Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, September 11, 2021

My Super-Doper Weight Loss Discovery


Remember back before my house sold when I was eating my way through my stress and I topped off the 5-6 pounds I gained during the pandemic last winter with a few more? Guess what! They’re all gone now plus a couple of extras and I hit a low I haven’t been at since before the pandemic. How did I accomplish this blissful feat? It wasn’t a planned diet nor did I lose any limbs but since I started the packing process I’ve been so busy that my step counter says I’ve been reaching my daily goal of 6,000 step in the middle of the afternoon---instead of closer to bedtime, if at all---plus for some odd reason I started buying BelVita Breakfast cookies. I don’t know what’s in those suckers but I can eat a serving size package at 7:30-8 o’clock and they keep the hunger away until noon-ish. Not bad for a 230 calorie, flavorful cardboard-like breakfast.

At noon I’ve been drinking an Atkin’s meal replacement shake which is nothing new for me to do when I'm busy and they keep me from thinking about food until 5-6:00 when I’ve been having a Stoufer’s or Atkin’s frozen dinner or take out. It’s been several weeks since I used up all real food in my freezer---chicken, beef, salmon, pork, homemade chili, etc.---and I haven’t wanted to buy more. Same with my pantry, I’ve used up as much stuff as I can. Most of the snack foods are gone from the house and evn if it wasn't by evening when I’d normally be tempted by them, I’ve been too tired to walk out to the kitchen to scout out what's left in the cupboards.

I’m glad I decided not to upgrade my wardrobe before the move. If I can keep this up through the fall and winter I’ll be in a smaller size by spring when I'll have fun wearing out the pages of the L.L. Bean catalog. With a gym roughly a 100 feet from my new apartment door and two on-campus restaurants that will be serving far better and healthier food than I’ll been eating since before the pandemic, there is no reason why I can’t keep this ball rolling to a new me.

And guess what else is new! I got my long, pandemic driven hair cut off. Gone are the sexy locks and in its place is an easy-breezy style. It still isn't as short as I’ve worn it most of my life but I told my stylist I wanted to get rid of four inches and leave two-three to possibly get cut off at my next and last haircut with her. I'm going to miss that girl! She’s helped me grow my hair out to the longest it's been since I was a child. It's been a fun distraction when I had the time to mess with it. Growing it out and getting haircuts every four weeks doesn’t compute for some people but my hair grows fast and needs to be trimmed and thinned like clock work or it goes Afro. Not that there’s anything wrong with having an Afro but that style on white-bread me gives me nightmares of what my high school senior photos looked like when all the cool girls in my class had straight-as-a-pin pageboys.

The son-I-wish-I-had came over this week and we make a game plan for the week of the move which settled my nerves down considerably. His sons are helping Tim load and unload the truck---he's licensed to drive large vehicles and has been doing so for decades. They are all work horses and great people to be around if you don’t talk politics. Tim owns a business that includes moving stuff out of houses and cleaning them up after people move out. He gets a lot of business from banks that have done foreclosures and realtors who sell estate houses. In both cases families tend to walk away from a lot of the contents. Tim will do a good job for me---he moved me into this house---and I’ll be saving several thousand dollars. Not that I’m using him to save money. I was to be his Guinea Pig to see if he wanted to expand his business to offer a service of helping seniors downsize and move. 

We both did some research into the idea, including having him sit in on a couple of free estimates I got from companies who do that sort of thing. In the end, he decided the senior moving service business is not for him. The two businesses we sucked information up from both have retail shops to sell the downsizing stuff they get paid too well to pack up and haul away. They charge $75 an hour per person. Tim's going rate is a two hour minimum for $75 then $35 per hour after that for his wages and $25 for his extra workers. One of the downsizing specialists had actual dollar signs lighting up her greedy eyes when she walked through my house like I was too stupid to know I had some valuable stuff she could charge me to haul away, then sell to line her purse.

I've got to get back to work. I have a small chair cushion to cover and an oil lamp to clean---both sentimental pieces from the cottage where I spent all my summers growing up. I need to get that lamp oil up to hazardous waste and return the shoot stapler that I borrowed for the cushion project. It's a wicker chair I used as a toddler and I was planning to used that chair as a toy box for Levi...but we all know how that's turning out. I don't know how to say this without sounding "???" but thoughts of leaving my life with Levi behind in this house is hitting me harder than leaving the memory triggers of husband behind. I saw someone walking a schnauzer yesterday and out of no where I burst into tears. I guess six months of mourning the fact that I'll probably never had another fur baby is not long enough...  ©

39 comments:

  1. Damn you! Losing weight without really trying? Not fair. I can't wait to live through the setting up and arranging home sweet home. I miss Levi, too. They sure take a piece of your heart.

