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

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Covid on Campus and Exercise Woes


Thursday morning I sat waiting for the results of a rapid-Covid test because a married couple here on the continuum care campus has it and is under quarantine. Contact tracing of their whereabouts put them within one degree of someone I sat next to at a recent meal and she’d been in their unit with them the day before they got sick. The dining areas in both restaurants were closed (until Monday) and that night they got thoroughly cleaned which included the use of a large ultrasonic UV-C cleaning machine that the company describes at a “dual emitter UV-C sterilizer specifically designed to work in tandem to emit germ deactivating UV energy.” It supposedly cleans the very air we breathe and every surface with lights so strong you can’t look at it without special goggles thus it’s done during times when all good little soldiers are no where around. It’s same machine they use to disinfect airplanes and hospitals. The management applied for a special grant to buy it and this was the first time it was used.

Everything on our calendar got canceled for Thursday including I was supposed to get my apartment cleaned in the morning and I set my alarm at the crack of dawn to be ready for the guy. But he’s the only one trained on our new ultrasonic UV-C machine so I’ve been put on hold while he gears up for being The Germ Terminator. By the end of the day when the results of everyone’s rapid covid tests were known we all breathed a sigh of relief because they proved that the only ones with it are the couple with covid symptoms plus three others who’d been in close contact and tested positive but they don’t have symptoms. All are under house arrest until they test negative again. And yes, the One Degree Woman was one of "the three others."

The rest of us could resume normal routines but masks and public distancing through out the place are required and we can only get our food in to-go boxes until Monday. I’ve already gotten my first boxed meal and it was so good I wouldn’t mind emergence rations every day. In the box was a thick steak to die for (poor choice of words considering), mashed potatoes and broccoli. All we had to do is place an order by phone from a three item menu and then pick it up 30 minutes later, disregarding the normal 11:30 to 1:00 and 4:00 to 7:00 hours when the kitchen is generally serving.

Topic Change: When I moved into this place in October my weight had dropped eight pounds due to the packing and unpacking and forgetting to eat during those craziness days but the holidays put them right back on again. So I dug out my I-pod with my treadmill playlist and I’ve been on that machine every day for the past five days. Going to a gym that is virtually across the hall is handy and when I get off the treadmill I walk the distance of our hall and back to Helen Reddy singing I am Woman and that always makes me feel like---well, I could do anything. Anything but stay on that treadmill for that last song on my playlist...but I'll get there. 

I have such a love/hate relationship with exercise---mostly the latter. I love the fact that it helps me lose weight but I have to work myself up to do it, get thoroughly disgusted with myself. It just doesn’t stick as life style routine. Never has, never will. It’s always been punishment for being fat from the time I was 14 and my mom took me to my first gym aka fat camp where one of the things they did to me was wrap me in wet cloth and stick me in a sauna.

There’s a woman here who is a perky and petite blonde who I nicknamed The Cheerleader the first time I saw here at a tailgate party. She was knitting and throwing her arms up in the air often enough that I was sure she was loosing stitches. Turns out she really was a cheerleader in both high school and college. Married the star quarterback. Divorced the star quarterback. Then she married twice more, both times apparently to nice guys who ended up dying on her. She’s an exercise fiend. She’s always got her Nordic poles with her walking her little feet off outside inside, good weather and bad weather. She says it’s her job to stay healthy and walking with her Nordic poles keeps her arm bones strong. She doesn’t believe in popping pills like I do for my bones. I don’t believe in spending several hours a day doing something I’d absolutely hate.

It the past I had the typical stereotype for cheerleaders in my head---stuck up and shallow---but our cheerleader is nothing like that. Whenever someone new walks into to the cafe` or the lobby she’s on them with a greeting---a regular little welcome wagon. She’s not the least bit shy which I both admire and recoiled from at first. I kept looking for a hidden agenda like maybe she’s noisy and her perky little welcome wagon covered that up. But, nope, she genuinely seems to care about people. For example when she found out I like art she told me about the art professor living here and she made sure to point her out to me when we happened to all be at the same dinner table. The Cheerleader does that sort of thing all the time, matches people up with like interests.

