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, July 29, 2017

Ice Cream, Screens and Clams at High Tide



After spending way too many days in a fog of pain I’m getting my range of motion back in my neck. It’s not totally there yet but at least I don’t want to crawl under a rock and play kissy-face with a toad to get him to let me share his space. All I’ve wanted to do is hide in a cool, dark place and I’ve discovered that an ice pack wrapped in a kitchen towel and held in place by a chip-clip makes a nice fashion statement. Ice Collars by Jean. My third appointment with the chiropractor was yesterday and I don't need a forth unless I'm not back to normal in a week. The Recuperation Train, she says, is running on schedule. My words, not hers. She talks like an adult.

One of those days when I wanted to cohabitate with a toad I went to an ice cream social at the senior hall instead. It’s a free event and they tend to result in more people wanting to go than the place can hold. So when you get your RSVP approved it’s not fair to those who didn’t, not to show up. I lucked out and sat near two ladies from my Gathering Girls group and our table was dismissed first to get in line to build our own sundaes. The entertainer, a guitarist and singer, was good but I couldn’t turn my head enough to see him and I wasn’t in the mood to hear songs my mom used to play on a Victrola when I was a kid. Listening to those old tunes while in pain made me feel ancient and I wondered, how old does this guy think we are? In between songs, I made my great escape and I only felt half guilty for leaving early. 

On the way home I had an errand to run. I needed to pick up three window screens and return one I had picked up a few days before because the newly replaced screen fabric was baggy. The lady at the counter must have had a cob up her butt because when I (nicely) showed her the problem she said, “Well, that’s what happens when you order fiberglass instead of aluminum.” I was shocked and in no mood to get balled out like that. My voice turned as snippy as hers when I replied: “I’ve had five or six screens redone here over the past few weeks and this one is the only one that looks like it was done by a ten year old! And,” I added, “When I started this process no one told me there WAS an aluminum option.” She took the screen back to the work area and came back with a message that they’d redo it. “Wait in your car and I’ll bring it out when it done.” By the time she brought it out and showed it to me her snippiness was gone, probably because the difference in the screen was so obvious. I went home, took an Aleve, put on my “ice collar” and pouted about mean Mrs. Cob-Up-Her-Butt until I forgave her. Maybe that cob was giving her as much pain as my stiff neck.

Remember Larry the Cable guy? This week I had a service call from my own Larry the Cable Guy. Actually, I got two cable guys for the price of one and one actually looked like Daniel Whitney who played Larry the Cable Guy. He mostly did the work required outside and down the basement while grandson-material-Jason fixed all my issues on the main level and I had many. One of my TV’s picture was breaking up at a certain times of the day (a downstairs issue) one of my remotes wouldn’t hold its programing (an improper setting in the TV) and he set me up with a new remote for the bedroom that glows in the dark. (That's going to save me a ton of stress because pushing the wrong buttons in the dark takes me to places I can't return without an agent on the phone to walk me through it.) I also got a new signal receiver outside since mine was twelve years old and Jason checked the speed of my computer. I was as happy as a clam at high tide when they left but the next morning the problem I called about---the picture breaking up---was back again only worse! Back to square one.

Trivia note: The phrase ‘happy as a clam at high tide’ has been around since at least 1833 when it first appeared in print in a memoir and by 1848 it was included in John Russell Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms. The theory is it evolved because at high tide clams open up and they look happy in that state. Over the years, we’ve dropped the 'high tide' part and now most people just say, "I'm as happy as a clam." Old metaphors endure because we're too lazy to come up with new ones, but that's also pretty cool when you think about it. I wish I could write a metaphor that a google search two hundred years from now would trace back to me.

I was trying to find a quote or meme about pain to end this blog and it’s clear that society admires people who power through it with smiles and quiet humility. My neck issues will be gone in time if I don’t do anything to inflame it again---I have to curtail my upper body strength training at the YMCA for two weeks---but after the week I’ve had I’ve learned I’m still a little girl at heart; I’ve wanted my mommy, ice cream and a good cry. At least I got the ice cream. ©

30 comments:

  1. Sorry you are having neck pain! Hope the pain goes completely away soon. Thanks for the chip clip idea. I use ice packs when needed and have several with velcro straps, which usually can be attached easily. Using an ice pack in a towel attached with a chip clip though seems like a good backup plan. Ann

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm about 90% back to normal and no longer taking anything for pain. I'm going to look at ice packs when I go to the store today...for the future. The Velcro is a good feature to look for! The ice pack I used and really like never looses it's flexibility so it was easy to curl around my neck.

