Saturday, October 24, 2009


Well, obviously, the summer kind of flew on by. I sat and watched...and participated on this odd kind of level. It is hard to describe, honestly. It is as if I sat and watched and just tried to get through it. No, that isn't it. I DID get through it! I did a lot! But I still sat and watched. A bit of a blur, A lot of work, but I did it! I really tried to write about it. Below are some emails sent to a friend who was watching from afar...

Early July: Lawnmowing
On Friday, the lawnmower and I had a big getting the lawn together was a bit of an event.  H was very handy with tools; however, he was not so handy with small engines and had a very bad habit of hanging on to small engines that didn't work.  Thus, the lawn tractor, push mower, grass blower, and weed-whacker have all had to be discarded, fixed by my trusty male co-workers, or simply smashed to the driveway by one angry and frustrated widow in the past couple of months.  I thought I had the lawnmower fixed but of course it decided to leak gasoline and not start on the day I really needed it to do its job!  I ended up borrowing a mower from a neighbor...and I finally just bought a new push mower yesterday.  What is the saying..."These are the times that try men's souls" or something like that.  So very true these days.  I would have to say that getting used to and learning how to do all of the things I never had to do around the house is much harder even than losing H in the first place.  I have these neighbors who live behind me...they are very nice folks and all, but they are still in the "ARE YOU OK WALKTROTCANTER, WE ARE SOOOOO SORRY!" phase.  (They really do speak in all caps!) Anyway, while it is very healthy to grieve and accept sympathy, I am kind of at the point where I really need someone to, for instance, help me start the mower or tell me where I can get rid of the 1,000 gallons of wood stain H had stored in the garage. Or the 8 gazillion power tools in the basement…Do you know what I mean?  I hate to sound like the bitch, but it honestly is kind of overwhelming the amount of stuff I have to do that I really don’t know how to do or where to start.  Luckily I have a sense of humor about most of it and can only chuckle at how I hauled 3 table saws down the basement stairs so I could put them in the *power tool* section of my organizing regime.  Life will get better!

July: Note to self
I don't exactly feel like a star; rather, a survivor of some very unrealistic nightmare that just won't end.  You know how in cartoons the characters start running and their legs go blurry in a big circle from the momentum?  That's how it feels, like my life and what I have to do is high gear all the time, if that makes any sense.  I suppose it is all a part of the process (or whateverthehell), but it does really wear on a girl at times.  You just want to be normal again.

August: Things break!
Yesterday when I went home for lunch, I could not get my door opened. The lock mechanism was messed up or something terribly confusing like that.  Anyway, I had to take the doorknob off and pry the thing apart.  I ended up taking the entire shebang to the hardware store and getting a whole new doorknob and lock.  The best part of all was that I installed that thing MYSELF!  How's that for 40-something woman power?  I rock.

Bees Part I
I discovered a bit of a bee problem at the front of the house. It is a nest of yellow jackets.  It is a really tricky spot they found, (kind of well-back in the flowers) and you have to spray either at dusk or early morning or they will swarm you.  I am TERRIFIED!  Yesterday I bought 2 cans of spray and tried to spray the spot from the 2nd story window instead of standing next to the entrance to the nest.  I probably looked like a doofus hanging out the window...LOL  I sprayed both cans and was all proud of my brave self.  Then this morning there are still a bunch of I think I will have to do the *stand next to the nest* bit.  ARGH!

Bees Part II
As for my bees, it was naturally, a bit of an adventure.  After hanging out the window to try to spray them, they were back the next day in full-force.  I bought 2 more cans of spray and, after several bravery-inducing cocktails, a friend and I ventured near the hole and sprayed the living crap out of them.  The hole was brimming with the was quite exciting.  We toasted and played cards to celebrate our victory.  Believe it or not, the next morning there were STILL EFFING BEES flying about!  Not only did I have a slight hangover, I still had a slight bee problem! Amazing.  Off I trekked to the hardware store for cans 5 & 6 of toxic bee killer.  Once again at dusk I emptied 2 cans into the entrance of the nest.  BINGO.  Mission Accomplished.  One more notch in my belt of HowToBeASingleHomeowner.

