Saturday, March 23, 2019

roller coaster week


So this has been quite the week - a bit of a roller coaster.

Monday was really bad, crying for hours. I'm not even sure what set me off. It certainly didn't help that the weather was gray and gloomy. I felt completely hopeless and defeated most of the day. I pulled myself together long enough to go to chorus rehearsal but I left early because I couldn't stand being around people any longer and I had more crying to do.

Tuesday I called in sick to work just so that I could sleep. All that crying had left me emotionally exhausted and it was so rainy. I actually didn't think I could face driving to work in the rain...so I didn't. I really needed that extra sleep and I'm sure Charlie didn't mind having to share the couch with me.

On Wednesday and Thursday I could see blue sky, the temperatures started coming up and so did my mood. I was back at work, I went out to lunch with a coworker and I started working on new projects.


During the week I've been exchanging silly Snapchat photos with a variety of friends and that really seems to help improve my mood. I started out just connecting with the daughter of a friend but since I've been sharing the pictures on Facebook and Instagram I've inspired grown up friends to try it too so now I have several people to send daily silly pictures to. It's fun and lord knows I need as much fun in my life as I can get. 

By Friday I felt strong enough to tackle a really big milestone - a solo trip to Epcot, which was Mr. T's favorite Disney park. I had worried that since we spent SO much time together at this park, it would be too sad for me to be there alone. However it appears that just the opposite is true - I have so many happy memories there that it's a place where I feel close to Mr. T. 

I ended up having a great morning walking around the World Showcase and I can't wait to tell you all about it in future posts. I'm going to spotlight one "country" per post and share all my happy memories. We used to go there all the time to get exercise (it's approximately a mile around the World Showcase and Mr. T would frequently drag me around 2 times) so there are a LOT of happy memories...and quite a few memories of sore feet!

Stay tuned

Thursday, March 21, 2019

out of the cocoon



This is kind of a hard post to write, mostly because, although I'm sure of how I feel, I worry that I might be jumping to conclusions but deep down I really don't think so. I've noticed that since I became a widow, there's been some disturbing things going on in the world of men. 

Case in point - my neighbor, who is probably a very nice guy but he's very loud and I'm very quiet and I've never felt entirely comfortable with him, has paid more attention to me. He's gone out of his way to stop and talk when we're both outside and one evening he came over to the house to let me know he was on his own and that if I ever needed to talk I could come on over or we could go out for drinks or dinner or whatever. Then, and this was where it crossed the line for me, he said that since we were neighbors we should be friends and said "give me a kiss" and leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

Probably all very innocent but it bothered me...a lot. Since that time it makes me uncomfortable in my own neighborhood, a place that has always been my own personal haven.

And here's an even worse example - there's this guy that I've known for a couple of years but we've had very limited contact. We were both at a recent meeting and ended up sitting next to each other. Whenever he was talking directly to me, he would touch me on the leg or the arm. Now, since I don't know him very well maybe he's just a tactile guy and this is done to emphasize whatever he's saying but it wasn't just a tap on the leg or arm. He would run his hand up and down my thigh or upper arm. He did this at least 4 times on my leg and twice on my arm and we weren't talking all that much.

I might be making way too much out of this but it doesn't feel innocent to me, it feels like a violation. I saw this person again a couple of weeks later, in another meeting, and he found a way to touch me on the arm and shoulder a couple of times and we weren't even talking. Obviously I will go out of my way to avoid him from now on. Even if he doesn't mean anything by it, it feels wrong to me.

But that's not to say that all touch is bad - there's a guy in my office who has always been a friendly sort and comes to my office to talk. After Mr. T's death he has started hugging me every time we see each other. That's all, just a hug. It feels perfectly natural and normal to me and I appreciate his little gesture of comfort.  I know that he would feel uncomfortable talking about my situation but I think this is his way of letting me know he's there for me.

The hugs of friends are always welcome. It's something I miss in my everyday life, being hugged and touched on a daily basis. You don't realize how much you crave touch until it's taken away.

And something really special - I love it when the children of my friends greet me with a big spontaneous hug. It's the purest expression of love and friendship and it's very sweet and very much appreciated. I would never want a child to be prompted to hug me but it's lovely when they do it because they want to.

