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, September 16, 2020

The Day After..... and Handy Pandemic Gadgets

The day after seeing the bone doctor last week I woke up at 8:30 which was a full hour to an hour and a half later than I’ve been waking up during the pandemic. I’m not a morning person so it felt good to sleep in. I sprung out of bed as fast as a septuagenarian can spring which, in my case, is more like Red Foxx’s Fred Sanford character moseying around his junk yard while complaining about his aches and pains. I put the coffee pot on, then sat down at the computer like I do every morning. Fast forward two hours later I was still going down rabbit holes on the World Wide Web and I had forgotten to drink my coffee. I never forget my coffee. Never! Two cups usually goes with me when I'm chasing rabbits. I didn’t feel sick but what else could explain my coffee lapse? And don't say it's my age. I was only two days older than the last time the internet sucked me into its black hole of wondrous and fascinating things.

Not coming up with a logical explanation for missing my caffeine fix I got my act in gear and went to grocery store/pharmacy where my primary mission was to get my 65-flu shot. I waited until October last year and they ran out and I couldn’t get one until January and I wasn't about to let that happen again. My temperature at the pharmacy was 98.4 but the day before at the doctor’s office it was 97.6. Both within the normal range but pandemic paranoid me turned the burner up on my worry pot and I didn’t turn it back down again until a few days later when my temperature dropped back down in the 97s again. For several months last winter my temperature was holding steady down in the low 76s and, of course, I went to Doctor Google to find out why it was below the normal range and found out it "...usually happens from being out in cold weather. But it may also be caused by alcohol or drug use, going into shock, or certain disorders such as diabetes or low thyroid. A low body temperature may occur with an infection.”

I have a thyroid gland that operates at two-toed sloth speed, so I quit worrying that my low temperature meant that it was getting ready to spike high with Covid-19. Quit worrying until lately with all the back-to-back temperature checks required. And wouldn't you know it, just when I've gotten hair long enough to have bangs every place I go is asking me to push them off to the side so they can zap me with their temperature taking gun.

At the store I used my cool, new tool (photo at the top) to cut down on the things we touch. It opens doors on cooler cases, pushes buttons on key pads and acts as a stylus to sign screens. You can even use it in public bathrooms to flush the toilets and turn faucets on and off. I felt like I had a super power and I left the store feeling happy and upbeat. I had gotten my flu shot, bought some groceries and brought fewer germs home to breed and multiply.

Then on the way home that darn Prime Country radio channel ambushed me when they played Tim McCraw’s Don’t take the Girl. If you don’t know the song it starts out with an eight year old boy begging his father not to take the neighbor girl fishing with them and it ends with them both twenty-five and her life is in endanger after giving birth to their child. He gets down on his knees and prays:

“Take the very breath you gave me

Take the heart from my chest

I'll gladly take her place if you'll let me

Make this my last request

Take me out of this world

God, please don't take the girl."

Out of now where tears were racing down my cheeks. And I don’t mean just a few. It was like a dam broke and I had no clue where they came from. I’ve never particular connected with the song other than thinking it was cute in a sappy kind of way. But later on when I deep-dove examined my cry-athon I realized I was crying because I really, REALLY miss having love in my life. Duh, a widowhood issue, long buried and thought to be in the past. And it crossed my mind to question if maybe I’m reading too many romance books…or maybe I'm not reading enough romance books. I’m going with the latter theory because I’m not giving them up anything soon. They've become a pacifier to get me though the pandemic, taking the place of the human contact I was getting beforehand just being out and about in the world and down at the senior hall.

I’ve been reading the genre off and on since my 40s and the new crop on the market are holding my interest because they are so different from those I read back in the last century when I was hot and heavy into them to the point that one year in the '90s I even had a press pass to get into romance writer's conventions. The banter is different, most of the heroines are stronger, more independent and the sex/love scenes---well, they often have me thinking about the Twister board game and I’m not kidding. More than once I’ve stopped reading what I can only describe as bedroom gymnastics and tried to figure out how on earth it's possible for a hand or set of lips to be here or there while doing this or that some place else on the human body. And I've wondered if authors actually "fact check" those logistics with their husband’s. Do these guys have--- Okay, I need to stop writing before I embarrass myself.  

