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, July 1, 2020

Here Comes Summer


I can’t believe its July already. I’d like to say I’m happy, healthy and full of bright ideas and laugh-out-loud stories to tell. But I’m sitting here like a toad on a log hoping a snail will magically appear in my mouth because I’m too lazy to go forage for my dinner. I don’t have far to go. My well stocked refrigerator is only eight feet away and if I was really ambitious I could grab my car keys, be to my car in sixteen steps and take off to find a place to pick up dinner. But I’m still not embracing the pandemic-born curbside pickup concept or going to restaurants that are operated with social distancing inside. However, after three-and-a-half months of my own boring cutlery skills---or lack thereof---I’m almost desperate enough to try some oven baked chicken with peas dog chews followed by some pumpkin and apple dog fruitables for dessert.

At least the grocery store has started selling mixed boxes of fruit again so I can have an assortment of berries on my morning cereal or start making protein drinks again. I’ve missed raspberries and black berries. My life that revolves around the grocery store supply chains is returning to near normal again. Still no disinfecting wipes, barista Sweet Foam or liquid hand soap but at least I’m not going to die from missing my coffee additive. It just feels that way. The wipes are an easy work around but it took me a while to come up with my secret solution for an alternate for liquid hand soap. Dawn dish soap in my hand pumps. If you can wash wild life in the stuff to get oil spills off the poor critters it must be safe for humans and they say to kill the covid-19 virus you don’t need anti-bacterial soap, you only need something to break up the oils in the virus. By the way, don’t spread my secret solution around! If it gets scarce I’m blaming you guys. 

I spent the entire mandatory stay-at-home orders living off comfort foods, baking too much and moving too little, gaining too many pounds. Last week I gave up sugar. Hard because I would shoot liquid sugar up my veins when I'm stressed out, if I could. This week I’m (trying to) add walks to my routine. One day---hopefully soon---I’ll get totally disgusted with myself and then I’ll be ready to start a warp-speed approach to dieting which for me, involves two liquid meal replacement meals a day and one sensible real food meal. First I have to finish kicking myself in the head for allowing pandemic induced stress and food insecurities to rule my life. I hate that my pantry is filled to the brim with panic buying. I’ve been here before at the Self-Loathing Station waiting to step off the platform. I'll get there but it's hard.

The fact that my state is (carefully) easing back into something short of normal commerce is helping me get my bad habits under control. Goodwill is accepting donations again with changes when you pull up to their door---you sort your own stuff into big boxes sitting outside and only one person is allowed under their canopy at a time. I was able to get to recycling today and was not surprised that I had to wait in line to pull into one of their twelve parking places in front of the roll-off recycling bins even though they've been open for a few weeks. The bottle return across the street is open, too, with every other machine blocked off and there were at least twenty people waiting in line with overflowing shopping carts full of bottles and cans. There was a one cart per person rule but I don’t drink much pop so I didn’t need that line. (I have maybe 30 mini sized cans since January and they can wait until a kid comes along doing a can drive to fund a school event.) Had the hazardous waste station been open, though, I would have gladly waited in that line. I go through a lot of printer ink cartridges while printing e-Bay labels, packing slips and listing forms and the longer they hang around the house the more I’m tempted to throw them in the trash. But I don't. We’ve abused Mother Nature enough and she is fighting back. Seriously, she just brought a 4,000-mile-long dust storm from the Sahara Desert to America! Haven’t we had enough drama for one year? 

I hadn’t been to the bank since early March... I’m not fond of using drive-up windows but their lobby still isn't open and I was getting desperate. I don’t like those the pneumatic tubes that sends your business flying overhead then drops the tubes in the teller area. People think that technology a fairly recent invention (in old-people speak 'recent' is 30-35 years) but the first patent for a system for delivering items by air pressure and vacuum was issued in 1854 and they’ve been in use ever since. They were used extensively at the stock exchange and the post office even before the 1900s. The turn-of-the-century brought them into large department stores and by mid-century they were in big-time use in buildings through out Washington D.C. I don’t like using them because I can’t reach them without unfastening my seat belt and opening the car door which bangs against the stupid cement posts, if I'm not careful.