I know that there will be all sorts of experiences out there for me that wouldn't happen if I weren't widowed and I'm apprehensive about navigating all of that. I lived in a safe and happy cocoon for almost all of my adult life so I'm one scared little butterfly. I'm happy to have the love and support of my friends while I figure all of this out.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

we'll always have Paris...or Nice


Mr. T grew up in Paris and I'm not gonna lie, hearing him speak French was quite sexy and certainly one of the big appeals when I first met him in college. 

Of course, like most American girls who are too stupid to learn a second language, my one line of French got his attention too. Think Lady Marmalade and an inappropriate thing to say to someone you barely know. I can still see the look on his face when I said it.

Because of certain issues, we didn't get to visit Paris until we'd been together for 16 years. During that time, I had developed a teeny, tiny, major obsession with Paris and the Eiffel Tower that has never really gone away.

My first trip to Paris came about because Mr. T had a business trip there in January and I just invited myself along. I found a good airfare for the same flight he was already booked on and figured it wouldn't cost any extra for hotel and I promised not to eat much. He was shocked when I first mentioned it, it took him some time to process it (Mr. Spontaneity he was not) and then he smiled and I knew I was going to Paris!

It was an awesome trip, cold (because it was January) and I actually have pictures somewhere. I will share more about that trip another time but right now I want to talk about a memory from our second trip.

We had an anniversary coming up that summer and Mr. T took it upon himself to plan a 2 week trip to celebrate. He did it all himself, picked the dates, our flights, our lodging, our locations, everything.

I'd love to say that I was totally appreciative but I can't lie - I didn't like not being in control of the plans. I probably wasn't as gracious about it as I could have been, possibly I was a little grumpy but eventually I realized this meant a lot to him and I sat back and enjoyed letting him have the fun of planning.

Our lodging in Paris was perfectly nice, kind of a little studio apartment in the Chatelet - Les Halles district, near a Pizza Hut (where we never ate) and a Moroccan restaurant (where we did.) We had a fantastic time in Paris for a few days and then we flew down to Nice to see the famous Riviera.

Our hotel in Nice was not so nice. It was supposed to be another studio apartment but it was just a big square room with one tiny little window. It was summer and it was hot and the hotel didn't have any air conditioning. The whole room had that dank inside of a non-working refrigerator feel and smell. I shudder to think about it even all these years later.

We went out for dinner and walked around until very late at night, somehow hoping the room would have cooled down by then but no, if anything it was worse. 

I'm a pretty easy going traveler and I take things in stride, always trying to make the best of every situation. Not this time. I was hot and sticky and uncomfortable and generally out of sorts. We couldn't even sleep because it was so awful in that room.

Mr. T didn't really say much, just kept looking through the phone book. At dawn he said he was going out for a walk. I was being such a grumpus, I don't even think I did more than grunt at him as he walked out the door. I'm amazed he even came back and didn't just leave me there in not so nice Nice.

But come back he did. He threw open the door and told me to gather up my suitcases because he had a taxi waiting.

He wouldn't tell me where we were going but he had that little mischievous grin that I loved so much so I knew he was up to something.

We pulled up at a big hotel on the Promenade des Anglais and walked right in, suitcases in hand, and got on the elevator. I kept looking at him, asking what's going on, and he would shush me and tell me all would be revealed in time. 

We stopped at a high floor and walked into a corner room with floor to ceiling windows with the most gorgeous view of the coastline and ocean. Best of all - the room was deliciously cool! OMG, I was so happy and just couldn't stop smiling.

Mr. T had walked all over Nice, stopping in at hotels to ask if they had air conditioning. When he found this one, he knew it was perfect and he booked a room right then and there for the rest of our stay. He was pretty proud of himself, rightfully so.

The hotel not only had blessed air conditioning and amazing views but it was also right across the street from Vieux Nice, the old part of the city. Being a big history buff, this was, of course, my favorite place to hang out throughout our trip and it had the best ice cream/gelato stores.I found a favorite flavor that I've never really found the equivalent of in the US and darn it, I can't remember the name. I know it had "de lait" in the name. It's similar to Dulce de Leche but way, way better. This is right when I would turn to Mr. T and ask him what it was and I know he would remember. Makes me tear up right now knowing that I can never ask him again.