    This is REALLY happening!!!

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    1. It's been such a long wind-up, has it. and I'll be on a time table to get settled in of two weeks before I'll have the scarier of my two cataract surgeries. Also will have to come back here a day to get the house cleaned back up again for the new owners.

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  2. I have tears in my eyes about your fur baby. You've had a lot more time to mourn your husband.

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    1. I figured that has to be the reason why I'm feeling Levi more than Don right now. I repack my emergency go back last night and found a leash and dog bowls inside. Seems like there are triggers when I least expect them.

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  3. When we settled my mother's estate from her house in the middle of nowhere, we got caught in the trap you described of paying someone to take her stuff, sell it, and make another profit. My sisters thought we would make a lot of money with the auction but I warned them no one wanted to drive that far on the chance there was something they wanted.

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    1. Many auctioneers will move the entire contents of a house to a better location. The place we were using before the owner died was like that and I know of two others with buildings that they will fill up up weekly. We used to go to a lot of country auctions and you'd be surprised how far people will go for an afternoon or morning of entertainment.

      But when multi heirs are involved keeping peace in a family is more important than making money. That said, I really have no respect for the two downsizing companies I have over here and also saw giving lectures. Having someone lord over me and tell me what I can't keep while paying them $75 an hour totally rubs me the wrong way. A lot of my future neighbors are using them and I'm hearing mixed reviews so far.

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  4. Well, that's impressive! It helps to have so much to do you forget to eat, but your choices of food are also helping. Nice! I haven't heard of those breakfast cookies. Will have to check them out. My toughest time is between 3 & 5 pm, and it does help me not nosh if I'm busy.

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  5. They are actually called a breakfast biscuit I just saw on the box and are sold in the crackers aisle. They come in 3-4 (?) flavors and soft and hard. I don't like the soft as well.

    Being so busy I forget to get is definitionally works for me, but I have a lot to lose so we shall see how long this lasts.

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  6. Wow Jean! I knew you were extra busy, but losing that much weight isn't easy (usually). I've gotta check out those Belvita cookies. You will have fun fitting into all of your favorite clothes and ordering more from LLBean. I've been a long time fan of them and Land's End. I order the LLBean Perfect Fit and love those slacks. I think they must be having trouble getting good fabric these days, though, and some of the tops aren't quite as good as my older ones. But hey, they're better than anything else I can find. I even order socks, jackets and coats from them. I'm thinking about getting the LLBean charge card simply for the benefit of free shipping and returns. So glad you have Tim and his family to help you move! He's a good friend and we need friends in this crazy life! I had to smile when you talked about eating to empty your freezer. That's what we're doing right now! We've always had a smallish upright freezer but I think we're going to try to live without one when we downsize. You reminded me that it's time to go to the hairdresser to get a trim. Since Covid, I've let mine grow to my shoulders, and I honestly think it's easier to take care of than when it was shorter. Life has been so full of changes for you, Jean. Losing a beloved pet is hell. There's just something about them being dependent on us, like a small child, and a constant companion. I'm sorry you're still hurting over Levi's loss. I hope it gets easier with every passing day. Hang in there Jean.

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    1. I've decided during our last hair discussion that we each define "long hair" differently. Shoulder length hair would be easy but I haven't had that since I was ten. When I said my hair was long I meant six-seven inches on top and I was always fussing with it.

      I don't have a lot of L.L. Beans clothing now but I do love their styles and quality. I have a lot of worn out big box store clothing that needs to go over the winter...my planned 3rd purging and replacing will happen when I figure out what the dress code is around there. I'm used to living in sweats in the winter. I didn't know about the Bean credit card getting your free shipping and returns. Thanks for that.

      Tim as been our/my best friend for decades but it's sad to me to see him change so much since Trump came along. Today on Facebook he put a meme up about "my body my choice" about wearing masks and getting the covid vaccination. I really had to sit on my fingers not to snark about wishing he felt that same way about women's reproductive rights to safe and legal abortions. I don't want to get into those topics with him but I wish someone could explain why the "my body, my choice" should apply to one and not the other.

