Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. 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. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Causing Unintentional Hurt Feelings


Sunday mornings are always quiet around here. Few things are on our otherwise busy schedule and the church goers flee the place like rats on a sinking ship. Even the dining room has so few reservations it’s always subject to be closed and they’re only open between 9:00 and 1:00 to begin with, to serve breakfast only. I sometimes go on Sundays because if you don’t order the mimosas with your breakfast it’s a pretty cheap day to eat in the fine dinning room. I’ve never had a mimosas in my life but before I die I want to try one while pretending I’m sitting at a table with Carrie Bradshaw, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte---Sex in the City characters in case you're not into pop-cultural icons.

 It takes a good imagination to whip those ladies up in an independent living complex but I keep thinking there are some people living here who could have been prototypes for the TV series characters. There is one lady here who is very much the fashionista that Carrie was but she’d much classier than Carrie could be even on her best day. There is no shortage of fashionistas here but there is only one who is tall and willowy and you have to do a double take to realize she’s old enough to live here. I don’t care how good your clothing is made or how fashion forward it is, if your shoulder stoop and you’re carrying a menopausal belly around that’s what people will see before your fabulous outfit. 

If we have any Samantha’s here they are good at covering up their wild pasts but we do have a Miranda or two who are cynical and angry with the world but caring to their friends. Charlotte’s would be the most common however. Somewhat naive, marriage-mind, preppy looking ladies who may have experienced a bad marriage before finding true love with a man who, like Charlotte, they wouldn’t have given a second look at before their first divorces. Charlotte’s upper class upbringing could be duplicated here too. One woman in particular seemed highly insulted when I asked her what she did for a career before retiring. “I’ve never worked a day in my life,” she boasted. Okay then, I thought and that was the end of any conversations we had that day.

A few weeks later Ms. Never showed up to watch us play Mahjong when we players present were all trying to decide if we should wear masks because three people on campus had just gone into quarantine with Covid. Those in quarantine had all had breakfast together including Ms. Never. I pointed that out to her and asked if she’d been tested. “I’ve had Covid already and they told I couldn’t get it again so I don’t need testing.” I asked her who “they” is and after asking three times she finally answered with a fellow resident's name. “Well,” I replied, “until Kelly shows me here medical degree I’m wearing a mask around you.” Ms. Never actually laughed along with everyone else and we all ended up wearing our masks to play Mahjong.

The next week at Mahjong I managed to put my foot in my mouth and hurt someone’s feelings. Big time. Okay, let me just say that I think she was being very thin skinned but still it was a good reminded that I need to check my sense of humor here. This is what happened: While we were playing I asked the others to give me a minute while I decided if I wanted to pick up a discarded tile or not. Ms. Hurt says, “I suppose we could give you a minute” and without thinking I replied, “Says the queen of hesitation.” The other two players laughed (because she really does take three times as long to play her turn as the rest of us) but she went on and on about how if she’s taking too much time to play she can find something else to do with her time on Wednesdays and how she doesn’t want to play with people who talk about her behind her back. Blah, blah, blah and yadda, yadda, yadda all rolled up together for the next ten minutes. In there some where I apologized a couple of times and tried to explain it was just a joke and the other ladies apologized for laughing. Finally she wore herself out and we played in total silence for a while before I tried to break the ice by saying, “I like it better when we talk while we play.” It worked, we started chatting again but she also started making barbs like "I hope that was fast enough" after she'd discard a tile. When we were packing up the game I apologized again.

Walking back to my building with the woman who got Mahjong on the schedule and taught us all how to play I said, “I hope my joke doesn’t result in Ms. Hurt dropping out of the game. I truly like playing with her but I’ve apologized three times and I don’t know what else to do. She clearly is still nursing a hurt.” Teacher says she and her husband have quick senses of humor, too, that gets them in trouble from time to time. Don’t worry about it. If she doesn't come back, oh well.” I never would have guessed this woman was so thin-skinned but I’m finding out I’m living with some powder puffs. 

And sometimes those powder puffs make me I feel as jaded as Samantha because I’m far more worldly than some of my neighbors. For example, a group of eight of was sitting around one evening and one of the women asked if anyone knew what going commando met and I was the only one who did! They didn't believe the phrase has been around a long time so I looked it up after I got home and found out Joey on the sitcom Friends was the first character on TV to say it (1996) but the term as been around since the '70s made popular by U.S. soldiers fighting in the jungles who would forgo their underpants to increase ventilation to prevent fungal infections. How could a term like that be around for so long and me be the only one out of eight to have heard it before? Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a convent. ©

53 comments:

  1. That's too bad when we have to be careful about hurting other people's feelings. It's sometimes a hard decision to make.

