25 January 2010

I Had no Idea

When John and I were married, it drove me crazy that he would leave cabinets and drawers standing open. These days, I feel like I spend a statistically significant amount of time turning off the lights that Maddie and Riley leave on in every room they exit; when John was alive, that time was spent closing dresser drawers and kitchen cabinets.

I never really lived alone until John died. I always had roommates, and even though I still have roommates now, living with children is different than living with adults. I have come to realize over time that some of the habits I had ascribed to John are actually my habits. My entire adult life, I'd attributed some of my personal annoying behaviors to whoever I was living with at the time, most recently my husband.

All of this is a long way of saying that it's actually me who leaves open the cabinets and drawers. My dresser drawers are basically never fully shut or my kitchen cabinets quite all the way closed. The medicine chest is frequently standing wide open. The contents of hall closets are visible to all and sundry who drop by. Now that I'm aware that I do this, I've been working on getting better about it since it's not just unsightly, it's also downright dangerous. Open drawers, for example, catch my hips and the toddlers' heads with alarming frequency. It's a long, slow process, though, to change what must be a lifetime habit. Every night before bed, I pause to close things that are open, wondering if there were habits of John's that he attributed to me, wondering how I can at times be so quick to blame myself for things that are completely not my fault and yet at other times completely fail to recognize my responsibility for such simple actions.

***********************
I went on a date on Saturday night.

It was all rather sudden. A friend asked me if I was interested in being set up, and I said sure, and some e-mails were exchanged and there I was, walking into a restaurant on NW 23rd, hoping that the guy actually looked like the picture he'd sent me. He did.

I think I'm one of the only people in the world who enjoys blind dates. I'm very social, I love to talk, and I've done my fair share of interesting things in my life. I like getting to know people and enjoy celebrating commonalities and learning about interests that I might not share. There is that whole "I'm being judged" part, which I suppose is a bit unsettling, but the way I figure it, anyone willing to go out with an almost 40-year-old widowed mother of toddler twins is either pretty open-minded, desperate, or crazy. I find there's something a little thrilling about a first date, the promise of something great.

My open-mindedness about being set up likely stems at least somewhat from the fact that John and I met on a semi-blind date. We had mutual friends, and we'd met in passing a few times before we went out on an official dinner date. It was the best date I'd ever been on. On some level, I think he and I both knew that we'd get married by the end of that first evening. We pretty much moved in together after our second date and were officially sharing an apartment three months after our first outing. Love at first sight, no. But we shared an undeniable connection almost immediately.

That experience leaves me with high standards for dates. Which leaves me feeling a little confused about my experience on Saturday night. I had fun. Mr. Marathon (he has run marathons in 2:30!) was interesting, smart, gentlemanly. We had plenty to talk about. We met for dinner and there was basically no pause in the conversation from 7:00 to 9:30. He walked me to my car, which I found oddly charming. All told, it was a very nice evening. But it all felt a little . . . flat. It felt friendly, not romantic.

We left things rather open at the end. The conversation went something like, "Hey! I had fun! Yeah, me too! Thanks!" [awkward hug] I've not heard from him, nor have I written. Perhaps he felt the same as me. I can't decide if I should e-mail him or not, and he hasn't e-mailed me. Perhaps it will just fizzle. Perhaps there needs to be more than good conversation and some friends in common.

I just don't know if I should leave this door open, or close it. Or maybe he closed it already? Feh, I miss being married to John.

29 comments:

Vanessa said...

I leave cupboard doors open all the time. My husband used to walk into the kitchen and say "It looks like we've been robbed!" Ah, good times.

Re: the date, perhaps you'll end up as friends, and that's OK too. Male friends are great at introducing you to potential dates, because who do men hang out with? Other men!

cat said...

Perhaps a nice new friend is just what you need and romance can be left up to someone else to meet. Do not underestimate the value of a great male friend.

Emily said...

Close the closet and cabinet doors .... keep this one open for a little while! :) Just see what happens.

Donn24g said...

