Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Friday, November 22, 2013

One Widow, Two Thanksgiving Invitations and a Bunch of Other Junk

There is a new generation of robocalls out there and I’ve gotten a few that reminds me of Apple’s Siri. They sound so much like a live person talking that when you interrupt with the question, “Are you a real person?” it gives you an answer something like, “I’m a computer aided communicator using a script. May I continue with the script?” If you’re in the mood to play with the system, like I was today, you can reply with something like this: “Do your scripts come in Chinese?” and it will say, “We have English, Spanish and French on our menu.” A few months ago I finally registered both my cell and landline phones on the National Do Not Call List but I don’t think it’s done a bit of good. I still get too many junk calls. But I must admit I might actually miss these interactive robocalls. One time I barked like a dog at the communicator and it said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t get that. Can you repeat your question?”

I wish they also had a National Do Not Mail List. If they did, I’d be a happy camper. I am so sick of getting hearing aid information and other stuff designated for “old people” in the mail. You turn a certain age and the whole world thinks you need a security system, an emergency dialer, hearing aids, and estate planning advice, plus information on picking an independent living home and your final resting place. I have a security system. His name is Levi the Schnauzer. I have an emergency dialer, hearing aids and a gravesite, thank you very much, so stop reminding me through the daily mail that I’m getting old!  And if I start going on the tours of independent living facilities or sitting through estate planning seminars you can bet I’m going because I need the free meals that comes with them.

It’s been a busy week here on Widowhood Lane, staring Monday when my friendly plumber spent the morning in my bathroom and me having to wait around all afternoon for a delivery. (I replaced Don’s 14 year old shower chair with one of my own.) Tuesday was a Thanksgiving dinner luncheon at the senior hall where I learned that old women who talk about the good old days of baking and cooking this or that are boring. No wonder no one wants to sit next to grandma at family parties. Wednesday was a Red Hat Society tea where a new member shocked the heck out of me by announcing that she was a church pastor about to retire. My image of pastor ladies needs adjusting because I think she’s going to be a lot of fun. Thursday I went to a lecture at the senior hall given by a woman who had walked a total of 2,000 miles around selected shorelines of Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes. Man, I have to push myself to walk two miles on a nature trail. What drives someone to take on such an ambitious trek?  She said she was having a mid-life crisis and here I thought all mid-life crisis’s involved a pair red high-heels and a mini skirt for women and a sports car and chest waxing for guys.

Friday the plumber had to come back so I can use the shower. Ya, I know all about sediments that can get pushed through the pipes when the main water line gets turned off, then back on again and the sediments can get caught in filter screens, cutting off the water flow, but why do things like that always happen to me? I had just put shampoo in my hair and I had to finish my ‘shower’ in the sink. Well, I could have used the guest bath but at the time the thought never crossed my mind. That room is off limits to me and the dog---always has been, and apparently always will be. While I was doing my ‘shower’ in the sink I asked myself the is-this-a-disaster-or-an-inconvenience question in an attempt to talk yourself down off the window ledge I was clinging to in my head. And the answer came back that I’m lucky I at least have a house and a shower and the money to fix what gets broken. Crisis averted. Chalk another one up for common sense.

I thought I’d be spending Thanksgiving alone this year but I finally got two invitations, two days apart. One was from a niece on my husband’s side of the family that I’ve spent many holidays with over the years. This year they are going to a restaurant. And the other invitation came from my nephew’s in-laws for a big gathering of their family. I’m going to feel out of place with my nephew’s in-laws---I don’t know them well---but they asked first so I’m going with a Mary Poppins smile in place and my store-bought tiramisu in hand. First I have to study up on appropriate dinner table conversation. My Victorian era etiquette book says not to talk about politics, religion or finances in mixed company---a rule I’ve always agreed with at party format events---and I’m adding cooking back in the good-old days to that list. What’s left? Twerking? All I can think about when Miley Cyrus does that is how easy it is to accidentally fart in that position…and I seriously doubt THAT’S a proper topic for conversation with a table full of near-strangers. Who would have ever guessed my Thanksgiving, this year, is coming with homework in advance? ©


  1. Hooray! Good for you for being polite and sticking with your first invitation. Socially correct in my mind

    Man am I going to have to use your "disaster or inconvenience" strategy. Why do our minds DO this to us?

    As usual. Thanks!

  2. Old habits die hard. I usually try to do the right thing, then you don't have anything to feel guilty about.

    I wrote a blog about the 'disaster or inconvenience' concept back in my caregiver days and that strategy really helps me in so many situations. The blog can be found here: http://fromtheplanetaphasia.blogspot.com/2007/10/disaster-or-inconvenience.html

  3. When we had a crisis one time, one daughter asked me if it upset me. I replied, "After Fred died--nothing like this could upset me. It's no big deal." and I feel that way about most everything, including household things that refuse to work correctly. Big deal--NOT! I do love that last paragraph of yours! Probably the young girls don't fart unexpectedly. Not like us old ladies who get up out of our chairs and toot several times on our first steps across the room.

  4. Thanks for the link! And of course I had to read so many more posts on that blog! My gosh how do you make the time?? I need to get back some energy. I don't think I would have been a good long term caregiver ... but I suppose you just do what you have to do. You have stars in your crown!

  5. I've been keeping a diary since I was ten, so writing most days is second nature to me now. Blogs are just a public diary so it's no big deal that I've blogged my way through caregiving and now, widowhood.