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, May 16, 2020

Trash Reading, Duck Tape and Bad-Boy Birds


I finally did it. I got my fill of reading military/action adventure romances. Yes, I know I said that once before but I had a relapse. I didn’t mean to do it, I swear. And you don’t have to tell me that I should be using my reading time to improve my mind, not giving my fantasies fodder that make me feel young and kick-ass strong again. But it was late at night and I couldn’t sleep and there was my Kindle begging me to download some testosterone-on-steroids to kick the pandemic worries out of my brain. One book later I left author Susan Stoker in the dust and for good this time, after being turned off by a third book of hers that was treating S&M like its normal. It’s not, ladies and gentlemen. It’s just not! I think she was trying to ride the Fifty Shades of Grey train back when that was ‘the thing’ and while my ultra-ego might like alpha males I want my alpha males to have a code of honor that does not include physical or mental abuse no matter how much the "little woman" claims to like it. If I could, I'd lock the Christian Greys of the world up in one iron cage and throw away the key. Okay, they might like that, so I’ll need to re-think that idea if I ever get put in charge of the world. Maybe a bullet in the head would be better. Ohmygod, am I turning into a blood-thirsty bitch or what!

But I do need to thank Susan Stoker for leading me to Pippa Grant. Apparently there is a trend in genre fiction marketing these days where 2-3 authors promote each other by using the same characters. A secondary character in, say, Susan’s book will appear as a main character in Pippa Grant's book. And all the authors work their way through a group of men who share the same careers to intro-connect their stories. Susan is into Navy Seals and Delta Forces, Pippa is into former boy bands and pro hockey and baseball players. The biggest difference between these two authors, though, is Pippa’s books are billed as ‘romantic comedies’ and I was hooked on her writing style from the first one I read, America’s Geekheart, which had me laughing out loud at 3:00 in the morning, pandemic stress be damned. I’ve since read four more of her books but that’s still my favorite. I’m going to sound like a guy who claims he only subscribed to Playboy for the articles when I say this but I’m only reading Pippa for the humor. Her 'players'---and I don’t mean sports here---are the naked photos I overlook. Well, as much as anyone could ignore the stud muffins in romance books. But believe me when I say this in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, “As God is my witness when this pandemic is over I will finally finish reading Tolstoy’s War and Peace.” Ya, it really is on my Kindle and I'm planning on reading it to the very last page before I die. Don't let anyone tell you I don't have lofty goals.

Okay, only 427 more words to write to fulfill my minimum, by-weekly quota. It’s hard to come up with things to write about when stay-at-home orders are still in effect and I’m not doing anything but sorting out my past life through e-Bay sales. No doubt I’ll write about that topic again---after all my blog is my diary. But for now I’m bored by that topic so I’ll opine about the other big event in my life. Yes, the ghost in the house who likes to look inside the refrigerator and leave the door standing open. If you’re thinking I’m just getting old and forgetting to shut the door myself after all those pandemic grazing trips I make inside my Whirlpool, I thought the same thing the first couple of times I found the door standing up. On closer examination I figured out that along with the ghost theory there’s the other theory that the seal is wearing out. 

In my heydays of being a Spoiled Woman I could have just told---aka nagged---my dad or husband about the problem and like black magic they’d one day produce a new seal and repair the appliance. There wasn’t a single thing inside or outside of a house they couldn’t fix. And now days I bet I wouldn't even be able to find someone to replace a refrigerator seal. Darn! I. Do. Not. Want. To. Buy a new, expensive appliance when I don’t plan to stay in this house. So far, I’ve avoided using Duck Tape to keep the door from swinging open on its own, but I might buy a white roll to have on hand just in case it comes to that. Every woman needs Duck Tape and bungee cords in her tool box. They can temporarily fix anything and isn’t it nice that they come in colors, now, so you don’t have to be like Frazier’s father with his silver-on-green, taped-up La-Z-Boy in his son's fancy-ass penthouse living room. I loved that TV show back in its day. 

