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, August 13, 2022

End of Summer Trouble Making



I joined the Coral Club today, not to be confused with a choral club. Ten of us came down to lunch in our cafe` and seven of us were wearing coral colored shirts. What are the odds of that happening? I suppose pretty high considering it was a new color offered in the fashion industry this past spring---or was it in 2021? Either way, we had lots of silly ass fun over our little club as we ate our pizzas and hamburgers. Well, most of us were eating. Two or three were there for the conversation and to learn the latest gossip about who went off in an ambulance, who tested positive for Covid and which foolish old man drove himself to the hospital when he thought he was having a heart attack. Because of the hipaa privacy law about revealing health issues the management isn’t allowed to tell us anything, but we did get an email telling the 35 of us who were at our monthly dialogue meeting that we need to get tested for Covid on Monday. Oh happy days. I don’t want to see the return of masks but it’s probably coming to a place near all of us by fall.

Remember all the bellyaching I’ve done about the fashion standards here and how my wardrobe is hopeless out of sync with everyone else’s? It’s still a thorn in my side that I often feel like Cinderella with wicked stepsisters who look like fashion plates for Mature Living Magazine. My fault, not theirs and I try to remember that. (My shopping gene is broken.) When in the fine dining room, the bling will blind a person and you can tell how who had unlimited resources in their clothes and jewelry piggy banks. The only jewelry I wear is my $35 watch, a medical bracelet, stud earrings to match my tops---or not if I'm too lazy to swap them out---and a sterling silver ring made in Siam before that 800 year old country was renamed ‘Thailand’ in 1939. I bought the ring in an antique store in the mid 1950s when I was crushing on bald-headed Yul Brynner back when he was in The King and I. It was ignored for decades but I found when I was downsizing last year and haven’t taken if off since. Its got two fish on the front which, of course, I researched because that’s what I do for fun and I found out the fish symbolizes wealth, prosperity, strength and bravery.

I’ve never worn my wedding rings on a daily basis, even when Don as still alive. I didn’t want to get the diamonds all cruded up with soap, pizza sauce or caregiver fluids. Here, I’ve worn them twice---Christmas and Easter. But, here every night when we eat in the fine dining restaurant the room is filled with more chunky gold pieces than most jewelry stores have on display. I’d rather have a bunch of flea market finds lined up on my windowsills in an effort to flaunt my passions in life. Different stroke for different folks, as they say. The most valuable thing I have in the way of jewelry is a sweet memory of my husband after his stroke when he was trying to get me to understand that he wanted me to wear my wedding rings to a party we were going to. We made some great memories after my husband could no longer walk or talk. It wasn’t all dome and gloom; there was plenty of laughter and sweet-as-pie or silly moments even if there were a few times when I felt more like a mom than a wife.

You’re not going to believe what I did after lunch today with the Coral Club. I decided not to hide my writing under a bushel anymore---at least in one genre of the craft. I’ve been working on a set of poems about this place with the intend to do some illustrations to go with them and to publish them in a booklet. Doing the small batch, self-publishing thing is nothing new. I’ve done nine books so far from 300 pages to 20. But up until today no one here has ever read a word I’ve written except for two ‘test women' who I showed a poem to recently. It was well received so when I finished a poem about a contentious meeting we had with the CEO and people from a new food service taking over our meals I triple-dog dared myself to post the poem on the bulletin board in the mail room. To be clear about why I jumped into the fire, the new food service people didn’t get why all of us are up in arms about their doing away with our cafe` community table and making us all sit in stuffy groups of two and four. They were talking restaurant management and we were talking in Klingon or so it seemed to them. They just didn’t get it, that their change took away our sense of community and fun. 

My poem is sarcastic and funny and to the point and when I got back from posting it I got a call from someone on the food committee who wants a copy to take to their next meeting with these same people. She praised my ‘talent’ and said she and her husband (who are both in my book club) admire me for having the guts to post that poem. She said they both stood there laughing for longest time. Then I got an email from a guy high up on the social chain here---we call him the Mayor---who praised my poem and said he went down to the office and told the CEO and others to go read it. Over the next day I was getting hailed all over the place for representing our grievance in a funny way. By the second morning it was gone off the board, taken down when no one was looking. Please think of me in my version of The Hunger Wars and help me hope “the odds are in my favor” that my little poem won't cause me to get banned from making future reservations to eat on campus. But if you see me panhandling on the corner for food, you'll know why.... ©


53 comments:

  1. Hooray!!! Nothing like taking the bull by the horns and make the powers that be realize they made a huge mistake and they need to take it back. You should have shared your poem here... Would love to have read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem with sharing my poem here is that anyone from the CCC could google a line from the poem and land on my blog which I don't want to happen. With my name only they can't find it because I share a name with a very famous person who blogs clothing and fashion stuff all the time.

