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, October 16, 2021

The Angel Triangle

view off deck looking toward the main building
Exciting things are happening here at the Daydreamer’s Den. Let’s qualify that. It’s only exciting if you’re into getting new furniture delivered. The Amish built desk came this week and I have a promised delivery of Monday for my mid-century La-Z-Boy chair. I didn’t expect that chair until closer to Christmas! And you know what that means, don’t you? Yup, you get a Kewpie Doll prize if you guessed that I can finally order an area rug for my living room. It feels like an Angel’s Triangle is coming my way---kind of the opposite of a Bermuda Triangle---because the IT guy (the third angle of my triangle of good things) was here shortly after the desk arrived to hook up the TV, WiFi, printer ad other devices. I’ve been using the guest WiFi and living without cable TV for a week now. 

I do have a 20" TV hooked up to one of those tiny $10 antennas and it pulls down a surprising number of channels, especially if you like all the old shows like Barry Miller, Gun Smoke, Friends, Miami Vice, The Brady Bunch, Magnum P.I., Johnny Carson plus some live court and popular game shows. That TV will be moved to my den and I’ll get a smart TV for my bedroom if they ever get unloaded from the ships parked in the harbors. Apparently the TVs under 32" are in short supply which may or may not explain why I saw a TV get delivered today that was as big as a movie screen. They walked it by a pickup truck and the truck completely disappeared behind the giant box and they would have had to set it on end to get it on the elevator. The day I need a TV that big is the day I buy five acres of land and start my own drive-in movie theater. My picture could be out for a week and as long as the speaker still worked I wouldn’t notice.

I went to an orientation class on Campus this week and found myself in the center of another Angel Triangle of sorts. At first I was alone at a table for four when a woman sat down all friendly and excited to be there like a labradoodle puppy greeting kids getting off a school bus. She introduced herself as one of the pastors for the campus and come to find out she used to write for our local newspaper and I read her column back in my seeking-the-meaning-of-life days. She hadn’t changed her name when she got married and neither had I and she thought she knew me and I’m sitting there trying to remember if I fan-girled her column back in the day. I used to write a lot of letters to the editor back when newspapers were the communication devices most popular.

She knew lots of people coming and the fact that there were five of us named “Jean” in a room of twenty some people. One of the Jeans said, “We’re all going to have to be good or we’ll all get blamed” and my big mouth all on its own accord opened up and replied, “And if we’re not we can deny whatever the gossip rumors said we did and blame it on one of the other Jeans.”

I couldn’t help liking the pastor. She's one of those people who is gifted at getting everyone talking to each other and I want to nickname her Miss Labradoodle but I won’t out of fear that someone who isn’t a ‘dog person’ won’t recognize that as a high compliment. Labradoodles are friendly and sweet and always eager to please. She introduced me to another woman who spent her whole work life teaching art and she plans on starting a class on our campus. If that introduction isn’t enough proof that Miss Labradoodle is really meant to be Ms Angel, she invited two other out-going people to sit at our table---another pastor and his wife, retired and living in the condo in the older section of the campus. So there I was, the self-proclaimed agnostic in the center of a triangle of people who would probably all love to save me if they thought I was a lost sheep. He and I bonded over the fact that neither of us likes to wear our hearing aids in public places so our conversation was---well, perfect for two old duffers waiting for the presentation to start.

After the orientation class which was mostly about how to download and use the campus app to: 1) see what is going on each day, 2) find the staff and resident contact lists, 3) fill out forms to request various work orders we might need, 4) to reach the pastor who was sitting at my table, view her future videos and find out what her Friday Bible study group will be discussing, and 5) too many other things on the app to list here. 

I’m pretty computer savvy so I had already found the app before the class and while I was waiting for the others to download theirs I used it to request my address get corrected in the Resident Contact List. I wasn’t going to fill in the other stuff on my profile but after hearing the purpose for doing so I probably will. For example if I list my hobbies as knitting, quilting and painting those things are searchable in the app and we can message like-minded people to start up a group on our own. Mr. Big Screen TV Guy, however, might find it hard---even with the app---to find others who enjoy the hobby of counting the pores on the faces of people on their wall-sized televisions.  

