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, November 18, 2014

Snow, Snow and More Snow!



 
I’m looking at over a foot of snow that fell yesterday and overnight and we have another seven inches of the cold, wet stuff coming during the day. The pair of teenaged sisters I thought I struck a deal with to shovel my snow this winter have not shown up, nor did they call. I gave them my business card but they couldn’t remember their own phone number so I can’t call them, not that I should have to call. I told them to come shovel whenever it snows. Kids! I’d say their whole generation is irresponsible but yesterday when I was at the grocery store preparing for a week of bad weather, a boy in his late teens who was in the checkout lane in front of me saw me unloading my cart with my arm in a sling and he said, “Here, let me help you with that.” I replied, “Oh, you don’t need to do that, I have lots of time but I do appreciate it.” And I did. When my cart was empty I thanked him and said, “Someone raised you right!” He beamed and said he has a great mother. Why can’t that kid and mother live next door? Why can’t all kids appreciate the effort their parents put into to raising them to be empathic, kind and well-rounded individuals? I wish I had a great-granddaughter. I would have tried to fix them up.

Needless to say, today brought with it the first cancellation of my winter season…a Thanksgiving luncheon at the senior hall. When the area schools are closed, so is the hall and its activities automatically get canceled. At least all that food won’t go to waste. Over a hundred street people will get an early turkey dinner. I feel sorry for the people who have to bring that food downtown, though. It’s nasty outside which is one of the reasons why I can’t decide if I should apply my Plan B to get rid of my snow or sit it out and see if the teens show up as promised. The problem with waiting is the deeper the snow gets, the less successful I’ll be at getting rid of it on my own. Better to make two and three passes throughout the day than to wait until the snow is so deep and heavy it can’t be moved without giving yourself a heart attack. And I’m kind of afraid if the girls see me outside with my little electric snow blower they won’t ever come down to shovel, they’ll think I no longer need their help. Decisions, decisions.

I won’t be surprised if the activities at the senior hall on Wednesday get canceled as well, the second in a series of genealogy classes I signed up for. Not a big loss for me but if I have to miss the Thursday lecture on weather and climate change, given by a well-known meteorologist, that will tickle my funny bone. Don't worry, I won’t go full blown cabin fever if I have to stay at home so many days in a row because by Friday when my movie and lunch club is on my day planner, the storm is supposed to be over. Hallelujah, and praise the gods of glorious sunshine and calm skies who are coming my way. I should build them an altar in my living room so they’ll stick around. Do you think they’d like essential oils, feathers, river washed stones and chanting? I could manage that. A bird committed suicide on my window yesterday and the dog brought him in to show it to me---he thinks he’s a cat---and I could still dig some feathers out of the trash where the bird's final resting place is inside an orange juice carton.

Last month I had to spend $1,200 on a dental vet bill for Levi and I’ve been watching for the points to show up on my credit card so I could spent them. I thought there would be more than a lousy $12.00 worth that I could use at amazon.com. I’ve had my eye on a pricy book of letters written by my ancestor, Mercy Warren Otis, and when I went online to check it out there was only one copy left. The $12.00 made a dent in the asking price but with only one copy left, how could I not pull the trigger and buy it? I can’t believe I’m going to read the actual words of a woman one historian has labeled ‘The Republican Mother’---me the flaming liberal, although I’m sure the word meant something different back in Revolutionary War times when she lived than it does today. The reviews were mixed---only two online---one glowing and probably written by a friend of the person who compiled the letters and another that said the writing style was too hard to read. Duh, isn’t all period literature hard to read? The struggle to understand what is underneath the flowery language is half the fun. The creepy part is the portrait on the cover of Mercy looks uncannily like my mother. They could have been sisters. Maybe Mom was a time-traveler and didn’t tell me? Anyway, so now you know what I’ll be doing on Thanksgiving day…curling up with a treat-myself book. That is if I can get my sidewalk cleared in time for the UPS person to deliver the book to my door. ©

19 comments:

  1. I'm sorry that the girls didn't show up as promised. Not good at all. I hope they show up soon. It could happen.

    Can't wait to hear more about the book. I'm guessing there are many treasures you'll find in that book.

    Have a fabulous day and be careful on that snow. ☺

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  2. I got a narrow, path cut to the front door because tomorrow I have a prescription for an injection coming from UPS that I can't let go back to their routing station which would happen if they can't get to my front door.The rest of the snow out front is going to set a few days as a test to see if the girls come down. It's supposed to melt over the weekend which is the only reason I can chance letting it set that long. If they don't show up, then it's going to be a long, hard winter of lugging that little snow blower around. The sling comes off at the end of the month but I still won't be able to use that arm for pushing or lifting. When I was a kid I remember days like this when the schools were closed and spending all day going around the neighborhood making money shoveling. Times sure change. If the girls don't need the money before Christmas, what are the chances they'll show up afterward?

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  3. Oh gosh! Winter is starting early!!! It's been cold but sunny here. Today is grey and the rain is supposed to start. But at least it is rain, right??

    Is there a high school nearby? I'd bet they would put out a notice for you ... or some students could gain volunteer hours to shovel? Not to mention a $10 tip!

    You need a village ...

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    1. No high school near-by but I see some of their kids when they are at the senior hall where they do stuff for credit. That program is run pretty tight---volunteering credits have to be done at facilities where their hours are documented by program directors. A lot of these kids are so over scheduled between between school and sports, etc. that they struggle to get their volunteer credits in before the end of their semesters. From the looks of kids who get off the school bus near-by there are very few old enough to shovel snow in my neighborhood which is the problem. (It's newest neighborhood with no houses over 14 years old.) Throwing money at the problem won't help. In 5-6 years I'll have it made because there is a crop of little girls growing up close-by who all love Levi and call me "Miss Jean." Cute little girls.