September: The arrival of the TimeCutter Z!
Yesterday I had to mow that lawn again...I swear, the grass is on steroids.  My neighbor bought a zero-turn mower last summer and he let me try it out as I am thinking of buying one to compliment the new push mower I purchased earlier in the summer. Right now I use a tractor for the larger areas and the push mower around the trees.  A zero-turn would cut the mowing time quite a lot and is a nice, zippy machine.  It kind of rides like a go-cart!  I was flying around the yard on the thing, the neighbor was cracking up.  They are quite pricey (and I am quite cheap!), but at this point I want to stay in the house and I can't be such a freak about the damn grass.  I think it would pay itself off rather quickly in mental health if nothing else.  Stay tuned.

Enough with the dicking around...a Toro TimeCutterZ  21-horsepower zero-turn mower is being delivered today!  *Greg* at the dealer gave me quite a deal, despite the fact that he distinctly remembered H yelling at him earlier this year when H took the tractor in for a service.  Sadly, the widow card trumps nearly every situation...tho I only use it when I am in dire straits as was the situation here.  Anyway, *Greg* is also picking up the pokey little tractor so there will be plenty of room in the garage for the TIMECUTTER Z!!!  I will be a hot mowin mamma now...everyone had better just stand back!  I should have to mow again later this week...will give the full report on the maiden voyage, of course.

I neglected to mention one very important feature of the Toro has a CUPHOLDER!!!!!  Cocktails on the TimeCutter!!!  Tho with 21 horses underneath you, am not sure if one wants to get too crazy.  The neighbor, came over to see the new beast.  He said he is feeling like slightly less of a man since his only has 16 hp and now he will be blown away by the lady next door with 21!! We are planning a big *mowing race* on Friday afternoon.  There is a big strip of grass that we share and we have decided to open 'em up and may the best Toro win!!  Am thinking it may be time to get that barbed-wire tattoo on my know, just for effect.

Who knew I would ever find lawnmowing fun???  (Actually, I was a bit sad the other night as I was zooming around the yard...H would have absolutely LOVED the sleekness and speed and fun of the new TimeCutter Z, not to mention the catchy name!  Now I am kind of sorry I always put the kabosh on getting one when he talked about it.  I am quite certain, tho, he is right there with me.  Most likely cussing me out and telling me to slow the hell down. LOL)

Well...I CUT THE LAWN!!!  The TimeCutterZ is officially dirty! YEA!!!!  That thing is a monster!!  I felt like I was a drunk driver at first (and there wasn't even anything in the cupholder!!) because it is a bit wacky to steer at first.  Took a bit of getting-used-to, but after a while I was zooming along quite nicely.  I only took a slight nick out of the corner of the deck but no plants were mowed down and I didn't end up in the neighboring cornfield so I will consider the maiden voyage a success.  Plus, the entire lawn took less than an hour, can you believe that??  By the time I get used to the thing, I should be able to knock it all out in 30 minutes.  Honestly, I felt like I needed a cigarette after I was all finished...LOL. 

This morning dawned with yet another household issue...the smoke alarm was beeping b/c the battery was low.  Now, as a side note, I want to assure you that I did not just sit around on my fat American ass and eat bon bons while H did all of the work.  In most instances, I was assisting in some way...such as holding the tools, cleaning up with the shop vac, or sent on very important missions like finding a phillips head screwdriver in the basement.  In essence, I was the laborer, he was the professional.  Thus, I did not normally pay 100% attention to how he was doing things...I was too busy getting orders fired at me..."Put down your drink woman and hold this here!", or, "by the time you finish your cocktail this will be pour one for me as well!".  I did learn bits and pieces, but not nearly as much as I should have.  As such, the smoke alarm battery, which seemed like a rather simple fix despite my limited knowledge, turned into WTC in her pj's on her tippy-toes on a barstool screaming "CLOSE YOU MOTHERFUCKER!" to the little battery compartment that would not click into place as the thing chirped into my ears at 6:10 am.  Lesson # 987:  Pay attention to the pros while you have the chance.  Learn from them!