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    1. I'm kind of known for saying one-liner humorous things. And none of them get run my my internal filter. Never had anything like that happen before. It shocked me. But she played this week again and acted like nothing happened, so I'm relieved about that.

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  2. You certainly are surrounded by an interesting group of people. I don't think I've ever met anyone who "never worked a day in her life." I had to let that sink in. Hard to imagine. I actually used to complain about working once in awhile, but juggling a job along with life has its own merits.

    I'll bet you keep a mask in your pocket whenever you go into the common areas. There's some crazy virus going around our area that does not test as Covid, but the symptoms are similar to it. My daughter, her MIL and I had it at the same time. We can only hope this year's flu vaccine really works!

    Side Note: Last week (I think) you mentioned liking jewel toned colors and that got the ball rolling for me. Ever since, I have been going through my clothes, trying them on and getting really honest about what looks okay--or not. With my hair silvery white, some colors just wash me out! I'm getting down to mostly jewel toned. The young woman who helps take care of our grandchildren has been excited to take whatever I want to give away. It's been a really good experience and with fewer/smaller closets in this home, it just makes life easier. Thanks for the inspiration, Jean! (BTW I know you like LLBean and wanted to tell you that their Perfect Fit pants are awfully nice. I ordered a pair in navy and black a few years ago, and they're comfortable and wash like a dream.)

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    1. I am desperate to get new pants! I need to get some measurements and try the L.L.Beans. Glad your closet purging turned out so well. Now you're inspiring me.

      I was taken back by the 'never worked a day in my life' statement too. It reminded me of why a guy broke up with me when I was just out of high school and I told him my plans for college and career and he said "No wife of my will ever work." He thought it would look like he couldn't provide for his family. Maybe those two hooked up. LoL

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    2. As for the LLB Perfect Fit pants, they are a pretty high percentage of cotton, but I wash them wrong side out, and they've retained their dark color. Honestly, they almost look like dress pants, which surprised me.

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  3. Jean, I hope you never feel compelled to change who you are to avoid ever hurting someone's feelings.

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    1. At this stage of my life, I don't think I could change. That filter in my brain is starting to show signs of not working with my mouth.

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  4. Some of us would have come back at you with, "Ahhh, to be recognized as the royalty I am" or some such and laughed with everyone else. Besides...you did not make the joke behind her back, which is good.

    Going commando is so old that I don't know when I first heard it and it's hard to imagine that the other women hadn't heard it. They must have led sheltered lives. Of course, my first college was 99% (actually!) male students, many of whom were veterans from serving in Korea, so I've probably been exposed to more such language.

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    1. My family and life-time friends (none of which I see much anymore because we live so far apart) all have good sense of humors and we could bounce lines like mine and yours back and forth all day.

      I do think I'm living with a lot of sheltered women and few men, too. But it still blows my mine that such a common term as 'going commando' was new to so many. The lady who brought it up heard it from her granddaughter who said she was going commando with her jeans and the grandmother thought it was obscene to do that. I think it's stupid for sanity reasons but the young people have been sold a bag of goods about not having panty lines showing. Anyway, the conversation surrounding this was hilarious. They even got around to zippers getting caught then on to getting waxed so that wouldn't happen. I'm easily entertained and that shock and awe conversation made my day.

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  5. Wow. That woman was quite thin-skinned, wasn't she? You made a joke without any intent to cause hurt and then apologized when she reacted. No harm, no foul. Hope she can get a sense of humour about herself going forward. Life will be easier if she does.

    Deb

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    1. She returned to play again this week and acted like it never happened. I was worried she wouldn't come back and that would have made me feel bad. I truly don't think what I said was rude or whatever and the fact the others laughed is proof (to me) that they took it as the joke it was. She probably went home and her husband talked her down.

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    2. I've known a lot of women who never worked, as wives who dropped by the office after lunch to show their husbands what they had bought that morning. They were almost to a woman out of touch because they
      quickly lost contact with anyone who isn't like them, so they miss out on a lot of what goes on in our society. They were my age (30) or younger but seemed like women in their 60s (but very stylish!).

      I'm glad the offended woman came back the next week. Don't forget that you are all still getting to know each other. As you become more familiar, she will know you didn't intend any harm.
      Nina

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    3. Ms. Never is in the tail in of the generation of women who had a choice not to work, if they married right and she apparently did. We've played mahjong together for every Wednesday for six months---two hours each week. She should know my sense of humor by now. But then I never knew how easily she gets her feelings hurt either so we're even.