I asked the teller when they expect the lobby to be open again and she said as soon as all the branches have their Plexiglas in place. “I’ll bet they'll be with us for a long time” I replied and she wrinkled up her nose and said, “Waste of money. The virus is totally over-blown.” That night I decided that when I run errands I’m going to make notations on my day planner of the times I was at the places I go. Why? Contact tracing. The local news had just listed the names of five area restaurants and said if anyone was at them between such-and-such of time on such-and-such day they need to call the health department and self-quarantine because they’d been exposed to Covid-19. One place alone was responsible for over two dozen people getting sick. And idiots like the bank teller who think the virus is a media hoax are going to keep spreading it. Ready or not, here comes summer in Pandemic Land. ©

50 comments:

  1. Your mentioning pneumatic tubes brings back memories. I can't remember where I saw them when I was a kid, but I was fascinated. Andy does our trips to the bank, so I haven't seen how they work here.

    No Goodwill-type donating here yet. Our governor is being cautious, and I'm grateful.

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    1. One of the classic black and white Christmas movies show the pneumatic tubes at the post office and I remember them from when I was a kid them being in few of the stores downtown. Always loved the sound they make.

      I hope your governor doesn't have to put up with the death threats and recall petitions etc, that our governor does for closing down commerce.

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  2. I haven't been to a restaurant in at least three and a half months. I'd like some szechuan shrimp and H wants a whopper from Burger King (each to his own), but I'm way to anxious to do takeout.
    That's interesting about the pneumatic tubes.
    I haven't lost weight during the Pandemic, but I haven't gained. I consider that a win because I'm a stress eater, too.

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    1. It's funny thing things miss. I miss oriental drunken noodles. The place is open but don't trust take out yet. I would consider it a win, too, not to have gained any weight though all this. It' so much harder to lose the old I get.

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  3. I'm wondering what dog chews and apple dog fruitables are. I seem to be thinking about food a fair bit lately. And yes, I've put on weight too. Recently a neighbour said over the phone he's put on so much weight his pants don't fit. I admire your resolve to shape up. I like the idea but can't summon the self-discipline at present. Chocolate is my comfort food. Don't be too hard on yourself. It's been a sorry few months and, here in Victoria anyway, it isn't over yet by a long shot.

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    1. I see you don't shop the pet store shelves because they have all kinds of fancy snacks for dogs now. Mine loves the fruitables and the pumpkin smells so good!

      My clothes still fit but I can't afford another few pounds or they won't. I don't have self-discipline...got to get really mad at myself for that to kick in.

      I haven't had chocolate in a long time. Ice cream is my downfall.

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  4. I keep encountering the its no big deal folks too. Denial is a powerful coping mechanism and science education is poor in schools if you aren't interested in pursuing advanced courses. Sigh. Glad you could drop things off!

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    1. Some people aren't going to believe the virus is real until someone in their own family dies or gets violently ill. Then all the apologies in the world aren't going to make up for their ignorance in spreading the disease.

      Now, if the libraries would start taking books again! I still have 100 or so that are too rare to take to Goodwill and they will make the library some good money on their online sales.

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  5. Well, the country is setting daily records for new COVID cases so we obviously are not getting this right. The US must really look incompetent to the rest of the world. I am not sure where it will all end. I stay away from crowds and mostly stay home. I feel bad for the medical personnel who must be exhausted. Amazingly to me, a lot of people appear to be idiots!

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    1. Those poor health care workers from the doctors to those who clean the floors. They have a lot on their plates right now.

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  6. The pandemic is fake, the earth is flat and the orange ass in charge doesn't need to wear a mask. Yep, you can't fix stupid. My friends mom just died from this. No underlying health issues just older. The man across the street is still very ill, it's not fake to him. A woman I used to go to Yoga with just died. She was so fit and bendy I used to be jealous of her. But she was also only in her 30s. I don't know if she had underlying conditions but it wasn't over blown to her. I don't like those people. In the mean time I too am trying to get out of the mindset that has gotten me fatter and not happy about it. I wish you great success Jean!! It's tough right now

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    1. The Trump supporters I know think all those people who died of the virus really died of something else and there's a vast conspiracy to re-code all deaths to covid deaths to make Trump look bad. No idea how someone can believe something so far-fetched.

      I'm not in the right mindset yet to get my eating and stress under control, but I'm working on it in baby steps.

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  7. That teller's thinking is why we are still struggling. I know of 5 people in my tiny town who have had it and fortunately recovered. Their account of the disease should put fear in anyone.
    I do remember those tubes when I was a child and thought they were magic. When I worked as a teller, people would often load them up with rolled coins and they would get stuck.

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    1. I'd forgotten about how the rolls of coins would get those capsule stuck in the tubes.

