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 2, 2021

Dogs, Creamsicles, Cows and Snow---Oh My!

I started writing this post on Tuesday when it was a bright and beautiful day here in West Michigan. The temperature outside was twenty degrees but the sky was cloudless and the only snow in sight was hugging the shadows. I wrote about my ‘To Do List’---ya, I know as boring as watching beach pebbles mate. The first thing on my list was dropping the dog off at the groomers after walking him around the neighborhood to make sure his bladder and bowels were empty for his three hour stay. The second place I had to go was to the pet store to get Levi a 15 pound bag of kibble and enough peanut butter and apple treats to last him until his next grooming appointment in six weeks. After that I had planned to stop at Starbucks for a tomato and mozzarella sandwich and chestnut praline latte. But the line at Starbucks was impossibly long---or maybe I had an impossibly low tolerance for sitting in the car fifteen minutes just to get up to the speaker. Instead, I skipped to the next thing on my ‘To Do List’, a stop at a small grocery store that carries Reddi-Wip barista Sweet Foam. Everything in my life goes better when I can start my day off with a good cup of doctored coffee.

I also discovered that if you spray and stir the barista sweet foam into Orange Crush pop it tastes just like a creamsicle from ye olden days of my youth causing me to run out of the stuff sooner than usual. I may not be much of a cook but I gave myself an A+ for creativity in concocting that drink. It makes me feel eight-ten years old again when I was willing and able to walk a four mile round trip to a country store to get a creamsicle. Can you imagine letting little kids walk that far by themselves today without someone claiming you were a neglectful parent? We didn’t have cell phones back then, of course, or even landlines at the cottages and our mothers didn’t even have cars to come check on us if we didn’t come home at the expected time. In all the years my cottage friends and I made that daily trip to the store we only had two scary encounters. Once when a man tried to get us into his car and we ran into the woods like it never dawned on us that the woods was a good place to kill us and bury our bodies.

The other scary encounter involved five or six Holstein cows that got out of their field Me, Allen---a kid who I’ve known since birth---and our siblings ended up in a tree to get away from them. We were up there so long that Allen had to poop. Yup, he did it, hung his bare butt over the branch of the tree and dropped his "little logs” down to the ground to the delight of the cows who all took turns smelling what fell from the sky. I thought we’d die up there in that tree but eventually, as all cows apparently do, they did go home at milking time. So now you know the backstory on why I love my vintage De Laval advertising tin cows that are grazing on top of the doorway molding in my kitchen. Cows remind me of summer fun, of having to walk past them every day in the summer to go to the store for pop and ice cream. That scene on the corner near our lake with the barns, silos, pond and cows hasn’t changed since I was three years old. My niece owns the cottage now and when I visit and pass by that field of milk cows I can feel myself relax. Once in a while I’ll stop the car and walk up to the fence and sure enough there will be a few curious cows who will come to check me out and I tell them I knew their great-great-grandmothers.

Today as I write this I’m looking out at our first major snow fall of the year which I’m guessing is five inched deep and it’s still coming down. The dog is still sleeping and my driveway plower just left. I’ve had the same service for years but this year he took on a partner and the changes I see are going to be fun to watch. For one, they added a sidewalk service to their menu---Hurry! I’ve never minded shoveling snow but I shouldn’t be doing it with my bad elbow. And now all I have to do is shovel a path for Levi to get to his dog pen. And the new partner is sending out emails about each snow event. The first event wasn’t deep enough to plow but having a husband who was in the business for nearly three decades I thought it was clever of my service to let customers know about the behind the scenes activities like how many times and where they checked the depth of the snow around town that night looking for the 1 ½” trigger point to call his crew in to work. It never came. With today’s ‘snow email’ the excitement that all plowers get when the first big one hits of the season was almost palatable. And he wrote about how many dry runs they made of the routes before we even had snow in our forecasts to make sure their drivers knew their routes so no customer got missed and how they'd gone over their equipment several times to be sure it was all working correctly. The email brought back memories of my husband and I doing the same things. Memories that warmed my heart on this cold and beautiful winter day. ©

