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

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Widow's Lunch in Guy-Land



“When it rains, it pours” is an idiom meaning a whole lot of things are going wrong in your life all at the same time. I wonder if there is an idiom for a whole lot of good things happening at the same time. That’s the way I feel about the fact that after sitting “on the bench” for most of the winter there are six get-out-of-the-house outings penciled in my planner for this first week in February, a week without a major ice or snow storm in the weather forecast. (We've got a mini storm going on right now.)

Granted an appointment to take the dog to the groomers wasn’t very exciting but that was my Monday outing. Since he had to be dropped off at noon and picked back up at 4:00 I took the time in between to take my closet-purging bags to Goodwill. They’d been sitting in my garage long enough to give me second thoughts and more than once I was digging in those bags, wondering if I made good purging decisions. I did.

Among the things dropped off was a pair of brand new snowmobile boots in their original box with the tags still in place. I found them in a forgotten corner of the coat closet and I tried them on, thinking I could use them when I shovel snow. Guess what, I’ve gotten so old/weak since they were purchased that I couldn’t pick my feet up to walk with those heavy boots on. It felt like they were nailed to the floor---the boots, not my feet. And to think I used to traipse around in the middle of snowy nights, wearing heavy boots like that and holding a flashlight for Don while he repaired broken cutting edges and fluid lines on snowplows. He had so much equipment that something always needed fixing during blizzards. Sometimes when I look back on my life I wonder if all that stuff happened to someone else. Does that ever happened to you? Without a life-partner to ask, “Do you remember the time when….” I seem to have lost some validation.

After Goodwill I decided to go to the Breakfast Only Café where I knew I could strike up a conversation with others sitting at the counter. But I forgot it was Monday, the only day they are closed. So I went to a cafeteria style restaurant near-by. I picked a table near four thirty-something guys where I thought eavesdropping might be interesting. (Don’t judge me. Plenty of people had eavesdropped on Don and me over the years and if they inserted an appropriate comment with a “Sorry, I couldn’t help hearing” they often got invited into the conversation.) Can you believe it, these four guys spent 5-6 minutes talking about hairstyles they used to have, wish they had and hope they never get. One guy went so far as to pull a photo off the internet to show his companions! They sounded like a bunch of little girls. I cannot imagine my macho-man husband ever having a conversation like that. Times are changing.

After they left the restaurant, an old guy sat down at a table adjoining mine and over the half wall separating us he struck up a conversation. That’s when I realized that there were twelve tables with people dining alone and I was the only woman in old geezer-land! If I was in the market for a man, that place would be a prime hunting ground and I’d be eating there every morning, noon and night. I’m not in the market and I hate saying this because it makes me sound like a cougar but if I were in the market, old men have no sex appeal.

Don never lost his sex appeal as he aged but then again I’m not so sure that many/most widows don’t wear extra heavy, corrective rose colored glasses when we think about our spouses. When we no longer get annoyed by their petty guy things---burping on purpose to get a rise out of us or socks left next to the hamper---it’s easier to keep building that ‘dead husband pedestal’ higher and higher. Don wasn’t perfect but in my warped widow’s mind there are few guys, if any, in my peer age group who could compete with him in the Department of Homeland Sex Appeal, and it’s a little scary to have that train of thought traveling through my head. It makes me wonder if someday an old dude will be sit down at a near-by table, a train whistle will blow in my head and suddenly he’ll have sex appeal where before, he didn’t. Will this mighty tree in the forest fall and shout, “Oh, shit!” on the way down and the next thing you know I’d be on my way to Las Vegas for an Elvis-themed wedding with an old geezer who thinks I’ll make a good caregiver should he have a heart attack on our Viagra spiced honeymoon? Or worse yet, I’ll be on my way to Las Vegas with a young con-artist with a sexy smile who mistakenly marked this widow as a good cash cow. Good grief, with all that on the list of possibilities, I need to stay out of the Guy-Land Cafeteria!

The old guy at lunch was nice but the conversation was vanilla pudding. “Nice day isn’t it,” he said in his opening volley.  

“It sure is,” I replied. “It’s been a while since we’ve seen the sun.”

