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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Baby Steps

So, this past month I actually went out for an evening (dinner and music) which is something I haven't done in I can't even remember how long --- this was with my new "widows group" -- four of us from the last grief group I attended.  It was one of the widow's first wedding anniversaries without her hubby and we wanted to do something special for her.

Problem was that she wanted to go to a place that was about 40 miles away and involved going over the very scary Skyway Bridge (popular suicide jump bridge) and it would be at night, in the dark!, coming home and I am not particularly fond of night driving even when a scary bridge is not involved! Heck, I am not particularly fond of driving on that bridge during the day.

So, I said I'd go if someone else would drive.

The original plan was for all of us to meet at one spot and then Peggy would drive us all, but I was worried about getting to the pick-up place because of the night driving thing and so another widow offered to pick me up at home and bring me with her.  I know this is part of my neurotic behavior since Bob passed, but... after we made that plan, another widow also did not want to drive to the pick-up spot and OK, good!  I'm not the only neurotic here!

So it went down like this:  Linda came to my house (close to hers) and Candy picked us both up here and drove us out to the pick-up spot where Peggy picked us up! It was like musical cars -- but it worked.

I was also so darn anxious about this whole thing -- making sure my mom and dad had all contact numbers in case something happened to us and we (4 widows) went over the edge of the bridge or something equally bad and wanted to make sure my parents would contact my vet to pick up Kona (and feed Ripley and the fish, yes I still have Chris' fish) if I was dead or hospitalized....

Well, nothing happened. We made it there fine, had a good dinner, listened to the band playing and got home just fine. All that worry for nothing.

But funny, I wasn't the only one in this group who was anxious. Turned out one of the other widows contacted her neighbor to "make sure" her car came home that night and to make sure the neighbor had her contact numbers if the car didn't show up! She had also seen two hearses earlier that day and thought it was some creepy sign...

It's nice to know that grief does this stuff to other people too.

My therapist/shrink said it was good to confront fears like this -- and soon I'll be able to do such things without freaking out. We'll see....

Then yesterday, I replaced the shower head in the bathroom. Now, I know that isn't a big deal, but I had been putting this off and off because I was afraid I'd mess it up somehow.  I am pretty good with a paint brush, or refinishing, or even rebuilding a screen window or rewiring an outlet, but anything to do with plumbing gives me the creeps.

We've had a long standing problem with the bathroom shower.  It does not have much pressure.  Thus, the tankless water heater doesn't respond very well when it's turned on.   This has been a long ongoing problem, even when the contractor was working on our house and his plumber could not seem to fix it.  So you have to wait and wait for hot water and lately it had gotten so bad that the only way I could get hot water in the shower was to also turn the hot water in the bathroom faucet on.  I've been doing that for months.

And I was thinking maybe it was a problem with the shower head.  I was thinking I should replace it. And I finally got the gumption to do so yesterday and bought a powerful shower head (the highest GPM I could find) and, you know, it took 15 minutes (not even) to take the old shower head off and get the new one on and this morning I took the most luxerious HOT pounding shower ever in that bathroom!  I did it -- stupidly waited forever but I finally did it!  And to think, the plumber couldn't figure this one out.

I know these are just baby steps --- but it's a start and it's amazing how grieving can destroy one's confidence. And I still miss Bob so very very much.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bob's Pool

One of the things that Bob had wanted, and I wanted for him, was a therapy pool.  It was one of the things on my list when looking for a new house -- either a house with a pool or room to put one in.  It was also something I had spoken about to our attorney during our mediation i.e: enough money for a house with a pool.

I had always heard such good things about aqua therapy for stroke survivors, but, unfortunately, the one place in town that offered aqua therapy would not accept Bob into the program because he was incontinent.

And that's why I wanted Bob to have his very own pool (to pee in! ha) along with a wheelchair lift device, and I'd priced all these things out including a private therapist willing to work with him. And that was the plan which was approved by his trust fund.

Of course, everyone knows what happened to that plan.

I have spent a long time debating what to do with pool plan and the money set aside by the trust for this project.  After talking with our realtor (who assured me it was an investment and would increase value of the house) and other folks, I finally decided, I would go ahead with our plan even though Bob will only be able to enjoy it in spirit.

And perhaps it would do me some good, to continue with our plan for our house, and once finished, it would provide "therapy" for me.

They started excavating earlier this year in what was basically a dirt and weedy backyard:

The pool is a small pool, and it's "eco-friendly", i.e. salt water and solar heated.  Bob would be pleased.  In fact, these "in process" photos make me feel he approves:


Since I didn't need to put in a wheelchair lift or a heat pump, I was able to splurge a little on adding water features and "dog friendly" sun shelf.

I am so glad I went through with this project, it has brought real joy into my life for the first time since Bob passed away.  I swim every day and do aqua aerobics.  It's a great stress reliever and Kona loves it, too.

Just finished the final touch -- landscaping!

Sunday, July 17, 2016


For a long time, after Bob died, I sort of crawled in hole and hid.  Then I decided that I needed to follow Bob's advice (through the medium) to "make our house a home" and finish the improvements that Bob and I had planned.

Just finished landscaping the side yard which used to look like this:

Which was pretty much just dirt and weeds. And now looks likes this:

The bare area is ground cover (just starting) and should fill up!

Planted Peace Lillies and Lady Palms along the sides, patio area by the fence,
need to get a table and some chairs!
Wood fence separates the guest house (Chris' old apt) from the main house. 

Entrance to side yard

Pet Memorial Corner
my meditation spot

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Found Drawings

I was going through some boxes and I found some of Bob's sketchbooks.  I thought they were unused, but when I flipped through them, I found some drawings that he either never considered "finished" or "good enough" and so he abandoned and I don't remember these at all.

They are all untitled.  Unfinished?  I am unsure. But find them interesting.

I have decided to use Bob's drawings in the memoir I am planning to write.  The idea being to use one of his drawings to head off each chapter, and to perhaps have the "title" of the drawing relate to the contents of the chapter.  Also one of his drawings for the cover.  This way the memoir would be a last joint project for Bob and me, and both our names on the cover, his name as the illustrator.

As far as these new "found" drawings, I would love to hear anyone's impressions, comments or ideas for a title.

Here's the first one: