Bittersweet Trips and Weird Ghosts and Echoes 


It’s been a while, darling readers, I know. It’s been busy trying to stock the shop and keep it stocked. I’m always only half successful at that and then spent most of my time kicking myself for not working harder over the winter and swearing to myself that THIS winter will certainly be different. Hahahaha. 

So youngest daughter is finally getting married to the guy that she has been practically has long as her dad and I were together. She decided to do a destination wedding which has cleaned out what teeny bit of cushion I had. So here we are in Cancun. I am filled with all sorts of mixed feelings. In reality, I was afraid of the overwhelming stuff that was going to certainly come up and yell every moment of every day that the last time I was here was with Fix-it-guy. In fact we left the morning that Katrina hit. Which is a great story. Terrifying at the time. And damn lucky that we were on the last flight out.

So of course I had to leave in the middle of the night. I swear that is the only time planes leave the middle of fucking nowhere. And so being half exhausted and packing and repacking 10 times, I finally had what I thought was a good variety of clothes. It wasn’t. All the restaurants at this resort was casual dressy clothes for dinner and I only brought one hundreds that fits the bill. No capris at all. Just my one pair of jean shorts and 4 t-shirts and 3 tank tops. You can always order in, but that seems fucking pathetic. I brought 1 semi formal dress and the dress I brought for the wedding. One pair of super glitzy sandals. I guess I didn’t ask enough questions about what was appropriate. Sigh. Once again those fucking incomprehensible social norms just speed over me.

As I said, it has been a very mixed bag. I’m a simple girl. All the food is way over my paygrade. I’ve managed to find a few things that have not been awful. And a few things have been really good. We’ve discussed my food issues before. I’m not starving.

My room is amazing. Way too much for just me. The bed is huge. I have a private pool. I have a jacuzzi. I feel like a misrouted princess. It’s nice, but really makes me miss the Fix-it-guy. He would have adored this room. It is A. MAZE. ING. 

We had a catamaran trip today. It was amazing being on the boat in the sun and on the waves. I could seriously do that every day. I mean every one of them. It makes,you rethink every choice you have made in life. Funny how that works. I’m burnt to a crisp. And exhausted. Felt like a set of training wheels that have been raised too much. But you, know. That’s one of those things.  

Things you Don’t think about until you are in a sea of significant others and you are the lone single person. You ate not an octopus and it is really annoying to have to ask others to put sunscreen on you. You Don’t have anyone to share little moments with. You are just there trying to not look conspicuous. You have no one to eat dinner with. Or lunch. Or breakfast. And you Don’t want people to feel sorry for you  because truthfully, at some point, you have to make your peace with being in this place in life. And being introduced as Fixitguy’s widow is just awkward and weird for everyone. So welcome to my life. Lol.

So the big disaster of the weekend has been that I packed 10 balls of yarn to work on hats for the shop and no crochet hooks. I made a trip to Wal-Mart and found the only fucking one in the universe without crochet hooks. I may make one more try tomorrow. At least the plane trip home may not be a total wash. 

So tomorrow is the wedding. We will not have Fixitguy. Which will seem all sorts of strange. It also continues to feed that feeling inside of me that I just don’t belong in these places anymore. I am an echo among the ghosts of my old life.  I try to keep one foot there but the balance is off and I just feel dizzy. 

I have this feeling of needing to make decisions and I am overwhelmed with all the decisions feeling wrong. I am stuck in place and the world swirls around me. I wish I could find a place to be stuck that didn’t feel so stuck. It will come, I suppose. 

In the meantime, here is a picture of my little private pool. It doesn’t even look real.

And this is my view from my little veranda.

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No one has time for drama, especially not me!


Dear darling readers, it’s been a couple of weeks filled with crap and drama. The most annoying of which is Fixitguy’s family. His sister and father are such selfish, self-serving asshats that it literally defies my ability to process it. I became my brother-in-law’s guardian last year and Asshat father-in-law decided to fight me on it. On the grounds that I’m weird and different and I’m proud of it. Wow. He is ridiculous and I’m glad the judge had the good sense to shut him down.