      Everyone who has lived through the virus is saying it's not like the common flu. The people in denial think it's just the common flu and THEY would get over it in a few days, not weeks like what is actually happening.

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  8. Yesterday I passed by the Salvation Army drop off center by my house and could not believe the line of cars waiting to drop of their donations. No exaggeration it had to be at least 50 cars long! Down the driveway and down the shoulder of a main street! Everything and everyone seems to be just crazy right now!

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    1. Oh my gosh, how on earth would the Salvation Army process that much stuff? Here, people were leaving stuff outside their doors when they were closed for the pandemic and it all had to be hauled off to the dump because the weather got to it. They were pleating on the media to stop doing that!

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  9. Jean:

    I love new technology & with new bank app we don't even go to our bank to deposit our checks or anything anymore. who would have thought wireless communicaton classes I took back in 90s when I was doing my graduate studies were way of the future, I chuckled when professor brought typewriter looking briefcase phone to call his secretary from class made me think these westerners why you need to carry briefcase phone to stay in touch, you can use public phone in emergency. I didn't realize new technology like smart pones will make life so easy.I feel so close to all these pioneers in technology field, it feels lie in my lifetime we have come so far. I bet in next 20 years autonomous cars will n next new technological wave, that reminds e I better invest in Tesla now lol

    Asha

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  10. you can deposit your check through your phone by taking pictures of both side of check technology has made life so easy, I wanted to tell you that,in my excitement about telling you my cellphone story I wasn't sure whether that point I emphasized or not

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    1. Asha, you were born to be excited about new technology and engineering feats. I love that about you but I will be that person with a horse and buggy long after cars took over the roads when it comes to doing banking on my phone. Not going to happen for me.

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  11. I started dieting last week; just 1200 calories/day low-calorie. I'm dancing 20 minutes a day. I've lost several pounds and feel better already.

    I was really hesitant about curbside, but we've got a routine down now. He picks it up, brings it home. I pour all the food onto our plates, he disposes of their containers, we both wash our hands thoroughly, and good to go. :)

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  12. I am FINALLY going out into the real world. Crown came off so dentist is Thurs. Hair just notified me of a space on Fri. And I've called to re-re-reschedule my cataract removal.

    We finally started getting take out last month. Chinese is what we were all dying for! And we do bring home/bake our own pizza.

    I rather hope we can all do our errands just once a week after we are totally open. Mother Nature has done such a great job of cleaning up everything we can try to keep it that way.

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    1. Wishing you good luck in the staying safe department. What did Mother Nature clean up? I keep imagining a wind storm but you don't have yard to clean up.

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    1. The one I just got with the breathing vent and the filter is the hottest of all the my masked. Disappointing but I decided it's not as hot as wearing a ventilator and having a machine pump oxygen down my throat.

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    2. Yeah, people who don't like Masks really aren't gonna like a Respirator! *LOL*

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  14. It amazes me the number of people who are so deeply in denial or stupid that they don't think a Plague is a big deal or don't believe it's even real! Most stores here now are stocking well enough I haven't done without, but I sense another huge Closure of everything soon since we almost had 5,000 cases in a day here in Arizona... Mind Blown! Of coarse Texas has 7,000 and Florida 9,000 and Lord knows how many Cali had... but they're all more populated than us so our stats are still catastrophic and our Hospitals are past capacity so will be doing that Crisis Care Rating of whether you received treatment or they withhold it... not good!

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    1. There are a fair share of people who don't care about the pandemic because they think it's killing blacks, poor and old people. Others think it's a conspiracy and people are being counted as dying from Covid-19 who actually died of other things. People can be so stupid

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    2. Well, yes, those of the Cleansing Mentality see this is answer to their perverse Hitleresque Wet Dreams. Then the ones who truly think it's still a Hoax are just in their own bubble of alternate reality so there's no reaching them with Facts, Science or Truth.

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    3. Who would have ever thought, science, critical thinking and provable facts would became a thing of scorn and ridicule.

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  15. I know the topic isn’t funny but your delivery is. I sagely nodded my head at injecting liquid sugar directly into the bloodstream. My sugar issues are real and significant šŸ˜‰

    It worries me that there are just SO MANY gullible and misinformed people about this pandemic. I’m glad they are making themselves known though ... it makes it easier to know who needs to be avoided at all costs.

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    1. Boy, isn't that the truth. Knowing who is careless is value information.

      I may be paying for my pandemic eating habits. My doctor just ordered me to repeat some blood work because of a high Hemoglobin A1C test. That's never happened before.

