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 12, 2021

Bits and Pieces

 

This post is going to be filled with bits and pieces of disjointed topics. If I’m lucky I might get a paragraph out of each topic I bring up starting with something that occurred to me while I was standing in line to return a hair dryer that had buttons so tiny and stiff that I couldn’t operate/push them. It occurred to be that I was happy I’ll soon be living across the hall from a gym and finesses center. Opening things like pickle jars has gotten to be a real struggle and, yes, I’ve got 4-5 styles of openers that were supposed to be heaven-sent for seniors. After I move I’m just going to pop across the hall with all my pickle and peanut butter jars and announce that I need help. And if none of those old duffers like me can't do it, I'll start timing my "pop overs" around a scheduled class when they'll be a young instructor on site.

One step forward, one step back: I’ve got a job list of things to do before July 1st but it seems like when I cross something off, I have to add something new to the list. I was in the bedroom when I heard a crash coming from the kitchen. It was night and dark in the house and at first I thought someone was breaking in. But when I got to the kitchen---finger poised over the 911 quick call button on my emergency dialer---I found one of the built-in, under the cabinet light fixtures (3 feet long) had pulled loose and was hanging by the wiring at one end. Eighteen years it’s been up there, why now? Does the ghost in the house not want me to leave? Is he trying to sabotage my planned listing? All six screws that used to hold the fixture in place are stripped and there is no way I can fix this on my own. I can’t even change the bulbs inside that fixture on my own because I can’t get the glass hood off with my lack of arm strength and finger dexterity. I cut a couple of pieces of foam core (for art projects) to prop the fixture up, to take the pressure off the wiring, and right now I’m giving it the Scarlet O’Hara treatment of postponing worrying about it until another day. I'm lucky the toaster and coffee maker underneath the fixture came through the 'attack' unscathed. It could have been worse.

Pandemic inspired hair styles: The hair around my face is pure white, a color most people generally would not label as ‘sexy'. In fact there is nothing about me that's ever been labeled 'sexy' except maybe a book I might have in my hand. But recently three people have called my hair ‘sexy’---yesterday from a total stranger. Other people lately have given me less shocking compliments, but I’m guessing the ‘sexy’ label comes from the fact that I now have long bangs on one side that touches the frames of my glasses and covers my entire right eyebrow. I hate that eyebrow, it’s all white while my other one is a mixture of black, brown and white. I almost got them dyed once but the girl about to do it dripped dye in my eye and I thought I’d die or go blind or both so I chickened out.

Hair and Wind: My hair is thick and I’ve learned since I’ve been growing it out that hair is not like memory foam. I go out in the wind, it sticks straight up in the air but it won’t come back down on its own, it doesn’t want to remember where its been. Hair spray doesn’t help keep it from getting wind-whipped nor does that waxy crap that is supposed to hold your hair in place, so I’ve resorted to doing an imitation of James Dean the minute I step out of the wind; I whip a ‘boyfriend pocket comb’ out to tame my mane. It’s the thinnest steel comb I’ve ever seen and it’s designed not to spoil the line of your butt in your tight designer jeans. I don’t have designer pants or buns that deserve to be in them but I do love that comb. I’ve accumulated a lot of hair care products since the pandemic. It’s become a mini obsession but between the wind and not finding a new hair dryer my longer hair style is getting close to its expiration date.

I bought a cheap poster quality print (photo at the top) to fit a large Nielsen frame I didn’t want to dispose of. The original print I had in the frame got badly sun-faded on my porch over the years and I was excited about this new one. I swapped the old print out, put the new one in, not bothering to use a mat. It looked wonderful but if you’ve had any experience in framing you can probably see my rookie mistake coming. I proudly hung up the new print but in the morning I was horrified that it was full of wrinkles. It’s been four decades since I was hot and heaving into framing and I forgot paper needs breathing room. Damn! I had a perfectly good mat on the sun-faded print I could have used but I took it to recycling before I realized my mistake. So I unframed the new print and took it to a frame shop to have them get the wrinkles out then dry mount it on core foam so it won't wrinkle again. You might say I turned my $35 print into a $70 print because of my own mistake. I wouldn’t recommend dry mounting an expensive print, by the way. It destroys it value to most collectors. 

