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

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

No Rest for the Wicked

 

There’s no time for lollygagging here in the Daydreamer’s Den. If I was into walking I could have joined the Senior Walking Group at 9:30. But that’s not going to happen for me until spring, if ever, but at 10:30 I went to a meeting called Game Room Orientation where I was hoping (and succeeded) to whip up some interest in a monthly or by-monthly Monopoly game. They’ve already got a Cutthroat Pinochle group started and one called Mexican Train Dominoes plus a Scrabble group which---with my inability to spell without Alexa at my side---would be sheer punishment. I hate that game with a passion. 

After that I grabbed a quick vegetable panini at the cafe` so I could make it to a Gym Equipment Orientation at 12:30 followed by another class called Appliance Training at 2:00. The latter class was by far the most popular. All of us are having trouble learning the ends and outs of the high tech programmable thermostats and the dishwashers that likes to start themselves if you lean against them. Computer savvy person that I am I learned early on how to use the complex’s app to fill out a work order to have a guy come to cancel the program in the thermostat so I now have what is virtually a manual with only a few things to remember: Press plus or minor to change the temperature and mode to get air conditioning, heat or off.

Also today I put in a work order to get my floor cleaned with a power scrubber so I can order my area rug. There’s a foot wide strip across the floor where the drop clothes the workmen used must not have covered and the normal cleaning crew couldn’t get the film off with normal mopping when they prepped the apartment for me to move in. In the meantime I ordered a two by three foot rug in the same pattern and color as the seven by ten rug I need just to make sure it looks good with my wicker and new La-Z-Boy. It’s worth that extra step to know I wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of returning something that big if I don't like it. And it came today. 'Love' is not a strong enough word for how much I like it.

After a full day of back to back classes I felt like I was in college again and just like back in those days one of the ladies invited 5-6 of us in to see her apartment. Everyone raved about her linoleum kitchen floor that looked like cork that she paired with high pile cream, wall-to-wall carpeting in the living room area. It wasn’t an option for the masses but she hates gray and did both floors as an upgrade. She had that same white and stainless steel kitchen as me but with the light cork colored flooring didn’t look all that good in my opinion and where her carpeting started she had a huge, L-shaped creamy white couch with it’s back to the kitchen, a hard division of space. Where my wicker furniture is probably a tad too small in scale for the space her furniture was without a doubt too big for the space. She could seat an entire football team on her disco lounge style couches. A TV and coffee table completed her decor except for a single piece of art on the wall of a dainty bouquet of flowers that looked like it was straight off the walls of a place like Home Goods.

I told her she’s going to hate my apartment because I love gray. My love affair with that color dates way back to the ‘80s when we started painting houses, buying vehicles and dogs in shades of gray and, of course, my husband’s and my hair turned silver. We joked that we were the Gray Family all matchy-matchy grAy with a little grEy thrown in for variety. It’s going to be fun seeing what each of us has done with our similar space. Someone mentioned we need to set up a tour around the holidays. Sign me up.

After being gone most of the day I came back to clean windows and summer screens installed. And we got a promise of pull cords attached to our blinds because no one is tall enough to reach them without a ladder. I don't get how we're supposed to get them back up again without a ladder, but I don't care because I will never put mine up all the way to the ceiling anyway unless drones come peeking in the windows which is a possibility. I saw one today in the green space across from my apartment.

I also learned more about the painting classes that will on campus. It’s not going to the kind I'd hoped for. They’ll be like the Wine & Painting parties you hear about for bridal showers, where you all paint the same picture only this one is designed to complete a painting in three, one hour long classes rather than one three hour class like with the party painting. (one painting per mouth if you keep them up). I hate to be an art snob but it sounds like a step above paint-by-number ‘art’. Still, I signed up just to get a paint brush in my hands again. On the other side of the coin I have a confession to make: when I was a kid I absolutely adored paint-by-number kits and ten years ago I tried another and found it just as appealing---kind of like meditation or doing jigsaw puzzles, even sold that sucker on e-Bay because collecting finished paint-by-numbers was a thing when I was downsizing. So who knows, with enough wine I might become queen of the painting party concept, and yes, we can bring wine if we want. I asked. ©

48 comments:

  1. sounds like both a learning curve and having fun - I'm sure come next year, you will have sorted out how you wish to fill your days on your new journey...
    Cheers Catherine in New Zealand

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    1. There's a lot of moving parts and options so it will be interesting to find my niche here. I've giving myself until the end of he year to settle end.

