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Maintaining a Home Moving Forward Uncategorized

A Clean House

Jeff

Suzanne used to tell me that she enjoyed cleaning the house. She would say, “I don’t mind cleaning the house if you will… (insert chore here).”

Over this past weekend, I celebrated the first anniversary of moving into my own house. I moved in four days after the first death anniversary, so it was a pretty eventful time.

At that time, I also owned a rental property here in my town that housed a family of people I knew. The family included my regular house cleaner, her husband, and their two sons.

They used to come to clean my house twice a month. It was great for me because I didn’t have to do much. And the house was regularly clean, tidy, fresh, and relaxing.

Then, after CoVID hit, they had to stop coming. Now, they no longer live in my rental house, and they can no longer do the cleaning here. My regular cleaner has been ill. She had cancer a number of years ago, and although I do not know the whole of the story, I believe it has returned.

Since March, I have been responsible for cleaning my own home. It’s the first time that I have indeed been in charge of cleaning the whole of a house. And, in all honesty, I cannot for the life of me figure out what Suzanne saw in it. It’s a major pain!

So, today I have a new cleaner coming. It is a milestone for me since I have not had anyone who I haven’t known come to the property to clean. It will be something new and different.

Back when Suzanne was ill, I tried to get a cleaner to come to the house, so it would be clean and tidy when she came back from chemo and other doctor’s appointments. Right now, I would be overjoyed to have that opportunity again. I would love for someone to come and clean the house so that Suzanne didn’t have to even if it meant she had to find another chore to choose for her to perform.

But like the house itself, and my new life in it, this will never happen. I am in the first home that I have ever owned without her. And it’s the first where I have my own cleaner and keep the house as I want it, not like Suzanne would have had it (it’s far too messy too much of the time for her liking). But still, I wonder if she would have liked to keep cleaning this house had she and I moved here together.

Would she still want to clean the house if she knew we could afford to have someone come and do it for us instead? Would she prefer to have done it herself, or would she have let someone else do it?

I know her. She would have cleaned before the cleaner came. Suzanne would never let anyone into the house if it were a mess, not even the cleaners. And guess what? I spent last night cleaning and tidying tonight in anticipation of the cleaner coming this morning. Just like Suzanne would have done.

Jeff Ziegler insights appear every two weeks, here on WSN-MO.  You can write to him at Jeff.ziegler@ymail.com. Cell: 1-415-623-8772. Email: jeff.ziegler@ymail.com  LinkedIn Profile URL: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffziegler

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Finding Purpose Giving Support Healing Learning new skills Maintaining a Home Moving Forward Uncategorized

“A rose by any other name”

Jim Winner

Joyce was always my biggest cheerleader. Many years ago, she encouraged me to become a Master Gardener. The process was a great experience and I learned a lot. Joyce loved our garden. She was proud of my work, and I delighted in creating a beautiful space for us. In the past several weeks, I’ve spent countless hours in that special place. The work of cleaning, weeding, planting and pruning has been good therapy. I enjoy my time in the garden.

At the end of March, I gave my roses a hard pruning. I removed the dead or weak branches and left 5 or 6 of the strongest canes on each plant. I mixed in some new amended soil around the base of the roses, added some feed and nutrients and began the waiting process. As I look at the roses today, I see plants that are healthy. They’re growing, reaching upwards, and if I do say so myself…are looking pretty good.

Like my roses, we all got a hard pruning when our wives passed away. We didn’t ask for it, but a big part of our life no longer existed. We found that part of our life was removed from us. The longer we were together the more of us got pruned away. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A part of us dies with our spouses, but a large part of us is left to renew, recover, regrow and restore.

After a pruning, no rose grows back to be the same plant it was. Canes and new branches grow in different directions. The shapes and sizes are different. The plant may produce more or less flowers depending on many environmental factors. Pests or disease may thwart and impede the health of the plant. With the right care and attention (and a little bit of luck) roses can come back after hard pruning to once again be healthy, vibrant, and full of life. So, can we.

Compare our journeys to these roses. We have endured a difficult and dark winter season. We have had to suffer through our own hard and undoubtedly severe pruning. Here is the good news. We survived. New growth can and does begin to emerge. Hopefully, the deep roots we have shared will keep us strong and hold us steady. Our loved ones, while no longer with us, will always be a part of who we are. They will always help to shape us. Perhaps our feeding and nourishment comes from this group of men. Certainly, our friends, our families, our faith and many other sources of support and resources are available to us. Keep yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually fed. Stay positive. Keep the pests and diseases away. With time, we can all grow again. We won’t be the same men we were. Personally, I hope to become a better man.

No, I’m not saying any of us are as pretty as a rose…and like a rose, I am sure we can all be a bit prickly and thorny from time to time. It is my hope and prayer that you will join me in believing that even the hardest unwanted pruning can create meaningful and healthy new growth for all of us. 

May we all bloom, dear Brothers.

Categories
Maintaining a Home

RUTILO FLORES NEEDED HELP IN THE KITCHEN – HE IS NOT ALONE.

Contributing widower Rutilo Flores of Illinois tells us how, in his country, men never entered the kitchen.  It was as they say… the custom.  You can image the reservations a widower may have if they were suddendly expected to prepare a casserole or perhaps even an omelette for their children or a guest.  Someone, quick… pass me a beer and two asprin.

Take heart gents.   There are some great resources which can help with your culinary challenges including:
1.  Many Hopsice chapters have cooking classes.  Check with your local Hospice for availability, times and fees if any. Hopsice of Michigan is promoting its new book, A Meal for Me, as part of their cooking class which teaches simple strategies when cooking for one.  Recipes include: Miniature quiche, Baked frittata, Apple, celery and nut salad, Turkey Ceasar sandwich, Sesame shrimp with noodles, and many more delights.  For more information, call 888.247.5701 or visit www.hom.org.
2.  Cooking 101: The Course for Absolute Beginners is available in the New York City area and is repeated frequently. Tuition: $335.00.
3.  To find additional opportunities to discover the joy which lerks in your kitchen, Google your local community colleges course offerings as well as any single groups which may have cooking events among their planned activities.  Heck… by attending one of these classes, you might even find someone to do the cooking. 🙂

If you discover another helpful resource, please post it to our blog.