      Delete
  2. Woo hoo for the courage to post that poem! Your poem sounded as if it was impactful, to the point that someone either wanted it all to themselves or just didn't want others to view it. I hope posting that poem doesn't get you in trouble, either, but I also hope that it empowered you and made you feel your worth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The management definitely didn't want others who didn't see it the first day to see but someone took a photo of it with their cell phone and has been passing that around. My next post will have more about it.

      Delete
  3. Love your moxy and while glad it got such good reviews, sad that it was removed. Don't suppose you would post it here?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not a chance of posting it here or any of the other 10 poems I've written about this place. Too many tech savvy people who could google a line from that poem and land themselves on my blog.

      Delete
    2. Smart! It's frighteningly easy to google a line of text to find something online. Stay undercover...the stories will be better. LOL.

      Delete
  4. You go, Jean!!! I'm so proud of you for sharing your writing and for taking a stand. That is the only way true change can happen. Please keep us posted on the dining room situation. I hope you get your big table back asap!

    As for clothing and jewelry...ahem. I think I'm the opposite of your residents. I love comfort. It's nice if the colors are good for me and it's cute. I made my first Jambys order this week. They looked so comfy. They're kinda pricey, so I just ordered 3 pieces. Free trial period, which I appreciate. I have a modest amount of jewelry, but the only pieces that mean anything to me are those of sentimental value. My wedding rings, my mom's wedding rings, a few special pairs of earrings and the bracelets and earrings crafted by my daughter. That's it! I often forget to even put my wedding ring on when I leave the house, and like you, I don't like wearing it when I'm working or prepping food.

    Hope you're having some good weather and a nice weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My problem with clothing is I'm one of those people who hates to shop and spend money on clothes. So all my clothes get too worn out and sad. And I've always worn just causal clothing while many of the women here had good jobs that required office attire and bling. Not everyone here dresses to the nines but of course I only see the ones I envy.

      Delete
  5. Of course, now we all want to see the poem but I understand your desire to keep your blog away from the CCC people. Good for you for telling your side of the story in a creative way!
    I would have trouble dressing up to eat at your CCC. I spend most of my time in shorts and t shirts in the summer and sweat pants and sweatshirts in the winter. I go for comfort and don't much care about being stylish anymore! Can people eat there without dressing up? There isn't a dress code, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no written or suggested dress code but people tend to wear nicer clothing to the fine dinning restaurant and more causal to the cafe`. And part of our issue with the changes the new service made is they've closed the cafe` for our evening meals which forces all in the fine dinning at night which did away with our big table and sense of community to all sit around it.

      I could easily live in sweats. Winter weight and summer weight. I don't really want to change from my causal style. Blinging out is just not me. I'd like to upgrade the quality of my clothing though, BUT I really, really hate shopping.

      Delete
  6. This going to be fun to watch from afar as your poem makes some waves. Yes, I said that intentionally knowing you are part of the Coral Group. As for getting dressed up in what is in essence your own home, I say don't change yourself to please them. You can, of course, continue to snark about them on this blog. Another thing I shall enjoy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coral - Waves. What a cleaver bean you are. LoL My next blog is mostly about the waves and next week we have another dialogue meeting with the CEO. So we shall see if they actually heard us roar.

      Delete
  7. Congratulations, Jean! The pen IS mightier than the sword, and sounds like your poem is uniting the residents against this unwanted change. You go, girl. When it comes to clothes and jewellery…I hope you continue to do “you”. Coral is a beautiful colour that looks good on practically anyone and I can understand how a gathering could end up being a sea (pardon the pun) of coral, especially in the summertime šŸ˜.

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had so much fun with our coral club and it was typical of the silliness and fun that happens when we get a big group around a table. That time we had all ten of us crowded around a table made for four.

      I like to bitch about clothing and I do get envious but I don't dislike it enough to go out shopping to improve my wardrobe. If I pay $20 or $100 on a top they all look sloppy on me so why try? Classic fat lady thinking mode, I'm guessing.

