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 25, 2020

Reporting from House Arrest


All is well here on Widowhood Street. I still have Little Debbie Swiss Rolls, Mandarin Orange Slice candy and Windmill cookies plus milk to dunk the latter in. I’m getting low on toilet paper but outside my window I have a view of several dozen cattails proudly swaying in the breeze and I’m wondering if I should harvest them before the birds pick them bare for nesting material. (Time to start thinking like a frontiersman.) I still have internet connection; I’d die a slow and painful death without it. And I still have a mouthy dog and a new project to cure him of that. Yes, my Palace of Dreams aka Amazon just delivered my new and yet untested Ultrasonic Anti-Bark Device and if that doesn’t work, thanks to all those Navy SEALS, Mercenary and Delta Force books I’ve been reading I now know a multitude of ways to assassinate a person and I’m assuming they would work on Levi my Might Schnauzer as well. I'm tired of him barking at all the new canines in the neighborhood! Next time the dogs across the street have their fence line play date Levi has a surprise coming. I’m just hoping he’s not smart enough to figure out that I’m the one giving it to him. I love the little sucker and I want him to go on thinking I’m his personal AMT machine for dispensing treats. Mean Jean with her torture machine is going to keep that device out of Levi's sight.

I’m pretty sure I should be doing this House Arrest differently. It seems to be enhancing all my worst habits. Point of Fact: Most days I haven’t gotten dressed for the day until well past noon since the coronvirus inspired house arrest started---whose going to catch me in my bathrobe now that everyone is staying at home?---and I’ve been thinking about a meme I saw about changing from nighttime jammies to daytime jammies. What a wonderful idea, the best one I’ve seen for coping with House Arrest! If my body wasn’t bumpy, soft and squishy in places that should be lean and mean I could easily turn into a nudist. Clothing has always had the power to make me break out in hives if I have them on too long. And, yes, I’ve tried all different fabrics and laundry products. But alas these hives are pressure hives but I get the other kind too Aren't I a lucky little lady.

In the past ten days I have been out of the house. Twice to the post office to ship eBay packages, but you can get in and out without literally touching anything and at the time I go I rarely see anyone other than the clerk. She has more to fear from me than the other way around since she has no way of knowing if I’m been coughing corona germs all over my boxes before setting them on her scale. I also got a haircut just hours before our governor announced she was closing all hair, nail and tanning places. They had a large bottle of hand sanitizer just inside the door with a sign on it to use the sanitizer before going any farther. I usually get my eyebrows trimmed with my haircuts but they weren’t doing any services that required them to touch faces, nails or feet and they weren’t serving any beverages. Everyone is taking precautions, it’s our new coronavirus hill to climb and I predict when we get to the top I won’t be the only germaphobic to plant a flag of victory.

I also went to my first designated senior grocery shopping time at the godawful hour of 7 AM. Did you know it's still dark at that hour of the day? I haven't driven in the dark for several years now and don't think I hit any nocturnal foragers along the way but I saw a few. Before going inside the store I had visions of it looking like a scene in Stepford Wives only with women who'd aged themselves out of the movie franchise. But instead of 'little pretties' with ramrod straight backs and shoulders thrown back gliding down the aisles, I thought I’d see a bunch of gray-haired women with camel backs and uneven gaits and I wasn’t far from wrong. None of the grim-faced shoppers had floppy garden hats on like in the movie but that could change in the future if they keep the hair salons closed for very long. We corona shoppers weren't wearing Stepford Wives white cotton gloves either but many had on disposable plastic gloves and face masks.

And the place was a zoo, busier than at Christmas and there was no way to keep to the six foot social distancing rule at the front of the store. When I finally broke through the log jam to get to the shopping aisles I found myself in the men's underwear aisle and I took a few minute to calm my nerves. (Did you know Jockey's makes men's bikini briefs now? How long has that been going on?) When I got to the grocery section they still didn't have toilet paper, hand sanitizer, paper towel, eggs and noodles and the laundry soaps aisle was nearly empty. Also couldn't get a fresh battery for my digital thermometer, should I need to use it. But on the good side of senior shopping they'd mass disinfected the shopping carts with a fogger and all 18 cashier lines plus the self-checkouts were open with little waiting in line. Still, I did not like the experience and I was glad to get home, have some breakfast and wake up the dog. It was 9:00, about the time we both usually roll out of bed.