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    2. I know what you mean about the divisive spirit (mostly due to politics)even among friends and families. My daughter is a nurse and we're in rural Illinois, but the hospital and clinic where she works is begging the staff to pull extra shifts due to the increasing number of Covid patients. Yep, the vast majority of them are unvaccinated. It makes me mad. My daughter is expecting a baby and of course she's vaccinated, but I worry about the new, stronger variants. Why can't people see what's happening? If they don't trust the media and the CDC, then talk to a trusted medical provider. This attitude of total disrespect for the medical community is already wearing them down. Many have quit or taken early retirement. I honestly can't remember anything like this happening in the past.

      Meant to tell you Land's End offers free shipping both ways with their credit card too. I believe you also get extra points toward future purchases, if you use the cards.

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    3. Sold me on the CC card.

      Until someone close to them dies from Covid, I don't think the truth deniers will get it and even then I'm not so sure they will.

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  7. What a bonus for you, losing some weight as you wind down your downsizing and get ready for packing and moving. That's terrific.

    Keeping so busy, your focus isn't on food and snacking. Not the ideal diet, but it's working for you (no pun intended).

    Sorry for your tearful moments of grief for Levi, but of course they are to be expected. He was such a close and well-loved companion. It will be a long, long time before you can only smile in remembrance of his mighty memory.

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    1. It's also helped with mindless eating that I no longer have my computer in the kitchen.

      The closer the move gets here the more I remember on how much I was planning on him helping me to make friends at my new place.

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  8. Well, that unexpected weight loss was a nice surprise I guess! I think I understand how you feel about mourning Levi. Please don’t feel bad that the move is triggering these emotions and that you are grieving more your memories with Levi than your husband…grief can be cumulative, and Levi’s passing was only a short while ago…I think it’s perfectly normal.

    Hugs,

    Deb

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    1. I have a lot to lose but if it could keep being effortless, I'd be elated.

      As for Levi, I know the recent tears are about more than just him. It's about leaving a 20 year history behind in this house, being without a dog for the first time in my life and probably not getting another, and of course just the stress of the hole moving process. I'll be glad a month from now when the worst is over

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  9. I am sure hoping these last few weeks of moving prep and actually doing it go smoothly for you. I am not surprised to hear you miss the lovely Levi and also hope you make friends with some lovely dog residents at your new home.

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    1. Thanks! I know from the director that are some dogs moving in but I haven't meant any of their owners yet.

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  10. Wow, losing weight and a hair cut? Way to go. I found moving a losing experiences also. I was thinking along the lines of Cheerfulmonk and the depth of your grief over leaving the house and memories of Levi.

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    1. I also picked that place because it's so dog friendly, made choices to fit him like a stacking washer and dryer (which I don't really like) so I could have laundry room space for Levi's den---all reminders of his recent parting.

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  11. Glad you are feeling healthy and active and anticipating your move! You will meet lots of new people through all of the activities and events that I am sure will be planned for all the new residents. You don't have a pet to tie you down but you could have a pet to tie you down if you change your mind...and you can change your mind if you want to once you have moved. It's your life so you can do what you want! (I think that is a song lyric!)

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    1. Feeling health-IER is more accurate. I've got a long way to go to get to a 'healthy' place. But I am feeling the anticipation and excitement of starting a new chapter of my life.

      I plan to wait until spring to close the door or open it wider regarding getting a another dog. I'm 80% sure I won't do it.

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  12. Losing weight without trying is great, no more furbabies for me either

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    1. That doesn't usually happen for me---the not trying part. No more furbabies is a hard lump of coal to swallow, for me. I hope you're doing better with it.

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  13. Well, here's a coincidence. Two or three weeks ago, I kitty-sat for a friend who was off on a short trip. She always leaves me a pile of snacks in the kitchen, and this time there was one of those Bel-Vita packets: cinnamon and sugar. I've seen them forever, but never tried them. So, I did. I really like them, and have been buying them since. I like the crisp ones; they're sort of like graham crackers, but tastier and without the tendency to get soggy. And, let's be honest: I like the fact that each package has four biscuits inside. Once I get started on them, I like to keep going for a while! Even better, the calorie count's low enough that if I succumb to two packages, it's still better than a handful of Oreos. Not only that, they do keep me from getting hungry, and -- I've taken off five pounds since I started using them as my little snack. Hmmmmm... I say we keep Bel-Vita in our pantries!

