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, April 16, 2022

From Going Blind to Jigsaw Puzzles and Gritty Netflix’s

 

The Association of the Blind put on a presentation at my continuum care complex. I’m not in danger of going blind anytime soon but knowledge is power and my threshold for boredom is pretty low which is why you’ll find me at most of the informational experiences offered on this campus. You can always find something useful and this time I learned about these things called ‘Bump Dots.’ When the woman talked about how putting these tiny rubber dots on things like stoves, washers/dryers and electronics can help the blind I knew I wanted a couple for my microwave. That sucker has a black panel that is hard to read unless you have a flashlight in your hand. I happen to have a card of ‘Bump Dots’ marketed for another purpose---for the the bottom of vases and things you don’t want to scratch the tops of your furniture---and the minute I got home I dug them out. Well, not the same minute, I had to pee first but you don’t need to know that. I can’t believe that two little dots on my microwave have made so much difference. No longer do I need to keep a flashlight handy just to heat up some water for a hot beverage or to heat up my bean bag/foot warmer in the microwave at bedtime. (And aren’t we all glad the beanbag season is almost gone.)

The community jigsaw puzzle table has been entertaining since it arrived 2-3 weeks ago, but not for the reason you might imagine. It’s been bounced around to different locations Goldilocks and the Three Bears style. One room was too cold, another too far off the beaten path and the just right place in the lobby, the marketing director didn’t like. She was cagey like a fox and went to the CEO to get it moved yet again. But as the concierge correctly said, “If there’s ever going to a protest march on this campus it will be over the puzzle table.” Six of the puzzle workers went to the CEO in mass and told him the marketing director doesn’t live here and shouldn’t have a say it it. Not to mention they’re marketing this place to people over 55 and old people like to do jigsaw puzzles. The puzzle went back to the lobby.

But that wasn’t the end of the puzzle drama. We finished one puzzle and Mr. And Mrs. Matchy-Matchy started another puzzle only they started it with the top of the puzzle running along the side of the puzzle table so it’s hard make any sense of what you’re looking at and they laid out all the pieces to one side of the of the border pieces instead of on both sides making it hard for anyone but them to work on it. One of them sat in front of puzzle-in-progress and the other stool blocking all the pieces. With the first puzzle we could get five people around the table working together. I don't know what to think about the group puzzle experience. I also just found out that someone took a puzzle piece home so he could have the satisfaction of putting the last piece in place. With the second puzzle, two people did it. Someone needs to remind them they're not twelve years old. And once I was standing with a piece in my hand when another resident took it out of my hand and said she knew where it went. She didn’t. Why did she have to have that piece when there were 500+ others on the table to choose from? It's one of the old people mysteries I can't solve except to say I'm wondering if a community puzzle is bringing out some long, lost sibling rivalries.

On to my latest Netflix obsession. If you liked the gritty, character driven series In the Dark you’ll probably also like Hap and Lenard. It’s based on Joe Landsdale’s book series by the same name. It’s set in East Texas in the late 1980s and I’ll quote a Salon article to describe what it’s about. “Hap is a former 1960s white radical and hippie. He is best friends with Leonard, a black gay Vietnam veteran who is also a Republican. Together in their small corner of the world they try to do the right thing in keeping with their own code of honor about respecting the human rights and dignity of all people. The television series and novels are compelling on a number of levels, but what is perhaps most striking is the authenticity of the relationships between the characters and how Lansdale's humane values shine through in what he describes as his Southern noir-influenced 'mojo' style of storytelling.” 

I will add that Hap and Lenard became friends in early childhood after a drunk driver killed both their fathers. Honest to God, some of the seedy situations they get themselves into had me sitting on the edge of my bed in the wee hours of the morning more than a few times. It’s not a series everyone will like, but if you like crime/thrillers you might want to try Hap and Lenard. It got canceled during the Trump administration when racial tensions heated up and the show became too hot for Sundance TV. A good article about it can be found at the web address below. For some reason the Bloggers platform isn't allowing me to embed the link today.   ©

https://www.salon.com/2018/06/12/losing-hap-and-leonard-in-the-trump-age-this-show-was-an-inoculation-for-some-people/

50 comments:

  1. Hap and Lenard sounds like a show I may enjoy. I like character driven mysteries and thrillers. The Chelsea Detective and Outer Range are in that category. I keep learning too, good for you with adding the bumps to your microwave.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should warn you that Hap and Lenard series has a lot of course language. I'm not offended but I'm just saying it in case others are.