The coronavirus pandemic is touching every phase of our lives, isn’t it. Even the libraries’ donation drop slot is closed. Like why when it requires no humans at the other end of the book chute? I had just loaded some books in my trunk to donate before finding that out. I took the books out of my car and filled up the trunk with stuff to drop off at Goodwill and I was looking forward to the four point seven mile "sightseeing tour" but I had to unload the trunk yet again. Our governor just announced a stricter stay-at-home order for the next three weeks! ALL businesses (including Goodwill) are closed except those deemed "essential" like gas stations, healthcare facilities, grocery stores and liquor stores. Yes, they included liquor stores on the list of essential businesses but they left off Lady Godiva and Dairy Queen? What the heck is wrong with the people running the world? No wonder I haven't had a good night's sleep since the pandemic came a calling. ©


38 comments:

  1. Years ago I was told that the goal of retirement was to not wear your jammies while eating your lunch. If you managed to do that you were doing ok. In light of the current times I think your reminder is apropos. And ain't that a pip?

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    1. I actually do a lot of work in the mornings while in my robe and night gown regarding eBay preparation, photographing and listing so I don't feel too guilty. But I love that retirement goal. LOL It sounds do-able.

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  2. Poor Levi! Just kidding but I guess you will find out if your old dog can learn new tricks! So hard for them not to bark.

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    1. Especially terrier breeds, which a schnauzer is. That device really works in the house! But not sure is will help outside when he's 200 feet away from those puppies across the street.

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  3. I'm way behind on my blog reading and commenting, but this one was full of grins. My personal good news is that I don't need to set foot in a grocery store for at least two weeks, partly because I managed to find some of the hard stuff, like eggs, through a friend who has chickens. I've decided that 'friends with chickens' beats 'friends with privileges' every time -- at least in the time of the Great Plague.

    Our strict "Keep it at home, baby" takes effect today, but it's not going to change my routines a lot, since "outdoor activities" are both permitted and encouraged, as long as you keep at least six feet away from other people. That's been standard operating procedures for me for years, both at work at play. I figure if it's ok to go golfing, it's equally fine to go sit on a boat in a deserted marina and sand wood.

    I didn't realize how valuable a network of small, independent food suppliers could be until I got my eggs and meat yesterday. The meat market I go to is the old fashioned kind, where they do their own custom cutting and such. They set up a neat system. I called in my order and paid via card. Then, when my order was ready, they called me. I drove to the market, picked up my ground round, stew meat, and chicken, and drove home. Easy peasy -- and a way to keep them open!

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    1. Several of my great-nieces and nephews keep chickens but I'd have to drive an hour there and an hour back to get them. We have an independent meat market like you're describing but other than good steak once a month I don't eat a lot of meat.

      With spring here, I can picture you enjoying your photography and writing. I wish I had half your talent.

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  4. Coronavirus can live on cardboard for 24 hours. That's why the drop slot is closed.

    We had, unfortunately, two yappy little dogs that lived next door to us for several years. The owners were gone for ten hours a day, and that's how long that Yorkie and Jack Russell barked. I gave serious thought to getting one of those anti-bark devices.

    Instead, I bought a dog whistle, the kind that emits the high-pitched sound that supposedly only dogs can hear. Every time those little snots started up, I blew it. It would stop them, but they'd start right back up. I was so disappointed.

    And so glad when that family moved a few years ago!

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    1. I've asked my closest neighbors if they could hear Levi barking and both said 'no' so I've been careless about letting him bark too long when other dogs walk by the house. (Our houses are far apart.) I have one of those dog whistles and it works to bring Levi inside when I don't want to call him in from outside when others are sleeping. This anti-bark thing so far is doing the same thing. He quits barking and comes to where I'm at and gives me the strangest look. Not quit what I wanted but it's only day two of using it.

      24 hours? Oh, those poor postal workers.