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    1. Wow. It's good to know that it's not just my imagination that they keep the hunger away! I like the crisp ones better too, than the soft ones, too, and I just tried the chocolate for the first time this week. So far I don't have a favorite flavor and they are definitely going to be a staple in my pantry.

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  14. Sometimes the loss of a beloved pet can hit us really hard.
    I've tried those BelVita breakfast cookies and they aren't bad.

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    1. when my last dog died it didn't hit me hard because he was not well and it was expected. Levi's death was so sudden and out of the blue.

      I hate their name. BelVita makes no sense. LOL

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  15. So glad to hear everything is going in a Positive direction including some weight loss, I need to eat a Skinny Person to be what I eat too I think. As for still grieving over Levi, there is no time limit to the process, on my first shift returning to the Antique Mall a Customer came in who looked like a doppleganger for my dearly Departed Co-Worker Friend Sue who Died last Year from what likely were COVID complications. I almost blurted out her Name, it seemed so natural to see her there and then I remembered, it couldn't be Sue, Sue was Gone. Well, I almost burst into Tears and I was relieved that Customer didn't need my Help or I might have started bawling like a Baby and had to explain why, which would have been awkward for the Customer. There are people I know who if I avoid Politics and Religion, we can converse some, but just not ever be close since I know their Politics and Religious extremist views now and it's offputting to a degree that makes me want to remain at Arm's length.

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    1. There has been so many times when I've wanted to challenge a few Facebook posts that my friend/s has put up but the division is so wide that there is no way to have a meaningful conversation about the topics anymore in a world where facts don't count. I'm afraid for the future of our country. Politics has definitely broken or cooled a few friendships in my life.

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    2. What is so strange Jean is that I've never lost Friends BEFORE over Politics, but this was so different, so divisive, such a vile individual voted into power that still his Supporters condone the behavior and insanity of... which is deeply disturbing. It makes me realize how many other deeply disturbed people just like him we have in this Country and that is rather terrifying for the future of our Country. The hard core are being picked off by this Virus, it's odd really that their Leaders are encouraging the demise of those that support them and are die hard ReTrumplicans... strange Politics indeed.

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    3. Same here here. We could talk politics and have fun doing it. People respected facts and that's a huge difference from today.

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    4. Yeah, I feel like I've gotten a real (and unexpected) education about my fellow Americans. I've lived in Florida over 40 years, and there were always the rednecks, the not-very-bright people, but I got along with everybody (I thought). When Trump got nominated, then elected, things went blatantly south. Luckily, since I'm in a wheelchair, I'm invisible, and no one has threatened me for wearing a mask. I just feel like people have lost their **** minds.

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  16. Jean:

    Moving is emotional draining experience & not easy,its so natural & you are grieving Levi, Don & your home, but I am sure with your personality you will find your joy again, along with those cardboard breakfast, your moving process is also making you loose the weight, I bet soon all this will be behind you, & hopefully you will share your new boyfriend details with us. wishing you all strength in this new chapter of your life.

    Asha

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    1. I can assure you there will be no boyfriends in my future. LOL I can't promise the same thing regarding a new dog.

      Once I get moving day over and this house turned over to the new owners, I know the stress will melt away and then a new crazy-week and a half period will start where I have to get everything in place before my eye surgery. After that I'm going to sleep for a week.

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  17. Your move is getting sooooo close! I can hardly believe it. What an adventure it has been --I so admire your perseverance and grit to move through this life transition with seeming grace and humor (and I know stress and probably tears too). I think sleeping for a week is a good plan!

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    1. I didn't really have a choice once the decision was made and the first payment got plunked down. Tomorrow I go out to make the last payment and see the unit again. It's totally finished now except for tweaks the maintenance will do after I move in like extra supports on a closet shelf so my heavy quilting fabrics won't cause it to break.

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  18. I understand your feelings about Levi completely. Go with them. You are allowed. Take him with you, or what you can. You may or may not save it forever but you will have it now. Till you decide or are ready, if ever. (I'm still not letting Gypsy go.) Good luck with the packing/moving/ all that. And I'm hovering on a haircut. We'll see.... I'm still a little freaked about having it done.

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    1. My short doo is easy but I may grow it back out again next winter. J

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