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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Taxes, Texas and Mourning Doves


Every dawn and dusk my deck rail is the gathering spot for three Mourning Doves to roost. Sometimes if I get up early enough I’ll even find them sleeping in my heated birdbath. Whether they are the same doves day in and day out, I don’t know but a trio of doves has been showing up for over a decade. Given the fact that the oldest known Mourning Dove was over 31 when it died, my doves could very well be long-time residents of my rail. I love the rhythm of life they represent, the sameness of having habits you can depend on and look forward to seeing. They are monogamous birds and I’ve often speculated about their couple plus one status. Maybe one bird is an off spring? Maybe one birds is a widow or widower or maiden aunt who never found a mate? Or maybe they’re all swingers living an unconventional Mourning Dove life-style. It doesn’t matter if we’re looking at people, birds or animals we all like to assign a back-story to what we see before our eyes.

Someone from Lubbock, Texas has been coming to my blog a lot lately. (My FeedJit tracks when visitors come and go and their city of origins.) You would not believe the back-stories I’ve been composing in my head to explain his or her interest in my blog. But mostly seeing Lubbock, Texas, show up on my FeedJit brings back great memories of a vacation Don and I took to San Antonio in 1990. Traveling around Texas the summer was a John Steinbeck kind of vacation. We hit all the back roads, going to out-of-the-way, tiny towns and we met many colorful and memorable people. We got a lot of mileage out of retelling the highlights of that trip including meeting our all-time favorite street person who took a liking to us and who shared her Rule for Living. “Never, ever buy food,” she said. “People throw out enough to feed an army!”  That ‘never, ever buy food’ would get repeated for years to come as Don and I would be walking into a grocery store.

I’d like to ask my anonymous visitor if she/he knows the name of a place not far from Lubbock that was no more than place along a country road that had a post office, a huge barn full of Willie Nelson souvenirs and a replica saloon from the Old West (not open for business) where Willie Nelson supposedly parked his tour bus when he was playing around Lubbock. My husband was a huge Willie Nelson fan and the people at the barn said it was okay to walk around the Nelson encampment if no bus was parked out front, which we did. Over the years I’ve wondered if the saloon wasn’t just tourist trap and Nelson never set foot on the place, but in my husband’s imagination he had walked the same porch as Willie Nelson and that somehow was like going to church.

Change of topic: People who’ve never lost a spouse wonder sometimes why it’s so hard to move forward. They don’t know that the reminders of our loss come at us when we least expect it. Like yesterday I went to our my CPA to get my taxes done. Well, guess what. Filing my taxes for 2013 is my first year of filling as a single person post Don's death which meant my taxes went up and I now owe $1,100. In the past we’ve always gotten money back filing jointly. My CPA set things up to have more taxes taken out of various income sources so that I don’t have to pay in the future, but at 26 months after Don’s passing I didn’t expect there to still be ‘widow’s work’ to wrap up. Duh, I should have known---yadda, yadda, yadda---but I didn't.

I've often compared my financial life to playing a game of Monopoly. One trip around the board you may get to buy Boardwalk and built a hotel. But always hanging over your head is the very real possibility that hard times or the tax man will come along and take all your houses and hotels. The moral of that little analogy is never, ever attach your self-worth to the things or money you accumulate while living. It's the people you've known and the people who you've touched that makes you wealthy. ©

P.S  Thanks to my visitor from Lubbock the mystery was solved! (See comments.) The photo above is of the place I was trying so hard to remember...Luckenboch, Texas. Thank you for, BTexas!

12 comments:

  1. Reminders... Do they ever end? This one is pretty funny. Just the other day I got a check to my late husband for a court ordered settlement of drug overcharges. Checks like this have been dribbling in for nine years!

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    1. I know! That's why I haven't gone to the post office to have mail addressed to my husband returned to sender.

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  2. Isn't this weird--I also was in San Antonio in 1990--a sponsored trip by Buick Motor Division. I got to see the Alamo and did the River Walk/gondola ride and went to endless, boring meetings. I love Mourning Doves--to me they are the gentlest of birds and when I watch them, I always feel a calming coming over me. I love their sound too--although some people say it sounds sad--I think it sounds calming.

