Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. 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. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Old People Problems, Puppets and Politics


When a neighbor tells you she saw some nice beans at the farmers market and you think she said she saw some nice queens, it’s time to get your hearing checked. When a friend tells you he’s going downtown to suck on a beer and you think he said he wants to suck on an ear, it’s time to get your hearing checked…unless, of course, you enjoy being fodder for old people jokes. Oh my god, I hate telling on myself but recently another friend was talking about getting her son’s horse some new tack and I actually spent a few moments wondering how you get a horse a new rack. Do they have veterinaries that do boob jobs on fillies? Why on earth would a horse even need a bigger rack? It’s not like horses are judged on the size of their mammary glands.

So today I spent two hours getting a hearing test. I honestly thought they’d find a big hunk of wax down in there to explain why I’ve suddenly developed old-people-itis. No such luck. I’ve lost a “significant” amount of hearing in the higher frequencies, according to the audiologist. The test was through one of those big chains that do free testing, hoping to suck you in to buying their product. The set of middle-of-the-road aids he was trying to sell me would cost roughly $5,000 or $2,700 on top of what the insurance will cover. Cripe, I hate having an old people problem! How do you go about buying a set of hearing aids so you don’t get ripped off? In my case, I’m taking the easy way out and I booked an appointment for a second test at my husband’s audiologist who is connected to an ear, nose, and throat specialist. I know they are not snake oil salesmen, I’m not so sure about the chain hearing aid place.

Old People Problem #2: Why in the world do young people think it’s so funny to lock the doors on handicap bathroom stalls, then crawl under the door and leave? It happened to me again today. In a pinch I can use a regular stall but back when I used to take my wheelchair bound husband to the restroom that wasn’t an option. Now, that's a REAL problem in situations like that and one that's not so easy for old people to solve. On several occasions little kids have crawled under the door to unlock the stalls for us and we were grateful for their help while at the same time trying not to let the ‘yuck factor’ show on our faces. You gotta know there’s cooties living on that floor! Not all kids are evil, I know that, but one evil kid who locks handicap bathroom stalls, and then leaves the building makes you forget about the next 100 good ones.

When I got home from the hearing test and the annoying bathroom experience I had a call on my answering machine from a guy with a smooth, sexy voice. Oh, my! It was the director of the museum wanting to know if I could voluntary this weekend at a park party helping with some children’s activities. All the proceeds earned at the park party are being donated to the museum and they were understaffed. I was glad I wasn't home to pick up phone as the call came in because I was in no mood, today, to be nice to cute little kids with sticky fingers and candy cotton in their hair. I had to call the guy back, though, and I was actually glad I had a prior commitment. I don't have a lot of experience with little kids. I do know they've done things like pee on my shoes, tie me up and put earth worms in my purse---and that was my nieces and nephew who love me. What will strangers do? The museum is going to be doing a lot of puppet shows so I can see where I'll need to over come my fear of little rug rats. I might actually like shoving my arm up the town’s founder in effigy. Or I might claim the Indian princess puppet. I think my voice is too high to take on the role of a lumberjack. When I declined the volunteer invitation the director said, “Don’t worry, we’ll hook you into something else. Now that we have you, we won’t let go.”

I’m going to a political rally fundraiser this weekend---my excuse for not helping with the park party. The last one I went to Don won a Michelle Obama doll in a raffle and the next week I sold it on e-Bay for a cool $150. I don’t even know who is speaking at the rally but, what the heck, don’t we all need a team to support? I hate football, baseball, basketball and hockey so it’s either politics or polo and since I don’t look good in garden hats, polo is out of the question. I try to keep politics out of my blogs but I’m really angry over what is going on in D.C. right now with the shut down, so if you’ll excuse me I’m going over to a website where debating politics is not only welcome but encouraged. And we all get to fight anonymously. ©

11 comments:

  1. I used to love politics--the workings of it--everything about it. I have lost all interest in it entirely--all it does it make me mad! I am a Moderate, so suddenly, I am in the minority. I recently got a letter from the RNC asking for a donation. I wrote back and said, "If you get those damn Tea Partyers out of MY party, I will send you a nice donation. Until that time--take me off the rolls."

