Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Wasted Week and Wildflower Seeds

 Aside from having two rail-thin women come to the house to wash my living room and dining room walls, it’s been a week of few accomplishments. How thin is rail-thin you ask? If either one of them ate a grape she'd looked pregnant, but boy were they hard workers. They knocked that huge job out in one hour, fifteen minutes (each) and it only cost me $75. The place smells Spic & Span amazing, looks even better than I’d hoped because we ‘de-cowboyed’ the place as we went along. De-cowboying the place consisted of taking down a series of small, scratchboard portraits of cowboys playing poker and a couple of sun-bleached animal skulls and moving some western sculptures into the library where they'll wait to get listed soon on e-Bay.

I still have six larger signed and numbered western prints hanging on the walls---most by well-known artists but they are staying, probably through the open house. Not sure yet. The realtor thinks they should stay---it's too big a wall to be empty---but if I can sell them beforehand, I might. One of the prints, a large Paul Collins lithograph drawing of the legendary Holy Eagle, I’ve always said I’d push it around in a shopping cart if I was ever homeless and I’m still hoping I can find room to hang it in my future home. I’ll have to see where the light switches in my new place are at before I’ll know one way or the other. It doesn't fit the beach cottage theme I want but maybe I'll have to pretend the old guy is my great-grandfather.

The two women have been in the cleaning business for a while now but I taught them something. They started out just using rags and a tall ladder so I dug out my round-headed mop and showed them how they could do most of the walls without using the ladder. After doing the rooms with my mop they were so impressed they said they were going to buy themselves a couple of mops like mine. Even with my cathedral ceilings it only took a step stool for them to reach the peaks. It was quite the time saver and safer not to have to move an eight foot ladder around.

Then they impressed me with their method of cleaning glass which truly amazed me. Over the last few years, I have not been able to get streaks out of windows and I couldn’t decide if they’ve change the formula for Windex that I’ve been using since I was big enough to help my dad every spring and fall with the Storm Windows Project or if paper towel is being made differently causing the problem. I suspected it was the Windex because even using the old stand-by of newspapers wasn’t doing the trick. Nothing short of going over the streaks with vinegar on a soft cloth helped and that was slow going. The ladies were using Norwex cloths with just water, no Windex or other cleaning product and getting the glass on my art prints to shine, streak free in just a minute or two. The stupid cloths cost a small fortune but as soon as the reward points show up on my Amazon card from paying for Levi’s last day on earth I’m going to invest in a Norwex glass set at the tune of $34.00 for two cloths.

It will be weird spending all those reward points and I wish I needed something big and costly so I could spend them all at once, get it over with like pulling a band aide off. Gee, your dog died? Here’s a bunch of free stuff from Amazon as a reward. I just thought of something costly...a new cell phone but as often as we need our phones, do I really want to be reminded of how I got it, if I use my rewards points that way? It’s my mom’s fault. She’s the one who taught me how to save and pigeonhole money for certain things. Moms are always to blame, no matter what. In my entire life I've always thought in terms of I bought that with the money I got doing this or selling that. And paycheck money was always used for the 'needs' in life, and money that came from selling stuff or doing odd jobs could be spent for the 'wants' in life.

I got the sweetest sympathy card from Levi's vet. Inside it had a piece of pressed cotton in the shape of a paw that said "Plant me, I will bloom." It's full of wildflower seeds. It took me back to the day when we spread my mom's ashes with a box of 1,000 wild flower seeds along side a walking path my folks frequently took around our cottage. I think I'll plant Levi's seeds at my future home. On a 40 acre campus with woods and a lake I should be able to find a place I can sneak them in. How cool would that be.

I’m doing fine, although this past week has zapped all my energy as I try to re-imagine what my future will look like---with or without another fur baby. I don’t feel like I have a lot of time to decide because if I’m going to get one I should do it while I’m still living in a single family home where training would be so much easier. ©


 


40 comments:

  1. It's hard not to attach significance to something when you know where the money or effort came from. I get it.

    The remembrance from your vet is such a thoughtful idea. I know that once you get to your new home, you'll soon find the perfect spot for Levi's Memorial Garden.

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    1. On their master plan one of the last things to go in will be a butterfly and wildflower garden which will be within my view from my living room. I could put levi's seeds don't say if they need sun or shade so I'm assuming there are some of both so something comes up.