Ninety-nine words to go and I think I’ll use them by writing about the show of testosterone on my deck railing this week in the form of a pair of breeding mourning dove and a robin who seemed to think he should get in on the action. Yes, you read that right. A plump robin, an uncooperative dove with lady parts and male dove who seemed to up to the task of protecting her honor. In all the years the doves have been hanging around my deck rail and a near-by pine tree where they build their nest, this is the first time I’ve seen an attempt throw off the balance of the species. Mother Nature is off her meds again! ©

49 comments:

  1. OMG about the birds! You have such a great way of writing about everyday things.

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    1. I don't know a lot about birds. Can you (or anyone else) tell me if that's normal for one species to want to breed with another another?

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  2. Thank you for your blog. It is the highlight of my Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
    Good Luck with your door and with Tolstoy ! !

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    1. I'm flattered but at the same time worried about your life. Just kidding. Writing blogs is the highlight of my week, so there is that we have in common. LOL

      I scrubbed the heck out of the door seal area all the way around and that seemed to help plus I'm giving it a second push just to make sure. So far so good.

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  3. You probably have checked this, but is there something in the fridge that's keeping the door from closing? I went through that with my freezer for a short while, and discovered that a bag of frozen veggies was the culprit. It looked fine, but it was sticking out just enough that after a minute, the force would open the door again. You never know.

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    1. I think/hope I've got it solved but time will tell. There was some crud on the seal that looked like jelly. I cleaned the heck out of the entire seal and where it lands on the box and it seems to be working better. There's always something!

      You study a lot of birds. Have you ever seen one species try to mate another?

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  4. We're having a door seal issue on our fridge, too. We noticed that one half of the ice in the ice bin was always a bit frosty and clumped. A friend who used to work in the appliance business said you can sometimes bring a seal back to life with a little petroleum jelly. I've cleaned the seal and am trying it. Fingers crossed.

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    1. Thank you for the tip! I've got petroleum jelly in the house, too.

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    2. I just used the petroleum jelly on my seal and now I really have to really tug on the door to open it! I think you just saved me the price of a new refrigerator! I wonder how long it will last. Amazing.

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  5. As a librarian, let me tell you that life is too short (as you know) to read anything you don't enjoy. If you are determined to get through a book that isn't hooking your interest, try it on audio so you can do something else with your hands or even chores. I did this with some books I had to read for genre classes. (I'm a non-fiction geek)

    Thanks for your sharing of new normal.

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    1. I really wish I could listen to audios. I used to go through a lot of books on tape back in my snow plowing days. But my Kindle doesn't read loud enough for me to hear, even using ear bugs. I've been wondering if Amazon's Echo reads loud because I miss music too, since I'm not in the car as much to hear my Sirius XM.

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  6. Glad you found a way to fix your door. I am a big fan of mystery novels. I am so glad that my library opened up this week for curbside pickup as I had read through all of books. I am not a big fan of ebooks and so was happy to get a small pile of actual books to read. It was easy to go online and place holds on the books I wanted, then you call to schedule a pickup time, and they put the books right into the trunk of my car. Hurray! Thanks for your blog - I always am so happy to see your posts!

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    1. Thank you for reading here!

      I don't think our library has opened yet, but for the last decade or so I've gotten too germaphobic to use them, instead I buy hard copies or downloading eBooks. I have a 100 or so to drop off for one of their sales when they do open again.

      I need to give the mystery genre a serious try sometime. I've tried the "cozy mysteries" which were okay but I like "dog mysteries" better. But then I like anything written in a dog's voice. I've read a few British mystery authors but I don't connect with them at all.

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  7. Glad that you have probably fixed the seal yourself with a little elbow grease. About that bird. I was on the phone with my sister when she commented about a large bird trying to mate a much smaller one. I said are you sure they aren't fighting for it is often hard to tell the difference with birds but she insisted it was lust. She doesn't know birds but swore they were different breeds. Perhaps there is something weird going on in nature.

