Stupid things that have happened to me since my husband died

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As most of my followers know, I became a widow in January. Since then, it seems I have lived years. Probably because of the dumb things that have happened to me since my husband died. Now, as is normally the case, most of these were my own fault. But some were not. I’ll let the reader weed out the difference. Also, be aware that I’m not spilling all the beans. Some things are meant for my conscience alone, and I would not want to shock my readers with everything stupid that I have done since January.
Let’s begin with my ill-fated trip to see my sister Martha Serna, in March. My daughter, Desara and I boarded a plane in Tulsa and went to Houston, Texas, where we planned to stay in a hotel downtown for a night, shop at the Galleria and then join my sister and her husband in Humble, Texas, a suburb. Martha and Pete were in Florida when we left Oklahoma, attending a Red Hot Peppers Concert in Miami. Desara and I got to the hotel, a wonderful downtown spot with clean rooms and an excellent coffee shop and bar on Thursday morning, and after checking in, decided to hit the Galleria. Getting there was easy – we took the bus outside the hotel to the mall. But getting back was another thing. We accidentally got on the wrong bus and spent three hours riding it before we realized we were back where we started. The bus driver asked us, “Where are you going?” We finally got back to the hotel in time to hit a local German restaurant for supper. The next day we checked out and drove to the airport to leave our rental car (yes, I know, you are wondering why we rode the bus. Don’t ask) and meet up with Martha and Pete, who where just arriving from Florida. That went smoothly and we got to their house, dressed for dinner, and their driver brought the limo around to take us to a trendy jazz place in Houston for supper. Martha and Pete have a limo that they use in their business, both for themselves and for clients. Nice car. We had a great time, and that night back at the house, I was playing Pete’s Taylor guitar and drinking some wine, and decided to go downstairs for an ashtray. I missed the bottom two steps somehow and ended up breaking my left foot – the metatarsal and about 100 other little bones that hurt like hell. The next morning I hobbled to the nearest emergency room where they X-rayed the foot and fit me into a boot cast and gave me strict orders to stay off the foot. They gave me some pain pills, and I dutifully took them. However, they made me unsteady. I also had crutches. I was pretty sad, because I had missed out on the most exciting part of the trip – the Houston Open, happening right there on the Redstone Golf Course where Martha and Pete lived. They had VIP tickets, and I missed that, too. So there I was, drugged up and in her kitchen, and needed to pee. So I got on the crutches and tried to make it to the bathroom, and I slipped and fell backwards. My left arm slammed against the rock floor, breaking both forearm bones at the wrist. As I lay there, I contemplated my wrist. It was obviously broken – the ulna and radius were both clearly broken off and askew. So I did the wise thing and pushed them back into place and tried to figure out how to get back to the bar in the kitchen. I crawled, sideways, on my right side. Once there, I hoisted myself up and got my cell phone and began texting. Nobody believed I had broken my arm. The next day was April 1, and they thought I had gotten a jump on it. Ha. That night I went home, with my wrist in a makeshift cast, made of a plastic knife and a scarf.
Desara got me home to Mom’s house in Neosho about 2 a.m. and the next day I went to Fayetteville for more X-rays. “Good job on the resetting!” they told me. I was unable to do much for two weeks, but now I’m almost all better. Sometimes I get a twinge in my foot or my wrist, but at least I can type again and I have my sanity. The only cool thing about this mishap is the removable leopard skin arm cast and using a cane. I think I looked cool with the cane, sort of like a female Bat Masterson. Or at least that is my story and I’m sticking to it.

My cast and cane.

Now, let’s tell another tale. The night the oak tree fell, we were having a violent storm just after midnight. It was mid April. The wind blew hard, in 90 mph gusts, straight line winds. It sounded like a tornado. The cats and I hovered in the hallway, afraid the roof would blow off, but luckily, that didn’t happen. What did happen was the back door blew open and I couldn’t get it closed. The wind was too strong. Then I heard a giant crash in the front yard. The oak tree blew down, thankfully away from the house, but taking a power line to the shop with it and tearing up the yard. Today that wood is firewood for next winter, thanks to a man who came and cut it for me. But the rotten stump remains. This was not my fault. But it was a challenge. It took me several weeks to figure out what to do. My husband would have had it taken care of in no time.

