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 13, 2021

You Probably Saw This Coming…

deck minus a splash of color

Okay, I'm going to get a few things out of the way first because living in an apartment building for the first time ever presences itself with situations where you have to learn to laugh at yourself or you'd die of embarrassment. 

Situation One - I learned the hard way that a pocket door tends to bounce back open if you close it too hard. I found this out while sitting on the toilet and gazing across to the where the closed door should have been and seeing instead the wide open bedroom window shade. Anyone walking by on the sidewalk would have viewed something neither one of us wanted them to see. To make it worse the bathroom is lit up like an airport runway with no other lighting choice in between that and total darkness. That pocket door bounce not only opens itself at inopportune times it also closes itself at inopportune times. After going in there without turning on the light the door closed itself and I ended peeing in pitch blackness. I followed that trip up by me digging around to find the box where I’d packed a few nightlights. 

Situation Two - You probably saw this one coming. I locked myself out of my apartment when I went into the hall to put some cardboard boxes out for maintenance to pick up. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it hadn’t been on Sunday and if I hadn’t just gotten out of the shower with my wet hair plastered to my head with clips to dry the waves out of it, and if the main entrance leading to the concierge’s desk---that great place that solves all our problems---didn’t have a gaggle of ladies waiting for the bus to take them to church. I was embarrassed right down to my fuzzy slippers. A side note here I’m going to have to dust off my bling because everyone else here seems to wear a lot jewelry.

Situation Three - Only half the residences have moved in yet so it’s pretty quiet here in the evenings and one night I was the only person in the cafe` eating when a tall guy came in who shall henceforth be known at T-Shirt Tom. I’ve seen him before and he’s memorable because he’s quick to introduce himself and he wears t-shirts with quirky sayings on them. He asked if he could sit with me and I graciously closed my notebook, set down my pen and we made small talk long enough for me to find out: 1) he’s got 100 or more t-shirts and that his grandkids buy them for him, 2) that he follows college football and soccer, and 3) that his favorite team is from the college where he got his law degree. 

Being the great conversationalist that I am---note the sarcasm here ---I was looking for a common thread so we didn’t look so much like I was a talk show host doing an interview. So I said that I’m not into sports but this summer I’ve been watching and learning about baseball. He looked at me like I’d pulled a giant turd out of my pants and laid it on the table. And I kid you not, the next thing he said was, “I changed my mind. I think I’m going to sit over by the TV so I can watch the game coming on.” It reminded me of a time in my twenties when a guy in a bar came over and asked if he could sit down. After a few minutes of conversation I excused myself to go to the restroom but instead I left the building. To this day I’ve felt bad about doing that. I was young and dumb and didn’t think twice about the guy’s self-esteem. Now I’m old and smarter and my self-esteem is high enough that I found the humor in karma finally catching up with me. 

Situation Four - There’s an intercom between the front door and our apartments. When someone comes to visit they’re suppose to punch in your apartment number and it rings like a door bell inside your unit and when we answer it we can see them on a camera. I have the first number in the building and I’m getting a lot of people wanting me to buzz them in---mostly moving company employees. Not going to happen if I don’t know them but one guy was quite insistent that he was my son. "Come on, Ma, quite fooling around and let me in!” In and out of the building he went all one day and every time he’d ring me instead of his mom. I finally I went out to the front door and showed him how to buzz the right apartment. If I was shopping for another son-I-wish-I-had it wouldn't be him.

Tomorrow my desk gets delivered and I can hardly contain myself. It was custom built by the Amish and I haven’t even seen it yet. But over the years I’ve bought five pieces of furniture from the same place so I have total faith that I’ll like it. 

That’s all for now from the Daydreamer’s Den --- yes, I picked a name for my place! I've always been a daydreamer only now I get to celebrate that aspect of my personality instead of feeling guilty over how much time I've wasted in the process. ©

 

My 'lovely' view of the road and parking lot off my deck. The building in the far view is our library and recreation center for crafting, book clubs or whatever we all vote to start up over there

This is the wall between my half bath door and the door to my den. I used to collect clothes pins---all different and the washboard now holds the six oldest, all that is left of my original 100. The baskets are running board baskets from circa 1905, made for touring cars. The ice box refrigerator is over 100 years old and speaks "cottage" fluently as that's what most of us had on the lake before we had electricity.

