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, November 20, 2021

Ruled by Twos, Covid and Fine Dining


Since I moved into this complex that I’m officially dubbing Lady Land two people have died, two people have been quarantined with Covid, ambulances have shown up twice and two fire alarms went off---both false alarms. The last one sent us all out to the sidewalk in the early morning, most of us still in our sleepwear. Today it could have gone off at noon and I’d have been caught in my ratty bathrobe and L.L. Bean, long flannel nightgown. Old Sunday-not-go-to-meetings habits are hard to break. Another Sunday habit I've fallen back into is doing my laundry and housework then and, yes, I accomplish a lot in that ratty bathrobe. It's how it got ratty in the first place.

Residents here were trying to figure out who was in quarantine because management wasn’t giving out their names or the building they live in which I presume is because of HEPAA laws. People were scared we’d all get quarantined if anyone else gets sick. Masks are mandatory here as of today 11/19 (and again statewide in public places) and if you refuse to get on-site tested---twice now---you can’t eat in the restaurant or cafe’ or go to any of the classes. Staff is tested daily. We had to show our vaccination cards when we made our final payments, too, before moving in. So this campus feels as safer than any other random place in town.

When the news of the quarantine first broke I had a reservation to eat in the restaurant and I was the only one there for a whole hour which is not normal. At least I didn’t have to worry about being asked to sit with someone I didn’t know well enough to identify them in a lineup. Oh, and the secret of who was in quarantine finally got revealed when I happened to be sitting by the fireplace in the lobby when a woman near-by got a bouquet of flowers delivered to her. "What's the occasion?" someone asked, and she replied, "I just got out of quarantine yesterday." She and her husband both. They'd been vaccinated but still got a mild case of Covid from their grandson, got an infusion of some kind and got over it quickly. She's been wearing a full face plastic shield ever since.

If I was into food blogging the Cider Chicken I ordered that night was yummy and perfect for photo-documenting in a slick-paged food magazine. It had a sauce on it made with walnuts, cranberries, cubes of yams and cider that turned the chicken into a golden thing of beauty. The favor profiles the chef comes up with are so refined but he never serves enough veggies with his entrees. Last week I had lamb chops for the first time ever in my life and they came with nine snow peas. Taste wise and presentation wise it was to die-for but I guess I have pedestrian tastes when it comes to serving food, if you’re going to give me a giant white plate I want an old school balance on that plate of meat, potatoes and vegetables. The “sculptures” made with meat or fish on those giant plates are pretty but I’m going to get scurvy, rickets or malnutrition if I don’t start eating carrots and peas for breakfast.  

Of course, I could order more of the homemade soups in the cafe` or their salads but salads have no appeal to me in cold weather months (nor do soups in the summer). I plan on ordering the soup twice a week to stay within my food allowance. I’ve got it all figured out: Once a month I’ll do the Sunday brunch for $20 and once a week I’ll do the fine dinning restaurant for $12 to $15 a meal, twice a week I’ll do an under $5 choice in the cafe` and the rest of my cafe` meals will be $7. I’d hate to see how far some of my fellow residents are going over they $200 allowances, who eat in the restaurant every time they’re open plus they have wine or cocktails every night and dessert---even in the cafe`. Desserts are the biggest bargain here at $2.50. Award winning recipes, I’m sure, but I can’t stand seeing the bird-like eaters only eating half of their key-lime pie or other featured dessert and not taking the rest back to their apartments in a take-out box. Ya, I know, that’s why they’re skinning and I’m not. But at least I don’t have to live with the guilt of all those kids starving to death in China because I didn’t clean my plate.   

At the top is a photo nabbed off our campus website of our restaurant. Way to the back and behind the glass and navy paneled wall is an area we can reserve for family parties and that's where they set up the Sunday and holiday brunches. To the far right in the back is the bar. This place and the cafe` share a kitchen and the entrances are only ten feet a part in the complex which is how some people get wine or cocktails from the bar, then bring them over to cafe` to go with their cheaper meals. I haven't done that yet. I'm saving my first drinks-with-dinner experience for something special. 

It's been a lot of years since I've had a designated driver so I could do a drink with dinner out. Here, I can just walk home. I'm making friends with the night security guard so I could---in theory---ask him to watch me walk from the main building to my building to make sure I don't face-plant on the sidewalk and died of exposure. Or I could just tag along behind him when he does one of this every few hours walk around the outside of the buildings because he walks right past my door on his rounds.