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  5. Thank you so much for containing to write your blog. I look forward to Wednesday and Saturday when your blog is published.

    After a week of not doing a routine that includes personal hygiene I realized I felt better getting cleaned up and dressed the first thing in the morning.
    Its all about doing things that improve one's mental health. Day and night pajamas are also a good thing


    Thanks again Jean

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    1. I really need some new sleeping gear. I was waiting until next winter to revamp my wardrobe and switch from wearing nightgowns to pajama. Figured where I'm moving I could throw a coat over PJs late at night to take Levi outside than with a nightgown. I may have to buy them soon than I planned.

      Thanks for reading...... :)

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  6. Lucky you getting the hair cut. I am envisioning a rash of pony tails and man buns if this keeps up. Enjoy that 7 AM senior time. Ours is 6 AM. Yes 6 AM and only on Tuesdays. A friend said this is the first time she has had to set the alarm clock to grocery shop. Haven't been yet. Maybe next Tuesday. Some how don't think I will be carded.

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    1. Our groceries are allowing twice a week for senior shopping from 7:00 to 8:00 but I'm pretty sure we can still shop when ever we want to. There we younger people in the store when I went, but they could have had health issues for all I know. I think I will get there closer to 8:00 or 8:30 in the morning. Me too on setting an alarm clock!

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  7. UGH! Setting an alarm for grocery shopping! I may venture out tomorrow (7-9) as my kidults never get moving til 4pm and then break, eggs, milk and meat are gone. But that was all GONE when you went early?? What is the point then? Start limiting these items to ONE per customer!?? This is crazy

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    1. It is crazy. I might just sign up for grocery delivery, but I really don't want to. I like going to the store! But I'll never do the 7 AM again.

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  8. Ha ha! Your sense of humor has remained intact, I see. Thanks for passing along the laughable side of our Daily Lives With Covid-19. We braved the new 7 a.m. senior hour at the grocery store this morning and we were pretty much alone in a sparkling clean store. Well, except for the used Kleenex someone had left on the shelf with the tea bags. Ew, gross! What is wrong with people anyway? We didn’t buy tea.

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    1. Oh, gross! Did you hear about the millenniums purposely spreading germs in grocery stores. Two got caught in the veggie department causing $100 of dollars of produce to throw out. There is a message board thread at Reddit of millenniums posting about their wish to make baby boomers all sick and they figure this is one way to do it.

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  9. First of all, you are SO lucky you got a haircut before the shutdown. I had one scheduled this week and now I will be 12 weeks (!!!) between cuts, and that's if they reopen on time. I am on a wait list, but you know how that goes. And my hair is short...it's going to be baseball caps daily for me, I'm thinking.

    Wasn't that early morning shopping crazy? The store was crowded with grim looking people on a mission. Everyone looked like it was a death mission. And I can't imagine how they could have been out of eggs at that hour. Ugh. I don't need any yet, but I checked to see if they had been refilled. Nope. When I do run out, I guess I'll just have to go without. Luckily, I buy Costco TP and had just purchased a refill pack before the crazed TP hoarding started. I've always had good supplies of paper products laid in. Not sure why, but I just like having enough for a while. When they run low, I get stressed. lol

    I drove by Goodwill the other day, and even though they're closed, apparently people keep dropping things outside the drop off doors. There were piles and piles of stuff (including bicycles, etc.) clogging the drop off lanes. People are nuts. Or they just aren't thinking of the folks who will have to clean that up.

    At least the sun is shining today! :-)

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    1. The sad part of those Goodwill donations is most of it will have to be thrown out because it's sure to get rained on before they open up again. The news did a segment on it so apparently it's city wide.

      Did you see that our local stores are now not allowing clothe bags in their stores? They just get us used to using them, which is sad but necessary. Not everyone washes them.

      I've never run out of toilet paper in my life but if I don't find some next week I will. I'm thinking of using grocery deliver service although I really don't want to.

      I really, really hated senior shopping. People all seemed to be angry to have to be doing it or scared. It was such a weird vibe!

