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, June 3, 2020

Air Hugs and other Pandemic Adjustments


The post below was written before the protests and riots took place in recent days, but before you get to that piece of fluff I want to say that I am without words to express the sadness and shame I feel over what is going on in our nation, as if the pandemic and crashing economy wasn't enough to keep me up at night. Yet I understand the outrage over the racial disparages in our justice system that are fueling the protests that led to the riots. Perhaps if our "very fine president" has listened---really listened---back when sports figures were trying to shine a light on this issue by taking a knee in silence protest we might not be where we’re at today. Instead, he scorned and belittled them and their method of protesting. Are we listening now? Is the president? In my heart I know that's too much to ask of a man who is incapable of showing empathy and compassion unless the protesters are holding Confederate flags and guns at the Michigan State capital or chanting Nazi slogans in North Caroline. He's incapable of bringing two groups of people together---blacks and whites, Democrats and Republics, radicals and pacifists and I question if he'd even want to because he feeds off chaos and divisiveness. I am by no means saying he started the riots, but his tone-deafness to social injustice issues has helped set the table for them coming to our cities nationwide. We will survive this dark period in our history but the fastest track to making the systemic changes needed to make the darkness pass is to vote Mr. Trump out of office. End of Rant.


Beginning of my Fluffy Post: New Flash: I saw three people this week and it got as personal as staying six feet apart can get during a pandemic lock-down. Air hugs all around and I was excited to finally be able to use my words on someone other than the dog. The most fun was a visit from the son-I-wish-I-had and his wife. He called to say he had picked up his and my checks from the auction house and wanted to drop mine off while he was passing through my neighborhood. But holy crap, he was only ten minutes away! Ten minutes isn’t enough time to get dressed AND pick up nine weeks’ worth stuff around the house that never found its way back to where it belongs---that pile of shoes by the door, dead dog toys all over the floor, unread mail piled in an isolation box waiting for the cooties and Covil-19 germs to die, dust a mile thick on all the furniture. And did I mentioned the shipping supplies and boxes of e-bay stuff that has taken over my dining room table as well as my library? If he’d called two days later the place would have looked great. My cleaning girl was coming the next day and I had planned to do my pre-cleaning for her real cleaning that afternoon.

It was early and I was still in my nightgown and robe which quickly got peeled off my lazy body and exchanged for real clothes and I was thankful I had my new turban from Amazon to put over my shaggy hair. It was such a beautiful day outside that when Tim and his wife came to the door I suggested we visit outside so that Levi and I could get some time in the sun while we talked over the hood of his truck. What? You think it was rude not to invite them in just because you know my hidden agenda was to save myself from being embarrassed by my messy house? No, it wasn’t rude, given the fact that pandemic rules of engagement are still in effect in my state. They both have elderly parents and they don’t go inside their houses, now, either. They give their parents air hugs from the other side of sliding glass doors---I've seen the videos on Facebook---and do other responsible things to keep their germs to their selves. Tim’s wife works in health care so it’s a real possibility she could bring something home besides her over-worked body. 

Before they got here I had put three vintage pocket watches that I couldn’t open in a basket along with a hand sanitizer packet and a gripper clothe to see if Tim could get their backs off. He couldn’t do it either which made me feel better knowing it wasn’t just my old hands that wasn't up to the task. Not being able to open and photograph the guts and serial numbers of those watches meant I couldn’t get as much money for them on e-Bay. There's a great data base of serial numbers online that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about any brand of vintage pocket watches. Opening pocket watches is tricky. Some open by pushing or pulling on the stem, others twist off on the front, others twist off on the backs. Still others have backs or fronts that you have to pry off with a special tool. The watches in the basket were the last of the eighteen pocket watches I had to send off to new homes.

Make that seventeen watches, not eighteen, because I did find one gold case that was empty in my husband’s box of treasures. It was tagged with a message that it fit his mother’s pocket watch---interchangeable with the silver-plate case it had when it got passed down to one of his brothers. I’ve decided to keep the case and put a photo inside. I seriously doubt the gold case was actually owned by Don’s mom. He probably bought it, intending to swap it out for her before she died, or he was hoping one day that he’d inherit her pocket watch instead of his brother. Kind of hard to pick a dead guy’s brain and since I’ve found very few why-did-he-do-that mysteries as I’ve gone through my husband’s things, I consider myself one lucky widow. That didn’t come out right. I meant I’ve heard about other widows finding proof of secret children, secret affairs, secret bank accounts, secret porn collections and other mysteries that turned their grief into angry resentment and a sense of betrayal that makes it harder to get closure. But Don still gets to wear his shining knight’s armor even though my princess crown got sent to Goodwill with all my other Red Hat Society stuff. 