...and those were just the highlights. Imagine!

This all really sucks. No two ways about that. It kind of feels like everything changed to a different color the day H died. It is hard to describe. I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, "No one ever told me that grief would be like fear." That pretty much sums it up. You don't know what is out there or where you are going to go. And most of all, you wish you could talk about all of it with your best friend.

Friday, August 07, 2009

On Tools and Tears

During the winter, H was off work quite a bit due to the economy. To him this meant, “WOO HOO WTC, let’s see if I can gather enough of my scraps and free stuff I’ve collected and finish the family room in the basement!” It was a thrill ride for him, to piece together bits of this and that and transform them a wonderful space. He was truly an artist, a craftsman like no other. He just loved to build things. For the most part, we worked quite well together…I helped come up with ideas, and he created. Despite my constant nagging about the mess he inevitably made, I always felt rather lucky that I pretty much got what I envisioned at a pretty nominal price, no less. The basement was in full construction-from-scrap mode when H died. He had wired and insulated and plumbed and had convinced me we really needed a load of drywall. It was going to be his video game oasis, complete with surround sound and a wet bar. He was so excited, his eyes would light up as he discussed speaker placement, an exhaust fan (in case we popped popcorn), and the pocket doors he got for a steal 3 years ago that would finally be put to perfect use.

A friend of mine was over a few weeks ago to help me with some odd jobs around the house. I showed him the basement…and my conundrum as far as how to get a handle on the mass of building materials and the project that had come to a complete halt. He was amazed at the amount of stuff H had assembled. And a few hours later, he said, “WTC, how about I help you get this in some kind of order.” I immediately burst into tears of relief. We popped a bottle of wine and got to work.

You know, it is only a true friend who will give you your moments and pour you more wine when you start to sob over a hammer or crumble at the sight of the router you bought for your husband’s 35th birthday. It was tough going, that basement. Tougher even than the clothes closet or the toothbrush or the photos tucked in drawers that momentarily stun me when I am innocently searching for the aspirin bottle. The tools and the building supplies H got for a steal or bargained-for-because-“we’ll use it somewhere!” were really what made H tick. And it was all so overwhelming to know it is all over and there will be no more delighted presentations on how THIS will piece together with THAT to make THIS COOL THING, HOW ABOUT THAT WTC!. It sucks, it really does. However, the basement is now looking a bit like a hardware store…with a tool section, a building supplies area, and many, many nails and screws. To confirm what H knew and I didn’t believe, there is enough stuff to finish a very stylish and comfy family room. Who knows, I may just do that :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Thank You Note Project

When H died, there were a ton of cards and flowers and donations to his favorite charity…it was quite overwhelming to realize how many people knew and loved him. As part of the funeral home’s *package deal*, I received an unlimited number of thank-you cards…which is kind of nice when you have a gazillion or so notes to send. (Sadly, they do not include postage in the deal…maybe that comes with the Premium Package.) Anyway, I made a sort of a routine to write at least 10 cards per night. To make things easier, I also wrote down 5 or so stock phrases to use in the various cards:

“Thank you so much for your donation in H’s memory. He would be so honored.”


“H always enjoyed working with you. He spoke so highly of you and your family”

Then I personalized the phrases as I wrote each note:

“Thank you so much for your donation in H’s memory. He would be so honored to know you were not a cheapskate after all…er, to know his volunteer work will continue to make a difference.”