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  2. Well, with enough Wine any Painting will go smoothly, no matter how boring the subject matter and class. *Winks* All those Classes sound exhausting, but I'd probably take them all just to scope out the offerings early on. Touring folks Homes is interesting isn't it, really gives a peek into the Essence of the person and how they feather their Nest is an Indicator, I've found, into their Psyche. I must be deeply disturbed, judging by mine, but I already knew that. *winks* When you were describing that Lady's Apartment, it made me think she's a bit Stuck in a previous Era, and not in a Good Way, Bless her. Sun City, the huge Retirement Community, is like that, many of those Homes are Stuck in some Time Capsule Moment that could give you Flashbacks, not good ones either. *Bwahahahaha* That Friend who was only 57 opted for Sun City for her Forever Home, way too prematurely IMO, but whatever floats one's Boat. The Home she bought was hideous and I was trying to find something nice to say about it and what she was recklessly doing to try to improve it with DIY and no contractor experience whatsoever. The Son came with me, he's in the Trades, he told me never to visit too often lest her roof fall in on us... she was taking out Walls with the Help of a Teen Grandson, it was Scary... and the place had the Termite infestation when she bought it... I don't know how she ever got a Lender to fund the damned placed, but she did and it was affordable, which is huge nowadays... so many have been priced out of the Market and on a Fixed Income that becomes scary, since Renting is spendy too now in this area. I can't work my complex new thermostat either, HATE it, keep it Simple, I don't need the damned thing to make Love to me, you know?

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    1. Everything is programmable now and it's crazy. Got a new alarm clock because the old one got damage in the move. Took me forever to get it set. Our thermostats can be programed for four different daytime changes and different programs for each days of the week. Who needs all that in a single family home. You go away for the weekend, you manually bump the thing down and push it up wen you get back. How hard is that?

      I don't mind time capsule houses/decor. We tend to be a society that tires of stuff before wearing it out and that is so wasteful. But picking wall decor because someone on HGTV used a sunburst or a giant clock doesn't do it for me. I want decor that speaks to me and for me (or for any home owner). Like your house does. I may not like everything you have but I'd love visiting to hear all the stories about each thing you display and respect your choices because I know they come from deep within. Your curiosity about the world shows.

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  3. I think it's great to have so many options to do things--if a person wants. Sometimes a person wants to try something new, other times, not so much. It sure will be fun to see how other residents have furnished their spaces! Having someone wash the windows and install screens was worth the price of admission, Jean!!! Enjoy those great perks

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    1. They are willing to test any suggestion we make which is one nice perk of being on the ground floor of a new place. They are bouncing the times of day for classes around too, to catch both the night people and the morning people.

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  4. I love my Nest programmable thermostat now that I learned how to use it. But there is a learning curve.

    Gosh, I'm so envious of your housecleaning service!

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    1. I can't even see the numbers on my thermostat which seems to be common here. The time especially and if that isn't right it does all kinds of crazy things which is what mine was doing.

      I had a house cleaning and yard service before I move but I do love that fact that it's built-in. It does seem odd, though, not to be writing checks for bills all the time, though.

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  5. It is smart to check out the classes offered so you can find what you like best! Sounds like fun to me! Have you made any friends to eat with? My Mom used to have a breakfast group and then a lunch bunch - the socializing kept her spirits up and they had lots of laughs!

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    1. Yes and no. I haven't eaten alone all that often but the I haven't jelled with anyone yet.

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  6. My old neighbor did paint by numbers and has graduated to paint by numbers on canvas. She had it done for her by a photo of her dogs. They put it together and sent her the paint by numbers of the photos. I thought that was a fabulous idea. It relaxes her.
    I used to love gray. I had several shades in my prior home. But after moving to this house with deep charcoal gray on the walls I think I've had enough! Gray walls and brown carpeting - talk about a clash!

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    1. I would not like deep gray on walls. Gray with brown carpeting would be gross!

      Never hear of what your friend did with paint-by=numbers. I'll have to see if I can find that service.

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  7. We have had programmable thermostats for ages, too, but I just set them and forget them. I suppose if we were working, going out on a schedule every morning, etc., they might make sense. But, like you, we don't change them much unless we leave for a while. I tried doing a schedule in our previous home and it was a nightmare. Just not worth the hassle, IMO. Oh well.

