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, July 31, 2021

I'm Dying Here!


I dying to get this show on the road, but I’m in a holding pattern, sitting on needles and pins waiting for my house to close. The appraisers were here this week and I have no trust that they knew what they’re doing. Standing in my kitchen, the woman said, “I see you have all new appliances” and my first thought was, Is this a test? If she’s serious do I risk telling her she’s clueless? I went with door number two. “No,” I said, “they’re original from when the house was built.” If she was testing my honesty I passed. If she was clueless on how to do her job, she covered it well by saying, “You’ve taken very good care of them.”  The guy never made eye contract, didn’t say a word or cracked a smile and looked like either: 1) he’s an angry black man, mad at the world, or 2) he needed a healthy dose of prune juice and a long date with a toilet. Maybe he was disappointed that I was home---clearly they didn’t expect me to be here---and I spoiled his plans to take a dump while his partner walked through the house. 

The next day I got a request from the people whose offer on my house I accepted. They are from out of state and wanted to know if I’d let them see it again before they go back home. My realtor said it would look bad if I refused, which I had no intentions of doing, but I did ask him what if they see something they don’t like and want to back out of the deal? What if they saw the appraisal and it was too low and they changed their mind? My realtor said with their $10,000 earnest check they are heavily invested in their decision and they won’t back out. I had a sale fall through at a closing when the so-called buyer didn’t show up. I am not going to feel good until this closing is over and the check has cleared the bank.

After accepting the offer I had googled the buyers, looked at Google Earth to check out the house they’re moving from and they are downsizing a lot to move into mine. Then I learned that the couple buying my house are 80 and 81 and I spent several days obsessing that they’re so old they could die before the closing. "Act of God," my realtor said, "we'd start over again if the happens." I stopped obsessing when I realized that I’m not far behind them in age and I could be the one who dies before the closing. Color me ten shades of embarrassed. 

They came and spent close to an hour going through the house and taking measurements after I told them to take all the time they wanted and that I’d be on the deck, “Just let me know when you’re leaving so I won’t still be there at bedtime.” A nice couple. She walked with a cane and had the gait of someone who’d had a stroke and he had worked for Penguin Publishing and at one time they lived in Japan. My library will remain a library with the addition of a piano on one wall. My husband’s ghost will love that since, after his stroke, Don spent a couple of hours each day happily singing wordless operas at the top of his lungs. I should have asked this doctor to cut back on his anti-depressants. Ya, like a caregiver would trade 'too happy' for its opposite. I may have wished for a noise canceling headset but I wasn't crazy.

Also this week: The guy who made cushions for my wicker settee and the chair plus throw pillows delivered them yesterday. They ended up installing the top cushion on the chair because I don’t think they trusted me to do it. I was just going to order extra fabric and tack it in place myself. But I’m so glad the guys looked at me and the photos of the chair and treated me like a little old lady who probably would mess it up and insisted on picking up the chair so they could do it. I couldn’t be happier with the results. All the pieces look exactly like my mind’s eye envisioned. And dare I say I’m not delusional when I claim the settee is as comfortable any couch found in furniture stores these days. 

God, it’s going to be Thanksgiving before everything comes together but I know the mid-century La-Z-Boy chair style and color chair I ordered is going to work well with what was just delivered. Anyone who has spent time around summer cottages knows they are filled with a hodgepodge of furniture styles from bygone eras. And that's what I'm going for, the look of a cottage, not a city dwelling. And nicknacks? I'll have so many it will make the dust fairies fart rainbows.

I also solved the problem of not having a coat closet off my main entry and my new laundry room 'hall tree' was delivered this week. It came in pieces, of course---what doesn't these days---so I unpacked it all to make sure it was all there and undamaged, then repacked it. I was impressed by their step-by-step directions with every part labeled and lots of extra screws. Most of the hall trees I was looking at had hooks instead of the bar for hangers but I liked this one because on laundry day I'll have a temporary place to hang what comes out of the dryer. It came from 'Tribesigns' if anyone is wondering and their delivery was really fast.

My next and last big purchase will be an area rug to tie all my furniture together. I’ve shopped area rugs online and locally until I’m in sensory overload. Patterns and color mixing oh crap! I'm sticking my fingers down my throat to vomit...that's how much I'm hating this last decision but I decided to let it go until after I move. That might be a decision I'll come to regret because both Lowe's and Wayfair say they only deliver to your mail room at apartment buildings. La-Z-Boy and the furniture store will deliver to my door but their shipping will take months instead of weeks. ©

44 comments:

  1. Your new place will be so beautiful. A new life.

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    1. Thanks. I hope so. We all got a 20% discount card to a nice furniture store in town and at least I know my furniture won't look like anyone else's.

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  2. I'm with you, I'll be so relieved when the closing is finished, then when you finally move. I hope the new owners love your house.