My first instinct was to say let him contact you, but really i think you should always leave the door slightly a jar. You never know what will happen, and i firmly believe timing is everything. You're lives change constantly so who knows whats in store!

Mama Mama Quite Contrary said...

I could have written the first line of your post. I am always nagging my husband to close his drawers (and so not in a good way.) This, I am sure, is his problem though!

Sounds like the date was a nice time but your ambivalence about contacting him is probably a sign that you are not interested in pursing anything more with him.

Sadia said...

I'm glad that you had a good date, even if it doesn't lead anywhere.

I noticed that your wrote "when" you "were married". Do you consider yourself not married any more? I've wondered about widowhood, and whether the switch from married to not married happens at the same time as the switch from married to widowed. I suppose it's morbid, but in all honesty, it's impossible to be married to a soldier in wartime and not ponder the what-ifs.

Jen said...

Hmm, I wonder what habits of mine I attributed to my husband? Interesting food for thought.

Ah! A date! It's all that positive new year's energy you're feeling. If he doesn't pique your interest, I'd say let him contact you. Having a nice male friend to have dinner with occasionally is good, so you don't want to turn him off completely, but you might save your energy for finding somewhat greener pastures.

And I am totally with you on enjoying blind dates. My challenge is the transition from getting to know someone as a person and turning on the romance. Sometimes it has taken years! My husband and I were friends for 7 years before we started dating. How can you invest that amount of time in someone you meet only through a blind date or online? When you are sole parent of preschooler(s)? Such is the task in front of us, if having intimate companionship is important.

Melanie said...

As the veteran of many a blind date that led to long friendships with the men in question, I say, shoot him an email if you feel like you're willing to be friends with him. What could it hurt?

Lyndsay said...

Emily beat me to it, but I was going to say that HE is a door you might want to keep open... heh...

Hubs leaves cupboard doors open all the time and it drives me crazy. At times I feel like slamming my head into one "accidently" just so he might change his ways. Probably not a good idea.

Anonymous said...

re: the blaming others thing...
last night I saw the show Hoarders. The wife blamed the husband for all the clutter only to have the psychologist point out most of it was hers. She was FLOORED!!ASTOUNDED! It's amazing what we attribute to others and don't acknowledge about ourselves in a marriage or partnership - you are correct in that assesment!

Regarding the dating: my BIL in PDX goes on many first and second dates and along the way has gained friends, business associates, and resources, etc. It can't hurt to make a new friend.
IF all else fails head back to the D.O.T. where the men were bountiful!
amanda in ATL

Snickollet said...

Sadia:

The question of whether or not I consider myself married is a tough one. On one hand, I clearly don't since if I really did consider myself married, I wouldn't be going on dates! My issue around the married/not married thing is that John is not my ex-husband, he's my dead husband. Which I guess makes him not my husband. Gah, see? I had a wonderful marriage, and I don't like for that, or for John himself, to go unrecognized. I can't just erase that part of my past, and don't want to. But at the end of the day, no, I'm not married anymore. Sigh.

I don't think I cleared anything up there. Sorry. Perhaps this merits a blog post of its own.

-snick

"Lois Grebowski" said...

leave the cupboard open... who knows what will make it's way in...

::deep thought::

Aimee said...

I agree with everyone on the date.

Also, I read this today and thought of you. Even though the circumstances are different, widowhood and grief are the common threads.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/26/corinne-bailey-raes-new-a_n_436596.html

It reminded me of some of the things you have written about brief and grieving.

Robin said...

I laughed at the first part of your post about the cupboards. It strikes me as really funny that all that time you thought it was him! Are you sure you're not the one leaving the lights on too? :-)

As for dating, I think you are BRAVE to go on any date at all, regardless of the outcome.

Peace to you.

tree town gal said...

i miss you being married to John for you... and i'd just let things be... maybe you'll hear from the guy... maybe not... but you won't be broken-hearted...

Watercolor said...

Romance normally takes a while for most of us. :) I'm not sure I'd hold all future dates to the standard of your first date with John - it was extraordinary. Fantastic would have a hard time measuring up?