There are two people here on campus who are tuned into what everyone else is doing, and The Cheerleader one of them. If you want to know something you know who to ask. But the two of them are opposing forces. Our cheerleader is all about spreading positive energy and the other is all about spreading discontent.

Since I wrote the above I got a request from the management to go to the office to get a second Covid test because contact tracing---again---put me at a party earlier in the month where someone in attendance just tested positive. I passed this test too, but it makes me want to google where I can get a bi-hazardous suit so I can socialize without fear that we're playing Russian Roulette.  ©

My latest 600 piece jigsaw puzzle, started is Saturday night, finished Monday morning. Fairly easy but still fun and different than others.

44 comments:

  1. I just started working on a puzzle. I bought a large portfolio style holder. Your work gets preserved by a giant cushion that holds them in place. Leftover pieces can be sorted by color into six pocket. It's just nice to have the dining room table cleared off by dinner.

    I haven't had a Covid test but I have four FREE kits coming sometime soon. My County is peaking around Jan 26 so by Valentine's Day I may venture out with an N95 mask.

    Tuesday I sent Jesse to get halibut and I broiled them with salt, pepper, garlic, smoked paprika and a slather of mayo. Made yeast dinner rolls that morning and rice steamed with chicken broth and whole cloves of garlic. Jesse steamed the broccoli. Dinner was fabulous with cookies for dessert (bake at home kind) I think we'll make chowder with the left over fish for tomorrow. Next on my mind is chuck roast!

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    1. I hadn't heard of the puzzle portfolios. Sounds like a great idea when you don't have room to leave them out. I have a drop leaf table in my den that I've been using but I also have a roll up mat that I could use, never do though.

      Are those free tests the rapid kind, do you or anyone else know? I can get those here so I'd hate to send for them and maybe add to a short supply elsewhere.

      One good thing about the pandemic is it's made good cooks out of a lot of people. Your dinner sounds great.

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  2. Sorry to hear that Covid has hit your CCC! Hoping all will recover quickly. Sounds like you have state of the art equipment to fight it. That has to be a big plus. I really don't know what to think of Covid. Every member of our immediate family was definitely exposed to it. My SIL had a full-blown case. My daughter, their two girls, his mom and dad and my husband and I had spent plenty of time together. However, my husband was the only one that showed symptoms following exposure. He had been fully vaccinated and boosted, tho, and he never even had a fever. The rest of us have been tiptoeing around counting days, and hoping that we'll slide by. Hopefully, the virus is fizzling out. The whole world needs a freaking break already!! Impressive puzzle skills. It would probably take me a year to finish one. Stay well, Jean. Sending positive thoughts your way.

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    1. Around my state it seems like Covid is hitting the unvaccinated as hard as ever and they are ending up in the hospital but those who've been vaccinated are having mild cases. The party I was at looked like a breeding ground from the minute I walked in but no one was wearing masks, so I didn't put my on either. Over 20 of use exposed to the same person but one three go it. Still, those three walked around exposing others until they got symptoms. I almost wish they'd give everyone a notice that at a certain day we'd all start a 10 day lockdown to stop the spread. It would never work but I can dream.

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  3. So glad you dodged the Covid bullet and those box lunches sound wonderful. I like the cheerleader. Seems like she ought to get some sort of salary for her cruise director efforts.
    That puzzle does not look easy to me. No picture, just random colors.

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    1. The puzzles were odd too, four of the outside frame pieces didn't even look like outside pieces until the every end. I thought they weren't in the box. Searching for color shade changes was good exercise for me. My new paint just got here!

      I heard yesterday that the Cheerleader is delivering boxes meals to those in covid lockdown to save them them $2 fee the kitchen charges for deliveries. The kitchen staff is shorthanded too so it helps them as well. She is he real deal.

