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, April 20, 2022

Quirks and Rituals plus a Bedroom Tour


I’m a person who does better with routines but we’ve had this conversation before so I’ll move on to the topic of the quirks and rituals that seem to define who I am. For example, when I get up in the morning the first thing I do is pee which probably doesn’t vary too much from what you do. But do you then check the color of your urine to judge whether or not you’re drinking enough water? You can’t go by smell alone because if you’re smelling your pee you’re way past the point where you’re not getting enough water. Run don't walk to the nearest water faucet and stick your mouth under the running water. (That ends the Public Service Announcement portion of this post.)

Then I shuffle out to the kitchen to put my coffee pot on before shuffling into the den to start my computer. After drinking my allotted two cups of Trader Joe's or Starbucks for the day---that coincides with my computer time---I’m back to the bedroom to 'half make' my bed. I call it a ‘half make’ because I don’t pull the quilted comforter all the way to the top in case I want to lay across the bed to watch something on Netflix before bedtime. I don’t want to lay across the comforter because I love it and don’t want to wear it out. Having only one smart TV in the apartment influences my quirks and rituals. At my old house I didn’t have Netflix's or a smart TV to watch them on and I rarely had anyone drop by unannounced so my bed often went unmade. Here, I’ve had a half dozen or so ladies who've wanted to see my blackout shade combined with a translucent shade so I’ve had impromptu bedroom showings on the way home from a class or dinner. There are other occasions where I've had maintenance calls so I like to keep my apartment looking presentable thus I make half make my bed every day but Sunday.

I've never given you a virtual tour of my bedroom so this seems like a good detour to take here. The first photo below shows my 'half made' bed. The second photo is of my window (with its two shades) and smart TV corner and moving around the room to my bookcases. The desk in the next photo is one I refinished back in the ‘60s when I was hot and heavy into Early American décor. I used it to do all my writing on in the days before I owned a computer and I couldn’t bare to part with it. Now I use it just to hold my day planner. I have to walk past it each time I go to the bathroom so I have no excuse for missing what needs doing on any given day.



The last photo on the tour is at the top of the page and it shows a close-up of what's inside the white antique dental cabinet seen in photo with the desk. It's what's left of the massive collection of old and sentimental stuff I had in my old life. Some things are valuable while most are only special because of the memories attached. The funny thing about that stuff is when we had it (and much more) in a huge glass showcase visitors were always curious and spent time in front of that showcase, taking it all end and asking questions. Here, not a single person has even noticed the dental cabinet much less what’s inside. Who would have ever thought I'd miss show-and-tell time but I do. The next time my niece visits I think I’ll make her humor me while I show her my collection of radio and cereal premiums. You never know when the Lone Rangers' silver bullet ring will come up in a conversation and if it does she can say she’s seen one.

Another quirk I have is I am not using the garbage disposal. I had the one in our last house removed because I hate it. My husband had one in the house he had before we got married and he was always getting silverware chewed up and it scared the crap out of me that one day one of us would lose a hand because of that disposal. Here, I have a wire mesh sink stopper over mine and I keep my garbage in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until the night before the trash gets picked up at the bottom of the building’s trash shoot. Don’t tell anyone I do that! I make sure that any raw garbage I have isn’t mixed in with anything with my name or apartment number on it. Not that I accumulate much in the way of raw garbage since I don't cook much and I eat my main meals elsewhere on campus, but still it’s a dirty little secret I don’t want spread around.

Actually, not using appliances here isn’t all that quirky. I know of 4-5 people who have never run their dish washers and wash what they have by hand. Some say it’s to save on their electric bills, others will admit that you need a degree in Modern Technology to run the damn thing. I have the manual bookmarked on my computer and have to refer to it from time to time because my hips reprogram that touchy key pad on a regular basis. Yes, yes, I know I can lock the program I prefer into the dish washer but I'm only willing to learn so much, not to mention I accidentally locked my oven door playing with its program and it took me a half hour to figure our how to deprogram that mistake. And have I mentioned that bringing up the washers and dryers around here is a sure way to liven up a conversation because they are not user friendly models and they take forever and a day to run cycles. Others here don’t run their stoves or microwaves because the planners with their charming excuse for wisdom didn’t have the foresight to get easy-to-use appliances with less bells and whistles for the demographic they were building for. 