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    1. Wow! You can tell the difference between fighting and mating because birds do it doggie style. I just found this in a google search “Many birds occasionally mate with members of other bird species, producing hybrid offspring,” said Irby J. ... Often, however, hybrids die young, and even when hybrid offspring survive until adulthood, they may be sterile or have trouble attracting mates.”

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  8. I have no pride. I would have gotten out the duck tape as soon as I recognized the problem. We always have a good supply. :D

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    1. LOL In case you didn't read the other comments, the Vaseline worked great!

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  9. You're right, it's always something! You never own a house ... it owns you! Soon .... you will just be able to call your "built in" man power to come fix things! Life will be so easy. I think Levi will love it because you will be walking him more since he won't have a fenced in yard. I hope you find an off leash park with a small dog area ... so he can run free sometimes.

    We already have some baby birds at our house. But birds and squirrels still seem to be mating ... we'll have to look up cross breeding!

    Thanks for blogging. New computer is almost set up ... now everything goes to the cloud so I can work on things any where ... laptop, old laptop or phone!

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    1. Calling maintenance is definitely something I'm looking forward to and food delivery if I don't feel like walking over to the restaurant or cafe. Mini bus to shopping places too.

      Levi will have lots of trails to walk but no dog park and I wouldn't take him to one if there was one. Too many dog fights at those places. He likes to go out on my deck and just sit in the sun so I'm hoping the fence around my patio will contain him so he can have some alone time with nature like he does now.

      Thank you for reading here! Once the new computer is set up maybe you'll be blogging more.

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  10. I'm with you on the Christian Grey's of the world. Also I will very soon, any minute now, I'm sure it will happen... start reading 'the classics'. LOL

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    1. I start the classics almost every year....rarely finish any of them. LOL

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  11. Tape duck and otherwise is always useful and the first thing many of us reach for when needed

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  12. Had not heard of Pippa Grant, checked her out on my Amazon prime reading & there "America's Geekheart" was on offer as my free e-read for this month! I'm looking forward to reading it, thanks for the rec.

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    1. Hope you like it. It starts out a little slow but not for long. It's got a silly premise but it make me laugh quite a few times.

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  13. Really enjoyed this post. You are so fortunate to be able to find humour in the most mundane things. And write about them to make others laugh. I really must go out and buy some duct (as it’s known here, or maybe gaffer tape) for all the little jobs of sticking together things that have come apart.

    I know what you mean about reading material, I am into buying the most light weight stuff for my Kindle. I wouldn’t dream of allowing my current books room on shelves, too embarrassing when the time comes that others might browse my shelves again.

    All those classics I have on my shelves for ‘finishing when I have the time and the inclination’ will probably never be finished. Nowadays I have the excuse of : too many books and too little time.

    stay safe.

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    1. I miss all the books I gave to the library, many of which I hadn't read to the end. But just reading the titles told people a lot about me, my interests. But you're right about hiding the embarrassing stuff on the Kindle.

      Glad you could find things to laugh about in this post. That humor can carry across different cultures is amazing to me and shows how small the world is getting.

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  14. I continue to religiously read your bi-weekly blog, but don't always comment. (My default browser has issues letting me comment and from trial/error found that Firefox is more amenable.)

    I always learn something new from your blog! Today's takeaway was the tip re petroleum jelly/fridge seal.

    Happy for you (from what you've reported on previous posts) that your move to CCC pretty much on track.

    Btw, you never gave a product review on your toilet bidet add-on. Please do. ~ Libby (PS - hope this comment goes through as today even Firefox acting iffy.)

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    1. Libby! I was just wondering yesterday what became of you. Anytime Down Under is in the news I think of you.

      That petroleum jelly worked so good I now have to really tug on the door to open it.