This post’s photo section is a tour of my tiny laundry room which I’d call the hardest working space in the place but that honor goes to my den closet which I'll include for next week’s blog. The photo at the top shows how close I am to the building where all the action takes place. I'm glad I'm in the quieter building. There are only six apartments on my hall and it's very quiet. ©

The washer/dryer was surprisingly easy to use but I'll be doing laundry twice as often. The dryer I had at the other house was literally large enough for me to hide inside if an axe murderer happened to be looking for me.

This coat rack was not cheap but it functions perfectly for an apartment without a coat closet near the door to the hall. I love that I can hang my clothes up as they come out of the dryer and the bottom shelf is big enough for the three pair of boots that I own.

This family photo collage covers my parents before I was born to my great-nieces and nephews with me and my husband sprinkled in.

Not sure if this pile of old things will stay here but for now the basket holds an old Fuller brush---the travel size---an antique sprinkler top on the 7Up bottle, a wooden hanger from a dry cleaners, a house keeping rooms sign that needs highlight painting and a metal collapsible hanger.

 

The folding hanger was patented in 1906 but I'm too lazy to look up the patent to see what is actually is. I think it might be from a suitcase but it comes in handy for air drying things.


44 comments:

  1. So many interesting and possibly entertaining things happening for you - maybe the people with the wide screen + TV like watching movies. I can just see in a few months time you'll be at a screening with them :-) potluck dinner and all that guff...

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    1. I'll do a post bout the class on the campus next week. I took my first one this week a chair yoga. I think we'll all be as busy as we want to be.

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  2. This is a lovely post - very positive. I had a chuckle at your first few paragraphs because they all sounded so American to my Brit ears! The Amish desk, the La-Z-Boy (all I could think of was Chandler and Joey in Friends), Cable TV and giant TV screens! Wishing you the greatest of good luck in this new chapter of your life.

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    1. Big screen TVs and La-Z-Boys are the American dream for a lot of guys in American. LOL My new La-Z-Boy was my nieces idea, back when I was debating whether or not to keep the wicker. The old cushions were not comfortable and she said words to the effect, "As long as you have one comfortable place for you to sit, what does it matter?"

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  3. Bet you're excited to have your new desk and getting that new chair delivered sooner than later is amazing during these times of delays. Also good to hear that you're meeting other residents. Gosh, when I saw your 7up bottle with the sprinkler, it brought back memories. I learned to iron with one of those, long ago. I like that basket full of interesting objects in your laundry area. Your place sure is shaping up well and I'm happy for you. Thanks for your well wishes on the last post. Fingers crossed that I get to go home today. After a hospital stay, I always appreciate home so much more. Thanks for keeping us posted. Hope you're starting to feel at ease in your Den!

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    1. I ordered that chair was back in the middle of last summer and they told me 5-7 months. Then the shortages started and I figured there was no way I'd get in sooner rather than later.

      It's a;ways been a family and friends joke that going to Don and Jeana's house was like going to a museum. My husband was so into giving "Guided tours" that as a joke a friend bought him a telescoping pointer. I kept that pointer and it has a place of honor in a small show case. I did ironing with a one of those pop can sprinklers too. It's so iconic, isn't it.

      Glad you are on the mend!

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  4. Wow, Jean! It's like a resort except you have to clean your own room. Thanks for the tour, too. Things are really shaping up.

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    1. Oh, by we don't have to clean our own place. There is a monthly cleaning service for floors, bathroom and kitchens included. I personally think it's a way to keep track of how we senior are living so they don't get into a hoarders situation but that's may not be true.

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  5. I can't help it. I'm sitting here laughing, reading your description of the place -- the apps, the people, the chaplain -- and my first thought was, "That sounds just like a cruise ship, but on land!" I've never been on a cruise on a ship designed for schlepping hundreds of people around, but I have friends who've gone, and of course I've watched the departures and arrivals at Galveston from time to time. It all sounds a little too social for my tastes, but it also is beginning to sound as if it will suit you perfectly: plenty of social contact, but time to do a little daydreaming (and painting and writing) in your den.

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    1. People who have been on cruises have already compared it to living on a cruise ship and the concierge woman has been nicknamed (not by me) as Julie from the Love Boat TV show.

      The social life is what any of us make of it---a little or a lot. Nothing is mandatory. You would like the lecture coming up in a few weeks put on by the Local Bird Watchers Society. And there are a couple of bus trips to see concerts around the holidays and exercise class every weekday. A walking club and scrabble club have started up and neither one of those interest me.

