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, January 28, 2015

The Guy Land Cafeteria and Pie Charts



There was a time in my life when I didn’t understand why old people didn’t at least try to keep up with the news. Now that I’m “old” I’m starting to get it. Sometimes our heads get so filled up with issues that seemingly have no solutions that it wears on you. It’s the same old, same old day in and day out. And no matter how many of us bear witness to the ills of society, nothing changes. Crime goes on. World tensions go on. Fear mongering goes on. People get killed. Strange danger is still dangerous to little kids---no, wait! Often times it’s people they know who are the abusers. At seventy something I’m no longer young and altruistic enough to believe we can save the world by taking part in a march, mailing a check or joining a group. Why fill up my head with images that just give my subconscious mind fodder for my night time dreams? How’s that for justifying the news blackout I’ve put in place these past few weeks? 

Earlier this week I saw a convoy of power company trucks on the expressway and I wondered where they were going. So I tuned back in to the world, just in time to hear the preamble to the monster storm the East Coast was expecting. God, I’m glad I’m not in the eye of that storm! Already, I can’t seem to stay warm, I can’t image not having any power in the winter. I wear knit gloves without fingertips just to type and knit gaiters that go up to my knees, and knit shirts under my sweat suits…all in the house. When I go out I swap the fingerless gloves for heavy mittens, add a knit scarf and hat, boots and my heavy winter coat. What I won’t do it turn up the thermostat in the house. It’s set at 72 and by the gods of vanity, I won’t become one of those old people who blast any visitor out because the thermostat is set high enough to raise tropical plants on the windowsills. 

Monday was errand day and one of those errands included dropping Levi off and picking him back up again at the doggie foo-foo beauty spa. A bath, haircut and pedicure costs $48! Thankfully, the owner takes care of Levi and the other schnauzers so I don’t have to tip. That place must make a lot of money. They have five full time groomers going every day but Sunday. They also have a receptionist and a shampooer and if you don’t book appointments six weeks ahead of time, you might have to go on the waiting list. But I trust the place not to drown, drug, abuse or lose Levi and I’m willing to pay for that sense of security.

After dropping Levi off I went to the pet store to buy food, to the bank and post office, to the grocery store to buy the sugar-free pudding I forgot on grocery day—I use a lot of it in the protein shakes I make---then I stopped for lunch at the Guy Land Cafeteria. I haven’t been there in a very long time. I call it that because there are usually twelve to twenty lone, old geezers in the place for every woman over sixty. Monday, there were sixteen. Apparently, the cheap food and good coffee draws them in and they never leave. One old guy was with this wife, a newspaper held up high between them. He’d better watch out. Another old geezer was eyeing her up. My husband liked going there, too, and I never did understand its attraction but if I ever want to find another man I’d get a job at that cafeteria. One of my widow acquaintances works there and the regular customers are always bringing her little gifts. When/if she starts putting out signals that she’s ready to date, she’ll snag plenty of offers at the Guy Land Cafeteria. She’s my age and has to work to make ends meet. I’m so glad I don’t have to do that. There is no way I’d enjoy getting up at 3:30 in the morning to serve coffee by five. She’s like a postal worker. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays” the cashier/coffee server from her appointed duties.  

Yesterday I went to a lecture I thought was going to be about lady lighthouse keepers, but I had the schedule mixed up and I won’t be hearing that one until February. This lecture turned out to be the most boring waste of time I’ve ever at a lecture. It was about the history of the region’s economic development organization. Stick a finger down my throat. I saw enough pie charts in that hour to last me until earth has a shuttle service to Mars and back. So the rest of the week I’m going back to my black and white, 1958-like life in Pleasantville where I don’t watch the news and the power company convoys are leaving Michigan instead of coming here to help us out after a storm. ©

20 comments:

  1. It is a freeing feelings not to be caught up in all the bad news. I do watch the weather so I was aware of the impending storm. Why are you so cold? Do you have a circulation problem? My thermostat is set at 73, winter and summer, and I am rarely cold. Maybe your house has a circulation problem--like drafts circulating cold air into the room? At our age, we deserve to be comfortable. Kick the thermostat up one degree and see if it helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't have circulation problems that I know of. My mom was the same way and she was treated for anemia off and on all over her life. I do have a lot of windows in the house but they aren't old and drafted...just a lot of surface that doesn't kept the heat in, I'm guessing. Other years I've used a little electric space heater by my computer. I don't know why I haven't done it this year. I don't like turning up the thermostat. I can't see heating up 1,500 sq feet when I'm only using a small fraction of that space.

      When you talk about never wearing a winter coat here in MI, I just can't picture that! What would you do if you got trapped in your car for hours on end?

      Delete
  2. Hello Jean. 72 degrees in the house?? Wow! I keep mine at 65. No gloves etc. I live in IL and the saying is we have two seasons, winter and construction. Loved your take on the Guy Land Cafeteria. Also do not watch the news for the same reasons as you. Have a blessed day. Ann in IL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd freeze to death at 65. LOL I love you two seasons. It does seem like that here too with all the road construction in the good weather months.

      Delete
  3. There isn't any news anymore. It's someones agenda that is shoved down our throats. Much of the stuff we hear isn't even true. That's the news. I don't even bother. So, I don't watch any or the news. I do read the paper and often will start an article and then quit reading it midstream. More lies. So, we are better off not wasting our time.

    I've got my last guy. If he outlives me then he can go to the cafeteria. If I outlive him I'll not look for another man.