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  2. You continue to be amazing in getting things checked off your to do list. A senior neighbor of mine recently had her very elderly dog die and then adopted a senior dog who’s owner had to go into assisted living. They seem a good match but are still adjusting to each other. And of course you don’t get to train them from the start but have to retrain which can be harder.

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    1. I'd be open to another senior dog IF I knew his/her history with being dependably house broken. So many dogs you see on rescue sites have issues in that area and that's not something I'd want to deal with. And you're so right about it being harder to retrain than to train as puppies.

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  3. Jean, Something to keep in mind...about getting a dog while in this home. I have known 3 dogs who got anxiety when moving to a new place. You will have to start all over again where he/she can go. My dog is so trained to go for a walk to do her business that when we went to our lake home and had acreage she waited to be walked. She didn't get it, no matter how hard we tried. So you may have to train them again for that environment. Just a thought to keep in mind. My friend had the same issue. Her dog wanted to leave the new house and sat by the door confused. The area to go to the bathroom was different and it took some patience and time to get him adjusted. Getting her dog used to the new place wasn't quick but it was doable. Don't mean to rain on your parade because it could be very different experience for you but just wanted you to think about that. Your life is changing and you may wish to wait or maybe this will make you less anxious about all the upheavel. But they feel upheavel and your stress so there is that. In the meantime that Vet was wonderful and I'd sneak those in if I could too! How wonderful of them.
    And norwex...never heard of it but if it will clean my glass with no streaks it is worth the money. I have a wall of glass in my kitchen over my backyard. I think it looks great - then the sun shines on it and I see streaks. I am going to amazon now! Thanks Jean.(and house cleaners!)

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    1. Interesting! Until I had Levi all three of my poodles who came before him were glued to my side and never had a problem going where ever we were. But Levi did have a favorite place when walking in the neighborhood. It was really private in the center of three shrubs.

      My biggest issue with waiting to get a dog is I don't think the rescue places would let me adopt while living in a CCC----they require fenced yards that they inspect according to some of the listings I've seen. And I've never potty trained a puppy in apartment setting. I've always used the two cardboard boxes attached to each other method...one area the bed, one the poppy place. As they got older I'd just keep moving the potty closer and closer to the outside door. Then move it outside and make the poppy area smaller and smaller until gone altogether. Obviously, that won't work in an apartment like setting.

      The Norwex won't disappoint you but pay attention to the directions for care. You can't wash them with laundry soap.

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  4. Think Margaret made a really good point for waiting to train a new dog, one I hadn't thought of. Not only for the dog but you will have so much going on with the move that it would be helpful for you to not have to worry about the dog.
    You have me curious about the glass cleaning product and will check it out. Thanks.

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    1. My heart and my head don't agree on waiting or not waiting.

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  5. You might have enough on your plate right now with the move and all but you know your own mind and as my brother always says, "Things have a way of working out." Just see how it all comes together (or doesn't!). Take care of yourself!

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    1. Thanks. I like what your brother always says...how true that is.

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  6. Your vet is a good person. I like your idea about where and when to plant Levi seeds. I'm amazed by the Norwex clothes. Never heard of them, but following your lead I might eventually spring for some. Thanks for the information.

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    1. Streaking windows and glass drive me crazy and these cloths did an amazing job. Caring for them would be kind of a pain because you can't wash them with your other laundry, but worth the trade off for me.

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  7. What a lovely gift from your vet. We got a card from our vet's office, and it came quite a bit later when I feeling better, but I burst into tears when I opened it. So it's nice you got it early on. DH said, "Well, I didn't need that scab ripped off today." I'm sure you can find the perfect place in your new home...those grounds are really lovely.

    And I hope you can find the perfect wall for your art in your new place...it really helps to have our favorite things when we move at this age. FWIW, we had to "de-cowboy" our previous home, although I didn't know it had a name. LOL. The previous owners did a complete southwestern/cowboy theme down to the sconces with the copper cowboys roping cattle. It didn't work with our decor, but I had to admire their dedication to their theme.

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    1. We resisted the southwestern part of the cowboy theme, never liked the colors that went with it. We were more like Cowboy and Indian. But I know those sconces with the roping cattle and I once bought a cowboy on a horse pull chain for our ceiling fans and decided it was a bit too much. LOL

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  8. Obviously, being without a dog would be quite a change for you. But you have big changes coming as it is. If I were in your shoes, I'd pass on another dog -- but you know me. I'm a cat person, and the advantages of a cat for an apartment dweller are substantial, especially since I wouldn't want to be walking a dog however many times a day, in whatever weather. Beyond that, I'd probably just see it as a new chapter, and get ready to spend more time getting adjusted to the new place, new people, and all that, without the obligation to an animal of any sort. It'll be interesting to see which direction you go.

