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, January 10, 2015

What Else Can Go Wrong?



It feels like I’ve been caught up in a practical joke with the jokester being Old Man Winter with his accomplice, my snowplow service. I’ve had the same service for thirteen years and they’ve never, ever let me down…until now. Two nights of not getting plowed out left me with seven inches of snow on my driveway with more on the way. Oops, they got a new driver and it turned out he had plowed my neighbor’s drive instead of mine. More frustrating than that was the fact that they didn’t return the four messages I left over two days so I had no idea this is what happened. On the third day and fifth message I said: “If you’re not going to plow your customer’s snow or return their calls the least you could do is change your out-going message to explain what’s going on. People can be pretty understanding if it’s a temporary emergency, but if it’s not then we need to know so we can arrange for another service.” (Like it’s even possible to hire someone mid-season; who was I fooling?) That did the trick. I got a call-back but it came after I had spent an hour and a half with my little electric snow blower and one working arm clearing my driveway. I only got a third of it done before I came inside to warm up and thank goodness that I did or I would have missed that call-back. "Customer Service" had exactly the right personality to deal with a call like that. As a silver lining to the mix-up---every situation has one if you look for it---think about all that exercise I got to go along with my diet.

That wasn’t all that Old Man Winter threw at me. It’s been bitter cold and two of my three outside doors froze shut including the one I let Levi out. That’s only happen five or six times in thirteen years and it creeps me out when it does. If a fire were to ravish my house when the doors won’t open it better be on the other end of the house because it takes ten minutes with an electric heater on a door to get it open again. Not related to the cold---at least I think not---two of the streetlights on my block also burned out this week and my toilet got plugged up. I’ve never had a burned out streetlight and it took Google a while to connect me with the right place to report them. (Without those lights, it’s too dark when you’re up in the middle of the night looking to see if your driveway got plowed!) The power company website promised seven business days to fix them, I predicted a month due to the weather; in less than 14 hours a nice man was taking care of business in the frigid wind chill that was fit for neither man nor beast. He was the first human I’d talked to in days. But we were both so bundled up in layers of clothing that it was impossible to see anything but each others eye---that is we could have seen each others eyes. He was up high in a bucket and I was down on the driveway.

The plugged up toilet: That hasn’t happen in ages, since I started doing Bio Clean treatments every other month. I knew it was coming, though, because for two days it was making giant gulping sounds when it was flushed and silly me, I was too dumb to do the treatment ahead of its schedule. What was I thinking? Answer: I wasn’t. It’s not like that schedule is carved in marble. I use pencil in my day planner for crying out loud! Won’t make that mistake again. The next time the toilet gulps and I’ll be there telling it to gulp down its “medicine.”

Friday I had planned to get out of the house for the first time in nine days to go to a travelogue about New and Old Jamaica. It was only a mile away but the roads were bad because it was too cold for road salt to work, so I stayed home. I don’t intend to go to Jamaica but I’m on the travel agencies’ mailing list and they don’t care if you’re only going to the monthly presentations for amusement. They’re hoping word of mouth will reach some serious clients. “Bring your friends!” they say, and I love the Trader Joe's cookies they serve.

I actually went to Jamaica in my twenties and I loved it down there. I got so drunk on steel drums and fancy drinks one night that I kissed every cab driver we met and we were bar hopping so you do the math. It was a safe place for tourists back then, can the same be said today? We took an Italian ship around to different islands and I got my butt pitched so many times on the trip it wasn’t funny. I don’t know if Italian men still do that today, but they sure did back then. Speaking of butts, just when big butts are in fashion for the first time in my entire life, mine is getting smaller. There’s something fundamentally wrong with that. It’s got to be another practical joke, this one played on me by the gods of weight loss, bless their fickle, little black hearts. ©

17 comments:

  1. Get a high profile toilet from Lowes--they will install it. You will love the extra height AND it is guaranteed never to plug. I've had mine 4 years and it's a beaut!! As for the rest--all has been taken care of, except the doors, so you will be fine. I hope the snow removal team doesn't charge you for your neighbor's drive. Didn't your neighbor's wonder why their drive was being plowed? A couple more weeks and we will be out of January and on our way to warmer temps. Hang in there!! BTW--that crash down on I-94 was something wasn't it?

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    1. I have a high profile toilet. The plugs I get are deeper down in the pipes, not in the toilet itself and has to do with lack of air intake when exhaust on the roof gets blocked. Several years ago a plumber added another air intake in the basement that helped a LOT We used to get plugged weekly.

      My snow plow service charges by the season, not per plow so the divorcee next got two days of free snow shoveling. She's rarely home so I doubt she even noticed.

      Oh-my-god! That crash was something else! Over 120 cars, fireworks, toxic chemicals, fires, cattle trucks, one person died and a couple dozen more in the hospital. They were begging people with O negative blood to go donate. Not to mention people had to evaluate their homes in a three mile radius. What I'd like to know is who in their right mind would send a tank of toxic chemicals and all those tons of fireworks out in the weather like that! It's not like it came on without warning. And all those cows right next to that fireworks going off was stressing that driver out something awful. The poor police and rescue people had a terrible day and night and I'm not sure if they got the highway back open yet or not.

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    2. Correction, make that over 150 cars according to the latest count. It was a very chaotic situation as they tried to get people out and in such terrible weather still going on. The toxic chemicals finally burned themselves out and people could return home but within a mile they still had to stay inside.

