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, June 3, 2017

Day Trips and Judgement Women



Pop quiz. If I said I went to a bar and grille three times in one day, would you believe me? If you answered ‘no’ you’d be wrong. Thursday was the annual restaurant hop organized by the senior hall and all three courses of our progressive meal took place in businesses with “Bar and Grille” as part of their name. Our senior hall bus holds twenty-five people and it made five trips---on different days---to a tourist town along Lake Michigan. They ought to rename this event “Eat and Shop” because that’s what we do. This year we went to Saugatuck which is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve written about the town before and I described it as “a town with a history rooted in boat building and lumbering and it’s often called the Art Coast of Michigan because of its 100 year old, 115 acres art colony with ties to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The town is a mecca for people from Chicago who own ‘summer places’ in town or boat over on the weekends, a high energy town with a wintertime population of around 1,000 that swells to 3,000 in the summers.” 

We couldn’t have asked for a better weather day for the restaurant hop and I had the luck of the Irish when a woman I didn’t know well sat next to me and somehow we clicked conversation wise. That doesn’t always happen when you take potluck on the bus. A lot of people sign up with a friend so they’ll have someone to pal around with all afternoon. The bus dropped us off for our appetizer course where I had a salad dressing made with apples, caramel sauce and cranberries over spinach, mixed lettuce and soy nuts. Ohmygod, that was good and I’m not fond of salads. Then we had an hour to shop our way down to the main entrée. I had pre-ordered a hamburger because I hadn’t had one in a long time but I wish I had ordered the fish tacos. 

We had a young waiter who impressed all the ladies at my table with how skillfully he served twenty-five people all at the same time. In fact one of the ladies wanted to tip him extra over the 20% our senior hall pays. But when we got to our dessert course at a different restaurant a woman, who reminded me of a 1950’s librarian with her white hair pulled back into a tight bun and her glasses hanging on a lanyard, complained the entire time while we ate our strawberry shortcakes and brownies about the young waiter at the last restaurant. She said she was going to tell the senior hall director when we got back home to call the entrée restaurant and chew them out for poor service. Her problem, it seems, was she only got a half a cup of coffee before the waiter's pot ran out and it took too long for him to come back with another. I’m starting to dislike old women with ruby red lipstick and tiny lips that they purse in disdain. As I watched those lips moving after a while all I heard was, "I'm old and ornery blah, blah, blah." Two of the ladies at my table also got a half cup of coffee. The waiter had split what was left in the pot between their two cups so neither one had to wait for the fresh pot to brew, he said, and we all thought that was a consider thing to do. Funny how different people can perceive the same set of circumstances differently.

I ended up eating and shopping with my seatmate from the bus. On past trips that’s never happened. She latched on to me after the appetizer course and at first I was annoyed that I wasn’t free to roam the streets with my many memories of Saugatuck to keep me company. Then I thought, what the heck, Jean, it’s probably not healthy to pick the past over the here and now. So I quit thinking about slipping away. By the time our second block of shopping time rolled around she’d spend all the money she wanted---she bought a $45 ring and an $25 art print---and I’m not a shopper by nature so we walked down to the channel, found a bench and watched two tug boats bring a cement pier down the river and an excavating machine on a barge dredging the channel deeper and we talked to the other tourists strolling by on the board walk.

When we got back to the senior hall I said to my seatmate, “I enjoyed spending the afternoon with you” and I meant it. She replied, “I did you too. You’re very easy to talk with.” We had some things in common but she’s a "casino fly" and I have zero interest in casinos so our chance match-up won’t go anywhere in the possible friendship department. Listen to me! I was disgusted by Miss. Ruby Red Lips because I deemed her to be too judgmental and here I am being judgmental about people who love casinos. If I was Catholic I’d be saying some Hail Mary’s about now. (She actually went on an eight day bus tour where all they did is go from casino to casino! I didn't even know tours like that existed.) ©

* The print above is by James Brandess and is of the Kalamazoo River, in the heart of Saugatuck

33 comments:

  1. Your social life, as I've said before, is more active than mine. I can relate to cliques - hated going to school outings sometimes because I had no one to hang out with. Now I'm more "don't-give-a-damn" ( I do like that part of growing old).

