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 5, 2021

I've Got my Running Shoes On

June is coming at me like a freight train and I honestly don’t know why I’m taking the time to write a blog. I take that back. Writing is my go-to method of working through whatever nonsense or otherwise that is filling up my head. It’s my pressure relief value to see my thoughts belched out all over my monitor screen where I can cut-and-paste them in to a better order or delete some thoughts altogether and expand on others. Like now, I’m having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that I’ll have to break down my desktop computer and move its wardrobe by the middle of the month and switch over to using my hated laptop and I hope to hell-and-back that I don’t need my printer until October. Aside from to-do lists about the only things I've been printing lately are e-Bay related and if I list anything over the next few months it will just be a lone piece of art and I can easily handwrite a shipping label for.

My deadline for Operation Laptop is the week of the 14th, that’s when the-son-I-wish-I-had will be over with a helper/college kid to power wash my house, driveway and white picket fencing and while they’re here they’ll move the computer wardrobe (pictured above) out of the kitchen breakfast area. That end of the kitchen hasn’t been just a place to eat since we moved in. It’s also been my office, my dream station, my view of a cattail bog and three large pine trees that are magnets for wildlife. After I rip my computer setup out of the area I'll put the leaf in my oak table and stage it as an eating area for a normal family who can enjoy the view without typing their fingers to the bones at the same time. The wardrobe will go in the garage and up for sale on Facebook Marketplace and my desktop computer will go into the tech shop for a good cleaning and reformatting before I box it up to store for the move. I read there are some internal batteries inside computer towers that should be taken out when you store them so I’ll have to check that information out as well.

I spent a day with my family over the Memorial Day weekend---vaccinations have freed our bodies and souls, thank goodness!---and I was telling my niece about how all three of my TVs are dumb TVs (as opposed to smart TVs that have Wi-Fi connectability) and after I move I’ll only be able to hook one up to their cable and if I want a TV in the bedroom and den/craft room/office---I decide on a what to call my all purpose room yet---and she showed me a little six inch thing called ClearTV. They use it on their dumb TV at the cottage and it brings in a surprisingly good picture. It's like a miniature, old time antenna and it picks up all the local channels and the three major networks. I went home and put that on my Amazon Wish List. Sometimes it pays off to lament your disappointments in public. That conversation saved a least one of my TVs from ending up at recycling. The other one might be too far away from a window to work, but I’m not replacing any TVs until I’ve tried it.

My new best friend, The Cushion Guy, called me with the news that the fabric I wanted for my wicker furniture is on back order and won’t be available again until September. At first I said it was worth waiting for but by morning I had changed my mind. I stopped back at his hole-in-wall shop and asked him if there was a chance that the company would cancel that fabric order before September and he said, “Highly likely. The pandemic has touched the supply chains of every single company he deals with.” So I looked through his fabric books from a local wholesaler and when I found two that I liked he called on their availability. One was in stock and unless they sell 20 yards of it between now and when I take the sample book back tomorrow, I’m back in business. (I borrowed the book over night to check the fabric it against my flooring sample.) The fabric is similar to the first fabric I had my heart set on only it's a darker gray and white pattern. The bolder contrast will actually look better---grounding the furniture to the dark floor. I feel lucky that the pandemic backlog delivered me what I need instead of what I thought I wanted.

While looking through fabric sample books in the shop an elderly and very obese-butted woman came in with complains about an eight year old mattress she bought there. It had a ten year warranty and she said it wasn’t comfortable anymore. She kept saying, “It sucks my butt down into a groove.” I wanted to ask her if she’d seen her butt lately in a mirror but, of course, neither Mr. Cushion Guy nor I said anything remotely like that. He offered to replace it free of charge but it would be the same mattress which was on the lowest end of the price scale or he could give her a full, store credit to use toward a better quality mattress. “If I have to pay extra for the upgrade,” she said, “then, I don't want to do that.” 

“Would I get the same ten year warranty if you replace the one I got?” she wanted to know. “No, you’d get the balance left on the warranty you’d be using to get the free replacement mattress...unless, when we take your old one apart to see what happened inside, we find something defective in the way it was made. In that case, I could give you another10 year warranty.” She left the shop after a good half hour saying she needed to think about it and his parting words were soft spoken and sincere: “Let me know what you want to do. We want you to be happy and I’ll work with you.” 

He was the most patience guy I’ve run across in ages. While Obese-Butt was trying out mattresses and I was still looking at fabrics another customer came in, a guy who looked like he lived in his van, and he needed a piece of foam rubber to sleep on. Mr. Cushion Guy treated him with great respect and dignity. He sold him a day-bed cushion with a cover on it that, he said, was made by mistake and he charged him less than a throw pillow I was ordering to go with my settee. Plus he helped the old guy repack some stuff in his van to make room for the cushion. Oh, yes, I'm happy that I decided to spend my money locally, to support a small independent business with a heart. ©

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34 comments:

  1. Jean, I can relate all too well. My husband died 6 1/2 years ago and I am moving to a much smaller place and downsizing. 26 years ago, we purchased a computer hutch similar to the one you have. I won’t be able to take it with me, but I will always remember the hours he spent at his “unit” in all 3 of our houses.