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    3. Now the count is up to 197 cars and they're still digging cars out. Unbelievable!

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  2. When winter thaws you need to move to that cottage someplace much, much warmer. I'm just saying.

    Have a far better day. :)

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    1. Sounds like a good theory but the reason I want to move is to be closer to my family and all the warmer climates are farther away from my family. LOL

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  3. Have been thinking of you so much since the big pile-up. Not sure where you live exactly, but I know you've talked about "lake effect" snow and this storm seemed to be related to that according to reports. It just looked horrendous on TV and my first thought was, I hope Jean is OK. :) I may have told you my husband and I grew up near Chicago and his family was mostly from Wisconsin..I had relatives in Michigan and we have family in Minnesota. So…we know about winter weather. Hang in there! Sending damp thoughts (but NO SNOW) from the Pacific NW. :)

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    1. I'm about 70 miles from the huge pile-up but within five miles of me they had the highway closed for a smaller pile up that didn't get much coverage because of the big one. I don't do highways when they expect white-outs (high winds and lake effect does it every time). If you know Chicago and Wisconsin and I presume Upper Michigan you really do know what it can be like. Short of a medical emergency with me or the dog, I sit tight in bad weather.

      Every area of the country has something weather related to worry about, I don't think I'd like the rain from where you live either. But then again rain isn't the same everywhere either. Some places it rains for a short time and burns off quickly. A place close to here is having flood warnings now. Can you believe that in Michigan's January. I guess ice jams are causing The River to back up. It's a fast moving river that usually has ice on top but not 'good' ice with the current running underneath.

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    2. Yes. You are right. It is rainy, drizzly, and foggy here in the winter….but I'm not shoveling it nor are my teeth chattering as was my experience growing up in Chicago. Our big natural disaster fear is earthquakes. I've experienced two since moving hire 33 years ago, neither very big, although did cause some damage to old buildings. I hope to NEVER experience the "big one" which they say is inevitable. Yowza. The only "quake" today will hopefully be on the football field…go Seahawks! :)

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  4. Oh man, your WEATHER! And here I've been doing a bit of whining about 70 being too cool. Thank my lucky stars!

    I didn't know you finally decided to hire a service (unreliable teenagers). Good for you. Despite the snag. After my bout (still going on) with customer NO service, I'm glad they did finally call you back!

    When you get stuck at home ... can you please blog more??????

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    1. You miss understood. I've had a driveway service for 13 years. It's someone to shovel my sidewalks I was tiring to hire. I've found no adults in the area who offer the service and the teenage sisters I thought I had a deal with never showed up. I don't see them getting off the school either or walk by the house to get home.

      I blog mid week and on the weekend if all is going good. If I'm stressed or I got a story biting the bit to get out, I might blog a third time in a week. But I think I'd bore you all to tears if I blogged anymore often. If would start sounding like the kids on FaceBook: "I am leaving now to go to McDonald's." "I'm back home again." "Levi just threw up."

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  5. What is this BioClean? My toilet's been groaning. I figured I would groan, too, with all the frigid water going through my veins.

    I don't think the Italian men pinch butts anymore. Been there twice in the last ten years and no pinches. But I was not in Rome or Naples. And most of the time I was wearing those spandex cycling shorts - not much of a handle to grab onto there.


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    1. You can Google Bio-Clean. It's a bacteria sold in a dry form that comes mixed with enzymes the cleans out your plumbing and it won't hurt plastic or any other material that isn't organic. My plumber recommended it.

      Good to know about Italian men.LOL If I ever do go to Europe it will be to Italy and France.

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  6. We have JLow and Kim Kardashian to thank for those popular big butts. Isn't it crazy?

    You know, I love all the little details that I learn by reading blogs. I love reading about people who have lives that have similarities to mine but also things that are so different that I would never even think about them if I didn't read blogs. I had not idea that it takes ten minutes to thaw a door with a heater. That may be good to know someday. I remember when I was a kid, our pipes would freeze. I remember my mother leaving the doors open under the sink.

    That pile up must have been horrible. Poor people who were involved in it and the police and emergency personnel. Awful.

    I'm trying to get over the fact that you plowed your driveway. Don't do that again!!! You worry me.

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    1. It is crazy that in one year's time three high profile women can sexualize butts the way breast have been sexualized for years.

      I remember those days, too, when you had to leave your cabinet doors open to keep pipes from freezing up. Some people still have to do that today where I live.

      That pile-up is probably the worst one I've ever seen. Most don't come with toxic chemicals, fires and tons of fireworks going off.

      I really didn't think I had a choice but to get the snow off my driveway with the snow blower under the circumstances, and I pace myself. I spent over 35 years going out with Don to check snow conditions when he had to decide when and if to call his plowers and 17 years of myself plowing snow with my own truck. I know snow conditions and with the depth of the snow, the heavy wet stuff coming and low temperatures, it had to come off my drive or I'd have cement-like snow that no one could move without a LOT of salt---when the temperature went up enough so salt would even work. If it had been a fluffy, dry snow I could have chanced waiting another day. It's also nearly impossible to hire another service mid season especially during bad storms back to back. They won't even answer your calls.

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  7. big butts are in fashion? thud.

    smiles, bee
    xoxo

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    1. Oh, Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can tell you don't watch much pop culture stuff.

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