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, August 1, 2020

Pandemic Park Fun and Games


July is finally over and good riddance. I didn’t like it since the beginning but I tried to give it a fair chance. It promised sunny days. We got them. Then it promised summer fun and that fell flat on its fat little keister and by the time July was ready to leave my calendar I was ready to take a butcher knife and carve her up in little pieces. But I told myself it wasn’t July’s fault that America is still struggling to wrangle a world pandemic down on its knees like a cowboy would grab ahold of a longhorn steer and force its head down on the dirt so its body would have no choice but to follow. Nope, they screwed up the order of that rodeo and sent in the clown first and by the time the cowboy came into the arena the bull was so out of sorts from the clown messing around that the cowboy got himself gorged and is struggling to recover in a hospital ward. Okay, so it’s a bad metaphor. Just play along, I’m not going to wear out my brain writing another one and, yes, I'm aware that you can't have a keister that is both fat and little at the same time. I already tried to find other adjectives but my tongue likes the way those two roll.

The first part of July was okay but then the heat rolled in. I can take heat. I wasn’t bothered. Then it was the humidity piling on to our discomfort but, heck, I’m from hardy stock and when it came time for one of my bimonthly brunches in the park with my Gathering Girls pals a breeze from the near-by river was keeping us cool and so happy that the five of us sat there for nearly three hours. We were spread out, social distancing on a couple of picnic tables when I had a mini meltdown. The lady closest to me had just finished telling us that she wasn’t afraid of getting the Covid-19 virus, “If I do I do,” she said, “I’ve had a good life.” She lives with her son and daughter-in-law who both work outside the home and she has frequent contract with grandkids who visit so she’s not as isolated as I am. I, on the other hand, haven’t been closer than six feet to anyone since March expect the eye doctor and the dentist who were both suited up like they were taking a trip to Mars. She no more than said that about not caring if she gets the virus when she started scooting closer to me, closing in on my six foot social distancing space. Neither one of us was wearing a mask so I started scooting in the other direction. “Hold still!” she says. “You’ve got a bug in your hair.” 

Maybe it’s because I’d been reading back-to-back psychological thrillers that made me panic when she stretched out her arms to touch me that made me looking at her as if she had an axe in on hand and butcher knife in the other and I nearly screamed, “No, don’t touch me! I don’t want your Covid-19 germs!” The look on her face would have been priceless if I hadn’t put it there. It was a blending of shock, hurt feelings and embarrassment. I was embarrassed too but I was prepared to backpedal my butt right off the end of the picnic table to get away from her. But she withdrew her arms and grumbled, “I don’t have Covid germs” to which I quickly snapped back, “That you know of.” Our friend who was sitting across the table half way in between the two of us thought the whole thing was hysterically funny and she said, “That’s our OCD Jean.” I don't think of myself as OCD so that shut me up, wondering if that's the kind of vibe I give off. But I suppose the proof of that pudding is in this paragraph.

And believe it or not, that was the highlight of the second half of July. The next day I had $400 antique lamp get broken in shipping an e-Bay sale which had both me and the buyer mourning its loss. But I've shipped at least 1,000 packages this past 18 months and it was only the 3rd thing I’ve shipped in nearly twenty years of doing e-Bay that got damaged in shipping. Refunding the guy his full payment plus his shipping was the easy part, beating myself up for not doing a better job of packing was harder to swallow. But swallow it I did because, really, I had no other choice. Actually, that’s not true. I could have had him hold the packaging and lamp for the postal inspector to come see it for an insurance claim, but all that would have done is waste the buyer’s time. I questioned at the time I packed it if I had enough cushion around the lamp, but I reasoned that it was metal and couldn't break. I was wrong. Cast metal does break. The moral of that story was that I needed to give myself a timeout from e-Baying for being careless and not listening to my inner voice.

So here I sit typing away while waiting to pick up the dog from getting three more teeth pulled and his receding gums treated to keep out every germ on the face of earth except Covid-19 from destroying the rest of his teeth. The check to the veterinary hospital: $963.00. This past ten-twelve days I've pretty much blanked out on everything but the bare necessities of living. I know it's just pandemic and politics related depression but I'm vowing to start fresh now that August is here. Has anyone got a Mary Poppins costume I can borrow? ©

38 comments:

  1. I love dogs. Occasionally, I tell H that we should get one, but you've convinced me to think two or three times about that. That bill! Wow!

