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, January 30, 2019

Cold Weather and Warm Waitresses

The thermometer read five degrees below zero but the view beyond the deck railing where it hung was so bright with the sun glaring off the pristine snow that I was tempted to put on sunglasses just to look out the window. The sky was stone-washed denim blue, the pine trees standing as still as fence posts in an Andrew Wyeth painting. If I still owned a snowmobile suit I would have been tempted to go outside and make snow angels on the lawn, give the neighbors something to talk about on my sleepy cul-de-sac. Even with the proper outdoor gear and knowing the fridge weather was not people friendly, I probably would have nixed the idea. But I longed to go somewhere. It had been too long since I had a conversation that didn’t include the question, "Do you want a snowpea or a Milk-Bone?"

That was the day our monster storm was due to smack us full on the lips, but it wasn't due to hit until 4:00 and it was barely past noon when I slid into a booth at the Breakfast Only Café, so I wasn’t in a hurry. It was a good thing, too, because the waitress was slow in making her rounds which was easy to forgive considering she had fifteen tables full of people on her side of the place to wait on. If I’d been new to the business I would have thought someone didn’t show up for work on this bitter cold morning, but I knew better. Two waitresses is all they ever have on duty plus two cooks, a busy boy and a cashier. The latter has been known to help out by pouring coffee but she was nowhere in sight. Every time I go there I thank the powers that be for keeping me from ever working in the food industry. Betty Freidan’s The Feminine Mystique did a good job indoctrinating me into believing that pouring coffee for bosses was the root of all workplace evil. I took it a step further in my mind to conclude that serving coffee to anyone was evil if I was the one doing it. Just call me Little Miss. Hospitality.

The waitress has been working at this café at least fifteen years and maybe for the local chain even longer. I used to know her cheating-x-husband-did-her-wrong backstory but I’ve forgotten the details. The owner has several places around town and decades ago we used to go to one on the other end of town. It was the only place around that was open all night and even though half the employees had prison tattoos we always felt safe there because the place was full of cops coming and going. It took the owner getting an award for his prison-out-reach program recently for me to have an 'ah ha moment' that explained why so many of his cooks and busboys sport facial tattoos. Anyway, one night my husband’s nephew was doing a ride-along with our snowplow crew and after finishing our work we were eating at the Breakfast Only Café when the nephew started bemoaning that fact that he couldn’t find a girlfriend.

“What about the waitress?" My husband asked. "She’s pretty nice. Cute too. Why don’t you ask her out?”

His nephew made a point of checking her out then replied, “Nah. Her ankles are too skinny.”

“Her ankles are too skinny? Are you serious?” It took a lot to shock my husband, but that comment did.

“Yes, I like girls with nice ankles.”

“No wonder you can’t find a girlfriend,” my husband shot back, “if you’re going to be that picky!” And for years to come that her-ankles-are-too-skinny line became a joke told every so often by our snowplowers when one of them would get caught checking out a waitress. Although I think ‘ankles’ morphed into a euphemism for ‘breasts’ after a while. It was a ‘70s when guys did things like that without being labeled sexist pigs like they would be today.

Speaking of dogs, Levi my Might Schnauzer has been driving me crazy with the bitter cold temperatures. He’ll beg to go outside then he wants to come right back in, before he’s had time to do his business. Then he’ll want to go out again after he’s had a minute or two to warm up because he still has to pee or poop. In and out, in and out. He’ll even beg at different doors because he thinks the weather might be more to his liking on the other side of the house. He does that in rainy weather too. But on the good side, he’s helping me make my Fitbit steps goal every day which I haven’t been doing since last summer. If you're wondering why I don’t just leave Levi outside until I’m sure he’s accomplished his mission to that I’d say, “I wouldn’t leave child outside in sub-zero temperatures as naked at the day he or she were born either. Why would I do it to the current love of my life?” He's also a nudist who refuses to wear a coat in case also you're wondering why he goes outside without one. It would take two men and a boy to wrestle him into one. © 

When the polar vortex comes to Michigan you might as well have fun with it like this school superintendent and principal did with announcing a school closing 1st and 2nd days. They can sing!

 

21 comments:

  1. Skinny ankles, was he nuts? I would looking at her breasts and the rest of her. Mary Lou didn't have big breasts when I first met her and I fell in love with her. It's the over all package especially how fantastic she is not her skinny ankles. She probably was a great person.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the singing of the two educators. They can really sing.
    Mary Lou & I are back after having a wonderful cruise. Once I get my photos done, I'll write my blog with photos about the cruise. See ya you then Jean.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. Looking forward to your cruise photos, Paul.

      The total package including personality---especially personality is what counts. But next time I get a chance I'm going to check out the ankles of the woman he married. LOL I hadn't thought about that conversation for years, but the snow always reminds me of my plowing days.

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  2. I am the last living female who will say men talking like that is not always offensive. As for skinny ankles, I have a friend who has said that about a woman he dated and her thighs. She was a size 6 but he felt her thighs were kind of big. Now, he is not a good looking man, she liked him but because her thighs weren't perfect he stopped dating her. She was adorbably cute with a personality to match. This crushed her. She went on with life, met someone who adored her, married him, had children and is still happily married. He is alone at 63 and never married. Big surprise there! As for waitressing, my all time favorite job believe it or not. Even over my successful career. It was fun, fast paced and short term shit. If people were icky, they'd be leaving soon.