      Delete
  2. Reading about the puzzle power struggle reminded me of stories my mom told me. She and dad had lived in rural areas for most of their lives, but when they got older, they bought a nice condo. Being part of a community living in such close proximity proved interesting. Mom never missed a beat. I wish she would have written a book. There were struggles over everything. When it was time to paint the commons area, there was so much dissention that they literally had to drop the project. Of course, the gossip mill was never ending and whenever I talked to mom, she'd say, "You'll never believe this..." and proceed to tell me the latest condo news. There were some real corkers, but there were also some gems. As my dad's health failed, there were residents who helped mom, and we were so grateful for their kindness. Thank goodness that there are usually more decent and generous folks out there than the troublemakers!

    I had never heard of Hap and Leonard, but I'm going to check them out. I really enjoy reading and they look interesting.

    Have a good Easter weekend, Jean. Hope you're having some nice, spring weather!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see how descension over paint colors could end the project. LOL We have a few gossips here but mostly nice people who help each other. I see lots of friendships forming. More so in the bigger building where I'm not living.

      Hope you and everyone reading this has a good Easter weekend.

      Delete
  3. Oh, my! I think I'd pass up the puzzle-table experience. I have lived long enough to understand people are always people with all their foibles, but I don't want in-my-face reminders in what is supposed to be a fun and cooperative experience. Thanks for the recommendation for Hap and Lenard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true about people with all their foibles being the same everywhere. The puzzle table drama has settled down now that's it's found its permanent home, even if the marketing director had to find the limit to her power to control the ambiance of the public areas for that to happen.

      Delete
  4. The thing about taking the puzzle pieces home is the funniest pieces I've ever heard! It's like hiding money under the Monopoly board only really sillier -- at least in Monopoly there is a competition! That'll make my day. and thanks for the idea about the dots -- I have the same issue with my microwave and probably a few other things if I think about it. Plus, it's a great idea for table tops. How did I live this long and not know about these?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been using the dots for the bottoms of things for years and I'm kicking myself that it never occurred to me to use them to mark things like my microwave. The Trick, we were told, is not to use too many on appliances or it defeats the purpose. I have one to the left of the 'cook' button and another to the left of the 'start' button. The numbers in between are easy to find once I got those orientation.

      Delete
  5. Fighting over where a jigsaw puzzle is located, while the world burns…..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, but couldn't we lay the same guilt trip on just about everything we do? Enjoying a fancy night out on the town while people are starving and on the run from the war, for example.

      The puzzle table location drama is actual a micro-example of democracy working to overthrow a dictator. The activities director took a poll before it was even delivered and the lobby area won the poll but the marketing director tried to pull rank and lost. Had she respected the democratic process the whole thing wouldn't have happened. If Putin had respected the Ukrainian's autonomy the war wouldn't have happened.

      Delete
  6. I guess no one is on their best behaviour there once the puzzle table comes out. I've never heard such silly drama before amongst 'adults' before. I can just hear my mother saying, "If you can't behave, I'm taking it away!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read my reply to Mary above for why most of the drama happened. But the taking pieces home was childish and I doubt that will happen again since they got outed for doing it. Unwritten rules are getting established. There is always someone working on the puzzle---its been popular. I have taken to going to dinner 15 minutes early and doing a few pieces while I wait for my reservation or 15 minutes after picking up my mail. I sort colors mostly because who ever lays takes them out of the box does it so randomly it drives me nuts to work a puzzle that way.

      Delete
  7. Taking a piece of the puzzle so you can have the last piece is sure silly! That made me laugh. I'd stay away from them tho! :)
    Hap and Lenard sounds interesting. I will check it out. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was two guys who did it and I think it was meant to be a joke. If their work place was anything like my husband's guys were always messing with one another to be funny.

      Delete
  8. Wow...the puzzle drama is quite something. I would be furious if someone took one piece home to hold it and put in the last piece. How petty. That would put me off the group activity, but I'm like that. LOL.