Dry years have accumulated on us, and the yard is suffering as well as the ponds and our water table. One night I decided to water the front lawn, and hooked up a fancy hose with an attachment. Ninety minutes later, I heard a strange hissing sound coming from the utility room. Hmm, I thought. Wonder what that sound is. It was coming from the washing machine. So I went out to the pump house – I had pumped our well dry. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I pulled the switch on the pump and let it regenerate until the next morning, when I went in and miraculously remembered how to prime the pump and get it back into service. Another water problem I have had is putting salt in the softener. Because I live alone, I don’t have any way to get the salt into the softener without bribing someone to do it, and I’m tired of doing that. So I decided there had to be a way to hoist a 40 pound bag of salt into the softener. Two years ago I tried to do this myself and I slipped, and the salt hit the pipes and broke them. Water gushed everywhere and it took my husband and stepson hours to repair the mess. So I didn’t want a replay of that day. I figured it out: I open the bag, scoop out salt and put it in the softener with a large bowl, until it is light enough for me to hoist. Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Because I’m a girl.
Getting a dog is something I have thought of since Larry died. A good dog is protection from intruders, vermin and is company. But I wanted a dog that is scary looking and sounding, not just any dog. So I got a pit bull. Pippa is a very pretty pit bull lass, 50 pounds of pure muscle and bone. She looks mean but is not. At least I think she is not. Visitors would be wise to let me come get them out of the car. When I got Pippa, I knew I would have to orient my cats to the dog. She is house-trained to a point, and I bring her in occasionally – actually twice or three times a day. She and the cats did not get along right away. Regis, in particular, was about to lose his cool. And he actually lost his cookies a time or two, he got so agitated over the dog. Both for the cookies and the dog’s occasional lack of bladder control, I’m the thankful owner of a Bissell Green Machine. But I digress. One day I was trying to get the animals to like each other, and Regis started in after the dog. The dog cowered down, terrified of the 20-pound yellow cat who obviously wanted to do him harm. So I picked Regis up. Big mistake. He bit me good on the hand, in two places, all the way to the bone. The next day I went to the doctor, my hand swollen to twice its size. “If you hadn’t come in here today, you would have been in the emergency room tonight,” the doctor said. Apparently cat bites are far from harmless. I was infected badly, and streaks were running up my arm. But at least this was my right hand this time. LOL. It took two weeks to heal. And I have scars. But on the positive side, the cats and dog have learned to coexist. Right now, as I’m writing this, Pippa and Annabelle are playing tag in the library. Regis, however, is in the closet, hiding. He is still not a fan.

Pippa in Mom’s kitchen during a recent Cates’ family get-together. The dog travels like a pro.

My hand is actually halfway healed here. You should have seen it a week before.

It’s a running gag in my household that any time I buy a new car, I kill a dog within a week or two with the car. It has happened twice to me. So, when I buy a new car, everyone says they feel sorry for the dog. Well now they should say they feel sorry for the dog AND the ramp. Last week I was driving down my bosses’ driveway, a one-lane road, and his daughter was coming home for lunch, driving up it. So I backed up. And backed up. And backed up right over the bosses’ wooden ramp that has a nice wooden handrail; I took out the handrail. My car sustained damage to the right side. I decided I needed to extricate the car from the ramp, so I carefully went forward, watching the right side of the car, until I hit something with my front bumper, hard. A tree. The tree is fine. The car was now in bad shape, though. Try explaining this one to your insurance company. It was about as hard as explaining the fall at Martha’s and the second fall at Martha’s. Nobody believes this stuff. Unless it happens to me. Tomorrow I take the car in for repairs. Thankfully, the insurance company is waiving my deductible because I’m such a good customer. They don’t know about the dog I killed two years ago, because I replaced that bumper myself without telling them.
I hope my mishaps are winding down. I cannot afford to break anything else on my body, or sustain any further injuries. As for the house, I’m replacing my old locks with deadbolts that no wind can tear asunder. I’m also having the water from the public water system brought up to the house for emergency use, plus a hydrant so I can water the yard and the flowers without taking out my pump. And I’m planning to take a little more care when I’m driving. Now that I’m a proud dog owner, I don’t want to take out another dog.

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