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, June 13, 2020

I Can See Clearly…to my Mini Meltdown


I have a one story house with twenty-six windows plus two glass doors and there is one place I can stand and see out all four sides---east, west, north and south. I love my windows but over the years they have gotten drafter which isn’t so nice in the winter. Heavy drapery---which I hate---would help but I don’t have any drapes or curtains at all, just mini blinds in three rooms and in the public parts of the house I have pull-down shades that you can see out but no one can see in. A wonderful invention with simple lines that makes me happy. Keeping that many windows clean is something I haven’t done on the outsides by myself in many years. I’ve barely kept up with the insides. 

That's the windup to The Window Project that took place last week. I knew my cleaning girl’s long-time boyfriend works for a commercial window cleaning company (one of his two jobs) and she and I got to talking about how dirty my windows were getting. Next thing I know we worked out a deal where she’d do the insides while he does the outsides---off the books of the two company’s where they work. I would have hired them either way but even with them charging me $157 ($23 less than a commercial company did three years ago) they were making more money than going through their employers. Of course, they’re taking a gamble that I won’t let their employers know by accident or on purpose because they could both lose their jobs for taking clients on the side. My windows looked so good when they got finished that I gave them each an extra twenty and told them to get themselves some lunch on their way home. (Actually, the other company 3 years ago also washed the screens and the windowsills for the $180 so money-wise I drew the short stick in this deal but heart-wise I was happy to throw some work at them.) 

And of course, I lavished them with praise because if ever there were two kids who need it, it’s them. They rent a car every three months to go visit the daughter they gave up at birth in an open adoption five years ago when they were both in high school. The adopted parents live up state and any extra money they earn goes into their ‘baby trips.' A few years back the adopted parents were screwing them around, trying to cheat them out of their legally binding visitation rights but they have since made peace (through meditation) with the details in the adoption agreement which have always been  four visits a year for x-number of hours each. After their trips she always shows me pictures of the daughter and she’s the spitting image of her birth mom which became an issue for the adopted parents when others started noticing that fact. They were trying to pass Purity off as their cleaning lady, can you believe that! She'd have to clean sinks and toilets while visiting the baby and a couple of times they drove all the way up there and the family wouldn't be at home at the appointed time. I’m going to miss Purity when I move. The independent living unit on the Continuum Care Campus where I’ll be living will be too small and out of the area where it's practical/profitable for the company she works for to keep me as a client. 

Speaking of the CCC the photo above is the latest one they’ve sent out since the construction company resumed work after being shut-down because of the pandemic. Their email said in a couple of weeks they’ll have a revised timeline for when it will be move-in ready. But the construction company’s newsletter is showing September of 2021 which, if true, is a real bummer considering the original date was in the spring of 2021. What happens if a second Covid-19 wave shuts them down again? I do not want to list my house and move in the winter! I do not want to keep on living in a house slowing transitioning all its ‘personality’ off to e-Bay and the local auction house. And, yes, I’m sick of selling stuff! I’ve been doing it off and on for 25-30 years. I want this chapter of my life finished. Done. Finito so I can have a fresh start.

Would I have locked into this deal if I'd known it was going to stretch out so long? Probably not but on the other hand, until the pandemic got into the act I was good with the timeline. It's been a two-edged sword but I've needed that sword at my neck to keep me motivated and moving forward. At any point I can get my deposits back and start looking for another location but it took me three years to find this one and when I did, I knew it would be perfect. Being a non-profit means the cost of buying a unit and living there is a third less than comparable places. And none of the other CCCs in the area have a lake and woods and heated sidewalks for taking the dog out in the winters. Other places aren’t located within five minutes of all my doctors, either, or near two shopping malls where I’m more likely to meet up with my family than I do now. I like my current neighborhood. It's more upscale than where I'll be moving, and more suburb than city. It worked for us when my husband was alive and we had in-laws still around. But living with a million people in between me and the other side of town, where I have to drive busy expressways to go see my nieces isn't working for me anymore. Not to mention this house is too big for me and too much to keep up at this point in my life. 

