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, November 19, 2022

Winter is Here!

We’re getting our first major snow storm of the season and it’s coming down hard with 6 to 12 inches of snow predicted to accumulate over the next three days. For snowplowers like my husband was for decades (and I was for 17 years) a three day dump is not ideal for the first snow of the year. A one day and done thing is better for working out any bugs and for training new plowers. Even though we’d have new plowers do dry runs of their assigned places, everything looks different when it’s snowing. And back when we were in business it wasn’t common for people to have snow removal and lawn care businesses combined so they could employ people year around. Everyone who plowed for us worked other, daytime jobs as well and getting up in the middle of a cold snowy night takes some getting used to. We did commercial lots and the first predicted snow of the season would have us up checking the lots for when the magic hour would begin when the snow was two inches deep and we could call the crew in. With all-day long snows there is no need to check lots but the frustrating thing is that no matter how late you start (so lots would be ideally cleared for the business openings) it will look like you wasn’t there at all with the round-the-clock snowfalls.

Now, I’m sitting here looking across the parking lot to the Community Building where the wood shop is and where I was supposed to go to orientation class this morning. The shop is brand new and eventually that same, small building will house an art and crafts room. It’s a small, stand alone building where they also have Bible studies---all the things that could catch on fire, separate from the main campus. I want to learn to turn wood on a lathe to make bowls but I suspect I won’t be doing it until spring because I’m not keen on walking up and down a slight hill to get there in the winter. We have a heated sidewalk between and along the front of our two main buildings and last winter I felt completely safe plus we can go underground between those buildings if it’s too cold, but those options don’t extend to the little building across the way.

I was going to walk down to see my brother today, too. But that won’t happen with our non-stop snow. It’s beautiful though but it’s coming down so hard I can barely see the woods on the other side of our green space. Some kids who were visiting started building a snowman in our green-turned-white space. They didn’t stay long enough to finish and I’m wondering how long that headless snowman will stand out there begging me to forget that I’m old and have brittle bones. I shouldn’t even be dreaming about rolling a big ball of snow to finish the poor guy off. In 2017 I built a snow cat out on my deck and it was harder than I remembered from doing snow sculptures when was kid. 

Last winter our resident Cheerleader made snow angels in the snow. She’s addicted to walking and even in the summer she walks with ski polls. She walks rain or shine, two hours a day in place of any kind of treatment for her brittle bones. She’s afraid of the side effects of treatments for osteoporosis---any drugs for that matter---where I’m afraid of not getting the infusions for my bones. I wish I liked exercise as much as she does but it seems like such a waste of time, specially since the same regiment of exercise and eating healthy didn’t do my husband’s cousin a damn bit of good. Dropped dead two days after we had great visit. A visit that had me thinking I really needed to shape up and start exercising more and eating better only to be shocked that I out lived her. We make so many choices in life, take so many chances and define our adventures by separate sets of criteria in different eras of our lives. One of my friends from my Red Hat Society days just came back from a ten day trip she took to Spain all by herself. I could hardly go to Indiana all by myself and I don’t even need a passport to go one state down. A big adventure to me, now, would be putting a head on our headless snowman and living to tell about it afterward. 

Edit to add Saturday morning: We have 18 inches of snow and it won't be letting up until tomorrow morning. ©

 * Yes, that's a photo of the snow cat I made five years ago.

47 comments:

  1. Ah! The first snow! Always so pretty. Lake Oswego is due for a nice 4-6 inch snow this season as we barely had any last winter. The ski areas on Mt. Hood opened last week which is very early, so we are doing the snow dance. Smart architect to put in heated sidewalks and tunnels. ENJOY!

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    1. That heated sidewalk was a huge seller for me since, back before I moved in I had a dog. As silly as it sounds I think I'm going to be driving down to the next building to visit my brother this winter. Do not look forward to trips outside anymore.

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  2. I'm with you, I wouldn't take a chance putting a head on the snow man. It pays to be careful.

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    1. I'm hoping the kids will come back to visit and finish it. I'd love looking at it all winter.

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  3. That snow cat (I thought it was a standing rabbit) you made in 2017 is great! very lifelike.

    I have brittle bones too and am also wary of the side effects for osteoporosis treatments - so it was good to read about her walking two hours daily rather than take medication. Plus I HATE taking medications.~ Libby

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    1. She claims using the ski poles is the trick to building arm strength because it makes it weight baring on the arms the way walking does with your legs.

      My snow cat has too long of a tail to be a rabbit. But it was fun to make for my las hurrah in the snow.

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  4. You and Don were ambitious to have a snow clearing business in Michigan! My brother owns a sanitation business in Minnesota and I know that getting big equipment out in the cold, snowy conditions can take a big toll.

    Isn't it funny how most of us change as we age. When you said you probably wouldn't venture out much during bad weather, I thought about how I tend not to go anywhere unless it's decent outside. Of course, if I have appointments, I do go, but I'm more cautious than I used to be. Slippery surfaces are common where we live, and I sure don't need any more falls! This week I was diagnosed with osteopenia (forerunner of osteoporosis, I believe). Another reason to be careful. It's always something...