      I probably should write about the bidet, could find some humor in the learning process for sure. Mine is the travel, portable like, not the add-on. But in briefly, I really didn't mind using it at after peeing, haven't tried it for anything else.

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    2. Re the bidet contraption, I find water wonderful after using TP. My skin really likes it.

      How does a person living on their own use a dishwasher. I cook (and eat) from same pot, and use the one mug for my tea. I've NEVER used my dishwasher! Really curious about this. ~ Libby

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    3. My biggest problem with the bidet if fighting the urge blot with toilet paper afterward instead of drip drying.

      I run my dishwasher once every 10-12 days and that's with me using the same water glass and coffee cup (rised out) every day. I actually keep my water glass in the freezer when not in use. I usually run out of silverware first. I'm a bit of a germaphobic and don't like to just rise off silverware or dishes the dog has been allowed to use. I also have a lot of recycling stuff in the dishwasher that gets washed before putting it in the bin. I don't take the bin to the recycling station very often and in the meantime I don't want it to attract ants in the garage.

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    4. Jean R.- many thanks for responding! I'm not germaphobic but hate the thought of piling up dirty, or even rinsed, dishes in the dishwasher.

      I've plenty of mismatched crockery etc so could, I suppose, run it once a month. But I like one-pot cooking (and eating, since food stays hot) and like my tea in the same mug (creature of habit). Thanks again! ~ Libby


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    5. No problem. It's fun to compare notes on how others live, especially when we live on different continents.

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  15. A Velcro strap might solve your errant fridge door problem. Not as ugly as duct tape and reusable. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and you can ride it out till your next place is ready.
    Never read Shades of Grey and probably never will. So apparently there is a whole genre of books I am missing out on! Oh well.
    If you never finish War and Peace, does that mean you will live forever?šŸ˜‰

    Deb

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    1. The petroleum jelly did the trick, but a Velcro strap would also be a good solution if it didn't.

      Fifty Shades series comes on TV late at night every so often and I watched one because wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The acting was good but the rest was stupid and dangerous to younger women just learning about sex, in my opinion. Also read half the book online for free. Someone who felt the same way I do about the topic posted the whole book for free so that the author wouldn't get a penny from selling it to curious people like me. Her S&M is not the soft core, break away handcuff variety that anyone could easily get out of if that gives you a clue why you're not missing anything worth the time.

      I should put it in my Living Directives that my niece has to read me the very last page of 'War and Peace' on the day I die if I can't do it myself. LOL

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  16. My dishwasher has been broken for far too long. We aren't sure if it's a plumbing problem or a dishwasher problem. I don't want to spend for one repair call if it's the other problem so I've been doing dishes myself again. It's not too bad -- just me or me and Rick. But it does force the issue of do them now! Good luck with that one -- I wouldn't want to buy a new one, either.

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    1. The problem with replacing one appliance in a kitchen is it makes the others look even older. Have you googled trouble shooting tips for your dishwasher? You cook so much I would not like doing dished by hand although I did it that way for all but 18 years of my life.

      I don't know how long that Vaseline solution lasts but it sure is doing the trick for now. If I do need to buy a new refrigerator I'd probably get all new appliances because it would help the sale of the house and they say it is cost effective when selling.

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  17. Quite the bird story! I haven't heard of different breeds mating, but we did wake up to ducks mating on our deck once when we lived within a quick flight of a lake. Actually, now that I think of it, it was the lake that your new CCC will be near - haha! Maybe you'll have that adventure, too.

    Great tip on the Vaseline/fridge issue. We live in fear of an appliance failing before we move - the last thing I need is to buy new appliances in two places! I hadn't heard of that, but I will remember it!

    We have hit the picky, punch list stage of the build where I swore I would never do this again and forgot. Most things are going really well, but we are over there almost every day now so we catch things before the tradesmen move on and the fix is longer and harder to negotiate. A dimmer switch missing where we specified one, a light to be hung from this home, etc. Nothing big, just things that keep us up at night (or at 4AM). Gosh, I will be glad when this move is over. :) First world problems, I know.