Sometimes it feels like my entire life this past year has been a giant series of steps forward and steps backward. And I haven't even told your about my latest hiccup. My computer lost all its settings, photos and documents just before I was getting ready to pack it up to put it in storage. It's getting the Scarlet O'Hara treatment until next week when my Worry Bucket won't be so full. ©

45 comments:

  1. I can't believe those under-counter lights came down now, esp since you're getting things ready to sell. You're gonna enjoy having help available at your new place. It is so doggone frustrating when you want to open a jar, but can't. I couldn't get a new pickle relish jar open the other day, and I really wanted to make chicken salad. I don't remember when I started having trouble opening jars, but it seems like we wake up one day, unable to grip or lift certain things. Guess we have to focus on all the things we can still do, though. I love that print at the top of the page...you can almost feel the breeze. Sorry about your computer. Scarlet O'Hara was right about worry. I just finished reading an article from the Blue Zones newsletter, and it said that the longest living, healthiest people have several common beliefs and habits--one is their refusal to worry about anything. I'm not there yet, but I sure want to learn to let worries go. Hang in there, Jean. You are going to make it!

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    1. Isn't that the craziest thing! It's times like that with the under counter fixture that I miss having a dad or husband around who could fix anything. No matter what it's going to take two of us.

      That print is named Deep Breathing and that's just what I think when I see it. I'm really glad I bought it even though I have too much art already.

      If not worrying is a requirement of living a long life then I'm doomed. LOL

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  2. Love the print - it is both relaxing to look at and evocative of many story lines.

    Life seems to never run out of all those smaller annoyances and fixes required does it? Hopefully the light will be an easy fix for the right person.

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    1. I love that print, too. The artist has a whole series of prints using those windows and curtains.

      The light fixture will not be a quick fix. The stripped holes will have to be filled with something that when dry can hold the screws again. It's a long fixture so it will take two of us to do it. Me holding and someone else screwing. And the wiring goes through the wall so their isn't a lot of room to play with on one end.

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  3. Oh yes! The jar opening dilemma. I have a bunch of hacks for that. A rubber band, that grippy drawer liner stuff, hit it with a knife, run it under hot water and do all of the above. If all else fails, I have been known to attack the jar lid with an old fashioned can opener (the pierce-y kind, that we used to open cans of soda with) to break the seal. Then I have to transfer the contents (whatever I don't use) to another container. Still less work than the care and maintenance of a husband. And cheaper too. ;-)

    Deb

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    1. I love your sense of humor about the care and maintenance of keeping a husband around to open jars. I have some success with the grippy drawer liner stuff. Piercing a lid to break the seal is brilliant. Someone also told me to have the cashier at the grocery story open jars. I haven't tried that yet. I need to try the hot water hack.

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    2. Great hacks, all. One of my favorites for a stubborn jar lid is to maneuver something up under the lid to crack open the seal. I actually discovered that one of my beer bottle openers has a small end that is perfect for this. You are so right, though - whatever hacks we need to develop - easier than a husband!!
      Nina


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    3. I'm more convinced that ever---after you mentioned the beer can opener---that a paint can lid opener would work well and no sharp point to do damage to your hand or countertop if you slip.

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  4. Too bad you have to add to your already full to-do list! I know you are determined to get it all done and you will! Don't forget deep breaths and time out when you need it. Hire a handyperson and delegate as many projects (including the light) as you can! It will be worth it for peace of mind!

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    1. The son-I-wish-I-had is scheduled to power-wash my house next week and do a few other things on my job list (for pay. Any job he can't do after that I'll hire someone else. The stupid light fixture I wouldn't even know how to describe that on the Handyman form to get someone to take the job. LOL Computer is a drop off to the repair shop because I don't want to take the time to sort it out myself.

