they were out of toilet paper, wipes, all pasta, coffee filters, soup, some milks including almond milk, some cereals, flour, hamburger.

      I think your house will sell because this pandemic is just starting here and most people don't think it will last long term. I think a year from now when I'll need to list it will be a different story. But we both have reason to be anxious! At least mortgage rates are really down for your buyers, that will help.

      His daily press conferences after months and months of him not doing them make me mad. Correction: He did something early on---losing months calling this a hoax of the media and democrats. And what he tweeted about our governor needing to step up...outrageous! She did more than he did in a more timely fashion.

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    2. I think the governors (Inslee in WA, Whitmer in MI, etc.) have done/are doing more than the federal government. In fact, I'm convinced that they have pushed him into action. That meeting he had with them was just before the first news conference where he looked a bit chastened. That lasted a hot minute, didn't it?

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    3. I totally agree with you. If he hadn't fired everyone at the CDC and called the coming pandemic they were warning us about a media and democratic hoax we wouldn't have been caught with our pants down now. He's not smart enough to understand science and his paranoia is causing our country big time.

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  15. I, too, am doing more uncluttering. I have plenty of room to keep it neatly tucked away, but I'm doing what one of your commenters called a "death purge" so my daughter won't have to deal with it if the virus snuffs me out.

    Take care, and stay safe!

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  16. Thanks for the clam saying information, Jean! Another humorous and informative post. Tomorrow I venture to the grocery store for some perishables during the time set aside for seniors and people with health conditions. Apparently I qualify so I will take advantage. Wonder what I will find (or won’t find, more like it). Strange times we are living through...

    Deb

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    1. I wish they would set times for seniors where I live and also set limits on how many of certain things you can buy. Good luck tomorrow!

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  17. Our grocery stores are having "vulnerable people" special shopping time. My Safeway will be 7am til 9am on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm going to get there early to see IF I can get hamburger, bread, pasta, milk, etc. And fresh produce. Our stores are ALL limiting the amount of typical "hoarding" items ... stay tuned.

    And ... BE happy as a clam!

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    1. Wish our stores would set some limits! I can't image rolling out of bed that early to shop but I'd do it if the stores start special hours.

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  18. We have plenty of TP in New Zealand, but the problem for anyone some place else, is that we have basically closed our borders...if you do comes you have to start our self-isolate program which is currently 14 days but that's subject to change. And we aren't accepting anymore cruise ships with passengers until at least June 30 again subject to change...

    What I decided about following blogs is it's a easy way to have a social life and it keeps me happy...and no one knows really how long I sit here and read...

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    1. I agree about reading blogs. It is a social life in that it makes us feel connected when we find common denominators.

      I feel sorry for people who saved up for a cruise and have to be spend their time inside their tiny cabins.

      The toilet paper crisis is just crazy!

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  19. Staying home is the norm for me, I rarely go out blogging for me is a way of connecting with the world

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    1. I used to try to go out some place every 2 or 3 days...the post office, dollar store, lunch, grocery store just to make human contact. It seems strange trying to do the opposite. I love the blog world. I think it will be a life line for a lot of us this summer.

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  20. I love this ost, but then I always love how you write. My world hasn't changed much at all, apart from the fact that my hair is graying by the day and I could use a massage. But for so many it is really becoming a nightmare. I suppose it could be my nightmare or yours if we get this thing but for now, I just self-quarantine and I'm happy with it!

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    1. I'm glad you just posted! I got another one at the same time from the ass-breathe who wants all the boomers to die and hopes this flu gets stronger and will take us all out.
      Takes all kinds to make the world go around, I guess. And I'm glad I can always depend on you to be upbeat.

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    2. Who is the aforementioned ass-breath???

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    3. It's an anonymous person who goes around leaving comments on blogs written by seniors including wished we'd all die and how much he/she thinks everyone hates us. They go on for a couple of weeks then disappear awhile then come back.

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  21. My life hasn't changed that much, but I miss some of my canceled activities. Most of all, I'm finding that imposed solitude feels different from solitude by choice. I had to Google the quote from May Sarton, because it wasn't familiar to me. I have read Recovering, the journal that the quote is from, but I didn't remember this. Well, since I have some extra time, maybe I'll re-read Recovering (which is sitting in the bookcase next to my bed).

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    1. You hit the nail on the head...imposed solitude IS different than if we have it by choice.

      I love this May Sarton quote. I may be using it out of context but for me, it speaks to how I feel about writing.

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  22. I wouldn't even eat take-out anymore.
    Who knows if that young kid cooking and putting my order together, is not a carrier?
    You can be fine today and sicker than a dog tomorrow.

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    1. I know what you mean. I haven't had any take-out or drive-though since our restaurants were all closed. Same with deli foods. I do miss it, I went to get my taxes done one day and to recycling another and I would have picked up lunch on the way. This is going to kill a lot of small places!

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  23. This is my 3rd try to send a comment. Not sure what the problem is...probably me!? :)
    Try to get a small weed sprayer. Get it delivered! It is like a bidet for rednecks but does the job quite nicely. Cheap, too..
    We are all learning a new reality. Don't forget you are stronger than you think. Right now is a cakewalk compared to what is coming, so enjoy every comfort food you can make yourself and calories be damned! Stop going out..order on line and don't wait. The warehouses are emptying and food will be worth more than gold.

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  24. Wow, never would have thought of a weed spray! I ordered stuff on Amazon today. When I run out of stuff I'm driving out to our state. Gas at least is cheap.

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  25. Desperate times, but it will pass and we can only pray that we come out the other end OK. Stay safe.

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