    We had some glow-in-the-dark bumps attached along the floor in our last garage, because we had two steps down to the car level and both of us had stumbled at least once. Saved me from injuring myself more than once. I'm in favor of any aids that help at this point. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was put off by the taking pieces home too but read my reply to Ellen above. I think that explains why they did it and that soften my view a little. I don't think it will happen again.

      I'll be contacting you on Facebook later today.

      Delete
    2. I painted a white stripe on the edges of the two steps down to my garage. I haven't stubbed my toe or missed the last step since. Effective and cheap.

      Delete
    3. I did orange tape on all the steps at my dad's house. It really helped. Depth perception, I guess changes as we age. Whatever we can do to keep us from falling is a great preempted move.

      Delete
  9. The puzzle story is hilarious, Jean! For both the setting drama and what the puzzlers are up to. I could see that making it to the screen someday…think Grace and Frankie: the Continuum Campus Years. I don’t know if I can get that Hap and Lenard show on Canadian Netflix, but I’ll look for it.

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hap and Lenard doesn't have but 4-5 seasons so it doesn't take long to binge. I'm tempted to try one of the books.

      Any place that has a lot of senior citizens in one place funny stories seem to emerge. But I feel I need to keep reminding my blog readers that I'm writing about the unusual happenings---the odd ball stuff---that most of the people and thee things going on here are quite normal. Sometimes I feel like I'm turning people off to living in a continuum care complex and I certainly don't want to do that, because I'm very happy here. There is truly something for everyone. I don't write, for example, write about the charity luncheons that cost $1,000 year to belong to that group of do-gooders. I also haven't written about the half-dozen or so ladies here who travel all over the world. And several people just got back from wintering in Florida and several others are getting ready to spend the summer at cottages up north. I'm betting I'm the only one here from a blue-collar background and who barely ever leaves the campus.

      Delete
    2. Please consider writing a "an ordinary day at the ccc" post. It would be of interest to those of us who are considering that option. Obviously... every day is different in the details. And we really don't need info about visiting the loo.

      For example... must you sign out if you go shopping or go for a walk? Do they do a body count every day? How do you learn about what's on offer that day? Who picks the puzzle? (BTW... I've read of a jigsaw where all the pieces are clear acrylic... no picture).

      Delete
    3. I'll do that sometime when I'm looking for something to write about. Thanks for the suggestion.

      To answer your questions: In the independent living section of any CCC you don't have to sign in or out for anything. You are free to come and go at will. But if you're going to be gone overnight or longer you do let them know. That's in case of a fire or tornado, they need a count for safety. In the assisted living section, it's like any other stand-alone assisted living or nursing homes you do have to tell them when you're leaving the campus. The people in these two sections never mix up and are in separate building in most CCC but it's something to ask about when you tour. All independent living sections of CCC's that I toured you can cook all your own meals or eat in at their dining room. Some have food allowances you can spend that encourages you to eat in their dining room. Some only serve meals 3-4 days a week. It's important question to ask when you tour. Once you move down to assisted living/nursing homes you don't have a kitchen of your own anymore. In independent living we can get our meals delivered to our apartments for a couple of dollars which people have done when they are sick.

      We have several ways to know what is going on in a day. We have an app we can put on our devices, we have a channel on our Cable TV that is all CCC news, we have large screens in the common areas that show slides of coming events, the time, date and weather. And we can sign up to get daily and weekly emails with a schedule of offerings.

      I read about those clear acrylic puzzles too. I like hard ones but that one seems boring to me. I like the sorting part of doing puzzles too well. I don't know who picks out our puzzles for the community table. We have a stack of them in our game room that residences have donated. I thing they've come from there so far.

      Delete
  10. What a hoot! I hope the Marketing person now understands the politics of working with older people!! I feel like I'm the ONLY blue collar owner here at the condos. We used to do potluck gatherings a few times each year. First social since Covid is Taco Party on May 5th ... $15/per person. There are FIVE of us ... and for $75 we could go out to a nice restaurant

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Prices in restaurants have really gone up at lot recently. I'm not so sure you could do that anymore, but I say another Covid lock down could be coming so we should all go out while we can and enjoy the atmosphere.

      Delete
  11. Interesting..............
    I forget what I was going to say, bugga
    I do remember that I find jigsaw puzzles frustrating

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Been there, done that on forgetting what I wanted say or write.