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  6. I was telling Rick and some others about your blog and life in the CCC and how much I love it. We had a long talk abut how we didn't really want to be in a CCC but what happens when you just can't do it alone anymore. I guess this was precipitated by my current pneumonia and all the worries crap like that brings with it. You hate to feel on guard all the time and you can't really get away from the people if you find you don't mesh. It sounds like you've found some good ones to hang with -- and those whom you'd rather not. I have a thin-skinned friend (maybe we all have issues) and it's a frustrating thing -- trying to be careful but still real. Good luck with that.

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    1. You can get away from people you don't mesh with very easily. There are plenty of people living here who never interact with their neighbors, don't do any of the classes or lectures nor eat with us. They live here likes it's any other apartment building in the city....come and go and don't try to befriend anyone. And it's split right down the middle of those who are the joiners and those who aren't.

      I liked the idea that I've picked out my own future, if I have to go to a nursing home or memory care and I will know people there because they are my neighbors now. I watched people have to put loved ones in nursing homes not fit for their dogs because it was the only ones available at the time they needed one. Hospital social workers will give you a choice of three and you have to pick because they want the patient out of their hospital bed. And once you're in a bad nursing home it's time consuming and hard to get them moved back out to another place.

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  7. I am sorry the egg shells are coming out and you feel you have to watch your comments. Most people would have just laughed at what you said. Sad that she is that insecure.
    Never saw Sex In the City but may have to catch a rerun just to put faces to your descriptions.

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    1. My husband was a fan of 'Sex in the City' and I was a hold out until after he died and it was on all the time late at night. It's character driven and I like shows like that. Of course there is lot of meaningless sex in the episodes and big city stuff, enough for me to know I'd hate living in New York.

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  8. At one time in my life, I was pretty unfiltered with the sarcastic barbs. Then one evening a friend I adored and respected told me in front of a group, “Cheryl, 95% of the time you’re funny, but the other 5% you’re obnoxious.” It was in that moment that I realized how often I had hurt people with my so-called sense of humor. The truth hurt, but changed my attitude.

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    1. Wow! I don't know what else to say. On one hand I love a friend who could be totally honest but couch the critic with a compliment first. On the other hand 95% is pretty high---glass is half full kind of happy about that. But that you took that 5% seriously enough to change....well, just Wow!

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  9. It is so good to hear how you are engaging in lots of activities after feeling isolated at the end of your time living in your previous home. Regarding the offended one, I bet you poked at an old wound without knowing it. We all were teased (ridiculed) by family and/or friends when you and some of that left wounds we may not even know we have. Apologizing is all you can do. Keep on being you!

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    1. The Teacher said something similar to what you did. She said that Ms. Hurt was probably more insecure about her playing than we realized. She plays well but she's really afraid of making a mistake so she takes forever to decide on what to discard or on picking them up from others. If she's been like that with other games in her past, I could see how family could have teased her about it.

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  10. As someone who can be overly sensitive at times but who also owns a sense of humor similar to yours, I found your comment quite clever and not at all offensive. I actually enjoy people who feel comfortable enough with me to make a joke at my expense. It's often later when I rethink (overthink) a conversation that I wonder if I should be offended.

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    1. You said: "It's often later when I rethink (overthink) a conversation that I wonder if I should be offended." That made me laugh because I think in her case it was later she rethought it and decided she shouldn't have been offended. Thanks for chiming in.

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  11. Mahjong! Girl, you are part of everything there! I think it's fun to meet all these personalities. I especially like how you name everyone in code! In my opinion wearing thong underwear IS going commando and I think it would hurt if you moved around much. Like dental floss down there ....

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    1. Thongs are only going commando on the back side, technically. But I think thongs would be the most uncomfortable under garment anyone could pick. And now wonder those who wear them a lot get their bum holes bleached which blows my mind that people actually pay someone to do that to them.

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  12. Wow...she sounds a little fragile. Good thing she didn't grow up in our big family. She would have been in tears daily. LOL.

    We had a sales rep at one of my former companies that was rumored to go commando. I never was able to verify it, but he had a certain reputation anyway, so it wasn't surprising. He was tall, super friendly and good looking. And SUPER flirty with the customer service women. Ahh, memories. :-)

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    1. When you don't get married right out of high school or spent some time being single after a divorce I think we all run into super flirty guys who make us swoon with the memories. It just makes you feel young to remember being hit on. At least I thought it was fun, especially if the guy you were flirting on wasn't seriously flirting to get some where but flirting because it was just part of his character; you know the guys who flirts with 3 year old to 90 year old with equal charm.

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    2. That was Sean. We were both reps and saw each other at national sales meetings. I still remember listening to the customer service team go on about him. LOL.

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  13. I know people who say what they want and don't give a shit if they upset someone, I am not like that.

