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 9, 2021

The Widow Woman has Landed!

 


I’m sitting in my new home at the kitchen table with my laptop because I’m not unpacked enough to get my new desk delivered. It’s Thursday and I decided I need to get some normalcy back into my life and since this is the first day when no one is scheduled to pop in it’s a good day to figure out if I’ll still enjoy writing with my first cup of morning coffee. It’s seven o’clock and I’m looking out my nine foot wide window at the other end of the great-room and I’ve set my blinds so that the top two-and-half feet are permanently open since no one can see down in them and I love the light. That view is totally filled with the tops of trees doing their fall best to look awesome. The middle third of the window is covered with honeycomb blinds and for the bottom two-and-a-half feet of the floor-to-ceiling windows I have the blinds open and I can just see people from the knees down as they walk by. And in case you’re wondering I’ve already put a table and chair down at the end of my parking space with the huge picture window so that I can sit and watch for the swans on the lake.

Back tracking now: Tim (the-son-I-wish-I-had) and his two sons packed the van last weekend and it took three hours. Tim alone is crazy-funny, a class clown kind of guy and you can tell his sons have an even measure of him in their personalities. The sons at one point made a rule that neither Tim or I could talk but that didn’t last long because we were both verbally wrestling for who got to be the boss of the crew. By the end of the packing I only had my bed, an overnight bag and small plastic box labeled ‘Temporary Kitchen’ which I’m still using. It’s got one spoon, knife, fork, coffee cup inside plus paper plates and drinking cups, a bowl and plate for the microwave and a cutting knife. My goal is to get my kitchen unpacked today. Hopefully. I’m proud of the fact that of the 167 boxes I moved in with I’ve only got 30 left to unpack.

Monday Tim and I came to my new place to pick up the keys which involved going through the process of finishing the paperwork and get my packet of information. Then we moved stuff into my underground cage storage and another storage unit at the end of my parking space. Cage storage turned out to be bigger than the spec sheet said and it’s climate controlled so that’s pretty cool.

Tuesday I left my old house with the van following behind and I didn’t get more than a half a mile away before I burst out crying. The enormity of what I was doing and the long road I was on to accomplish the task hit me hard. But it passed quickly as we pulled into the parking lot of my new home and I got hooked up with my on-site Moving Co-coordinator. We'd made it and my relief was palatable! My niece met us there and Tim had his worker with him, a kid in his early twenties. At one point in time, he and I got to laughing so hard I literally peed my pants and that hasn’t happened in decades. We were in the cafe` on campus having lunch at the time with lots of staff walking around. One of them came over and said that we were their first party. I guess if you're having as much fun as we were (being punch drunk on silliness) it's a party.

We moved a lot of stuff in by handing it over my deck railing and at one point the CEO of this place and its sister in town stopped to ask how things were going. I told him the toilet was leaking and that I’d already told the concierge desk, but he wanted to see it. Standing in my bathroom he called maintenance and within ten minutes two guys had replaced the leaky value. The IT guy stopped by to hook up TVs and devices, too, but I wasn’t ready for that. Later on the activities director stopped by with a miniature orchid plant in a gift basket that also had in it a roll of toilet paper, a coffee cup, some apples and energy bars. 

By 6:00 my niece’s husband came up and they made some order out of my kitchen so that my table, at least, was in the right place and the kitchen boxes sorted out to unpack. Then we went out for dinner after which I got a shower and fell into bed (with over 17,000 steps on my step counter watch app). That’s when I discovered I’m going to have get used to wearing a sleep mask because the parking lot lights give my whole place a neat, romantic glow inside but I’m used to a lot less light for sleeping and I refuse to get heavy black out curtains…or drapes of any kind. All our windows have the honey comb blinds and we have to keep them but we can add anything over them if we want.

So far, the people who work here and who are only in their first days on the job are super friendly and eager to help. The food has been amazing. I’ve got thirteen days to get totally moved in before I have cataract surgery and wouldn’t you know it, I’m going to miss their first field trip, a cider and wine tasting at a famous apple orchid in the area. It's the same day as my surgery. ©

This is only the first layer of my sitting area. I need an area rug and knickknacks, probably in the form of sea shells on the coffee table. My new mid-century La-Z-Boy when it gets here will go to the far left in this grouping, facing toward the coffee table and windows.

