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 2, 2018

Blue Tooth, Stephen King and Death by Toaster


I have a blue tooth, not to be confused with I have blue tooth, the short-range wireless interconnection for our devices. I have an actually blue tooth in my head. It’s a temporary given to me by my dentist at the first of three appointments to give me a new cap. At the second appointment I’ll get a core built and impressions make, at the third appointment I’ll get the new cap glued in. I asked the dentist if he’s afraid he’ll forget which tooth he worked on when I come back and he said, “No, but I thought about not telling you it’s blue so you’d freak out the next time you brush your teeth.” While he had my mouth full of Novocain he replaced two other fillings that were put in more than twenty-five years ago---silver fillings that are now white fillings. Not that they had any problems other than they were “showing some wear.” But I said, “Ya, sure, take them out if they’ll help you pay the rental fees on your boat slip.” 

On the drive home I thought I might be morphing into a character in a Stephen King novel. Along the side of the road was a dead cat, curled up and looking like it was sleeping, and someone had tied a ‘Happy Birthday’ balloon to the poor animal. Who does that? Several thoughts entered my head, each more gruesome than the next: Maybe a neighbor didn’t like the cat pooping in his petunias and killed it. Maybe a husband was jealous of the attention his wife gave her cat and poisoned it. Maybe a stalker murdered the cat and placed it where the owner would see it on her way to work. I couldn’t think of logical or innocent reason for why someone would tie a balloon to a dead cat. Like did someone just happened to have a balloon in their car and used it to help its owner find their missing pet? And if they did, what were they thinking! Wouldn’t the average Joe or Jill know that would be creepy? It creeped me out as I fought against tears coming and once again---in less than a month’s time---I find myself typing, “And I didn’t even know the damned cat!” 

Stephen King plots of evil doings were still on my mind when I stopped at a garage sale where a guy who had a John Wayne Gacy serial killer look about him was selling a tea cup yorkie puppy---six months old, spayed and supposedly housebroke and in good health. Great with kids. Recent haircut. Price tag: one dollar. These dogs usually go for hundreds and when I asked why he was selling her, he said and I quote: “It’s complicated.” Complicated as in the puppy doesn’t actually belong to you? I wanted to ask but instead I said, “I’ve got time for ‘complicated.’” But he didn’t and, my gosh, that puppy was sweet! It’s the hardest thing I’ve done in recent memory to walk away from that puppy but my instincts were telling me he was selling the dog out spiteful towards an x-wife or girlfriend. Who knows, but I didn’t sense any love lost on the wee little thing. I thought about giving the guy his dollar and taking the puppy to the vet to have it scanned for a microchip so to see if she was reported as lost or stolen. Then what if it wasn't? I felt guilty leaving that puppy behind thinking it could end up like balloon cat along the side of the road if no one snatched her up and gave her a good home. But getting a non-returnable, second dog is just not a whim decision you make on the way home from getting a blue tooth.

The next day I boarded the mini bus owned by my senior hall. I hate that bus. It feelings like traveling inside a tin can and I’m probably the only one who rides in it who actually uses the seatbelts. We all have to die of something but a highway accident is one of my least favorite ways I’d like to do it. It doesn’t help that we used to live near a person who drove an ambulance and who got a gruesome thrill out of seeing dead people. She’d describe how “cool” it was to see an eye that had popped out of its socket---stuff like that---and it comforts me to know she lost that job for undisclosed reasons. She was the type who’d harvest your organs to sell on the black market before driving your body to the morgue…well, at least she would do that in a Stephen King novel.

