About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinner Date

Okay this bites...

As previously mentioned, Matt got his license Saturday. So what happens while I am off at work today? He makes plans to have dinner with a young lady. He calls and asks me if it's okay for him to have dinner with this little tramp (I'm sure she is nice but she persuaded my son to ditch me for supper) and I agreed. He was very excited and was very appreciative. Of course, I gave him the "we are not going to make a habit of this" speech. I suppose he sees big sister, the college student, do it all the time and thinks this is the thing to do. News flash slick, this will not be a regular thing! I suppose I should get used to it since he will be gone before I know it. What am I going to do? I have gone from feeling totally overwhelmed with taking care of the house and kids to worried that I wont have them to take care of. What am I going to do? I better get out there and get my work shop put together, maybe the sound of my table saw will drown out the silence.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Drive Time

It's official, Matt is a licensed driver. We no longer need to call on others to take him here and there. He can jump in the car and take himself anywhere he might need to. In a way I am disappointed, since this means that I have no reason to call on folks. I think Matt also liked the opportunity to see some of our friends that have helped us over the last two years. We owe a big thank you to these folks for their assistance. I need not list them as they know who they are. Besides, I would probably forget one of the dozen or so of these wonderful people. I don't know what we would have done without these people. Rides to school, to 4-H, to FFA, the orthodontist, perfectly polished and other such things. There is just no way that I could have done it on my own.

I am happy that we no longer need to burden others with our request. However, it scares the tar out of me to think that I might get another phone call. As hard as I try, I cannot help but worry like an old mother hen. This will take some getting used to.

I suppose it was a weekend of first. We took our first trip to Athfest this weekend and Matt drove by himself for the very first time. Athfest was great. Matt has been pestering me for years to take him. I have a hard time doing things that I am unfamiliar with these days. I suppose it is by product of the anxiety. I just have this overwhelming fear that comes over me when I attempt to do something unfamiliar to me. Anyhow, I agreed and our friends Charlie and Charlotte let us follow them downtown and tag along. Matt and William had a great time. I was glad we attended as I had a pretty good time people watching.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tiger Retires

We have had so many things change over the last 21 months. Most might think that it started with the accident. I view it as starting with our move to the farm. We moved to the farm July 4th weekend two years ago. We left behind our beloved Mallard house. We call it that because the name of the subdivision was Mallard Lakes. The kids basically grew up in that house and we absolutely loved the place. We made a great deal of wonderful memories in that house. So, it was hard to leave the Mallard house. The reason we moved to the farm was for our future. Actually for my future. We moved to the farm so that I could in a few years leave corporate life and pursue my love of wood. The plan was for me to purse designing and building custom high end furniture. Well things have changed and that plan is on hold for now. Anyhow, the changes started with the move. Then of course was the accident that took Lisa from us. These two events within two months were enough to last me a life time but the changes continue to come. Abby graduated last year and Matt started high school. Then Matt got his learners license and Abby started college. Now Abby is moving out to her very first apartment in August and this weekend Matt will get his license to drive on his own. I can only imagine the change that will bring to his life and mine. All this within the past 21 months.

I came across yet another change this weekend. The change I found this weekend kind of puts it in perspective for me. It kind of tells me that yes, my little boy is no longer a little boy but a maturing young man. It tells me that things are still changing for me very quickly whether I want them to or not.

This weekend while I was cleaning Matt’s room I found Tiger. I found Tiger on the top shelf off Matt’s closet. He was just sitting there all alone face down on an old sleeping bag. Tiger is a stuffed animal that Matt has kept in the bed with him for as long as I can remember. I still have very clear memories of Matt running around the house in diapers with Tiger stuffed under one arm or being drug around the house by his tail. In fact, most toddler pictures we have of Matt show him with Tiger. I am pretty sure that he was a gift from my brother. That, in and of itself, could have been the reason for Matt taking an immediate liking to the stuffed animal.

My brother has been very close to my children for most of their lives. Shoot, we lived in the same town as my brother until we move up here 14 years ago. He was our primary baby sitter for Abby until she was about 4 years old. Since he was single, until just a few years ago, the kids spent at least a week with him every summer. They have shared a great deal of adventures together, from deep sea fishing to Disney World. I think the three of them have been to every theme park in Florida together. While Abby no longer has time for these visits, Matt still looks forward to his summer visits with his uncle. My brother has always been, and still is, an actively great uncle to the kids.