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  4. I am sorry to hear about your snow and checked my local news in northern New York which apparently is having very similar snow fall and closed roads and schools. I am 3,000 miles away for a month and although it is not warm on the east coast of England, it is a very pleasant 50F. I think I'm losing my desire to live in snowy lands! good luck clearing the snow

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    1. Thank you! A half hour before dark a boy about ten came by and wanted to shovel my driveway. I have a driveway plower but I asked him to widen out the sidewalk from my front door to the driveway, which he did. I was so happy and told him to please come back. He's really too small for the heavy snows but we get a lot of light ones, too. I was so happy he came knocking on my door! I paid him double what he asked for.

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    2. P.S. England would be a great place to visit. Enjoy your time there.

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  5. I don't envy you the early snow. We have been lucky to be on the eastern edge of this arctic air mass -- some unseasonable cold but just a coating of snow. I hope the girls show up, but it's in the nature of adolescence that their brains haven't finished developing yet and the part that develops last is the part that exercises judgment. The result is that adolescents sometimes evaluate situations in ways that seem totally loony to grown-ups. I had similar problems one winter with a pair of neighborhood brothers who were supposed to keep my back steps shoveled up from the driveway to the door while I was in PA, but in fact only showed up to shovel when they heard I was home and trying to get in. Sigh. (At least I didn't have my arm in a sling and could do it myself.)
    I chuckled at the irony that the climate change program might be cancelled because of the effects of climate change. -Jean

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    1. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has trouble getting teens to show up when agreeing to do a job. We had over 18 inches of snow so far and looking down the street, there is no sign the girls even shoveled at the house where they live and there was no school today. It's amazing what we women living alone can do when we have no other choice.

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  6. You can hardly count on anyone nowadays--especially young people. They probably felt it was too cold to go outside. Cold it is for sure. We keep getting forecasts of your snow coming this way, but so far....nada--just bitterly cold. I would loved to come across letters that an ancestor had written--what a delightful gift you are getting.

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    1. It's a wet, heavy snow and hope you don't get it. I seem to be at ground zero for this storm. Schools are all closed again today. I think the worst of our storm ended up north of you.

      My niece says she has all the letters she and my mom exchanged while she was in college. what a nice collection that is and will be for her own grandchildren one day.

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  7. Jean :

    I really hope & pray those girls show up to clear your driveway. I so agree with stepintofuture about teenager brain I don't understand their reasons sometimes for not doing things which are required & then later find someone else's to blame. I am dealing with our own teenager I will be so happy once he gets into good college. & in his chosen field of study. I really pray you get yourself out of that snow for us no snow but bitter cold here in NJ

    Asha

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    1. I don't have much interaction with teenagers and I was one so long ago I've forgotten what they are like. But things are looking up here. Two kids about 12 showed up a half hour ago and re-shoveled my sidewalk. The girls I hired are still no-shows though. Thankfully, I have a driveway plower but the street still hasn't been plowed so I'm still not going anywhere. Schools were canceled again today. How long before you'll know if your son gets in the college of his choice? He seems like such a caring kind of kid. I'm sure he'll do good in the medical field.

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  8. I didn't mean to be writing totally anonymously. Sometimes I am not able to edit after I write so I apologize for that. Writing again means that I checked the local weather in northern NY and a state of emergency has been declared but south of our house.
    It also gives me an opportunity to comment on the letters that your niece has of correspondence between your mother and her mother. A few years ago my cousin gave me copies of letters between her father and my father while they were both in Europe during WWII. I found them so fascinating especially as my father was still in his twenties and marriage and family were long in the future!
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. What a treasure those letters are! I'll bet they'd even have commercial value as a book, especially with a little research on their units and places they were stationed added in and photos included of the two young letter writers.

      I wish comment boxes had edit an edit feature, too!

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  9. Oh, you must be in the Arctic Blast Zone! We've had uncharacteristically cold (well, cold for us - 20's at night/40's day) and clear sunshine, blue skies for over a week in NW Washington State. A bit cloudy today….the drizzle likely to return with temps in the 50's. We moved here in 1982 after deciding we no longer wanted to deal with Illinois winters -- more like you are having now. Yes, the rain gets old, but we don't have to shovel it; we have green year-round; and it's not frigid cold. Stay warm, Jean, and don't stress about shoveling!

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    1. I am in the Arctic Blast Zone---West Michigan close enough to the Big Lake to be getting a ton of record setting, lake effect snow right now. I can see why people like living in milder climates, especially as we age, but for me to pick up and move with no back up support in another area is not an option for me. I just hope this snow event isn't the first of many big ones for this season.

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  10. Jean,
    I can't believe you have snow already. It was 10 degrees here this morning. That's very cold in our neck of the woods for this time of year. I hope you don't get too many cancellations this year. It has to be disappointing when you've signed up for something and they cancel. I hope you can get your snow issue resolved. It will be tough for you otherwise. I would not count on those girls ever showing up. I think they've already forgotten about you, but I hope I'm wrong.

    Your book sounds very interesting.

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    1. We are setting records for the amount of snow and how early we've gotten it. It's crazy!

      I've already counted the teen sisters out. I waited as long as I could and when some little kids showed up asking to shovel, I gave them the job. They really don't have a clue what they are doing (putting snow on top of bushes, etc.) so I'll have to be more on-hands with instructions if they come back. I hope they do! Next time I get out I'm going to look at those fancy shovels you push and have wheels and a turn blade. I think once I lose the sling at the end of the month I'll be able to use one of those...but I will clear it with the doctor first at my next appointment.

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