But this is a time for happy memories. Mr. T really turned the trip around and I was happy, happy, happy for the rest of it. I will always remember it as the trip where I discovered how much I love cherries. We were walking down the street one night and some woman came out of a little store with a bag of cherries. She looked right at us and said "aren't you so happy when it's cherry season?" and thrust the bag in our direction and told us to take some. She was right, they were the most delicious cherries ever and I've been a big fan of cherry season ever since. I kind of go a little crazy over it and it all started in Nice. I think of her every year and remember that magical night. Our time in Nice hadn't started out so well but it became lovely and perfect all because Mr. T knew how to fix anything.

All too soon we had to head back to Paris for the final part of our trip. There are some funny stories from then but I'll save that for another time.

Au revoir y'all

Monday, March 18, 2019

what's the point?

So here's what's on my mind this morning and I'm not even going to pretty it up with a picture.

So I sit here, 4 months after this whole nightmare started, and I wonder - what’s the point of all of this? What’s the point of going on?

Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of harming myself but I seriously wonder what the point of all this is.

My whole life is going to change even though I’ve desperately tried not to think about it. I am never going to make enough money to pay my mortgage so I’m going to lose the only thing that Taz and I had together - our home. I’m either going to lose it because the bank takes it away or I’m going to lose it because I have to sell it.

I won’t be able to rent anything in Orlando because my credit is so screwed up by all the years of Mr. T's unemployment so I’m going to have to leave this area where I’ve built somewhat of a life for myself. I'm going to have to move in with some family member (not that any of them have said they want me) and become the unwanted relative.

Before that happens I’m going to lose the job that I love so much because it’s only part-time and I need full-time to buy me a little extra time in the house.

My only possibility for keeping the house is to get a roommate which I will do if I have to but I'm such a private person that I hate the thought of losing my privacy and having to learn to live with a stranger in the house. And what if they are horrible and I'm putting my property or my life in danger? I can't even contemplate doing that right now.
Wasn’t it enough that I lost my husband, why do I have to lose everything else too?

What’s the point of all this? Why am I still even here? How am I going to keep living for the next 30-40 years? Why should I?

Mr. T's one big fear, the thing that kept him up at night, was that I would have to struggle financially once he was gone. He was trying so hard to find the “big thing” that would at least allow him to get enough money to pay off the house and even leave me with a little nest egg so that I wouldn’t have to worry about having a roof over my head. He was so afraid that something would happen to him before he could get this done.

His worst fear came true.

Why?

This sucks.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

wedding


Last night I went to a wedding.

I had been looking forward to this wedding for over a year. It was the wedding of Mr. T's favorite coworker and the daughter of the founder of the company, who was Mr. T's business partner.

Mr. T was looking forward to this wedding too. He was planning on taking his camera and taking lots of pictures, hoping that he could capture just the right one to give to the couple as a wedding present. It was the main reason we got his cameras out of storage in California when we went for a visit last September.

So it became very important for me to be there, to represent Mr. T and show our combined support for the couple.

But it was  hard for me to go. I wasn't going to know anybody else at the wedding and that's hard for a shy, introverted person. Plus the location was 90 miles away so it was a long drive to a place I've never been before. I thought about not going quite a few times.

I did everything I could to provide support for myself. I bought a new dress and shoes, I got a pedicure and I had a hair appointment to get my hair blown out straight. I probably spent more money than I should have on all that but it did make me feel stronger.

After a 2 hour drive through lots of traffic, I finally arrived at the location. It was a big, beautiful house right on the water. Pretty much a gorgeous mansion. At first I thought it was a place they had rented but I eventually realized it was the groom's family home - who knew?

 The ceremony was set in the back yard, right on the water with big boats docked right in front of us. Stunning!

 It wasn't easy to walk into the ceremony setting, not knowing anyone. I kind of hoped maybe a couple of Mr. T's other coworkers might be there. Even if I'd only met them once it would be a little easier but there was nobody. I quickly found a seat, sat quietly and waited for everything to begin.


The ceremony was beautiful. The bride and groom wrote their own vows which were touching and tender and quite funny. It perfectly captured their personalities. I got quite choked up and couldn't help thinking that Mr. T should have been there. I'll never understand why he wasn't allowed to be there.


After the ceremony was over I got a chance to hug the bride and groom. They both seemed pleased that I was there. I told the bride that I had watched a LOT of Say Yes To The Dress over the past few months (a reality show that probably saved my life in December because it was the only thing I could concentrate on and it filled up the empty hours) and her dress was still the prettiest one I'd seen. I meant it too, it was a beautiful dress and looked perfect on her.