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    1. I think they already love it. The guy is going to set up a wood shop in the garage and she says she's going to learn to cook. They asked me how I could leave this place and I had a hard time not telling them about how much work this house is to keep up at my age. LOL

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    2. I laughed at that. At 80 or 81, she's going to learn to cook? Maybe he was the cook, or maybe they ate out all the time, but for some reason that alone makes me think they'll never back out of the deal. They're starting a new life, too, and they're just as excited about it as you are.

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    3. The are excited. I said to them, "I hope you learn to love this house as much as my husband and I did" and they both side they already to love it.

      He was the cook in the family but I got the impression they did eat out a lot. Younger couples looking at the house thought the kitchen was too small, this couple didn't. I never really cooked a lot either until we moved here. They love antiques, too can were thrilled my 1800s medicine cabinet stays.

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  3. Love your new cushions and hall tree. I think your new home will be very comfortable and lovely to live in although certainly a big change.

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    1. There will be no drinking red wine at my new house with all the white. LOL

      Huge change and already I miss my closet space. But there is a good side to that...I won't be able to hold on to stuff as long as I tend to do.

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  4. Your wicker chair with the new cushions looks so comfortable. I would definitely sit in it, even using it as a reading chair:) The fabric you chose really goes well with the white chair.

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    1. Thanks. It was my second choice of fabrics since the first one was a victim of the pandemic but I think I like it even better. With white walls and a gray floor that pattern is really going to stand out. I'm finding some area rugs with that same geometric pattern around the edge so think the look is going to be a blend of cutting edge and vintage.

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  5. Nice chairs! And I really like the hall tree style. Very practical.

    Our home inspector was very grumpy too, and he didn't engage when we chatted with him. I suppose they are trying to get things done and not give the appearance of favoring anyone or their home. Who knows? As for the new owners coming back, I did that on our last home, too. I wanted to take measurements and get my plans in order beforehand so I knew what would fit where and what we needed. Sounds like your home is perfect for them. (And smart not to share the upkeep saga...we had a similar feeling and didn't say anything. Let them figure it out. LOL)

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    1. They want to put a shed in the back for his lawn mower. 81 and he wants to cut this big lawn, plans to plow the driveway too. They are from a state out East that doesn't get much snow. I don't think they'll last on year. They haven't lived in Michigan for over 50 years to remember what our seasons are like. They will figure it out, like you said and I'll be long gone, walking on heated sidewalks.

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    2. Yikes. People have such ideas based on old memories, don't they? Maybe they can just hire it all done after he tries it for a year.

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    3. I'm leaving a list of the service people who've done a good job on my lawn, trees and snow...just in case. LOL

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  6. That chair looks great! I think you are smart to hold off on the area rug until you move. You may not need one with the nice, new floors - easier to "Swiffer" and no tripping hazard...
    I like that hall tree - good for more storage space!
    Hope the closing goes smoothly and you can calm down a bit. It is hard not to worry but it isn't good for us!

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    1. Visually I think mixed styles of furniture need a rug to bind them, but maintenance wise you are so right about the naked floor. I love Swiffers.

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  7. Oh Jean, I can honestly say I know how you feel. I keep thinking how great it would be if we could get our new kitchen done early so we could move, already. Then my stable husband reminds me that things generally work out just fine. When you shared your concerns over your buyers following through (and I do think they'll buy it, Jean!) I thought about how much we've already put into our next home, and haven't so much as taken a cent or signature from our nephew. Hopefully, we're giving them a good enough deal, and they'll continue to wait on us slow-moving senior citizens. We just have to hang in there. Your chair turned out so well. Really love that fabric. And I think you'll get lots of use from your hall tree. You're wise to wait on your area rug. Once you move in, get your things arranged, and get a feel for everything, then you'll probably know exactly what you want. As always, I sure do appreciate your honesty and it helps to know we're not alone in these crazy adventures of life!! Have a good weekend, Jean!

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    1. Thanks! Sometimes I think my honesty paired with my stream of conscious writing style makes me sound paranoid and insecure. I'm not really! I just think about what's on both sides of the coin, as my dad used to say.

      Keep that kitchen going so you'll be cooking Christmas dinner in it.

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  8. Our last place in California before we moved to Texas was on 58 acres. The house was on a hill with a view down to the Sacramento valley. The buyers wanted to come out to see how it looked at night. At that point the house had been for sale for 2 years, so we reluctantly said yes. It was kind of excruciating, but we did it. And one day the whole family (parents and 3 kids) came ambling down our road, unannounced. The house was a quarter of a mile from the gate. Again, smiling through clenched teeth, we welcomed them. Hang in there!

    As for your "new" appliances, I just had a repair man out to look at my oven. He asked when I bought it and I told him 9 years ago. He was amazed and said it looked like new. It should. I only use the oven a couple of times during the holidays and the cooktop...like never. I do keep it nicely dusted though. :)

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    1. Your stove and mine get the same about of use except my oven has only been used to back bread.

      I'll bet your night view in California was amazing but you new know what people are looking for when they want to come back out. I never would have guessed room for a piano in my library was high on their list.

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  9. I am laughing with shoreacres. I've heard of taking up art in your eighties but cooking? Good luck to her--and him.
    Sure hope it all goes thorough with no problems. Then you can exhale.

