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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Christmas Party and the Widow's Heart



We’ve been in a weather pattern that leaves our Michigan roads void of snow and ice and what a treat that is, says the lady who is thrilled to be able to report this. It improves my social life not to have to factor weather into my winter decisions to leave the house. Over the weekend, for example, there was a Christmas party for my neighborhood association where we can pay our dues, do a little business meeting, eat pizza and get to know each other. I’ve lived within the domain of the association for thirteen years and have never gone to their twice a year parties. When Don as alive, his wheelchair kept us from going---we’ve got the only wheelchair friendly house in the entire 100 house association. Whatever possesses someone to open up their home to 100 potential families for a party, is something I don’t possess and don’t understand, but this chit-chat is side-tracking me from the Christmas party.

I know a few people by sight from walking Levi around the neighborhood and, of course, the people on my short cul-de-sac but when I walked into the party not a single one of them was in attendance. I had a flash back to when I was in my twenties and walked into a party that didn’t take me long to figure out was a party full of gay couples. What a shock! I had no idea the girl who had invited me to meet her at that party was gay but she obviously thought I might me. I didn’t stay, of course---it was the 60s and I barely understood what being gay meant but I knew there wasn’t a chance of me meeting my future husband at that party. And then there was an ugly scene with the girl the next time I saw her. God, I’m getting side-tracked again but at least this one was a funny side-track. Back tracking to when I walked into the neighborhood party and I saw a living room with wall-to-wall women and a kitchen full of guys. After a few, “who are you” and “where do you live” questions in the living room I moved to the line in the kitchen to pick up some pizza. That’s where I met the only other person at the party over forty. He was my age, not bad looking, a smart dresser and he talked too much. That last observation is a strange criticism coming from a woman whose husband was affectionately called “motor mouth.”

He was talking to another man when I walked up, asking if the younger guy knew where the UAW union hall is moving to. He didn’t. I did and so I chimed in the information and after a while the younger guy backed off and let us old duffers entertain each other. I stayed a little longer than I did at the gay party decades ago and by the time I left I had a better understand of why phrase II people, where I live, don’t attend these parties. It was full of phrase I people who live on the lake and learning about how our dues money is spent made me feel like little orphan Annie. Phrase II people couldn’t even get an entrance sign put up on our section while phrase I gets docks, fire pits and boat storage racks built on the lake. And it’s not like we can quit paying our yearly dues. If we do, they double every month for six months then a lean gets put on our houses. In two years we get to vote on dissolving the association as per the by-laws of the builder who who set up the association and since phrase I people are in the majority, I can guess how it will go. Bottom line: A phrase I-er would never date a phrase II-er I’m quite sure. And even if they did, I’d find something wrong with the party guy---like he isn’t Don.

Changing topics: I finally finished reading the Hunger Games series and now I want to see the last two movies. I don’t know why, they’re far from my favorite genre of books or movies. The writing style in the books isn’t all that lyric and I didn't even have to look up a single word in the entire series. But, boy, can Suzanne Collins ever do chapter cliffhangers that leave you wanting more. I’m hoping against hope that my movie and lunch club, this month, will pick Mockingjay Part I. They won’t, but if it’s running at the same time as whatever they pick, I may go on my own. Anyway, this whole paragraph is just a lead-up to me sharing my favorite line from all three Hunger Games books and it came near the end of the trilogy: “What I need to survive is not Gale’s fire, kindled with rage and hatred, I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again….”  That speaks to my widow’s heart. ©

12 comments:

  1. What a lovely post about 'he's not Don'. Yep, I kinda saw that coming. I'm glad you went though.

    I would like to hear about the meltdown with the gay gal though. I'm sure that would be some interesting reading.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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    1. I'll have to think about writing a post about the gay girl's crush on me that led up to the party and the ugly parting of our ways. Let's just say that I'll bet I'm not the only person on earth who went on a 'gay date' and didn't know it until a couple of weeks later.

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  2. oh i'm with sandee, i want to hear about the gay girl too. sorry, i just do! lol

    smiles, bee
    xoxo

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    1. Reaching back nearly 50 years ago into my memory bank is a long trip to take. I don't think I want to waste the time doing it in this case. I'd be tempted to put a light, comical spin on something that was painful and embarrassing at the time for me and probably more so for the gay girl.

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  3. Ewww-I don't want to hear about the gay girl, okay? Been there and it wasn't pleasant. Anyway--we really don't want to date anyone that isn't Don or Fred do we. I think it might be fun, but when it comes right down to it, all I can think of, "He's not Fred and if he isn't, I don't want him."

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    1. Don't worry, Judy, I decided I've already written everything I'm going to on the topic.

      When I was talking to party guy I couldn't help compare him to Don and all I could think of is, well, at least I'll get a good blog out of this conversation.

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  4. Jean, like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," you've already made your mark on the world, but you're not meant to know what it is. Think ripple effects.

    I, too, was taught never to begin a sentence with "And," but I've noticed that everyone does it now, and I've jumped on the band wagon.

    I believe the average stay in a nursing home is 1 to 3 years. I hope you and I are on the low side of that.

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    1. I hope so, Bella, on the ripple effect.

      I'm reading a book on punctuation right now titled, "Eats, Shoots and Leaves the Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation." I haven't come to any mention of compound sentences yet, but I tend to break them up with the 'period' and starting the next sentence with 'and' or 'but' because I tend to write very long sentences and readers need a place to breathe. LOL

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  5. Jean,
    Oops! I think I inadvertently commented on the previous post on this post last night. I was pretty tired. I see it was only 8:10 pm. Good grief.

    Interesting about how your community association works. It's a little microcosm of our country today, i.e. the 1% ers. They make the decisions and we pay the consequences.

    As for the guy at the party, I know what you mean. There are guys who tell stories and guys who talk too much. One entertains others and the other entertains himself. :) He was probably a nice guy, but he "wasn't Don." It must be hard to see another in that role when you've had such a fulfilled relationship.

    Glad your weather is cooperating with your social calendar. Let's hope it stays that way.

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    1. You put your finger on it exactly---the guys that talk and the guys who tell stories. Don didn't talk just to hear himself talk. He was and always will be the storyteller in any group we'd ever been in.

      You can't buy a house in new or newish areas without having to join an association because it's nearly impossible to find a building lot that isn't owned by a builder and they want to protect the value of their neighborhoods while they are still building in the area. Associations do makes sense in many ways as they establish rules that most people building new want like: no one can cut trees down without approval of the association. No one can build a fence in their front yard. No one can park a boat or trailer in their front yards. Dues are cheap; only $40 a year here but I know other areas charge more if their streets are private and not maintained by the city like ours.

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    2. We live in a newish community. Our house was four years old when we bought it 12 years ago. Everything still looks new and maintained in the neighborhood. We have a community assoc. Our dues are $60 a month. They do keep property values up by keeping homeowners from painting their shutters lavender. This ain't Key West. It's traditional Central Va. We haven't gotten edgy yet. :) I've never had a run-in with them. They did force H to put his garbage can in the garage (out of sight so as not to offend.) That did knock his nose out of joint a little. My only gripe is that they use the majority of the dues to do things that will benefit children. I don't mind so much, but it would be nice if they put in a walking trail or something else that adults would enjoy. Know what I mean?

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    3. I sure do know what you mean. Our association doesn't dictate colors or where you can put your garbage cart. I guess I should consider myself lucky on that score. One thing that is nice is when a couple of houses went into for closure and no one was mowing the grass the association stepped in, hired some mowings and billed the banks.

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