I want so many things I can't have right now. I want to be able to walk across the hall to the gym and ride an exercise bike while watching the sun go down over the CCC's lake. I want to be able to walk to their post office and their two restaurants and to help form a new book club and join their quilt club in the older section. I've been dreaming and planning my next chapter for so long I've forgotten how to enjoy the one I'm living in. I want. I want! I WANT! ....Well, aren’t you glad you stopped by to witness my mini-meltdown? It feels like menopause all over again. One minute I'm fine and the next minute I'm freaking out. I need a vacation from myself before I completely unravel. I need to have some fun, to get silly and go to a few summertime festivals or art shows, but they've all been canceled for 2020. First the impeachment hearings, then the pandemic followed by all the social injustices protests. Breathe, Jean, breathe and be thankful the killer hornets haven't materialized. Yet. ©

38 comments:

  1. What a kind and loving thing you did to hire those 2 to do your windows and how tough their life together has been already at such a young age. Have you considered looking for temporary housing so you can list your home when you want to and them make the final move when your new place is ready? Lots of people did that pre-pandemic so they didn't have to worry about coordinating selling and moving. Btw, I want want want too!

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    1. One of the other ladies who also put a deposit on a CCC is planning to do exactly that...rent an apartment. And that is what I did when we sold our other two homes to build the house I'm living in now. But I don't think I have the energy to move twice and get used to a temporary neighborhood then another one close on it's heels, especially with a dog. If I have to, I could but I don't really want to. My niece has a cottage she's offered to let me use for a couple weeks if there was a problem with closing dates and I'd do that, if I needed to, but that's not moving all my stuff twice.

      The Window Project worked out well for both of us.

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  2. We have a ton of windows here, too, and it's always uplifting to have them all clean. And nice that you could help those two out. They sound like hard working and dedicated young folks. (The adoptive parents sound a little flakey...open adoption but pretending she is the cleaning lady? So they're lying to...who? Neighbors? Friends? Family? Kinda weird. But what do I know...)

    I'm with you on the idea of moving twice. We considered that last year and decided against it. And I'm glad we did. Moving once is enough for me. But I know a lot of people do. I suppose our stress level over selling this house might have been a bit less, but it would have also cost us more in the long run between rent (not cheap around here right now) and storage. So, even though it's a stressful slog, I would probably do what you're doing. It is hard to keep going some days with all that's going on. Hang in there! It sounds like you would make the same decision again given the circumstances, so (as hard as it is, and I know it's hard) keep the faith. It will all come together! :-)

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    1. Planning a move under normal conditions is bad enough then throw in the stress of the pandemic and an possible economic depression that could literally bankrupt large building companies and suppliers, I'm not willing to move into a rental as a stopgap because that could turn into a life time if things went sideways.

      I tried not to judge the adoptive parents only hearing one side of the story, but when I heard that about cleaning their house when she went there, I was shocked.

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    2. I can understand that. I think an open adoption would be challenging on both ends. I have a friend who adopted a baby, and I know she sends pics to the birth mom regularly, but I'm pretty sure there is no planned visitation.

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    3. I agree. I guess there is no right or wrong way to do it that is fool-proof for both sides.

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  3. That was really nice of you to work out an agreement with your two young window cleaners and to give them such a generous tip. People can really use the extra cash these days can't they? It's horrible the way they have been treated by their daughter's adopted parents. What a wonderful niece to offer her cottage to you in case of need. I think that's the perfect solution if you sell your house before the CCC place is ready for you to move in. That way you could keep all your furniture and other things in a pod or other mobile storage container until it could be delivered to your CCC. I know my neighbors had their things in a mobile storage container at their house for 3 weeks before moving.

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    1. Those mobile storage pods are really neat, aren't they. There is a place near me that stores them on their lot for people who can't leave them at their houses.

      My cleaning girl was able to get unemployment during the stay-at-home orders which I was really glad to hear and her boyfriend's other job is working at a medical marijuana greenhouse that was considered essential. So they were better off than a lot of people, especially those in the restaurant business.

