he even smells good!

Ok…well, y’all…I had A Weekend With The Fella. and it was…Wow. I couldn’t have found a better match if I’d made a custom one from the McMaster-Carr catalog. No seriously. The compatibility boxes are all checked except for one.

He went to University of Alabama. 

But, I can get over that since he isn’t holding it against me that I went to Auburn. So I’m not holding it against him… except for the Iron Bowl. (that’s the Auburn-Alabama game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving). Since that hasn’t happened yet I’m not sure how it will go, especially since I will be spending that Saturday with his family, all Alabama graduates. I can either be obnoxious and wear my AU gear, or be sweet and not. Being obnoxious comes more naturally.  It’s not really a thing at all, but there has to be something wrong and that’s the most obvious one I could find.

And GET THIS…guys. Y’all. (seriously…I’m mildly verklempt)…he stayed at the Preacher’s House and even allowed himself to be subjected to The Inquisition by the Preacher’s wife. That is equivalent to a parental inquisition from Dad sitting on the front porch cleaning his shotgun. THAT IS SERIOUS BRAVERY.

Also? He changed their broken front door lock and took them a jar of honey FROM HIS OWN BEEHIVE.  HE HAS BEES.

He lives way out in the country on a plot of land, has an assortment of shops (blacksmith, woodworking, etc) (HELLO), the aformentioned bees….

Ok but it’s not about what he has. It’s about who he is.  He grew up in the same denomination I belong to (a very small one, Presbyterian Church of America…the super-conservative one), we share the same beliefs about God and redemption and Jesus and praying together and going to church and all those things that make people equally yoked (Christian-ese for believing the same things thus compatible) He understands about Himself, and how I will always feel about him. He has a window-rattling laugh, gets along with my boys and treats them like intellectual equals, treats *ME* like an intellectual equal (very important, as I will NOT be in a relationship with someone who is either condescending or can’t keep up with my train of thought). We share a like for shooting and blowing things up. (he hunts. I don’t, but I like to process deer and make sausage, etc). That’s a really big one because in my family, it’s what we do and if someone can’t handle that, then they aren’t part of my tribe.

All weekend long he kept speaking my language, without even trying. NO ONE DOES THAT.

Strong as the proverbial ox, hard working, same priorities, same sorts of interests, same type of curiosity about the world, and a nice truck with a cattle guard on the front because he lives in the boondocks and there’s always deer.

Like I said, I couldn’t have put together a better match if I’d ordered one custom. I’ll keep you posted on how things go.

 

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Big Step

So yeah, been doing the online dating…only now I seem to have found a fella. He’s coming here this weekend (TODAY!! EEK!), we’re spending tomorrow in Savannah and on Tybee Island, and going to church with me Sunday. AND…so as to not Risk My Reputation…staying at the Preacher’s House.  A far cry from Moneybags who tried several times to get into my pants (unsuccessfully…but the steak was mighty good.).

Wish us well.

 

 

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Does this picture make me look stupid?

Oh, the curiosity of online dating.  Dating is so different from 35 years ago, when I would go out with someone after getting to know him due to similar circumstances (in the same organization, working together for a while, that sort of thing).  It’s different when your 52, instead of 20.  EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT…even how I feel about it. All of it is different.

And…there’s landmines around which one must tread carefully.  But the scammer types, the ones who are trying to do whatever it is they’re trying to do…they’re so stinkin’ obvious about it…to me, at least. Talking talking, flurry of emails full of compliments and WOW YOU’R SO INTERESTING… and gradually get more personal and sweeter and start in with the endearments like “oh sweetheart, you seem to be exactly what I’m wanting” and “Oh this is amazing I hope I don’t do anything to screw this up” and yet, there’s no real personal information there.

Oh! You’re a contractor? What’s your current job? Answered with a flurry of vague “have to go talk to my workers now I’ll get back with you later”

The most recent one…he had to go to Dubai (it’s always Dubai…) for a final job… Because Dubai is going to hire a private contractor to build a bridge and road…and he will be there 2 weeks because that’s how long it takes…

DO I LOOK STUPID TO YOU?

