Tag Archives: newly single lifestyle

Lonely at Ikea

Ikea is not for the faint-of-heart in any instance. The lines; the cart-only escalator; the miles and miles of lamps, bowls, desks, linens and things-you-didn’t-know-you-needed can make anyone turn on her heels and head for the nearest mom-and-pop furniture store (are there any of those left?). And you really want to make Ikea a miserable shopping experience? Go by yourself.

Yesterday I was in the Ikea neighborhood and headed there for a desk. A simple desk. No drawer, no keyboard drop, no hutch. Essentially a tabletop with legs. Nothing too deep, nothing too long. Ikea had just the thing, I discovered via the Internet, and the price was right. I also wanted a small nightstand lamp, and we all know that Ikea can’t be beaten for cheap lighting.

So I went there. Alone. I think I was the only single person there.

First, it’s the choosing. To be honest, going to a grocery store post divorce was kind of weird too. I looked with sadness at the old people strolling the produce aisles holding hands. I couldn’t get used to buying food just because I wanted it. No reading labels to make sure it was suitable for Mr. Ex the vegetarian to eat. No thinking about what the kids would eat for lunch or what the family would share for dinner. Nope, just me. But I got over it. And, to be honest, there are always lots of alone people at the grocery store.

At the grocery story, though, it’s not like you see a bunch of people standing around discussing the relative merits of Gala apples over Honeycrisp.

Not Ikea. Everything at Ikea is a discussion. White table legs or silver? Red bowls or blue? And everywhere you look there are couples and families trying to figure out if it will fit, get home in the car and if it’s really that easy to put together.

And then there’s the pulling off the shelves and getting the item into the cart with nobody else to hold it steady. I bet you never appreciated that extra person before, right? Go ahead and do it yourself without looking like your cart was taken hostage by Candid Camera. Whoops – there it goes down the aisle while the divorced lady chases after it with a tabletop in her arms.

Then it’s the buying. They don’t bag at Ikea (they don’t even give you bags – you have to buy them now). They just take your money. And since most people use plastic in some way, they really just scan and give you a slip of paper with numbers on it. So you’re stuck bagging after you’ve paid, if you’re alone. While the people behind you stand tapping their feet because you’re now in their space.

Then there’s the dreaded holding area. The pickup zone (I don’t mean that in a good way). The leave-your-cart, get-your-car zone.

I may be overly suspicious, but I’m not happy about spending a lot of money for stuff and then leaving it alone so I can run and get the car. And I didn’t do it yesterday. Luckily I know I’m suspicious, so I planned ahead (I do that occasionally) and chose a parking space that was fairly convenient to the pickup zone. And my purchases weren’t that heavy (and, of course, I had my new, 59 cent Ikea bag), so I grabbed them out of the cart and carried them to the car myself. And even got the 48-inch tabletop in the trunk first try.

All-in-all, it was a pretty miserable shopping experience. The exciting news is that I got the purchases home and managed to put everything together from the no-words, goofy pictures instructions.

But I’m not excited to do it again any time soon.


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Filed under Singleness

Oy – major purchases are not what they used to be

There it was, waiting for me on the front stoop as I pulled into the driveway.

It’s big.

It’s green.

I needed to put it together. We’re going to be spending lots of time together.

It’s a lawnmower.

With all the deliberation that one uses to purchase an automobile, I finally decided to buy a manual (as in no gas – people propelled) mower. A push mower, as it is. No gas, no fumes, no messing with a motor. Just like the Beaver and Wally used to use.

Well, sort of.

They’ve come a long way. They’re lighter, to start with. And easy to maintain.

And, gosh-darn-it, easy to use.

And major kudos to the folks at Amazon. I ordered it Tuesday. It qualified for super saver shipping, which supposedly is the slowest. In the spirit of saving money, I went for the free shipping, not worrying about how fast it would get here. I mean, how quickly do I want to start mowing anyway?

It shipped Wednesday.

It got here today.

Glad I didn’t spring for next-day shipping.

I had to put it together, which went very quickly, even though the directions weren’t laid out well. I couldn’t find the part that told me how to actually attach the handle to the mower, so I found a photo that showed me where it went. I’d say it took me 10 minutes to assemble it.

Then, of course, I had to take it outside to try it out.

I was kind of excited. A little worried I’d look ridiculous.

So I went in the backyard, where it’s less likely that I’ll be witnessed.

I pushed it in the corner of the yard, where it’s kind of sparse anyway.

It makes a kind of zen (seriously) sound. The noise is the blades scraping against the cutting deck, or something like that. No motor sound.

After I did the little corner, I thought, well, let’s go for it.

Less than an hour later I was in the house making dinner. And the entire backyard was mowed.

Tomorrow I’ll do the front.

And I will have saved $35.00, which is what I was paying the lawn service every week. And not contributed to destroying the environment.

I guess I’ve come pretty far from someone who, in October 2008, bought a bookcase simply because it featured the magic words, “no assembly required.”