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    1. We did the River Walk, Alamo and other tourist things in San Antonio, too, but the romance writer's convention we attended was not boring.

      I agree with you about Mourning Doves and I really love the way they sound, too.

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  3. We have Mourning Doves, too. They sit on the railing of our porch and make their soothing cooing sound. I assumed your extra dove was an offspring or a widow, but my husband immediately suggested a ménage à trois. Men are so unimaginative sometimes. I bet they are the same trio that has been visiting for a decade. I had no idea they could live for over thirty years.

    Your trip to San Antonio sounds memorable. I am a big Willie Nelson fan. There's just something about him.

    We still haven't done our taxes, and we sold property this year. I'm nervous.

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    1. I don't know what it is about Willie's music but it sure hasn't lost his appeal over the years.

      LOL at you're husband's assumption. Kind of hard to prove one way or another.

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  4. I am the lurker from Lubbock, Texas. My name is Ernestine, and I have noticed that there is another Ernestine who has a blog. I do not know of a site where Willie Nelson parked his bus near Lubbock. He has performed in Lubbock, but is usually here just one night, and I suppose parks his bus just outside the arena. However, your description of the site sounds very much like Luckenbach, Texas. Willie recorded a song called "Luckenbach, Texas". It is just a little tiny place, has a post office, and I think sometimes they still perform concerts around there. It is near Fredericksburg, Texas, not far from San Antonio. Lubbock is 400 miles north of San Antonio. We love to go there, especially in the spring, and my daughter and I are planning a trip there in April.

    I am a widow, and stumbled onto your blog, and have enjoyed reading it and the other blogs. I find so many coincidences to my life in them. My husband died in September 2013, so it's about 18 months now. He had been ill about 4 years, with Myelofibrosis, a blood cancer, similar to leukemia. In my early 80's, and we had been married for 61 years.

    This year was also my first to file taxes as a single, but I had been warned and was prepared. It does make a difference in the taxes.

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    1. I'm am so sorry that you lost your husband. We widows do all share a surprising number of coincidences and reading other people's blogs has been helpful to me, too, as well was writing one.

      Thank you so much for the information about Luckenbach! I just checked out the images of the place on line and that was the place that I was trying so hard to remember every since you started coming here. We had such a great time on that vacation and at Luckenbach. Thank you for solving the mystery for me and for filling in some of the details that over the years at become so fuzzy in my mind.

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  5. Oh yes, those reminders! This morning, I cooked up a pot of beans for my son, as I do every Sunday. I opened the spice drawer, full of tins that with handwritten labels. As I do every Sunday, I reached for the cumin and chili powder, the cumin in my handwriting and the chili powder in my husband's. I pick that up every Sunday. Sometimes I don't notice it. Sometimes it stings. This morning, I just felt my husband's warmth, then kept going and tossed the spices in with the onions and kept going.

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    1. Exactly! People don't understand stuff like that, Even if you relabeled the one tin that your husband had written, seeing the new label could still trigger a flash-back kind of thing...like pinging the past.

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  6. I am glad you were able to remember your trip to Luchenbach. That is not an easy name to remember. You traveled in my favorite area in Texas to visit. My husband and I traveled quite a bit, but we never made it to Michigan. I did go to the Upper Peninsula when I was a teenager, and always wanted to go back, but somehow we never went that direction. The memories are great, even though I probably don't remember the names of towns.

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  7. In my mind I had Lubbock mixed up with Luchenbach and when I looked Lubbock up online I was shocked to see how big a city it was. At the point I knew I was confused on where we'd been---no town grows that fast---and it was bugging the heck out of me that I couldn't remember. I can't tell you how happy you made me when you left a comment.

    It you were in the Upper Peninsula you can officially say you've been to Michigan. The upper and lower peninsulas are all ruled by same state laws. Although a lot of people up there wouldn't mind being a state onto themselves. We used to go up to the UP at least once a summer. I have good memories from the area, too.

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