Send him an email and say you had a great time and hope to see him again. That could be a date or just around town. Leaves it open to his interpretation. And an email is the thank you note equivalent for dates. For me, it can take until the third or fourth date for chemistry to kick in sometimes so I try to keep an open mind unless there is obviously red flags or anti-chemistry. lol.

Watercolor said...

*are* red flags.... oy. I do know *some* grammar....

Anonymous said...

I had the same thing happen...sort of. When we first got married I constantly yelled at my husband for splattering the bathroom mirror with toothpaste. About a year later we bought a house and had seperate bathrooms. Guess whose mirror was splattered and whose was not??? Yikes..........

Katherine said...

Snick, re the question of married/widowed and married/not married (from a commenter), I agree that is a tough one. I felt widowed immediately, but it took a long time (it's been 4 years) to feel NOT MARRIED. And when I talk about my husband to others who didn't know him, I still say "my husband." Because that is what he was . . .and is. Sometimes, I say "my husband, who is now deceased. . . " but that usually makes the other person very uncomfortable. Sure would be easier to have a different term, comparable to ex-husband, to use . . .

Mary Ellen said...

Hope this date is the first of - at least semi-frequent opportunities to have good conversation with one or more nice-looking gentlemen. You deserve some fun and attention. Then, something sometime will certainly spark.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Sigh. No words of wisdom here. Just sending my love.

Perhaps a friend (this one or another one) will turn into a love.

django's mommy said...

Is it possible to not be married to your husband? I guess that's how I feel: I am not married anymore, but I still call him my husband. Because he was.

I also second (third?) the suggestion to shoot him an email- can't hurt, right? I am also finding dating fun, now that I've gotten over my 'OMG, this person I'm dating could be the ONLY option for me for the rest of my life' nonsense.

cluelesscarolinagirl said...

Eh, my motto is why not. Shoot him an email and ask him to lunch. Who knows-he might have friends!

I felt nothing after my first date with my husband except, well, that was a nice guy. I made it clear that I'd like to see him again just from my motto why not.

We didn't "ignite" for 6 months. He was 39, had been burnt a few times, and is just the type who likes to think things over before leaping.

Anonymous said...

Even though you're working very diligently to close all open doors around you, I'd leave this one open.

Mama Nabi said...

Sometimes doors left open brings in fresh air. Sometimes, open cupboards reveal surprises, pleasant surprise even. Sometimes, I'd get on the floor, playing with LN, and find things I'd been looking for on the floor of open closets. Open can be good.

Anonymous said...

I leave doors open all over, but I knew that was me. The toothpaste thing? Surprised me completely. My husband blames me for things the kids do, that kills me. But to be fair, he never leaves things open/on/splattered etc. so it isn't crazy to blame me since he is right that it isn't him.

As far as the date? I found my husband good conversation and easy to be with but I wasn't really interested in more for a good month, now we have a couple kids. So that is still a possibility, but more importantly, it is good to fill up your life with all kinds of people and relationships. And you never know who he knows...

Roads said...

2:30 for a marathon? Jeez -- that's hardly human. Sounds kind of risky to me.

Especially as (uncannily) 2 hours 30 is exactly how long your date was. Maybe that's his endurance limit, on all sorts of levels?

Still, probably no beer belly. But toenails might be a bit dodgy, though... and let's hope you get the chance to look them over.

Clover said...

Oy yeah- the dating thing approaching 40 with small kids in tow? Can totally relate.
Any update?

Sheila said...

This is the first time I read your blog and I have to comment that I (along with all my sisters) leave the cupboards open all the time. My husband accused me of it one time and I denied it flatly until one day I turned around and it was like a scene out of the movie "The Sixth Sense" (you know when they are in the kitchen and the the mom turns around and all the cupboard doors are open?).

Anyway, all my sisters do it too so I thought it must stem from my mom? But now I find other women do it, it must be a female thing!? Weird!! Sorry to digress on such a strange subject. I came to your blog from callapitter.com and am so sorry for your loss. A good friend lost her husband a few months ago and she has two young kids as well. I will send her to your blog as I bet she is experiencing many of the things you are.