      Delete
  2. OUCH! Wishing you more SPEED in that recovery. I use a bag of frozen peas, in a big ziplock bag and wrapped in a dish towel. Plus I have a cool icy knee cuff with velcro what works like a champ.

    I've always wondered about that phrase! Those do look like happy clams!

    My next blog may be about CRABBY people with no respect for others. What a week I have witnessed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a icy knee cuff but it stays stiff too long and won't form to my neck. I really am much improved, though I need a nap know, having just returned from the grocery story.

      Can't wait for your next blog!

      Delete
  3. I was hoping your neck pain would be gone by now, and speaking of pain in the neck I hate how people like Mrs. Cob.. try to turn their mistakes into your fault, I'm proud that you stood up for yourself and she came to her senses somewhat.

    The ice cream social sounds popular, maybe next time you can pass song requests to the entertainment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've seen this singer before and I think if I would have stayed longer he would have worked his way up the decades...from the '30s to the '50s.

      I really was shocked by the way Mrs. Cob lit into me.

      Delete
  4. Ha ha, now I know where happy as a clam came from. I am a recent widow, my husband and I were married 45 years. It's tough isn't it? Glad to find you, another widow who blogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the reason that brought you here by I'm glad for your comment. It is tough being a widow but I promise you it does get easier over time.

      Delete
  5. Ouch on the painful neck. I use a regular ice bag but put part alcohol in it so it won't freeze solid and stays mushy. It is always in my freezer, ready for action.
    I sometimes wonder what might have happened in a person's day to make them so disagreeable. You came out the winner anyway. Outside of the music and pain, the social sounds like fun. Wish we had one like that here. I could put up with some loony tunes for a good sundae.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish everyone had a senior hall like mine. We do something for everyone.

      People these days really do live with a lot of stress and unseen pain---physical and emotional. That thought finally made me forgive the snippy counter lady. She wasn't much younger than me and I'd sure hate to be working at her age.

      Delete
  6. I run a weekly ESL (English as a Second Language) class. A few weeks ago, before our local village fair, I covered lots of terms that I thought the group might not be familiar with, including pig roast, jamboree, craft show and ice cream social. I remember what they meant to me as a kid in summer camp but I wasn't quite sure how different they were in the village and I didn't care to go to find out! Instead I asked some local people I know! The reason I discussed the fair was I wanted them to know that my band was playing on the main stage one of the evenings and it was good to look into the audience that evening and see a few of them.
    In a few weeks we are playing in a park and during the intermission there will be an ice cream social!
    Regards,
    Leze

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool, your class. Ice cream socials are a summertime staple and have been, I think, since they first started churning ice cream in buckets. I remember one or two on Little House on the Prairie TV show.

      Delete
  7. Ms. Cob and her ilk tend to back down when someone stands up to them, so good for you! I can stick up for someone else, but rarely do it for myself unless the exchange is really clearly out of line and over the top.

    Thinking of you this week re: painting class. Most teach you something valuable. This week is too challenging for someone getting ready to jump back in the water, but you can enter any that appeal to you at any time: Daily Paintworks Challenge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When my mom didn't feel good she got snippy like Mrs. Cob.

      I start on Wednesday and I hope it goes okay. Thanks for the link! I'll bookmark it.

      Delete
  8. Good grief! I'm sorry for you pain. Continued pain is exhausting. Ice cream helps. :) A little. I hope it's on the way out.

    I can't stand running into Ms. Cobb types. They can make your day go blah. They can also chase a good customer away, and hurt their word-of-mouth business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm doing pretty good, knock on wood.

      There are only three screen repair places in town and two of them are 15 miles on the other side of town. The one I go to is 2 miles away. If not for the distance, Mrs. Cob's snottiness would be enough to make me go elsewhere.