He's a college kid with cornrows in his hair, studying for a law degree. And I can't help thinking he'd make a great cover model on a romance book. In addition to being great eye candy, he's got that look in his eye like he enjoys people and connects on a deeper level when you let him in. If I was writing a book right now I'd have him meet my fictional granddaughter for a torrid affair that ends with a small wedding down at the lake with swans in the background and me as the maid-of-honor for bringing them together. Why do we have to get old and run out of time to do all the things we can dream up? Maybe next year if I'm still alive and kicking I'll take part in the NaNoWritMo challenge again where you write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. I've done it a couple of times and while I didn't make it to 50,000 words I came close once---over 40,000---and it was fun to hang around their message board during those Novembers. In the meantime I could do research on my lovely, fantasy granddaughter and a very real, super-nice security guard. ©

the room we can reserve for family parties

44 comments:

  1. Your restaurant looks wonderful, Jean! I can't imagine how convenient it must be to be so close to delicious meals. I'm with you when it comes to fruit and veggies. After all, I think it's recommended that we eat 5 cups per day, so 6 snow peas doesn't cut it. Have to admit that snow peas were $6 for a small bag last week--eek, but there are plenty of delicious vegetables that are still reasonably priced. Glad that the meals taste good--that's important. It sounds as though the campus practices safety, and that helps give peace of mind. Yes, definitely start writing your novel. I'd read that one about the night guard (like the sounds of him) and your imaginary granddaughter. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Anxious to hear what they do for holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was surprised to learn that are having a Thanksgiving buffet here on Thanksgiving day no less. They've got quite a few Christmas things lined up too. And you've given me an idea for a blog post.

      I didn't know snow peas were so high! They plan to start a kitchen garden here next spring and grow veggies so things mind change in that department later on.

      Delete
  2. I was wondering what your new home was doing about Covid precautions. Having every resident vaccinated is surely the most important thing. I love your idea for a romance novel and hope you do NaNoWritMo and share it with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have to share it if I wanted to keep up my word count here AND take part in the challenge. You have to keep a pace up of something like 1666 words a day to make the goal. The problem with writers is we want to rewrite too much and that's kind of the whole point of writing with a deadline in the challenge. It teaches you to get your rough draft out, THEN go back to rewrite when the month is over. The fun part is that published authors are on the website giving tips and encouragement.

      Delete
  3. Pity you can't bring your own wine from your apartment to dinner. OK, so you put it in a running bottle, like water (or what was it "Granny" in the Hillbillies called it -- her "medicine"). Not fancy but it seems like you should be able to! That is creepy about not knowing who is in quarantine or ill -- just in case you were dining with them two days before. It does sound like they feed you well, but can you request extra veggies? Seems like they should be able to accommodate that without skewing the budget too much. And good idea about having someone watch you en route to your place after dinner given the dark and ultimately awful weather to come. I love hearing about your adventures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People have brought their own mixed drinks down to the community table. It's not a for profit place so they look away. But mostly I think they do it because there have been times when they didn't have staff old enough by law to serve liquor and after five there is no one around with any authority to stop them for bringing their own bottled down from their apartments.

      Delete
  4. I suppose you'll have to cook in your very own kitchen and include some vegetarian meals so that you'll get your daily requirement. I understand how you feel; my diet lately has been less than terrific, and if I don't get a big salad soon, I won't be able to stand myself.

    The cider chicken dish sounds wonderful and like something I'd really enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know how they cooked that chicken but it melted in my mouth. Not even sure what part of the chicken it was because it was twisted up into a volcano like structure. But it melted in my mouth and you barely needed a butter knife to cut it.

      I bought a vegetable tray at the grocery store last week to snack on in the evenings and I do eat a breakfast full of fortified vitamins.

      Delete
  5. Wow the meals do sound first class. I said before, I really envy the close by dining and that guard sounds like novel material for sure.
    The Covid scare sounded a bit unnerving but it is good they are taking such precautions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a single family home it would be so much easier to keep your distance from other people but I'm not sure I could take another winter like the last one were I was so isolated. They have just announced another safe guard: anyone who goes to a holiday party with family and friends are asked to self quarantine when they get back for 72 hours. Our hospitals are near capacity again from Covid patients. Our campus is even sponsoring a booster clinic on-site next week. I got mine elsewhere but next year that will be handy.

