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, May 8, 2021

The Grand Tour and the Books I’ve Been Reading


I don’t sleep well at night anymore---damn pandemic and moving related stress---so I read from 10 PM to 12:30ish when I take a sleeping pill. Currently I’m reading book three of an eight part series by S.W. Hubbard called The Palmyrton Estate Sale Mysteries series. I’m thoroughly hooked and know I’ll end up reading them all. I’ve never been a fan of the mystery genre but this series centers around a woman who owns an estate sales business and she’s talking my language of art and antiques, architectural history, social norms history, collectibles and downsizing---with a little murder and mayhem thrown in. Some of the books are billed as read-all-night-mysteries, some are billed as psychological thrillers but the first two are labeled ‘romantic psychological thrillers’. A long-time fan of the romance genre, I was looking for something a little different in my Kindle Unlimited subscription which is how I happened on these books. I just remembered, at one point over the past few years I was hooked on series of books written in a dog’s voice. I don’t even remember the author or the dog’s name but that dog helped a private investigator solve crimes. So I guess I have read more in the mystery genre that I originally owned up to. I was thinking of the Agatha Christie type books that I tried to like but I just couldn’t get into. Back then I decided anything set in England and/or by an English author I would avoid like walking barefoot through a fire ant hill.

But I broke that English-author-set-in-England rule recently when I read another romantic psychological thriller by Keri Beevis Every Little Breath which I read because I follow her on Facebook for her daily laugh-out-loud memes and I get so much pleasure out of them that I felt should at least try one of her books. I have since read two more of her thrillers. They are definitely creeper than Ms. Hubbard’s books and I’ve decided I need to learn the ‘code words’ that reviewers and publishers of this genre use because I don’t want to get too deep into the minds of sadists and serial killers but I also don’t want to work too hard to decipher the subtle nuances of old-school mystery writers who seem to unfold clues in slow motion, boring me out of my ever-loving mind. Romance reviewers have ‘code words' like “sweet”, “hot” and “steamy." “Sweet” meaning the bedroom door slams shut after the couple swap a little spit but with “steamy” you get a play-by-play of everything that happens when couples get their faces down in each other’s crotches. “Hot” is full of verbal foreplay and totally tricked out alpha guys. Too much information?  Yup. Sometimes you just have to skip right over some of that stuff like I’m guessing some readers of hard-core psychological thrillers do when someone is getting sliced and diced.

Moving on: I went on a hard hat tour of the campus I’ll be moving into. After taking us through a fully furnished model unit and some of the public areas the Sales Director I’ve been working with since this whole process started decided to take my niece, me and the others on an impromptu tour through my unit. As we walked through the door, we were all wowed by the light coming in window area at the end of my living space. It wasn’t even a sunny day but at 3:30 the wonderful light came in from three sides. It was amazing! I could picture my painting easel sitting in that north light. I could picture my writing desk sitting in that north light. In the model they had a desk sitting in front of the window in their office so I’m rethinking the whole computer hutch against the wall idea, taking my time on that decision which might have me working on a card table for a while but, that’s okay. Wouldn't be the first time.

The photo at the top is of the apartment model. My unit will have the same flooring, the same subway tiles, cupboards and appliances. My counter tops will be a darker gray than this place has and I don't have an island. Where the island is I'll have my Amish Oak table and chairs with my restored oak ice box on the wall to the left. (That will be my food pantry.) When I first saw this photo I was bummed out because above the cupboards is solid with no place to display anything. But when the Sales Director took me to my unit she pointed out that in my unit it's open....just like I prefer. Not sure what will go up there yet but I have several possibilities---my 1940s sand and beach tin toys which are colorful or my tin whaling and ship lamps which have interesting shapes but no color but they'd go good with the stainless steel appliances.

The walls in my unit are painted and the kitchen and bathroom cabinets are in but the countertops and flooring are not. We borrowed a tape measure from a workman and measured a couple of places that were stressing me out and now I know what will fit in those two places. I was happy with almost everything I saw except for where they put the intercom. I had wanted to put a mirror there but to look into it I’d have to stand on my toes. But what a great day I had. After the tour my niece and I went out to dinner. I hadn’t seen her since last summer and since we’ve both been fully vaccinated we could be in the car together and in the booth at the restaurant without our masks. The taste of freedom was in the air. If people keep getting vaccinated we could all be mask free by the fall. ©

38 comments:

  1. I'm so happy you had a chance to see your unit and that the moving ordeal will eventually be over. That has been/is so much work!

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    1. It has been but I can't imagine not doing and leaving it all for my nieces one day to deal with downsizing me if I had to go into a nursing home. The pandemic has made it harder and longer but even without it there would have been a lot of work involve.