    What types of things are going on at the CCC for Thanksgiving?

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    1. It sure does take a toll on health---the irregular hours and lack of sleep working in snowy conditions. But Don really loved the challenge of it. I'm waiting for my niece to pick me and my brother up to go to a funeral. She is much braver than me...I would have canceled the plans but it would probably be too hard on my brother if she did, so I get it. Osteopenia should not be ignored.

      They are having a buffet with the full Thanksgiving menu...if it doesn't get canceled. They have to have so x-number of sign-ups and so far they are short. They also have a pie sampling and bake sale for those going some place and want to take something along.

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  5. Love your little snow cat. Please keep your Big Snow up there. It's cold here in NEO, but snowless thus far and sunny.

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  6. We're doing our best to bury MI in snow. 14 inches outside my window and some major highways shut down.

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  7. I used hiking poles back in Ontario, when on rough trails. They really do help for stabilization, and if you get the rhythm right they make walking less tiresome because your arms do help a lot in propelling you forward. I have gotten out of the habit here in BC and should really start using them again on certain trails. Snow?! You can keep it! I was happy to leave it behind me. Cute little dustings of it are fine though, especially at this time of year. If I do ever miss huge amounts of snow, I can always drive an hour into the mountains and get my fill. Stay safe and warm, Jean!

    Deb

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    1. I'm surprised you don't get a lot of snow where you're at! At the rate it's snowing here we'll have 3 foot by tomorrow when the storm ends. Not normal this early in the season.

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    2. It's weird for Vancouver Island to get snow, at the lower elevations. I stay off the roads then, because no one here seems to know how to drive in it!

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  8. Exercise is more about feeling fantastic for me- both in the moment, and for hours afterward. Have you experienced the joy of endorphins? They are quite addictive! All to say that its not so much about quantity of life, as it is quality of life. I love the lift being active gives to my day, and I love being outdoors in motion, so its a win-win. For those days weather doesn't permit being outdoors, I walk at the gym while listening to podcasts.



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    1. My asthma kicks in long before endorphins. But I've heard they are addictive.

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    2. I have to say I'd be in the same place as you--I have Asthma AND COPD so cold air is a total no-no for me. My lungs would shut down and I'd just drop down and die on the spot. Not what I'd call a good day!

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    3. I've had asthma since I was a kid therefore exercise has never been my friend because I am addicted to breathing, as I'm sure you are too.

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  9. You're all getting slammed over there. We got about three inches over a couple of days. Last night I was watching the Christmas parade on TV -- two miles straight west of us. They were getting a lot of snow -- big flakes, coming down fast and windy. We got.... barely a dusting. I'm not supposed to shovel but did yesterday a bit and my back is feeling it today. From now on I'll wait for the snow guy. I'd say that unless they figure out a way to make the snow (and any resulting black ice) disappear from your pathways to the wood house or your brother, sit tight and cozy.

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    1. I might restore to driving one building over to visit my brother. It feels like I'm helping him and his daughters out when I do.

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  10. I love snow but 18 inches is way too much. The good thing is that you really don't' have to go anywhere and those heated sidewalks are a blessings.
    Love you snow cat. If you do finish the headless snowman, add some boobs and make it a snowwoman:)

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    1. Will do on the snowman. Even if someone does come along to finish the snow person I could add two snowballs pretty easily. LoL

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  11. Clever snow kitty. :-) We are definitely getting blasted, and now it's windy and cold. Brrr. I'll be staying indoors. Luckily, DH is willing to walk our dog -- who, of course, isn't bothered by the weather. She loves the snow. We really went from summer to winter in the past week. Sheesh.

    Glad you're being careful outside...it's slippery! And now that the temps have dropped, it will be even slicker. You're smart to drive between buildings if those sidewalks aren't melted. It's Ice Trackers season on our boots here. Stay warm!

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    1. I have ice trackers on my boots but they are not easy for me to get on and off my boots and I can't wear them inside less I chance damaging floors and carpeting. I need to practice doing that.

      Glad you have a dog walker, Crazy fur babies don't know what's best for them.

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  12. Being a Washingtonian, I'm not used to that much snow and don't venture out in even the small amount we get. (unless I have to!) However, it's so rare that I can get away with that. Death and why it touches certain healthy/unhealthy people (or doesn't) is the ultimate mystery.

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    1. It really bothered me that my husband's cousin died do suddenly and she did everything right. I hate it when things don't make sense.

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  13. Here on the north coast of Oregon, all we generally get is a dusting of snow, but I really, really love how it makes everything so bright. I've never had to deal with 18" of snow so I can only imagine how that feels. I imagine it feels good to have a safe warm place to be, heated sidewalks so you can get out if you get cabin fever, and nothing making you have to go anywhere!

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    1. We not only had the first major snow storm of the year but our first power outage. It last 4 hours long which is short and the back up generators kept the hallways warm and the one outlet in each apartment working. If we get a longer power outrage I have a folding chair and table and a portable light I can haul out into the hallway and we can have a party.

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    1. I hate being cold so where ever your at enjoy some of that warmth for me.