“H always enjoyed working with you. He spoke so highly of you and your family and we often laughed when we visualized the stories you told of you and your wife ballroom dancing…er, I felt like I knew you as a friend as well.”

I am so bad.

While it was a huge task, it was kind of nice to have the mission each evening to get thru my minimum of 10 cards and then try to see if I could do 3 or 4 more. (That’s me, the gambling woman…) I had to put aside several sympathy cards as they had no return address and the signatures read something like “So very sorry for your loss, your H was such a great guy… The Omraoehrenrerhaehrjheka Family”. Sadly, these cards usually held money. Please people, write legibly! Use return address labels!

The last and final card I wrote was to a colleague of my brother’s. My brother happens to work with someone who is very famous. The very famous someone sent flowers to the funeral home, along with a generous donation. Do you know how hard it is to sit down and write a thank-you to Mr. FamousGuy? Oddly, the most difficult part is whether to address them by name or as Mr. Famous. After mulling it over for a few moments and then realizing Mr. Famous is about 6 years younger than me, I made the executive decision to address him by his first name.

“Dear Joe,”

“Thank you so much for the lovely flowers and generous donation in H’s memory.”

I then decided not to go all fan mail on him and simply told him how much my family appreciated the kind thoughts…

“The kind thoughts and sympathy from friends and colleagues has meant so much to my family.”

I then closed with a reminder of who I was…I was kind of worried he would be all “WalkTrotCanter???, who is this wacko, WHAT FLOWERS??”

“Thank you again, WalkTrotCanter (Sister of your co-worker, do you know who I am??? I am not a fan, just a gal sending a thank-you card...)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Some Notes on Pain and Suffering and Yardwork

This past weekend was once again Yardwork 101. I got sick of waiting for people who promised to help me so I just took the bull by the horns. (People really DO want to help; however, it isn’t like I can nag at them as I would to H to get started, time’s a wastin’…so the helping gets done on their time, you know?) Anyway, I wanted the grass blown off of the drive and I wanted the weed-whacking done…things I KNEW I could do, I just was a bit unsure about how to use the necessary tools. One new blower and one OMGmyarmisoutofthesocket weedwhacker later, I am almost a pro. As with much of the stuff I didn’t know how to do, I think it is pure anger and frustration that is getting me to learn. Oh ya, and the self-propelled mower has a hard time going from 1st gear to Neutral. Just in case you see me chasing that f-ing thing around the yard…

In other news, I got a call from my Prius-driving attorney, Leo. H was killed in an on-the-job accident, you see, and this means all sorts of insurance liability stuff that I really don’t care to understand at this time. In brief, companies carry liability insurance in case there is a catastrophic accident on the job. When said catastrophic accident happens to occur, the liability insurance company does everything in its power to find a way to not have to pay the amount of insurance that covers the liability for the catastrophic accident. It is like a game that is played and the object of the game is, of course, money. While I don’t care so much about money in the sense that no amount is going to bring back my old and comfortable life, I was advised by several close friends that this is just a part of the deal with the type of accident that killed H and it is best to be prepared and ready for when the liability game begins. In H’s case, I hired Leo to deal with all of this. Otherwise, I alone would be taking on the non-liability paying folks…and that, from what I understand, is even more difficult than starting that weed-whacker.

So anyway, Leo phoned me while I was in the midst of my yardwork session. He proceeded to explain to me the status of the situation. Surprisingly (!!), the liability insurance company is squawking about how there is absolutely no liability issue in this case. Leo graciously spared me the gory details; however, he did explain that the rhetoric has become a bit heated as to the extent of the pain and suffering I am going through as a result of losing H. Not so much, according to them. I asked Leo if those hot shot liability folks would like to come to watch my yardwork extravaganza just to get a glimpse of how the pain and suffering is going here in WalkTrotCanterLand. Leo, in his serious attorney-voice, assured me this is all pretty standard at the beginning of this type of negotiating. I thanked him for the update, hung up the phone, promptly burst into tears, and poured myself a liability cocktail. GAH, how do those folks sleep at night, I wonder…what a strange world we live in.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Somebody up there likes me...sort of