“Do you live around here?” he asked

No, I felt like saying to that ancient line, I just flew in from Dallas to have lunch in this fine establishment. Out loud I replied: “I live on the other side of the river.” Five minutes of chit-chat later, I put my coat on and as I walked off I lied and told the guy, “It was nice talking to you.” I wondered if he was disappointed that I didn’t get myself another cup of coffee to prolong the chance encounter. If the conversation had been chocolate or pistachio pudding I might have. Thank goodness he didn’t ask for my phone number. Years ago when a guy would ask that question I usually gave out the number to the weather station's recorded forecast. I don’t think they’ve had a forecast line in ages. Now, you just google it if you want to know what’s coming. Do you ever wish we could google our futures? If we could, I wonder if I’d really want to know. ©

13 comments:

  1. Funny and sad and true - our guys really were sexy! Someday, though, a sexy - I mean an actually, really sexy - old dude could walk into your life and you may see an equally sexy old gal reflected in his glasses. Think it's possible?

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  2. It could happen that a sexy older dude could run across my path, but he'd be looking at another woman. LOL

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  3. “Do you live around here?” It's like the old geezer version of "What time do you get off?"

    Thanks for taking us along your day. It sounds productive, with old things and new things.

    And, yes, those things really did happen to you. You had a wonderful life back then, and it's still going strong.

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    1. "What's your sign?" was a popular line in the frame Don and I started dating. The "Do you live around here?" line was practical, I'm told, because if a guy didn't have a car then he'd spend less time on public transportation if the girl he dated lived near-by. LOL

      Life does go on, doesn't it. I have to keep reminding myself sometimes.

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  4. Fred was a sexy older Dude--handsome, intelligent, interesting AND he could write a nice love letter with both correct spelling AND grammar. That is what probably hooked me! I have been Cougar most of my dating life--one was even 10 years younger. Fred was 3 years younger--age really doesn't matter when you are old, BUT, to even consider another guy, he would have to be stunning. Tall, slim, lovely grey or white hair, interesting and healthy and I don't think there are many like that out there even near my age, LOL.

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    1. Why. Judy, I never would have guessed the cougar side of you. ;) For Valentine's Day you'll have to write about Fred's romantic side. That's really neat about his love letter writing abilities.

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    2. Judy, I've been enjoying your comments on here for awhile, and I never took you for a cougar. :) This blog is great!

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  5. Validation. Totally what I miss right now. Or just someone to make a snide remark about someone ... and know it will never be repeated. Someone to have a tiny conversation with about the kinds of geckos who live here. It's all the little things.

    And I'm working on building that pedestal! I LOVE YOUR REPLY TO GO WITH THE FLOW

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    1. You mentioned another little thing I miss...being able to say ANYTHING to someone and KNOW it will never leave the room, total faith in another person to keep a confidence even without being told to do it.

      When I go to senior events and see the ratio of women to men it becomes really clear that the guys got their pick of the litter. So I know my reply to GoWithTheFlow is right on target.

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    2. Yep, old ladies definitely outnumber the old men. Good thing we are not interested! No one could ever measure up (and my rose colored glasses are pretty pale at 9 months)!! What's the opposite of cougar? Ralph was 18 years older ...

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    3. I don't know for the woman but Ralph would have been a cradle robber. LOL

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  6. I sometimes look back and wonder if it really happened, too. Our life in our first house with a baby, then toddler and then ten-year-old, our second house with a teen ager and college student, it all seems a blur and maybe someone else's life.

    I've had a few encounters recently with old men. H always comes around the corner and ends it. :) My favorite farmer's market is a great place. Every time I look at the tomatoes, some old guys shows up and starts talking produce. "Good crop of tomatoes this year." Grocery stores are good too, but it sounds like a bumper crop grows at your cafeteria. I imagine your standards are high after a guy like Don.

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who sometimes views the past like blur of someone's else's life. And in a way it was because we are not the same people we were when we were younger.

      I love the farmer's market and grocery store but I've never seen anyone but young people. I must be going at different times than you do. I can't even imagine having a list of standards because guys take too long to train and I don't have that much time left. LOL

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