I had been getting pretty hungry during the ceremony so I had high hopes for food when I walked out into the cocktail hour but there was no food. Yikes! Then I looked around and realized I didn't know anybody there. What was I going to do? How could I stand around by myself and not even have food to eat.


So I did the only thing I could do, I walked to the driveway and had the valet get my car so that I could make a getaway. I had done what I'd come to do. I had watched these two special people get married, I had honored Mr. T's spirit and I had hugged them. Time for this princess to leave the ball.

I held myself together while I got out of town and over the long bridge and then, once I was on the familiar highway, I started to cry. I had really enjoyed the wedding, I'm so happy that I went but I was feeling so lonely and all alone and missing Mr. T.

I cried about half of the 90 miles and then I really had to stop and pay attention to my driving since it was now dark and raining.

And then the hunger really took over so I got off at an exit about 16 miles from home so that I could get some french fries at the McDonald's drive-thru. There are times when only comfort food will do.


I managed not to inhale the entire pouch of french fries while still on the road. I drove into my driveway and saw a cute little face looking out the front window. I wonder how long Charlie had been standing there, waiting for me to get home. It's always nice to come home to her sweet little face so she was rewarded with the last of my french fries.

Like I said, I'm so glad I went to the wedding and I did have a good time but I was really happy to be back home.

I wish the bride and the groom all the happiness in the world and I know Mr. T, wherever he is, does too.

Friday, March 15, 2019

kungaloosh!


Living near Disney, there are lots of opportunities to attend dress-up events that take place each year - Dapper Day, Magical Tiki Meetup, the Not So Scary Halloween Party. Each event has clothing suggestions, either a costume or vintage or just variations on a theme. 

Adventureland Day is one of those events. It's an unofficial event that asks people to dress as explorers from the early 20th century so that they can go on rides together, take group photos and participate in a scavenger hunt.

Mr. T and I wanted to participate in Adventureland Day last year (he had a ton of explorer, Indiana Jones type clothes) but something prevented us, I probably had to be down with my mother or something.

So this year, when the announcement came out, I knew I really wanted to attend but I didn't want to go by myself, I just wasn't ready for that. I put out a request on Facebook asking if anybody wanted to go with me...and was willing to dress up. Right away I had a friend that was thrilled to go. She is part of a group I call my ohana which is Hawaiian for family. It's 2 friends, their husbands and 4 kids. They love to dress up too and were excited about the challenge of putting together explorer outfits.


I put together an outfit centered around a photographer's vest that belonged to Mr. T. And I was thrilled to wear a hat that we had purchased in Carmel on our vacation there last September. I wasn't going to get it, didn't want to spend the money but Mr. T insisted because he knew I really did love it. I knew it was the perfect hat for the explorer look that I love and I had planned on wearing it when we went to Animal Kingdom for my birthday in November but that never happened so it made me happy to wear it now. Between the hat and the vest I felt like a little bit of Mr. T was there with me.


My ohana stepped up and came up with great outfits. We were all quite stylish. You may be wondering where Taz's vest is - it had become too hot for it by the time we took the group picture. Florida is HOT y'all.


We all rode Jungle Cruise together which is a river ride with fake animals and silly jokes. I love it.



The whole ride is themed around a fictional travel exploration company from the 1920s and I just love the atmosphere of the waiting area. So many photo opportunities.




After the ride we participated in the scavenger hunt which sent us all over Adventureland looking for clues to find a missing idol. I wish I had pictures of that part but we were too busy hunting for clues. The kids loved that part of the day, some of the adults not so much. It was a typically hot day in Florida and all that walking in the sun made things a little sweaty.

It was a special day. I really appreciated my ohana being there for me. We had a lot of fun, lots of laughs and made some special memories. It was nice to be doing something purely fun and for a little while I didn't feel so all alone. I hope we can all do it again next year!

 

time for a little silliness


I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a complete change of pace away from sad.

Here's something absolutely silly - I have joined the Snapchat generation.

I seem to have acquired quite a few friends between the ages of 9-11, daughters of my friends. I'm very popular with the tween set, maybe it's my mental age?

Recently a couple of them requested that I join Snapchat so that they can send me silly pictures. Hey, I'm all about silly pictures!

Of course I feel a bit like a dinosaur as I try to figure out how to use the blasted thing but I did manage to send out this picture yesterday evening. I like Snapchat, it gives me a glamour makeover!

Expect more silliness in the weeks ahead.