      I was able to order a battery online for my fever thermometer and paid a $7 which I think gouging but it's never been more important to know if you're running a fever or just have allergies, so I paid it with my "free" e-Bay money.

      It was so nice today I took a walk, then my I came home, tried to wash a load of clothes and my washer wouldn't start............What else can go wrong?

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    2. I had not heard that! I used my own cloth bags in the senior shopping misadventure yesterday. Were they enforcing it yesterday? Yikes. (I do wash mine regularly. My girls gave them to me as a gift years back and they're super sturdy and can hold a LOT.)

      Like you, I hated the senior shopping adventure and won't likely do it again. The things I need aren't all that in demand, and the produce has been well stocked when I go at any time. I guess I could order online, too. Man, life is strange right now. Our dishwasher has taken to running for 4-5 hours at a time, which is apparently an expensive fix. So we probably need to replace it, but the appliance stores are telling me dishwashers are not "essential". Only stoves, refrigerators and laundry machines. LOL. Ya gotta laugh or you'll cry.

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    3. I heard the about the clothe bag ban on Wednesday on the news. Think they just put in place.

      I got a guy coming tomorrow on my washing machine. But I was really fearful I'd be using my antique washboard to do clean my clothing.

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  10. I start reading my online newspapers, check my email, etc. while I'm still in bed. What luxury. :)

    I agree with your comment about liquor stores, no Dairy Queen. :D

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    1. Before the coronvirus I was getting dressed mid morning, but I've always accomplished a lot dressed in my robe. It's still my favorite garment. My mom was the same way only I don't remember her ever being embarrassed by it.

      I guess I get the logic of the liquor stores being essential. Probably cuts down on domestic violence and child abuse, not to add another factor into an already stressful mix.

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  11. Jean, I love the Stepford Wives photo (which I recognized immediately). My grocery store's "seniors only" hour is 6-7 a.m., but it gets light much earlier here (because we are at the eastern edge of the time zone), so I didn't have to drive there in the dark. But, like your store, it was a zoo, and I don't think it was any safer than going later in the day. The stores here have not yet worked out procedures for social distancing. If I were in charge, they would make all the aisles one-way so that people weren't walking past one another in opposite directions, they would have tape on the floor of each aisle marking off 6' segments, with only one shopper allowed in each segment at a time, they would close every other station in the self check-out area, and they would only allow as many people in the store at a time as the total number if aisle segments plus the number of open checkouts. (Lots of people reading this will probably be breathing a sigh of relief that I'm not in charge. ;-) )

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    1. The gas station and post office that I was in recently did have their floors marked off with tape 'X's on where to stand in line to keep six foot apart. Everyone was complying and in good humor.

      I smiled at your one way aisles because every time someone went past me I held my breathe but since it's droplets that contain the germs, I doubt it did anything but make me feel better. Even with one way aisles people would pass the slower shoppers.

      I think in theory having seniors shop just after they cleaned the stores makes sense but I don't think they had a clue how jammed packed it would be. I heard others talk about how they had to wait in line outside for a half hour in the cold before they were let in which made me happy I got there a little late.

      My husband and I both loved the Stepford Wives movies, that first one being my favorite.

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  12. I made it to the store at 8:30 Monday. I had to pick up cat food and Pepsi and prescriptions and their pharmacy doesn't open until 9:00. I had a small panic attack in the self check-out lane as the car reader didn't recognize my Bridge Card. I had a bad head ache in the afternoon and thought maybe I had The Virus. That trip to the store was truly horrific--I get up at 9:00 and really don't function well until at least 11:00. Next time, I'm going at 11:00 and just take my chances. ARRGH!!!

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    1. I think a lot of us are going to push back the time we go and thus it will still be a zoo. It was a nice thought to try to make us safer but it actually did the opposite.

      Every little ache and pain scares us now, doesn't it.

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  13. I tried one of those bark collars on my chihuahua Buddy but it didn't work so well. Please let me know if you have success and I might want to try again. I haven't tried the senior shopping hours yet. I don't get up at that time either. It's crazy out there. I did get an email from the Spay and Neuter Clinic that they would stay open for limited hours and that you had to sign in outside their door and wait in your car with your dog until they text you. Buddy is due for his shots this month. Not really inclined to go to any vet's office. I'm still thinking about what to do.

