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

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Name this Blog Entry…I Can’t!


Have you ever seen a possum up close, nasty mouth wide open and growling…or hissing? (I’m not sure how to describe the sound it was making.) It’s a scary sight I hope I never see again but I suspect I will. Last night Levi was in his dog pen when he started barking like his world was on fire and I ran out to see what was going on. Usually it’s just a rabbit on the other side of the fence but this time I found him barking at a possum he had cornered and all that separated them was two feet of ground and a couple of empty flower pots. I tried to grab Levi’s collar but he dodged me and darted around to my other side and took up the turf war again. Finally---after a lot of chasing and me worrying that the possum would bite me or the dog---I was able to latch on to Levi and herd him into the garage. I didn’t know I could move that fast! The rest of the night Levi begged at least ten times to go outside only instead of me letting him out the back door to his pen, I hooked him up on his leash and took him out the front door which, of course, wasn’t what he wanted. I didn’t dare say “no” because that would be the time he’d actually have to poop and he’d punish the carpeting for my refusal to let him out. 

From scary creatures in nature to gentle creatures. This week I went to the Butterflies in Bloom Exhibit at the sculpture garden. It’s the third time I’ve been invited to join my youngest niece, her two daughter-in-law’s and her four grand babies. One of the babies is five-six months old and I was surprised she was able to focus on a dozen butterflies at a feeding station. Her eyes were huge, her tiny mouth formed a perfect “O” and her little legs were kicking a mile a minute. She was strapped into one of those carriers on her mom’s belly and it was too bad her mom couldn’t see the baby’s face. They don’t allow strollers into the tropical conservatory where the butterflies are and the two with our group were the first two parked in the stroller area. When we came back out there were easily two dozen. These young moms in my family sure were impressive as they juggled the needs of babies and toddlers. Diaper changes and nursing for the babies and potty breaks and healthy snack times for the toddlers. 

From babies to old ladies. Sorry if calling myself and others in my age bracket “old” offends anyone. Well, actually I’m not sorry but I have been told by several people that the word “old” is an insult and referring to myself as old or elderly doesn’t fit a septuagenarian. Ya, sure. Accepting our ages and the stereotypes that go with whatever age bracket we’re going through at the time can be ego deflating. But be honest here, many of those stereotypes are based on facts. 

When Don turned 50 he was dreading his birthday and he got on a kick where he’d tell waitresses that he just turned 60 and he’d ask them if that qualified for a senior discount. These waitresses knew us as regular customers and they would reply variations of, “Wow, you sure don’t look your age!” After joking back and forth Don would admit the truth and we’d all have a good laugh. This went on for several weeks around his birthday until one day we went to a state park where the girl taking the money at the entrance didn’t know us. After Don pulled this fishing-for-compliments routine, the girl looked Don squarely in the eyes, gave him the senior discount day pass and handed him his change. The look on his face as we drove away was priceless and that was the very last time he pulled that joke. (If you think you’ve heard this story before, you did. Back in 2013 I wrote about it. See, I’m living up to the stereotype of old people repeating themselves.) 

Boy, did I get off track from writing about having brunch with my Gathering Girls pals at the Guy-Land Cafeteria. I was there by myself a few days before, early in the morning, and I was reminded of why I coined that name for the place. I was outnumbered thirty to one. It would be impossible to figure the ratio of men vs. women at our brunch, though, because we were there 3 ½ hours (!) while others came and went. (Don’t worry, there were always plenty of tables free. Two of us worry about things like that and about not taking up tables that are bigger than our needs...while one lady in our group thinks we’re crazy for caring about stuff like that.) And get this: we ate twice and joked about staying a few more hours and having dinner, too. In our defense, we had to stay that long because we got off to a slow, doom-and-gloom start before for we got to the silly, belly laughter banter that is our signature, get-together mode. All’s well that ends well. Now, if only I could come up for a name for this blog entry! Can you? ©

40 comments:

  1. Thankfully we don't get possums here.
    Briony
    x

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    1. This one may be living under my deck. Something chewed a hole in the lattice skirting. Since they sleep in the day time replacing the skirting wouldn't do much good because at night she'd just chew herself out again, I'm guessing. There's always something!