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  4. You can now order the covid tests -- covidtests.gov -- and you might want to. They usually have you take one and then a couple days later, another. Just to be on the safe side. I hope this is a bullet you dodge big time. I'd love to get out and even walk but it's bloody cold out there and I need to find my pal Richard Simmons online or dig out my DVDs from some deep dark place. Good luck and good thoughts for another negative test.

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    1. I gave my Richard Simmons DVDs to Goodwill. Come on over, they are probably still there.

      Thanks for the link. I'm going to check it out.

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    2. I just placed an order for the free tests and the follow up email says they won't start shipping until late January. Couldn't find anything on the site about when they expire.

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    3. Thanks for the link. I just ordered my 4!

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  5. A positive test in a facility like yours can be a nightmare scenario for everyone. It sounds like they've planned well. Glad you've continued to test negative and are keeping yourself fit.

    I feel the same way about traditional exercise. I'd rather go for walks and do other things--like shovel snow--than flail around on an exercise machine. It feels like punishment every single time.

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    1. I have always liked shoveling snow. Even when I plowed snow I'd often come home in the morning and shovel my sidewalks because it felt so good on my back from having sat all night long in a truck.

      I broke a bunch of bones in my foot once and not the break lines are full of arthritis so I don't trust walking where I don't know I can find a bench to rest on when I need to. They have them along the lake here so in the spring I'll walk outside more. The view from our treadmills is pretty good anyway, can see everything that is going on at the made entry. Best place to wait for the postman, Amazon and FedEx guys to come. LOL

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  6. Glad you tested negative and hope you continue to stay safe.
    Stereotypes can prove false when you get to know a person. Glad you gave your cheerleader a chance so you can see how nice she is.

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    1. So true. I never knew a cheerleader exact in high school and watching a few episodes of the cheerleading game on TV---can't remember its real name. In high school kids can get labeled as stuck up when they are really just shy.

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  7. My favorite puzzle was one that was money from around the world just thrown onto a table. So there were no square/rectangle puzzles. It was fun. But since the money is different colors it helped but if you saw something in another language you didn't know necessarily where it went, to what countries money. It was a good puzzle!
    I just signed up for the free covid tests sent to each home. (4boxes per home)You don't seem to need that since they test you there. Good deal. I would love to go exercise across the hall. I don't mind the exercise I hate the drive to go there. And I have heard this about the hatred towards cheerleaders my whole life. My step daughter made a nasty comment and Rick looked at me and said, "dare we tell her?" Nope.

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    1. I take it you were a cheerleader? LOL I don't hate them---never really knew one well enough to judge until now, but every TV program and movie I ever saw portrays them as shallow, catty, etc. so it's an uphill battle for those who don't fit the stereotype.

      I've seen those money puzzles. Got to try one sometime.

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  8. I have never had the patience for jigsaw puzzles

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  9. Covid - it's everywhere these days. I was supposed to go for a physical on Monday - got cancelled because there was a Covid case in the clinic and they had to shut down for several days. Went this morning and proclaimed fit even though I know I am carrying too many extra pounds. I do like exercise, however...but nothing seems to help. My body likes this weight and has fought me to stay at it for over 6 years now. I don't gain but I also never lose. Sigh...

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    1. AS much walking and good, fresh air that you get I would think your body knows what it wants and needs. Not gaining and losing would be a blessing in itself for me. I'm up and down all the time.

      Covid seems like it's winning, doesn't it.

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  10. A couple of my good friends in H.S. were cheerleaders, and some of the cheer team was really nice. Of course, there were a few that were, shall we say, into themselves. BUT, in a small school, there is always someone around to take you down a peg. Ha! We also have friends who were the cheerleader and star of the team in their small H.S. and they couldn't be nicer. None of that was an option for me, as I am not super coordinated and could never master a cartwheel. LOL.