His final email said something along the lines of “Oh darling, would you please UPS me some sunscreen and cookies because I don’t have anything to eat and everything is in Arabic here”

ummmmmmmmm. no. But I will google a bunch of pharmacies in Dubai that carry everything in English so go get your own damn cookies.  Asshole.

Image result for do i look stupid to you

But no! What about the one in a nearby town?  He seems nice! But still vague. And strangely, the town of about 5000, where his business is apparently based, has no record of his existence…sooo….hmmmmmm…I wrote him a terse letter as well, telling him that unless he could provide compelling evidence he actually exists as he says he does, he can take a short step off a tall cliff.

But…what about the most recent one? We talked on the phone and he asked “so, how’s the online dating thing going?” And I told him. And he said

OK! Here’s my address, you have my phone number, my cars are (this) and (that) and if you want to send your sons over to check me out I’d be happy to have them. You see, (he said) I am a retired police officer, and have dealt with scammers and their mess, so I want you to be comfortable with me.

Then he said the “widow” word on my status was a magnet for those types. I reassured him that even though I am a widow, I am competent and well-armed. (HA!) as well as fairly smart. I have not given away any really personal information except my phone number to him and Moneybags (who I scared off with a brief discussion of the arsenal). He doesn’t even know my last name or address yet.

Well that’s certainly refreshing.  We’re still going to meet in a public place for coffee, though.

So why did I give him my number? I had an epiphany. First of all, he gave me his number first. And email address. I still felt cagey about it all. Then, #4 came home and said he got a girl’s number at a party. That marinated in my brain for a bit and I thought OH!…that’s how it’s done! And this guy gave me his number and I essentially called him a “stalker until proven otherwise” which is kind of rude, really.

So I sent him a text message, apologizing for responding weird, and said he could call me. Which he did, and we talked for about an hour. Which was really nice. So, we’re going to meet for coffee, or a coke, or something…next Saturday. And he didn’t say a single thing about dumping his girlfriend because she hit menopause, so he’s already one up on Moneybags from the other day.

So for now, we’ll see if we can be friends, since he’s not a contractor on his way to Dubai.

At this point, the online dating thing has become a psychological exercise. I wish I were working on a PhD and could make this some sort of dissertation because it’s kind of fun, since my boundaries are thick.

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So, tell me more!

This online-dating adventure is nothing less than fascinating.  I am getting some very interesting e-mails, from some very interesting (and some not-so) men.  Generally the first one or 2 exchanges are polite, cocktail party “so, what do you do” sorts of things.  After that, I try to be a bit more forthcoming, a bit of my story, so to speak. Mainly because they ask things like “So, what is your story?”. And then…many of them don’t tell me anything…it’s all just glitter and smoke screen.

Have you met me? Do I seem like the glitter type to you? And I don’t smoke.

I’m also 52, and not a fool. If you can’t tell me anything (and I don’t mean phone number or address) about yourself…stuff along the lines of “I grew up in Des Moines and got out of there ASAP” but only say things like “Your such a lovely lady and I want to throw glitter at you for the rest of your life and here’s another smoke screen” then I am not going to talk to you anymore. Even if you say you’re a Christian. Because no…I won’t.

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

On the other hand, I have time for you if you tell me verifiable things like “I worked for thus and such a charity for years, then retired” (and the charity exists) or tell me you grew up in Europe and said “I read for architecture at <European university with an acclaimed architecture school> but decided construction was more fun”  Yes, I know that COULD be a falsehood but just by saying you read for it, rather than you have a degree in it, kind of goes a bit toward your veracity on the subject.  If you tell me about yourself, however humble you might think those things are, I’m going to listen/read.