This is my art area which may or may not change. At night I can pull that blind at the end down but for daytime I like the fact that I can see people coming and going in my building and into the main building. That aqua foot stool was meant to go in front the settee and I was going to use something else in front of the easel. I used to stand mostly when I painted but I was decades younger back then.

71 comments:

  1. congratulations on getting through the move, with only a bit of sadness as you left and arrived at your new pad. And having some laughter on the day eased some of that anguish. Happy interior decorating and congrats on getting on top of many boxes...

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    1. I don't know if I was crying out of sadness so much as out of relief that what I was working towards for so long was finally happening. That we got to new place safely was such a relief.

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  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!! A fantastic job - very well done!

    I've been waiting for you to move into your unit so I could congratulate you. Its been a long road to get here, and I greatly admire your grit and determination. You're an inspiration to me.

    Best of luck with the cataract surgery. ~ Libby


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    1. Thanks, Libby! It always makes me smile to get a comment from the other side of the world.

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  3. Well done, Jean.
    I hope you will happily adjust to living in your new home and that all will go swimmingly. It's a good idea to see people moving about all around you for now, maybe you'll make changes as you settle in.
    I am sure everything will fall into place nicely, a capable lady like you can't fail in whatever she undertakes.

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    1. Tim says it feels like being on a cruise ship there you have all inclusive. I don't know about that but once I learn the robe and everything starts up at the end of the month, I think it will be fun and interesting to watch the development of the groups that form.

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  4. Your new home looks lovely! Is that a porch door that I see on the side opposite to your easel? How lovely that you had friends and family to help with your move in and to celebrate it with you.

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    1. Yes, off to the left hand side behind the wicker chair is my deck and its layered in enough to take a photo for next time I blog. I learned how to get cell phone photos onto my computer! Yeah, for me. I learned how to use the washer and dryer already and I'm scared to try the garbage disposal but I need to learn how to do that today.

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  5. Way to go, Jean. This decision and move has taken so much strength and courage. I am in awe of you!

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    1. There were times when I thought I'd lost my mind picking this path.

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  6. Beautiful! All your planning and hard work have paid off.
    Susan

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  7. So glad you made it! And I understand the tears completely. I once pulled off while driving away from a favorite home, crying so hard I couldn't see. Even when changes are good, emotions run deep.

    Your new place looks great! I love the windows and all the light. And it looks like those window coverings are a perfect choice. I'm also impressed with how many boxes you've emptied already! I predict you will love it there!

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    1. One time I was at some place where they had the honey combed blinds and a spider had taken up residence inside and I said I'd never, ever have them in my house. But here I am. LOL

      Had another little crying moment when I unpacked a new pad for under Levi's food and water dish and baby blanket to line his dog bed with.

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  8. I love your sitting area! Congratulations on your move and I just know you're going to love it and fit right in. Doggone it that you have to miss the first outing. It sounds like something you would enjoy.

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    1. Thank you. Now I have to be careful not to keep adding too many layers of decor. I was bummed out about that too! There is something special about going on the first outing ever, and I can't do it!

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  9. Wow, it is finally here. I think I would have cried too if only from relief. Odd about the toilet in the brand new building but loved the quick fix. That you have all ready unpacked 137 boxes is amazing. So far it is looking great and can't wait to see it when you are finished. Bummer though about the wine tasting field trip on your surgery day. There will be more.

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    1. It was a defective value, a short part about 8" long, probably got them by the hundreds. I've seen them develop leaks before but never start out with one.

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  10. Oh, Jean. I am soooooo delighted to see photos of your new place! Keep 'em coming! I'm tearing up on your behalf -- happy for you and also can relate to the exhausted relief of it all. Can't wait to see more photos of inside, of your view, your surroundings.... Shoot, maybe I'll just have to show up one day. (LOL...calm down; I wouldn't really do that.)

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    1. Now that I figured out how to get photos from my phone to the computer it will be easier to start adding more photos to my posts.

      I'm hoping by the holidays I'll be ready for company.

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  11. PS. I had cataract surgery in both eyes -- a month apart. It was a breeze and I was AMAZED at how much my vision improved miraculously!

