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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) 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 2, 2021

The Last Days Before my New Beginning

If you're reading this the day it went live---October second---I'll be out in the garage waiting with baited breath for the son-I-wish-I-had to deliver the twenty-six foot moving van he rented. He and his sons will load that sucker up on Sunday and he is confident all my stuff will fit. I’m not so sure. I’m embarrassed and a little panicked to admit that I ended up with 167 boxes. In my defense a lot of them are small boxes and some of the bigger boxes are full of the smaller boxes that I’ve condensed inside so we can make less trips back and forth to the van. And everything got tagged with a number for the inventory sheet like a jigsaw puzzle roll-up mat and the laundry cart. Fifteen boxes are full of books, ten boxes hold kitchen and laundry room items. I can’t imagine how many I’d have if I hadn’t downsized in those rooms. Two boxes holds all my shoes and boots and the way the weather turned since I packed, I’m going to need my L.L. Bean Rubber Moc boots soon. It was super hot and dry when I packed my clothes and I used my winter sweaters and sweats as packing material. Oops! I’ll freeze my balls off, if I had a pair, before I get totally settled in.

This past week has been the calm before the storm. (Note it took me four proof readings to finally see that I originally wrote “the clam before the storm” and while Google whispered in my ear that strong, storm-driven tidal waves have been known to cause a killing field of razor clams that is not what I meant to say. Damn dyslexia.) Anyway, what I was trying to say is that everything that could be done has been done and I’ve been twiddling my thumbs, hoping I haven’t forgotten anything. To paraphrase Santa, “I made a list and I’ve checked it a million times.” If I forget anything it will be my name because I’m really tired of thinking so much.  

Earlier this week with time on my hands I even obsessed about the idea of switching the location where I’ve been planning to put my media cabinet and my bookshelves which would have meant relabeling a bunch of boxes and making a new floor plan for moving day. It wouldn't be an easy job to switch them once they get loaded up with books, CDs, VCRs, DVDs and photo boxes. After playing around with idea for two days I finally decided that since the whole idea was driven by the desire to make room so my TV could go inside the media cabinet instead of on top of it---for nicer aesthetics in my main space---that a better plan would be to get rid of all my CDs and cassettes and get a radio that I can get an XM Sirius Prime Country subscription. The player and speakers I’m using are such poor quality that I don’t enjoy music in the house like I do when I’m in the car. Who said I couldn't/wouldn’t have new goals after moving? In the meantime I unlabeled the box of packed VCR movies and the player and off to Goodwill they went. I haven't played any of them in a decade so why did I think I'll do it going forward?

Speaking of obsessing, I couldn't stop thinking about that box of glassware and cups the woman I hired packed. I bought three smaller glassware boxes and unpacked what she did. I'm glad I did. She had stacked things three deep that shouldn't have been stacked and that box was so heavy its bottom wouldn't have held up. 

Tuesday I managed to get in a long lunch with two of the ladies from my old Gathering Girls group. It felt good to laugh with them again. The pandemic did a number on our group of six but instead of mourning the way it used to be I'm working on being grateful we were a cohesive group for as long as we were.

Also this week I met an old friend for lunch. He lives north of me and we met in the middle. In all honesty it could be the last time I’ll ever see Gary. I don’t like to drive and he’s getting more physically disabled every time I see him. But he promised to come visit next spring and I promised if I come up to tend my husband’s grave I’ll give him a call to meet for lunch. He was a close friend of my husband’s since their high school days, bonded together by shared good times both before and after I entered the picture and by helping each other out when one or the other went through a rough patch.

In the 52 years I've known Gary he and my husband talked weekly for more years than I can count and there was one question I was dying to ask him---in person, face-to-face. Don’t judge me for this but I wanted to know if Don ever talked about our sex life. “No!" Gray replied, "Never. Not a one word,” I've been curious about that for a while because on talk and TV shows, in books and movies young/er people seem to freely discuss details of their sex lives that I never would have ever shared with friends. I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing for society. I mean violence, war and murders are okay to depict in vivid detail, but not sex? Doesn't make sense. 

On the other side of bed sheets shouldn't some things between a couple remain private or off limits in this age of documenting our whole existence on social media? And look who is asking this, the woman who spills her guts bi-weekly in her blog. Note I'm being bit hypocritical here, too, because I did write about our sex life once in a post titled The Love and Laughter Memories but I did at least, spare readers the graphic details. So there's that in my defense of adding to the pool of too much information. ---See, I told you I had too much time on my hands this week otherwise my mind wouldn't have wandered this far off from the gigantic task ahead of me. ©

32 comments:

  1. Yeah, let the unpacking begin. I hope you have a seamless move Jean!!

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    1. Did you ever find those kitchen utilities you were looking for. No matter how we try to pack with common sense and good labels things get put is weird places don't because you don't want to let a box go with empty space inside.