    I've always thought serving people a very tough job, and I'm not up to it. I admire the folks who do it pleasantly and with great skill.

    I just looked up Saugatuck - looks beautiful. ~ Libby

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't even remember if we did field trips back when I was in school like kids do now. But I'm quite comfortable going alone on these mini trips through the senior hall since my husband died. But I'm still on the fence about whether or not I could do one of the 10-12 day trips alone in a group.

      Saugatuck is beautiful and it draws a real cross section of people.

      Delete
  2. Hi Jean, it sounds like you had a wonderful day, aside from Miss Ruby Red Lips, but some people you just can't please no matter what you say or do. How was your burger? I mainly have turkey burgers now (per Doctors Orders) but I do like fish tacos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did have a great day. The burger was really good. I still eat red meat at home but I've given up fast food except for Starbucks breakfast sandwiches and Culver's cod fish so I have less opportunities to get hamburgers which is why I went so long between burgers. I've only had one fish taco in my life and I really liked it, I just forgot how good it was until I saw others eating it.

      Delete
  3. Ugh! Casinos...can't imagine why anyone would enjoy this....but I know people do...to each his own...now a museum trip or art gallery trip...I'm in!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't quit playing Spider solitaire so I can understand how people can get hooked on playing the slots but it's not the way I'd want to spend my time. I know people who go once or twice a year which is no big deal but this woman goes every chance she gets. I'm with you on the museum or art gallery trips. I'd be in.

      Delete
  4. Good morning Jean. Well it sounds like that totally enjoyed yourself with these people except that woman who sounds mean to me. The waiter sounded fantastic to me especially having to have a table of 25. Didn't they have anyone to help him? That sounded like far to many people for one waiter. The entire table I hope gave him a big tip.
    MaryLou & I have been thinking about a bus tour. We're not sure one to take. Once she make her choice, then we'll do it.
    Have a great Saturday my friend. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There was a bartender who took drink orders and served them and another guy from the kitchen who helped carry out dishes but other than that the young waiter did everything else. Note they don't have to take your order on these hops because we pre-order and we just lay a slip of paper down on the table in front of us that tells the waiter what to bring us. I wish we could do that at other restaurants. I love sitting down and not have to wait for people to decide what they want.

      I know a lot of people who do the long bus tours and love them. I've only done the day trips because I have a dog.

      Delete
  5. I enjoy casinos, actually, but I'm cheap, so 2-3 times a year is enough. When in Vegas, I only allot myself $50 a day for gambling, and even penny machines; it goes fast. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of people do. The one that I go by on occasion always has a full parking lot and it's huge. They were busy even on Christmas! I have a friend who goes once a week.

      Delete
  6. That sounds like a really nice day and you hit the luck of the draw with your new friend. The few times I have gone to a casino, I played the penny slots or watched my sister win at black jack. I'm not a gambler but it is a fun place to people watch. An eight day tour sounds like a nightmare though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think only hardcore casino fans would do any eight days tour. Can you imagine coming home with a group with some who lost a lot and a few who won a lot.

      Delete
  7. An eight-day bus trip from casino to casino? Oh, my. I was in one when I was driving through Nevada once, and I played the nickel slots for a while. I remember winning something. It wasn't much, but I had more than when I came in, so I quit. The next time I was in a casino, it was about ten years ago, and all the kinfolk from the Kansas City area gathered to eat at the buffet. No one gambled.

    As for Miss Prissy -- well, some people just are like that. I've known a few people who can't seem to stop whining and griping, and it's most unpleasant. Then again, as Dorothy Parker said, "If you can't say anything nice, come sit over here by me." :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never heard that Dorothy Parker quote. LOL

      Those buffets, I hear, do draw a lot of people in the doors. I have not been in a casino since 1968 and I had to go out of the country to do it. Back in those days we had to wear formal dress to get in.

      Delete
  8. You are always on the go ... so impressive since you go on your own! We have a neighbor here who does so much via our Adult Community Center, on her own, but I'm just not there yet. I may have to take myself on an Oregon Coast trip ... with a great audible book to keep me company. AFTER my new walking part is working!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come July and August be prepared to see me slow right down. I need to catch up on too many things! Once you get your new knee you'll be wanting to go more. Hard to push yourself when you're in pain.