    All that aside, I love the wildflower seeds pawprint. That's really cool, and very thoughtful.

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    1. I actually picked the place I'm moving to because it the most pet friendly place I'd seen and I toured 4-5 other places. They're other location and the older section of the new building even have dog walkers available. If I wasn't allergic to cats, I'd consider getting one. For a brief moment I thought about a tea cup dog that doesn't need to go outside as they can be pan trained like a cat. But I'd probably trip on it and kill us both.

      Time will tell. My heart and head need to work it out.

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  9. How thin is rail thin? That grape cracked me up.
    Thanks for the tip on Norwex cloths. I put them on my wish so I won't forget. I have to order a couple of things soon. I haven't been able to figure out why I can't get the streaks out of my windows. I started noticing it after we moved to this house.
    I know you miss Levi. What a good dog he was.

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    1. He really was. His groomer said he was the sweetest, best behaved dog that they came to their shop and they have 5-6 groomers and a receptionist that work full time, so they see a lot of dogs.

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  10. Gosh, your description of the rail thin gals tickled me. So happy that you had their help. It always feels good to make progress. I sure think your vet's gesture was kind. May every single seed grow and flower in memory of Levi!

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    1. It took me all day to wash the walls in my library...needed lots of breaks and that room is much smaller. So I was thrilled they made quick work out of it. Moving furniture around is easier with two people as well.

      The vets words were really nice too, like she actually did know my dog's personality. But he's been there the month before so he could have been fresh on his mind or kept great notes.

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  11. You have the world's best blog! I'm always learning new things! I agree with Ellen D ... things always work out.

    Most dogs can be litter trained ... bigger dogs need more floor space though. Box needs to be big enough for the dog to turn around in. There are also services who do live grass boxes and they come and replace them on a regular basis. Poodles and schnauzers are smart and easily trained.

    I laughed out loud at the grape analogy!!!!

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    1. I learn things from people who come here to read, too. I didn't know about the service to comes in to replace grass boxes for dogs. We had a male poodle who would use a 4" x 4" post set in the middle of a plastic boot tray. If we had to be gone a long time, we'd leave it out for him. He was so smart.

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  12. I can see why you like those prints. They're beautiful. And the cleaning crew sounds great! Very productive. I wish you didn't have a cat allergy -- they're so easy. Or maybe if you decide on another dog, an older one would love a home. It takes time. You'll know when or if it is right. Till then, hold the memories close.

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    1. I get attached to art and the ones in this post are ones like I wish I could do with portraits.

      I do love cats but I just couldn't live with one.

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  13. I will miss Levi. I never met him of course but you write so well about him and about living with a dog. My little dog died last year and it was very difficult. I have since adopted a senior dog. I feel so much better with her here. Of course I still miss my little girl. Follow your heart about when to open up your home to another dog.

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    1. I'm afraid there aren't going to be many senior dogs that are non-allergic breeds, but I'm keeping an open mind and you're right. I will know when the time is right.

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  14. Could you send your cleaners over to me? The more sun there is the more I see how scruffy my house has become.

    Whatever will you do when you move into your new home? Ever since I’ve come here you have been extremely busy at sorting, selling, making plans, organising this and that. You will have to find a new, absorbing, task when life settles down again.

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    1. They'd probably glad come do your cleaning. I haven't found a single thing they're not willing to do and that doesn't seem to be the norm with cleaning companies.

      I hope to get back to quilting, writing and painting and to learn how to make friends in the neighborhood. I'll be going out every day to play and explore the campus near-by businesses and maybe see my brother, nieces and nephew more often.

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  15. Then again if you get the dog after you move you'd be forced into the schedule from day one? Just a though. And would you get a young one? I think you will love you move either way.

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    1. We've always trained our pets to adapt to our schedule rather than the other way around and I don't have a problem with being on a schedule...I much prefer it. To be truthful, I'm not even looking forward to the move as much now that Levi died. He would have helped me make friends faster than without him and would have gotten me out of my unit far more than living totally alone. It's far too each for me to get absorbed in a project and go days without stepping outside my door. I don't know how to live without a furry friend to take care of, to keep me from living too much in my head.