H had this red GMC truck that we bought from one of his co-workers about a million years ago. It was over 20 years old. After me (!!), it was the love of is life. I think I only drove it once or twice…it really was H’s ride. It had a manual transmission…I think that is why H liked it so much. It was simple and easy to maneuver. Plus, I think he felt really AMERICAN in that thing. Our dogs used to go crazy when they would hear the truck pull into the drive. The whole sound of him gearing down with his country music blaring always sent them into complete poodle frenzy mode. The truck had never been cleaned, in true H fashion. The paint was fading, the cab was full of boots and tools and Carhart jackets, and he often referred to it as The Office.

I work with a guy who loves engines and trucks and all things grease, so I asked him if he would want The Truck. Somehow, it just didn’t seem right to haul it to a junkyard or sell it to just anyone. That Truck was almost a part of our family. I told the guy that if he would take care of, and enjoy it, I would happily sell it to him for one dollar. He was thrilled.

In our household, I always took care of all of the bills and insurances and paperwork. H had little interest in filing and keeping track unless it involved things in drywall buckets. I have this highly-organized filing system that consists of a big filing cabinet full of papers. A few years ago, I got all sophisticated and put the papers in piles that make sense. Anyway, I searched my trusty filing cabinet for the title to The Truck but it was nowhere to be found. I searched again and again and could not find one bit of information on that vehicle. I found the loan papers from the 1985 Dodge Colt, the 1988 Mercury Topaz, the 2 GMC Jimmy’s, the Mitsubishi Outlander…but absolutely nothing on The Truck. And the more I searched the madder and more frustrated I became. Literally, by the time I looked One. Last. Time. and decided to give up and go to bed, I was in full-rage mode. Meltdown City. The f-bombs were dropping, I was crying and stomping around and yelling…the dogs just sat there and stared at me. It was not a pretty sight.

It is hard to brush your teeth when you are crying. It is doubly-awful to watch yourself cry while you try to brush your teeth. Sometimes it makes you cry harder and then you just feel like complete shit. I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed, even more of a sobbing and angry mess. For some odd reason, I peeked into H’s closet. There, on the shelf by his shirts, was a Wal-Mart bag. It was kind of sticking out, and I had not seen it in the many times I had been in his closet in the past few weeks. Wal-Mart has always been my LEAST favorite place in the whole world. I just detest the whole scene…H used to shudder when I would stop there for groceries and come home with my 8 zillion little plastic bags and a lot of swear words and grumbling about people in scooters with few teeth. Much to my amazement, inside this Wal-Mart bag that I had not seen before sticking out of the shelf by his shirts, was all of the paperwork for The Red Truck, including the title. H must have been beside himself laughing, the goof. That was so his sense of humor. Ha Ha, Ya, thanks buddy :) Guess he was just making sure I found that truck a fabulous new home.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

It's just stuff to me but at least it makes me smile :)

When I was in college, I had a roommate who lost her father our freshman year. The guy had been the baseball coach at the high school in her small town. He was extremely popular, good-looking, friendly, and had the all-American family…3 good looking and well-mannered kids, a lovely wife, etc. During our first semester at school, he died suddenly of an aneurysm.