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  4. I'm glad you were able to help the young couple out by hiring them, for cash. They sound like a good couple doing the best they can. I can imagine how much you want the selling of stuff to be over. I have yet to take it on with a true sense of purpose, knowing it'll be tedious and emotionally taxing. I wonder if your new apartment will be finished on time. We've moved in the dead of winter, during a blizzard. Not a happy experience, but we did get a good rate because of the time of year.

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    1. It's anyone's guess if the CCC will finish on time. Already one of the sub-suppliers is having trouble getting what was orders. The world is so interconnected!

      Emotionally taxing is only the half of it. LOL

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  5. I am sorry to hear that your plans are running so behind schedule. I can hear how ready you are to move on with your new future. It is lucky you are able to stay where you are for now and that you have a niece to help if you need to move temporarily. I hope it all speeds up so you are in your new place before you know it. It sounds just perfect! My brother always says, "things have a way of working out"! It isn't really helpful but I hope someday soon you will be able to look back and realize you ended up right where you wanted to be!

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    1. I love that saying and I have said myself to others. Just got to remember to say it to myself. Thanks for the reminder. With all the hassles of the pandemic piled on to normal moving plans, once I'm settled some place else it's going to party time, every day.

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  6. Mercy, and I thought I had some stress levels. Girl you are ate up with them. This would have been hard enough but the pandemic has thrown such a wrench of uncertainty into everything. I don't have any solutions, just a ton of wishes that it all goes easier than imagined.

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    1. Me too. I've got an appointment in the area next week and I'm hoping to stop by and take some pictures, maybe talk to the sales people again.

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  7. It's just a full time job moving to Phase XXXXX. With all the challenges tossed into the mix. I am not sure I'd have the energy to move! Let alone all the sorting and selling you are doing.

    I still am a hermit and have not been near anyone except family. You are so brave!

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    1. I don't have the energy either but someone has to do it. LOL

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  8. All I can say is good luck! I hate being in limbo like that. I'm glad you helped the young couple... that plus the clean windows must have given you a bit of a spirit boost. Take care!

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    1. It rained the next day but my clean windows still make me happy. My back yard is so green and private, it's like I'm living in a state park.

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  9. It must be the state of the world at present which makes so many of us cross. Us oldies haven’t got time to waste, any delay will take years which we simply don’t have.
    If only it were all over already. But thinking like that is counter-productive, as you say, we forget to live life now and the future should take care of itself. Limbo is not a good place to be.

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    1. Limbo is not a place I've had to live in before and I really don't like it. But since it's the product of a once-in-lifetime pandemic, all we can really do is try to roll with the punches and make sure so stand back up when we are down.

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  10. Clean windows????????
    What are they????????
    No will clean mine

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    1. There are lots of window cleaning services in this area and they are priced reasonably. I just tend to put it off way too long and don't realizing how much dirty windows is depressing.

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  11. Jean, please hang in there! I’m glad to be reminded your new place is a non-profit. In Canada the majority of the Covid-19 fatalities are residents of for-profit senior homes. For-profit means not-for-residents best interests! Corners were always being cut for the all-mighty dollar, and the disease was allowed to run rampant. The armed forces had to be called in, to help out.
    I hear you about not wanting to move twice. It’s Day 2 at my new place and I have been at it all day and it’s still a hot mess 🤣🤣🤣.

    Deb

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    1. I've been following the Facebook page and newsletter to the CCC where I'll be moving and I've been super impressed with their compassionate handling of their residents and staff, all the stuff they are doing to keep up their spirits during the pandemic. They really go up and beyond.

      Can't wait until you're entirely settled and you can show your blog followers the results.

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  12. You do your Meltdowns quite well and with dignity my Friend! *winks* I think we all feel very Emotionally Raw right now and the ups and downs are constant even with those who aren't Bipolar like me! *LOL* Your CCC sounds perfect so hang in there, perhaps the delay won't be extended further since I'm sure they don't want people backing out. It sounds worth waiting for and as you well know, anything good is always worth waiting for.