I always thought that Tiger was kind of goofy looking creature with his yellow fur, black splotches and overly long tail. However, Matt loved him. Until he started going to school, where Matt went Tiger went. Whenever Matt went to camp Tiger went with him. If Matt was spending a night with a friend Tiger would happily go along with him. I think in recent years Tiger was left at home but never banished to the night stand or the closet. I am sure that Matt did not dare take Tiger on an overnight with a bunch of other teenage boys. When Lisa died, almost two years ago, Matt held Tiger pretty close. I can remember Matt waking me up one night last year. I awoke to Matt silently standing over me. It scared the cap out of me. Once I regained my composer, Matt told me he could not find Tiger and asked if I could help find him. We found him hanging in mid-air between the head board and the wall. Yes, Matt was 14, and I was starting to worry about if it was normal for a 14 year old boy to have a Tiger. However, the loss of his mother was still too recent and painful for me to rush in and swoop Tiger away from him. All things seem to have a way of working out however. I suppose Matt finally found the courage to let Tiger go. I suppose he finally decided that it was just time to let Tiger retire to a quiet place in his closet. When Matt got home from camp Sunday I asked him about Tiger. I told him that I had found Tiger in the closet. He simply said “yea I know, I put him there” and then turned and walked away. What he was telling me is, yea I put him there because I was ready but I know where he is if I ever need him again.

I suppose as we move forward, we find our needs change as much as everything else. Matt’s needs have changed. He no longer needs Tiger to keep him company at night.

I returned Tiger to the top shelf of the closet just in case Matt ever needs him. Heck who knows, when Matt moves on to college in a few years, I might need to retrieve Tiger from the closet and have him keep me company.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Scented Soap?

Yeah! Matt is home and so is Abby! Both at the same time! I don't think that I have every been happier to see both of them. I have missed them very much this week and am thrilled to have them home. However (there always seems to be a however in my writing) Matt's feet are stinking something fierce. I have touched on this subject in the past and until now I have not been real sure how to handle the stink coming from his shoes. I had a brain fart today. I put his crocks in the sink and got out the anti bacterial soap. I figured that should help. Then I looked at the dishwasher... Yeah, the dishwasher. I gathered up all his washable shoes. His crocks, his Choacos and his flip flops. Got mine too. I stuck them all in the dishwasher and turned that sucker on. I even used the pot-scrubber mode. I think that is going to do the trick. I am not scrubbing shoes any more and I'm not going to smell his shoes anymore. I wonder if anyone sells scented dishwasher soap! I wonder what else I can stick in the dishwasher! This could open up a whole new world of housekeeping for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nilla Wafers

I am determined to not let this very quiet alone time get me down. I have not been deeply depressed or significantly upset in quiet a number of weeks. I am trying to use this time alone in a positive manner and refocus on what is important. The most important thing that I need to refocus on is my son. I plan to start with feeding us better when he gets home Sunday. I have grown lazy and stopped planning and cooking healthy meals. We have been eating out far too much and it needs to stop now. Of course, I cannot feed him what I wound up eating last night either. My nutritious meal consisted of a half a box of vanilla wafers and a very large glass of 2% milk. Hey at least it was 2%. I felt horrible afterward and was sure that I had just filled myself with vanilla flavored cardboard. Nope, we are going to get back to eating some veggies around here. While I do love a good steak, I love just as much a big plate of veggies. The problem I have is that my skills consists mainly of boiling some sort of green such as broccoli or green beans. I am going to make a concentrated effort to learn how to cook more vegetables. Maybe I will finish off that box of vanilla wafers first.

While Matt is the most important thing I need to focus on, I suppose my emotional and physical health is next. Especially since Abby is for the most part out on her own. In fact, she will only be back from working at camp just a couple of weeks before she will then be moving out at the end of August. So yes, I am putting me second in line. I am going to start eating better and I am going to make an effort to get more exercise. I am going to redouble my effort to find support and help from others. While I have looked a great deal for advice on my situation, I find that almost 100% of the information out there is for or from widows not widowers. I need to talk to other men, good men that have been through this hell that I have been and continue to go through. I thought that I was producing this blog, to in some small way help others, when in reality I think that I am the one looking for guidance and support. I suppose there is a lack of men out there that are willing to put their feelings on the line and be open with their situation. Typical of most men I suppose. Anyhow, I am going to keep looking. I know I am not the only man out their that has gone or is going through this.

