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Friday, July 31, 2015

Alone Again

My dear friend, Lori, left on Wednesday so I am alone again. I think, the thing I miss most is having someone to say "Good morning!" to every day.  This business of being a widow is a lonely one...

Lori & Kona
So I am back to aimlessly wandering this lonely old house, this house that seems no longer like a home, but a museum of memories.

Lori did help me accomplish many things, for which I'll be forever grateful.  We did manage to donate lots of medical supplies & equipment, including Bob's manual wheelchair, to the local hospice (though I still have the expensive hospital bed and power chair, I have contacted a medical supplier about selling the bed, but I'm not sure if the wheelchair is even paid off, yet.) And dispose of prescription drugs. And tidy up many other things including storing Boomer's things and picking up Boomer's remains (my little memorial table grows, I hope no more). Also did some fun shopping at thrift stores, antique shops, etc. -- and found a new (used) couch for Kona! This to keep her off my antique furniture:

Kona's new couch
Talk about a spoiled dog. She's acquired a new middle name, Kona Jean. As Lori kept calling her "Marilyn Monroe" -- such a blonde diva-dog she is on her very own "chaise lounge"!

To fit the new couch in the living room, we had to move Bob's hospital bed into the corner --- no easy thing for me. Will the tears ever stop?

Lori & I did some other fun things: trips to a couple of museums, a visit to the Gulf of Mexico (though it was raining the whole time) and some dog training/testing for Kona including a stop at a dog-friendly restaurant for breakfast.  I'm proud to say, Kona passed with flying colors.

Now it's back to "widow's business" -- my desk is piled to the hilt with paperwork:  bills to pay, cards to answer.  So many grim tasks, including yet another "certified death certificate" to send off (which, by the by, is a most horrific document: its actual title being Certification of Death and looking not unlike a car title in style and color, but saying much much worse. I can't help but to recoil in horror looking upon it and touching it, or worse, having to run to the bathroom to vomit, so I try not to look - though I must touch - while I quickly fold it and shove it into an envelope) -- this one goes to the insurance agent to take Bob's name off of our homeowner's policy. So much of this stuff strikes me as stupid and unnecessary.... I mean, do they really need an official certificate to take his name off the house insurance policy? jeepers...

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

And Bob Would Be Proud

So yesterday, Lori and I stopped at Pier 1 to look for porch chairs for our front porch.  This is something I've been meaning to do, long ago, and one of those things that is hard to do, without Bob.

But Pier 1 had a sale, and I said, "let's go" and we found the perfect chairs for the porch. Unfortunately, or perhaps I should say fortunately, two of the chairs were a bit "wobbly" when we set them on the floor to inspect them. So I asked the salesperson if there was a "wobbly discount"  and he laughed and said, that yes, he could give me "wobbly discount" of 25% off -- this in addition to the sale price which was already 30% off.

So I got the two wobbly ones. I figured it really didn't matter much since our old porch floor is uneven to begin with, and anything will be a little wobbly. So, we hauled them home. And they are an excellent match to the antique wicker table that Bob and I bought back in January.

Bob always loved a good deal, he was always the one to "dicker" a price down, and he would have loved the idea of a "wobbly discount"! I can almost hear him laughing. He would have been proud of me.

Meanwhile, the little heart pendant with Bob's remains broke open again, and I had to go back to the funeral home yesterday to have it repaired --- grrrr....   This time they are sending it somewhere to have it reglued.

On Sunday, Lori and I did a "spa day" -- a massage and hair cut for me, mani/pedi for her.  It was fun. And some desperately needed "take care of Diane time" for me.

Friday, July 17, 2015


My friend, Lori, arrived late Wednesday and yesterday we went out to lunch and pretty much spent the day catching up.

Today, she went with me to pick up Boomer's "cremains". I put Boomer's box of ashes, along with his collars, next to Bob and Zenith. My little memorial table grows cluttered.

And then Lori removed Boomer's dog bed, anti-slip rugs, etc. from the living room because I could not bear to do it.

It is so good to have someone here with me, to help me through this all.  I feel bad that I seem to spend most of the time crying, so I'm sure it's not much of a "vacation" for her. We stopped for lunch today and while seated at the cafe, "our song" (I'll Stop The World and Melt With You) came on the radio and I had to run out the door --- as I was in sudden tears and did not want to make a spectacle of myself in the crowded restaurant.

This morning, Bob's cousin Mark flew into Tampa on his way to Sarasota and called me as he was quite literally "passing through" our town and then stopped by, to give me a hug and see how I was doing. This is Bob's favorite aunt and uncle, Aunt Mary and Uncle Dick's son.  Which is the only part of Bob's family that has kept in contact with me since Bob's death.  I have been pretty much dissed by all the others.