28 comments:

  1. Nostalgia is always so Sweet, isn't it? The Friend pooping from the Tree is hilarious! I don't miss Snow or being dug out of it... when we lived in Upper Michigan at K.I. Sawyer AFB and in Machias, Maine it was pretty brutal in the Winters and you'd be stuck inside so long some people got Cabin Fever. How our Parents managed to stay Sane when we'd be Snowed In with Two Small Kiddos is amazing to me! *LOL* Plus Dad got deployed a lot so very often Mom was Single Parenting it while he was on Military Assignments, which had to be rough for her. The line of work you and Hubby did tho' I can see why it brings back fond Memories of doing that together. Whenever I'm talking to someone who had similar Corporate Lives I had, we get deep into discussions... especially if they're of my Generation and recall things of then versus now in those Industries. I Love that Cow Herd Art.

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    1. Upper Michigan in the winter is a brutal place to be. Their snow is often measured in feet, not inches. Sawyer was decommissioned in 1995. I can't imagine being there in the '50s when you were probably living there and they didn't have the road equipment they have now. Military wives have to be tough or the marriages don't survive.

      I'm only nostalgic about snowplowing from inside my warm house, it's really hard on your body physically.

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  2. I love cows and I love Dreamsicles, so this was right up my alley. Our famous Bluebell ice cream plant manufactures pints of something they call "orange swirl." It's an orange sherbet and rich vanilla ice cream; it's so close to the old favorite it will do, but now I'm curious to try yours. Dreamsicles even beat fudge bars. I'm going to have to educate myself, though. I've never heard of that barrista foam in a can. I stick to skim milk for my coffee, and haven't had a Starbuck$ in at least two years: partly because of the cost, and partly because I like my coffee pretty much straight, and still think they over-roast their beans.

    I've never, ever thought of snow-plowers making dry runs to learn the route. It makes perfect sense; it's just one of those little details that we nonprofessionals wouldn't think about. Speaking or professionals and non, I don't know if you peek in at my posts on Lagniappe, but I've currently got one up about what can happen when less-than-professional care is taken. You might get a kick out of it.

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    1. The barista foam in a can has been hard to find during the pandemic and it was fairly new on the market in retails stores before the pandemic. I absolutely love it. I've tried regular whipped cream in a can and it just doesn't melt in the same way. I've had that Bluebell ice cream and it's pretty good.

      At the end of the snow season I'm going to ask my serve if the 'snow event' emails cut down on the calls they get from people. I'm guessing they will. I'll check out your post. Thanks.

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  3. How funny about Allen pooping while in a tree. That episode had to follow him his whole life. I remember those several mile walks for a treat. Mine was for a bottle of Squirt and a Clark bar. We never thought twice about trucking down the highway for those goodies.
    So glad you have a service to clear your drive and walk ways of snow. If we ever got any here to amount to anything--I'd sure invest in someone to do it. That way you get to enjoy the beauty of the snow with none of the labor.

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    1. Allen and I remind each other of childhood memories with every Christmas card. The pooping in the tree was classic but I don't bring it up often...at least not to him. LOL

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  4. My brother and I would ride our bikes to the pool and stop at the Dairy Queen on our way home. We would be gone all day and our Mom just told us what time to be home and we were home by then. And I remember going off on my bike to "explore" - checking out little creeks in the local woods or reading gravestones in a nearby cemetery. Thanks for bringing those memories to me today!

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    1. We sure didn't have helicopter moms back then, did we. At the cottage we'd sometimes pack a lunch in the morning and take off to walk the distance around the lake which took the better part of the day. At least when we did that, they could see us once in a while from the dock but usually we'd be exploring woods and creeks, too. No cemeteries near by or we'd have done that too.