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  12. That looks great so far! I love the look of those cushions on your wicker furniture. Those blinds are perfect - giving you privacy but letting you peek out too!
    Congrats!

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    1. Wait until you see the are rug I have picked to go under those cushions. It's go the same pattern around the board but I have to wait until after my La-Z-Boy arrives to order it.

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  13. It looks absolutely beautiful. I recently managed to get a couple of cell phone photos onto my computer, but I don't remember how I did it. All I know is there has to be an easier way to get an Apple product to talk more easily with a Windows system. It reminds me of the old Yahoo vs. AOL days! It's going to be fun watching your settling in process!

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    1. I managed a way to do it but I think there's probably a better way. I sent the photo in an email to myself, then saved the picture to my computer album, then imported it up to my blog. Works for now because I still haven't unpacked my real camera. I'm going to have photo documenting the changes too.

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    2. With an iPhone, once you've set up your iCloud account, you can choose to automatically upload photos. They'll go to a folder on your computer called 'iCloud photos'. 'Settings'>'Photos'>turn on 'iCloud Photos. So handy!

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  14. Wow! You have done so much already, Jean...and already your place looks wonderful. I love what you can do with your blinds...getting both the light AND the privacy is fantastic. Well done, well done so far! I hope you will feel truly at home soon, and I have no doubt that you will find creative solutions to whatever life throws your way in your new abode. Too bad about having to miss the cider tour...I suppose it's not a good idea to have the surgery rescheduled?

    Deb

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    1. No, there are tests you have to do before surgeries that would have to be repeated and I really wanted to get them done so I won't need to have my niece drive me in the dead of winter, plus getting my eyes and sense of colors back will help with the painting I want to start doing again.

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  15. You made it! I remember back when you were upset that they had to change the move in time to October because of the pandemic. It all worked out and here you are in your new digs. I'm very happy for you. Brava!

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  16. Congratulations! Unpacking boxes and settling in is so much fun - well, at least to me it is.

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    1. I'm at the fun/hard part now of unpacking decor and deciding where to put stuff.

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  17. What a lot you've accomplished already! I love the calm order of your sitting area. Your planning shows.

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    1. I never used my couch and living room at my other house because most of the time I'm in my computer chair. It was a good decision to keep my wicker which has great sentimental value to me but to update it so it looks great and is more comfortable with the thicker foam cushions.

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  18. Congratulations on being moved! I love the light in your new space and the cottagy look of your wicker furniture. And the idea of being out from under home maintenance responsibilities is so appealing. You're inspiring me to get back to the retirement community I liked best for a second visit and get on the mailing list.

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    1. Getting on the mailing lists and monthly newsletters from a couple of places really brought it into force what the staff, activities and live would be life at various places around. I might be slow in my decision making process but there is a method to my madness and it's going to pay off on this last big purchase in my life.

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  19. Lovely, congratulations on your new home, may you have many happy times there. Viv

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  20. Congrats! What an overachiever you are at unpacking, I'm envious, you got more unpacked in a Day than I have in almost 2 Years I think. *LOL* Love how it's looking and that you're already settling in, I know it's going to be amazing & the weepfest release is sometimes necessary. Moving is stressful in a good and a bad way so Emotionally it takes a toll too. I'm so happy for you my Friend and glad the transition has gone so smoothly with the great network of Help you had, they sounded Stellar! I was fortunate too that we had so many on that Big Move Day that busted their Asses to do the final push with us.

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    1. My "moving team" helped keep me calm/er and let me feel like I was in control. One of the professional moving company that got a lot of customers from this place told their clients to go to the movies and have a long lunch, didn't want them on site. I would have hated that.

      You and I should form a support group to keep each other from layering in too many of your collectibles as we unpack. LOL

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    2. I probably need a professional Intervention at NOT layering in too many of my Collectibles Jean! *LOL*

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    3. I'm trying hard not to use everything I moved here with but it's SO hard!

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  21. Ah, you made it, Jean! If my math is right, you've already unpacked 137 boxes in less than a week. My gosh, how in the heck is that possible? You've got great determination and you will be settled in so fast it will make our heads spin. Loved that you laughed so hard you peed your pants. I predict you're gonna just love it at your new digs. It sure does look nice in your pictures. I hope we like our new place as well as you like yours!!