The reason I was on our mini bus is because we were headed to Holland, Michigan, for our annual restaurant crawl. How a crawl works is they drop you off at high-end restaurant for the first course of salad or soup, then you shop your way down the street to another restaurant where you have your pre-ordered and paid-for main course. Then you shop your way around the block before hitting the last place where we have dessert. For my tastes, they allow too much time for shopping but the tourist town has plenty of benches for enjoying the sunshine and I was with two of my Gathering Girl pals, so we had a good time not to mention the food was to die-for. I did buy something: a $2.50 bamboo toast tong. I didn’t even know they made a gadget like that and I was thrilled. Now I can quit worrying about electrocuting myself when I stick a fork in the toaster without unplugging it. Never let it be said that I wasn’t a risk taker in my pre-toast tong days. ©

Image at top: a Penny Black rubber stamp

33 comments:

  1. Well you certainly aren't lacking for a vivid imagination and you do encounter bizarre situations....or....do they exist because you are present? Hm-m-m! Wise to use the seat belt on the mini-bus. They're starting to put them on school buses some places now, I heard. Now, I'm beginning to think I know a bit more of what explains some of your doin's -- did you ever feel a sensation that felt a bit like a "tickle", maybe thought you might have lost some time when you were sticking a metal, I presume, fork in a "live" toaster? Just askin'!

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    1. I'm always amazed when I look down the aisle of the mini bus and no one is view is using their seatbelts. It wouldn't take much of an accident to throw you out of your seat.

      I've spent my entire life putting forks and knives in live toasters and every time I'd be "present" out of fear of getting shocked. I've never been so excited about finding a gadget before as I was with that silly toast tong.

      We all see bizarre things but most of us let them go except those of us who keep asking the whys and wherefores.

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  2. That's a truly horrid story about the cat. Well, not horrid, exactly -- but weird in a way my imagination would rather not play with. I will say I'm pretty sure the balloon was tied on after the kitty expired, but that's a conclusion I reached only because I can imagine trying to tie a balloon on a live cat.

    Those toast tongs are a neat invention. I had no idea they made such a thing. I'll not be buying any, because I don't eat enough toast to make it worth while, and my most recent toaster's rather enthusiastic when it comes to popping up toast, but it's the sort of gift that could answer a certain kind of "now, what shall I get for her" question.

    I'm presently about five or six hours from home, with my cousin in tow. She's going to visit as long as we can stand each other -- she has a plane ticket back home, but the date can be changed in either direction without penalty, so that's good. Yesterday, I found out corporate had approved the installation of new flooring in the kitchen and bathroom of my place, so she'll have the pleasure of visiting while I shuttle furniture and clean up after the installation crew. Do I know how to entertain house guests, or what?

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    1. Your floor project sounds exciting and let's hope the guys who install it are eye candy enough to entertain your cousin. LOL

      I was telling my cleaning girl about balloon cat and she said she thought some kid probably tied the balloon on to a live cat and the cat spooked and got hit by a car. She said her little brother would do that and cats hate balloon according to her. Honestly, that wasn't even on the list of things I imagined happened.

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  3. Loved this post, Jean! I too have wondered if my dentist needed new tires for his Mercedes Sport Coupe or new sails for his boat after hearing what he thought I needed done! (And yet when I asked what could be done to straighten my teeth, the bastard said I was TOO OLD for braces - I should get veneers instead. HMMMPH! Now he's retired but not before I went somewhere else to get Invisaligns...I showed him, I guess :-) )
    That cat and that little puppy - 2 sad animal tales...I hope the puppy gets a loving home.
    I would never remember to use the bamboo toast fork but I did remember to unplug the toaster when I used to use one instead of my toaster oven. Not as fond of cheating death as you are, obviously! LOL!!!
    Thanks Jean - I love your writing.

    Deb

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    1. I thought we were never too old for braces! Good for you. I've known my dentist since before he was a dentist and I can kid around with him. I do trust him.

      I can't get that puppy out of my head! I have to believe someone took her home. If I didn't already have Levi I would have.

      I'm storing the toast tong right on top of the toaster, but I found another use for it too. Picking up bags of veggies out of the microwave that are too hot for my fingers. Something so cheap is giving me great pleasure to own.

      Thanks for stopping by, Deb...and everyone else who reads my blog. It means a lot.

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  4. I ha a problem with my new dentist. She told me that she was going to work on my right lower molar but when I get there she was going to work on two left upper teeth. I asked about the molar and she said she would put a crown on it later. We never said anything about a crown. I was so upset that I just left. Why don't they just do what they say they are going to do? That really bothers me.