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  5. I really like your new poster too:) Sometimes I resort to taking a screwdriver to pop the lid on jars so that I can unscrew them. ha! Otherwise, with most jars I can just use a small round plastic/rubber gripper from the Dollar store to give me a firmer grip to open the jar. I bet your son-you-wish-you-had can help you with that light fixture.

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    1. You've given my an idea with your use of a screw driver on jars. I have a tool for opening paint cans that would probably work better than a screw driver.

      I'm sure Tim can fix it but I haven't wanted to call him because he likes his weekends free for his large family. I have so many things to talk to him about that I'm bursting at the seams to call, but won't until Monday.

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  6. I think there are mischievous spirits loose in your house. Reminds me when my mirror just dropped off the wall as I watched. Hpe you can get it fixed.
    Years ago I bought a battery operated jar opener. You attach it to the underside of your cabinet, shove the offender into the multiple sized grippers, push up to engage the motor and hang on to the jar. Or you can just pop across the hall in the new place. Guys love to show off doing that.

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    1. A couple of months ago I had a painting drop off the wall but I knew what caused that. The girl who washed my walls took it down including the picture hanger and when she put it back up she used a hanger meant for a lighter weight picture. That could have happened to your mirror. I had another picture fall off a shelf once and found out a few days later we had a small earthquake. But I like the mischievous spirit theory better.

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  7. I like that print. One thing I want to share is the fabulous jarkey. It easily opens metal jar lids. I gave one to a friend, they work very well. You sound excited about your move and the benefits it holds for you.

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    1. I've looked at those before on Amazon and just added one to my Wish List. Thanks for the recommendation.

      I am excited in many ways---to see the end of all my selling, downsizing, planning and vision for the space. Nesting once I move in. I don't know anyone well enough where I'm living now to miss them, so the opportunities to make some friends is something to look forward to.

      I won't have much time after I move to learn my way around the neighborhood but I won't have as many reasons to leave the campus as I have reasons to go now.

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  8. You are the MOST reliable blogger that I follow! I set my internal clock to your blogs.

    I just HATE it when I have to ask Kate or Jesse to open things for me. At our previous home Mr. Ralph put a device on the under side of a cabinet. V shaped and just slide your lid til it's tight and turn. Wonder if they still sell those.

    I sometimes have to ask them to open my wine!!! Growing old is a lot of compromise.

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    1. They do still have those under the cabinet V openers. Not sure they won't damage that composition wood the cabinets are made of these days, though. I had one on real wood cabinets back when I really didn't need the help.

      I schedule my blogs to publish at 12:30 AM every Wednesday and Saturday morning. That's why they are reliable. I write every day, whether isn't something toe the blog or otherwise. It's my exercise for my brain.

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    2. P.S. You need to update your profile on Bloggers to add your new blog. When I click on your 'Awkward Widow' name up up above, for example, it shows yours and your Honeysuckle blog but not the LIL one.

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  9. Just before I was to sell my house two years ago the shower head started leaking. It was an easy fix with a new shower head, but still odd timing. A friend has the checkout person open the lids. She doesn't typically buy extra for a rainy day.

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    1. With houses there's always something that could be fixed or upgraded. Won't miss being responsible for keeping up a place and being all brand new it shouldn't need much fixing while I'm still alive.

      Someone mention the checkout person before (maybe you) but I haven't had a chance to try that since I'm trying to use up all my pantry stuff. I type so darn often I don't understand how my fingers can be so weak!

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  10. Life is full of weird odd timed events, well mine life feels like that

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    1. It's the universe reminding us we're not in charge. LOL

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  11. Speaking of not being in charge, I just erased my whole comment accidentally. Sigh. Anyway. Big rubber bands are my solution to the jar lid problem. Get one big enough to fit tightly around the lid, and have at it. Also: I'm sure you've read about this, but maybe not. Amazon is up to their usual tricks, so if you have any of the affected devices, it's time to opt out!