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    2. And there we are -- both the walking and the Scrabble would be right up my alley!

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    3. Scrabble would be my worst nightmare because everyone would find out how terrible I am at spelling. The walking club I'll need to work up to on the tread mill before I can try that. One of he guys in the condo end of the CCC takes a lot of high quality bird photos that go on their website. I guess in addition to the swans and sandhill cranes we have lots of birds of pry.

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    4. LOL, Maybe you could start a Scrabble group for dyslexics. ;-)

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    5. Bite your tongue, on that suggestion, Jean P.!

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  6. How nice to meet cheerful friendly people and go to your first class. And thanks for sharing how your place is coming together with memory pieces included. We have started talking about moving again and I’m not sure I can face it lol.

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    1. I've only run into one negative person and that was at a future residents meeting last summer. But it's going to take time to get beyond the surface to really get to know people, but that's okay. I do have some outside maintenance to do for fall though. I have four oak leaves to pick up off my deck. LOL

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  7. Ooooo! I'm so inspired by your enthusiasm and so delighted that early days in your new community seem to be going so well! I was delighted to see your photos and to hear of meeting your new acquaintances -- among whom you may find fast friends! Your CCC sounds absolutely wonderful. Can't wait to hear more! (BTW, my husband and I are of the giant screen folk. We have a whole "media room" thing where all we do is sit in our reclining love seat to watch TV together. My husband, the Costco shopper, kept his eye out for his perfect model and one day it came home with him. At first I was rather appalled. Now, well, I admit it. Pretty cool. LOL)

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  8. With the exception of T-shirt Tom, your meet and greets have been quite pleasant. And you have maid service? Oh my, I am salivating. So far, sounds terrific.

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    1. T-shirt Tom was a little socially awkward the other day but as we age don't we all do things we wouldn't do or say during our prime? I ran into him again and he was loving on one of the other resident's dog so that's enough for me to cut him some slack.

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  9. Your laundry room looks great! You have set it up so perfectly to make the most of the space. I like how you have a stool in there too so you can relax your back while you are folding clothes or unloading the washer and dryer. You might have to start a "Jeans club" for all of the women named Jean! Sounds like you are enjoying yourself already!

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    1. We got to talking and none of us Jean's had ever known more than one other Jean in our lives and one taught school and her whole life and hadn't had any students names Jean. It's just a weird thing.

      That stool might double in front of my paining easel. I used to have a tall director's chair I loved for painting. I'll have to wait and experiment a little.

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  10. My mom had one of those bottles with the sprinkle top, for when she ironed...I guess the steam feature hadn't been added to irons as yet...and I have yet to find an iron in which it works all that well. I could go back to something like that, I think. Your laundry rooms looks lovely and very functional. I like the counter for folding and the rack for hanging. Giving me ideas for my someday Nouveau Hippy Shack. :-)

    Deb

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    1. Steal all the ideas you want. Even hippy shacks need a place to hang stuff.

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  11. It will be interesting to read about how different the various Jean's are as you meet them....because you're bound to meet them!
    The monthly cleaning included is a blessing for anyone who has serious trouble bending and squatting, and the extra benefit is that help can be found for anyone who needs more. I like the idea of another set of eyes keeping people safe.
    Plenty of activities to choose from also sounds pretty yummy.

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    1. I don't mind the extra set of eyes on people living here either. Some elderly people get into doing some pretty unsafe things.

      Because the cleaners work for the CCC we are forbidden to give them tips and gifts which is true for all the employees here which I really like, too.

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  12. I'm so glad everything is working out so well for you! My mother used to have one of those sprinkler bottles for ironing. I think it was a Coke bottle though. Sometimes the cork in the top would deteriorate and the whole thing would come out and pour water on whatever you were ironing. My ex-husband had 17 long sleeved shirts that I was responsible for. (When we divorced and he later remarried, his new wife got an ironing lady to do them.) I hate ironing to this day and will not buy anything that needs it. It would just hang in my closet because I know I wouldn't be up to ironing it after I washed it.

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    1. I only iron when I'm quilting. Ironing through the process of quilting or sewing garments is the secret weapon with those hobbies. Otherwise I'm like you, I try not to buy anything that needs ironing. When my mom got her first job she hired a woman to do her ironing too.