Today it’s an entirely new drama. Because of IdiotLawyer’s advice my house is now in foreclosure and apparently a notice was in the paper. AFIL has nothing else to do but read the paper. I believe he’s one of their 25 subscribers. So he and SIL commiserate and SIL starts texting BonusDaughters1&2 to find out why I’m not taking care of Fixitguy’s business. They tell her it’s taken care of. Next thing I know she is texting another friend saying her dad is getting a lawyer to “take the house away”. I have no idea what he is thinking or how he thinks he can accomplish this. But I told SIL that both of them need to mind their own fucking business. She replies that it was in the paper and so it’s everyone’s business. I point out that she lives in New Mexico, so still not hers. I am just so exhausted of the take take take from this family. I am taking care of the brother/son that neither of them can be bothered with. AFIL calls FIL periodically to ask why there is no headstone on Fixitguy or his mother. I just feel like they should have called and asked if I needed help rather than commiserating with each other and stirring up shit. I mean, really. So now I just have this cartoon in my head of vultures in Christian suits banging each other over their asshat heads with bibles. AFIL is such a great Christian and knows the only true way to believe, but this is how he behaves toward his daughter in law who stepped in to help out with his insane child. Yep, dear readers, the insanity runs deep and hard in that family. It is enough to make me want to go live in a mildly furnished cave with cable and space for a craft business, so if you hear of anything, let me know.

Hypocrisy has never been on my list of things that I entertain easily and the hypocrisy that these two people represent makes me furious. The simple answer is that they do not have their own lives and must create drama in other people’s lives. It makes them feel important and accomplished. I normally just shake my head, but the stressors were great yesterday and my tolerance for them was non-existent. I am locked in an almost impossible situation and these two step right up as if on cue to add to the pile. The simple answer is for AFIL to write a check to help cover some of this stuff. But it’s WAY better to point out everyone’s fault in not taking care of these things and WAY easier than actually pretending he is a decent human being for five minutes. That is just too much to bear. I am glad that I have cut certain people out of my life since Fixitguy’s death.

Of course, our 15th anniversary would have been on Sunday the 5th. This fills me with overwhelming sadness. It is anniversary number 2. Which seems so crazy to me. Wee Geek and I were talking about missing him last night. It is just so odd to have this 6 foot 2 hole inside of me that only he can fill. I am forever asked about dating and my reply is always, “Boyfriend? God no. How do you take care of them? Do you have to feed them? Water them? Take them for walks? That sounds like way more responsibility than I am equipped to handle in my current state. Sorry. No.”

I am reading at a funeral today. My dear UFOconspiracybuddy asked me to read a poem at his mom’s funeral. So I’m off to do that today. Maybe some sort of clarity will magically jump into my head and make me feel more kindly toward the idiots in my life. I doubt it, but a girl can dream.

How to Survive Year 1…or the seemingly never ending morass of bullshit you must endure now that your spouse is gone


So, dear reader, we did it! We survived the first year! Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back, because obviously, no one else is around to do that for you! So…..now what?

You thought that things would be a lot different, didn’t you? Ha! Nope. You only survived because you don’t know how to not survive. You put your head down and put one foot in front of the other. Every. Fucking. Day. Because you had to. If you’re like me, you didn’t inherit a metric fuck-ton of money when your spouse died. You inherited an entirely new set of headaches that no amount of fuckitall is going to take away.

I thought that I would have my house paid off and I would be living somewhere else by now. Nope. My lawyer assures me he is working on it, but since he’s never in his office, and certainly doesn’t answer phone messages, I have no idea whether or not this is truthful or not. How hard can this be? The only thing in the estate was the house. But this has brought a completely new set of headaches. For one thing, I now owe more on the house than I did when Andrew died. Totally fair, right? No.

Also I can not change the name on my insurance account until the house is settled. Because God forbid what would happen if the whole thing burned down around my ears? Well, I know the answer to that. The insurance agency would issue a check that I could not cash in Andrew’s name to cover the contents of said house. Which brings us squarely into this week’s drama.

So, apparently the insurance company has been overcharging us for years. Thank you, Farmers. Not applying the correct discounts. So when I added the new car, apparently this brought this little black seed out into the light and they have been fixing it. One small refund check at a time. The bank said to sign his name and then mine and add “representative payee/personal representative”. Which I have dutifully done on every single check I have received. Until this week. Suddenly, the bank has decided that this is not their policy and that I have to get the check reissued. In my name. Sounds simple, right? Nope.  I call Farmers and talk to an agent who gives me a phone number to call. I call the number and get “virtual voting has ended”. Click. I call Farmers back. They give me 2 new numbers to call, one of which calls some black hole in outer space and never connects and the other, interestingly enough to Bank of America. Or at least, a class action lawsuit for them. Because apparently, they’ve  been overcharging people for years. So, I call Farmers back and get a girl who tells me that they just have to change the name on the billing account to me. This change should take 24-48 hours and I will get an email notifying me of this change before Friday. Email never appears. I call Farmers again. Different lady tells me that is not the case at all and that they can only issue the check to Andrew or to Andrew’s estate. Which does me no good. I call the bank and they tell me that they can’t cash the check because Andrew was never on my account. Grrr.

