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, June 10, 2020

The Weirdest Date I Ever Had


The Amazon delivery truck---yes, my town has a few on the road---is coming to my house today and I can hardly wait. The stuff it brought last week is due out of my five day penalty box for the infraction of being wanted during a pandemic, but I’m more excited about what’s going into that penalty box after I get my delivery. In the box right now is ink for my printer, a ream of paper and a fingernail repair kit. Nothing fun. But today---wait for it---I’m getting a bird call from the Audubon Society, Milk-Bone Trail Mix and a 'pandemic bra' (otherwise known as a comfy sleep bra). You’re a smart cookie so I know you’ll understand my excitement over the wear-it-home-only bra and dog treats but you’re scratching your head over my bird call excitement, aren’t you. It’s very simple. Over the past week I’ve added to my daily routine thirty minutes of sitting out on my deck and to amuse myself I started mimicking the birds. I’m not a strong whistler but I swear the birds think I’m one of them, so I must be doing something right. I can only mimic a few bird varieties in my yard and I don’t even know which ones. All I know is our “conversations” are kind of cool.

I searched my blog archive trying to figure out if I’ve ever written about a date I had before I met my husband with a guy who took me bird watching. I can’t find a post on the topic and I'm shocked that it took me this long to load the experience in my blog fodder canon. I was in my twenties and the guy was a college student working as a temporary delivery guy for the Valentine’s Day rush at the floral shop where I was working at the time. He was a redhead and trust when I say I had good reasons not to like redheads back in those days of having a redheaded cousin who, growing up, was a thorn in my sides whenever we were in spitting distance. But Bird Watcher Bill got extra points for being a big flirt. I was the only person working in the place who was under forty so, by default, I was his flirting partner. When he asked me out on the date he didn’t tell me we were going bird watching---for real taking part in the Audubon’s Annual Bird Count. He didn’t even tell me when he picked me up and I was wearing a dress and nylons, and when he drove directly to the boondocks he didn’t tell me then either and I assumed the worst. Yes, I was getting raped, murdered and left in a shallow grave. 

He was enjoying my growing state of wariness and it wasn’t until he pulled out two pairs of binoculars, a chart and pencil that he revealed why we were parked in the middle of nowhere. I went from fearing for my life to thinking I was being punked before the word ‘punked’ became common verbiage for a practical joke. The real date, I thought, will start as soon has he's had his fun teasing me. I never laughed so hard on a date in my life before or since as I hobbled around on my high heeded dress boots. In. The. Woods. And when he wasn’t shushing me because I was scaring the birds away I was thinking this guy can’t be serious about counting birds. “Audubon Society? What’s that,” I asked. I didn’t know people actually did count birds back then.

He was a nice guy, was studying to be a forest ranger and a few years later, I heard, he was out West monitoring fire towers in a national forest. I should have gone out with him again. He asked over other holidays when he was home and helping out at the shop, but like I said I was shallow and picky back then about potential boyfriend material. It wasn’t the bird watching that didn't earn him a second date. It wasn’t his red hair either. It was the fact that when we stopped to eat he ate half the French fries off my plate. We might have played tongue tag out in the woods---okay, we DID play tongue tag a few times---but I didn’t like sharing food with him. I was polite and suffered in silent back back then but today I might have stabbed him with a fork because I still don't like people eating uninvited off my plates and getting hand cooties on my food. Given the world pandemic we're in right now one could say I was just ahead of my times wanting to avoid other people's hand cooties.

I think of him occasionally when I'm watching birds hopping around the tree tops because, really, who doesn't want to remember the fun times we've had in the past? Would it have worked into something serious had we gotten to know each other better, who knows. I do believe dating a forest ranger who could make me laugh until my sides hurt and who was as kissable as they come could have at least been fun fodder for writing a romance novel. You can bet your buttocks, however, that the guy on the book cover would not have red hair. Since those days I've become totally citified but back then my childhood of running around in the woods and living summers at a lake was not all that far in my past. I loved the great outdoors back in those days so the whole idea of having a forest ranger spouse did have its appeal. Today, I think of going in the woods and I see ticks crawling up my legs and poison ivy reaching out to grab me and few, scary survivalists living off the grid. 