      Delete
  12. That puzzle situation boggles the mind. Worse than a group of children! I would be irritated by it also although I don't enjoy puzzles to start with. Group projects of any kind can be problematic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not big on any group project either. Any time I've spent on the group puzzles has been by myself. Others are dong the same, but people come by and check on the progress when they are in the lobby so it's a point of conversation with others we might not talk to otherwise.

      Delete
  13. I don't think I'd participate in a Community Puzzle unless nobody else was around... puzzles are frustrating enough for me without the added frustration of dealing with Adults misbehaving over something that doesn't matter. *LOL* The guy that took a piece Home, so he could put the last piece in, Honestly, he's gone past his 2nd Childhood right into some kind of Weird Dementia?? *Eye Roll*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not dementia. Since writing this I've come to believe that taking home the last piece was meant as a good-natured joke between two of the guys. Like the dumb practical joke they might have done in the work place.

      Delete
  14. That puzzle-piece snatching is hilarious. I agree that it probably was meant as a kind of inside joke -- and besides, it did give you something else to write about! I have some of those 'dots' on the inside of my cupboard doors, but they were here when I arrived, and I never gave them any thought at all. The other possibilities make perfect sense, especially using them on the bottom of vases, etc. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kind of wish I hadn't written about the puzzle table at all. It came off making people look petty and mean-spirited when I meant to convey the humor we all got out of the moving puzzle table and us setting down into forming unwritten rules for the community table. It's all been in good fun. Except for the part about over ruling the marketing director, that part was dead serious and the residents got what we wanted.

      Delete
    2. The marketing director got what she deserved, too. You're exactly right -- the residents should have the final say in issues like that. Top-down decisions by detached bureaucrats don't always do the good they may be intended to do! And I didn't think you showed people as petty or mean-spirited at all. I was amused by the whole story, and really enjoyed it.

      Delete
  15. my husband LOVED Hap and Leonard and was so disappointed when he was canceled. I do not understand how these sticky things make you see things better? Can you explain? I mean ya'll know I can't see right now :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't help you SEE better, they give you something to feel as a reference point. For example, the one on the cook time button on my microwave gives me a place to start process AND tells me the number pad is right below it and the one at the bottom to tells me I've found the start button to push. The dot bumps help you learn to "see" with your fingertips. They tell people who are losing their sight slowly that ideally they should start using the dot bumps before all their sight is gone.

      Delete
  16. Loving the jigsaw sociological experiment...have you considered adding a few pieces from a different puzzle? Just an idea :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. What is this? Share a jigsaw puzzle? No way! I won't ever let anyone touch MY jigsaw. You must have a community of saints.
    Catherine/parlance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most of the time you can't get close enough to the puzzle table to work on it, it's that popular. But it's been an interesting study of human nature. Come flu season there is no way on God's green earth would I touch that puzzle. LOL

      Delete
  18. I grew up within walking distance to the State's Blind School, before bumps think they used some felt that could be glued to things to help people feel important buttons. The puzzle drama sounds pathetic. You might need vote on a puzzle police, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I failed at writing about the puzzle drama. Except for the settling into the location, the rest was all in good fun.

      Delete
  19. Those sticky buttons sound like a good idea. I like a nice jigsaw puzzle - you need to put up a poster, called Jigsaw Puzzle Etiquette and hopefully the jigsaw shenanigans with stop (don't hold your breath, though)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a good idea except the security camera would catch me putting up a sign. LOL

      Delete
  20. I've not heard of Hap and Lenard, but it sounds compelling. If you want to ramp up the puzzle faux sibling rivalry issue, I've got a couple I could send you. They're tricky-- and you could sit back and watch what happens next. Or keep them for yourself. 🧩

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could send siblings or puzzles? Not that I need any of either. Just askin' for a friend. LOL

      Delete
  21. I read the books before I saw the series. Like usual with books and movies, I couldn't quite accept the tv characters as being Texas good old boys, but other than that I liked it. The actor that played Leonard died recently so there won't be any more episodes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's really sad. He was a good actor and I'd hoped they'd be able to bring the series back.

      Delete

Thanks for taking the time to comment. If you are using ANONYMOUS please identify yourself by your first name as you might not be the only one. Comments containing links from spammers will not be published. All comments are moderated which means I might not see yours right away to publish through for public viewing as I don't sit at my computer 24/7.