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 argument...so 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 bees...so 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 stuff...it 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 TimeCutterZ...it 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 bicep...you 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 dry...so 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.