I have more rituals and quirky things to write about but my bedroom tour ate up too much of my word count to share them now and it's just as well because as a post topic it turned out to be a rather dull topic to write about. Can't help it. As the ancient Scottish proverb so gleefully declares, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. ©

57 comments:

  1. Your bedroom is lovely! Ooh, I love asking questions about "collections/knick knacks" - hope it's ok to use that word🙆

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    1. I've got lots of both and I don't care what someone calls my stuff. I just enjoy it when people notice something that peaks their curiosity.

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  2. Hi Jean, I love your decorating style. It is similar to mine.

    When I moved to my 55 and over Condo, it had a "modern" washing machine. Well, the first time I did a wash it did not drain. Took my wet clothes to the laundromat to wash again and then dry. When I call my appliance guy suggested a Maytag commercial washer with 3 buttons! I love it. I have a strainer in my sink. This is my first garbage disposal. When I lived out in the woods and had my own garden, I always composted.

    Not too many friendly people around here. One of my neighbors ask me to cat sit for her while she goes on vacation. In 2 years that I've been here talked to her maybe twice. Why would you give a stranger the keys to your place. Plus the cat likes to "escape". I said sorry, but I would feel horrible, if her cat escaped on me. Geeze.

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    1. I three button washer would be a dream!

      I've already been asked if I'd dog sit a dog I've never seen. It belongs to a resident's daughter who is coming to visit. I turned her down, too. Just because I like dogs doesn't mean I'm going to let any dog into my apartment and take responsibility for its behavior on walks. I would have never trusted a stranger to babysit my dog without seeing how they interacted together.

      We just had a new chocolate lab move in and it nearly knocked me over jumping on me. The woman who owns it has no control over it and I can see an incident coming a mile away.

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    2. Oh, good grief. I didn't even think about her leaving the cat at my house. I love my own cat, but my cat does not like any other cat of dog. What can I say? Pearl is a princess.

      Also, I forgot to add in my last comment that I had a collection of small items that had good memories. Instead of putting them in storage, I bought covered glass containers and display the cute little things that mean a lot to me. Best of all, just dust the outside of the container!

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    3. It's fun to have small glass containers of things that mean something to us, isn't it. I have miniature teddy bears in one.

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    4. I love dogs, too. We currently have a five-year-old, 85-pound Great Pyr mix we adopted when she was three. Although we'd had golden retrievers for many years and I feel more than competent to train a golden, we needed a trainer who could help us with the unsocialized dog we had adopted. I can't envision bringing a golden or lab, much less our girl, into a facility such as yours unless dog and owner had passed some kind of behavioral control test. Because of their exuberance, the retriever breeds need good-citizen type training and because of their "I'll make my own decisions, thank you" attitude, Great Pyr mixes need to be convinced that they'll enjoy following rules. But the same goes for little dogs. Owners of little dogs sometimes think it's okay to let their dogs misbehave terribly. When I used to walk my golden and a lab mix, two little dogs would run up snarling and bite the hind legs of my lab mix. He couldn't be bothered to react, but that owner that let that behavior continue was taking a risk and would have been appalled if I had let me dogs behave similarly toward his.

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  3. I love routine, too. Gotta have my coffee first thing or else I can hardly function. Really like the way your bedroom turned out. The colors are relaxing and its wonderful that you have surrounded yourself with the furniture and collections that are meaningful to you. When we downsized, we didn't bring along our best or newest stuff. We chose our keepsakes. I smiled at your reasoning for leaving your bed half made to preserve your quilt. Mine is actually folded, sitting on a closet shelf because our two-year-old granddaughter climbs up on the bed and tries to jump up and down. My quilt is old and it's no fun mending it. If I can keep it in one piece, maybe it will get passed down to her some day.

    Isn't it interesting how we view technology in the kitchen? When we replaced our kitchen, we used a designer, and really liked working with her, but there were a few things that I nixed. I don't like garbage disposals either. They smell. They're hard to clean well. They're noisy. I didn't want a dishwasher, either, because I enjoy washing dishes by hand (call me crazy). In the space where the dishwasher would have fit, I have wonderful pull-out trash and recycling bins. Much more valuable to me. I was thrilled to be able to order the exact same range as I had at our old house. Bells and whistles don't mean as much to me as simply being able to figure out how to use an appliance. Our kids just laugh at us because we don't like to have to upgrade and relearn how to use our stuff. By golly, you should be able to buy whatever you want!!!

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    1. You're right about that, when you build you own place you should get to pick the appliances you want. The pull-out trash and recycling bins would be great but I'll bet your kitchen designer tried to talk you into the dishwasher instead for resale value.