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    1. I'm down to fourteen boxes left now but they will take a lot longer because I'm running out of room plus some are boxes of fussy decor stuff to dink around with to display. And five are still dishes for the kitchen.

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  22. I love the "look" of your new cottage and thank you for posting photos! I'm just amazed at how much you have accomplished since moving in! Now, go to Vista Print and get some personal cards to hand to new friends as you meet them! I always keep some on me, just in case. I wonder if the CCC will have a resident directory?

    HAVE SO MUCH FUN!

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    1. Way a head of you. Got the business cards and address labels several months ago. Yes, they do have a resident directory.

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  23. The move is more then half done, unpacking can take agesm now to enjoy the new home and remember life is good

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    1. I have a rock on my deck that says, "Enjoy Life" and I hope to do that 100% by November first.

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  24. So happy to hear it came off without a major hitch. I'm in awe of your pre planning and packing efficiency. You are not awash in cardboard boxes at this point...at least any that I see in your pictures. You will have delicious meals made for you a short walk away. Envious! I look forward to more pics as you settle in!

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    1. I still have boxes to unpack but I took the day off from doing them today to go to the grocery store. It's getting harder now to find places for everything. I'll be making a run to Goodwill next week, I think. Got my place ready for my desk and wanted that to get delivered next week as well.

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  25. Congratulations! What an incredible journey that you have had. I have been following since you decided on the move but haven’t commented in a long while. I wish you well in everything and hope especially that the painting brings you great joy and fulfillment.
    Regards from Northern New York State
    Leze

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    1. Thank you. I'm at the point now when I wish I had pushed even more stuff than I did.

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  26. Congratulations! I'm so glad the move is finally done. ❤️

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    1. Me too, that was the scariest part for me because it was out of my control.

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  27. Only 67 boxes. I'm green with envy. Glad you're in. You've waited a long time. Enjoy!! And may no one bring you homemade goodies! Lol

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    1. Not one will but the cafe has a whole case of Google's to tempt me. You got your kitchen unpacked

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  28. You're a leftie! When I looked at your easel corner I learned this fact about you. I'm envious you're surrounded by light.

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    1. Yes, I am. I still need to get a small, low table to set my palette on and spread out more, saw one in camping equipment. The one I planned to use along with a chair with a back ended up by my garage space window, just didn't look right.

      The light seems to be even through the day too, which I think is what North light is all about?

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  29. That's awesome. I'm glad you are in your new place and getting things put away. I'm sure it was hard to leave behind the past and move on to a new place.

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    1. With so many new experiences ahead of me, the past gets farther and farther behind in the rear view mirror. Strange fee!ing, though..

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  30. Great to read that you’re settling in — photos show is delightful abode. Wonderful that you have had that help moving and your community employees are devoting so much attention to your needs. Sounds like all your planning and work has paid off to make this transition as easy as possible. Sorry you’re missing the first outing. I remember visiting a special cider mill site with a stream out behind in Michigan when I visited my son and family in the beautiful fall some years ago. Perhaps you’ll have an opportunity to go there later. Your cataract surgery results. will be most welcome as mine was years ago no doubt. Sleep well these nights.


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    1. I couldn't done it without help from Tim and my niece and her husband.

      I've been to the mill before, it's the opportunity to spend time building friendships that I'll miss.

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  31. Welcome home, Jean. I'm glad for the happy, chatty, fulfilled tone of this post.

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  32. It is looking lovely. I see why you love that window. I think we are alike in choosing units that have lovely views and nature surrounding us. I think you are settling in faster than I am and I have less boxes. Glad we are both settled, if not unpacked.

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  33. Three cheers! It has begun -- your new life. It looks terrific -- the wicker looks great there. And I really love how the blinds are so versatile. It looks good -- you guys made great tracks already. Three cheers, my friend!

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  34. I feel like I'm behind because so .any other used a service to pack and unpack them so they are settled in and started activities already.

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  35. I Adore your art area - I think I need one!

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    1. I love it too, I hope it inspires me to seriously work at it again.

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