    Sounds like lots of options for activity and interaction...which is great. I agree re: your new neighbor. Many people try to recreate their home in a new space and it often fails badly. It is intriguing to see how others have done their space, though, and I'd love to go door to door here. LOL.

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    1. The problem my thermostat had was the time was set wrong so in the middle of the night it would warm up and it would drop icy cold in the afternoon. The time set is so small I couldn't see it.

      I got my haircut today from the woman you recommended (place on the little man-made lake) and I'm super happy the results. Got her booked two more times through the holidays.

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    2. Oh, awesome! She is great. So glad that worked out! :-)

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    3. She said you are "an awesome and interesting person."

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    4. LOL. She is too. And I'm betting you are, too. She is a really fun hairdresser. I always enjoyed our chats. Once you're settled, we should meet for coffee. :-)

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    5. Yes, our conversation was organic and easy and that doesn't always happen. Yes to the coffee.

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  8. It's good you love gray, Jean, as it has been quite "in" for the past few years so that means lots of decor items to be found that will pair with a gray palette. I'm not a fan, and wouldn't you know it: my apartment has gray floors and countertops. I have punched them up with enough colourful items though, that I hardly notice the gray anymore.
    I took some of those boozy painting classes when I first got back into art...they really helped me get past the fear of the blank canvas (and no, it wasn't because of the liquid courage...I was quite moderate as I had to drive myself back home afterwards!). They are fun for aspiring artists but I think you are already far beyond that. Still, they can be a very fun night or afternoon out. Enjoy!

    Deb

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    1. I've been away from painting for so long that I do think the painting class will be good for me because I'm kind of afraid of the blank canvas too at this point.

      The gray did get me away from the only other decor palette I've ever loved---moss green with pinks or moss green with yellow and cream.

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  9. It's going to be interesting to watch you integrate into this quite different world. As an analog person in an increasingly digital world, there's a lot of this that doesn't appeal to me, but the good news is that I don't have to adapt. Yet. I could use that housecleaning service, though!

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    1. I didn't think I'd like it either but I feared the alternative more---of ending up in a substandard nursing home someday with a social worker in charge of me.

      The cleaning service doesn't thrill me as much as like today when maintenance came to hang a huge painting and two shelves. The guy is in his late 30s, very professional and caring. Used to work for a school doing similar things for the teachers. When my rug comes in a few days he will help me lay it and we're not allowed to tip anyone working here.

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  10. Laughed at the dishwasher that responds to a lean and am totally envious of the Cafe. I'm kind of over cooking. I think the tour would be interesting to see just how many different decorating versions each resident comes up with. Think I'd give most classes a try anyway. Could be fun and if not, just don't go back.

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    1. That's my theory. I went to one today about juicing. I'll never buy a juicing machine but it did inspire me to try to make smoothies again.

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  11. It sounds like you are settling in with a bang -- and with no shortage of activities to engage you! Who knows? You might be able to rustle up interest in a real painting class -- or maybe one of your new neighbors is an accomplished artist and no one knows yet! I love the idea of the rugs -- smart idea! Happy week.

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    1. The instructor taught art as her life time career, not sure at what level but I think it was high school. She lives here now so I will see if she's open to critiquing piece not done in class. I'm not ready to jump back into painting just yet anyway. After the holidays and next spring there are classes at the sculpture garden near by that are high quality...with an entrance fee to match.

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  12. All those activities makes me want to sell our house and move into a retirement community! I wonder if you could identify a few more serious painters from that class (I would think that might be pretty easy) and start a subgroup of painters.

    Your comment about dishwashers that turn on automatically reminds me of when I visited a girlfriend after her kitchen remodel. She had a stick (like from a tree) sticking out of her dishwasher. When I asked about it, she said it was her "stupid stick," put there so she couldn't accidentally close the door of her dishwasher. After several years, it's still there and makes me laugh every time I see it.

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    1. A variation of the stupid stick has been put into action here on the campus. Not by me but some ladies have been having a real issue with it. Thanks for the laugh.

      Everything takes time and I'm sure I'll connect with other people interested in art. And who knows, maybe I've forgotten too much and wouldn't enjoy it anymore.