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    2. Yep, she mentioned that, but hubby piped up and told her we've always had kitchens with dishwashers but I never used them. We had a real small space to work with, also, so she wanted to give us what was most important to us.

      Meant to tell you that when I spied the Wall Drub memento in your bedroom, it brought back a wonderful memory. My mom had heard that there were fabulous cinnamon rolls sold in one of the shops, and we went out of our way to go and try them. They were good!!!! Long live Wall Drug!

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    3. We'd gone out west every fall and the Wall Drug Store signs go on for miles so of course, we had to go there and went every year after the first time.

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  4. Think your niece does need the official tour. She may be amazed. I remember those cereal treasures that you had to send box tops to Battlecreek Mich for. My favorite was a glow in the dark ring. Couldn't have been healthy:)
    Your appliances sound forbidding. You are right, they couldn't have been considering the demographic.

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    1. I've forgotten that it was Battlecreek MI where you sent the box tops for the cereal prizes.

      The only good thing about having appliances with a tall learning curve is that our concierge's gave several group lessons on how to use them and my private ones as well. Very handy. But I mostly google for my questions.

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  5. Your bed is reminiscent of one I had as a kid. I loved that bed. Your place looks great.

    Your garbage habits are similar to mine. I don't have a garbage disposal currently. I keep a trash can in my kitchen and use it for regular garbage, like coffee grounds. As a way to prevent fruit flies and odors, I began years ago to toss things like banana peels into a large yogurt tub on the door of my freezer, which I empty on trash day. I tell people about it all the time, because I think it's such a great solution!

    I just spent a week helping my sister prepare her home for sale, and I still haven't been able to figure out how to use her washer. And I cannot change the time on my stove, despite reading the instructions. I long for the old simple dials we had on appliances.

    Nina

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    1. I love your idea of the garage in the freezer instead of the refrigerator! I'm going to steal that idea.

      Trying to change the time on my stove is how I accidently locked the oven door (for its self-cleaning mode) and I couldn't get it unlocked for what seemed like forever but was only 1/2 hour. Everything in this apartment has a computer brain in it and you're supposed to unplug them when you can't reset them to go back to factory setting. The trouble is the plugs are behind the appliances, so the maintenance man has been showing us how to turn the circuit breaker off and back on again instead. New is not always better!

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  6. I love my garbage disposal. Those who have an odor or fly problem may not be running them with enough water during or after use. You can also put a bit of baking soda and white vinegar in and let it foam up for a while.

    I agree it's tough to learn new appliances. I will always treasure my dishwasher, however; it's awesome to me to know that as I relax, my dishes are getting done and I don't have to do them.

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    1. I've been using baking soda on drains for a long time but I didn't know about the vinegar. I've used my garbage disposal for a few things but don't want to put banana peels and chicken bones it. It scares me.

      I wouldn't want to live without a dishwasher either. I only need to run it once a week.

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  7. Technology can drive us crazy! My son just got a Tesla car and it is a computer to drive. I took one look and realized that I will never be able to drive it. Not that I would want to anyway.
    One of your group meetings could be a refresher on how to use your appliances where you could discuss all of the problems you all are having. I bet a lot of your neighbors have trouble too!

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    1. The first two months we here open they did have tech classes on how to operator our appliances. We just got a new group of residents so I suspect we'll get another round of classes. The concierge is also tasked with helping us with stuff like that. So help is near-by. I like to try it on my own first going to that last resort.

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  8. I use our garbage disposal sparingly. In the past, I've been known to try and grind up corn cobs (REALLY bad idea) and other things that tend to wreck it. LOL. So now I just do a few soft bits here and there. And I know my stove can do things I haven't (and probably will never) discover. Same deal for my washer, but I've been able to make it do what I need, so I'm happy for now. :-)

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    1. Corn Cobbs? Wow, I never would have thought to try them in a disposal. I know egg shells and coffee grounds are a no-no. I've only done things like boneless chicken that went bad. Fruit peelings is mostly what I save in the refrigerator. Glad to know we all have our own quirks. LOL

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  9. Your bedroom is really lovely and I too love the bed frame! The color you picked for the walls works perfectly.

    I am concerned about getting a new car for the same reasons that you have mentioned with new appliances. I know they are set up completely differently with so much technology.

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    1. Thank you. That color is very easy to live with.

      I know what you mean about the new cars. I don't want one with all the dumb bells and whistles. I don't even like cruise control and that's been around and stand equipment for years.