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    1. I don't quite understand how the rubber band works but I've got a ton of them around so I'll have to try it since you're not the only one who's mentioned this hack.

      I heard about that "Sidewalk" app/thing with Amazon and I don't have any Amazon devices that it effects. (My kindle doesn't listen all the time, I have to push a button to engage it so it's not wifi connected 24/7.) I heard a discussion between three tech quys and TV talking this and two thought the risk was low and benefits outweighed the risk. The other one opted out.

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  12. Maybe it's just me and my instinctive mistrust of anything that Jeff Bezos does, but I wonder if Amazon is taking this approach to aid their fleet of drivers, giving them free access to our wifi while they're making deliveries. In any event, I don't have any devices that are involved either.
    Nina

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    1. It's meant to help you find your lost devices, pets and packages up to a half mile from your home and to keep you on the internet even if your wifi goes down which in turn keeps your Ring Camera working no matter what happens to your own wifi.

      Everything a big business does benefits them and Jeff is no exception. Here, they are trying to cut down on losses of delivered goods that come up missing or stolen which is probably a far greater cost-of-doing-business to the company than keeping their drivers connected to wifi.

      Here's an article that explains how Sidewalk works and what the controversy is. https://www.wired.com/story/how-amazon-sidewalk-works/

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  13. I love that print - it looks so relaxing. You can just stare at it and meditate on being near the water. Ahhhhh.

    Why do things break or go nuts just before we are ready to sell? I won't tell you some of the things that happened to us, because I don't want to bring bad karma. Suffice to say, we just had to keep moving and you will too. Next year at this time, it will all be a funny memory. Well, maybe not hilarious yet. But much more amusing than it is now. :-)

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    1. As long as the big things fall in place, little things like falling light fixtures won't rattle me. The last house I sold I had a deal fall through when the 'buyer' didn't show up at the closing and come to find out both realtors involved lied about getting an earnest check from the 'buyer'.

      I picked that print out in an unusual way. I had an expensive frame I wanted to fill so I shopped the ArtPosters website by size and 'beach themes.' I kept coming back to it over three days before I ordered because I knew they give you a deep discount offer when you do that. It's called 'Deep Breathing' and looking at it I always do just that. That aqua color in the window view is the accent color I plan to use in my new space along with touches of that mossy green at the bottom. The walls in the print are the same color of the walls in my new bedroom. Not sure which room I'll hang it yet but I'm in love with it.

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    2. Yikes! That makes our buyer sound good - and that takes some doing. haha.

      Those are some of my favorite colors, too. There is nothing in the aqua/seaglass/turquoise palette that doesn't attract me. Nice choices! Also, I drove by that spot yesterday...things are really coming along!

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    3. I'm going out this week. Haven't seen it in a month and I heard they've made progress on the outside.

      That so-called buyer of mine passed himself off as a minister and got his realtor to believe his line of bull about being a serious buyer. Found out at the closing that my realtor had asked about the earnest check weeks ago and was assured that the "minister" was good for it. They both got slapped on the hand by the real estate board and would have lost their licenses if I would have testified at a hearing. But my husband was four months out his massive stroke and I had three houses to liquidate and all of his heavy equipment, arranging 2 auctions, plus overseeing his out-patient therapy appointments 4 days a week. We had just moved into a one bedroom apartment that was made wheelchair friendly when we removed all the interior doors and we were in process of building this house. Our builder's realtor took over the listing and got the job done at a discount to us because we needed that sale to do a payment to him. Needless to say I don't trust realtors.

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  14. Makeup has been my pandemic obsession it seems. I keep trying not to buy anymore and then I see something that I haven't tried yet.

    My hair is going grey now that I've turned 51. I have streaks of it all over my head and my hair is long enough for me to sit on right now. I usually trim it myself.