    I do like baseball, football and basketball and those interesting things will keep me occupied until next March!!

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  2. Judy, I've been throwing out donation letters this past six months. My interest in politics has been up and down for nearly two years which isn't like me. Part of it is the idiots in D.C. right now and part of it is because Don is gone and I have no one to talk with about what's going on. My house representative is one of the hard nosed, freshman Tea Party gang of 40 and I'm hoping the rally I'm going to over the weekend is going to have some ideas for getting him out of office. I'd love to hear a speaker I can get behind to accomplish that.

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  3. I'm also going to an audiologist upon my return to Maui. You're right. It's getting embarrassing to join a conversation based on what I "think" is being said. Congrats on having insurance that will help pay anything! I'm thinking of getting my pricing and THEN offering Mr. Ralph's old pair (less than a year old and worn very infrequently) as a down payment!!!

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  4. AW: If your husband's hearing aids were digital you can probably have them reset for you and all you'd have to buy is new moldings for your ears if they were custom made or a new casing if you didn't like the color. I know someone who did that and saved themselves $6,000 because those aids had a lot of bells and whistles like blue-tooth.. Those digital hearing aids have a wide range of settings...some more than other depending on the quality he had in the first place. When Don died I donated two pairs of his aids to a company the resets them for poor people who don't have insurance. When a relative died someone asked for his hearing aids. Apparently, that's not uncommon to have one person's aids reworked for someone else. They just hook a computer up to them to reset them.

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  5. Oh my gosh! I had no idea! Thanks for this big money saving tip! Especially because I don't think my insurance covers hearing aids!!!

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  6. Argh! That comment by the Director of volunteers reminds me that if we don't know where we're headed, we'll be snatched in a nano second into somebody else's campaign. I had a recent experience where someone described me as a 'new recruit' . "Oh, no, I'm not!" I replied, smiling gaily.

    I love the way you're so non apologetic for not being the kind dear woman who loves taking care of kids. I'm not one, either. In fact, right now I'm waiting for the kids in D.C. to sit down, so the real adults can stand up and govern. Are there any adults in the room?

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  7. I'm getting the impression that volunteers are hard to come by for any group and those in charge of fulfilling slots do put a lot of pressure on newbies. I got a second call about working at the park party. I probably could have shaved some hours off the time I spend at the fund raiser and squeezed in some time for the museum but I'm getting worn out from all the running around I've been doing so I held my ground.

    I couldn't agree more with your second paragraph!!!!!!!!!!

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  8. Good for you for having a prior commitment for the kids' party. When I was part of the vestry at the Episcopal church, the priest would explain that we all have our "gifts." That was to draw out what we have to offer, but also a side-handed, Episcopalian way of saying that we may be ill-suited for other tasks. Luckily, somebody out there is bound to have the gift that includes hanging out with excited, sticky kids all day! You have a lot to give, and you know what that is. It sounds like you've connected with some neat groups and good folk.

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  9. Thank you for sharing what the priest said. I do have some talents that I think will be useful to the museum as I get my feet wet---I have yet to volunteer for rotating exhibits and writing articles for their newsletter and those are areas I'm interested in. Not so much the 'educate kids' stuff. I will find my niche in time if I go slow. I must thank my fellow bloggers like you and Stepping into the Future for encouraging me to find a volunteer situation. Even if I don't stick to it, it fills a need right now of giving me more self confidence regarding meeting new people.

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  10. At least mishearing what others say can be entertaining -- although I'll grant that it can also be bit embarrassing to be the only person in the room convulsed in laughter. Recently, during a meeting of an academic program that I'm affiliated with, the program director gave a report that included the information that one of our former students was now working at "the national office for the prevention of talking." That stopped me in my tracks! Seeing the puzzled look on the face of the thirty-something new faculty member sitting across the table from me emboldened me to ask, "There's a national office for the prevention of talking?!?" "'Stalking,' not 'talking'! the director explained. Oh. Still, I find the idea of a national office to prevent talking both intriguing and hilarious. Perhaps it helps to explain the seeming breakdown of civilized communication in our national government. -Jean

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  11. We have to see the humor is our mishearing events. I like yours and there are a few people who talk too much I'd like to refer to the office of the prevention of talking. LOL

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