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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Service People and Bad Movies



 
It seems like all I’ve done lately is wait for service people. Twice this month I waited for the cable company, once to fix a digital box they installed wrong and two days later to install two more boxes….couldn’t do it all on one trip, oh no. That would take organization and proficiency in their scheduling department. Another day I waited all morning for a cement contractor to show up to power lift a couple of slabs in my driveway that were undermined by a misdirected downspout pouring rain water along the side of the driveway. Mission accomplished and the hollowed-out area under the slabs is now filled with cement. Then I waited for my house cleaner who, as it turns out, got booked for 2:30 instead of our standing appointment of 12:30. Someone screwed up and they didn’t tell me about the change. Then when she didn’t show up at 2:30 I got a call from the cleaning company wanting to reschedule to another day! It’s frustrating when the world of service makes me wait. Don’t they know I’m old and don’t have time to waste?

Then there are the contractors who show up on prearranged days but they don’t need to come in the house. The lawn care guy. The fertilizer guy. And the mole exterminator who uses an environmentally friendly method to kill the evil rodents that are hell-bent on turning my yard into a perfect movie set for a remake of Caddyshack. What is the environmentally friendly way to kill a living creature? I’m afraid to ask. I think he sits out there and tries to talk them into committing suicide. But I wouldn’t care if the guy took a shotgun to my yard and pumped the ground full of bullet holes if the moles would just go away. By the way I hated that movie---not my kind of humor---but Chevy Chase did have one memorable line: “Don't be obsessed with your desires Danny. The Zen philosopher, Basho, once wrote, 'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. A donut with no hole, is a Danish.' He was a funny guy.” There really was an influential Japanese poet who lived and studied Zen back in the 1600s named Matsuo Basho. However, I seriously doubt this guy who wondered around observing nature wrote about Danish and donuts but if that movie line inspired even a tiny fraction of Caddyshack fans to google ‘Basho’ that would give the film a redeeming quality. You never know when it will come in handy to know which poet of centuries past first perfected the art of haiku writing.

Friday my Movie and Lunch Club saw Tammy with Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon starring as granddaughter and grandmother on a crazy road trip that involves a robbery and Sarandon hooking up with guy that leaves Melissa sleeping on the sidewalk outside their motel room. McCarthy and her husband wrote the movie script and, of course, it fit her style of comedic acting but I couldn’t find one memorable line in the whole film and I always try to do that when I see a movie or read a book. The casting, too, made it hard for me to suspend my disbelief. Sixty-eight year old Sarandon being a grandmother to forty-four year old McCarthy while technically possible visually it didn’t work for me. There were other casting choices that also had me scratching my head. But lunch after was great. We always go to different restaurants around town and going places we wouldn’t go alone is a nice treat for a pack of widows like we are.

I feel so spoiled sometimes, living here in the United States where the worst issues I have at the moment are a cleaning woman who doesn’t jump and ask “how high?” when I speak and so-so movies. I’m a news junkie and lately that’s been making me feel obscenely lucky to be living in a safe place where commercial airplanes aren’t getting shot out of the sky and tunnels aren’t being dug underground to bring weapons and war to my doorstep. No, I get to sit here writing about a Haiku writer, service people and bad movies while I wonder why I won the born-in-America lotto. The accident of our birth country has everything to do with everything that happens after…the hardships or opportunities and the peace, war or famine around us. I went to a baby shower yesterday and was thinking about that and about the pleasure of being able to carry on family traditions. Does that get to happen in war torn countries? My niece has a rocking horse that I painted for her son 28 years ago that she is passing on to her first grandchild and I had a set of blocks that her father and I played with as children that I divided up and I gave some to my two nieces (both first time grandmothers). Bridging the generations is still a strong value in this country and one we are so blessed to be able to carry forward. ©
 
This is the set of blocks I saved for myself. For now. 








10 comments:

  1. Oh gosh, do I understand. I spent most of today on the phone getting a late fee reversed on my credit card (success ... I had paid my bill EARLY) and then setting up recurring automatic payment on another account (success again). But it honestly sucks the life out of me sometimes.

    So I'm still in my lounging pj's sipping an afternoon cup of coffee and eating the other half of yesterday's gluten free scone. I think I better stay hidden here because my patience has been totally used.

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    1. Oh, can I identify. I dislike those days spent on the phone straightening out stuff like that!

      You have such will power to only eat a half of a scone!

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  2. I just can't watch the national news every day anymore. Wars and rumors of wars--don't like it--makes me nervous AND angry!

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    1. I need to back off from watching so much news, too.

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  3. I watch a lot of news, but I haven't watched as much lately. I go in spurts, but it's so overwhelming I have to take a break occasionally. I have the same feelings as you about my first-world problems. Much of our fate is decided by dumb luck: where we're born and who our parents are. Access to education, food, health care, shelter, water, even opportunity depend on these two strokes of luck. It's hard not to feel guilty when I want something I don't already have. I also worry about opportunity for my grandchildren. We had such a good shot when we came along: a little education and some ambition and you could make a pretty good life. Of course, we had to work hard, but the opportunity was there. I don't know if they will have the same.

    Having said that.... I hate those windows of time service agencies give us: 9:00 to Noon or Noon till 4:00. What do people do who have to work?

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    1. Dumb luck is so right and so few people seem to appreciate what a give that is.

      Opportunities for young people are still out there but education in the right area seems to be the key and not everyone has the aptitude in the growth areas. Jobs that were once considered secure jobs like teaching, factory workers, firefighting, etc., aren't so much anymore.

      People who work have to have their retired parents come babysit their house when service people need to come over. Or they use their days off. Sometimes it works to ask for a shorter window. A four hour window is unreasonable in my opinion.

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  4. Love those blocks. Very nice gift.

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    1. One of my nieces collects antique school books and children's books and she thinks the blocks have figures from Grimm's Fairy Tales on them. The ones above are the more common pictures, but the ones I have her have some obscure characters depicted.

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  5. So much to love about this post. I love the passing on of family heirlooms and never even thought of this as such a privilege. I used to be a news junkie, but can hardly watch anymore. I get so sad and/or frustrated, it wrecks my day. It's easier to read about, so I still hit the morning newspaper most days. And watch the Daily Show, which I realize is not "real news" but at least I get a dose of humor with the crazy. My son has been a Comcast installer for 6 months. He is the "face" of the evil cable empire and get the brunt of the wrath of customers who are justifiably fit to be tied. I feel sorry for him and angry that these huge conglomerates can hide behind layer upon layer of lowly paid worker-bees who have no real power to fix the mess. Ugh!

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    1. It really is a privilege, isn't it....all our traditions that we get to pass on for generations.

      I love, love, love The Daily Show. It may not be 'real' news but you do have to know the real news to understand the humor so I think it's far more sophisticated than it gets credit for in some circles.

      I'll say one thing for my cable company. All their service guys in the field are nice guys that I enjoy talking with while there here. The last one I had was from Finland, here for the summer and was recruited by the cable company for the summer The company is making everyone go digital.

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