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  2. I think I can guarantee you two things: you will find you've forgotten something, and in the end, it won't make one bit of difference. Everything will come right in the end, and sometimes the Plan B (or C, or D) that suggests itself is better than our original Plan A. I'll confess I was glad to read that you repacked that glassware. I've thought about a that a time or two; clearly, your experience outweighed the original packer's attentiveness!

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    1. I've learned something this week...what it feels like to be a minimalist. I've been living out of a small box I call my Temporary Kitchen. It contains one fork, spoon, knife, a plate, coffee cup, bowl and glass and a few eatables. I'm starting to get into the mindless of less is more but hopefully I'll get unpacked and be cured of that. LOL

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  3. I'm excited for you as you move into your new "home". Best wishes for you and I hope it is all that you would want it to be.

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    1. My main goal in moving is to be closer to family, my doctors and have a go-to-person available on sight and those things are already a given. The key to my happiness is if I can find a good balance between having privacy and having close-bu people to socialize with.

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  4. Oh my how huge a project this has been and aren’t you glad you are a planner and detailed project master. If you are anyth8ng like us after our move, you will look hard for something you decluttering, wonder why the heck you moved some things and change a bit more how you live in your new home before the first year is out. It’s all good. Btw, after you unpack the bathroom and basic kitchen stuff, I highly recommend unpacking your clothes and bedroom. You will want an oasis to retreat too wile finishing your unpacking and organizing.

    Regarding the “clam” before the storm, all I could think of was what a great meme or cartoon title that would make in the hands of the right artist.

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    1. I've been trying to come up with an order to unpack and the kitchen isn't high on my list. I have the temporary kitchen I wrote about to shoreacres above and two restaurants within a short walk to the next building. My closet will be the easiest to unpack because I have the two huge wardrobe boxes with most of my clothes and the two boxes of shoes and one box of underwear. Bedding box will have to be high priority for sleeping that first night and the bookshelves in that room I want unpacked that first day because 1) I'll have help that fist day from my niece who understands me and my books and 2) because those books are packed in plastic boxes that need to be taken away that first day. They will have cardboard recycling onsite, but not plastic. My den closet will have to be filled up early on too, to get rid of the most boxes, so we can walk around. Oh and the media cabinet.

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    2. Here's your meme: https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/5ldezs/the_clam_before_the_storm/

      and this one: http://www.hawkerspot.com/2015/08/the-clam-before-storm.html

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    3. I'm with Juhli. I always unpack the bedroom first, even hanging the pictures on the wall, so that it becomes a calm oasis (or is that a clam oasis??) I can retreat to while I deal with all the chaos.

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  5. My memories of moving are enough to make me realize, last time was the last time. Aren't those books heavy? I remember being stunned how heavy they were, realizing I would never reread them, I made a big donation to the local library when I settled in. No decent book shelves helped to make that decision. Now I carry over 400 books in one hand in my Kindle. Hope this move goes as smoothly and as stress free as possible.

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    1. Gosh, yes they are heavy. But I downsized from a whole room of wall to wall books to two bookcases and they are mostly my reference books that you can't get in Kindle or I wouldn't want in Kindle. Only one shelf of fiction and I like seeing the titles for inspiration. You can't thumb through a Kindle book looking for something you saw and marked in the margin.

      My last move was like I hear childbirth is like. Painful at the time because we had no choice due to Don's sudden need for a wheelchair but now I don't remember the pain because it was worth it to get this beautiful house I'm leaving. I hope to keep downsizing after the move and to never need to move up the street to the memory care unit. If I do, I won't remember that move either. LOL

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  6. Oh Jean, I don't envy the Big Move itself, but I AM excited for you to have this life event in the rear view mirror and begin to settle into your new home and community. I'll be thinking of you this week! (Also, glad you ditched the VCR and tapes...No need for that stuff. I still have boxes of CDs that are on the list to go. Everything is available digitally/streaming these days and it makes for less "possessions" to store and organize; BTW, I'd to the kitchen last too. That's what GrubHub is for. LOL

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    1. Where I currently live I couldn't get anything but pizza delivered. Not sure I'll be using GrubHub much but there are all kinds of foods I can get delivered where I'm moving to. I'm looking forward to more oriental in my life.