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  13. You are busy! And it sounds like fun to learn the new layout, routines, offerings in the community. You will find your niche. And I'd LOVE the idea of seeing everyone's living space! My mom used to love going to open houses in the new subdivision near where she lived. I think I've inherited that curiosity too. Plus, I get ideas for what I LIKE and DON'T like! Have fun! And keep reporting.

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    1. Christmas open houses are popular around here. I've never gone to many but I did help a few houses get ready for them back when I was in the floral industry.

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  14. I haven't seen your apartment but I can tell you definitively I like your gray one better than the creamy colored one. Also, I'm a stickler for the scale of furniture and too large furniture would bother me. Not that this woman cares a whit about my opinion of her style, but I felt compelled to share it here. Also, love the idea that you're getting a Monopoly game going.

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    1. She many have felt the same sentimental attachment to her furniture as I did with mine. Who knows, but I did see her place as more welcoming and comfortable to a group of people than mine. Except I'd hate having a long napped carpet!

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  15. EXCITING! Daydreamer's Den is becoming a home. I, too, love seeing how others arrange furniture in the same space. We had a holiday tour of homes when we first bought here (our suggestion).

    Once you buy your unit, do you have monthly dues/fees? Restaurants are pay as you go or billed to you?

    Love all this change for you!!!

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    1. Yes, we have a monthly fee that includes everything but our phone and city taxes. We don't used money in the restaurant or the cafe`. We just tell them our name and it's taken off our food allowance which is $200 a month which doesn't roll over. That's their way of making sure the cafe` and restaurant says viable. If we go over our $200 it gets added to your monthly fee. Bouncing between lunch and dinner for my one meal out a day should keep my within the allowance. Lots of people are having wine and mixed drinks and dinner and they won't stay within it.

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  16. It all sounds wonderful. I am slow to get to know people too. With all the groups it will be nice to find people you with. For instance, there may be other painters who go to the class even though they are more advanced, like you, but need that little push to get your hands dirty. I think it will be great fun and if you only find one lady you relate to then you've got a new family.

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    1. I'm not a person who NEEDS someone to pal around with. I'm someone who wants to find a few people to be silly with and laugh with. I think we'll find each other. It took me three years of going to the senior hall to connect with my old Gathering Girl pals. I don't think it will take as long here but I'm guessing it will still take a good year to bond.

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  17. Again, I'm so glad you're finally there!

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    1. Me too. Any losses are far outweighed by what I've gained.

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  18. Sure sounds like they are a good place to stay. Looks like you'll have things to pick from to do and keep busy if you want to.

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    1. I really studied the heck out of what they did on their other campus over a long period of time, so I pretty knew this no-profit place was going to be different than the other CCCs around. They are zeroed in on people, that's for sure.

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  19. Your place looks and sounds wonderful. It's been a long haul for you. I know, from my own experience, that moving/selling at the same time can be so stressful in your 70's. People really want me to do some "crafting". Well, I don't need anything and certainly my friends/relatives don't need anything. I like the "crap" that I have now and do not want any more. I would join you for Monopoly, if I lived in your area. My husband and I spent the "Blizzard of '78" playing Monopoly...well and other things...

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  20. In 1971 we moved into our first apartment. It was on a Massachusetts dairy farm. We painted the cabinets and walls because we didn't like their gray paint. Our landlady (extremely sweet woman) told us that the home was a "Poor Farm" back in the day and the interior was painted gray to make the people feel bad. That was so sad. Now I am in my 70's and have gray in my condo. Geez.

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    1. Gray is a cool color but only the dark gray is depressing. Where people make a mistake with gray is not pairing it with lots of white---ceiling and trim, doors, etc. I hate any color on walls if it's a dark color like the browns and wines that were popular a few years back. Good thing we have choices to make us all happy. By the way, gray was a very cheap color to buy back in the '40s and '50s as it was military surplus which is why it ended up in a lot of public places.

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  21. So glad that everything seems to be gradually falling into place. As for painting, both my sisters are brilliant artists but, unfortunately, the art gene passed me by. My "art" (if you can call it that!) looks as if it's been done by an eight-year-old wearing boxing gloves.

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    1. You're artistic in other ways than the visual arts. Humor/writing is an art form.

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  22. I bet you are going to like it. :)

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  23. Every place has its negatives but so far I like being here.

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  24. I'm so bad at art I even managed to mess up paint by numbers when I was a kid. Only after I had two large green cats completed did I realize that the number on the cats was not "2" but "22".

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