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  2. Drawers! Lot and lots of them. That is what my kitchen will have as well. Love the backsplash and the FLOORS! Excellent! It will be a lovely place to live.

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    1. I love that floor too. We had a choice of a few colors for backsplash but I didn't want to be get hemmed in to a color. With the all white I can change the vibe with colored accessories.

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  3. I'm excited for you. It sounds like you really picked the right unit. It was really great that you were able to tour your unit as you were able to get some additional measurements and noticed that some of your arrangement of things will need to be changed.

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    1. I've been pushing scale model furniture around on a blueprint for months the unforeseen things like intercom and light switches, wall plugs can throw off the best of plans. I noticed how small the washer and dryer are compared to the set I have now. I'm going to be more loads of laundry every week.

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  4. My mother was one who had difficulty sleeping -- a lot of difficulty -- so I've been through every "this will help you sleep" routine there is. However: I did bump up against something new recently, and I almost wish Mom still were around to test it out on her. Apparently cherries are extremely high in melatonin, and cherry juice is considered one of the best before-bed drinks. Who knew?

    Your place looks great. Some decisions have to be made before you move in, but there will be plenty of time to make the decisions that will turn it into your home. That will be the fun part of the process.

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    1. I never knew that about cherry juice. I'll have to try it. I do take 10 gm of melatonin at night along with an ambient sleeping pill---doctor approved but he does want me to take the sleeping pill less often. So I take the melatonin a half hour before the sleeping pill, hoping that will be enough.

      Ya, I need to quit thinking about those fun, decorating decisions ahead of me and concentrate on getting the necessary things done here---power washing the siding, breaking down my shipping area. Junk like that.

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  5. How exciting all this must be. So glad you got to tour your own unit and could do some measuring. All that light sounds delightful. Glad you nixed the island. Never was fond of those area eaters.

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  6. The island came with a unit with more square feet than mine. Not a choice for me to make, but I'm not fond of them either. I'd hate having people sitting at an island watching work. I only have 1,172 square feet. Other units are 1,338 or 1,516 square feet with the biggest ones facing the lake.

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  7. Everything will be so light and bright and clean and new! Wow! It really looks fantastic. I think you are going to love it!

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  8. I think your code words are pretty much spot on. lol
    I love reading, it's nice to find some books and escape reality for a while.

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    1. I wondered if I should even be writing about my descriptions of the code words in reviews---don't want to offend anyone but then I thought "I can't be the only one reading these books. They're very popular." I read a lot of romances in the '80s and 90s, then quit until the pandemic brought them back into my life. I still get a kick out of how different they are now from twenty years ago. Talk about condoms, birth control, oral sex, women being the aggressor. I know from your blog that your read some Vampire Romances. Haven't tried those. Yet. But I got such a kick out a review I read of an alien romance that I was sure tempted by that one. Yes, escapism is great.

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    2. You should definitely give the alien or vampire romances a try. They are so much fun!

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    3. I will do that next time one catches my eye. Reading your reviews that might happen sooner rather than later.

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  9. It is exciting to follow you during this phase of you life, even with a pandemic. I love how they keep in touch with all of you.

    And don't you LOVE when you find a new author? And a topic that seems to be written just for you? Serendipity!

    Cherry juice? Mr. Ralph drank it for gout and arthritis prevention. Trader Joe's had unsweetened so you can make it to your taste. He even had it warm like tea.

    Write on!

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    1. Now I Know i have to try cherry juice if it's good for arthritis too.

      When I started the estate sale mysteries I thought of the serendipity thing too. I probably wouldn't have found them so interesting 2-3 years ago.

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  10. How wonderful that you were able to tour your new place with your niece! Plus, being able to spend time with her and actually eating out had to be a huge treat when you think about this past year....no, don't think about it. I hope it's nearly over!! Thanks for posting a picture. We've been going through much of what you've shared on your blog. Deciding to sift through everything so as not to burden others later on, is not easy, but it is satisfying. Every time I go to town, I take a big load to a charity I like. This past week, I picked out cabinets for our future home and I went with light painted ones. I think you'll like the bright, clean lines of your kitchen. Mine will be small, so I wanted light and bright, too. Some days I'm sure you're worn out, but when the day comes that your house is sold, emptied, and you're settled in your new place, won't it be great!! I keep telling my husband I only hope we live through it!

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    1. I was worried the light wouldn't come back as far as the kitchen. I've never had a kitchen without windows so I was happily. My new one isn't going to be as large as that model in the photo. I don't have the inland so my sink takes up some of the counter space.

      I do love dropping stuff off to Goodwill. There are better places around but this one is right across the street from my grocery store and gas station plus recycling so I can hit them all on the same trip.

