Saturday, September 5

the frugal widower

lying in bed this morning, sore throat and body aching, my mind was bouncing around its interior walls and slamming into all sorts of two bit memories, ideas, emotions. One of them was momentarily epiphaneous (is that a word? it is now), not life altering in any way but a small triumph of recognition, organisation and management.
I just need to reorganise the stuff under the kitchen sink and the laundry
This triumph in processing was in response to me wondering why cleaning here, in this house, is such an effort for me and requires a minor degree in logistics.

Im embarrassed to say its only taken 3 years to get to this point, but i just prefer to believe that Im a chilled, relaxed and easy going person and Im not really that thick. So the idea that Im very thick went bouncing around my head for a while and I ended up settling on the notion that it wasnt thickness on my behalf so much as gentle accomodation to living in a widowers home, accomodation to someone elses systems, that had just got stuck there. Hadnt evolved. No. New. System. Also, im not that enamoured with cleaning so dealing with the occasional frustration that is organising the cleaning gear wasnt rating highly on my radar.

Shacking up with a widower is not an easy gig and shacking up with a frugal widower at their place is an exercise in patience, love and a lot of introspection. When the Bloke and I decided to live together we went through the process of deciding where to live. my place? your place? sell both and buy somewhere completely new? My two bedroom unrenovated 1920 bungalow with a trashed backyard readied for an unrealised extension on a quarter acre block or his five bedroom masterpiece on two acres of landscaped heaven? Not surprisingly, we ended up at his place. To his credit, he was prepared to give it all up and come live at mine if thats what i really wanted (that fabulous idea was me having a hard time letting go of my independence and control).

Where is this heading? To the point that when i moved in here, there was still a lot of stuff around of the Blokes late wife. And i tiptoed around it for a while until i almost imploded.

Being green and frugal means using stuff up, not throwing useful things away, keeping things that you dont use for a rainy day. Throw widower with new girlfriend into that sentence and you've got a problem. While we were dating I hung on for a while, thinking that over time he would get around to dealing with the 'small stuff'...time passed and passed and so I had to initiated that conversation. Sounds easy enough but its realy hard to do "excuse me i have an issue with all this stuff around thats nither mine nor yours and is contributing to me not feeling very at home here and would you please just go around the house and throw away all the last reamining bits and memories that you have of your late wife coz I dont like them" Thats how it felt to me, like i was asking him to finish his memories with a toss-out bag of her personal pieces. So i did wait a long time to ask him but theres only so many times you can open the bathroom cupboard and not get confronted by the very pesonal feminine things one finds in womens' bathroom cupboards. I felt pretty strange at the idea of just tossing them myself coz they werent mine but they were in my cupboard, or is it really her cupboard? It was a confusing time. Actually, in all honesty I didnt really initiate a converstion and ask him in an adult way. I just lost it!

But we did talk about it. The dear Bloke had left them there coz he's a green frugal bloke who thought that I might like to use them up, why throw away a perfectly good almost new hairbrush? perfume that was just purchased? boxes of henna, clips, belts, hats, earrings, pads, face creams? He was pretty embarrassed in reflection that he hadnt really thought it through from my perspective and was very remorseful about putting me in such a situation. To cut a very long story short, he dealt with all the obvious personal bits. What is still left to do is to reclaim the space under the kitchen sink and the laundry cupboard. Spaces and bits that dont 'belong' to anyone but were fundamentally hers in choice, use and placement of stuff (the Bloke didnt clean or cook before I arrived). I need to confront the bottle of fabric softener, the dried up Gumption with the old fabric scrap and the dilly bits of doily that soften their blows and organise stuff in a way that makes sense to me (i do do more cleaning than him - he'd debate that but i reckon wiping down sinks with your hand doesnt count as cleaning the sink!) When a relationship ends wth death and not divorce, no one comes with a trailer to take all their own stuff away.. Moving into another womans physical space, shacking up with a widower, doesnt come with a manual.


Kerrie said...

Oh Kel...I could have written many parts of your post. My situation was a little different in that John had moved house twice since becoming widowed and had got rid of a lot of the "stuff" left around, mainly the personal things. There is, however, his wife's wedding dress in the top of our wardrobe, along with their wedding album...those things I expect to have in the house and it came as no surprise that he has kept them. It's the little things that I come across from time to time that I have difficulty with.

Like Simon, for the most part John has been quite sensitive, as have I but there are times I do feel as though I am living in someone else's home.

It can be a tricky gig, can't it..??

naturewitch said...

Hi Kel
WOW! What an issue to confront. I suspect that blokes just don't see things quite the way we do and he really did think he was being frugal/helpful. Glad you finally got it sorted. xx

Laura Jane said...

Hmm, I certainly see your problem.

Need a hand? I happen to be free on the afternoon of Sept 21st?

I'd be more than happy to accompany you with the task....

Kelly said...

kerrie- it seems like such a long time ago now that i was going through so much grief about it all, its so much better now that i have a lot more security within myself about where i stand. Time n all that! Its certainly an interesting journey, being with a widower certainly makes you look and address your own shit and hangups about relationship stuff a lot more! no more poor me's!

naturewitch- hi hi. i was so ready for a relationship that challened me on this level. being in a relationship for so long that was destructive and so bad for my esteem and then being single and recognising where i was, this relationship really let me feel the joy of not having to feel any pity and to work through some honest stuff. its all so confrontational that you have to realy address the fundamentals of your feelings, cant hide anywhere. i think that the bloke being 'not normal' helped.

laurajane- thanks you kindly! i dealt with it oday! it wasnt stressful or emotional, just boring! prolly why id left it so long! theraputic however! rest assurred theres no weird vib going on here, all happy happy and lovey lovey. Hoping the weather is mighty fine for your arrival! whohoo!