I miss seeing birds around my house now that I’ve quit feeding them. I quit feeding them because of the mice that came with along to do clean up duty under the feeders and they’d bring bird seed into my basement to store up for winter. Then I’d have to d-Con the basement to get rid of the mice. If I play my cards right or more correctly if I use my bird call device right I can have my birds back without the messy mice. I just hope I don’t accidentally call the hummingbirds to circle my head as one product reviewer reported happened. One of those little guys scared the crap out of me once when he got too close up and personal. But that’s a story for another day. #leavemyearwaxalone! ©

45 comments:

  1. That's neat about the bird calls. A humming bird scared me once. I had spent the night alone up on the land and it was incredibly quiet. Until a hummingbird flew right up to my face and hovered for a few seconds. Those things are noisy!

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    1. I know! When they are hovering so close like that it's like they're trying to decide if they want to drink from your ears or your eyes.

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  2. NO ONE EATS MY FRIES!

    Seriously, that would have been a dealbreaker for me, too. I'd have spoken up, however, probably using humour at first. And a birdwatching date for me now would be wonderful. Back in my teens or twenties--not so much, perhaps, although I was always a bird girl.

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    1. I was polite back then and wouldn't have spoken up no matter who was eating off my plate. It happened to me last year, too, and I STILL didn't speak up. One lady at my movie and lunch club even asked me if she could taste my sandwich! I cut her off a piece but I thought it was rude of her to ask. We didn't even know each other well!

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  3. Wow give days? We do the 48 hour thing per the cdd and then throw the boxes and wipe the plastic if any. We have lots of bird but by the time i get outside late riser that I am the is generally not the same peace as it sounds like you have when you go out.

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    1. I don't like to wipe things off so I do five days with mail and non-perishable groceries.

      I'm 'talking' to the birds in the late afternoon, but my yard is quite private for having neighbors. Got a tree row behind the house and neighbors on both sides that don't use their yards ever much.

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  4. Oh I loved this date story and I would have been frightened as you wrote this scenario. I for one will never fault you for being upset about eating your fries! I didn't go out with someone a 2nd time because he asked to go on a road trip. I liked where we were going but his windows and car was so filthy I had to move junk to sit in the car and we couldn't see out his windows. When he stopped for gas I cleaned his windows and asked if I could throw the trash on my side of the car floor out. I had no where for my feet! I was that shallow at age 28.

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    1. Margaret, I went out with that same guy! His back seat was filled to overflowing with fast food wrappers, pop cans and other smelly stuff. Literally no one could sit back there. He was a good looking and likeable guy and to this day he probably wonders why he could never get a second date from anyone. LOL That's not shallow of us to turn him down, that was self prevention from the germs and bacteria those cars harbored!

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  5. Hm, our chickadees give me a lot of back talk while I’m hanging up the laundry on the clothesline. I’m pretty sure they are saying, “Scram! You’re in the way of my path to the bird seed.” Maybe I should start talking back with a bird whistle! I’ll be waiting to hear how yours works. I think you might need a translator app to figure out what everyone is saying though. :-)

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    1. I thought it would be a bird call you blow in but it's more like a metal on metal on wood thingie you move around to create different sounds. I would like to get an app so I can sort out which bird is making which call. I'm not too old to learn that. I think.

      You are probably right about what your birds are saying.

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  6. So I spent time yesterday searching the internet for a comfy sleep bra and couldn't decide on what I wanted... what brand did you get and have you tested it yet? I really need some of these as I recover. Loved the story of the blind date - honestly, I was smiling through most of your fun post today. Thanks!

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    1. I got a Fruit of the loom Front Close Builtup sports bra from Amazon for $9.98. I liked it so much that I ordered a second. I'm not sure I'd wear it out of the house farther than a dog walk but it's sure more comfortable than regular bras for around the house.
      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00H9MWZ78/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    2. Oh my goodness, I am so excited about these. I just went and ordered some for myself. I have been looking and looking for something like this for my saggy old lady boobs! Thanks so much! :)

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  7. Talk about taking liberties! Me fries is me fries, dude. Honestly you were better off without him.

