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, October 22, 2014

The Halloween Luncheon and Quirky Confessions


Working in groups and on committees is not my foray. Oh, I get along fine with nearly everyone. I just put on my go-along-to-get-along persona and try not to get involved in the politics and power trips that always seem to be involved. My latest chance to practice that persona was this week while working on the set-up committee for the monthly luncheon at the senior hall and it got me in trouble. Who would have guessed that a simple task like putting spoons on tables could do that? Here’s what happened: Another person had the knives and yet another had the forks. I followed them down the tables, laying spoons down on the right, next to the knives but I didn’t get very far when I was told that I was doing it wrong, that the spoons belonged on the left side next to the forks. OKaaaay. I was pretty darn sure I was doing it by the etiquette book but I did what I was told. I wasn’t about to start a fight over something that didn’t involve a serious task like defusing road side bombs. Plus I’m dyslexic so why would I trust myself when it comes to rights and lefts?

We had five tables done when another woman came along and was very snippy, telling me I had to do the spoons all over again. The first lady who told me to put them that way and I looked at each other and burst out laughing. Ms. Snippy, not knowing why we were laughing, puffed up her feathers and added that the director of the center “would not approve of the way the spoons were set!” I, of course, wasted no time changing them to the correct location but we were still giggling as Ms. Snippy left the room and I envisioned she was on her way to tattle on the ‘spoon lady.’ I thought about this on the way home and wondered why---when my partner in crime first told me to change the spoon placements---why didn’t I say something like, “You say left, I say right. Let’s ask someone else to break the tie.” Nope, I just went-along-to-get-along. I hope no one ever asks me to help them rob a bank. “Sure,” I’d say, “do you want me to carry the Beretta or the Glock?” When you're a go-along person it's so important to pick your friends wisely.

At least I wasn’t on the sub-committee that picked out the decorations for the tables. They bought miniature coffins. Egads! Coffins for an old peoples’ luncheon? I probably would have had a melt down right in the aisle of the Dollar Store, trying to get the others to go with funny faced-pumpkins and black cats. I pick my fights in the peculiar places, don’t I? Spoons in the wrong place? Whatever floats your boat. Table coffins? World War III. When I was in the working world I decorated banquet tables that numbered literally in the thousands and sometimes I have to sit on my hands to keep from rearranging the table décor at these luncheons. In restaurants, I’ve be known to tweak their fake flower arrangements---a little tuck here, a little curve to a stem there, pull one flower out and pop it in another place. In fact, when my husband was alive we used to go to a little place around the corner a couple of times a week and I tried to sit at a different table each time until I’d rearranged all twenty of their bouquets on the sly. They’d do seasonal swaps and I’d have to start all over again.

Since I’m confessing to embarrassing quirks, about ten years ago whenever I’d go to a big grocery store near-by that has general merchandise departments I’d bring home two or three paint chip sample cards until I had the entire set of 140 colors. Hey, they’re free so is what I did so wrong? It’s the closest I ever came to shop lifting and I had entirely too much fun doing it. I still love playing with those paint chip cards from time to time.

Back on topic: The next day after the spoon caper, when the luncheon took place, I was on duty again as part of my volunteer commitment. I dished out mash potatoes with an ice cream scoop and at one point I joked that I was going to start putting mash potatoes in my bra to keep our assembly line going. Everyone burst out laughing and the lady on butter patty duty called me Lucy. It was crazy, fun dishing up 134 plates and the clean-up after the luncheon and the entertainment went fast with the ten of us on the committee pitching in.

Would I sign up to help with a luncheon again? Sure, in the spring I will. I spend a lot of time around the place and even though there are over 600 members, they’re always begging for volunteers. It doesn’t kill me to play nice on a committee once in a while. But the next time I do a luncheon I want to be the fork lady which begs the question: Why are they placed on the left when most people are right-handed? Google knows the answer and it’s quite interesting how that custom evolved. Hint: It has to do with a period in history when people ate with only one utensil…a knife. ©

12 comments:

  1. Okay, now you know I'll have to google it.

    The spoon fiasco is a riot. Isn't it funny how people can be about these things. Were you tempted to tell the second lady that the first lady made you do it? "She made me do it." LOL I remember making dinner with my sister-in-law many years ago. She made the iced tea much weaker than I would have. At dinner, my sister complained that I had made it too weak. She went on quite a bit about it until, finally, my sister-in-law admitted that she had made it... not me.

    Your paint chip fetish made me laugh. I have a thing for paint chips too, but I never rose to such heights. I'm impressed.

    Caskets? Pumpkins? Caskets? Pumpkins? :)

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    1. Actually, I did say, "We just had that discussion!" But I said it much too softly for Ms. Snippy to hear it which made the first lady and I laugh all the all the more. The next day at the luncheon the first lady and I was making spoons jokes every time we got together.

      What is it about paint chips that are so much fun to dream over? I just love them. I even bought one of those professional decorator's fans of color samples that supposedly has every color possible to create.

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    2. By the way, your tea story is just as funny as my spoon story.

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  2. Forks on the left of the plate, on top of the napkin. Knives on the right side of the plate and spoons to the right of the knife. C'mon!!! See--I never would be able to be on a committee because I would have challenged the first lady. OCD does not work well in committees!! As for paint chip cards--I compare them in the store and then only take the one with the color number I want. I would be scared they'd frisk me at the door. I have NO sense of adventure--not a whit!!

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  3. That would have been fun to watch...someone challenge the first lady. She was so sure when she told me I was doing it wrong. I thought I must be having a dyslexia day because I do sometimes get rights and lefts mixed up if I'm tired. Not that time. LOL

    Ya, I was sure the security camera was watching me take paint chips. LOL

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  4. I have my own collection of paint chip cards....but not the whole lot...only the colors I like! It is one of those things in a store that is actually there to be taken! I quilt and I like arranging the colors with the little paint chip cards. They really do have good color on them,
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. Oh, that's a good use of paint chips! I do a little quilting, too, and I will try that next time.

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  5. The guy working on drywall in my new addition on the other side of a temporary plywood partition probably wonders why I'm sitting here all alone laughing out loud. This was hilarious! I don't know which I enjoyed more, your horror at coffins as table decorations for old people or your confessions of guerrilla flower arranging. Have you ever read Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves? If I remember correctly, she has similar confessions of surreptitiously correcting mis-punctuation on signs. -Jean

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    1. No I haven't read that book but it's been on my lust list for a long time. I think it's time to order it.

      Not to worry. Your drywall guy probably thinks all older women are goofy and laugh when they're alone. LOL

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  6. I call my quirk "The editor never sleeps." I mentally copy-edit nearly everything I read. I'm not going to do it to you though!

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    1. I'm dyslexic and could use an copy-editor. You would not believe some of my first drafts!

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