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    1. I remember that picky punch list stage you're end and would you believe it I missed some things that I didn't find for several years after. Our builder gave us a whole year to find stuff that they would fix and I still missed some dinky stuff. (slaps self in the forehead.)

      I saw photo of the CCC lake last week with baby swans following their mom. I can't wait to be back to having a lake near by. I won't be on the lake side of the building so I doubt I'll wake up to matting ducks. I already know the woman who will live across the hall, though, and see seems to like me so maybe she'll visit me over for duck viewing from time to time. LOL

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  18. If your duck tape ever ceases to work you might try some duct tape. Ha! Haven't used my dishwasher for a while as seems to leave a thin black film on dishes. I thought it was the old machine long overdue for replacement so purchased a new one, but problem continued. Appliance installation guy checked and not hoses, etc. and couldn't suggest what problem was -- even took dish in to store to show others and they said they'd never seen anything like it before. I haven't figured out what I need to do, so meanwhile am not using dishwasher. Got a bidet with heated water just before the virus but am waiting til I'll want to let someone in the house for installation since it may be more complicated hooking up than I'm up to now -- unlike in my younger days.
    .

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    1. LOL Duck tape is a brand name of duct tape, correct either way. Duck tape is more is just more fun.

      Wise to wait on the installation. If you're like me I'd probably run into something that needed brute strength or a special tool half way through the job.

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    2. Didn’t know duck tape was a brand name, so I wasn’t so cute after all. Have been aware of a brand, whose name I’ve forgotten, I’ve never tried that promotes maintaining clean paint lines, but I haven’t painted for years.

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    3. I don't remember the name of the first painter's tape on the market, either. It might have Blue Painter Tape or Frog Painter Tape but for the longest time there was only one. My mom once used masking tape and it was a disaster because she didn't take it off right away. I always used a metal edger with no tape in my painting days.

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  19. Of all you wrote of, why am I now wondering what the Offspring of a Dove and a horny Robin might look like?! Bird Porn on the Balcony... well, it beats anything happening around here, YOU WIN! *LMAO*

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    1. I actually yelled at the doves, "Get a room!" I have seen 'bird porn' in that same exact place several times over the years but this time with the addition of the robin they were noisy.

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  20. The tip for the refrigerator is a good one.
    I haven't been reading much since I am on a mask sewing binge. I think the second wave of the virus will be much worse than the first and wearing masks will be as common as putting on shoes. Might as well have some cute ones. I am doing the Jesse mask, similar to what Dawn is getting. I have tons of fabric and even have a healthy stash of non woven interfacing and elastic.
    Have you chosen a sewing machine yet?

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    1. I agree about needing an array of masks for probably another year. I gave away all my sewing notions like tons of elastic and the non woven interface that people are using before the pandemic masks, isn't the always the way! I had planed to buy a sewing machine around Mother's Day thinking there will be sales then. Can't really shop for one until the stores open.

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  21. You may want to take a look at The Fabric Patch video on YouTube. She and her crew have made over 167,000 masks and she has it together on a whole new level. Her latest explains the Jesse mask, the pattern I am using because it is engineered to do the best job. I have watched dozens of other videos but this is the best,imo. The pattern can be printed out and she gives detailed instructions. I plan to have extras to share with people I have to be close to so I know the mask is the best and will protect me. You may want to consider getting the supplies b4 you get your machine because cutting them out is half the battle. I altered the pattern to have a bit more nose and a bit lower around the eyes.

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    1. Wow, her website really has a lot of information on it. Didn't view the video but I bookmarked her site. I'm not sure I really want to make my own masks, though, I'm hoping they'll start getting easier to buy. I have two already, that a friend made for me that I'd liked to swap out the ties for elastic. (She ran out.)

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