    Sorry Covid has come to your campus. I suppose it was inevitable...it seems to be everywhere lately. There are just SO many people waltzing around without masks, and I know they're not vaxxed. Hope you are back in the dining room soon, but also really happy your meals are tasty and quickly available. Hang in there...we're halfway through January. I keep telling myself this will improve with warmer weather.

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    1. Me neither on the cartwheels. I wasn't blonde either which seemed to be a perquisite or maybe it was just because most of my school were blondes. In my class of 93 there were only 4 of us with dark hair.

      I can't wait until spring. I hardly leave campus but I'm happy with that.

      I'm thinking when everyone gets their free test kits for Covid that will slow down the spread because people will know sooner if they have it and not have to put off getting out to find a test.

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  11. I might have had a little problem with your cheerleader at first; people who seem overly cheerful or overly determined to be friendly leave me cautious. On the other hand, when I hear the word 'cheerleader,' I don't think cheerful; I think 'snobby.' I had a hard time in junior high getting over my jealousy of the head cheerleader and her tight little clique. Every time I see someone wearing a sweater set and pearls, I think of her. Maybe I'm still not quite over it!

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    1. That's exactly how I feel about people who "seem overly cheerful and determined to be friendly." I am cautious but she's the real deal---I can say with confidence after being around her for three months now.

      Sweater sets and pearls...now that's a fashion tread I hadn't thought about in years. I don't associate it with cheerleaders, though. I think of Grace Kelly. I'm quite you weren't the only one jealous of those cheerleaders.

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  12. Glad you Tested Negative both times Jean, I think we'd all like Biohazard Suits given how prevalent this is now. Your Cheerleader reminds me of a Waitress my Dad knew named Debbie, she was such an Adorable little Sprite, even in her 70's, so I'm sure she was a ravishing Beauty in her Youth and she had the personality to match... I always dubbed her The Cheerleader. Had to Laugh at your mention of her little Feet being worked to Death with the Nordic Poles... sadly, the Exercise Fiends don't always have the Immortality factor in spite of their best efforts, Bless 'em. Like you, tho' I Love to Walk and can keep pace for Hours outside, the Gym Thing was not for me, I only liked the Wet Sauna part. *Ha ha ha*

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    1. I can't wait until you finally get rid of all covid virus cases from your house.

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    2. Me too Jean... me too... this Quarantine shit just isn't for me.

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  13. Hi from Very Cold Central Iowa! One good turn deserves another and I ordered your gorgeous (1000 piece) puzzle. In return I am sharing info about my favorite puzzle making accessory, kinda pricey at $70 but Absolutely Worth Every Penny! Bits and Pieces - 1500 Piece Size Porta-Puzzle Jigsaw Caddy - Puzzle Accessories - Puzzle Table - 21½" X 35½"

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D51CGAW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    I've had it 4 years now after trying the rollup felt puzzle keeper and a couple other products that got returned to Amazon. This one ticks so many boxes and is so portable. I also can fold in the two upper pieces to cover the puzzle and leave it on the table so the pieces don't reach out and grab me as I pass by. I can still hear them whispering my name but I can generally ignore them since if I do respond there is NO HOPE for accomplishing any of my goals for the day. I expect many of your readers can relate to that dilemma.
    As always, I have been enjoying your blogs even though I seldom comment. I hope this will make up for it :-)
    Jeannine in Iowa

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    1. I can see why you like that puzzle caddy. I had to laugh at your line about how it allows you to cover the puzzle so you're able to pass by it and not have it grab you as you pass by. That happens to me all the time. I have to set a timer when I work on one or I'll keep at and then notice the whole day is gone.

      It's so cold here too that I am buddled up like a child sent out to play in the snow only I'm inside.

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    2. P.S. You're quite the detective to be able to find my puzzle at Amazon to order! I'm impressed.