Meanwhile, Kona is a gem:

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

And Boomer is gone...

Much like Bob, my other blonde boy, Boomer passed away in his sleep.  This time, I was prepared, I guess, I knew and kissed Boomer goodnight, last night, and told him I loved him and he was a "good boy".

Still it's hard. So very hard...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Company -- finally

Tomorrow, I have a dear friend arriving from up north to stay here for two weeks. This will be my first visitor since Bob died. Since then, I have been utterly alone.

And it's been so hard. Harder than I ever imagined. Some days, I just feel paralyzed. Other days, I feel like a zombie -- on auto pilot. Most days, I am in tears. I have not been doing so well.

I know, people say, "well, good thing Chris is there" and she is, and I'm grateful -- but, Chris does not understand this at all.  For one, she's never been married, let alone had a soulmate, and she's impatient with me to "get it together",  sometimes to the point of harping at me and criticizing me --- for example on July 4th when I was really breaking down, her response was "Well, I always spend holidays alone! It's not bad! You just have to keep busy!"  grrr...   In addition, she's going through her own medical crisis -- so pretty much spends the days either vomiting or with diarrhea -- and I get the whole story on that...  So, not much support there, I'm afraid.

I've been reading some memoirs on widowhood, (just finished Joan Didion's A Year of Magical Thinking, and Gail Lynch's In Sickness & In Health and am working my way though Joyce Carol Oates A Widow's Story) and the thing that strikes me is that at first, those widows are surrounded by family and friends -- and I haven't been.  I'm just here alone.  Which really, by the way, sucks.

So! I'm looking so forward to Lori, my dear old friend (we've known each other since high school) arriving tomorrow and staying for a couple of weeks.  I really, really need this -- and I've made her promise that we will do a "spa day" with a massage and hair cut (the latter for me, I really need one) and she must drag me there, if I protest!

Also, I've spent some time getting together a guest room in our spare bedroom -- had to buy a bed, mattress, curtains, bedding, etc. And though, it's not been exactly "fun" -- it's kept me busy.

I'm truly looking forward to this visit. So if this blog is quiet for a couple of weeks, you know why.

Meanwhile, the house is getting pinker by the day!  Still far from done, but it's getting there.  I'm probably the only person who hires the painter with the prosethic leg (I'm not kidding, he really does have one)--- but I do like to hire folks who need the work. And he's doing a great job, even though it's slow going!
Window box, columns, some trim still not painted. But getting there!
(Click to enlarge.)

I so wish Bob was here to see it. He helped pick out the colors. He would have been so happy...

Boomer is still hanging in there. He has lost a lot of weight (64 lbs. now, down from 87 lbs in May and 102 lbs at his prime of life), and now has an eye infection, but on his vet visit today, Hillary thought he looked "happier" (because of Kona?).  He's got some new eye ointment and we are trying a different appetite stimulant -- it is a daily struggle to get him to eat.  The vet thinks Boomer might have some kind of cancer (because of his weight loss/appetite loss), but with his hip dysplasia + arthritis + old age -- thinks it would be too hard on him to put him through tests/treatments -- and after Zenith (who did have cancer and died after the tumor removal) I really don't think I even want to go there... Even as my heart is breaking...

Kona still has an ear infection, so new meds for her, too.

Ripley chilling out, taking over some of Zenith's former duties -- like meeting me at the door! Which is so cute.

And my chipped/sprained wrist is still killing me --- but seems to be a little better today.  Bad thing is I keep using it/straining it, so it's taking awhile to heal...

But I have question -- for all my readers -- I've been wondering, do I keep blogging here? At the pinkhouseonethecorner -- or should I start a new blog? You know, a sort of Diane-without-Bob widow's blog?

There are pros and cons to both... And I'm just thinking out loud. Would like some feedback.  Thanks.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

She's Mine!

So! Today, I officially adopted Kona. Oh my.  I consider her my "back-up auxiliary dog" for when, you know, Boomer goes.... lol

Boomer is, for some darn reason, hanging in there -- amazing! But I know, at nearly 14 years old, his time will come. He still hobbles about, real trouble with those back legs (slipping and sliding and falling down) and it's a daily fight to get him to eat -- he's gotten so thin! and it's heartbreaking -- but he's not whimpering or whining in pain and he still seems interested in life, i.e. getting up (even if it's struggle), wanting to go for a walk, following me around...  But, like I said, I know, his time is near...