The bottom line: After having tried and failed to write a passable romance book or two I have an insatiable fascination with how authors work and I'm a sucker for non-fiction books about writers and writing. Do they have Zen-like offices, write in coffee shops, keep regular hours or do writing marathons when the inspirations strikes them? And why on earth is one of my favorite authors of romantic comedies so hung up on the number seventeen that she's used it a zillion times in at least two books before her editor made her quit? I did just learn from watching the You-Tube launch of her latest book that since the pandemic started she's been writing in the back seat of her car after parking it outside her local coffee shop while her husband is at home helping their kids with online schooling. I love how gender roles have blurred since my youth. But that's a blog topic for another day, isn't it. ©

 

NOTE: The no touch tool came from Amazon but I can't make the link feature work to give it to you. It’s the second one I bought. The first one I found at the grocery store near a mask display but it doesn’t have the retractable hook up or the sink faucet cut out at the top which are both great features. There are lots of other styles at Amazon, just put 'no hands tool for opening doors' in their search line if you want one.

34 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you had that moment with the Song triggering it. I can't listen to C&W since it's sappy yet always depressing lyrics, but The Man loves it... and so sometimes I have to listen to the Spouse leaving them either by Death or Abandonment, the Dog dying, the Car breaking down, the Job loss and other Cheerful lyrics. *LOL* I don't know how anyone can't come away not being triggered with such morose Lyrics... even The Blues is cheerier! But, I do Love me some Blues... so I dunno... guess it's the presentation or something? *Winks* I can be triggered by some Lyrics of Songs I Love to hear but which always tug at my Heartstrings. Luther Vandross 'Dance With My Father' I cannot hear without tearing up and trying not to Cry.

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    1. My husband could listen to country western 24/7 so a lot of the songs on Prime come with a lot of memories for me. I only listen to music in the car but I bounce between two channels so with the punch of a button I can get rid of a song if I think it's going to trigger an emotion I don't want to deal with. It wouldn't matter if I was listening another genre of music, the mini stories they tell can get to me and I don't really enjoy having music on at home. When I was in my truck for long stretches back in my work days I listened to books.

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    2. P.S. Honestly, I don't mind the tears coming once in a while because they remind met that I'm still alive and not just going through the motions of life if that makes any sense.

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  2. Rainy Day Thoughts blog can fill you in on a romance writers process or at least what she does. Songs and their lyrics can really push some emotional buttons sometimes for me, too. I’m not too keen on “computering” first thing in the morning — more an activity if i’m bored or for later in the evening.

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    1. I'll check her out. I actually do know a lot about the process of writing and writers but I can never know enough.

      I do most of my writing/editing on the computer first thing in the morning to 'trick' my dyslexia. If I try to proof-read later in the day I tend not to see what I actually wrote and see what I meant to write. Writing in general comes easier when my brain is still waking up.

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  3. I laughed out loud, literally, about bedroom gymnastics!

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    1. Sometimes is seems like the writers are trying to outdo one another. LOL

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  4. My late friend Ann, who wrote for two romance publishing houses, had an office in her home where she wrote. It was nothing special. Every writer's process and place are different, as I'm sure you know. She had a writers' group that she attended regularly and shared things with. That was also a huge part of her process.

    A local business around the NEO area was manufacturing those gadgets and marketing them as a COVID Key early on in the pandemic. Later ads, I noticed, the name was something different. (But I don't remember what it was.)

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    1. I just discovered those gadgets and I love them. It pays to be careful.