    Stephen King, I just love books. I had at least 15 of them.
    That lady that described how “cool” it was to see an eye that had popped out of its socket--, is she nuts? I don't know, my wife Mary Lou wants to watch an autopsy. I think she's nuts also but I wouldn't tell her. LOL
    I really love that idea of the restaurant crawl but aren't you hungry after the first course? I still like the idea. What the heck is a bamboo toast tong?
    Well, finally the heat is down and the temperature is in the 70's. On Monday my AC will get fixed. See my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Caps are a big expense, you expect a dentist to explain the need and timeline with you. The three teeth my dentist worked on where right in a row with the broken tooth in the middle. Getting those old fillings replaced could save me from having another broken tooth thus the need for more caps. But it was my choice.

      If anyone gets hungry between courses on a crawl there are plenty of candy, bakeries and ice cream shops in town.

      "What the heck is a bamboo toast tong" is exactly what I said. And when I found out, I said, "I've got to have one of those." LOL

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  5. My gosh....what a great post! Creepy, funny, suspenseful, and practical. I'm on the hunt for a toaster tong!

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    1. Ya, that's my life---creepy, funny and suspenseful. LOL You're going to love the toast tong!

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  6. Wow, this was a lively post. Can’t bear cruelty to animals. I’d like that little dog. Have yet to have the blue tooth experience. At least you weren’t bored on your outing.

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    1. That was my first 'blue tooth' too. When I go back I'm going to ask the dentist why it's blue. I asked him so many questions last time I told him in my next life I'm going to be a dentist. It's a widowhood thing... anything to keep a conversation going because you miss having them.

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  7. Wow, that was some ride. The cat creeped me out. Steven King for sure. I would've had to spring for the puppy and do the vet check thing. What is with people and animals? All your possibilities were possible. Toaster tong sounds like a great idea.

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    1. It would have been hard to bring a puppy into the house without she and Levi meeting on neutral territory first so he thinks it's his idea to bring her home. But the vet check for a chip would have happened first. If she was fixed she probably got chipped at the same time. If she had been a little bigger too I wouldn't have walked away. Levi has stuffed toys bigger than that puppy!

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  8. Enjoyed your post. I have a wooden tongs that I can use for my toaster and I've used it often. It keeps me from burning my fingers as well as preventing electrical shock. Keep on telling us about your spunky attitude! Nancy

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    1. I'm surprised that toasters don't come with woodshed tongs.

      I often don't know what I'm going to write about until I do. lol

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  9. I didn't know bamboo toast tongs existed! Nice though, and more elegant than the bamboo skewers I use to fish toast out of the toaster. I think maybe the explanation of the cat being spooked by the balloon seems most likely to me. I can imagine the cat trying to get away from the balloon. Poor kitty. Ann

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    1. Your way of getting toast out is safer than mine.

      I agree about the cat. Funny how easy it was for my cleaning girl to come up with that when I'd thought about it day and couldn't find something logical like that.☺

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  10. Did the guy who had the "dollar dog" live near where the cat was? Just wondering. I'm really glad to know that you bought the toast tongs---who knew we were supposed to worry about you for that? :)

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    1. No, completely different areas. I was coming home from the dentist down close to Caledonia.

      Glad to know you would have worried if you knew I was fork stabbing my toast. LOL

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  11. I'm another bamboo skewer user. I'm now averse to buying nifty kitchen gadgets because I've found, with old age, that you really require very few kitchen implements when cooking for one.

    That dead cat would have mystified me no end.

    I just looked up pix of a teacup Yorkie (also micros and minis). Very cute! I can imagine them as fashion accessories by the fashionistas.

    (I shuddered when thinking about the tiny doggies giving birth.) ~ Libby

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    1. I don't have skewers, never did.

      Those teacup Yorkies are so tiny that I'm sure they would get hurt underfoot which might be why people carry them around so much. I think about all the places a tiny dog like that could hide in my house...behind the refrigerator and washer and dryer, under furniture! I'd need a playpen for her inside and out. She could have gone right through my picket fence and be carried off by the big birds that get the rabbits! She would have changed mine and Levi's life too much, a dog that size.