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  14. It's interesting to read about how your new home is dealing with Covid. I was wondering. Please stay safe. As for a love/hate relationship with exercise, me too. I was an awkward girl. I don't blame my dislike of exercise on the cheerleaders as much as the PE teachers who empowered them. If those teachers had taught rather than worshipped the cheerleaders I might have a more positive view of exercise.

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    1. Every guest who comes into the lobby has to get their temperature taken and fill out a form for contact tracing which is a pain for them but as I understand it once you're in the system you only have to fill in the date and temp for repeat visits. They are as safe as any place and have contained the virus from spreading twice now.

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  15. Your cheerleader sounds like a very nice person. Had to smile when I read Welcome Wagon. I actually was a Welcome Wagon Lady for several years. Great fun, meeting new people in the neighborhood etc; but as time wore on, less comfortable going into strangers houses...people just aren't like they used to be it seems.

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    1. I was actually expecting a real Welcome Wagon to come by and acquaint us with the neighborhood businesses, etc. but it didn't happen. I guess that's another era we can say goodbye to.

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  16. Oh Jean....I've been worried about Covid at your CCC. I'm sorry it has invaded, but it seems inevitable with this variant being hyper-contagious. Still...it's a "crapshoot" who will get it. I'm about to write a blog post about my husband's recent exposure -- it was significant, and still he tested negative (thankfully). Well, stay well! And don't think of it as exercise; think of it as "intentional movement practices". LOL

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    1. Renaming it isn't going to work for me, but I love your spirit. Hope your husband says negative.

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  17. I don't even see anyone wearing masks around here anymore. Half the people in the stores don't wear them and stores are tired of arguing with people. It's no wonder my daughter, grandson and I got Covid last month.

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    1. Same is true in the general population around here. Anything to do with medical people are still masking up but probably only 1/4 to a 1/3 are doing it off campus. On campus it's more like 98% It helps that they supply masks and hand cleaner at all the major doorways.

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  18. Sorry to hear there is Covid in your CCC, but it was probably inevitable given all the social activity and the lack of masking in the context of the hyper-contagious omicron variant. Maine has had its highest hospitalization rates of the pandemic during the past month, and it shocks me when I look at the national data and realize that our hospitalizations per capita are below the national average. Many towns here are adopting local mask requirements for all indoor public places. I'm glad that one of these towns is one where I regularly shop for food. The last time I was there, an unmasked woman who was really crowding into my space at the checkout counter told me that she was "done with Covid."

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    1. "Done with Covid"----if only it was that easy. I've heard that same thing said recently which makes me wonder if someone in the media said it first.

      I hate having to worry about every little cough or sneeze or headache and wondering if I have the beginning of the virus. Since our last round of testing this place has been very empty in the public areas. Most people are taking taking their meals to go.

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  19. Just goes to show that you can never let your guard down if you want to escape the clutches of covid. It's unbelievable that there are people who refuse jabs and take the whole thing lightly.
    good luck and stay safe.

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    1. Thank you, I am taking it seriously, wearing my mask and cut down on time spent with others. Since the recent testing no one is hanging around the public areas including most of us are getting our meals to go.

      I can't believe who selfish some people are who aren't getting the vaccinate.

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  20. I divide exercise people in three classes: (1) those who can't sit still; (2) those who get up and do it because they have to; or (3) those who don't and aren't going to start. I think the #1 just have to move. That moving their body feels good to them, as opposed to how it feels to the rest of us. The #2 have a medical issue, like my diabetes, or family longevity issues, which require exercise to live a better life. Good old #3, probably the largest group know the good and the bad about not exercising and chose to follow that path, like smokers, heavy drinkers and drug users. If I walk Buddy twice a day I feel like I have accomplished the need to move my body parts but it takes a longer, faster walk to do my diabetes some good. Some days I do it all, some days not. I try not to beat myself up.

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    1. I'm in the #3 group of those who hate exercise. I know it's not a waste of time but it still feels that way.

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