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  2. yikes, that is nasty looking! :o

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    1. She scared the stuffing out of me. I was told by someone that they will stand their ground growling for a very long time and will not attack first. But Levi was sure ready to "play" with his new friend.

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  3. Possum's are creepy to me. I know my dog would have behaved just like Levi.
    Don's story was funny! Not so funny when he got his senior discount though. I don't mind being called old. I am old. I am also kind, gray, short, chubby,and a giggler. So it's all okay to me. When I was 20 I thought 40 was so old. Now at 62 I think 70 doesn't sound so bad. :-) (that is not my knees talking mind you)

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    1. Getting my knees replaced was the best gift I ever gave myself, but the timing is touchy because the surgery only last 15 years before they might need replacing again.

      I think me calling myself 'old' is a version of Don telling everyone he was 60 when he was 50. LOL

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  4. We get a ton of wildlife at our house, and a possum is a frequent front porch visitor. It checks out the squirrel feeder for any crusts or stale crackers and drives the cats crazy as they peer out the front windows.

    Those things are fearless! I've gone right at them with a broom and they don't budge. And their teeth are horrifying. Levi is quite gallant, but he could very well come out on the bad end of a fight.

    I love the idea of you and your girlfriends staying at the Cafeteria long enough to eat twice! Can you imagine if they served booze?

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    1. I'd be afraid to open my front door if there was a chance a possum could come running inside. I'm pretty sure this possum has been around before based on the crazy barking Levi has done while peering under the deck.

      Funny you should mention drinking with my friends. Someone at brunch actually said, "Can you imagine what we'd be like if we were drinking alcohol?"

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  5. https://www.facebook.com/sesametheopossum/videos/224542351363726/

    This may change your mind about posssums..they can be cute and sweet. Hope the link goes through.

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    1. Awww... that is a sweet video! Boy, they can sure open their mouths wide!

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  6. I do hate possums. Yes, I know, they eat road kill and other varmints, but when you come face-to-face with one, as I have also done, who knows if the dang thing is rabid or just looking for a good fight! Yes--they chew wood, just like a Wood Chuck. When I lived on the farm, we'd let a possum go, if he chose to meander on his way--Wood Chucks were fair game for the .22 rifle. LOL
    I can't come up with titles for my own blog posts, so don't expect me to get creative with yours. :-)

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    1. When I painted or wrote stuff in the days before Don's stroke he always came up with the best titles for my creative endeavors. Often times it's the hardest part of blogging for me. I know I'm supposed to make them google search friendly but I rarely do.

      I had a woodchuck on my deck a few years ago, standing on his back legs and looking in the window. I see it them from time to time. It lives on my neighbors yard and mostly stays close by its burrow.

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  7. Title: Another Widow Misadventure.

    Possums ARE scary. Most wild animals are ... especially if they feel threatened. YIKES! Call the Critter Gitter! You don't want a whole family living under there ...

    Did you really have two meals there? That is the best thing E VER!

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    1. I may have to do that if I see the possum again. I have a bad habit of throw bread and other stuff out near-by the dog pen for the birds. I need to stop that because I think that's what the possum was looking for.

      We really did eat twice. We ate at 11:30 we had breakfast/lunch and by three part of us had dessert and one had a bowl of soup for lunch.

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  8. Back in the day, I smoked for a few years. I woke in the middle of the night, went downstairs, opened the sliding door to the backyard and sat on the floor with my feet on the steps. Along came a possum and scared the heck out of me. They are one of the ugliest animals on the planet. I always knew Levi was a courageous canine.

    I agree that it's hard to come up with names for blog posts. I'd call this one "Standoff!" But that doesn't acknowledge the other parts about Don and the Gathering Girls, both of which were fun to read.