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  16. I love what the vet sent and your idea for it, Jean. It would be very cool, indeed. I also love what you did for your mom.

    Deb

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    1. Thanks, spreading my mom's ashes the way we did was close to a spiritual experience.

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  17. I will look for Norwex Cloth now for my Windows, tho' I cannot bring myself yet to clean off Miss Priss Nose Prints off the Main Livingroom Window, still too soon for Princess T and I. She almost freaked out when Grandpa was going to clean that Window, so we'll give it more Time. As for whether to get another Fur Baby, I'm Wrestling with that decision myself. My Mind says No but my Heart, every time I see someone with a Cat loving on them, goes Soft. I just don't know, I'm not rushing into any decision. Glad you got the place spic and span so frugally and the Girls did a great job, you taught them a tip and they taught you one too. I'm no Domestic Goddess by any measure, but learning a better way to do anything is a feather in one's cap.

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    1. I used to call Levi nose prints on the windows, Doggy Art. It got cleaned off once a month when my cleaning service comes but I can see why your granddaughter isn't ready to let go of Miss Priss' yet. She'd been with the cat most of her life, if I'm remembering right.

      The ladies are coming back to do the kitchen and laundry room walls soon. Then the whole insides will be clean...well, cleanest. I'll have the floors and windows to do closer to the listing.

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    2. I wish you the best in Listing and Selling that beautiful Home. Once you accomplish that you'll have quite a Peace about closing a chapter of Life and moving on to the next chapter. Yes, Miss Priss had been with us a long part of Princess T's Life and she was now old enough to remember it all, or most of it. With some of the Fur Baby Felines she was close with when much Younger, she doesn't recall them as distinctly, but likes to look back at pixs of her with them and have me tell the Stories she might not recall. I didn't put it on my Blog, more for The Son's Privacy, but he's going thru some extended personal stuff that is pretty epic and unexpected, so I'm very concerned that stress might compromise his Mental Health and/or Sobriety if the Pressure of all this new added stress becomes too much for him to handle and he despairs? I'm concerned about him and it's not something I feel at liberty to blog about so that his privacy is respected. You never stop worrying about kids just because they grow up into Adulthood. The Apartment fell thru for The Young Prince and his Partner too, the area they came up for to live and became available was in such a seedy part of town they didn't think it was safe enough and it was very expensive to live in a substandard environment. Washington is proving to be a difficult place to find affordable housing.

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    3. You have a lot of your plate, Dawn. I hope you can draw some strength and comfort knowing that most of your blog followers can read between the lines and care about the stress you are under with your family.

      That privacy thing is a bugger to bloggers everywhere. We're so used to sharing our own ups and downs that it's easy to forget and draw our families into what we write about. But they haven't experienced the same Circle of Trust with our readers that we have, so it always gives us heartburn when deciding where the line is that we shouldn't cross when their problems and ours intersects.

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    4. Indeed your last paragraph is so true, some stories are not ours to tell. That said, I had to turn The Son out, in the Rain no less, last Night, his Sobriety didn't hold and I can't have that being brought into the Home. Difficult decision and the worry it brings of coarse, especially since he'd refrained from alcohol, which I would have thought would have been his greater challenge. I also think his Docs have him on too much Medication, which is so common in Psychiatry, to where it can become as bad, if not worse, than when they self-medicate. It happened with The Man and the VA, until I intervened... I can't do that of coarse with an Adult Child of mine like I could with a Spouse I'm Caregiver of. So, I'm not even sure what he'd taken too much of actually... and his other personal problems had intensified to where I felt he might fold up under that pressure added... so I can't say I was surprised... just very disappointed of coarse. You always Hope their sobriety holds.

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    5. I just wish we, as a nation, could do a better job of dealing with addictions. It wastes so many people's lives and futures and breaks up families. All you can Dawn, is to keep doing what you've been doing all along...lending a hand when your son is holding on to his sobriety and showing tough love when he's not. Virtual hug coming your way.

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  18. My windows are always streaky. Never heard of Norwex...going to Amazon now! And your week wasn't "wasted"; you are doing the hard and deep inner work of grief. Be gentle with your judgements. Healing the heart is an accomplishment too.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder. You are so right about the work of healing the heart.

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