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    1. Computer wardrobes have fallen out of fashion with the increased use of laptops and tablets but they are still a great way to contain all your office-type stuff in one place. I will miss mine. Thank you for telling me I'm not the only one who will be looking for a way to re-home one.

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  2. Moving is difficult, obviously. I don't envy you your adventure, but I support you as you do it. You're a great planner. I knew that anything involving upholstery fabric was problematic. I wanted a new love seat and discovered it'd be over half a year to get the one I wanted WITH what they called 'in stock' fabric. I wanted 'special order' of course, so I gave up on my purchase.

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    1. I've had a lot of furniture reupholstered over the years and have never run into a fabric shortage before. Sometimes even the best made plans have to be changed mid-stream to factor in the 'it-is-what-it-is part of life. The bolder print is going to give my space a whole different vibe but I can make it work.

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  3. Moving large pieces (like my mother's piano) keep me awake some nights, so I understand your concern over your computer wardrobe. I keep telling myself everything will work out (because you and I know things DO work out). Oh gosh, I laughed out loud when I read about Obese Butt and the mattress saga. What is wrong with people? I knew a woman who had to be sporting an extra 75 pounds and she constantly complained about her mattress and chairs becoming "butt-sprung" (I'm not kidding--that's her term). It was hard to keep a straight face when she went on and on about how nothing holds it shape anymore. Lord knows, she didn't keep hers either!! On the other hand, I already love your Cushion Guy. He sounds like a fine businessman with a big heart. I think you'll enjoy that fabric. What you mentioned about the darker shade grounding things makes sense. As always, thanks for keeping us posted and giving us a few laughs in the process. Have a great weekend, Jean!

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    1. You too, Pam, on having a good weekend.

      I carry around some extra weight too but I don't try to blame chairs and mattresses from noticing that. The woman in the store said she was having a hard time getting out of bed and I had a hard time not asking her if she had a medical device/short rail on the bed to help her hoist herself up with. She was using a cane and you could tell by the way she walked that she didn't have much core strength. I did ask her if she'd tried putting a piece of Masonite between her mattresses but she said she only had the one on top of a low platform. God, I couldn't get out of those if you paid me!

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  4. Gosh, what a nice store owner. I wish I could be as humble, non-judgmental and kind as he seems to be.

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    1. Me too. Just the fact that I nicked-named the elderly woman with a not-so-nice name if proof that I am anything but non-judgmental. The world could use a few more people like my cushion guy.

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  5. I have been hearing how the supply chain interruption due to the pandemic has made a lot of wanting to buy "now" a thing of the past. Glad you found a fellow who could help and I really liked his patience. That foam pad for the van resonated with me as I am reading Nomadland now and that vandweller is right out of the book.

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    1. I've been trying to buy some bras since April and keep getting the not-in-stock thing. On one hand, I think it's kind of good for us as a society to get back to having to wait for things. Interesting times we're living.

      "Vandweller" I like that term! There are a lot of them around, I think. It's sad.

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  6. I'm so glad you got to be with your family at long last. That had to be fun. Hopefully you can be near that lake this steamy hot weekend!

    Lots here to ask about! First, there are lots of clear TV options on Amazon. I just looked because Rick doesn't have cable AND has lousy reception with the little antenna he has. It would be a great birthday present because he'll NEVER get one himself. So, can you email me the link of the Amazon one you put on your list, which I'm guessing is like your nieces? You've got my info.

    I need to visit an upholsterer before I go up north with my sofa cushions. I'd love to replace it but that's not in the cards. But they desperately need new foam. If I can't find someone good to do it here, I may be asking you for that one, too!

    And finally -- maybe I'm dim here -- but I don't really get the dif between using a laptop and a desk top apart from the fact that the desk top has the tower with it and the laptop more portable. I use my laptop AS a desktop. Because I don't like the keyboard, I have an external keyboard (about $15) In my office I elevate the laptop and the keyboard is under it but up north, on a flat table, the keyboard is in front. Sometimes I hook up my external monitor which is huge and just put the laptop to the side -- I don't have to touch it, once it is booted up. I guess I think of my laptop as a desktop in a lot of ways. But, I guess what I'm saying is if why you hate your laptop is the keyboard, that's a cheap fix and if it's the monitor size, that's a slightly less cheap but not outrageous fix. So, just curious.

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    1. Just google ClearTV for the tiny antenna. Amazon sells them for $14.95 but my niece said they have them at Home Depot for $9.99. I don't have a Home Depot handy but I'm going to try Meijer and Lowes before I buy from Amazon.

      The difference between a laptop and a desktop for me is with the desktop I have a giant monitor and a curved keyboard that supports my wrists in a way that no laptop can. I know you can hook up laptops to the extra keyboard but I really don't want to give up my big screen. The portability of a laptop makes sense for you, bouncing between two places but for me it doesn't out weigh the features I like. I've been typing with an ergonomic keyboard with wrist support so many years that I have trouble adapting to the straight keyboards on laptops and I just checked the one I got is selling for $130 But while the house is up for sale I won't be able to leave my laptop laying around so what's the point of hooking up an extra keyboard just to have to take it down everything someone wants to see the house?