    I think I would have had a mini stroke if something crashed in my kitchen like that.

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    1. My heart was pounding with the crash, but no one yelled out in pain. If that had happened I would have been out the bedroom window.

      I completely abandon using makeup during the pandemic. Now I've got stuff that probably needs throwing out. Funny what we all got side-tracked by to amuse ourselves while staying home.

      Wow, never in my entire life have I had hair long enough to sit on. I'd actually love to experience that once in my life. I'm impressed.

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  15. It's infuriating when just as you're about to Sell, or actively Selling, is when things decide to need repairs... happened to us too. I'm glad you are not going to pieces about it and it wasn't something major and expensive. My Hair since Dreadlocks has been low maintenance and 4 years in now I've almost forgotten what high maintenance Hair was like. It seems I've had them longer than just 4 years tho', especially how fast they've grown, my 'old' Hair was SO slow growing, thin and fragile... so it's like I got a new Head of Hair! If you've had anyone mention yours looks Sexy, I'd leave it alone! *Winks* I have not Framed any Art/Prints in a long time, right now I'm Selling Off some of my Antique Frames, I just had a ridiculous amount of them Hoarded Up and they Sell fast. I'm still taking steps forward and backward on the Downsizing Diaries tho'... perhaps I always will?

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    1. I hate seeing picture frames being junked. They cost so much new but no one wants them used without a picture inside. Well, except for you and you've found a creative way to use them with your taxidermy.

      I've been good about staying out of the resale stores for the past five years. That's how I manage not to go backward in the downsizing wars what all collectors fight within their souls. I look at the mount of boxes I've packed to move and I know I need to go through them again.

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    2. Yes, all Collecetors do fight within our Souls with that Thrill Of The Hunt Urge. I've been trying to replace that Rush of an Activity with other Activities we enjoy now, in Hopes it is Helpful to transition to buying less, Selling Off or Donating more, and reaching Just Enough eventually??? Tall Order... Pray for me. *Bwahahahaha*

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    3. I finally licked the not buying part, even downsizing but I still kept too much, But I can't seem to get past the sentimental part of collecting. I wish us both luck. I think your can hunting is brilliant. You're still getting the thrill of the hunt.

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  16. Beautiful, serene art print. I can see why you bought it.

    This seems the spring/summer of home repairs for us, too. Things are just letting go left and right. It's like the place is just giving up after all these years. I get it; I'm tired, too!

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    1. I think the weather here has something to do with it. It's too dry and hot.

      I don't think I'll get tired of looking at that print, but then I don't usually get tired of any of the prints I end up buying.

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  17. You figured out my solution for your wrinkled print all on your own! Framing shops are a fine thing.

    Hiar. Mine is thick and curly. I was trying hard not to get it cut till october (one full year) but I fear I might cave. In our humid summer I will look like Cousin Itt, which is what my dad used to call me when my long hair would get out of whack!

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    1. I've found out that the trick to growing out your hair is to still go into the shop and get a trim. Couldn't do that for the first four months though because of the pandemic, but I've been going every since just for shaping. I like your goal of a year. Not sure I'll make it through the humid summer either.

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  18. Good luck with everything! I’ve given up on my hair. I just wear a sun hat or baseball cap when I go out of the house. That wouldn’t work for everyone, but it does for me.

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    1. I looked so bad in baseball caps that I gave them all to Goodwill but after my hair grew out I bought one again to keep my hair from blowing around.

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  19. I'm another one who struggles with the jar-opening problem. I live alone out at the end of a rural dirt road, and it's sooo frustrating when I have to abandon a recipe because I can't get an essential ingredient opened. The plastic covers where you have to exert enough torque to break the seal between the upper part and the lower part give me the most trouble. I now keep a pipe wrench in the kitchen just for opening plastic tomato juice bottles!

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    1. Those plastic covers are impossible for me, too. I've taken to cutting them off with a knife.

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