Three years later, my friend invited a group of us back to her hometown for a weekend. I can still remember feeling…I don’t know, creeped out, I guess, in my 19 year old way, at how everything in the house was exactly as it had been the moment he passed away. Exactly as it had been, with the addition of a large table that had been made into a sort of shrine to the man with pictures, trophies, and medals from his coaching successes. The lovely all-American family who once came home to this place, had stopped, it seemed. My friend’s mother walked around all ghostly and quiet…and it all just seemed so very, very sad.
Grief is such a strange emotion…or bunch of emotions. There are no rules or guidelines to follow to make things straightforward and easy. I was talking with my mother a day or so after H died, and she said to me, “You will want to make this YOUR house over time, you know, and that will be ok.”
I am a cleaner-outer. I like simple, clean lines and clutter makes my brain go into high stress OMGWTF mode. H, on the other hand, was a hoarder. LOL He knew there was a use for everything if you just stacked it, put it in a bucket with 100 other everythings, or hid it in oh, say, the alcove under the basement stairs. He was also the true Boy Scout, always prepared for the latest crisis. Which is why both of our snowblowers were filled to the brim with gasoline on the warm, rainy day in the middle of April when he passed away.

And so the Cleaning Out has been going-on in the last few weeks. No big surprises, it is all pretty much classic H with many drawers full of this and lots of drywall buckets full of that. It is kind of an odd job, especially since he was gone so quickly he didn’t have time to let me know about the $90 he had stashed between his t-shirts. He also didn’t have time to get rid of the lawnmower, leaf blower, and weed whacker that don’t work. He did, however, seem to have plenty of time to purchase and store under the stairs no less than 4 table saws, 10 nail guns, 2 air compressors, 7 cordless drills, a plastic storage bin filled to the brim with switch plates, and numerous other items I have not yet inventoried. Further, the day before his accident, he had gleefully brought home a sink and toilet to be used at our cottage. He had unloaded them into the garage right next to the door to the house. This, I suppose, is so that with equal glee he could strategically position himself on the toilet with a newspaper when I drove up the driveway on my lunch hour. Sadly, the sink/toilet have not moved from their original spot. Guests think I have a garage-potty thing going on, which makes that visual of H on the jon ever more amusing. That alone makes it all worthwhile even if it costs me $90 to have someone haul the bulk of the stuff away.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

On life after the Life Insurance

I was rifling thru some old posts on this blog the other day. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane. Yipes, those old Motel 6 days! It all seems so dramatic! Things thankfully settled down a bit once we were moved and settled into the new homestead. I guess that’s why it is called Home and places like the Motel 6 make a girl nuts. Anyway, I had to chuckle at this post. I completely remember that evening and so did my State Farm Agent. The State Farm Agent who, like a good neighbor, did not let us settle on H’s measly sum for life insurance.


So, a few days after H’s accident, I had to meet with our Good Neighbor to go over all of the *stuff*. The poor guy, I have known him since I was 10 (small town), he was crying and so was his adorable wife who works with him in the office. (Side note: I highly recommend going with a trusted person on matters of insurance. Yes, it is indeed cheaper online or whatever; however, when the shit hits the fan, do you want to be calling 1-800-FILEACLAIM? You don’t. Trust me on that. You really DO want them crying with you.) As a result of our heeding the trusted advice of our agent, I received a fairly healthy amount of money as H’s beneficiary. It was put into a special checking account which I have aptly named the OMGMYHUSBANDDIEDINANACCIDENT Fund.

Just about anyone who knew H or us or read this blog would so know how much of a money miser H was. He was brutal at times which, after living with him for 22 years, made me somewhat hesitant to spend any amount of money without mulling it over, asking myself if I REALLY NEEDED the item/service, mulling it over again, and then discussing pros and cons of the issue over cocktails. The whole thing got to be like a badge of honor…to have made the proper DECISION. Good training, I suppose, for these tough economic times. No fun when a girl just wants a pair of shoes, sadly. Now, of course, I have this newfound ability to do whatever I want. And I am not sure I feel very confident in this new place.