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    1. I did feel bad, but I'm not sure if I that thought about it before saying it that I would have ever guessed that it would upset her.

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  14. No matter what situation comes up, there's a useful reference from Friends. They managed to cover everything in that show.

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    1. Yes, they do. It was really well written. My husband had it in both a CD and DVD format and watched them often. That an M.A.S.H.

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  15. These stories fascinate me and make me sad. Yes in the 70s we used the term commando so these folks are really out of it. Everyone is sensitive today and sometimes they have it comming at them from both ends in life, in social situations, social media. But these don't seem like those types. I feel that if you said you were sorry, then that is enough in my book. Move on. It's done.

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    1. If you knew West Michigan and the town they used to call City of Churches I live in you wouldn't be surprised that these women never heard a pop culture term like going commando.

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  16. Uh... I'd never heard the expression about 'going commando.' Sometimes I wonder how I've stayed so ignorant; I'm constantly having to go to the urban dictionary to figure out words and phrases. I suppose it's good to know such things, but little miss under-the-rock-dweller me even had to look up Coolio when he died. I'd never heard of the guy. Sigh.

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    1. I think knowing certain words and phrases boils down to whether or not a person watches/listens to sitcoms and other media aimed at young people who certain make popular everything you see in the urban dictionary---I love that site. That's not a bad thing not to keep up. It just means your interests are elsewhere.

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  17. Mimosas are life. I tell you. I generally try not to make jokes at others expense but it seems to me enough of an overreaction by her that she was being sensitive. I've spent many more years not working (for money) than working by a very high ratio but to have never worked at all? Sheesh. I hate wearing underwear and do so as little as possible, lol

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    1. The problem I have as I age is the jokes come out without forethought.

      I really do have to try a Mimosa. Everyone says something similar to what you said.

      I was taken back by being proud not to have ever worked a day in her life. I understand that women in my generation had peer pressure to stay at home for decades, even view it as a status symbol, but never known anyone before like that.

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    2. Seems she was Proud to be a Kept Woman, as if that is her Badge of Honor perhaps or made her seem like a Trophy Wife? *LOL* Yes, have a Mimosa, I don't even drink and I've had one for Breakfast a few times, just like Orange Juice, won't get you lit.

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  18. Jean, have a mimosa. They're just a sparkling wine like champagne or prosecco mixed with orange juice. No big deal. If you get lit on one mimosa, then your tolerance for alcohol is extremely low.

    I agree with others that your Mahjongg friend was already sensitive to either criticism in general or criticism about being indecisive or slow. The fact that she showed up the next week to play is a good sign. Who knows what preceded the game that may have made her upset? No matter now; everyone seems to have moved on.

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    1. I will have one as soon as I can figure out if my morning meds and alcohol mix. But it does look classy to see my neighbors drinking them.

      We all have our little melt down here, including me which I may or may not write about it because I'm still embarrassed by it.

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    2. Okay, so now I NEED to know... spill the Tea on what you Melted Down about... winks.

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    3. I haven't decide whether or not to write about it. It truly was embarrassing but I'll give you a clue. It happened in the fine dinning restaurant.

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    4. Ohhhh, a Fancy Faux Pas, how Classy. *winks*

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    5. I wrote about it in Saturday's post because Stephen King in his book about writing say's if you're not willing to be brutally honest in your writing you're not going to be a good writer---or words to that effect.

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  19. The Man went Commando in Vietnam with most of the Guys he knew doing the same, and for the reason you mentioned and probably how it came to be called "Going Commando" in the first place. *LOL* Getting Jungle Rot being no Joke. As for those who have delicate feelings and take offense too easily, it becomes annoying and ceases to arose pity and incite only irritation with them... after a while it's best if they Opt Out. Especially if no Offense was intended or they can't take a Joke and have such deep Insecurities that they read something into everything and personalize it. *Eye Roll* You would be Surprised how many people have led very insulated and sheltered Lives tho', and aren't very Worldly at all even if they lived a long time and one would think should have been exposed to ever so much more of Life. I find that the lack of Exposure and diversity often makes for people having the most bias and misinformation too, they've only learned what they've lived and if it's very limited, ignorance and being naive tends to prevail.

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    1. It shouldn't surprise me when I run into old people who've led a very sheltered life but it does. And yet these same people who don't know much about pop culture here in the states have a knowledge base from traveling the world that I don't have.

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  20. Oh be jaded, be real, let those Charlottes learn a few things from you.

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  21. I love that you looked up Commando. I'm the same way about looking things up. I'm surprised it wasn't older than that but makes sense about Vietnam.

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    1. It makes me laugh every time I think of tat conversation.

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