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    1. wow...that possum probably thought you were in its territory. I like "Standoff" for a title! Maybe "Standoff, Two Lunches and a Good Memory." Why didn't I think of something like that before publishing?

      I'm still not used to your new name. Every time I see BBB I think, "Oh boy! The new commenter is back."

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  9. Do you and your Gal Pals ever think about taking a short weekend trip together? Maybe to a town or city just a few hours a way and stay in a B and B or Boutique hotel, doubling up to save money? Or weekend retreat? It sounds like you would all have a great time together. Just a thought.

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    1. We talked about spending the day over at Lake Michigan. Doing a weekend away would be fun but I think the cost could be a problem for half the ladies and long car rides would be a problem for a few. Transpiration would be a problem as well. The woman with a large enough SUV is the oldest and I frankly, don't trust her driving. (Her kids would rather she didn't drive at all and last summer she was passing out for unknown reasons.) Two ladies have vision issues and two of us whose driving is trustworthy have tiny cars. We'd need a young chauffeur. LOL

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    2. That's not a bad idea! A house party on a summer evening where we could have wine and not have to drive home afterward.

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  10. If you know anyone with a Havaheart trap, possums are pretty easy to catch and relocate. They like peanut butter. Like you I am afraid they might hurt Callie though usually she puts them into fake death state while still two feet away.

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    1. That's really interesting. I'll have to check around to see if anyone rents traps. I did find a service that traps and relocate wild animals. I had forgotten that possums play possum. LOL Levi isn't much bigger than they are so maybe he wasn't big enough to scare it like Callie does.

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  11. There’s your title. “Playing possum with memory and meals”.
    I have a neighbor with a gun and he kindly rids the immediate surroundings of the nuisance animals. Good luck with yours.
    Regards,
    Leze

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  12. Not a bad title.

    I'd rather have it trapped and moved than killed but we shall see what happens. I may change my mind.☺

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  13. I think I like your butterfly experience far more than the possum. That's how I got my Marmelade Gypsy in a way. He was an outdoor stray kitten and it was getting cold so I set up a little house for him with a lightbulb at night to keep him warm. An opossum moved in and I decided the kitten needed to move out! Best move ever, so I thank that dreadful creature -- but I still don't like them!

    The rest sounds quite wonderful!

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    1. That's the best story I've ever heard on how someone acquired a loving pet.

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  14. I hate possums. They are so ugly. One name I heard some noise outside my bedroom window so I turned the light on and looking straight at me was that devil of a possum.
    Now what's this about you eating two lunches? Ha,ha,ha.
    MaryLou & I always, well should I say she always asked for the old persons discount. I really didn't care but after noticing the difference I ask now.
    Well my friend Gerry is coming home from the hospital. He went into the Windsor hospital and some how the screwed up and had to rush him in to the London hospital. After having open heart surgery the surgeon told his wife that he'll be OK after fixing up the mistakes those doctors in Windsor did. That really scares me about going to Windsor now. I will have to have a colonoscopy soon and I always go to Windsor. Scary isn't it.
    Did you make your decision on the Red Hat problem? I don't for today. Enjoy your day Jean and no more possums. See ya.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Everyone seems to have a possum story. I suppose I'm lucky I got this old before I found mine.

      Senior discounts are fewer and further between than they used to be. I hardly ever see or think about them. I find coupons once in a while that I'll use.

      Being taken to the wrong hospital happened to my husband, too! It was a real struggle to get him to the right place where doctors were waiting for him. You bid it's scary, Paul! But there's a lot of difference and skill levels between open hear surgery and colonoscopies. You'll be fine. I'm glad your friend is home now and I hope his recovery goes well.

      I made a decision not to make a decision about Red Hats until fall when dues are due.