With the help of my 2 brothers, I made a sort of list of *Things* I need to do or have in place now that I am a single woman living alone. It is a helpful little list and I am plugging away at various items…I am very good at lists. Anyway, one major item on this list was New Car. With 98,000 miles on our trusty Mitsubishi, Brothers were concerned about safety, reliability, etc. And rightly so. My problem with New Car is that the best deal for the car I like/want is that I have to use the OMGMYHUSBANDDIEDINANACCIDENT Fund to buy it. I guess I should have called it the OMGHWOULDFREAKOUTIFISPENDANYOFTHIS Fund. I know I shouldn’t think this way, but like I said, 22 years of training…let the mulling and cocktails begin!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee

When (and I do not recommend this in any way, shape, or form to anyone) folks knock on your door in the middle of a Friday afternoon to tell you your spouse of 22 years was killed in a horrible accident, there are a number of things that kick into gear. I suppose it is different for everyone, how your body and mind sort of go into autopilot mode. For me, I guess I was lucky in a sense. My body and head must have decided to take care of me. I was relatively calm, invited the people inside, and put together a list of who to call and what to do next. I remember all of it down to the last detail.

Looking back, I think during such an awful time you can go two ways: you can crumple into a corner and never want to get out or you can grab your wits and look forward. It's a tricky thing, that shock factor. As much as a portion of my scaredshitless brain wanted to crumple, the rest of me looked around and decided the crumple thing was not going to work.

The trick to all of it, I believe, is to have those things in your life which are just yours. Yes, marriage is great and you have this best friend and partner...that is all wonderful. Times spent together as your own little family whether you have kids or not are important and hopefully happy :) However, having your own time and your own hobby or "thing" is equally still have to be your own person. I was lucky to have had a partner who completely agreed and was on the same page. If, during a time of great stress and great sadness and your world is totally rocked and whipped upside-down, you can go to a place or do a thing that is no different no matter what is going on, you will find the *normalcy* you need to be able to face the next round of bad/sad stuff. Does that make sense?

I (duh) ride horses. I actually bought a new horse just 2 weeks before H's accident...had sold George The Bastard Horse in December. New Horse completely fell into my lap. I wasn't really looking and some friends said I should try a gelding that was for sale for a zillion dollars and was a 2 hour drive into Michigan. Ya, OK, I said. Of course I fell in love, made a ridiculously low offer, was laughed at by the sellers and then told they would love for me to have him. Crazy carma I tell you. Anyway, New Horse is the most gentle, sane sweetheart I could ever have found. Most of all, he is my Great see, my riding was and is My Thing. While H was very supportive ($$$ and otherwise!), he rarely went with me to the barn and just wasn't into riding. And, he only met New Horse one time before his accident. During all of the funeral planning and visitation and dealing with H's family goo-ga, I tried to sneak away to the barn for a few hours...and believe me, THAT is what kept me going. The barn and horse are no different whether my world is torn apart or not. There are no sad memories there...only my good or bad rides, which happen no matter what.

In thinking about how I have worked through the past several weeks, it took some time to piece together how I kept my head and continue to keep my head on straight (fairly!). I finally realized it is that sense of *normal* I feel when I walk into the barn and tack up my horse. There is no death or insurance or bank business or beneficiary business to take care of...just poop and leather and sweat! Love that stuff :)

Not sure if this all makes sense, but I wanted to get it down so it can be re-visited later as I move through this whole process.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Weekend Update

Today was a big day at Camp OMGWTF.

1) I did yardwork...which is so not on my list of favorite things. You know, when you get married or you have a significant other you sort of have this agreement about who does what, right? Well, my stuff was INSIDE, H's was OUTSIDE, and he was really quite proficient at I have to do both and it so sucks! OK, I cheated a bit and hired the kid across the street to mow and weedwhack. He is a great kid but I am sort of disappointed he does not seem to find my lawn/weedwhacking the most important thing in his life!.He just finished his Junior year of HS yesterday so I probably should cut him some slack. BUT OMG, IT IS SUPPOSED TO RAIN THE NEXT FEW DAYS AND MY GRASS/WEEDWHACK ITEMS ARE SO OVERGROWN! To be honest, I am terrified my house will become the crappiest one on the street. Or, everyone will say, "That place looks like shit...used to be nice but the lady's husband died and it all went to hell." AAAHHHHHH!!! Do they know I am only used to cleaning the toilets?? That is a lot of work, folks. So, anyway, I did yardwork and I got lots of weeds pulled and things trimmed. It looks nice and will look much nicer once the kid mows :)