      Writing groups have been around a long time in the romance genre...at least since the early '90s when I knew a lot of insider stuff. Now, there is a group of published authors that I follow who cross-promote each other's books withing their own stories and they write about interconnecting characters and plotlines. I think it explains why they are so prolific because it cuts down on the research and character development they have to do. They just have to come up with new plots to put the core cast of characters into.

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  5. Would be kind of fun to talk to the spouse of a romance writer to see if the bedroom action is actual, been tried or wishful thinking on the part of the author.

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    1. I think it would be kind of fun to be married to a romance author...better than being a guinea pig for an author to crime and murder.

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  6. That is a great tool! Back to Amazon again.

    I used to love reading historical romance stories! I am still NOT reading. I miss it soooo much. Maybe I will have to read up on how to get that back.

    The AQI is now 200 (in the unhealthy zone but much better than hazardous zone). Rain coming tomorrow .....

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    1. Hoping like heck you guys out there get the rain to help with put out the fires. So scary!

      In the last century---I love saying that, makes me feel old and wise---I read historical almost exclusively. I credit them with sparking my interest in history because I was forever going to the library to 'fact check' events that romance authors used as settings. Learned which ones you could trust, and which ones took too many liberties. And then I started reading non-fiction as well. I didn't have much time for reading after Don's stroke other than in the blog community and I couldn't get back into reading fiction until several years after he passed a way. I haven't read a historical since the old days. I find the modern themes and setting takes less concentration and I can read them, then forget them thus the 'popcorn books' label I pin on them.

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  7. That's a really interesting tool. I'll have to think about getting that one.

    I'm a sub person. If I'm 99, I'm sick. Sometimes it goes up in the late afternoon. I panic. I try not to take it now just to take it.

    I think a lot of us are feeling the isolation now but it would be a lot harder in widowhood. Just wanting that love and companionship and knowing you had it. Biggest hugs.

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    1. When the pandemic first started last February here in MI i got obsessed with taking my temperature daily, especially when was so cold, I couldn't seem to warm up. I don't take mine anymore either, unless I have a reason to think it's up.

      Thanks for the hugs. I love following yours and Rick's adventures through life because Don and I had the exact, same living set up before his stroke and I KNOW how well it works.

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  8. Those types of songs are engineered to push our emotional buttons, that’s for sure! And country music can do this like no other genre. Except for this one song I heard at work, many years ago. I think Garth Brooks sings it. It was something about Momma’s in the graveyard and Daddy’s in the jail. When I first heard it I thought it was somebody’s bad parody of what a country song lyrics are about (like a skit on Saturday Night Live). I think I probably offended some of my co-workers when I wouldn’t believe it was a “real” song. Suffice it to say that no tears were shed by me when this particular song played - I got the giggles instead.

    Deb

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    1. LOL I know that crazy song. I really don't like Garth Brooks songs. I use punch the button to change the channel. He's got one about a widow farm lady who took an under aged kid's virginity when he worked a summer for her in fields. I absolutely hate it.

      I was reading a book tonight and found a sentence that made me laugh out loud. "I feel like people can just tell that I"m one country song away from bursting into tears."

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  9. Talked to my sis-in-law on the phone today...we call every couple of months to check in. We agreed we think we are doing fine until we leave the house then realize how weird it feels to be out in the world trying to navigate the "new normal". I'll tell her about your gadget. She's a widow (my younger brother died almost 4 yrs ago of cancer) and says all she does is go to work (part time) and come home. She gets lonely -- I'll also tell her about the books!

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    1. We've probably got another year of this 'new normal' before we can easy back up again. We all need to find coping tricks.

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  10. Thank you for mentioning the flu shots. We got ours early this month so we would be sure they didn't run out. Ideally we would wait for October but we weren't taking any chances. Also there's a good chance if people social distance and wear masks it won't be a bad flu season. That's encouraging.

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    1. They told me that the shots are good for 6 months which should get me through the winter but they won't know until February if they got the right mix to the strain of flu that we'll have this year. I've got to believe what you're saying is true about social distancing and the masks helping with the regular flu.