I will never ask for any information from you that I am unwilling to give about myself.  What was your childhood like? I spent mine in the woods with my dog. What’s your family like? Mine’s a bunch of slightly weird creatives who will try anything. Do you have children? I have 4 overly protective sons.  and so on. (with more detail than that)

No one is completely story-less. I know what sort of person with whom I will be happy for the rest of my life. Mind you, I am not trying to find Himself Pt 2…that would be impossible.  But I would like to find someone who can talk the talk and carry a conversation to it’s logical extreme without thinking it’s strange or getting uncomfortable.  Smart, free thinking, a Believer in Christ, with a silly streak. I’m not so fearful for my future that I’m willing to settle for less than that.

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Dipping my toe into the pool

Well, it’s happened. I went on a date.  It was very…shall we say…ok… My friends asked “Are you going to blog this? Please say you’re going to blog this!”  Right now, I’m going to only say that I was unimpressed by 2 things.

  1. His money. Apparently he has a lot of it and I don’t care. Maybe that’s a problem? But I have a house and a car and enough income to eat sushi with a friend on Friday night. Who needs more than that?  But apparently he wanted to tell me all about investment and retirement funds and Roth IRAs and how much he threw around.
  2.  I am thankful he liked to talk about those things because it meant when he implied we should find the nearest hotel room and (I don’t even remember how he worded it, but he worded it 4 or 5 times during the meal)…I was able to divert the conversation back to retirement plans.  The only reason I didn’t get up and walk out? It was my favorite restaurant and the steak was incredibly good.

In the interest of being a courteous and ladylike Southern Woman…”and that’s all I’ve got to say about that”. Believe me, the desire to be mercilessly merciless about this is strong.

arrogance

So via the dating site I am using (for +50’s) I am gradually able to figure out the different types of men and their (apparent) methods.  Also, I am assuming it’s mostly women who read this, so if you’re masculine eyes and mind are upset by what I say,  you might fit one of the molds I’m laying out and should consider a life-coach. On the other hand, there are many, many wonderful men in the world who don’t fit these stereotypes and I applaud and salute you.

*and aside…Himself thought I had a bit of a nasty streak sometimes. He was right (still is, even though he’s busy learning to play the guitar and sing with Jesus and maybe Don Williams), however…if the shoe fits…*

So here’s what I’m finding.

  1. The one who wants to impress me with money. See above. Money doesn’t impress me. What you might do with it could…water wells in Africa, sewage treatment plants in India, microloans for small businesses in Bangladesh, setting up a fresh food market in an inner city food desert. Ok if you have money and use it for those things, you’ll catch my attention. But a Lexus and a Phillipe Patek watch and the people for whom you made buttloads of money on the stock market are not interesting.  NEXT
  2. The one who says “I can worship in nature on the golf course as much as I can in a church building”    NEXT
  3. The one who sees “widow” on the profile and instantly assumes “lonely and desperate” and thinks flowery words and immediate proclamations of beauty, faithfulness and a lifelong partnership of true and devoted admiration are what I crave more than air and water…um. No. “Widow” means I was married for a long time and had the man I chose for a life partner rudely yanked away and I had no part in that decision.  It doesn’t mean I’m helpless or confused.  NEXT
  4. The one who has a profile description something along the lines of “Gurl, ur a lucky lady to catch this big fish”  hm…Think I’ll not even bait that hook.  NEXT

So what am I looking for? At first I wasn’t sure. A few online conversations, including one that was proceeding beautifully and I was feeling hopeful.  However, when I asked him to send a current picture, of himself holding a card with my name on it so I could be positive he was who was in the photos he’d sent me (I’d sent him one doing just that), he blew up and started ranting about American women and their constant suspicion…annd…I said…Ok, thank you for your time and the great conversations. and blocked him.  Fortunately I have to good sense God gave me, and never told him my full name or the town I lived in.    If someone is truly interested and invested in having a genuine relationship with me, he will be willing to do what I need to reassure me that he is who he says he is. Whether it’s online or in person. And I would be willing to do the same. This is a strange and sometimes frightening world we live in, and as a woman (albeit a well armed and competent woman) I am cautious with who I choose to give my information. And if he is truly a gentleman, and someone who respects me, he will be forthcoming and do what he can to reassure me.