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    1. Until the pandemic they used to have monthly get-togethers to keep us all in touch and hyped up about the project. Without that, I'm sure there are some people who will drop out. On the other hand, they're dealing with people in my age bracket and we capable of recognizing the delays were beyond their control. I'm hoping they might start throwing a few more perks in to make up for them.

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    2. That would be Sweet, kinda like my Car Salesman did with the Truck, kept adding perks until I would have been a Fool not to accept all the Freebies. *Winks*

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  13. Oh Jean. I so wish all of this wasn't happening. It is SO disappointing and I can totally relate to your impatience and "wanting". I want it FOR you! I can also relate to your wanting some fun and laughter. I've been able to find that with my Zoom meet-ups with friends. It's not the same, but it's something and I think I'd go nuts without it. Last week my Coffeehouse Crew group (average age 75) all got to talking about vibrators and dildos.... Well, anyway, hang in there.

    Also the way that family tried to jerk the birthparents of their child around is horrible! As an adoptive mom, as you know, we had visits with our sons' birthmothers too and fortunately all were cordial and loving and positive. My "kids" are grown now and making their own contact decisions -- one is still in contact and the other isn't, but it's not because of me doing anything, ever, to discourage or thwart them. I'm glad it has worked out better now for your cleaning gal and your boyfriend.

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    1. I would have loved to have been a mouse in the corner listening in on your Coffeehouse Zoom talk. I was just reading a book where the female characters were having that same conversation and I wondered if real women actually talked about things like that. Now I have my answer. LOL

      There are so many potential emotional ups and downs in the whole adoption equation. The adopted parents quite unexpectedly had their own baby a year or two later and for a while they didn't want the birth parents to do anything for the one child if they didn't also do it for the other one. Made sense, I guess. I suppose there will be a life time of issues that come up from time to time. Things have been smooth for quite some time now.

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  14. As Tom Petty sings, "The waiting is the hardest part." Your new home will be well worth its wait. Really good things so often are. Not so very long ago, you were fretting about what little time you had to get all your ducks in a row to be able to move in time.

    All of this is easy for me to say, I realize. I don't have to live it.

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    1. I know! Someone needs to write me a song with the lines,

      If there is something to worry about,
      I will find it, I will find, find it
      Never stop casting fear in calm waters
      Live ahead, live behind, never quit.

      Best I can do 10 minutes after my first cup of coffee in the morning.

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  15. Hi Jean! I'm baaaaack! LOL I'm so sorry the pandemic has pushed everything back. And even more sorry that you are going through more turmoil than even that. That sucks! Have a good cry, a good scream, now and then. It helps, at least temporarily. :: hugs ::

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    1. Welcome back! The pandemic hasn't made me cry yet but there's always a first time. Virtual hugs helps with that.

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    2. Awwwww. And thanks!

      Apparently, I had my blog set at private from last fall. Dur. LOL It's open now, so please come and visit when you can! Thanks!

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  16. I feel your frustration! Like you,I have good days and sad days, days I am coping well and days I cry while cooking. That's a big decision you made, to find a great CCC and get started with moving.. and now your timeline is messed up.. the timeline fo LIFE is on hold for everyone,isn't it.It is soo frustrating.I too miss all the little things that made my life so content: library days, lunches out, road trips, beaches, time with friends, in person and HUGGING.And you have a BIG GOAL just around the corner.. a move.. This too shall pass.I predict you will make the transition to the CCC,just at a different time.till then, maybe slow down on the selling off of your household, and just sink into it for a bit more.. if you can,get outdoors, play some music you love, and be good to yourself!!

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    1. Thanks for the pep talk. We all need to do that for each othr in these trying times.

      I am going to be slowing down on selling but just because I have less quantities of smalls to sell and they'll probably be gone by then end of July. That what is left is bigger---art and furniture.

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  17. This summer is certainly a bust with everything being cancelled! We'll take what we can for now I guess! It's nice to be able to occasionally eat in a restaurant thought an be able to enjoy parks and open spaces! It sure sounds like when you finally get into your new place it will be so worth the wait!

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    1. It's mind boggling how so many big and small summertime events have been canceled. I just hope next summer will be different.

      I think it will be worth it.

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