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    1. I'll probably write a blog about after I've had it awhile. After two days I can say inside the house it makes him stop barking and run to me in the other room...more of a silent whistle call. Outside the jury is still out. I want him to stop barking and just watch the others dogs. So when he comes running I'll go back with him to the library and watch the dogs with him and blast him with the device on the first bark. That sucker knows it coming from my pocket!

      My vet has closed their lobby they've numbered their parking spaces. If you have an appointment they tell you witch slot to park in, you call them from your car when you get there and they'll come get your pet from your car, take him/her inside and call during the examine to explain what they are doing and then they well bring your pet back out. Levi doesn't go until May so I'm crossing fingers it will be better by then.

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  14. Everything but essentials closed down in New Zealand. The designated food stores are only the registered supermarkets or the convenience store also known as dairies here. You can't post anything, but you can go to the chemist/pharmacy; the doctor; laundromats, banks & poss ?? others... are only on self-service or phone before you go. in my city the public transport is operating on the Sat service for either essential workers or getting your food shopping - enter by the back door on the bus, free with you smart card thing...and the driver is taped off...

    Lots of things out of service, so my hair maybe to my toes; the lawns at my place will be a mile high; the butchers not open; forget getting Maccas. Easy to report offenders, locally a large fruit shop got closed by police today, which was operating illegally...

    But for me, I'm staying at home in what is now deemed - the place you laid your head upon the pillow on Wednesday night with whomever else was with you in your "bubble" - I'm in my bubble alone :-)

    I've a few helpers who will get me things, H is getting me some fresh fruit/veggies tomorrow. And Sunday I have readymade meals coming and I will order more weekly until we've back to normal service!

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    1. Scary times! Our grass hasn't started growing yet but I'm really worried about it when spring gets here and it does start. I don't understand why lawn care people can't work. They don't need to get near anyone. Construction workers are not allowed out either.

      I think our list of places you can go are similar to ours. I have not heard of the police closing anyone down yet but I sure wish they'd raid some of the people hoarding toilet paper!

      Stay safe!



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  15. I totally agree with you about Dairy Queen. Also not considered an essential service in my province. WTF people?!?!?! ;-)

    Deb

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  16. Oh, I'm supposed to change my Pajamas during the Day?! *Ooops!* In Subdivision Hell the nearest Grocery Stores to it were very Stepford Wife-ish and since they were the only Game in Town they were out of most items even before the Pandemic! At least now I have numerous Grocers near me that are out of everything! *LOL* I haven't been Senior Shopping yet, last Grocery Death Defying Trek I hit an obscure tiny Grocer deep in Da Hood, it was a good Call, got everything I needed... they were out of TP, Hand Sanitizer, Rice and Pasta, but I had my cache of that from just before the Panic Shopping began here! Liquor Stores deemed essential businesses, that's hilarious!

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    1. Just before the stay-home order I had cleaned out my pantry of all outdated stuff which much of which was probably still good. So I was low on a lot of stuff by design. We have lots of stories, too, but I follow our neighborhood messages boards to learn who has what left. No one had toilet paper!

      I haven't gotten the habit yet of chancing in to my daytime jammies. I need to buy some online. I'm usually a nightgown person which doesn't work as well in the daytime.

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  17. A friend of mine went to senior shop at Meijer and said never again! She'd never seen so many people there at once -- and she goes often (and Meijer is NEVER empty!). Rick is doing my shopping but I haven't been able to bite the bullet enough to ask him to get me junk food. Maybe I'll lose weight during this. I have my first tele-med appointment today and determined I'd best put on some make-up and comb my hair. For a change! It will probably be a different color when all this is done! Hang in there and stay well!

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    1. I heard from several friends who went to Family Fare's senior shopping and they were just as busy as Meijer. Just crazy. I'll bet the next one won't be be so busy because all of us that went, say "Never again!"

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  18. It's a whole different world....and I'm glad people are paying attention and taking it seriously for the most part.

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