    I'd be sweating at 72 degrees. We stay at 68 here.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Widowers usually do go looking for another woman, or the women find them. It's just the way it is.

      I know what you mean about news outlets having an agenda these days. You can't just watch one source anymore, you need at least two to shift through the bull. I hate that's the way things are going. I get the Sunday newspaper but often I just read the headlines in the front of the paper and full articles the farther back I get. I'm sure at some point I'll tune back into watching the world, national and local news---I can't change a life time habit that easily---but I am learning how to enjoy long news blackout in the house. Days go by when I don't watch or listen to anything but my dog occasionally barking.

      Delete
  4. I stopped watching the news at least 5 years ago ... it was just too depressing. I keep waiting for a good news only channel. So I just check the internet headlines. Honestly, the weather IS the most exciting thing!

    Maui house is 74 year round and Portland house 67 during winter, 76 during summer. I have my base layer of fat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't like to have my air conditioner going all the time so in the summer I set my thermostat higher than in the winter.Sometimes I even turn it off and open the windows. I didn't have an air conditioner but for the last 15 years of my life. I don't mind being warm. Going in an out of air conditioning bothers me more.

      Delete
  5. I am sitting in front of the wood stove with my indoor hat and shawl over my polar fleece which is over my sweater. We usually have our thermostat at 66 but because I had a visitor today, it is 68! The heat gets very dry when it is higher and I find that uncomfortable.
    We in Northern NYS are too far north for that storm. It is too cold for that kind of snow. We have been waking up to negative double digits. It was quite a lot of snow down in Massachusetts.
    I am amused when I travel someplace warmer and people are wearing scarves as fashion statements. I have a way of wrapping mine several times around my neck and then tucking the end in. I think I am ready to move!
    Regards Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd freeze at 66! I think my house is too dry right now and that probably adds to the problem. Need to get out the humidifier again. But I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who bundles up inside the house. I need to try adding a scarf inside.

      It amused me, too, when people in Southern states call 50-60 cold. Moving to another climate would be a big decision and one I couldn't make. I might not have much family, but I couldn't move far away from those what little family I do have.

      Glad you are too far north for that storm.I hope all my other blog friends are okay!

      Delete
  6. Maine has a similar climate culture to Leah's in upstate NY -- I keep my house in the 62-64 range and wear lots of warm layers. We did get about 2 feet of snow from the big blizzard, but it was light fluffy stuff and we never lost power. Being without power in a rural area is particularly challenging because we get our water from private wells that have electric well pumps -- no power = no running water. I tend to be well prepared for power outages since the ice storm of 1998, which left my neighborhood without power for 10 days. Fortunately, I get heat from my woodstove and can also cook on it, so being without power is sort of like camping indoors. All my immediate neighbors now have back-up generators for power outages.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was hoping to hear from you and know you kept your power! There is a difference in how much damage fluffy snow can do compared to heavy, wet snow. And clean up time is easier with the former. Glad you got fluffy!

      Having a back up generator is ideal but having a friendly neighbor with one is almost as good, especially when you have a wood stove for heat and can get water from the neighbors. I can't image living in 62-64 degrees, though. I need to toughen up. LOL

      Delete
  7. Being part of the world community is too much, even if the news were to be just happy stories. I agree with Sandee, the news is often someone's agenda just stuffed down our throats. I've been on a TV news blackout for three years. Now I have a shot of keeping my own train of thought on track!

    I keep my bedroom at 62, and my living spaces at 65. 72 and I'd be too underdressed to answer the door!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually shocked that people keep their heat down in the low and mid sixties. 68 isn't uncommon around here but at 65 your company must keep their coats on when they visit.

      Delete
    2. Same here. I don't get much company but I'm still hopeful.

      Delete
  8. OMG That last paragraph had me laughing my head off - "...until Earth has a shuttle service to Mars and back." I'm always seeing phrases, metaphors, etc. on your blog that I want to steal.

    The Guy Land Cafeteria may be the only place in the world that can boast about a customer population that has more old men than old women.

    I know what you mean about working at this time of life. I can't even imagine it, but I have a friend who has to work to survive. No one wants someone our age for a "real" job, not that she'd want one. Too hard. She works part time at Target. I don't know how she can stand on her feet at a cash register for hours. I hate that she has to do that to survive. And I hate that she gets paid a ridiculously low wage for her work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really should suggest to the senior hall director that she set up a bus trip to the Guy Land Cafeteria for all the widows who really do want to meet men, then they could stop by the UAW union hall on retiree's day where the male to female ratio is even more lopsided than at the cafeteria. They could end up at a golf course for a drink to top off the expedition. Guys are out there, you'd just have to be creative to find them when you get old.

      I always feel badly for the greeters at the stores who are mostly over 65. I understand they only work a four hour shift but I doubt I could stand up that long. I am thankful every day that I don't have to do it.

      Delete
  9. We keep our house at 68, but I'd love to have it 72. I tell myself I'm "conserving" both energy and money, but mostly I'm cold. Washington doesn't get that cold, but it's chilly and damp. I really hate going to homes where I feel like I have to leave my coat on --like people are basically camping out with a roof over their heads. I guess I can understand if money is an issue, but for some I know it's not. It's funny about older people liking a warm house -- my sons still laugh about "broiling" at my mom's house when they'd go for sleepovers. Shorts and T-shirts in mid-winter at her place.

    I don't watch the news either. The big stuff will find me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One year I did try keeping my heat at 68 but then I'd go visit at other people's houses and actually get sick from the heat.

      Gaiters are my life saver. They sure make a difference in keeping my whole body warmer.

      Delete