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  13. This living arrangements just sounds the best of the best! You can be an introvert when you want or be as busy as you want to be! Congrats! It's all coming together and I look forward to every blog!

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    1. It's all catching up with me today. I'm so tired I can barely push myself to do anything and I things I have to get done before my surgery on Tuesday.

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  14. One of my favorite tasks when I was young was ironing my dad's white handkerchiefs. And of course we sprinkled them first with a bottle just like that! That laundry room is really cute and well organized.

    Sounds like some lovely people so far. Of course, as you noted in another comment, we don't really know people at first chat. I have found that to be true in our development, too. And as for walking with people, I have been hesitant to get into that, because 1) I like to walk by myself and think, and 2) I fear not liking them and being stuck walking with them all the time. Am I cynical? Maybe. But I'm also old and have a few bad experiences. What can I say?

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    1. I still have the kid-size ironing board and iron that actually worked. You'll see it when I do a photo tour of the office. I started out with my dad's handkerchiefs too...no Kleenex in those days.

      I hadn't thought about the things you said about walking. I think I would be the same way. If others are walking for cardo then they probably wouldn't like me stopping to pick up interesting stones or leaves or jotting thoughts that come to me like I did when I walked Levi.

      Speaking of Levi, Someone here has the cutest little dog that she takes out in a dog stroller. I always wanted one of those for Levi, so she makes me smile. So far I've seen four dogs.

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  15. Oh my gosh. I had forgotten about the sprinkler top in a soda bottle. Boy, does that bring back memories and even smells. I remember the smell of fresh ironing. Your little meetup group sounds like it was interesting. It is always nice to know some outgoing-somebody who will know the name of anyone you are curious about or can introduce you to anybody you want to meet.

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    1. I was amazed that the pastor knew so many names already. We've only been open a little less than two weeks and she wasn't at any of the future resident meetings. She told delightful stories about how to remember names that was similar to the nicknames I give people.

      I guess the sprinkler stay in the laundry room on display since so many people identify with it. Love when that happens.

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  16. Sounds like you're really settling in well. Hope you make sure you get rested before your surgery, surely most everything else can wait. Looks like a delightful setup with all you've brought with you -- so well thought out. Like your "Den" whether you daydream or whatever else you choose to do.

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    1. I wish the sleep was coming well but it's gong to be a major issue, sleeping with parking lot lights coming in the apartment. Plus the programmable thermostat is impossible to understand and the heating guy is suppose to come on Monday. I'm not the only one with the issue, thankfully, Since I've been here I've been try to wean myself off from taking a sleeping pill every night so I've been restless at night.

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  17. I should have called an IT guy to com set up the printer I bought a few years ago and couldn't get to work. I ended up getting so mad at it that I busted it up and threw it away. lol

    Looks like things are going well.

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    1. At my other house I had an IT come to set up my printer, too, and he showed me how to get it back online myself too. I used that lesson quite a few times over the years.

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  18. Loving your laundry room. And it really sounds like they have their act together over there and it's good that you can sample just about everything. On another note, I'm so behind on comment replies and visiting so please know how much I value your visits and recent comments. I'll be back on track soon!

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    1. Don't worry about being behind. Happens to all us bloggers from time to time.

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  19. You are going to have a wealth of Blog Fodder and I'm enjoying Nicknames you will be coming up with for the Residents and the Apartment Tour of how you're Decorating the new digs. Princess T is crying Tonight and I have no way to comfort her, Isaac came over, left early carrying all his things, including his XBox, so I think the First Crush is History and her little Heart is broken. He left amicably enough, I think he finally realized she was not going to be ready for a 'Boyfriend' and he didn't want to stay in the just a Friend she has a 16 year old Crush on category? Probably for the best, but it's always difficult when relationships end that you enjoyed from your end, but don't work out.

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    1. Darn, it's hard to see a girl go through the loss of her first crush. But if she's not ready to move out of the friend's zone then she's not. The romantic in my says they could reconnect in a few years because they really did have a lot of common interests.

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    2. Well, he came back later that Evening and so perhaps they're reaching some common ground on how to move forward? She's elated he returned, I just made sure he didn't have a Knife in his Back when he left at the end of the Evening... he is dancing with the Devil whether he knows it or not. *Ha ha ha*

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    3. A first fight teaches friends and lovers a lot, don't they.

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