So this morning I went to the downtown branch of the back and cried. Playing the widow card with as much enthusiasm as having a whole hand of Aces at the Poker table. I have all the paperwork. I cry. I talk. I cry. The guy I’m talking to looks at paperwork. Looks at ID. Looks at paperwork. Goes and talks to someone. Comes back. Looks at paperwork. Says “follow me” and leads me to a teller who he tells to deposit this check. Sigh. WTAF. It never should have taken all of this effort a week after Andrew’s one year anniversary to do all of this. It’s insane. They should all be ashamed.

I know you thought I’d be living some kind of charmed carefree life by now. I’m not. Nothing has changed. I’m still barely making ends meets. Still working. Still trying to get Autiezombiegirl off the ground. Still barely surviving. Interestingly enough, I discovered the bottom of the depression barrel this week. Yeah….I’m in the basement of that, right now. But who wouldn’t be? Fuck. I can’t move on. Hell, I can’t even move until all of this crap is settled. So, I just sit. Spinning my wheels.

Bank of America sends me a little Asian guy every other day to hand me a yellow envelope that says “Please call immediately” and take my picture.

These are just a few of the things that I am still dealing with. A. Year. Later. In other news, I have also discovered that my heart is still absolutely broken. My tolerance for frustration is at zero. And I honestly think that I am heading straight to Applebee’s after  work and ordering drinks by color. Because I can. And because that’s how I adult. I feel like I have just put up with WAY too much this week. So, if you happen to be around…..

I’m disappointed. I really thought that things would be different in some small way outside of my husband being dead. It just all feels so….depressing. Sigh. You know me dear reader. I’ll get up and do it all over again tomorrow. But it is still overwhelming. And heartbreaking. And I hope that you don’t have to deal with this kind of bullshit if your spouse dies. Because it sucks. It really does. There are days that I just go home and go to bed because I cannot deal with even one more thing. I don’t know how to end this blog, today. So I will just end it with a period.

Anniversaries from the brink of the edge of nowhere


.facebook_1471892102149Oh dear readers, we are racing at light speed toward the one year mark. It sits on me, the weight as vast as the entire universe. I won’t lie, this year has been jam packed with all of the dips and highs of this insane roller coaster ride. It has been nothing that I either expected or wanted to happen this year. Most of the time I have just floated, keeping my head down on the difficult days and breathing, taking one moment by impossible moment. If someone had told me a year ago that this would be my life, I would not have believed it. How do you even predict this? Or cope with it?

This week feels heartbreaking. Full of moments of afraid to breathe because if I start crying now, I will never stop. Will I?  I have many people that tell me that I will. But I am not so sure. So I thought that I would share some of my favourite pictures with you.

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This is him in his Sears uniform. Way back 16 years ago when we first met. This is how I will always remember him. Those startling blue eyes and those boyish good looks. He never really changed. Of course, now I can let the secret out that I dyed his hair for 16 years. Laugh. He wouldn’t let me stop!

He was goofy beyond belief.

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This was the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame trip that I gave him for his 40th birthday. He had a blast. These guitars were all over Cleveland and I think we took pictures of most of them.

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This was after we won our first title of Crab Race champions. 2015.

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He never missed a chance to take pictures of us together. This is our first year together, he was still living in Van Buren and I was spending my time between Muncie and his trailer.

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This was our vacation in Cancun. I wanted to spend all our time on the beach and he actually only got to microplan a couple of days from the whole thing. For those of you who don’t know, he could microplan the fuck out of a vacation. I often came home needing a vacation from our vacation. This one, he only got 2 days. But he was a water baby and he would be lying if he said that he didn’t love the beach time.

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This is the picture we used for the obituary. He is playing my cousin’s 1952 Gibson and he never looked happier or more in awe of anything in his life. He loved playing music and his guitars were his favourite and most prized possessions. I have way too many guitars for a girl that doesn’t play, but he loved them and now so do I. Our lives were full of music. He dragged me to many a festival, concert, bar and outdoor performance. I didn’t like all of them, but I went because I was his built in concert buddy. We had a concert budget and went to anywhere from 50-200 shows a year. We planned vacations around them every now and again. I have gone to some shows this summer. It’s a hell of a lot harder to find someone to go with, but I also go to more things that I like and less things that I don’t, now. LOL.