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    1. LOL I have wondered if guys back then thought because they were expected to pay for the dates that he/they didn't think they had a right to eat off their date's plate. Never had another guy before or since do that though without being invited to though.

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  8. Sorry, had to smile at your shallow grave comment. Kind of been there--in my head--also. You and Margaret talking about messy cars reminded me of a guy who picked me up in a spotlessly clean inside of his car. Found out it was so clean because he threw all his trash out the window. Bad boy.

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  9. I sometimes wonder about the high school boys I knew that I only dated once. There was one I should have hung onto. He was quite pale and sort of wimpy and I was attracted to the football type.
    When I saw him at our 25th class reunion, there he was. Handsome as handsome could be. A professor at a Junior College and a lovely enormous home. He had the personality of nice man and on the way home, I said to myself, "Missed your chance, Jude."

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  10. Oh, my gosh. I'm going to have to get a bird call. I try to mimic my birds sometimes too.
    Ha about the redheaded boy. I'm sure it's best that you ended up with Don. Redheads are known for temper. No all of us, though. Gotta get one of those sleep bras. I've seen them, but haven't bought... yet. Cute story.

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    1. I'd only known two red heads back then. One was nice but the other was my nemesis, a cousin who gave me so much trouble growing up whenever she was around.

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  11. I always love to read about people's past dates/loves and why they didn't make the cut. Ha! Reminds me of a really nice guy I dated who became chief ranger in a well known National Park. He was probably too nice, and I just got bored with him. I was young and dumb and still preferred the trouble makers. Live and learn.

    Love that you are able to converse with the birds. :-) We have a lot of birds around us and are wondering what birds will be near us in the new place. If my head doesn't explode before I arrive. Haha. We close tomorrow on this house and next week on the new one (if they finish everything).

    I went to the dentist today near your new home...things are moving along!

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    1. If it's the dentist on the lake, I'm going to be changing to that one after I move.

      Since we grew up in the same country, was your chief ranger a red head? Wouldn't it be funny if we had both dated the same guy. I think you're a tad younger then me though.

      Can't wait until your closings are over and you can get on with your next chapter.

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  12. Yes to the dentist. But no to the ranger...he had/has brown hair. And a full head still in his online pics. LOL. I did date a couple redheads over the years. But none of them stuck.

    You and me both! I am ready for the stress level to drop. Meanwhile, I'm packing and purging and shredding. :-)

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  13. You mentioned wanting an app to help with identification -- I have two for you. The first is called Merlin. It's put out by the people at Cornell, and its really, really good. When you see a bird, you answer some simple questions about size, location, and colors. Then, it gives you a list of possibilities. If you can't find your bird, you can adjust your answers and try again.

    Another great Cornell site is the Macaulay Library of bird calls and songs. I'll link that in a separate comment, in case you send multiple links to spam or moderation. You can enter a species name, like 'cardinal.' It will give you a list of all the cardinals, you pick one, and voila! Examples of its calls and songs show up. Or, you can enter your county, and it will give you a list of birds in your area, with photos and calls/songs. It's a fun site to explore!

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  14. Here's the page of the Macaulay site I keep bookmarked. In the upper left hand corner, there are icons for photos, recordings, or videos. It's just wonderful.

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    1. Thank you so much for the resources. I'm going to have fun playing with the birds on my "deck respite." I figure an app will be quicker than me learning all the calls on my own.

      I love Cornell's Listen Project with the Central African elephants. I go to their site at least once a week.

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  15. Now you can TWEET! Kate and the boys use a bird call. Often Kate just plays a particular bird's song on her iPhone and they come running (well, that plus a gourmet buffet)

    I'm ordering a house bra also, so thanks for that information as well.

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    1. Not a lot of support or structure in the sports bra but it keeps your from swinging around.


      Duh, I should have figured Kate would be into bird calling.

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  16. I don't even get delieveries because I don't buy stuff online

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    1. I'm just the opposite. Even before the pandemic I preferred to buy online rather than fight traffic, find parking and run around from store to store to find stuff.