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    2. Each of us reacts differently, but after not being able to drive for most of four years (anti-seizure meds and two brain surgeries, unsteady on my feet and unfocused), I so appreciate the extra help those gadgets offer now that I'm off those medications and walking and even lightly jogging just fine. I don't really need the warning that I'm about to change lanes on top of another car or the backup camera or the automatic slowing when a car pulls in front of me, but those technologies gave me the confidence to begin driving again.

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  10. Love the way you’ve done your bedroom, Jean. And I am a sucker for a cast iron bed. Right now I have a wanna-be IKEA cheapie but someday I am sure I will come across the “right” cast iron beauty again. So far I can deal with all the programming on modern appliances (and in modern cars!)…I struggle a bit but still have enough persistence and patience to figure stuff out - my Dutch stubbornness is coming in handy…LOL! Friends of mine said operating the stove at my last place was like trying to work the controls on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. HAH! I didn’t think it was all that bad….

    Deb

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    1. I'm waiting for the stove that takes its orders from Alexa.
      I got my bed online from a company that sells just cast iron beds---tons of them lots of finishes---and I am really happy with the look, the quality and the price. The only thing I don't like about iron beds as opposed to other beds is you can't really sit up in bed comfortably against them. For me that trade off is worth it to get the look I wanted.

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  11. Our house was a new build in 2012 when we moved in. (Can't believe it's been 10 years!) I've never used the dish washer since it was just the two of us, and now just me. When we had family over, my husband loved to do the dishes by hand afterward. He would do that at my daughter's too at holiday dinners. His way of showing love.

    The builder put a Jacuzzi bathtub in the master bath but I've never used that either. I've used the tub as a tub twice. I'm a shower person. I just can't justify filling the tub up with all that water just to turn the Jacuzzi on for a while. We had a couple of outdoor hot tubs over the years, but those are different because the water is heated continuously and the tub doesn't get drained after you use it. Those I enjoyed. Our female Collie dog used to pace around when we were in the tub on our deck. I think she worried about us being in water and wanted to "rescue"us. If I had my arm resting on the edge, she would try to lick me dry.

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    1. I don't like wasting water either. That's sweet about your Collie and the hot tub. At first I thought you were going to say she jumped in with you.

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  12. I love that quilt too and your place is beautiful and homey. I use my garbage disposal rarely as there are many things that aren't supposed to go down it.

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    1. I don't get the attraction of garbage disposals but I guess in a multi-family unit like I'm in now they make the most sense. I miss being able to put stale bread out for the birds and other gritters.

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  13. Your room is so neat! I'm the person who is manic about making the bed. The rest of the room can be a mess -- clothes tossed or whatever. But that bed is made and with throw pillows! Drives everyone nuts. I love a cabinet of curiosities and seeing other peoples' spaces and it really looks lovely and rather spacious, Jean. I do use the disposal but I'm pretty careful with what goes down it. No peels! Greg's putting potato peels down Rick's on Christmas Eve shortly before dinner and backing it up gave us one of those moments like in "A Christmas Story." Rick had a bar of Irish Spring on his plate, which we had him lick before dinner (because we didn't have Lifebuoy!). And if you don't know the reference, watch "A Christmas Story" online.

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    1. I know that movie well. I can't believe you made Rick lick the soap! LOL Must have been some word he used. I was threaten with the soap a couple of times, my brother more than me but I'm not sure my mom ever carried it out. If she did it didn't traumatize me.

      The inside of my closet is where I toss stuff around but its so small I can't get it too messy before I need to pick it up. I'm only messy in the rest of the apartment when I've got an art project going but I'm sure you know well that those kinds of messy fascinate others. So I'm not too bothered if I get caught with one of those out.

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  14. Oh thanks for the tour! LOVE your look. Every little detail just WORKS! I think Bloggers are Anthropologists ... we like to know how others live.... quirks and rituals and all!

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    1. I think you're right about us bloggers all being anthropologists.

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  15. Love your bedroom! My mom used to put her banana peels in a plastic bag and then into the freezer until trash day and then she'd move the frozen peels out to the trash can. I have a dishwasher here and I have never once used it and don't plan on it. It's just me. Why bother?!

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    1. Next time I have garbage which is often just banana peels I'm putting them in the freezer thanks to you and someone else above.

      I fill up the dishwasher once a week with mostly every spoon, fork and knife in the place, coffee cups and cereal bowls Washing by hand, to me, doesn't kill all the germs.