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    1. Hey, don't laugh at 80 years old learning to cook. The CCC where I'm moving is going to have cooking classes...more for the group cooking experience more than the teaching though. I plan get back into baking bread again. I guess my buyer woman used to cook but when he retired 20 years earlier he took over the kitchen so she has to relearn.

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  10. Your blogs usually make me smile! So self deprecating! I love that you share what a worrier you are. Helps the rest of us feel better. Random thoughts craftily put together! You're almost there ....

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    1. Self deprecating humor is what I've worked on since my caregiver days so I do okay with it. I don't call myself a worrier so much as a planner and trouble shooter.

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  11. Sounds like things are coming together. I can only imagine how stressful it is just to hurry up and wait for it all to be over with.

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    1. This whole thing got stretched out with the pandemic that the waiting is getting to me. I refuse to start unstaging my house until I know for sure its a done deal.

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  12. When we are waiting for something time moves so slow

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  13. Those chairs are fabulous and so is your coat rack. Well done on both counts. I love the theme of your new home. I hope when you get all moved in you'll share pix with us.

    How frustrating about the appraisers and then the revisit but I hope and think everything will go well. And as you had other offers, you may well have good back-up (and ten grand) if something goes amiss. They do have skin in the game so I think you'll be just fine.

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    1. There will be pictures. I'll probably bore everyone to death taking photos.

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  14. The wicker chair looks transformed and so comfy. I think waiting on a rug is a smart decision. That way you'll know exactly how big you want it to be based upon where you want to put it in the room. And who knows what the Mood of the room will feel like until you're in there with all the furniture?

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    1. I know! I need to live with the light patterns for a while before making the final decisions of furniture placement. But it's so hard to rein in my creative processes.

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  15. Love your new cushions, and the hall tree is a genius idea! I did not know they made them like that. Rugs...argh...this is why they say you should start with the rug first, then the furniture to go with. Have you tried Rugs.com? If they don't have what you are looking for, then it just can't be found. Their selection is enormous.

    Deb

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    1. I looked at hall trees by the dozens and this is the only one I found with a bar instead of hooks and it really solid material.

      I hadn't heard that rule about starting with the rug first but it kind of makes sense. Thanks for the website. I haven't been there. I hope to buy a 2"x3" first in the same pattern as a larger one I like so I can be sure the color works before buying a larger size.

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    2. P.S. Just chatted with rugs.com and they will delivery right to an apartment door not just to the entryway or mail room and with free returns how can you go wrong!?

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    3. Fabulous! Indeed, how can you go wrong? Good luck with the rug hunt, Jean!

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  16. Your new cushions look perfect. I like your eclectic style, and understand the difficulty of finding a rug that pulls it together. I'm sitting in a home office that has no rug because I can't figure that out.

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    1. There are so many rugs that will look okay but I want something a little more exciting than 'okay' but if I can't narrow it down, I'll probably end up with milk toast boring rather than make a mistake I can't live with. Such first world problems, has the pandemic taught me nothing?

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  17. Princess T has a Hall Tree like yours and she Loves it. It started out in the Mudroom at the McManse but I have no Mudroom or place for it here so she inherited it and it extended her closet space considerably and looks good too. I had to Laugh about your concern the new Buyers might Die before Closing at their advanced Age. I had a Friend whose Parents were in their 90's and every Christmas she was worried about waiting to give them their Gifts on time or early, you know, just in case! Now, Years later, Thelma is nearing that Age herself, she has good Genes of longevity and looking fabulous into Old Age... I swear she looks like she did in the 70's still! She's one of the few Friends that remembers me when I was very Young... and now, as an Old Lady.

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    1. Girls here age can never have enough closet space.

      Don never believed in holding backs gifts until holidays or special occasions. Never really asked why and I don't think it was an age thing because he'd do it with me too. I'd want to put something away for a few months until Christmas and he'd give it right away and I'd have to buy something else. Use to annoy me but he had a big heart for the people he cared about.

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  18. I'm happy for you and for the couple buying your home. It sounds like they are excited to carry on the tradition of the love and care you've poured into it. Your new place is going to be great too! I think when we have something to go TOWARD that we are excited about, it makes it easier to leave the other behind.

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    1. Thanks. It feels good that the house is going to a couple who really seemed to appreciate it. They'd been looking for a place since April so I think they've had a lot to compare it with. I also didn't get the feeling that they are going to make a lot of changes like gut the kitchen to put in granite.

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  19. When I read that they wanted to come back and look at the house again before they went home, my first thought was "They want to measure rooms and make diagrams to figure out how their furniture will fit." That's what I have always done. I'm pretty sure if Lowe's or Wayfair deliver an area rug to the mailroom at your CCC complex, the maintenance folks there will happily deliver it to your apartment.

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    1. I think you're right on both. I haven't asked about the rug delivery from the maintenance men but they ate so accommodating on everything.

      I offered the new owners a tape measure when they came and they laughed and said they brought their own.

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