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

Monday, December 23, 2013

One Lucky Widow


In my area of Michigan, they are calling this the worse ice storm in ten years. People as close as a mile away are without power. Some of my relatives counties south of here are without power. Can you image spending Christmas in an emergency shelter? If they don’t get the power restored soon, that could easily happen to a lot of people. We have 1,000 out-of-state power workers from as far away as Kansas and the District of Columbia helping us out but high winds and more snow, the weather people are saying, could take out even more power for more people on Wednesday. I’m pretty lucky considering it could be so much worse than being encapsulated in ice the way I’ve been in recent days. But I must admit the isolation that goes along with having everyone trapped inside their houses makes me feel like I’m living in an episode of Lost in Alaska---except for the fact that I have Face Book to confirm that, yes, there will be no White Knight coming to my rescue. All the White Knights riding dog sleds are iced in, too. And the entire kingdom is still without the coveted driveway salt.

The photo above is of my driveway. It took me two days but I was able to get an ice-free path down to my mailbox. Then I ran out of salt and started using oil soak-up---that’s the black stuff you see on top of the ice. Like Kitty-Litter, it gives enough traction so you can walk safer on top of the ice and I also have ice fishing cleats on the bottom of my boots. Still, it makes me nervous, given the condition of my old bones. But I resisted the temptation to shoot myself up with extra doses of Forteo for my osteoporosis before suiting up like a little kid going to a snowball fight. I paced myself. I chipped ice a half hour, went inside and knitted a half hour then I repeated those two activities over and over again from noon to dark.

The retail stores in the area are still out of salt but I got a great surprise when I opened my garage door this morning, thinking I’d do some more chipping away on my driveway ice. Overnight my driveway plower showed up and had salted! I had called him three days ago but he never returned my call so I didn’t expect him to opt me into his salting service this late in the season. It was the best Christmas present I could have gotten. I shut the garage door trusting that the salt would do its work of drilling holes down through the ice and I was feeling much better knowing if I had to leave, I could get back up my driveway when I returned.

When Don and I used to plow snow we had a salting service along with plowing and, boy, did I hate that job even though all I had to do is drive and Don was the one who had to load the 50 pound bags of salt into the spreader. We salted at a large multiplex movie theater and a shopping mall and I could never drive slow enough to suit Don. Anything over five miles an hour had him yelling, “Slow down!”  One time he fell off the tailgate of the truck and I didn’t know it until I’d made an entire pass from one end of the mall and back again where he was waiting for me in the cold. It was so icy that he couldn’t have walked if he had some place to go. I think that happened more than once but I’ll never tell.

Needless to say, I won’t be driving out to my niece’s house in the country for the family Christmas Eve party. She has a generator to keep power in the house, if needed, but my days of winter driving in bad weather conditions are over. I’m sad but okay with missing the party. I’m no longer in pity party mode because I had to miss six of the eight holiday parties/events I had lined up. Winter is winter and you have to expect the unexpected. That’s the breaks. Don’t cry over milk that is still in the carton. Yadda, yadda, yadda. There will be other social events when the weather is better and above all, I’m sitting in a nice warm house with a pretty view out my living room window. I could be fighting over sleeping space on a steam vent in a downtown alley. How on earth do street people survive this kind of weather? I am indeed one lucky widow. ©

My living room view at the back of the house.


  1. You live on the "lake effect" side of the state for sure--sorry. My sister has a whole house generator, so they are living as if nothing had happened outside--we go there tomorrow. Merry Christmas, Jean--I will be alone on Christmas Day--doesn't bother me a bit actually. Probably start undecorating, LOL.

  2. Thank you, Judy. Merry Christmas to you, too!

    It doesn't really bother me to be alone on Christmas day, either. And I will be doing the same thing you will....un-decorating.

  3. Good grief. You guys are getting blasted. Our weather is crazy, dropping almost fifty degrees from day to day. It was balmy at 82 on Sunday and will be in the thirties today. I don't ever remember such fluctuations.

    I'm so glad you still have power. I hate losing power. I'm a good sport the first 24 hours. I start getting itchy the second 24. By the third day, I'm taking it personally. I agree that the isolation is the worst. My brother has one of those whole-house generators. They are really great but cost around $7000. Too much. Glad you're cozy and safe. Be careful when retrieving your mail. NO falls.

    I can't believe he fell off the tractor. Whew. That could be as dangerous as falling off a boat.

    I'm glad you aren't so blue about all the missed parties. What a mess you guys are dealing with. Stay safe. Merry Christmas.

  4. Lucky, indeed. Snuggle up, stay put, and enjoy the view. Merry Christmas!

  5. Bella: Those temperature fluctuations are so hard on people who suffer with frequent headaches. That's quite a range from the 80s to the 30s!

    I am only getting my mail from the street every other day now, and putting my trash out every other week---cuts my odds of falling in half. And I take Don's cane for extra safety.

    Fichereader: Merry Christmas to you and your kids as well! And to everyone who is reading this---MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  6. Jean :

    Merry Christmas. I am surprised you are still getting mail delivered in that kind of weather. enjoy your view & Levi & don't venture out in this kind of weather, nothing is worth falling


  7. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Asha.

    I'm not sure if we got mail or not. I didn't go down to street for 3-4 days. Saturday we're actually going to get temperatures above freezing. I can't wait to see some of this ice disappear. It's really hard on the trees as well as all the people without power.

  8. I'm so glad you still have power - at least I hope you do. Thanks to this blogging, we have a wider community, with virtual hugs and all. Merry Christmas, Jean! Thank you for spreading your light.

  9. Knock on wood, I still have power but I did put together a 'grab and run bag' just in case. I feel so sorry for the power line workers who are putting in 16 hours days freezing cold temperatures and be far away from home over Christmas!

    Virtual hugs and good wishes coming back at you!

  10. You certainly have a lot of snow on the ground. And we are sorry to read that you were sick during Christmas. But we like your logic that you stayed home and did not seem to mind missing Christmas parties.

    Kaci and I (Hershey) spent the weekend before Christmas celebrating. We now have two cats in the family and I was pretty good with them. Kaci, being her curious self, kept sticking her head in the cat door. It was funny you could see everything except her head.

    We hope your New Year's Day will be better (health wise).

    Love -

    Hershey, Kaci and Mama

  11. It's so nice to hear from you guys---Hershey, Kaci and your mom! I wouldn't tell Levi about your new cats because he'll start asking for one and I'm allergic. I'll bet your bigger family is having fun with all the holiday stuff around.