      Delete
  8. When I saw your comment on my latest post, I realized I hadn't been notified of any posts here for some time. Sure enough, when I looked, I hadn't gotten any notifications since your trip to the Big Lake. I just signed up for emails again -- I guess the blogger system has changed (yet again). I'll be back to catch up, now that I know you're still alive and kicking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish whatever is going on with Bloggers would straighen itself out. But the problem with you not getting notifications is likely not their fault but rather the fault of your computer either dumping my notifications in spam or with Mailchum dumping you for not clicking on their notificationsoften enough. They periodically prune email lists without telling you or the blog owners. I have two of my emails subscribed to my own blog so I can keep track of what is happening and with the one on of my email addresses it's always marking my new post notifications as spam.

      Delete
    2. Spam's not the issue. I check that regularly and keep it cleaned out. I've heard a couple of other people complain about Mailchimp, but didn't really know why. That might be it. In any event, now I can keep up.

      Delete
    3. Mailchimp is free so it's hard to fault them for pruning emails when they aren't being opened often or they bounce back.

      Delete
  9. Good for you Jean. I'm glad you posted it. As for dress code, oh my goodness that is too much stress. Every day? The stress of high school all over again is more than I could take. I'd never be accepted because I would wear sweatpants or leggings or jeans and any ole top. Would they do this if they lived in a home alone? I wonder. Puttin' on the ritz as my father would say. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The thing is they aren't "putting on the ritz". The women I compare myself to are active in the community, going to clubs, meetings and volunteer posts in the day time and they ARE dressed for their live styles. I have a different life style and there are others here (maybe a healthy 1/3) who don't dress much better/different than me but of course, I don't write about them because they don't make me feel like Cinderella.

      What I'm trying to say it's all coming from INSIDE my head, they don't treat me as if I'm any different and they don't act like high school. Almost everyone here is very inclusive and goes out of their way to be so thus our fight to keep the big table dinning concept. I need to learn how to write better or quit writing about fashions because every time I do I'm leaving an impression that I don't mean to and isn't true. There is nothing like high school here. People bend over backwards to help each other if in.

      Sure I wish I had better quality clothing but I'm not a teenager who doesn't understand they have decades worth of high quality stuff in their closets left over from their professional lives and I have caregiver, casuals and no desire to shop. And really no need because I fit in without the upgrades.

      Okay, so now you all know how to push my button. Just compare my fellow residents and this place to high school. And that's apparently on me for not being a better writer.

      Delete
    2. I apologize. It sounded so stressful to you. Sorry.

      Delete
    3. Well, there goes my whole blog post for next week. LoL Apology not necessary but nice of you all the same.

      Delete
  10. And the Pulitzer for Poetry goes to...! I love it, I'm glad you posted it and I hope you have a copy since it was taken down. Clearly everyone loves it and I think it's fun you're doing to the book. Today I bought a pair of jeans an a buffalo check shirt. Apart from a sweatshirt I ordered from Land's End and the two swimsuits to replace the ones Rick lost, that's been my wardrobe buying since winter -- when I bought another sweatshirt and fleece zip thing (which I actually wore a few days ago because I was so cold. How come everyone else has heat and we don't in my pocket of the world?!) They'd definitely kick me out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People have been complaining of the heat all summer long but I haven't had my AC on all summer. Not once. Land's End had some cute swimsuits this year. Love the the mix and matches.

      Delete
  11. To update your clothing may I suggest The Vivienne Files blog. As an artist you will find fascinating the author’s approach to combining colors to create a coordinated wardrobe. Many of the clothes featured are at various price points and from size inclusive online stores. As someone who has recently downsized you enjoy how she creates a capsule wardrobe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just checked her blog out and I do like the capsule idea of building a wardrobe. It's not too different from the Color Me Beautiful fad that went around a few decades ago where learn the color platelet that goes with your skin and hair and stick to that scheme. I pretty much still stick to the cool winter colors from that book. I do like the style of clothing on her site.

      Delete
    2. So glad you checked out the site. I intended to add that as a writer, you may enjoy the stories that accompany the capsules.
      I have tried to reply to your blog several times without success. I started following you when you were choosing a CCC and downsizing. You are a few years ahead of me and I am learning from your experiences. You are a talented storyteller who usually finds humor in your daily life. I anxiously wait for Saturdays and Wednesdays each week to read what’s next.
      Thank you.
      ST-in-NM

      Delete
    3. Knowledge is power when picking out the next chapter in our lives. Senior living places might not appeal to everyone but I know the loneliness that started with the pandemic would have done me in by now if I hadn't moved into an active community. Best of luck with your search, ST.