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  17. You live and learn and it is fun to remember the olden days, at least the good ones. And wonder . . . . .

    Bird watching by whistle sounds fun. I feed mine - never mind the mice, I live deep in the country and there are plenty of cats about - and I can spend a lot of time leaning at the kitchen window and watch their antics. A bit of colour and life in these dreary times.

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    1. I used to feed the birds and really enjoyed their antics right outside the window where my computer sits. But the one cat that roams our neighborhood wasn't hunting enough to take care of the mice. I'm allergic to them or I'd have a cat of my own.

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  18. I think I bought icky bird seed (or else Rick did) because I used to have tons of birds and now they seem to be elsewhere. I'm sure they've found a better feed (and of course, it's summer so there are lots of natural choices too.) Your date story is so funny -- it would be a fun date if you'd known ahead of time and could dress appropriately but... ! Good luck with the bird calls!

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    1. I suppose he thought if he told me were we going bird watching so I could have on more appropriate clothing then I wouldn't want to accept going on a date with him.

      Bird seed does make a difference. For your poor cat you'd better fix that problem. LOL

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  19. What a fun post! Not sure the fry grabbing would have done me in, but I hate surprises, so letting me get in the car with heels and a dress on and not telling me what his plans were would definitely have been a deal breaker for me. I'm hoping young men these days have enough sense to realize it's not okay to do something like that.

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    1. Maybe I've become too jaded in my old age but looking back he seemed to take a little bit too much pleasure in scaring me. LOL

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  20. Bird Bill's Date made me laugh, tho', honestly NOT telling you why he was driving you out into the Boondocks on a first Date would have certainly made me think he could be a Serial Killer too! I was thinking about the Weirdest Date I ever had, nothing came to Mind, so I guess either my Memory is shot to Hell or none of them were so Weird that they make for such a good Blog Fodder Story as yours did! *LOL*

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    1. I was probably too drunk to remember a few of the truly weirdest dates I've ever had. LOL I didn't mean my husband until I was 27 so I had a lot more years of dating history than a lot of others in my peer age group.

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  21. I remember back when I used to sit on my step with morning coffee, I'd record the magpie warbling, then, when he was silent, I'd play it back. Watching his reaction was very funny. I've no idea what we were talking about in magpie-speak! Your forest ranger sounds gorgeous. What a heart-warming memory.

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    1. That was clever and fun to record your magpie.

      I could write a whole series on first dates but that one was one of the most memorable ones.

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  22. I am a redhead and I have had more fun than you can imagine. But we do get blamed for things we didn't do as well as the things we did. It's a mixed bag.
    I would have slapped that guys hand away from my plate. And then eaten from his plate.
    I have had plenty of weird dates. It must be the red hair that attracts them. I had one about six months ago. He turned out to be a Nazi. You just can't tell by looking sometimes. He tried to convince me the holocaust never happened. I excused myself as though going to the restroom and then just walked out the front door and got in my truck and drove away. I learned a long time ago to make all first dates for coffee in the middle of the day and meet them at the restaurant.
    Your new undies sound comfy.

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    1. Smart girl, smart first date rules. A Nazi and Holocaust denier would be a non-starter for me as well. God, how ignorant do you have to be to think that period of history was all made up?

      I left a guy sitting in a bar once after telling him I was going to the restroom, too. It's always bothered me that I did that...gotta be hard on a guy's ego to have that happen to them. But the Nazi guy? I would hope that happens so often he doesn't have to wonder why.

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  23. Bird calling sounds like a lot of fun. I love to sit out on my porch listening to the birds and trying to identify their calls -- but I can't whistle to save my life, so I've never tried to whistle back (although I do sometimes sing back the same notes). BTW, I would be annoyed by a date who ate the food off my plate, not because I'm germaphobic but because I'm perpetually hungry and want to eat all my own food!

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    1. In addition to the germ aspect of sharing food, my brother and I used to fight so much over food portions that I think that's partly why I'm not big on sharing now.

      I have so many birds in my yard and sometimes the ALL get going over something. I don't feed them anymore but I have water on my deck for them I am getting some traffic in my view.

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