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This was the last concert that we went to (the last show was the 1964 Beatles tribute). It was the Rolling Stones at Speedway. He was ticking off his bucket list the last ten years and I didn’t even realize it. But here we are at one of those last few shows. This was 10 days before his mom died. About 8 weeks before he did. It seems like now that there isn’t anything music that doesn’t bring him back to me. Because our entire lives were indeed music.

I miss him immensely. Those of you who are FaceBook friends are often entertained by the “Conversations with my husband” series that show his more blonde, silly, and just plain not thinking things out moments.

I will forever curse Timehop and FaceBook for having apps that bring me the joy and the tears of all of these photos that I forgot about or haven’t looked at. I will forever cry when a text message comes up on one of those apps with some inane thing like “what’s for dinner, baby?” or “what do you want to do this weekend?”. Wishing that it was some profound profession of our love. But being with someone for 16 years isn’t about profound professions of love. It’s about profound love that is SO there that you don’t have to say it every day. You just know that it’s there. You trust that it is there and you hold it in your heart above all the other things. Because you know it’s safe and it’s yours.

This year has made me step so far out of my comfort box that I am not even sure where that damn thing is anymore. This year has made me take stock of what is truly important. This year has made me count up all the good things, discard the poison ones, and push other things that are just not worth bothering with away. This is good and bad. Above all, this year has made me appreciate the person that I become with this wonderful guy and I treasure the fact that he weaseled his little blond haired, blue eyed self into my heart. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I am grateful that he did. Look at the things that I have done in the last 16 years. This barely scratches the surface of all of the amazing trips that we took and all of those things that we experienced because he planned them so amazingly well. It barely touches all of the shows we experienced and the joy those shows brought to either of us. It can never come close to making you experience the love that he so obviously had for me.

I hope that you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Here is one last thought. A pendant that a friend made and his ring.

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Birthdays….grrrrr….another first in my corner of hell….


This is 47. I didn’t think that I would be celebrating this birthday as a widow. Weird where life leaves us and drags us. .like highway wreckage. I am trying to have no expectations for the day. After all, expectations lead to disappointment and honestly, I woke up with a headache. It’s too hot for this shit. Against my better judgement, I’m working today. That’s never worked out well for me in the past, but what the hell?

I will put my head down and get through it like all the other hard days, I suppose. I miss rolling over and being showered with kisses and “Happy birthday, baby, I’m only 7 years older than you again.” The cats are indifferent to my birthday. They run away when you try to love them. Sigh. My alarm is going off. Time to go.

Added: It’s before noon, and I’ve already had so many birthday wishes which are keeping me going through the day. I am so lucky to have such awesome friends and so many people that care about me! 

6 Months Seems Like Forever (My New Life and Other Sordid Memories)


So dear readers. We have passed the 6 month mark. I have also lived through a majority of the firsts. First Labour Day, first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s, first Valentine’s Day, stepdaughter’s first birthday, first book…all of these firsts without him. My heart breaks non stop for all of these things and the few that will be coming up. I spend a lot of time reflecting and remembering. Crying and kicking myself for crying. These are the things life is made of.
I switched jobs shortly after the last blog. Well just before Christmas. Running a program was way too stressful and my impending health issues with the diagnosis of broken heart syndrome made some changes necessary. I realised that going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark was greatly affecting my mental health. Not even to mention the toxicity of the previous 2-1/2 years. It had all weighed so heavily upon me that there was nothing else to do but get out. So I did.
That is not a choice that my husband would have approved of. But I started thinking that something had to change or I would end up like him. Happy means more than money sometimes.
I bought a new car. Yet another decision my husband would not have approved of. But I just wanted the piece of mind of not worrying about car issues. I have very few other things to worry about, so what the hell.

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I also have justified it because Autie Zombie Girl Gifts had outgrown the Hyundai. And all I have to do is wave my foot under the tailgate and it pops right up. WIN!!!!! I did put the Hyundai plates on it. Makes me feel like he’s still there with me. This car also reminds me of our old Blazer. Which he had bought just a month before we met and we owned until about 2 years ago. I miss the Blazer.
When I think over this last year and a little, it’s crazy. I did some things that I never thought I was strong enough to do. I participated in the Fear Project and my husband was one of my biggest cheerleaders. He gave me the pep talk I needed every week and held me for an hour while I cried the morning I was eliminated. He kept me going when I didn’t think I could.
We lived through our first parental death this year. It was hard dealing with his mom dying, but we somehow did it. He did it with his calm and quiet manner and made all of us understand the true meaning of compassion in dealing with others even when you are not dealing well. The eulogy he gave was beautiful. It also served no one but his mother which is the best tribute any boy can give to the woman who gave him life.
In all of this, I think of where we finally were in life. He was working part time at a job he enjoyed. It also gave him time to continue doing the things he loved to do. Fix music equipment and tinker with things electronic. He had met some guys that were going to be supplying him with some fairly steady work and working on things that challenged him. I was working on my first season of craft marketing and I was successful with lots of support from him. I won’t lie, the first time I tried to set up without him, I lost it and almost packed up to head home, but my friends at the market rushed in to help. Once I got busy setting up, I almost forgot about him not being there. This winter I set up and even had new merchandise and new display stands!