The idea for using old fruit jars to house some of my downsized collectibles I shamelessly stole from Dawn's blog, Bahamian Valhalla. That jar of watches is every watch I ever had in my lifetime, but I sold 50 or so of my husband's pocket watches. We used to collect political pin-back buttons and sold 100's of them on e-Bay but I screwed up and forgot to keep the best for my jar. Sewing buttons are in another jar and I didn't make that mistake again. I sold 1000's of sewing buttons. 100 wooden nickels takes up another jar. The largest jar contains the fool's gold and rubies my husband and I mined Out West on what I consider the happiest day of my life.

These now hold knitting yarn, but they are lined with tin to keep food cold.

I turned the inside of the ice box into a pantry which is going to work out good. The top left section is where a block of ice would have gone back in its day. The meat section is right below it. At cottages people used to keep these old ice boxes even after they got electricity and used them for keeping pop and beer cold at parties.  

46 comments:

  1. Inquiring minds want to know if the Krazy Kayak and Gads o' Guns Guy ended up moving in ... or backed out of his apartment contract because of (I think) the lack of storage space for his toys. Joanne -- a reader who should be doing what you're doing but just follows your adventures instead!

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    1. I don't think he had signed a contract yet. That was back when they were doing lunches for confirmed and unconfirmed residents together. They have a strict, no fire arms rule and as loud as he was about it I'm sure a sales rep would have pulled him aside and told him that.

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  2. The ice box pantry is brilliant and I love seeing your oollections. They're all really interesting. Loved your stories. Guess you won't be dating the sports fan! How did he get to be a lawyer with less than stellar conversation or interrogation skills? Love the name you chose.

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    1. At least I know I make a good enough first impression to get someone to want to talk to me. It's that second impression I need to work on. Lol

      Thanks on the name. I like that I can say, "I guess I'll get back to my den" or "...back to my daydreamer's den" depending on who I'm talking with.

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  3. Forgetting your key or locking yourself out was bound to happen. That's probably a common occurrance for anyone who makes the move from a home into an apartment or condo.

    And as far as wearing more jewelry--why? Be yourself. No reason to change who you are now after all these years.

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    1. I used to bling out with the best of them but changed to fit the kind work I did for the second half of my work life. I want and plan to upgrade my wardrobe next spring to a little less mechanics' helper and little more the me I want to be AGAIN.

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  4. That guy at least doesn’t pretend to be interested in other people lol. Once more people move in I’m sure you will find kindred souls. What a lovely wooded area the complex is situated in.

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    1. It was the trees that made me fall in love with the location the first time I saw it.

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  5. I love the name: Daydreamer's Den! Yep, there is a bit of a learning curve moving to an apartment, that's for sure! Glad your sense of humour is up to the task (as I knew it would be!). Rock on, Jean!

    Deb

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    1. Oh, God I could probably write a whole post about that learning curve.

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  6. I love the look of the icebox and baskets. Lots of storage but cleverly camouflaged! Beautiful pieces!
    You sure will have lots to blog about! Get a bracelet or necklace to carry your key, maybe?!

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    1. I wish it was an ordinary key. It's a plastic thing about the size of a quarter but thick. I'd like to find something I could use to clip it onto my medical bracelet but would have to unclip easily for showers.

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  7. Loved this post. So many funny new adventures. And your pantry/ice box is really clever and cute. The collection bottles also look great...it's coming together in the Daydreamer's Den! And I LOVE the name you gave that dude. LOL. Can't wait to read about more of the neighbors as they move in.

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    1. It's going to be hard to write about my neighbors. Even changing the names like I did with Tom, people here---assuming someone finds my blog---could guess based on the descriptions.

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  8. I learned something from your blog. The "picnic basket" I brought home from my grandmother's house after her death might have been a running board basket. It's shaped like yours. Are they all lined with tin, though? Hers wasn't. As to locking yourself out, that can happen in single homes, too. About eight o'clock one morning two weeks after moving into a subdivision of eleven homes, all on one-acre lots, my husband followed me into the garage where I was filling the dogs' bowls. Somehow he locked the door behind us. I was in pjs, him in his briefs. Since I wore the most clothing, it was up to me to run house to house to try to find someone still home from work, so we could call the dog sitter to whom we'd just given a key a day or two previously. I was about about quarter mile away before I found one. And then I couldn't remember the name of the dog sitter's company as he offered to call for me. He really hadn't wanted to invite me into the house to search the telephone book listings, I could tell. Not the best introduction to the man who turned out to be the assistant pastor of a local church! Then came the dance my husband did to keep hidden behind the car while the dog sitter unlocked our door and I paid her.