      Delete
  9. Jean, I'm glad you're feeling better. Do you think the neck pain is related to TMJ?

    Peggy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't really connect the two until very recently. I wish I could have asked the chiropractor about that. Since her treatments, I'm able to open my mouth in the mornings again so it seems highly logical that they are connected. She also did that treatment where she unplugged my ears, which brought instant relief of the pressure with a pop. I thought allergies were responsible for my ears feeling plugged up and I only mentioned it to her in passing. It's a strange treatment where she tugs on your earlobes.

      Delete
  10. I need to make an appointment with my Chiropractor--neck, shoulder, back issues, that I spent 12 sessions of PT to resolve, have seemed to return. I need to have someone around that can tote heavy loads for me--oh yes, that would be a husband wouldn't it? Well, I don't want one of those, so..onward and upward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think someone could make a fortune with a business called Rent a Son or Grandson. A handyman and boy service for toting, fixing and maintaining.

      Delete
  11. I always forget about my remote having a lit screen option, but then again, I have to know where the button is to light it up. Sigh. Not helpful.

    Laughed about your description "grandson-material" Jason. Perfect descriptor. Like you, I appreciate younger people coming to work on things--usually--because older MEN tend to talk down to me or try to finesse their explanation of what they did or what was wrong. Excuse me--I have a couple of college degrees, a working knowledge of my home, and a pretty fine-tuned BS meter. Don't metaphorically pat me on the head and give me a lollipop.

    (Yikes. Do I sound like Mrs. Cob?) ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, not at all like Mrs. Cob. LOL You can tell, can't you, when you run into a service young guy who has a great relationship with their grandmother. They have patience, don't talk down to you and have a sense of humor.

      Delete
  12. On the bright side, you CAN eat ice cream. I'm not sure. I just successfully re-introduced hard cheese, and I'm not ready to press my luck yet with ice cream. ;)

    Glad your neck is improving!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. It sounds like you're making progress, too. Stay the course, you'll get there with your baby steps.

      Delete
  13. Oh, my gosh. That'll teach me to get behind in my reading. Clearly, you had a rough go of it, but since I'm working my way backwards, it's clear from your latest post that you're doing well. I've been nursing my first toothache in my life, thanks to a broken wisdom tooth. It's under control now, but on those days when I had both the achy tooth and this miserable hot weather, it was touch and go for a bit. Anyway, we're both better -- except I have to go see the dentist tomorrow, which doesn't make me one bit happy.

    I missed that you're starting a painting class. That's exciting. It will be fun to hear how it goes. I just was reading that when Georgia O'Keeffe got old -- really old -- she had someone who would put paint on her brush for her, and then hand it to her. That amazes me, for some reason. I can't remember how old she was, but she was up there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You still having your wisdom teeth is amazing. For a while it was 'the thing' to pull them all. Tooth aches are no fun! Glad you're seeing the dentist soon.

      I never heard that about Georgia O'Keeffe. That's a great story.

      Delete
  14. Ouch on the painful neck. I use a regular ice bag but put part alcohol in it so it won't freeze solid and stays mushy.


    เย็ดสาว

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The ice packs that stay mushy are wonderful. I need to get another one.

      Delete
  15. I'm so far behind in my blog reading that any words of "get well soon" are likely absolute by now. But I do hope your neck pain has subsided.

    Your senior center sounds great, as I've mentioned before, but I wonder why (ours does it too; one reason I don't go) they have to play "old" music all the time. Sure, I like a bit of nostalgia once in a while, but I think it would be great if they also had entertainers of a more modern stripe. We may be older, but that doesn't mean we don't like or want to be exposed to more modern pop music. Pet peeve -- the pigeon-holing and assuming that goes on with older folks.

    Thanks for the trivia -- never knew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The neck still scares me, thinking it's not quite like it should be but no pain and no reason to believe it will happen any time soon.

      I quit going to the luncheons at the senior hall, in part because I've gotten too busy and had to make choices but also because the entertainment is hit and miss and they aren't advertised so no way of knowing ahead of time.

      Delete