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    2. That makes sense. I use my large monitor along with my laptop (I just put the laptop to the side with the monitor and external keyboard in front of it. The main thing is whatever works! I'm getting Rick a clear tv for his birthday -- thanks so much for telling me about this. If we like it, I might get one for me and cut the cable cord and sing up for HULU with my ROKU.

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    3. I hope the ClearTV works for you. You will only get the local channels in the are plus the three networks but for my niece that was about 12 channels and they were some good ones, too.

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  7. It may be kind of good to have to wait for bras or cushions, but supply chain issues are putting a lot of work on hold, and frustrating a lot of people: like me. I can't buy varnish locally, or brushes. he sandpaper I prefer isn't easily available, and various things I don't use (like epoxy resin hardener) have nearly disappeared. Thank goodness for the internet. The last case of varnish I bought came from New England, and I still haven't found a decent source for brushes. My day-to-day brushes usually have been $16.95 at my chandlery. Today, the only place I can find them has them price at $34.00. Anyone who thinks current economic and other policies aren't leading to rampant inflation isn't paying attention. Blaming everything on Covid isn't going to work for much longer.

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    1. Wow, your business really is taking a heavy hit with the supply chain disruptions. We are so interdependent now on whatever happens in other countries who manufacture and ship stuff. Even if you try to buy all American made products when the foreign made gets back ordered people switching over(like I did on the fabric) will create shortages in those U.S. made products as well. The inflation aspect is driving me with my consumer buying because who knows how long this will last. If I think I'll want something in the next year I'm buying it this summer.

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  8. I so agree with what has already been said so won't repeat it. I too though have found that talking to younger people about technology issues introduces lots of alternative I haven't ever heard of! Good luck with your TVs.

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    1. So true, I'm going to be picking the minds of a few tech savvy relatives later this summer.

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  9. Your mention of the obese-butted woman brought to mind a Far Side cartoon I was looking at just yesterday. In it, a woman of similar dimensions is putting up a "Missing dog" poster of a tiny Chihuahua. What she doesn't realize is, the poor thing is tightly wedged between her butt cheeks. Lol

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  10. I saw that cartoon! Funny but sadly it could happen.

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  11. How nice to meet a wonderful human, Cushion Guy. Nice to know gentlemen really exist.

    I love getting your NEW email to tell me you posted!! She was so fun to work with ... I am starting a NEW blog!

    I'm laptop only. I tried the ergonomically correct keyboard but wasn't patient enough to get used to it. I did buy a stand for the laptop to Zoom the middle of my face (instead of stacking on books).

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    1. You used Linda, too? Can't wait to see what she does to get you up and running a brand new blog!

      We are all set in our ways when it comes to keyboards, aren't we. But I know I'm the dinosaur in the group.

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  12. I'm glad you were able to find a pattern you liked. Mattresses just don't last as long as they used to.

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    1. They don't and when they aren't comfortable it's painful because they cost so much.

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  13. Haven't had a desktop computer in years,I switched to a laptop because I need something to travel with. Moving is such a big job

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    1. I've always had one of both. Needed the backup for inventory lists years ago but in recent years my laptop goes weeks sometimes without me touching it. That will change soon when all I'll have is my lap top for a few months.

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  14. I just love it when I meet a small business owner with heart. I had a wonderful exchange with an artisan the day before yesterday, that replenished my soul. She was so kind to me about my last minute order of pottery from her shop. I told her my order was for a special occasion coming up soon, but I would understand if she couldn't meet the date due to lack of notice. We got to chatting about the event, and not only will she have the pieces custom-made well in advance, she is going to throw in some extras for decor at the event. I'm sorry to be so secretive but it is not my news to tell...

    Deb

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    1. No need to apology. Not spilling someone else's news to tell is a good thing.

      There really are a lot of good people in the world, aren't there, like your artisan and my cushion guy. We just need to pay attention.

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  15. Jean, you might have a lot on your "plate" right now, but just think that come the end of this year, you should be all settled in bar a few minor tweaks...

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  16. Pillow Guy sounds like the type of Business I would also Support, they're becoming rarer. Soon you will be resettled and on the next leg of your Life's Journey and all this will be behind you my Friend, stay strong, don't faint before reaching the finish line on this Marathon! The good thing is, you know it's the last time you'll have to do any of this, that was what sustained me too.

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    1. Cushion Guy. Pillow Guy is Trump's suck up supporter with deep pockets. LOL

      Ohmygod, it is a Marathon isn't it. You know better than most.

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  17. Well, I can tell you coming from years of working in the textile industry, when your fabric is on backorder with today's situation, your Cushion Guy was wise to steer you in a new direction. I can't count the times I had to extend backorders and eventually cancel the order when the customer finally chose something else. And he sounds like a good guy to boot! Win/win.

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    1. Ya, I took a loot at the situation---how the pandemic has effected everything---and decided this was a good time for compromises. He's coming over Monday for the form fit so this project seems to be moving faster than I planned with is good. I only have one more major thing to order and that's my open-bottomed La-a-Boy.

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