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    1. I can see you as a great waitress. It takes a people person with a quick wit to handle the job. It's actually fun to watch a good waitress kibitz back and forth at places like a truck stop, etc.

      Your 63 year old never married friend got what he deserves, I think.

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    2. Ooh, I so agree with you about Michael. He is a sad shell of a man. He always says things to me like, "I wish I had a partnership like you and Rick" Well Rick loves my flaws or at the very least accepts them. He can't do that and he can't share. I may have to write a post about this man Jean. :-)

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    3. Sounds like that would be an interesting post. One of the benefits of getting older is we get to see how people we knew in our youth turned out and to see the influences that we think made them the way they are.

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  3. Today is the COLD day? Hope you are surviving and staying warm inside. Waitress is one job I never did. A White Castle employee was as close as I got!

    I love that you have your "place" where you are a regular. Kinda like Cheers

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    1. It is like Cheers but no one knows my name and the customers are always different. I do feel at home there and go when I want to be waited on instead of eating cafeteria style across the street which is my favorite place. If I want a fast food drive-thou I go to Starbucks which is in also close by.

      It's so COLD it's a wonder I can move with all the layers of clothing I have on. Our high today will be below zero with a windchill that kills. I feel so sorry for the people who have to work outside in essential services...fire, police, road crews, gas and power companies employees. The U.S. post office even pulled their people off the routes.

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  4. I worked as a food waitress and a cocktail waitress when in college and hated the food part but loved the cocktail part. Guess I liked my customers loosened up and not hangry.
    Callie does the same thing to me adding steps to my Fitbit. Guess we should thank them with a cookie for being fitness trainers.
    I once knew a picky Catholic guy who was looking for a beautiful, busty virgin to marry. Yep, he is still single.

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    1. One of the things I'd hate about being a waitress is waiting for people to make up their minds what they want. Let the waitress go wait on someone else if you need a few minutes.

      Levi pulls a trick on me every time I've been out to the garage. I'll just get back in when he pretends he's got to go outside but instead of doing that he'll walk around the car to see where I've been. I've been driving down to the mailbox this winter instead of chancing the ice and it drives me crazy that he has to check out where I've been when I've literally only been gone 2 minutes. Gotta love our fur-babies.

      The guy who didn't like skinny ankles was Catholic too!

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  5. Thanks for sharing the school superintendent and principle duet; it gave me a good laugh. I love the idea of Levi thinking that if he just chooses a different door, he can get a better weather outcome -- sort of like a contestant on a '50s TV quiz show: "I choose door #2! No, no, wait, can I take door #3 instead?" The cold gets here tomorrow, but not as bad as it's been in the upper midwest and it will only last for two days.

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    1. I love that duet. I saw another one from a police station where they were singing to those who'd commit crimes to wait until better weather.

      The funny part about Levi's wanting to go to different doors is sometimes he's actually right. The way the wind blows the drifts at the back of my house it can look like a blizzard there and not out the other doors.

      We have one more day of the deep cold before it breaks. It's really the worst I can remember, so brace yourself.

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    2. P.S. To Jean P. Are you watching Project Runway this season?

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    3. I hadn't watched Project Runway since I retired because I don't have cable here in Maine. Your question sent me to the internet to see what I've missed. Today, I signed up for a one-month free trial of Hulu, and I'm binge seasons 14-16 before I start watching this season. There's not that much on Hulu that I want to watch, so I'll probably only keep it long enough to get caught up on Project Runway.

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    4. On good. I'm glad I asked. I don't watch it faithfully but when I do I always think of you.

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  6. I'm all for administrators who can act more like human beings and have a sense of humour. Those two can really sing.

    Food servers are the unsung heroes of the workaday world. I could never, ever be in food service. I put myself through college as a bank teller, and dealing with people and their money was bad enough. Food service workers get paid peanuts, especially for the work that they do and the hours that they do it in. I am a very generous tipper because of all of those factors.

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    1. They do have great voices, don't they.

      I agree with you about food service workers being under paid and under appreciated. We used to have friends who we quit going out to dinner with because of the way the woman treated the waitresses. I'm a good tipper too.

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  7. Loved the principal and superintendent singing about school closure using Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Brilliant!
    Stay warm and safe, Jean and Levi!

    Deb

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    1. Aren't they great. There second song wasn't quite as funny but you've got to love educators with a sense of humor.

      If you're back home again, you stay warm, too. You're farther north than I am.

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  8. I love your description of the morning. Beautiful writing, that. Yes, we are indeed in the vortex. I'm rather like being inside with no pressure to leave the house, happy to cook for Rick who likes a short winter walk (bound up like Ralphie's brother in A Christmas Story.) I prefer my warm little office and warm little cat who fortunately has a litter box so no Levi-problems there.

    I loved the Swartz Creek video too, when I saw it a couple of days ago. Today they played part of it on MSNBC!

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    1. One of the only disadvantages of living in a zero steps house is you have to keep the snow away from the doorways.

      I only had one appointment this week---for Levi's haircut---but when I heard about the storm coming I canceled it. He's going to be a mess when get finally gets in this coming week. But it was the right decision.

      That video was a viral hit this week and it sure deserved it.

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