      Delete
  6. Jean, I forgot to tell you that when I was in the hospital for four days last month, I was inbetween Covid patients. It was definitely scary, but I wore a mask whenever I walked the hallway, and here we are, one month later, and no repercussions. I have had both shots and recently got my booster. I really think if you try to mask in all public areas, you will be safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for that info. Several times a week I seem to find myself next to the woman who had Covid and I keep telling myself she's probably the safest person here.

      Delete
  7. Glad the food is good! Can't you politely ask for more vegetables when you order? I am sure they want to keep people happy so they keep coming to eat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The vegetables are more like garnishes than servings. They did have a stir fry the other day that had lots of veggies in it. We've been asking for more vegetarian meals and they are working them in slowly. They started selling fresh fruit as well by the piece and I've been taking those back to my room.

      Delete
  8. The food you can get there sounds delicious! But I'm with you on the scarcity of vegetables - gimme more! Was never a winter salad lover either...although now that I live where winter is hardly even a thing, I find I am craving them a bit more during the dark months than I ever did at my previous place.
    Well, maybe not enough vegetables for your liking but seems like your imagination is being well-nourished at your new place and I am so happy to read whatever you can dream up!

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, your last sentence couldn't be more true. I can and have started buying more vegetables at the store but I can't buy inspiration, the kind I used to get at the Guy Land Cafeteria.

      Delete
  9. Im back to watching Christmas movies on Hallmark and Netflix....you've got a good story line there! LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't watched a Christmas movie yet. I'm holding out until after Thanksgiving. I think it was last year I practically OD`ed on them.

      Delete
  10. It's just so odd and sad to read about your situation with Covid. Here, life is remarkably normal -- so much so that I can't remember the last time I heard anyone talking about the pandemic, except in terms of news releases from other places. I got my Moderna booster yesterday, and the pharmacists says business has been brisk. Add in everyone getting their shots from docs, clinics, and such, and it makes sense that the last report I read said our county's at 72% or 74% vaccinated. I can't quite remember which.

    I'm with you on those fancy meals where the food to plate ratio is so badly skewed. It's good that the food is tasty, and I know there's a bottom line to hew to, but... I'd sure enough be stocking my fridge with fruit and veggies, too. I finally found some fresh cranberries, and today I'm making my favorite fresh cranberry relish: ground cranberries, orange, toasted pecans, and honey. It's not only healthy, it's great stirred into yogurt or cottage cheese.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our hospitals are at near capacity from Covid patients right now. Surprised that heck of of me when they reported that on the news a few days ago. It's the unvaccinated who are taking up the beds and the vaccinated are still getting it in a milder form.

      The CCC has another campus where it's spreading fast and they want to stop it from spreading here, thus the rules. Last year they had to confine everyone to their rooms it was so bad.

      I made fresh cranberry relish once or I should say I tried to. I forgot to put the lid on the blender and it all went on the ceiling. I buy it now in the deli and they have it year around. I really love it.

      Delete
    2. Forgive me for giggling. Forgetting to put the lid on the blender's akin to dropping a can of varnish on a boat deck. It can be cleaned up, but you don't want to do it again.

      Delete
    3. You got that right. I never did try making it again. Having to get a step ladder out to wash a ceiling the day before Thanksgiving is something you don't forget. LOL

      Delete
  11. I was recently in a home that was supposed to have all those luxuries. We weren't allowed out of our rooms. No luxury for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a bummer. This Campus has an older, sister campus and they were under lock down last winter because of Covid. I saw on their Facebook page how the staff tried to keep spirits up by doing things in the hall and outside windows and set up Zoom visits for families. The world pandemic is going to last a long time if some people don't start taking it seriously.

      Delete
  12. Oh, you've got to start taking photos of the food! Once they get feedback from everyone, I bet you get more fruits/veggies. Folks should bring their own containers and take home the leftovers. You have certainly made the right choice for Phase II! So jealous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to try to take photos of the Thanksgiving buffet. They do respond to suggestions but not as quickly as some would like. Menus are to change once a month plus the do throw in specials. One night they actually had a special of meatloaf and mash potatoes. Not something I would ever order but it was popular around here.

      I've seen people bring their own take out containers but they also have them for take out and deliveries. The ones not taking their left-overs don't like eating left-overs. I don't understand that kind of waste but I personally know a couple of people very well who won't eat left-overs. I hate seeing them shove things in the garbage disposal when it's time to clear the table.