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    2. They say Australia is having a milder flu season than normal and they attribute it to mask wearing.

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    3. I had the flu so bad two winters ago I actually thought I'd die from and it was one of two major reasons why I decided it was time to move to a place that I'm no so isolated in.

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  11. This business about suddenly howling over seemingly nothing much is familiar me. Funny how it hits you over a silly song or a passage in a novel or even just sitting lonely thinking of the emptiness all around.

    Still, these moments occur less and less over time.

    I wonder if I could get through a whole romance tale? I quite enjoy Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances, but she is very witty.

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    1. Songs do it for me more often than anything. I thought I'd moved past that happening but I really think it's the stress of the pandemic and everything else going on in the world that is adding up to give me a short fuse.

      I haven't read Heyer or Regencies in decades, not sure I could get through any of those after reading the military romances. All books are just a diversion to keep me from worrying about wildfires, floods, hurricanes, politics and downsizing.

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  12. Good job getting the flu shot early! I was told it would last past the worst of the flu season...I guess we'll see. :-) And that's a nifty tool!

    I don't know about you, but I just feel a little closer to the edge than normal with all this going on, and I can feel myself tear up over songs that never would have gotten to me in the past. Or even just someone saying something that touches me when I'm in the right brain space. Driving around in my car with music on is most likely to trigger it. I think the world feels fragile right now and I'm feeling pretty emotional over a lot of things.

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    1. That tool is life changing. I've hated touched touch screens at the gas station and stores.

      Ya, I have a love/hate relationship with driving with the radio. Most of the time it brings forth happy memories and feelings. How could we not feel closer to the edge with all the crazy stuff going on in the world.

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  13. Oh that song would make me cry too, cry in a good way. I am a widow and sometimes sadness hits us out of the blue, triggered by something. That is a clever little gadget you describe.

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  14. I was reading your comment on Peggy's post. And maybe you know this but... On the new blogger the word 'normal' comes up when you first open the post draft page. When you click in the body it switches to 'paragraph'. You have to switch it back to 'normal' to get single space.

    When you highlight text you want to be a link, A box comes up with the link on the line text to display. You have to put the link on the 'paste or search for link' line also. Then you can hit apply and it will become a link.

    If you right click on the highlighted link and click on open in new tab, it will bring up an edit page. To see if your link will work, there will be a box below the highlighted link. Right click on that link and click on open in new tab. That will get you a test for your link.

    I also found out that once I set up one link like that. Highlighting a second link worked the old way. Clicking the link button just turned it into a link. But I still had to click the link in the box under the link to test it.

    If you're confused by any of this, welcome to the club.

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    1. Thanks Mike! It is confusing but I really do need to learn how to do it because I use lyric and poems in my post fairly often. Thanks for taking the time to try to help. Love the blog community!

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  15. Dear Jean, in the midst of pandemic, wildfire, hurricane, election, mail-in voting and all the other issues that hammer away at our residence, you reflect in this posting where so many of us are. Thank you. I felt humbled, as if I were standing on holy ground, as you honestly let us know that the song (which I've never heard but I think I'd like too) left you sobbing with a longing to be loved. And I would think, to be held. Held close. Tight. Held so that you knew that whatever came thpse protective arms would shield you. I hope you can go down deep into that feeling and find there the gratitude that awaits you. Gratitude for what has been and gratitude for the years you've been given to embrace life. Please be gracious to yourself. Peace.

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    1. Dee, you always have such warm and welcome comments. Finding gratitude is definitely something I have to work on from time to time. I am grateful I did have a deep love in my life for so many years. Some people can't say that. And you are right, I do miss the holding and hugs that comes with love and friendship. Right now with pandemic rules I thing a lot of us can say the same.

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  16. That song always gives me a lump in my throat when I hear it! That is a nifty little gadget you got from Amazon!

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    1. I truly love country western song writers for being able to build a story with so few words.

      Too is great. Love not having to touch keys and screens when in stores and at the gas station.

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