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  12. Those dangers for teacup Yorkies was highlighted in all the articles I read. ~ Libby

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  13. My goodness, what an odd day you had. Very Stephen King-esque to be sure. The situation with the teensy dog would still be haunting me. I'm hoping for the best for it.

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    1. If the guy had taken it to the humane society it would have been adopted within an hour. I wish I had thought to tell him that. But it was so cute I'm sure someone took her home.

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  14. Okay I have a very strong dislike of cats, but that story is cruiel and awful. I hope that poor cat did not die by the hands of that horrible person who tied that balloon to him/her. Oh that makes me angry.

    I think that crawl sounds like fun!

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    1. The dead cat haunts me, too, and I hope it's gone by the time I have to return to the dentist! Poor thing!

      The crawls are a great way to sample different restaurants along Lake Michigan as every year we go to a different tourist town and we get to study their menus and order at home before we go. I love sitting down and being served without having to wait for everyone at the table to place their orders. The food is on the table quickly and we just leave when we want without bothering with money or tips.

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  15. I have toast tongs and I use them from time to time. Once in a while the toast will get stuck or just be unable to reach. I keep them in the drawer under the toaster.

    This post could have been entitled, "Weird." I can't believe someone tied a balloon to a dead cat's foot. Must have been some teenagers who thought it would be hilarious. Poor kitty. And I hope the pup gets a good home. I think your instincts were probably right, unfortunately.

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    1. That would have been a good title. I don't know what is worse...having someone tie a balloon to a dead cat or like my cleaning girl thought a kid tied it to a live cat and the cat got spooked and got hit by a car.

      I use small size bread so I always had trouble fishing it out.

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  16. I'm going with someone tying it on the cat after it was dead. Maybe because I can't handle the cruelty of your cleaner's theory. Humans suck.

    Never knew there were such a thing as toaster tongs. I won't buy any until you list 10 things they help with. I'm nothing if not practical.....

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    1. I can come up with three things: 1) I've used it almost every day to take toast out of the toaster since I bought it 2) I've picked up a hot bag of steamed veggies out of the microwave, and 3) I pieced up a kibble of dog food from under the table where I couldn't reach far enough. LOL I actually do love it because I really did stick forks and knives down inside my toaster and was always afraid I'd forget to unplug it first. My theory is by the time I'm senile I'll have retrained myself to do it this safe way. LOL

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  17. That cat story is really sick. Oh, that would break my heart. It DOES break my heart. I loved your ideas. But it does give me the idea of tying a helium balloon on Lizzie's collar for Rick's birthday. She's so good, as long as it doesn't mess up her eating or sleeping, she'd be fine. But I'm pretty sure that came on later -- no one would have hit a walking happy birthday sign and the balloon would have been popped. This reminds me of those thriller novels a friend gives me when she's finished that I really don't like, for the most part. I get creeped out. I much prefer a cozier mystery.

    Holland -- haven't been there in years but it sounds like a fun trip and a good idea for a group, even an unofficial one!

    Oh, and thanks for coming by the Gypsy. I've been traveling and catching up but thanks for stopping by while I was gone. Frustrated about not being able to easily reply to email comments directly with this blogger notification mess and I hope they straighten it out soon. I loved the comments about where we live. Yes, I think she's starting to read newspapers and such online so she can plan visits. I couldn't imagine moving away from friends at my age unless Rick went too!

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    1. I don't read those creepy novels anymore either. I don't want to fill up my brain with stuff that might come back to haunt me in a nursing home. LOL

      You have such a lovely group of friends. I could easily see you do a restaurant crawl. Although it would take more time with an unofficial group because our food is all pre-ordered and pre-paid so have no waiting about before or after we sit down...unless we want to.

      I have never posted an email address on my blog therefore I don't have to make time to answer personal emails. I much prefer public comments and public answers. Seems like that could get overwhelming.

      I couldn't move across country like your friend is doing either, but I also have a friend who is planning to just drive across country looking for a place that "feel right." To each his own, I guess.

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