The other person I saw this week was my cleaning girl. I was happy to have a clean house again and happy that she could channel her OCD in a healthy direction. I've missed this girl and our conversations. When her boss called to set up the appointment for Purity she said she’d be wearing a mask and gloves and wanted to know if there was anything else I’d want her to do to make me feel safe. I said, “As long as Purity doesn’t bring cleaning clothes into my house that she’s used in other places I’m good.” By the way, ‘Purity’ is her real name and I asked her once if she liked her name. She grew up in a darkly abusive home that left her far from pure and has an alphabet full of syndromes that she still occasionally see a mental health professional for, so I was surprised that she answered in the affirmative. I was thinking her name hung a target on her back for the bullies of the world to use against her. So much for my arm chair psychology degree. Turns out it’s not worth any more than Lucy's in a plastic Peanuts village.  ©

47 comments:

  1. Which turban did you get at Amazon? I use this one without the scarf, but with this headband.

    What wonderful inventions!

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    1. I almost bought the same one you did! They have some to chose from it's not funny. Mine is a simple black with a small which pattern.

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  2. We have yet to see actual people near us, talking with us, interacting like real life. Therefore I'm encouraged by your week. I wonder why those old pocket watches are so difficult to open. I have one somewhere around here, my father's. I suppose every gadget has its uses and its flaws.

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    1. Our stay-at-home orders were lifted yesterday although the hair and salon salons still aren't open. I look like a wild woman.

      Those watches I couldn't open might have been cross-threaded is my best guess. I put them in a lot of three and six people where bidding on them so with the right little vice, tools and knowledge they probably can be opened. Got $120 something so I was still happy.

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  3. I have to say first that I agree with every word of your rant and hope your state doesn't go for him this time around! California won't so my vote will only count to hopefully embarrass him by the landslide against him. Glad you got to see some people - it makes such a difference.

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    1. We really do need a landslide to make the point we need to make to those who want to destroy our country. Honesty, I see so much support and sympathy for him this week from his fans that I am really nervous he'll get reelected.

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  4. Agree 100% about trump. He is a disgrace and a danger.
    Sad that people like Purity have had to deal with such horrible childhoods. I just don’t understand people anymore.

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    1. I really admire Purity for her strength to overcome so much in her life. I think mental illness explains a lot of child abuse.

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  5. I don't think your statement was a rant at all. It was a well-reasoned opinion.

    Of course I agree with you.

    I'm glad you are taking new steps toward Normalcy with visitors and having your Cleaning Girl back in. The Small Things make a Big Difference, don't they?

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    1. Thanks. It felt like a rant because I was so angry when I wrote it and it went through quite a few revisions.

      It does feel goo to get small things back. I was just getting more productive when all hell broke loose again.

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  6. I agree with your rant 100%. I hope we see many changes after the November vote, starting with the top. I admire Purity also for finding her own way and reaching out for help when she needs it.
    Thanks for posting!

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    1. Thank you. In order for meaningful changes to occur we need to keep a certain level of our rage in the forefront so we don't find excuses for not voting and for not challenging falsehoods when where ever we find them. If ever there was a time to speak up it's now.

      By the way, Purity has been telling me for over year that we are headed for a second civil war. Can't wait to see her again to ask if what happened this week is what she meant.

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  7. Smiled a bit at air hugs. I have a friend who is allergic to EVERYTHING so as not to make her sick from our deodorants or hair sprays, all her friends have been doing air hugs for years. They really aren't satisfying though. Sure be glad when this is over though here in Arkansas, our rates are rising alarmingly every day.
    Our monster in charge is daily proving he is not fit to clean up after horses much less run a country.

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    1. Between the pandemic, people out of work and now the protests and riots our country is going into bankruptcy next. I hold my breathe every time I turn on the news to see what else could have gone wrong.

      I wouldn't let the "monster" near a horse or other animal.

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  8. Blogging is a much better place to express our rants! Too many wackos on FB or other platforms. I think I will be writing in Levi for my vote this year.

    45 has serious mental issues and should have been taken out of office for that. Twittering people into a frenzy. Thank goodness they are sorta screening his bull. A little late into the game but goodness knows the legal hoops they had to jump through to be able to do that little big

    Our local suburb had a PEACEFUL protest yesterday afternoon ... so it IS possible to not vandalize and loot. Good on them!

    I cannot watch the news. I read it or have it filtered through NPR. Easier on my heart!

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    1. I agree with ranting on Facebook where people actually know you. Right now I have a dilemma caused by five others who are nasty Trump supporter/in-laws who will be at a graduation party I just got asked to. I don't want to be around those people right now even though they'll be plenty of others there I'd like to see. I'm also weary of being at a large family party when we're still supposed to be wearing masks in public and staying 6 feet apart.

      The vast majority of protesters nation wide were peaceful. There were others opportunists who came with the purpose of stirring up trouble between the races and/or to loot.

