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, January 12, 2019

Flaky, Polite and Joyful Conversations

But first a message from the whine-like-a-baby-department: Have I mentioned lately that beds are evil? For the second time in my life I tripped while making my bed. The first time was in 1999. That resulted in a long elbow surgery and months of physical therapies that I found out last summer has totally failed. All the screws backed out and a bone is swinging in the wind and gives me pain if I don’t remember not to do certain things. This time I fell on my knee then my hip and only hurt my pride but it took me fifteen minutes to get off the floor with my two fake knees and damaged elbow. I finally did it by butt-crawling to the bathroom where I threw myself over the toilet and used a grab bar to pull myself up with good arm while Levi, my Might Schnauzer, got all concerned from a safe distance. At first I wondered if he thought my whining was catching like the flu but a couple of days later it dawned on me that when my disabled husband would fall Levi was trained to lay down out of the way and wait until Don was back in his wheelchair.  

Monday my Gathering Girls group got together for a two and a half hour brunch at the Guy Land Cafeteria where I suspect eavesdroppers had laughter or friendship envy. We’ve got a lot of life experiences between us to draw on and whenever something gets too serious someone makes an off-the-wall comment that has us all roaring with laughter. About the only topic we don’t discuss is Donald Trump because one of ladies is a supporter so politics only comes up with she’s absent. Mostly we poke fun at ourselves. This week one of the ladies did a rant about how much she hates Wayfair (the online homes goods store) because they send her too many emails and I was trying to explain to her and a couple of other computer literates at the table how to unsubscribe and how not get signed up in the first place. I love Wayfair and I never get emails from them. A guy in his early twenties at a near-by table was no double enjoying our conversation and probably went back to work to tell his buddies about the horse-and-buggy era grandmas at the next table. I can’t complain since I get a lot of blogging material in that place. 

The I-hate-Wayfair lady loves to shop on QVC and I haven’t got a clue how that works. I told her she needs to give me a clothing shopping class---I desperately need a new wardrobe. She said when she was back in the working world she was ‘Mrs. Got Rocks’ and could buy good quality clothing and I guess on QVC you can shop in different price ranges. She’s no longer Mrs. Got Rocks but she still dresses a whole lot better than I do. Earlier, I told everyone about my DNA test results from 23andMe and the line “but I don’t have the Alzheimer’s gene” became my running joke whenever I miss-heard or needed something repeated. Someone asked, “Do they had a gene marker for being flaky?” And I replied, “If they did, I’d probably have that variant.” Like I said, we all have a talent for poking fun of ourselves.

The next day I had lunch with my Movie and Lunch Club. I’d already seen the movie but the restaurant was one I hadn’t been to since before my husband died and I wanted to go there again. I sat at a table with seven others who’ve I’ve known twice as long as my Gathering Girls group but our conversations are day-and-night different…friendly but never getting below the surface, never a belly laugh. Nice women but we’re still in the acquaintances zone where my Gathering Girls group have crossed over into the friendship zone. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the magic ingredient that makes that happen with some people but not others? I suspect that magic ingredient---at least for me---is humor.

New Topic: My house cleaner is such a joy to have in the house. She’s the new-ish one who’s in a grad program to become an art professor and she’s already teaching a couple of freshman classes at a prestigious college of art and design. I showed her a painting I’m working on and she gave me a critique and I hope she wasn’t blowing smoke up my butt when she said she liked what I had going on. She pointed out a place where I had the sunlight showing on the wrong side of the boy’s hand and she suggested a color to try adding to his shirt. We talked so much that I’m sure my cleaning hours will get billed extra this month. But I don’t care.

We also talked about the new guy she’s dating, a boy she knew in grade school but hadn’t seen since she was ten. They had crushes on each other all those years ago and she still has a love letter the 10 year old version of this 27 year old guy wrote to her back then. They reconnected on Facebook recently, talked for five hours on their first ‘phone date’ and they spent a lot of time together over the holidays. There isn’t anything sweeter than seeing the glow in a young girl’s eyes when she says, “I think he’s the one!” I love that girl. She’s not the greatest cleaner the service has sent me but her company is worth the trade-off. After she graduates she’ll no doubt hang up the cleaning job. So for now I’m riding the serendipitous wave that brought her into my life. ©

20 comments:

  1. Oh my God Jean. I hope that you doing well. A fall is dangerous, I know. I've fallen so many times that I couldn't even tell you. The last one when I fell on the golf course, I had to be sent to the hospital by ambulance. They told me that I probably cracked some ribs. Please be careful my friend.
    I'm trying to stay away from the discussion about Trump. Every time I do, it gets me into trouble. He's just trouble for me.
    I was given three movies for Christmas, one was " The Greatest Showman " and the two " Mama Mia's movies. I haven't seen them because my daughter got me into Netflix. I'm into episode 9 of Black is Orange or Orange is Black. Either waay it's very interesting.
    Blowing smoke up your butt. Get rid of her. That could cause cancer. LOL
    Isn't love great. That's what happened to me. A group of us getting together to go to Octoberfest and we were waiting for a few others. The group just drove up and out comes these girls and one caught my eye. It was Mary Lou. I thought I have to meet this girl and during Octoberfest I did meet her and we are still together, 43 years. Wow!
    Well I told you that I was going to read your blog from top to bottom and each word. I also commented as much as I could. Probably to much. Sorry about that. See ya Jean. have a great day.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. I noticed how many times you get in trouble mentioning Trump in your blog. Your last time I wanted to comment to your Trump supporter in the comments but I resisted. But I'll tell you here that she is wrong about "most people" down here supporting his government shut-down.