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    1. You win the funny locked-out-of-the-house story. I've never been locked out before. We had a key pad the last 20 years and before that a hidden key.

      I'm betting people took the tin liners out of those baskets once the era of running board baskets went out of fashion. They take up a lot of room because one side is designed to hold a block of ice and is covered. Mine both have writing on the top that says, Hawkeye Basket Refrigerator.

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  9. He might be a bit rude but T-shirt Tom doesn't waste your time. Not sure I'd like my button to be the first one pushed by delivery men. Anyway to block it?
    Love the name you have chosen and know you will be settling in soon but happy you are sharing the humorous ones with us.

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    1. They have to push your apartment number into a key pad. If I didn't answer they'd probably go on to push number two or three until someone let them in. When I eventually start painting I'll be able to see people standing at the front door and of course, if I don't know them I just won't answer the doorbell.

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    1. Lots of great names were suggested. It was hard to choose.

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  11. I have a couple of mason jars and may have to find something interesting to put in them because I like that idea.

    T-Shirt Tom is rude!

    I always take my key with me when I go out just in case the lock somehow locks itself or I lock it before closing the metal screen door. Management won't open your door for you, they make you call a lock smith and pay through the nose to have the lock drilled out.

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    1. Wow, that's seems harsh to make you call a locksmith but I bet it makes you extra careful. If it happens again for me, I'm going to get a hide-a-box that I can attach to my car. assuming I can find some metal on it for the magnetic box. They charge $30 for extra keys.

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  12. Looking good! Love the ice box. Don't like T-shirt Tom, sounds like he never grew up.

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    1. Well, I always figure that anyone who follows college sports is reliving their heydays. He played football and he has granddaughter who play college soccer.

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  13. Blinding light in the bathroom is a bit much, that door would be annoying.......

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    1. The light takes some getting used to, let me tell you. I've solved the problem of the door but not opening my bedroom blind except at that top so I never have to worry about the door being open or closed.

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  14. I had a good laugh when reading your blog this morning. I am moving into a retirement village in 2 months so have really enjoyed your Misadventures as I have been going through similar misadventures too. What an experience but relief at the same time. Looking forward with great interest to hear more stories. You have helped me so much when I have felt overwhelmed by the big move.

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    1. It's such a relief to have that stress behind me and the fun, challenges of fitting in in my future. I'm glad I've moved and hopefully it will turn out the same for you.

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  15. Bertrand Russell said you have to meet 99 people before you find a keeper, so now you're down to 98! At our age we don't have time to spend with people who don't share our interests ,aren't interested in anyone but themselves, are just a little too weird, etc. Isn't it nice to be past hurt feelings and recognize the humor in the situation?

    I've wondered how you manage acknowledging your blog presence when you meet and talk to people. Where you are now, you can't pick and choose who to tell because it's guaranteed they'll tell others. The nicknames are half the fun in your posts but it could be easy to offend someone; especially now that some people are looking to be offended at every opportunity.

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    1. That's funny about at our age we don't have time to spend with people who don't share our interests. T-shirt Tom must subscribe to that philosophy.

      I'm just going to tread lightly into the the topic of writing. I've written a lot about the senior hall back before the pandemic and managed not to get myself in trouble. I suspect it will be the case here, too.

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  16. Your unit looks so cute. All your favorite furniture and collections look right at home. Boy, I'd give anything to have a cafeteria here even if it is only for sports-minded socializing.

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    1. Ours is going to be so nice once more people move in. It's very open to everyone who comes in for their mail or to go to the concierge's desk or to join a class. Great for socializing and people watching which I plan to do.

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  17. Your Daydream Den is growing more beautiful every day! The things you chose to bring with you have so much history! I have an Ikea room! I'm the only old thing here.

    LOVE love love having photos!

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    1. Ikea serves an important niche in the furniture industry but the times I went to the their store I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I'm copying a shelf you have in your bedroom for rotating art. It will be a while until I know where I want to put it, though.

      I'll keep feeding photos in until you're all sick of them.