      Don't throw you vote away on someone who can't win!! This is too important!

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  9. Bloggers are the smartest people (at least the ones I follow). I don't see much in the way of pro-Trump messages or comments. Since I live in California, I know I exist in a bubble, but I sure hope the tide is turning.

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    1. I don't know about 'smart' but bloggers are all interesting in our own way.

      We can't take the tide turning for granted. Trump has a fan base that is unshakeable because they think just like he does.

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    2. You are right, we can't take it for granted. I've "adopted" a purple state (Arizona) in an outreach campaign to light a fire under voters.

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  10. Excellent rant, Jean!

    Thank you,

    Deb

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  11. I have many words going through my head but as I am only using one hand I will pass on writingmore the pain is too bad

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  12. I enjoyed your fluffy Post portion and especially your pre-cleaning before the Cleaning Girl shows up part, that's hilarious and something my Mom would do! *LMAO* I'm glad you got some good Company dropping by to chat with. I feel Socially deprived at times and I'm living here with Two People and a Cat! *LOL* I took The Man with me to do the Grocery 1st of Month Shopping and what an Adventure that is with him out in Public during Pandemic, it's like keeping a Toddler in compliance with the New Rules! *Whew!* As for the rant part of the Post, we all need to release our frustration at it all... Twitler honestly is Delighting in the Chaos and Unrest, I think he instigates a lot of it thru various Channels, some of which might not even be as well revealed as others. And of coarse he's Mental, so there's that, there's no Cure for what ails that man.

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    1. When you're paying a cleaner by the hour I don't want to pay them to put things in their place before they can get at cleaning surfaces. LOL I can get really messy when I'm working on e-Bay.


      He goes on FOX shows often for interviews and I have no doubt he feeds a lot of underground websites as well.

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  13. Totally different response in New Zealand, right now - but that's because of how our PM and her gov't handled the "let's hit this on the head" we are supposedly moving back to regular life, but lots of it has got muddled...

    I've not "hugged many yet & only here" but I've been up close and personal with some friends. I've been out twice away from my hoot, once to check out I could "do it safely" and yesterday a whole lot of more "choice/freedom" ... but I did have a "BUT" which was to do with food intake. I think I learnt something :-)
    But I'm not planning on going out again, this week..happy to doodle around home.

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    1. I missed hugging before the pandemic now I fear I'll never get another.

      I'm not sure when I'll feel safe to eat in restaurants again even though next week they will be open in our state. Probably not this summer.

      Stay safe down there with your new freedom.

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  14. I've made my feelings re US current politics very clear in earlier posts, so won't repeat. But, I'm glad you did comment. At this time, to ignore what is happening would be wrong. I find it heartwarming that people around the globe are joining in protests. ~ Libby

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    1. Here, people of all colors, all ages and all occupations are taking part in the protests which is really different from past protests. I'm hoping it can lead to real change. The looters and destruction is coming from organized opportunists bend on causing trouble between the races. Unfortunately some people are trying to paint the protestors and loots with one brush stroke including our president and his fan base.

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  15. Ha! Doesn't everyone clean before the cleaning lady? I don't have any outside help right now, but when I did, I always picked up. Mostly, as you say, because how else could she find the surfaces?

    The situation in this country right now is beyond disheartening, and I have no words except to say I agree with every word of your rant. And I am mildly encouraged to see top military people speaking out against the occupation of the streets by armed forces. Good grief. November can't come fast enough.

    Meanwhile, we are now dancing with our buyer the day before the contract closing (turns out to be twerp trying to pull a fast one at the last minute) and hoping we can close this house. DH is ready to tell him to pound sand, and I'm trying to stay calm and carry on. Packing, packing, packing. Hoping I don't have to haul all these boxes to a storage unit and show this house again. I am SO over this whole process. Fingers and toes crossed.

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    1. Ohmygod, I so hoped your closing would go smooth! Selling a house is such a stressful process with so many balls in the air. Let me know when the ink is dry on the deal. How's your new house looking? Is it everything you thought it would be?

      It doesn't matter how many top military people are speaking up against what Trump is doing, his fan base does not see any of it because they've bee brainwashed against mainstream media. Voting him out of office is SO important and anyone who doesn't plan to vote or who would throw their vote away on a person who can't win really needs to understand how truly dangerous that choice would be in this coming election. This morning I saw my in-law Trump fans on Facebox defending him for the Bible photo-op and supporting the use our troops against peaceful protesters and I decided---as hard as it is---I'm going to meet their posts with an alternate view because they aren't hearing anything but Trump's echo chamber and this is the time to fight against the propaganda machine or he's going to win again. Biden isn't a perfect candidate but he's got the experience to rebuild the Rule of Law back in the office of the Presidency and to put dignity back in the White House.(Stepping down from my soap box.)

