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

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Widows, Plumbers and Playlists

Spring has arrived. You know how I can tell? Both toilets got backed up at the same time. To make it even worse the plumber and I can’t coordinate our schedules until next Wednesday. But not to worry, I got them both working again if only temporarily. The air intake/vent on the roof probably needs cleaning out again. Two years ago when I had this reoccurring issue, the plumber added a second air intake in the basement and that plus Bio-Clean cured the problem. Until now. I could have panicked. I could have gotten upset but I applied my Litmus Test and asked myself if the situation is an inconvenience or a disaster. I can say it was a mini disaster back when Don was alive and it was hard to get a wheelchair bound guy down to the gas station in time for nature’s call, this time it’s not. I know what the problem is and I have the money to throw at it. Besides, I’ve had my new iPod plugged into my ears and everything is better when you have a playlist. How can you not find humor in the absurdity of plunging a toilet while Joe Cocker is telling you to get naked but leave your hat on while you strip?

Ever notice how often Brian Williams asks famous people he’s interviewing what’s on their playlist?  Just think, a year ago I didn’t even know what that meant and now I have a half dozen of them. Brian, apparently, isn’t the only person who likes to know what celebrities listen to. There are websites devoted to telling us things like Hillary Clinton’s playlist contains Hey Jude, President Bush likes Brown-Eyed Girl and Stephen King’s most played song is McDermott’s Dance With Me.

Actually, having a heavy concentration of music back in my life is new since before Don's stroke nearly 13 years ago. When you live with someone with severe language disorders like he had, I couldn’t have distractions playing in the background while he was trying to get out words. If I missed something I couldn't queue him to refine his attempt and he wasn't likely to be able to say it again. But they make iTunes too easy. I go there each night and buy five songs, but I suppose that will stop when I get my first credit card bill. In the meantime, the iPod is a bittersweet addition to my life. Damn it, typing this paragraph made me choke back a few tears.

I also got a new cell phone last week so I’ve been in tech land learning how to text. It’s not hard and I doubt I’ll keep the service on my plan but I wanted to see what’s so fascinating about it that it has kids all over the world texting their lives away. The phone’s camera, on the other hand, is fascinating. When I got my first camera back in the 1940s we had to send the film off to Kodak and we’d get prints back in two weeks---if you were lucky. Then we progressed to being able to drop the film off at the drugstore where the turn-around was a mere week. How great was that! we thought. Jeez, now I know how my dad felt when he’d tell about being alive when radio was born and how he lived to hear a man talk to us from the moon. I’m telling old people stories. Next thing you know I’ll be hauling out the photo albums and making the plumber, next Wednesday, look at them. He won’t care. He gets paid $25.00 per five minutes no matter how he spends those minutes he’s at your house. I got to the point that I had to tell Don not to try to talk to him. With his language disorders it once cost us an extra fifty bucks just for him to exchange a handful of words with the guy and for Don to drag him out to the garage for a tour.

The world is coming to life all around me. The birds are returning, the snow is gone and my deck furniture is uncovered and calling for me to come bring my iPod outside and sit awhile. If I do that, I just know that Otis Redding will start singing, “Sitting here resting my bones and this loneliness won’t leaving me alone.” But then again it’s just as likely my playlist will bring me Keb’ Mo’ singing, “I’m grateful for the simple things that we take for granted every day. Listen, I can walk I can talk, I can use my mind. Okay. I’m amazing, a dream come true. I’m marvelous; I’m beautiful. Guess what? So are you.” And those two songs, my dear friends, express perfectly the yo-yo of emotions this widow is bouncing between this fine spring day. ©


  1. Jean :

    not only you are beautiful,amazing but also kind & compassionate person who saved so many lives by just being here.


  2. Wow, thank you for the wonderful compliment! Right back at you. Want to hear something spooky? That Keb' Mo' song---I'm Amazing---was an iTunes Genesis pick for me. The minute I heard the lyrics about being grateful for being able to walk and talk I knew I had to buy it and I love it more every time it plays.

  3. Interesting... No more hyper vigilance - well, less of it, at least. To think you managed to swing along to Joe Cocker while unclogging the toilet. When you settle on your playlist, do share!

  4. I'm so obsessed with my iPod I'll probably share too much and bore everyone. LOL Now I need the armband iPod holder for walking and the hairband speaker for my meditation playlist. The little silicone wristband gets pulled off to easy while doing housework.

  5. Count me amazed at yet another one of your newly acquired skills and hobbies.

    But I really came to comment to attest to the power of Bio-Clean. I discovered it on your recommendation. Let's just say that it's a gift that keeps giving.

  6. I know! Bio-Clean really lives up to its claims.