      Delete
  12. Nice job sharing your writing! Sounds like it was a hit! :-)

    I dread the increase in Covid that I see around us. We have a family wedding over Labor Day and I hope it's not a super spreader. But I'm also not willing to sit home forever. It's a conundrum. Stay safe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The new CDC protocols are not calling for social distancing anymore or masks unless you've got a compromised immunity. They say that enough of us have been vaccinated that when people to do get it, it's a much lighter case. So look forward to your wedding!

      Delete
    2. Having just had Covid, after being extremely careful for years, boosted and vacced, I can say that my case may have been "mild" but it was no walk in the park. Avoid if you can!!!

      Delete
    3. Aaaand, two of my brothers and their wives have Covid. I guess the best I can say is they should be past it in time for the wedding. One is a NP and they got Paxlovid right away. Apparently it helped a lot and pretty quickly. But of course, there is the fear of rebound a la Biden and others. There's no free lunch, I guess.

      Delete
    4. There's one lady here whose had it three times each time not quite as bad as the last but still making her extremely sick. Hospitalization for ten days the first time and an ER trip for here third and the Paxiovid. It's nothing to mess around with.

      Delete
  13. Sorry my first comment was sent ANONYMOUS ... my computer died so I have to go back in to everything and update. SO AWESOME! Humor helps get a point across. Go put it up again .... printed in a different color! Until they make the change!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate that change bloggers made so that if we're not careful our comments go anonymous. But we'll all learn to look to see what is written beside the "comment as:"

      Humor does work better than anger but putting another of the same up wouldn't add anymore more to the solving the problem. We have another dialogue meeting coming up next week and the ball is in their court. We shall see if we get our big table back again.

      Delete
  14. Good for you about the poem! And for making sure your blog is safe from prying eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm kind of sad I can't put more poems up. I was hoping to share some of the sweet/nice non-controversial poems I've written.

      Delete
    2. Woo-Hoo! Good for you on writing to publish and for your "guerrilla activism" re the food service changes!

      Delete
    3. I feel different now that people here are seeing more of the real me, if that makes sense.

      Delete
    4. Is there a rule against posting poems???!! Possible to start another bulletin board for creative endeavors only?

      Delete
    5. Well, when they took my poem down they told someone else who was there at the time that the board was just for them to post notices on. My next post will share more details....

      Delete
  15. Good for you. You chose an appropriate form of protest and activism for the forum. And you put yourself out there, too. Well done.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good for you! Resident's need to mold the community to what they want. Sounds like the management is trying to create an environment with an ambiance that doesn't cater to large groups together -- more subdued, perhaps -- like a fancy restaurant some residents might desire. That wouldn't be my cup of tea in a CCC. I wouldn't long to get dressed up to go to dinner there and would likely eat elsewhere if that was the criteria, even unwritten rule.

    I've had those occasions in the past, enjoyable ones, but I'm basically a casual person. Gradual increasing confinement once my older husband's health and activity declined, then Covid, have had some bearing on what I most enjoy. The virus has had my recent fashion purchases some two piece P.J. pieces with big pockets in the pants (to carry things as I lumber about) in color and patterns that could easily pass as outfits not necessarily thought of as pajamas. I even wear them going out in my car from which I conduct some business and who's the wiser --- or maybe I delude myself. In any event, I don't care!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The new company taking over or dinning services says flat out we can't have our big table back in the fine dining room, but we have some plans to all get take out once or twice a week and take them to the cafe` to eat in a large group. They've approved that as long as we bus our own tables. They claim there is no way to train staff to service a big table but the old service was doing it for months. The new company will be using robots to serve us. This should be fun.

      Delete
  17. Quite an adventure. Whoever said one person couldn't make a difference? As for ol' 45 -- do keep in mind: half of all people are below average intelligence. We now know what happened to some of the German people years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Coral really has become popular, I have one pair of Coral Capris that match some Tie-Dyed Shirts nicely, it's a very Summery Color and Cheerful. Can you all move the smaller tables together for gatherings or would they not allow that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not the same but we do it on a smaller scale but as they decide who sits with who.

      Delete
  19. Good to know that your poem had an impact; let's hope the new food service people get their heads out of their you-know-wheres and start listening! Of course, if they insist on seatings of two and four, residents could just start pushing tables together to make bigger groupings.
    If I lived at your CCC, I could make you look really blinged out. I don't wear a watch or any rings or earrings. My only bling is my expensive hearing aids (but they are supposed to be discretely effacing themselves so as not to be noticed).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We quietly, without fanfare, got our big community table back in the cafe' moved in the middle of the night. So lunch time when the place is open my happy place is back. We can set 12 at it comfortably.

      I have the hearing aid bling too and glasses.

      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.