And, in that event, really, it would be too darn sad, if, our little former family of five (Bob, me, Zenith, Boomer and Ripley) ended up being just Ripley and me, the two of us...   Not that I don't love Ripley, but jeepers... just the two of us? Ripley and me, alone. In just a few short months. Oh my.

I must admit, that I have fallen in love with Kona. This poor dog has lost her family and gee, I can relate to that..... and she's just so sweet.

Here she is, on the night of her adoption, with a rawhide chew ---

I tell you, three days ago, I gave her that rawhide chew and she didn't know what it was -- She  just dropped it and didn't know what to do.

Now, she's figured it out.

She's settling in. Boomer likes her, a lot.

And Ripley --- if not totally bonding, is at least tolerating her now. I mean, they are seen in the same room together with no sparks flying! So I think this will work out.

And weirdly -- is this weird? But I sometimes actually think that Bob engineered this -- from the other side -- and sent this blonde dog to me (Bob, a blonde himself, always admired the blonde colored dogs and knows I love dogs)  --- hmmmm  OK, perhaps I'm being weird.  But jeepers, the timing of this all....

Saturday, July 4, 2015

First Holiday Alone

Today has been hard.  Tonight there will be fireworks, folks out there having a good time.

I have spent the day, alone, curled up on Bob's hospital bed, in tears.

I keep the phone by the bed, but rarely does it ring, anymore. I'm sure everyone is pretty tired of this weepy widow.

I have two sick puppies by my side.  Boomer -- the usual end of life issues.  Kona has developed an infection on her incision site (from the spay) and is vomiting.  Took Kona back to the vet yesterday. She's got new meds and a prescribed "bland diet". Though the doctor thinks the vomiting might be "stress related".   I can certainly relate to that, as I've been doing the same.

Tonight, I light a candle by Bob's ashes, his sunglasses, watch, a lamp that he restored, along with Zenith's ashes, her collar, seashells from our honeymoon.  My little memorial table:

Some days, I just don't know how to deal with this....

Thursday, July 2, 2015

It's A Comedy -- and the joke's on me

So, what happened is this:

On Saturday, I took Kona for a walk.  Now Kona is a very sweet dog, very mild tempered and she minds well. She knows her name, comes when she's called, knows the meaning of "no!" and is house trained.  But that's about the extent of it. She does not know "sit", "stay", "wait". And I don't believe she has ever been walked on a leash!

The first time I put a leash on Kona, she dragged me down the alley. This was not fun, especially since she's 91 lbs.  I trained Boomer with a German Pinch collar, so I put that on Kona and decided to start training her to "heel".  It was going pretty good.

So back to Saturday, I decided to walk Kona the six blocks to the lake where there is a dog park. I thought she might enjoy running free with some other dogs.  She was doing real well, so well, in fact, that I got sloppy.

We were crossing the street to the park and I was watching traffic and I wasn't watching Kona. Big mistake. She stepped in front of me and I tripped right over her. And fell. Flat on the ground. In the middle of the street. And Kona, seeing me on the ground, laid down next to me.

No one helped me. Even though there were plenty of people around. I got up, bleeding from my knee and leg, limped across the street to sit down on a park bench.  After catching my breath, we went home.

At home, I realized that my elbow and wrist were killing me.  But I could move both and figured I had just bruised myself badly. I did the whole RICE thing, ice, rest, elevate, etc.  It hurt so bad, I hate to admit that I swiped a couple of Boomer's pain meds.

The next morning, I could not move my arm at all. So I drove myself to the ER.

The last time I was at that ER was with Bob.  Memories flooded me.  Bob in that bed saying "Go home! Go home!" and then I noticed the date, 6/28, exactly one month from his death.  I tell you, I was in tears.

Anyway, got some painful x-rays, and the doc told me that I broke my arm in two places:  at the elbow and wrist.  They wrapped me up in an "immobilization" splint that went from my fingertips to midway between my elbow and shoulder. The splint was bent so that I could not unbend my arm. They gave me a sling. They sent me home with pain meds (which were the exact same pain meds Boomer takes!) and a referral to an orthopedic doc for casting my arm.

Yesterday, I went to the orthopedic doc, who was unfortunately in the same clinic where Bob went for his foot problems. More tears. Including me, sitting in the van, wailing, "Bob, why did you leave me?!!"  

That doc cut off the splint, looked at the exact same x-rays and told me that I did not break my elbow, it was only badly bruised. That there was only a chip on my wrist bone and my wrist was badly sprained.  No broken bones.

I left with a wrist brace. Picked up Kona from the vet where she was spayed. She will definitely need more training with that leash....