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This display stand is actually really purple now. So without his support, I wouldn’t be moving toward making my shop into something real.
In a last little tidbit, the new anthology is out.

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You remember how to get your very own autographed copy, right? Message me. I have 37 copies left to distribute. They are moving fast. Better get to it!

Dying with Dignity and Other Things That My Mother-in-law Is Teaching Us


Life is funny, dear readers. You can be going along, skipping in the sun and then……kablooey….your entire universe just falls apart. Like stars falling from the sky and then turning into fireflies before they touch the ground, flitting off into the darkness, never to be seen again. And this is how our life has been in the last few months. My mother-in-law had the much dreaded and LONG overdue girl surgery and was told it was successful. Then…less than a month later, we find that cancer is eating her alive in that horrid way that only cancer can do. She went back for another surgery and suddenly it was “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more that we can do.”
She, in her ever typical way of complete stiff upper lip British fortitude, joked, “It’s Amish coffins and Hospice for me.” And this was the firs lesson. That this is not the worst thing that is happening in the universe at this second. It feels like it is because we love her and adore her. But in the gigantic scheme of things, she is okay with this. It was almost a shrug of the kind that tells you that it was bound to happen eventually and we must accept it and move on. This seems to be the epitome of this woman who grew up in the shadow of the last Great World War, the one that supposedly would end all others. She grew up with the whispers of rationing and long nights in the bomb shelters still engraved sharply on the edge of everyone’s memory. In a very religious family that understands acutely how everything happens for a reason and according to a plan that is so much bigger than all of us.
I have heard her say quite often lately that this is what happens. That all of the people that went before you will be waiting for you on the other side to pull you into their arms and love you once again. And this is the second lesson. That belief in something is important. It doesn’t actually matter what. It does matter that there is actual belief in something, however. Belief is what makes us human. Belief is what differentiates between the possible and the impossible. Belief makes us reach for things that may or may not be attainable, but through the simple act of believing become achievable. This is important because we are, after all talking about a little British girl who was misled by an Indiana farm boy and flew across the sea to a place that had not even existed in books for her. We have heard these stories of her coming to America and laughed at that naive girl. Because in hind sight all of our lives could have been so much different. The Fix-It Guy was conceived in England and never set foot there himself. He wonders at times why his mother didn’t get back on the plane and go home. Because in reality, her arrival in this country should have been a giant blinking arrow sign pointing back the way she came. But I understand. Stranger in a strange land and all. Poor naive young girl.
The daughters have been spending lots of time with her. Listening to her stories. Recording her. Going through pictures and boxes of belongings from what seems like a few lifetimes, I’m sure. But because she is the only one here from her family, and the girls and their father have never had any experience with that part of their genetic background, this is an important process. No one else can tell them who these faces are in the photos. What these places are. What the events are. This is another lesson. That these memories that we call our lives and carry around inside of us are important. They may not be important to us, but they are important to someone. I do not know which pieces will be important for this family that I have become a part of, but they will all need a piece of it at some point. There will be more generations here. All of them firmly weighted on the Fix-It Guy’s shoulders…but perpetuations just the same.
She is ever patient. Telling us about postcards and letters and photos and clippings and saved or found objects long forgotten in boxes. This is another lesson. The understanding that this family needs these things and that they are important. At least they have realized that when she is gone, all of the bits become unimportant if no one knows why she thought they were important.
They watch endless movies with her. Feed her. She will not eat. But will eat anything that we fix and bring to her. Suddenly, nothing that she wants is ridiculous. It is important because she wants it. There has been some kerfluffle over a ring that Fix-It Guy’s father is holding hostage over a long paid back debt. He actually claimed that her family would have wanted him to have that ring. The ridiculousness is insane and off the charts. This dying woman wants a ring that belongs to her and he is saying he can’t get to it. If he isn’t constantly reminded, she may not see it before she dies. Sigh. Some things are so hard.
We are spending a lot of time there. I catch her watching them. As if she is memorizing everything about these moments. It is ghastly and real and final all at the same time.

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