    I thought your metaphor was a good one. :) What is that curse, "May you live in interesting times." Well, it seems we do.

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    1. I've had dogs all my life and never had one with as many issues with teeth as Levi has had. And they've all gone in for teeth cleaning once a year which is generally around $200. The vet tells me it's the breed. For that reason alone I wouldn't get another schnauzer.

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  2. Jean
    You responded exactly correctly to the woman sitting next to you !!!! Perhaps your response to her mumbled comment and her look of of "shock, hurt feelings and embarrassment" enlightened some onlookers, especially the woman sitting across from you. Her comment was incredible ignorant . It is those well meaning but oblivious people that are such a danger to us all, not just the young people at the crowded beaches. Making a point of her behavior you might have saved others from getting it and in our age group that might have been a death sentence.
    Thank you for speaking out !!!

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    1. Thank you for saying that. The woman is over 90 and I'm sure she just reacted to the bug in my hair out of a lifetime of habit. But it really doesn't matter why some gets close enough to touch me, I'm going to back away. I'm hoping if it happens again, I say whatever words come out of my mouth in a calmer voice. I also think those who live with other people get lax about the social distancing at home so when they go out they forget more easily.

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  3. Thank you for reminding me why I don't want anything to do with eBay again: at least, as a seller. I've got a few things that a collector might be interested in, but the time involved -- and the vagaries of the shipping process -- are more than I want to deal with.

    You've reminded me of another lesson I learned via eBay. When receiving antique porcelain, never, ever unbox it until it's come to room temperature. When that stuff gets really cold, the handles and finials can snap off in a minute.

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    1. I never knew that about considering the temperature when unpacking stuff! I have some porcelain---less than 12 pieces---I need to sell but packing it a pain with breakable stuff so I'm probably going to send it to local auction. Can't do anything with them until someone tall comes over to get them off a shelf up high.

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  4. Hope Levi is recovering quickly! And I agree that it was great of you to speak out. This pandemic has certainly made it clear which people don’t care about putting others at risk of a deadly illness.

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    1. He was on pain meds for a week! He's almost back to normal except he can't have hard dog food or treats until the 6th which can't come fast enough for either one of us.

      Sometimes I think some people only think they can get the virus from strangers, not someone they know. At least that's the way they act. But like another blogger pointed out it's like having unprotected sex to be in the presence of someone else. Whoever they came in contact with you are in contact with.

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  5. I'm finding that there is an alarming percentage of the elderly population (especially the men) that simply feel that they don't want to be inconvenienced by the virus. They feel as if the privilege of their age makes them a special case. They don't want to wear a mask; they don't want to social distance; they don't want to do anything out of the ordinary routine because it bothers them. And yes, as your friend says, they've lived a long and full life, so if they go, they go. But it's a horrible and painful death, and they impact others before they do finally go.

    Basically, it's Selfishness, and the very worst kind.

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    1. You are so right. Dying of Covid-19 is not only painful but it effects a wide range of people, even strangers. It uses up an enormous amount of medical resources and the virus is wearing out our medical personal, not to mention the economy and businesses that are effected by us all not working together to get the virus under control.

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  6. You are doing what you need to do to stay safe. Some people are getting tired and just giving up while others just don't care, I guess. We (the USA) sure have not done a good job when it comes to this pandemic. So much hate and so much selfishness in our country. It depresses me. "Pandemic and politics related depression" - you described me perfectly! Here's to August - hope it is better!

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    1. I blame the president 100% for our mishandling of the pandemic. He's the one who sowed the seeds that it was a hoax designed to make him look bad. He's the one who didn't take it seriously for months. He wasted golden opportunities to have FDR moments of leadership, pulling us all in one direction instead of dividing with masks.

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  7. Enjoyed your metaphor. Gave me a wry smile. As for that lady and the attempted bug retrieval, I'd have done the same. She may be happy with her life span but she shouldn't have threatened yours. People think if they aren't coughing up a lung, they are healthy.
    Can't believe your vet bill. Levi should get a full set of uppers and lowers for that price.