      Delete
  13. So much fun to read your reports on CCC life! Your classes, your encounters with others, and whatever else you choose to share with us is all enjoyable.

    Covid was bound to pop up. We have undoubtedly all been exposed to someone who hadn't shown symptoms yet or who went out in public the last day of quarantine, or even people with mild cases who just didn't want to stay home. I too think masks and staying as far away from others is probably our best protection. I've also learned to hold my breath when I have to move past someone close, and hardly think about it any more. Because I used to have 2 colds each year (didn't get any for the last 18 months) I'm planning on making some of my altered behaviors permanent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've heard reports that they didn't have near as many cases of the flu last flue season and that attribute that to us wearing masks. Staying away from other in public places worked for me last year but here that is nearly impossible. People act like we are one big family so no one social distances. We have stations were we can grab a mask, take our temperatures and use hand sanitizers all over the place.

      Delete
  14. Mention of the starving kids in China reminded me of something that happened while I was in high school. I attended a small boarding school which did have some younger children. One time they brought in two sisters, ages 4 and 6, for a few weeks after their mother died while the father got things in order at home. Of course the two girls, cute as buttons, were in shock and the younger girl lost her appetite. The Mother Superior would sit with them encouraging them to eat. One night she said "Just think of those poor children in China with nothing to eat..." The younger one picked up her plate and handed it to the nun and said "Here, Sister. Mail it to them."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awe. what a sweet child! Thanks for sharing that story.

      Delete
  15. How Sad that some just got moved in and then Died! If it's a big complex I suppose some outbreaks were bound to happen and it sounds like Management take it all very seriously to keep it as Safe as can be expected. I think I'd be challenged to keep it below 50,000 words to write a Story. *Winks* The Photos are Lovely, very nice place and the Meals sound Divine and with a Master Chef preparing the Menu. You NEVER had Lambchops 'til now?!!!! My Cambodian DIL never had either but they don't have Sheep in Cambodia I guess so that wasn't such a Surprise as an American never having them. I grew up eating a lot of Lamb due to the respective Cultures of my Parents eating it all their lives. Light on the Veggies would be problematic for me too, I love my Veggies. But, if I was wanting to continue weight loss, having my own in house Chef would control portions enough I could utilize them as my Weight Loss Manager. *Ha ha ha* Those Food Budgets of $200 confuse me, does that mean you get the first Two Hundred Bucks of Food Gratis with your Contractual Agreement and then anything over that you pay for? Or, are they limiting you to eating only a couple Hundred of their Food to ensure everyone gets some? The prices seem very reasonable, we eat out a lot, so that would suit me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We get a $200 credit for food that we can use any way we want on campus. If we go over, it gets charged to our rooms and we pay the overage once a month. Some people ended up not spending it all so on the last day they ordered extra dinners to take home and freeze. I had mine planed out so I was very close. The prices are reasonable as we're a non-profit but if we invite guesses to eat with us there is a surcharge we have to pay per head. Also a surcharge if we have food delivered to our rooms. Outsiders can't pay with cash or credit card. It's got to run through a resident's account.

      Lamb is not poplar menu choice around here but not unheard of. I just never wanted to eat something with such a cute face. I has sea bass last night that was great too, not sure I've ever had it before either. Regular lake bass, yes.

      Delete
  16. The meal prices seem reasonable. I would need vegetables too. I'm diabetic so I eat salads and more vegetables than sides with my dinners.

    Sorry to hear people have passed away so soon after moving in.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really was sad but the wait time was so long for some of us who bought in early it was bound to happen. Very sad reminder of what's to come, living in a place where we're all close in age.

      Delete
    2. Same happened when I moved into 55 and over community. In 2 years at least 5 deaths, many ambulance trips. The community has 70 condos.
      Also, your place looks & sounds better and better with every blog.

      Delete
    3. They really are focused on putting people above profits.

      Delete
  17. I like how well planned your complex seems to be. I also like your plan for food spending. Right now, food is taking up a good bit of my budget and I'm not too happy about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far it's working out. I just need to plan healthier snacks and lunches at home. Grocery shopping is gives you sticker shock, doesn't it.

      This place is focused on people not profits.

      Delete
  18. It sounds. like the place is a winner. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. ❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Got a lot of blogger fodder around here. I could write almost every day.

      Delete
  19. Another great post, life is different now days with lockdowns and Covid testing but we adjust

    ReplyDelete