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  5. What a great trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. We don't get as much snow as we used to, but I love it.
    We had a little country store in our neighborhood when I was a kid. I remember the candy and the soft drinks and ice cream most. A great memory.

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    1. My nieces and nephew grew up close to the cottage and they had a Dairy Queen to walk to. I wonder if kids today still are allowed to do that. I'm guessing not many. I really don't think it's any more dangerous now, we just hear about it more.

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  7. Sounds like we all had similar childhoods. We walked or biked everywhere! Left home after breakfast and home by dinner. I'm happy that the kidults here do not let the kids sit around all day. No electric scooters or biked ... build your muscles!

    Creamsicles are STILL my favorite. We have a shave ice place here and their flavor combination is perfect!

    I do miss having snow ... we keep ours on a mountain so we can drive over to play in it ... but no shoveling or driving in it.

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    1. That's the perfect place to keep snow...where you can visit it for skiing and sledding. When I was doing the picture purging I got a little melancholy over the fact that I gave up skiing. It just didn't work into my life with Don. He tried it a few times, didn't like it, then bought a snowmobile.

      I think most kids in our generation played outside more than kids to today, your grandsons are exceptional in that regard.

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  8. What an upbeat post! I'm afraid my mother was overprotective so we didn't get to leave the property to explore. I've made up for it since, thank goodness. šŸ™‚

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    1. Ya, I was overdue for writing something fun. Glad you liked it.

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  9. A good liften my spirits and I thannnk you for that

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  10. I've heard tow truck drivers refer to snow as "white gold". I doubt it is the same for snow plow companies as the one I used got paid by the winter month to be there for me and my driveway whether it snowed or not. Yes, very clever for your guy to send out those emails so people realize he is on the job even when he is not plowing you out. Happy 2021, Jean!

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    1. My husband used to call snow "pennies from heaven." Back in our day we had contracts to plow two large shopping malls and we charged by the number of times we plowed plus the number of hours we logged, not by the season. We had other commercial property that did pay by the season. I just saw an advertisement for driveway plows that works like Uber, you call when you need a one-time service. I've got to believe that's going to hurt consumers and plowers in the future. Plow services need a certain number of contracts just to pay for their very high liability insurance. If people quit signing up there will be fewer and fewer services around. And those who show up with a Uber-like thing will give you no recourse if they damage stuff because they have no idea what's under the snow or don't know what they're doing.

      Happy New Years to you too!

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  11. That cow story is hilarious. I never thought to be afraid of cows although we did have a bull once that would butt the truck.

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    1. Cows are huge when you're a little kid and they always came up to the fence when we'd come up the road. Back then they only had a single strand of electrified wire between us and them. The time they got out they treed us like a hound dog after a coon.

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  12. I think my new snow service should be called the "If we wait long enough to get around to it, it will melt, Inc." I know it was a holiday weekend, but good grief! I can't do that anymore with my back -- used to be able to at least push the snow but not now. After the fall, I'm still too freaked to go into the driveway to get the paper today. It's always something! Good luck!

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    1. That last snow fall we both got was really wet, heavy snow, wasn't it. I guess I know too much about the consistency of snow to not give the services the benefit of the doubt when they are running late. Wet, heavy snow breaks equipment and takes a lot longer than the average snowfall to plow.

      I don't go to my mailbox or to get my paper in the winter without taking a four-legged cane that was my husband's. I'm also scared of falling. Bones break so easily at our age!

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  13. I always love when Don arrives in your stories!

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    1. I'd write about him more but I don't want people to think I'm living in the past, which a lot of widows get accused of. LOL

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  14. The snow removal people are smart to keep in touch like that. People like to know what's going on and how things "work". It takes so little, and it inspires customer loyalty and confidence.

    My father adored Creamsicles. He rarely ate ice cream novelties, but those were always something he loved. I haven't had one in ages.

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    1. I thought it was too. It makes you feel like you're part of a team almost.

      Creamsicle flavors are being revived again, i''ve noticed. I saw creamcicle filled cookies recently.

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