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    2. You are totally correct Jean about open heart surgery compared to colonoscopy but I had another friend who had his colon perforated while being in a colonoscopy and they rushed him into surgery. My problem I think is the thought that a long tube shoved up my derriere and some young nurse or doctor looking at my very large butt. Thank Goodness I'm out at that moment. Ha,ha,ha. Sorry about the scene I mentioned about. See ya my friend.


      Cruisin Paul

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    3. I totally understand. No one likes that procedure.

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  15. Hi Jean,
    I don't have any experience with or opinions about possums, but I do have an opinion about the idea that "old" or "elderly" are insults. That is only true if we buy into the ageist notion that young is better than old. In many cultures, being an "elder" is the highest possible status you can attain. I'm on a campaign to resist the idea that there is something wrong with being old! -JeanP

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    1. Thank You! I go back and forth between being amused by people who don't like to be call 'old' or 'elderly' and wondering how being called these things is any different than being called a toddler, teen, young adult or middle aged. It defines a state of life and all those states have stereotypical things we could say about them---some funny, some fair. I personally like being old and wise....even if I'm the only one who believes the latter. LOL

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  16. +1 to step into the future comment.

    I HATE possums. Here they are a protected species. You can't kill them. They're territorial, so if removed from their 'home' must, by law, be relocated within 500m. So, if I engaged a handyman to trap my possum and possum-proof the garage, I'd just be moving my problem possum to a neighbour (or a return to my own garage as they can chew their way back in). ~Libby

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    1. I can't image possums being a protected species! If you can't relocated them far enough away they will just come back I'm told. I read the mothballs will drive them away but if other wildlife eats it then that's not good either.

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  17. PS - I worry about taking more space than I need in a restaurant too. I like to spread myself myself at the breakfast table, with a newspaper open and stuff all around, so sometimes I do hog more than my share of 1-person space. Other times, especially at a busy time, I'm more circumspect. ~ Libby

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    1. There was a guy the other day I saw who was taking up a table for six and he was lingering over coffee while reading the newspaper. There were people lined up waiting for tables. Nothing wrong with doing that when no one is waiting but I looked at that guy and thought, "He's so good looking, too bad he has a self-centered side." My cousin used to own a small restaurant and he finally had to put a time limit on lingers before they'd be asked to leave and it was posted on the tables. If he were alive now with all the devices people bring and use at tables he'd go bonkers. They need to turn those tables over in x-amount of time to make it worth keeping the cooks and waitress on duty and to make a profit. One of the reasons I love our Guy Land Cafeteria is it's so big all the tables are rarely taken up and there are no waitresses not able to make tips if we linger in her/his section. I love the freedom of not worrying about things like that which I do at other places.

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  18. Loved your description of the baby watching the butterflies with her legs going a mile a minute. I love watching babies these days; must be something about the turnover of generations. Or maybe it's just because they're so wonder-struck by everything.

    I'm with you on 'old'. Young, middle-aged, old. That's how it works. If you don't like it, dress like a teen-ager, and wear way too much make-up. Then it'll be 'young, middle-aged, ridiculous'. Nobody will call you old because you're advertising that you'd rather look silly than be old.

    Possums are North America's ONLY marsupial (think pouch babies), eat slugs, venomous snakes, rats, and clean up carrion. Appealing they're not, but they don't carry rabies and could be called the 'clean-up crew'. Some of that is borrowed because I had to go read about what they're good for.

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    1. I'm fascinated by the new mothers in my family. They seem so calm and confident in what they are doing.

      I laughed out loud over your "ridiculous" comment. It's so true of people who can't accept their age and try to fight it with make-up and clothing that is too young for them.

      I'm glad to know possums don't carry rabies! I thought of that when I had my hand down within two feet of the one in my yard as I was trying to grab Levi's collar. If possums were good mice hunters I wouldn't mind having it around.

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    2. About an hour after I posted that, I wondered if it sounded mean. I celebrate elders who are dressing for style and fun, and envy their panache because I do not possess any!

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    3. Joint the club. I don't possess it either.

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