So, I know what I’m not looking for….just what AM I wanting? Right now- I’d like to make a couple of friends. I miss the singular conversation with  a man.  Men talk differently than women, and as much as I cherish my woman-friends, they tend to not talk much about the merits of a small-block 350 over a big-block 489, or generally recognize the visceral thrill of hitting a bullseye with a .45 from 50 yards. I miss the ideas and laughter of men’s conversation.  (Other than that one friend who’s sometimes also a 14 year old boy like me)

So, I’m learning to pick through the baloney and figure out how all this works. It may mean eventually I’ll set aside the online stuff and allow my friends to do the choosing. The only men I like to talk to right now are all married, so the conversations are very limited, and never over tacos and beer (unless their wife is there too).

All I’m doing right now is standing at the edge of the pond and seeing what the fish look like. I’ve thrown the line in a couple of times, and thrown back what I’ve caught.

Long term- I’d like to find a man who loves and worships God as much as I do, who passes muster with my sons, and who’s children (if he has any) approve of me.  He can’t take himself, or this human life, very seriously, and maybe has a bit of a dad-bod.  Currently I feel a little bit like I’m interviewing people, and it’s the first round.   After that first date (where I was nervous for about 3 seconds, then decided not to be), a friend reminded me that I AM A GREAT CATCH and HE has to impress ME, not the other way around. That doesn’t mean I’m stuck on myself, only that I’m doing fine, look pretty good for 52, and the complete lack of desperation allows me to be choosy.

So, there’s the “diamond merchant” and the “architect in Dubai with a helicopter” and I cannot for the life of me figure out how they intend to keep up that facade if we were to ever meet in real life.  So. Men. If you’re reading this…Tell the truth and back it up with pictures.  Please?

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This morning, as I was sifting through all the morning stuff on the internet, it occurred to me that I hadn’t been here in a little while. Nothing personal, I’ve just been busy.  So logging in the blogs I like to follow popped up and I saw that on one of them, she wrote about her niece’s husband dying in a car accident a couple of days ago.  3 years ago, I would have thought “oh that’s so sad” and moved on. Possibly saying a prayer for her family, but not much more.

It’s strange how life affects a person. After reading what she wrote, I dissolved.  Anytime someone I know, whether in person or virtually, suffers the loss of a loved one, it throws me back 2-1/2 years and I know what they feel- for the most part. Everyone’s reaction to an extreme loss like that is  little bit different, but the mental and emotional chaos that results, all that “what the hell just happened” and “God, make it stop” is something I can relate to and there is nothing quite like it.  Remembering weeks and weeks of “please let this just be a dream”, of people’s sad looks and offers of help (that I rarely accepted, being all Tough and Independent and such), all those things I never thought would happen.

One of the best comforts when I was trying to wrap my head around what happened with Himself, was the presence of other people who’s been through a similar circumstance.  I was told that it didn’t matter how a beloved dies- whether it’s in an instant, or over a long period of time from illness, it is still a shock, still something to wrap your mind around, and you still need people.  There was a woman in our church who’d lost her husband a few years prior, and she held my hand for weeks after, constantly reassuring me that I would live through this, even when I’d forget to eat or sleep or breathe, and look what happened: I lived through it. It sucked. I cried, slept, threw things, insisted God got this all wrong and I was meant to be half of a pair of old people, started to think maybe God knew what He was doing even if I didn’t agree with it, got things worked out (for the most part) and now, even though occasionally I disagree with God about the wisdom of putting me on this path, have started to accept that this here is the path I’m on no matter how much I still hate it.