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    2. P.S. letting go of more CD's---I did downsize by half lat summer---is going to be harder to do. I know everything is online but just seeing the titles on the cases gives me good memories.

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  7. You're on your way--literally!! I can only imagine what today (Saturday) will be like for you, but one thing for sure, whatever happens will be fine. Hubby and I were watching our toddler (super active) grand daughter at our second home, when all of a sudden, our contractor called to ask if we could be ready for them a a few days earlier than they'd planned. I told hubby "yep, we can do this" and we did, and I'm still sore. The kitchen will be gutted, and much of the flooring in the home will be replaced, so we put everything into two bedrooms that will not be updated. Thank God for those rooms! We've lived sparingly in our second home, but a person just collects so much along the way. I can't wait to hear how the actual move goes for you, Jean. I am truly happy for you. Your posts have been a big encouragement to me as I've packed and plotted. Many thanks!!

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  8. Good luck, Jean!!!! Thinking of you and sending positive moving energy your way....Deb

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  9. I hope the truck showed up and you feel ready for tomorrow. When I first came across your blog, October seemed so far away, but here it is.

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  10. You did it!!! Take photos of loading the truck and boxes in the rooms! Inquiring mind. I think you will be neighborly to everyone AND find a small group of Gathering Girls. The perfect mix as no one will have to drive.

    I'll be thinking of you tomorrow!

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  11. You have done such a magnificent job of downsizing and organizing. I truly appreciate the hard work. As I told you, I haven't done a great job this time of either downsizing or organizing. Just remember when you start unpacking, you have the rest of your life to get things organized in the new place. Don't overwork your poor body - or mind - and slip into your new life comfortably.

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  12. Here you go! You sound very organized and I'm sure it will go well. I had dinner with a friend last night who also moved recently. We were commiserating about what a crazy, huge job it is and how neither of us wants to do it again anytime soon. I have to admire you taking a box you packed to Good Will! I can think of a couple of DH's boxes that would have worked well for...but not any of my stuff, of course. LOL.

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  13. I love your blog! I am a faithful reader but don’t comment a lot. But I had all my vhs tapes converted to dvds ,pictures digitized to flash drives and Amazon carries cd / dvd style cases where one side you put in the paper cover and next to it you you put in the Cd we condensed 256 cds into the size of a briefcase. Good luck with your move!

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  14. All good wishes for a smooth move and transition tomorrow. I'm glad you repacked those glasses! All will be well.

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  15. Darn! I commented yesterday but I realize I used the wrong browser. Nothng posts to Blogspot from Safari. Google makes sure of that! Ugh. Anyway....what I sort of said but not in these exact words is YAY, YOU! Following this live transition journey has been a privilege. I'm a happy for you to be in the next phase -- settling in. I can't wait to hear all the new stories you will have to share with us here. And I'm glad you ditched the VCR and cassette tapes. LOL I would leave the kitchen for last too. Cooking is not my priority. That's what GrubHub is for. LOL Sending big hugs. Go slowly on the unpacking...that stuff isn't going anywhere (well, unless if you are like all my friends who recently moved to smaller spaces, they did another purge of donations as they unpacked!)

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  16. Best wishes in your new home! Hope all goes well and you have many happy adventures!

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  17. I hope the move goes smoothly and the unpacking does too.

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  18. So excited for you. The move is.....now! Best wishes for your first night in your new home. Sleep well.

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  19. It's Monday morning, and I'm thinking of you in your new place, hoping you're not overwhelmed by everything. This is Jean 2.0--Another Life! Can't wait to hear how things went and each chapter thereafter.

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  20. Half is moved in as planned. Rest will go in early tomorrow with unpacking taking place the rest of the day (Tuesday). I'm getting ready now to pack my computer up and not sure how quickly IT will have it and my other devices hooked up to WiFi. Tonight is my last night sleeping here---nothing left except my bed, an alarm clock and overnight bag.

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  21. Glad all is moving along well. Its 5:30 p.m. here —8:30 p.m where you live. Hope you get a good last night’s sleep there and are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when you awake Tues.

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  22. I'm glad you had time on your Hands now to decompress some, even if your mind did wander to some places. *Winks* I wouldn't be comfortable with someone giving TMI about intimate details, it seems rather like a betrayal to me of whoever they're in the relationship with, even if what they say is very flattering. Some of life should be confidential and private, nobody needs to know. Anyway, good on you for Donating another Box so late in the Move Process... I wish I had that resolve for a lot of things in the RV Garage that haven't been used, seen, displayed now in 2 Years or more. But... I don't. I'll wait 'til you unpack your Computer now Jean to hear all about how the transition went to the new digs?

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