      Delete
  9. That's a nice painting. I like the colors.
    That's an interesting concept...a restaurant hop...each course in a different restaurant...did I get that right?
    People are interesting! Sometimes I look around the band that I play with, and we have been together for quite a few years now, so we know each other quite well, and sometimes I marvel at how universal it all is. There's the complainer, and then the talker and it could be our old fifth grade class, or an old office situation or a group of seniors. So many different people and yet so many similar types!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a print of one of the guy's river paintings and it has those same colors. When I do to his studio in Saugatuck I always buy a couple of his greeting cards because I don't have any wall space left for bigger prints.

      Yes, that's how the restaurant hops work. We always go to small tourist towns because they have places within walking distance.

      Your description of your band and how different types of people are universal within groups. I've never thought about that before but you are so right.

      Delete
  10. I could never be a server. It's hard work plus you have to deal with the public. One of those things at a time is enough, thank you very much. Leze's comment is interesting. I was a clown years ago. What a group that was. We had people from all walks of life: different backgrounds, education, occupations, etc. At the first meeting, I thought, "We'll never bring this group together enough to cooperate on anything." But we did.

    I could never do the casino thing, and I would never go on an 8-day bus trip of any kind, but there's something for everyone. I had a friend who did a long bus tour out west. She loved it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bella, you were an actually clown with a costume or did you mean you clowned around and that was your "thing" in groups like Leze described? I'm guessing the latter.

      My travel club is taking a bus trip of the national parks out west which I'd consider if I had a traveling partner. But casino hopping sounds absolutely boring to me.

      Delete
  11. What a great trip! Like you, I am decidedly NOT the Casino Type. I could never just give my money away like that, risking it, knowing that the odds are so stacked in favour of The House. Not my idea of Fun.

    The Casino Trips are a big deal for lots of people, though. They really enjoy that adrenaline rush and little bit of thrill. As long as they can afford it, what the heck. I'm sure lots of people feel judgy about the amount of money we spend stocking our wine cellar. It's all about individual enjoyment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're one step ahead of me---I didn't know people did casino trips so I was shocked. You are so right about judging how other people spend their money. I'd hate for people to see some of the things I think are life-essential. I could supply the entire street with bookbags, books and notebooks for a year and still not run out. As an Italian, I do the wine if it came calorie free.

      Delete
  12. You're not really being judgmental, you are using discernment. Which we all use to see if we want to associate with people. I have only been to Saugatuck once and I loved it!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya, I guess you're right, I know you're right.

      If they had better health care in Saugatuck, I'd seriously think about moving there but the people there have to leave town to find doctors and hospitals.

      Delete
  13. Michigan has some beautiful small towns....Traverse City, Charlevoix, Glen Arbor, Leelanau Penisula, Petowsky, Harbor Springs to name a few. I miss going there with my husband before he died. Never did get to the UP. Great restaurant somewhere at the north end of the Tunnel of Trees, but can't remember the name.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been to all those places. I especially love the Leelanau Penisula, don't know anyone who isn't charmed by the place.,,,maybe more now that so many of the cherry orchids have been replaced with wine vineyards.

      Delete
  14. I thought I left a comment here on an earlier visit, but guess not. Sounds like you had a pleasant trip. Glad you connected with the other woman and could enjoy each other. Going to casinos wouldn't be a regular activity I would want to do. Have been to Vegas a few times over the years but not always just to go to casinos.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was talking to a woman yesterday who went on that same day trip only on a different day. She made the same connection with a stranger that I did. I love these restaurant hops. This is the forth one I've been on.

      Delete
  15. Sounds like a day filled with events and such, must have been nice. Greetings!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like a great day. I'd love to visit Naugatuck sometime. I love places like that. As for Casinos --NOOOOOOO! I cannot imagine a tour of one after the other!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a boring tour in my opinion.

      Nantucket is on my on my bucket list but I'll bet you meant Saugatuck, not Naugatuck. LOL

      Delete