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  18. Your Daydreamer's Den looks like a perfect place to hibernate whenever you feel like it. I had no idea there was such a thing as a running board basket. It makes perfect sense now that I see them. It's good that they're lined, or that yarn probably would snag on the wicker. You sure do have a beautiful place. If I would get organized and clean mine up, it would look a whole lot better. There's some window-washing to be done, for starters.

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    1. A lot of work went into making those baskets. The tallest is the oldest and the first time I ever saw one was at the Gilmore Car Museum here in Michigan. They have over 300 vintage cars and motorcycles and they loan them out to movies makers all the time. They have a huge collection of hood ornaments, too. After my husband died I donated a large framed, greasy chart from a 1905 or 06 touring car that they hung in their research library.

      Our windows here need cleaning really bad from construction dirt. Lots of little things to do yet but it's all coming.

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  19. I love you've installed in your den - and having "adventures" right there and then - both in your den and out in the community ...

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    1. It's fun seeing all the planning come together. I still have lots of bling to layer in but I'll take my time on that.

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  20. We had that same icebox. I am not sure when my mother got a refrigerator - at least by 1950 because I remember it from then, but we had the ice box too, and ice delivery to it. It sat on the back stairs. And dripped, if memory serves. Yours looks to be in fine condition.

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    1. Mine was build in Belding Michigan and I had it refinished about 15 year ago...still has its original stickers on the back. I still have the pan that goes underneath to catch any drips but most people had them connected to a garden hose to drain the melting block of ice so they didn't have to empty the pan. A lot of people kept them on back porches for the ice delivery guy to get at every 3 (?) days if I remember right.

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  21. Thanks for the great pics of Daydreamer's Den (great name). Sure looking good, Jean. The way you've used decorative, special pieces that double for storage, sure makes sense. You always make me smile with your antics, and that was very welcome since I've had a hospital stay this week. No biggie (fingers crossed), but always search for the light-hearted when here. BTW, as I recover, the crew has been working hard on our little home's kitchen re-do. I sure hope I can figure out ways to plan storage like you have!

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    1. Wait until you see my den storage. Even I'm impressed.

      Take care of yourself so you can home in time for the fun stuff with your remodel.

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  22. Daydreamer's Den! So perfect!!! And T-shirt Tom? Good riddance. Sheesh...people are annoying. Would have loved to see you and the church ladies together; I know which of those two scenarios would have drawn me in and I'd have walked with you back to the apartment to see if I could wrangle an invitation to see your collectables.

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    1. Wait until you're ten years older and start to be socially awkward in public like t-shirt Tom was. You learn to be more forgiving. I ran into him again and he's a dog person, loving all over one of the other resident's dog so he can't too bad. LOL

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  23. It's been fun reading about your move to the Daydreamer's Inn. Sounds like you are settling in well except for that door buzzer issue. That would annoy me, but maybe not if I was new to the place and wanted to get to know people. I come over to your blog from Ronni Bennett's page. Still missing her posts, but fun to see what some of her readers are doing.

    Delaine Zody

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  24. Daydreamer's Den is perfect! Love seeing some of how you're Decorating it and what Collections you kept, since I know how much you downsized and you're still my Inspiration for eventually getting there myself one day. *winks* I like how the Canning Jars display your Tiny Hoards you kept, I just Love how anything looks under or in Glass, it makes it seem Important... which is why I collect Canning Jars and Cloches to display things and I'm sure I stole the idea and didn't invent it my Friend. *winks* During a Can gleaning a Gender Reveal Party had wrapped and left a Dozen Canning Jars behind at the Lake Park, so I scooped them all up... Score! They'd been used to hold the small Table Bouquets of Golden Zoo Animals on a Stick, so I scooped those up too and will Sell those at the Antique Mall in a bagged lot for some unique Decor. Someone had constructed them out of Wood and they were 3-D and well made Crafts! Anyway, still Laughing about your faux pas on The Throne and meeting The T-Shirt Player-Player whose obvious window shopping for a companion no doubt! *Winks* I'm surprised how many Old Dudes tell me their whole Life Story... I'm a Talker and I wouldn't be able to get a Word in edgeways... you can always tell when a Man hasn't had a companion in a long time, they use up all their Words once they get Lonesome. Bless him, I think he buys the T-Shirts himself because The Man tries to find clever ones too that people will comment on, it's a conversation starter for the Introvert among the Male Species I think?

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