Filed under House and home

Just sayin’ – general observations

Upon living alone and mr-less…

Tires need filling? Seriously?

All light bulbs look the same when you’re standing in Home Depot. Better to bring one.

When you live alone and misplace something, there is nobody to blame but yourself. “He” did not move it. “He” did not use it and put it back in the wrong place. “You” are going crazy; that is the only explanation.

Traps that catch mice need to be either (a) emptied and re-baited or (b) thrown away if they’re disposable. Disposable ones are totally worth the money. So’s Terminix.

When the light goes out over the kitchen sink, you will have to be the one to get on the stepladder (which, coincidentally, is upstairs), snake your hand up through the pot rack that’s hanging below it, untwist the old light bulb and replace it. Then you will be the one who has to climb down the stepladder and turn on the light. Then you will be the one who has to call the electrician when it still doesn’t work.

When 18 people are coming for Thanksgiving, you are the one who has to clean the house. Of course, it there’s no mess to start with, you can just clean it without cleaning up first.

In summary, there’s lots that’s different. But it’s just different this year, not bad.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under Just sayin', Singleness

Pass me a margarita

My day today began with fishing a dead mouse out of the pot that was soaking in the sink. I don’t know whether to be grateful that it was (a) dead and that (b) I didn’t have to dislodge it from a mousetrap or grossed out. Or both.

Then, after I discovered that I washed – and destroyed – two checks to me totaling over $500.00, two checks that I had written and put in envelopes to mail, and one certified copy of my mother’s death certificate in an envelope to a life insurance company, I went to let the dogs out. Right outside the back door was one dead bird. Right there, on the ground, waiting for me to pick it up and dispose it in my garbage can which is beginning to take on a morgue aura.

So now I feel like I’m living in a Stephen King novel.

Pass me a margarita.

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Filed under Things I never did before


I realized recently that one of the casualties of my divorce (which, by the way, becomes final on August 17th) is entertaining. Mr. Ex and I were consummate entertainers. It was not unusual for us to have company every weekend during the summer – usually our very good friends and their kids (um, that would be my former very good friend whom I now know is more than very good friends with Mr. Ex, but I digress). We would sit on the patio, build a fire; you know the routine.

I loved it. I loved every element of it – planning the menu, preparing the food, setting the stage.

And now I don’t do it any more. I have had very little company since Mr. Ex moved out. And mostly it’s been my kids, or some very good friends.

I guess part of it is that for some time I just didn’t feel like partying. But I think there’s more; it’s the whole “that’s what we used to do as a couple” mentality. It’s the accompanying memories. It’s the platters we received as gifts. It’s the “now I’m alone” thing staring you in the face. It’s the “do you invite couples?” or “do you invite a bunch of single women – does that sound like fun?” thing.

I’m a social person. I like to be with friends. I like to be a hostess. This has been a huge part of my life. How do I get it back?

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Filed under Creating a new life, Moving on, Singleness

And she lived . . .

andshelivedSo, having decided to stay in the house, I’ve started making changes and planning changes that will truly make it mine. I gathered up all my courage and ventured into the garage to see what really is in there, and rescued some items to remake. I found a huge mirror that used to belong to my inlaws and a dark picture frame. More on them later. I also spotted this chippy, dingy piece of wood.

I decided to start with the end of my story, so I painted this little saying on it. I’m not sure if I’ll keep it this way – after all, it’s just paint, but for now it makes me smile.


Filed under Creating a new life, Moving on, Singleness


I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my home lately. Well, you know.

First I was going to put it on the market and buy something that has always been just mine. But the realities of the current real estate market and the fact that we refinanced and pulled out equity within the last few years has pretty much convinced me that now is not the time to try to sell. While I may really want to live somewhere else, it’s probably just not the smartest thing for me to do. And, to be honest, I’m not at all upset to remove that potential source of stress from my life right now.

So now I’m looking at my house; the three-bedroom house with a two-car garage on a big suburban lot where we raised two kids and weathered 15 years of marriage . . . and then separated – and trying to figure out how to turn it into MY house. It feels decadent; to have all that space for just one person.

I started thinking about the word homemaker. I’ve never considered myself much of a homemaker. I think that word always just conjured up images of the mom in Leave it to Beaver with the skirt and apron, making dinner at all hours. And dusting. And flower arranging. And it implied, to me, that the home you were making was for someone else.

Been there done that (well, except for the dusting. And the skirt. And definitely the apron).

But now I really want to be a homemaker. I want to make the home; deliberately, with great intent, enjoying the process and the anticipating the destination.

But, homemaking for one? After thirty years of being a wife and mother, that just seems like such a hard concept for me to access.

I’m so lucky to have a home and to be able to afford to keep it – I know that makes me so different from many women in their 50’s who get divorced.

So where do I go from here?

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Filed under Creating a new life, Haven for one, Moving on, Singleness