The fact is, being a widow stinks. It’s a label no one wants to have, for a club no one wants to be in. It’s sometimes very lonely, often frustrating, and in the long run, forces you to grow up in a direction you’d never anticipated.  Sometimes it’s really hard to sit in church and see the older couples who’ve been together forever. I resent it. It’s not fair. (says my inner entitled self). But then, was it fair for Jesus Christ to be punished for what everyone else in the world did?  To my knowledge, he only complained about that once, and only briefly.  In Luke 22:42, as He was praying in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he was crucified, He said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” . That was something I had to remind my self a LOT.  I said, freqently “It is what it is”, and “God knows what He’s doing, even if I have no clue”, and Hebrew 12:1 helped me plow ahead: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

My widow friend told me that one early on, when I was missing Himself so deeply that I couldn’t think straight.  Himself is a part of that cloud, cheering me on as I blunder my way through the rest of my life.  Perseverance is a necessity born out of need to live, and desire to flourish.  Seriously, if the only thing good that comes out of losing Himself, is the ability to help someone else (however feebly) who’s lost their beloved, then I will have made something useful out of the event.  I will never be able to say I’m glad it happened. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully be able to “Thank You God, for this path You planned out”, or quit getting dizzy and sick when I read about someone else being forced onto this road.  At this point, I’m starting to be able to say “you can do this.”.

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YardMan

 

I finally bit the bullet and hired a guy to come deal with this jungle I loosely call “my yard”.  He looked at the back yard and opined that it might need a bushhog. Yes. It’s that bad.  The front yard is just tall and certain parts need a good weedwhacking. Letting the yard go is one of those things that just…snowballs.  I am looking forward to it being NORMAL…not looking like something where you might find a car on blocks that you forgot about.  I make up all sorts of excuses that sound like “school” and “work” and “broken mower” until it gets to the point people say things like “bushhog” and point to stuff growing up the side of the house.  I didn’t know the cost of stuff like lawn service, so it was easier to just ignore it all. Only, when I’ve been gone a week and have to drive through the neighborhood to get to my house, and I notice all the trim and tailored yards, it makes my own…let’s call it “meadowlike” or maybe “EPA Protected Wetlands” (the front yard can get a soggy spot when it rains a lot. Which it hasn’t been so that isn’t a logical excuse anymore) yard look that much worse and I feel  like I’m THAT neighbor. The one everyone averts their eyes to as they drive by.   I keep hoping they’re thinking “poor widow, doesn’t have time or whatever to take care of the lawn like she used to.” But I know they aren’t because no one really KNOWS I’m a widow except my 2 next door neighbors.  One of them has been very kind in allowing me to borrow his riding mower some, but I feel bad about doing that.   So, I hired the service that cuts the grass of the other next door neighbor. I figure, if he’s in the area, why not do both.

I need to go through The Jungle and make sure there aren’t any errant car parts, bricks, or other mower-trashing items.  I mean…it’s the least I can do since he is risking life and limb, taming my back 40.  Ok not really 40, more like Back 1/2, but still.  I don’t want to be here when they come because it’s embarassing.  I know, everyone says “oh I’ve let my back yard go before, how bad can it be?”  When the yard man says “bushhog” it’s pretty bad. At least there aren’t any cars on blocks. That I am aware of. Which doesn’t mean there isn’t one, only that I don’t know about it because it’s been a good 2 years…seriously…since I have investigated the back yard thoroughly.

You see, Himself’s workshop is back there.  It’s very quiet these days. No sawdust or grinding noises. No Robert Palmer on loud so as to be heard over the noise of shop equipment.  None of that, and it hurts. Still, even 2-1/2 years later. That’s how it is. Time and healing and stuff, but some things still hurt and there isn’t anything that can be done about that.  It helps to imagine that Himself has access to ALL the best equipment now, along with all the time in Eternity to perfect his joinery and choose the perfect pieces of quartersawn oak without the frustration of ugly crooked pieces. That’s how I like to imagine him, it’s what gives me a sense of peace and comfort, to think of him having Eternity to work, no frustration or running out of time, and maybe even The Great Carpenter there with him, bouncing ideas off each other, laughing and planning stuff.

Anyway, the yard will look like someone who cares lives here. That will be nice.

 

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