      That's a great story about how you and Mary Lou met. When I was in the wedding business I used to collect how-we-met-stories.

      I didn't like either one of those movies you mentioned. I hope you two enjoy them more than I did.

      The last few times I've fallen I try to go with it instead of fighting it, and I think that help you not get hurt as bad.

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  2. RE: The Magic Ingredient. Humour, yes. To that, I would add Trust.

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    1. Yes, you are so right! How could I have forgotten that. And that takes some time to build trust when meeting people.

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  3. Jean, I love reading your posts. I love your humor. I often reflect on my circle of friends, or circles of friends. Some of those circles overlap. There's the group I refer to as the klatch, long-standing connections of family & friends, yet the conversation is often "tupperware talk". And yet, this is the group that rallies when the chips are down. Then there's the fun time friends who gathered for some game playing down time whose origins came from shared philosophy on life & alternative healing practices. There's the "howling at the moon" group, a disparate group of women formed by a mutual educator. These groups of friends make my life whole.

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    1. How true. We have work friends and activity related friends and neighborhood friends. And yet there are times when I don't feel like I have a friend in the world which isn't true. It's just that I wish they were all mind readers and would call when I need a friendly voice. LOL

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  4. Goodness gal, your arm sounds scary. So glad you found a way to get up and weren't too hurt.
    Know what you mean about the laughter at the table. My group often is accused of having too much fun. Sometimes wonder if my bunch annoys some--well I don't plan to stop.

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    1. We've had people walk by our table, too, and tell us we're having entirely too much fun."

      My arm scares me, too, but only when I forget my restrictions or I fall on the fall. The former happens often the latter almost never.

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  5. How nice when someone comes in to our lives, and everything clicks, like with your young cleaning woman or your Gathering Girls. New friendship can be an illusive animal at our age.

    A fall is a scary thing. I called H in here to read your first paragraph to him. After my fall in the shower, we both agreed that we need to install grab bars. Then Christmas arrived with all its busy time. We will get on it now. I don't really need one by the toilet now, but do you ever know when you will need one? So we'll do that, too.

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    1. Needing a bar can happen so suddenly---like you get the a viral flu and are weak, etc. If you get used to using a grab bar before you actually need one then you aren't as apt to fall in the first place because it will be a habit.

      Having a cleaning service has sure changed my stereotype view of people do that kind of work.

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  6. You are definitely the Social Lady nowadays!! You built your new group of friends. I need to work on that. Renew some at least.

    I keep thinking I should practice getting up off the floor every day.... with the goal to do it without a chair (or toilet) to assist.

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    1. I took a class at the senior hall that taught how to do it and, of course, when my husband was in OP classes I had to learn how to pick him up. Trouble is you never know which limb will be injured.

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  7. I don't have the greatest cleaners in the world either but they are honest, they do the stuff I don't like to do (like scrubbing floors!) and it always looks better when they're gone. And they are incredibly reasonable. I knew of a couple of students who worked cleaning jobs while they were at Kendall, including our kid's former girlfriend. I think it could be a mixed blessing -- I'd be talking with her more than she would be able to clean! But all in all, sounds fun. I recommend On the Basis of Sex. And I'd be curious on your take on The Favourite, which I recommend in terms of acting and design but they played pretty fast and loose with the historical facts. Arti at Ripple Effects has a review of it that deals with that.

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    1. Talking or allowing a cleaner to do her job is a trade-off. That's for sure. Some can talk and work at the same time but not most of them.

      I'm going to see On the Basis of Sex on Cheap Tuesday so probably next Saturday I'll blog my review of it. I can't wait to see it. I can't seem to find a weblink for an Arti at Ripple Effects. I'd love to see the review before seeing the movie, if you still have it.

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  8. Jean, you might enjoy this article on the NYT called "The House Cleaning Job That Saved My Life."

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/12/opinion/sunday/work-housecleaning-poverty-wages.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

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    1. That was a great, feel-good story wasn't it. I've thought about asking my cleaner to do extra things that wasn't "approved" by their service. Once it was an oven cleaning with baking soda. Once it was vacuuming my unfinished basement. I'd like to get the name and number of my current cleaner to get some private art lessons once she's no longer cleaning.

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  9. Jean, I hope that fall doesn't appear as something later.Levi was doing exactly as trained, that was awesome.
    I love your Gathering girls. I miss good friends to laugh with. None of mine live here.
    You know a good cleaner is hard to find but a new friend is better��

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    1. It's been long enough that if something was going to show up from the fall, it would have been by now. My knee was sore---still is a little---but that was all. Thankfully.

      I've never had a group of friends I could laugh with like my Gathering Girls. We had couple friends like that but we weren't the kind friends who separated by sex at parties, etc.

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    2. I don't care to separate at parties. Never understood that? I'd rather more often than not at a party speak with the men. Only because when I went to parties, at that age, all the women were talking about kids. YAWN for me. I know that is bad from a feminst isn't it?

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    3. If you're a bad feminist, so am I.

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