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  11. I meant to tell you that I can still hear my mom saying, "Oh my, life is so much easier at the condo!" She and my father sold their home and moved to a nice condo. She never once missed the old home, but always remarked how much easier the condo made their lives. I'm hoping that for you and for us as we get situated!!

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    1. It will be easier I'm sure of it. I am running into so many "that's the last time I'll ever have to do that"---order bark, turn the water on for irrigation, once you and I both get settled we won't know what to do with our time.

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  12. sounds like it's all coming to plan and that moving in isn't far away .... great that you actually got be inside your unit (not someone's elses)

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    1. It was quite the bonus to go in my unit. I'll get to go again once the flooring and countertops are in.

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  13. How exciting! Love the look of your new kitchen!

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    1. Not sure how long a white kitchen will stay white, but at least it will give me a new goal.

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  14. Eeeek! How exciting to see your place! It's getting really real now, isn't it Jean?
    I took a leap of faith this week and booked hotel and flights for Barbados February 2022. Although we are behind you in terms of vaccinations, I can taste freedom in the air too!

    Deb

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    1. Barbados in 2022 is going to happen! And freedom in the air is smelling really good!

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  15. Light, light, and MORE light! I get so depressed in dark spaces. So yay!!!! I'm glad you can visualize your life in the new home.

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    1. I know, I was really worried I wouldn't see light without all my 28 windows I have here.

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  16. So happy for you Jean. I think you're really going to like it there. BL

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    1. Thanks! It's still a way off but once I get settled I'd love to have you come out.

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  17. Enjoyed reading your thoughtful and original analysis of the mystery writing genre. Made a note to check out Hubbard and Beevis. I've been on a Nordic Noir jag but fancy a change.

    I too have difficulty sleeping but still experimenting with what works best. Often get up in the early sleepless hours to put the kettle on and back to bed with the Kindle app.

    Your new home looks perfect. I hope the transition goes well.

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    1. I'm such a virgin when it comes to reading some genres and sub-genres. I just spent five minutes trying to find an author named Nordic Noir. LOL Learn something new every day. They look kind of interesting. I love free Kindles. I get to try more stuff that way.

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  18. I Love everything about that Kitchen Jean, it's very much like my Kitchen here and even if I'd chosen everything it would be exactly what the previous Owner who Remodeled it had picked out. I have those Subway Tiles in the Guest Bathroom around the Tub and Love them. I've always liked the plain Subway Tile and glad it's made a comeback. So many Backsplashes had become so Busy and weren't practical to keep Clean or Hygienic. Your Romance Code Words cracked me up... now all you need is some Murder and Mayhem to be one of the Characters of that Estate Sale Writer's Books! *LOL* Having worked so long at the D.A.'s Office and a Co-Worker Friend, Chris, from there had previously worked for 25 Years at the Medical Examiner's Office, I tend to watch a lot of True Crime Reality Shows. I always thought I'd work at the M.E.'s Office one day and transfer over there, Forensics fascinates me and my Macabre way of Being can handle most things. *winks, no Surprise there, I know... ha ha ha* I'm not an avid Reader per se, I like Books with Imagery. But, lately I've bought some Books of the True Lives of Unusual people. Right now I'm reading of conjoined 18oo's Twins born into Slavery who became Famous, Millie-Christine, who were conjoined back to back and lived a fascinating life during a time when Black Children and Black Women would never have had the experiences they/she did due to her anomaly of Birth. It was interesting that tho' Two distinct Individuals, she preferred and referred to herself as One and 'She', as did her Birth Mother, and not as Twins... tho' most everyone else considered 'them' individuals and Twins... tho' they did share some Anatomy below the Torso and initially the smaller Twin was Born like a Parasitic, but grew to almost same size as her larger, stronger Sister. Anyway, only in the first Chapters of it.

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  19. Sounds like a interesting book and I'll probably loss a few followers for saying this but conjoined twins is one of the reasons why abortions need to stay legal, safe and between the parents and the medical community. Lots of sad things happen that we rarely hear about like that baby you had a photo of once with only one eye in the middle of her forehead...

    You've had a interesting career. You'd probably enjoy a post I wrote about a tour I took of the back rooms at a funeral home, about the embalming process, etc. https://misadventuresofwidowhood.blogspot.com/search?q=funeral+home+tour

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  20. Love that flooring. And the white will keep that light reflecting and bright in your home.

    Keeping a white kitchen clean is actually easier than stainless and granite. You can see the spatters and spills and get them sooner. And again, the light! So uplifting.

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    1. I've been kind of worried about keeping an all white place clean. But with no dogs or kids it's not likely to get too messed up.

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