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  15. Could be worse you could live in Buffalo. LOL I had a doctor who was very thin, vegetarian, ran before work. He was even on Oprah. He collapsed on side of road with a heart attack while running. When he didn't come home his wife drove his running route and saw him in the road. He did everything right. Sometimes I think when it's your time it's your time. So grab those fries. :-)

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    1. That kind of what I think but someone pointed out that those who live healthy may die with less pain and not linger around near the end, quality of life rather than quantity.

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  16. I am lucky that my oldest son lives with me and he loves to shovel! We have only had flurries so nothing to shovel yet!
    Stay safe and stay warm inside!

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    1. Had to go out today to a funeral but I wasn't driving. The roads were awful but people were driving safely and only saw one crashed car on the ..back of a wrecker. I used to like to shovel show, too. It felt good on my back, stretched out the crushed vertebraes.

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  17. Well, no snow here, but we sure did have a winter-like day. It was about 40F, with a stiff north wind and pouring rain all day. Of course the rain was welcome; it's the first time I've seen water in the ditches for nearly three months. Still, it was a bit brisk out there. We'd planned to celebrate a friend's birthday at a restaurant on Galveston Island -- you should have seen the surf! The restaurant's at a marina, but they had good heaters and a section that was enclosed, so that was fine.

    I love your snow cat! I have a photo that I can't figure out how to share with you since I haven't published it on my blog, but it shows high-school age me building a snow cardinal in our front yard. It was as tall as I was, and I used a plywood board with snow packed around it for the tail. I wonder if your snow cat would chase a snow cardinal?

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    1. I've scanned photos into my computer that I can then share online. Would that work for you? I've also taken digital pictures of old photos which aren't as good as scanning but it works.

      Not sure I'd like all your all-day rain but if you need it, then it's a good thing.

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    2. That scanning business works for me if I want to post photos to my blog, but if I want to add them to a comment, there's no way -- at least, none that I can find. I used to have a server I used, but I gave that up because of the cost. If I used something like Flickr, I could probably link to that, but I prefer to stay off some of those sites.

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    3. I misunderstood. I haven't found a way to add photos in a comment either. I don't use Flickr either or even cloud storage.

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  18. I'm surprised and interested to learn about your snow-plowing business and also about the heated sidewalks. Here in the Seattle area, we have so little snow and so many hills (hills basically on every street) that we're no very good at handling it when it does come. Best to just stay home and wait until it's over. This fall we've been blessed with blue skies on most days--little rain and no snow.

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    1. Heated sidewalks are not the norm or common up here. Our downtown area has them but this is the only place in the suburbs that I've seen them. I don't get around much so there could be more public buildings with them for all I know.

      If you put 'snow plowing' in the "search this blog" box you'll find three posts I wrote about it. The third one I wrote about playing rat hockey on a large parking lot and I think I wrote about finding a drunk seagull too. If not I should do it.

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  19. I heard that Buffalo, NY got Five FEET of Snow in Forty Minutes, Holy Hell, that's National Emergency inclement Weather, which seems more commonplace now, doesn't it? As well as Florida's nonstop epic Hurricanes and the Fires on the West Coast, Climate Change is real. It's Colder here off and on than usual, I don't like it, Cold makes my Joints ache and I don't want to be outside in any of it, even tho' we don't get Snow. But, it does look Magical after a dusting of it, I remember how Beautiful snowfall can be... I just like that I don't have to shovel Sunshine and don't have dangerous driving conditions I couldn't cope with.

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    1. We've got two foot over three days. five feet in 40 minutes is an emergency. Nothing will move until they get dug out. Our trucks and plows have been out non-stop. Got woke up twice last night with the snowplows in our complex. We're getting a week of above freezing tempts coming up so I so Buffalo gets the same. Weather patterns are changing and becoming more dangerous all over. Climate experts have been warning of this for several years.

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  20. I wonder about anyone who likes exercise *too much* and has to keep moving or else. I think, what are they trying to avoid? I'm sure they'll say they're working toward something [longevity?] but I dunno. Gotta learn to sit still with yourself at some point.

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    1. The woman who exercises obsessively is really quick to jump up from the lunch table to get people whatever---water, coffee, silverware. When we say something like "I can get my own" she'll say, "I need the exercise." She's skinny and I'm far from an ideal weight and I often wonder if she thinks about that fact and how silly it is to wait on me when I'm perfectly capable of getting my own stuff. She won't allow any of us to do it. For those who use walkers it's very nice of her but I find it annoying. LoL 3rd world problems, boo hoo.

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  21. Our first snow was just a little over an inch and mostly melted by the next day -- a good way to begin getting acclimated to winter. I always end up switching to working out on my boring stationary bicycle once the roads get icy and going out to walk no longer makes sense.

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    1. It's wise not to chance walking alone in the winter. Especially since you live alone and no one would come looking for your if you fell and didn't come back when you are supposed to.

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  22. I'm late to this post, as usual. Sheesh. But I hear ya about walking on slippery surfaces. I avoid it. And the snow sound absolutely beautiful. I'd love it to last ONE day and be gone for the rest of the winter. LOL

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    1. One day and gone would be my dream too, but that's not going to happen here.

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