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    1. Actually, last year's dental vet bill was higher---somewhere around $1,200 if I'm remembering right. I keep thinking he's going to run out of teeth to pull soon. They call you while he's on the operating table, send you photos of the x-rays and tell you want is most critic and what could wait so you can kind of control the bill. I told them to do everything that needed doing. This year I'm flush with money, I'm not sure after I move that I will be so I wanted to do the preventative part of the bill rather than set him up for more puss pockets and tooth pulls down the road.

      I've talked to people out in public where we were both wearing masks and they've drifted closer and I've held up a hand and said, "It's really hard to remember social distancing, isn't it, after a life of not doing it." I don't think people are necessarily being careless or thoughtless. It's just crazy the times we're in!

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  8. I ate on an outside restaurant patio with some former co-workers yesterday, and I agree that people think if it's someone they know, they can't get the virus from them. ?!? What the what? Anyway, when we came to leave, I quickly put my mask on and did a side hug when the person next to me approached, then went straight to my car and my Purell. LOL. It's crazy. And today, our neighbors next door have cars and people going in and out - I'm guessing an open house, but who knows? I will say we say a large pontoon boat of young people go by on the lake yesterday...full boat, close together, no masks. It's crazy how much people DON'T GET IT or don't want to. Like you, I'm a little OCD, and I've also been accused of having too harsh a "tone" when I say something. Oh, well. I try to mellow and then a pandemic comes along.

    Our dog has been super pricey over time, too. I feel your pain on that one. We're at the point of asking ourselves almost daily when to say when. He has labored breathing a lot from his cardiomyopathy, and he sleeps almost all the time now. It's SUCH a hard decision. Ugh. I've never had to put a dog to sleep before, and even though he's 13 and has had a great life, it just seems like too hard a decision, so we just keep keeping on and hope we'll know when it's too much. (He does still rally like crazy for food, walks, etc., and his back end works MOST of the time, so....)

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    1. I got invited to a graduation party but knowing my five Trump supporting in-laws will be there who resend the mask requirement I RSVP-ed my regrets. I can just see one of them rubbing up against me as a joke. No thank you. That's probably what your neighbor was having.

      I do think our pets will let us know when that decision needs to be made and none of us wants to do it too soon. Still really hard! I've always had a place to bury my pets and with Levi I won't. That will make it even harder to leave him behind at the vets. Growing up we even had a pet cemetery.

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  9. OH, and I love your analogy. It's spot on.

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    1. Thanks. I tend to get carried away sometimes when my fingers fly faster than my brain.

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  10. Yea, you keep on keeping on with that OCD. this is one of the reasons i'm fine with only zoom knitting. Because I know someobody would be the take of their mask, it's okay type..........

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    1. We're not living through our shinny moment of strength and unity, are we. For a first world country that's a real shame, too.

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  11. How can you hear your friends if they are all 6 ft away and you are in an outdoor restaurant? We are going to try an outdoor gathering of ten on the condo covered patio. Definitely have to wear my hearing aids! We have to bring our own everything ... chairs, side tables, beverage and snack. No restroom available and then we have to pack everything out.

    We had a small black schnauzer but no teeth problems. Ear problems! (not clipped, so floppy). Finally learned to wipe out his ears with vinegar once or twice a week. And the grooming! More than my hair cut.

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    1. We've been meeting in a small township park under a pavilion and surprisingly, hearing each other hasn't been all the difficult for me. It's very quiet with no background noise which makes it easier to hear than in a restaurant with other conversations going on. They have a very clean restroom and have been bringing our own lunches. If you stagger 3 people six feet apart on each side but not directly across from each other it's only a spread of 15 feet in all.

      Ya, Levi's haircuts cost more than mine, too. But he usually looks better too. When I kidded the groomer about the cost he'll say, "that that includes a bath and nails which your haircuts don't.

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  12. Yeah I am kicking July to the kerb too, what a bitch of a month it was with sickness in the family not Covid just tummy bugs and headaches by many family members. Let's hope August is a better month

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    1. That must have been a little scary wondering if it was Covid-19 when the symptoms first started. Fingers crossed that we all have a better August.

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  13. I think holding up your hand and saying, "It's really hard to remember social distancing, isn't it, after a life of not doing it" is a brilliant way of handling a situation. I can see why you would be nervous when that woman said she doesn't worry about precautions and then started getting too close. Better to be incorrectly called OCD than to not move out of the way. Survival comes first, thinking of more graceful responses can come later.