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    2. HOPE: Didn't mean to turn my comment to you into a mini rant but there it is..... LOL I know we're like minded on Trump.

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    3. No worries...I agree with everything in your rant. :-)

      Yes, the closing may be delayed because the buyer's bank got the sales price wrong, therefore the appraiser didn't see true info, the appraisal had to be adjusted, the bank has to go through approvals again, the buyer is scattered and my DH is ready to sue him. Fun times here. LOL. I'm just repeating (as often as possible), remember the goal here. We want to sell the house, not get into a protracted legal battle. Oy vey. But I'm the optimist and peace keeper in this house and have been for years. It's an exhausting task some days.

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    4. Doesn't it just get your goat the the realtors didn't catch that erroneous sales price before it got this far. Who checks this stuff! Keeping your eye on the prize really is the right thing to do in this situation, though.

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  16. Oh...to answer your question, the new place is looking good. We have had a few glitches, but overall, we like it. It is interesting to see our choices in living color...haha. Our new neighbors told us a few months back that we needed to be there most days to catch things, and he was right. Things like the wrong soap dispenser in the kitchen, the wrong filter on the HVAC (DH is a stickler for a big filter and paid an upcharge for the one he wanted) and a couple closets we didn't want outfitted because I have a separate system in mind. (If we hadn't caught the closet/mirror guys, we would have a demo project in the master closet.) But overall, it's looking good.

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    1. It was the same when we built this house. You have to know your blueprint and choices and catch stuff that is wrong on a daily basis. Our builder gave us a year to find things that needed fixing but even so some things are hard to fix that late into the process.

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    2. So true! Last week when I discovered some other thing, I looked at DH and said THIS IS WHY. THIS IS WHY I DIDN'T WANT TO BUILD. But then I moved on...LOL.

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    3. I thought building our house was one of the best, most satisfying experiences in my life. My only regret is we didn't do it more often.

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  17. I've heard Hope, Faith and Charity as names but never Purity. I like it. And perhaps it gives her strength.

    So glad you got to see Tim and his wife and feel a bit normal for awhile. That's mentally healthy and I'm glad you were able to work it out. We're aiming for a get together with the kids soon and maybe friends who have also been quarantining. We'll be far apart, bring your own food, no hugs, paper plates. Hey, it's a step.

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    1. I"m hoping to plan the same kind of get-together for my Gathering Girls soon, too. We all have to work on a new normal, don't we.

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  18. A turban? Now, why didn't I think of that? I'm not sure it would be a good look for me, but you never know.

    I'm so happy that you got to visit with the son-you-wish-you-had. My niece came over on Monday. It makes such a difference when you get to see someone and actually socialize. Thank goodness for the nice weather we've been having. It's much safer to stay outside.

    The granddaughter of one of Dad's caregivers was named Heaven. She was one of the sweetest kids I've ever met, but I wondered if that name would bother her someday. I hope not. I guess people get used to what they have.

    Good rant. I think we all have at least one good rant in us these days.

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    1. There are a lot of different styles of turban and tons of them on Amazon to pick from.

      Makes you wonder why a parent would pick a name so different like Heaven or Purity, doesn't it. Purity liked having a unique name.

      A could write a dozen rants, but I will resist doing so. LOL

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  19. A hard name to live up to, Purity, I suspect. Or maybe an encouragement? It's good that she likes it.
    I love the Lucy skit. I'd forgotten Lucy did that. I only remember Snoopy setting himself up in business in a little booth with a sign saying "The Doctor Is In". Now, I hope I haven't imagined that. It's years since I followed the Peanuts Gang.

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    1. Oh, yes, the plastic Peanuts village I remember had both the Lucy booth and the Snoopy booth competing. Lucy's price started out at 25 cents which was crossed out several times to drop it to a nickel. My husband was a big fan of the Peanuts Gang.

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  20. The comments today from tRump ...that George Floyd would look down and be happy about the job numbers....I just don't have words anymore.
    I voted in our primary Tuesday. I could have mailed it but deliberately chose to deliver it in person. I wanted the ceremony of it. I wondered if it is the last time I could vote. I also made a small speech when I dropped in my ballot.
    Your turban sounds great. I think I keep long hair because my bun is so easy to do, or a French braid.
    You are lucky to have a nice gal to clean for you. I would think her parents would be an interesting story.

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    1. I was shocked when he brought up Mr. Floyd in such a brash manner when talking about the jobs numbers today.

      Good for you on voting in the primary. I get my ballots in the mail but I always drop it off at city hall because I live so close and it's right near the post office. But I 150% trust voting by mail.

      If my hair was long enough for buns, braids or twists I'd be thrilled. Mine is about three inches long on top and so thick it sticks straight up in the air.

      I know Purity's story and about her childhood but it's really not my story to tell second and third hand. It just makes me feel so lucky to have had the wonderful childhood that I had.

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