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  16. Mum told me if the rubbish is going to smell before it can be disposed of freeze it............

    I like your bedroom mine is a cluttered mess.

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    1. My closets is where I keep my clutter, where I can close the doors and hide it. LOL

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    1. I still have my den to do a tour of and my deck come spring.

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  18. No fancy appliances for me, which is just fine. My washer, for example, allows me to choose water temp, load size, and length of wash -- all with manual dials. There's no a touchscreen in my place, apart from the microwave. Thank goodness!
    I wash dishes by hand and let them drain in the dishwasher, but I do have one slightly idiosyncratic use for the dishwasher. When I have to evac for a hurricane, there some some things I just can't take with me, but want to protect. So, I load the cut glass bowls and such into the dishwasher, lock it, and walk away. Short of total destruction, it's a pretty safe place to keep things: strong, and water tight!

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    1. That makes perfect sense on your dishwasher use. Would be fire proof too I'll bet.

      People here including me wouldlove your dial controlled, simple appliances.

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  19. That is what you call a half made bed? Oh you'd die at my half made. :-)
    And yes Jean, good service announcement. My urine, not that you asked, is almost clear. I think I am getting enough water. Funny I did not know this information. Years and years ago when they told me to drink more water I notice my urine was almost clear and I freaked out. Told my doctor who laughed at me and said that was a good thing not a bad thing. Lesson learned!

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    1. Oh that is too fun that you told a doctor about your clear urine. All kidding aside not drinking enough water causes all kinds of problems and now when you are taking so much medication for your eye it's especially important.

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  20. Great post. So are we going to get a tour of the cabinet?

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    1. Good suggestion. Maybe someday when I need to clean it I'll do it. Half the stuff in there is so small it's hard to photograph.

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  21. Whatever gave you the idea this wouldn't be an interesting post? You seem to have missed the news that the internet was invented so we could all peek into other people's lives.I needed to magnify the photo of your dental cabinet to enjoy the fascinating things that are in it. It would be great if you sometime do a post about the items in that cabinet.

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  22. I would have instantly noticed your Dental Cabinet filled with Sentimental Treasures and had you engage in a Show N Tell! I have an Old Dental Cabinet and put my Medical Curiosities in it, it's presently in the Art Studio Space and only half filled since I haven't unpacked everything from when we packed up all the Cabinets of Curiosities for The Move. I've heard a saying that the Condition of your Bed is the Condition of your Head. God, I hope that's not true, our Bed is often a wreck! *LOL*

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    1. You and I would both love to do a show-and-tells for each other. I tried to talk the Life Enrichment Director into putting a show-and-tell hour on our schedule but none of the others in the room backed me up that it could be fun. We did it in grade school and I loved hearing about objects and pictures others thought were important in their lives. Adults could do it so much better than kids.

      I've never heard that about the state of your bed being the state of your head. I have never been consistently one way or another long term.

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  23. After selling her house my mother's apartment complex had some units with a dishwasher. She didn't have one but found out that her neighbors with them used the dishwasher as a pantry for canned goods. So easy to roll out the top shelf and see what you had.

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    1. That's funny. I'll have to suggest that to a few people I know here who don't use theirs. Pantry space is limited, too.

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  24. First, I love that desk and the bedspread. I do use my stove on occasion, but I don't use my dish washer. With just me it seems such a waste, so I do the few dishes by hand. I like the comment about using the dishwasher for canned goods. Right now, I keep my plastic bags in it, and it is so convenient for unpacking the groceries. If I had my choice, I'd take the dish washer out and put in one of those combo washer/dryers.

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    1. I'll bet young people wouldn't even know how to wash dishes by hand. LOL We all grew up doing it. I run a load a week and through in my coffee pot and flower vases. I think the hot water is needed to kill the germs from time to time but I do had wash my cups and glasses, silverware in between running my washer. A clothes washer/dryer no matter how small would be better than a dishwasher if you had to pick just one.

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    2. Yes, box tops were exchanged in battl4e creek Michig. We are all happy in San Diego where we never saw one. Nice quilt.

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  25. LOL, Accidentally locking the oven door would be a disaster for me -- less so for you. Don't you wonder you selected microwaves for a retirement community with controls that no one over 40 would be able to see?? The bump dots were a brilliant solution.

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    1. Not only that, for some reason the microwaves were installed higher up than most of us had in other houses which puts many of us on step stools to use them. Just crazy.

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