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    1. I've successfully used that line several times with people who just start drifting closer because apparently we're all used to talking more like 4 feet apart. But my friend wasn't drifting, she was making a beeline toward me. I later apologized in an email for me panicking and embarrassing her. She accepted my apologize but didn't offer one in return.

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  14. You don’t need a Mary Poppins costume, you need a bottle of bleach and maybe a few guns (we have been told that Americans are buying guns like never before because of Covid)
    Acc. to someone I’ve heard of you drink the bleach to kill the virus and you can then use the guns to shoot it even more dead.

    Useful ideas, you think?

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    1. You at too funny. Our president is making us all look stupid overseas. After he made that 'drinking bleach' comment, there were public service announcements about not doing that.

      They do sell a lot of guns---too many---in this country but most Americans don't own one. There are certain paranoid individuals who stockpile them by the dozens even the hundreds. It really us a problem, though. The gun lobby is very strong.

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    2. To many of us over here in Europe it really is hard to understand that there are still people who a) believe the rubbish your President spouts and b) think that violence is the answer to all ills. I know that you and most of the people who read my blog and comment are sane and and hope for better days. As do we. Soon, please God. (and I am not a believer.)

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    3. I don't understand the Trump supporters either and trust me I've really tried. Just hope after the election we don't have him front and center anymore. His supporters seem to like that his bull-in-a-china-shop approach destroying everything. No amount of logic or facts or science moves these poeople from their blind support and that's scary.

      If I'm not mistaken you're in Germany? I saw a news article yesterday about a protest there against continuing the course to controlling the virus. We're all living in troubling times.

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  15. I love reading your comments. (Friko is from Germany but has lived in England for many years, in case she doesn't come back to read the comment!)

    And I say WELL DONE! You said the right thing -- she needs a little sense slapped into her -- and as for the OCD-sayers, pooh on them. You are doing everything right. Don't let them shut you up. Or at least, keep doing what you are doing. Our numbers are going up. We don't need to help them go higher!

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    1. Thanks!

      I'm so afraid the numbers will go up enough that the governor will issue another hard stay-at-home-order which would stop the construction the CCC where I want to move. Another delay would probably mean I'll be replacing a roof or appliances here as they get closer and closer to the 20 year line. They're already six months behind because of the last shut down. And I really, REALLY don't want to face more than one more winter living so isolated or moving in the dead of winter either. I know I'm borrow trouble from the future but I can't help myself when I wake up at 4 AM.

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  16. Your July being abysmal, let us Hope that August rolls out better? Sorry to hear about the Lamp. Not sorry about your reaction to the Covidiot Friend, you used more restraint than I would have and it has nothing to do with OCD, it has everything to do with being safe and aware that touching people right now isn't appropriate without their permission. The Bug in your Hair wouldn't have infected you. *LOL* We have had some people do things like reach out and shake The Man's Hand when he wears his USMC attire and Thank him for his Service! Old Man, clearly not in best of Health, why would you even do that? With his TBI he shakes their Hand automatically and then I'm disinfecting him with Hand Sanitizer!

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    1. People have a life time of shaking hands and picking bugs off their friends. It happens so automatic I'm sure they don't MEAN to do harm, but if it happens again I will probably freak out again. It was the lack of masks that freaked me more than the attempted touch. You can disinfect where you get touched.

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  17. Hey JR, I stopped by inadvertently when I clicked the wrong bookmark.:-) I should so more often. I too liked your rodeo metaphor especially the use of the clown. Hope the remainder of the year is much better and we all get rewarded with a present in January. Later td

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    1. Glad you stopped by even if it was an accident. LOL I second your wish for a January present but I live in the reddest county in Michigan and it's so hard to keep the faith when I'm surrounded with the Cult of Personality.

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  18. Late to your post, but ... that first paragraph is priceless insight into a writer's life. Love it! As for your "I don't care" friend...I'd have had the same reaction. I've just about had it with people who have decided they are willing to take all manner of risk, then assume the rest of us don't care either. And being called "OCD" would have annoyed me (that's too mild a word). It is NOT "OCD" to want to avoid a deadly virus that has the entire world in it's grip. It's not like you are being unreasonably neurotic. Stay safe!

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    1. Thanks. Your writer's heart would pick up on that paragraph's ending.

      I'm kind of shocked to hear others talk about all the places they go and the people they see. It makes me not want to be around anyone!

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