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  16. I haven't left the house to go shopping since March and don't plan to till August

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    1. I don't blame you. And trust me, the grocery store is no longer a friendly place to be.

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  17. I’m a fellow Michigander, from the sunrise coast, and am enjoying your posts very much. Thanks for the smiles.

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    1. Welcome to my blog! I haven't spent much time on your side of the state but I'm betting it's just as pretty along the coast as our western side---not that I'm ON the coast but I can get there in an hour and it's my favorite place to go.

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  18. We've had liquid hand soap throughout the pandemic, and have not had many disappearances, aside from Clorox/Lysol wipes. Even hand sanitizer is back and in abundance. (I'm in northeast Ohio). There are shortages here and there, briefly, but usually for only a week or so, such as dairy or a specific brand of pasta.

    I put myself through college by working as a bank teller, primarily drive-thru. I hated the people who overloaded the tube with stuff, especially when we had a sign taped to the tube AND the drive-thru saying what NOT to put through the tubes. Or when they'd talk during the pneumatic process; it's loud, and no one can hear a thing.

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    1. We still have some empty shelves in our major chain store but no shortages of paper towel and toilet paper anymore. Our community boards report when stuff comes and goes at places like K-Mart, Costco and other places where I don't shop. I couldn't get the mini ice cream cones I like yesterday so it was a good time to wean myself off them.

      How on earth do they get stuff out of those tubes when they are stuck? I'm guess a value that releases the pressure to they drop back down to the customer?

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    2. Sometimes we had to call for service from the company to come out and get the tube, depending upon where it was. Sometimes we could just push our button a few times and it would go.

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  19. I became addicted to kimchi after making a batch in February. I'm on batch #10 (4 pint jars per batch), and although I've shared some, most has been eaten by yours truly. It's become my go to snack; super tasty, and low calorie. Also have reacquainted myself with carrot sticks, and rediscovered the crunchy, nutrient rich deliciousness of daikon radish. Lest I'm sounding boastful, I also eat my share of ice cream, but I've been fortunate not to have gained any weight during 'The Restrictions' and I suspect I owe it to the Korean people for inventing such a tasty fermented item.

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    1. Looked up the recipe for kimchi and it lost me at 'cabbage.' But it looks similar to a cabbage soup that used to be popular for weight loss years ago.

      I eat a lot of carrots but only because they come in a variety pack veggie tray. I don't really like them but I eat them nearly every day because the dog likes them and I have to pre-chew his. LOL

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  20. Just a note about those Saharan dust clouds. They really aren't a sign of the apocalypse; they're a regular occurence here. I've been taking photos of dust-enhanced sunsets for years. Where they land depends on where the winds carry them, but we always are happy to see a heavy one come across. They help to reduce the ocean temperature, and can minimize the chance of hurricanes, at least temporarily. That's all to the good!

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    1. Interesting! I knew they'd happened before but I had no idea they played a part in minimizing hurricane chances. I read this one was an especially bid dust storms that reached up as far as Ohio. Earth science and weather are fascinating.

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  21. Good idea about the Dawn. I can relate to the indulgence of lockdown. Ironically, I lost weight because I wasn't junking out at restaurants but only eight pounds and no one can tell, which is distressing. I did hit the ATM -- all good with my rubber glove, which I immediately sanitized so I could use it again. We'll get this down right -- and looks like we'll have a long time to practice.

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    1. Michigan's numbers are going in the right direction, if we can keep that way after the 4th.

      For some reason it takes a ten pound loss before others notice, so you're close. Going to resultants is where I eat healthy. Keep up the good work!

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  22. I, too, have been having that "Wait! How can it be July?" reaction, and yesterday I finally got myself outside to begin the big garden project that I originally planned to have half done by the end of June. Meanwhile, I've been eating too much junk food, watching too much TV, and having trouble motivating myself to cook.
    Today, I stopped at a local hardware store where I often buy garden supplies, hoping to pick up some bags of cow manure for the garden. When I stepped inside, there were three employees standing behind the counter -- no masks, no face shields, no plexiglass, no nothing. Yikes! Definitely not going back there again.

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    1. It makes a difference when they places you shop at least look like they are trying not to spread the virus. You are wise not to go back to that hardware store.

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  23. I'm so far behind in blog reading!Sorry! I've been writing down every day since end of February where we've gone to aid in contact tracing or at least in figuring out where we might get exposed. So far so good.

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