2) Oh ya, remember my list of *things*...and how the neighbors don't know what to do? Well, while I was in the midst of my yardwork, the neighbor kid (not the mowing kid but the son from the family that lives behind me) came over with a baggie of chocolate chip cookies. He handed them to me and said, "My mom made these and thought you might want one while you are working". Well, he would have said it like that except for the fact that he has this tic of sorts that causes him to not really stutter but he just. can't. say. the. words. To make matters worse, he is 19 and sort of awkward or whatever and I seem to make him very nervous. Which makes the speaking thing more amplified. I feel like Mrs. Robinson when I talk with him. Once he got the cookie news out, he *casually* mentioned how he will turn 21 in just 2 short years and he can come over to have a beer with me. I didn't quite have the heart to tell him I am not sure I will be ready for a young cabana boy even in 2 years. GAH! The whole other thing is that the neighbors NEVER brought cookies over to H when he was in the midst of his mowing and weeding. He would be upset that I got cookies on the first try.

8 weeks and I am still here and still sort of sane. Score one for The Sarcastic One That is a good thing! Let's pour a Bailey's, shall we? :)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Some initial thoughts to get the conversation started

1) Folks say and do things which seem rather odd and out of character. I had one person yell at me because I did not rush down to the accident site to *see* it and him and yell at everyone.
2) H died in a work-related accident. Take #1 and multiply by 10
3) Upon advice from my insurance agent, I hired a lawyer to deal with the liability insurance issues. His name is Lou and he drives a Prius.
4) H’s family is rather far away. In the 22 yrs we were married, they never came to visit, and we always went to see them. They arrived after his death and wanted to change some of the funeral arrangements. They were also upset I did not prepare the traditional smoked salmon for the wake. They asked me to make them tea. I don’t think they understand the term “Next of Kin”. Clearly, they did not see me as family. That hurt.
5) Re #4, I did make it clear to them. It was not pretty and only one of them has contacted me since they left. That also hurts.
6) Neighbors and friends really do care and often don’t seem to know what to do. As time passes, some of them ask HOW AAARRRE YOU? In all caps. The close friends know you are totally f-d up and thankfully they just bring you booze.
7) Someone brought fried chicken and Italian beef to my house in the first few days. I will never be able to smell nor eat either one ever again.
8) H loved birds and often had dreams he could fly or was flying. I have noticed that when I think about him a bird of some sort will always fly by. I am not sure if it is meaningful in any way but it is sort of comforting.
9) These days (~8 weeks out) I feel like I am just moving along but I am not sure if I am doing this right. I am not sure there is actually a right way so I suppose I’m good.
10) What I miss the most is talking about our days while I made dinner or while we ate. I have so much to tell him.

And then she was welcomed to the real world

Not quite 8 weeks ago, my husband H died in an accident. It seems so cliché to say how it started out as any ordinary day; however, it really did. I was drinking my coffee, he had his oatmeal, we read the newspapers, I complained how he didn’t wipe the counter. Very, very ordinary. He left for work and I never again saw him alive.

Welcome to your new life.

While I was fairly content with how my life was going before any of this, I am suddenly in the midst of figuring out how to go on with this new life that I really didn’t want. In one way, I want to throw myself on the ground in a childlike tantrum. In another way I want to sit back and see how all of this plays out. In the meantime, I want to put some of this into words just to document this journey or whateverthehell you call it. While it is sad and scary and uncertain at times, I have found it also to be quite funny. Perhaps it is just my sick and sarcastic sense of humor. That hasn’t changed at all. Whatever, it is what it is. Here goes.