I did however come across blog earlier this evening. It is called The Irreverent Widow. I don't yet know how to include a link in my writing but you can Google it. Just go to her web site and click on Sandi's Blog at the bottom. The woman who writes it is, of course, a widow but what is interesting is how she writes. She has such a wonderful sense of humor about the whole thing. As I read her words I cannot help but laugh. She seems to have quiet a take on things.

There is so much pain associated with this process and so much agony that to see someone be able to find humor in it all is quite something. I miss the laughter in the house. Lisa had such a brassy and unique laugh to her. Matt would tend to make one of those comments that only a teen age boy can make and she would just bust out in that laugh. Her laugh was so humorous in itself we would all wind up laughing at her. What I would not give to hear that laugh just one more time. Thats a whole other post however...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sad News

I know I have not posted anything in a few days. I suppose I have had my mind on far too many other things. Tonight, however, it dawned on me how quiet the house is and it reminded me how alone I am. I stayed pretty busy with the kids both gone last week but being here last night and tonight is getting me a bid down. I suppose I need to get focused on a project but its just so dang hot out in the shop in the evenings. I will be glad when this week is over. Matt will blow in for a couple of hours Friday morning and hopefully Abby will be here Friday night. I miss them something awful tonight and I dare say tomorrow night will be any better. Maybe Jamie is right, maybe I need to join a gym. Not to meet folks but to pound out some of this pent up energy and frustration.

I received a call from Lisa's brother this evening with some depressing news. Lisa's Aunt Evelyn lives in Marion, SC and is a wonderful 87 year old lady. A real classy lady that always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. No matter how bad thing were, she always had a smile and a positive outlook on everything. Evelyn is just one of those people that everybody immediately took a liking to. She is not doing well and is going to have to move out of her home and into an assisted living home. Based on what Dave tells me it does not sound good. I think that she is suffering from dementia. I know she has basically been blind for several years now. Even with that, however, she has been able to take care of herself up to this point. I don't know how she has done it on her own. She lost her husband a number of years ago and has been alone since. I know if Lisa were here she would be quite upset with this news. She had a special place in her heart for Evelyn and I think that feeling was very mutual. Sad news, very sad news.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Adult Swim

The sun is coming up and the house is silent except for Matt's snoring. Matt got home from camp 4-H yesterday afternoon and is already looking forward to going to FFA camp next week. He always says the same thing. "I am going to miss my friends". He and Abby have made friends from all over Georgia thanks to 4-H. It sounds like he had a pretty good time. This year was different in that he was a teen leader. This gives him certain privileges at camp. He gets to eat at the adult table for meals and is allowed to go back through the food line as much as he wants. I find it ironic that he considers this a privilege since he always talks about how bad the camp food is. He also gets to stay up late and spend time with the other teen leaders and adults. He also gets to jump in the pool when the life guard calls for "adult swim only".

Last year Abby came home every weekend but this year she has not been home one weekend. She called me yesterday from a bus. All the camp counselors are spending the weekend at the 4-H camp on Jekyll Island. I am glad that she is out having fun with her friends and co-workers. These are the things that a college student should be doing. She is making memories that will last a lifetime.

As for me, well you know Matt brought plenty of laundry home for me! The second load just finished up so I am heading out to the shop. I need to clear a spot to put Abby's new bedroom furniture that is supposed to arrive this afternoon. I cant wait to tear into the boxes and start putting it together. It's just the kind of thing that I love to do. There is nothing like working on a project and getting to stand back and look at the finished product. Sure I would rather have made it myself but I just don't have that kind of time right now. Besides, I still have not finished work on my shop and am not ready to start any large projects out there. Soon though, hopefully very soon.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

No Speed Limits

I am actually enjoying my alone time this week. It has been a busy week however. My plans for tonight include cutting the grass and tearing into Abby’s room in preparation for her new furniture.

I actually like cutting the grass. Riding the mower for a few hours with my I-pod blasting loud enough to drown out the mower is relaxing. You can do a lot of thinking when you are riding a mower. It’s one of those things that you don’t have to think much about. It’s not like driving a car in that there are not other mowers on the lawn you have to dodge. You don’t have to give hand signals and you don’t have to observe any speed limits. Just drop it in gear, engage the blade, set the deck height and go. I get more useful thinking done while riding a mower than I do at any other time. I have come up with many great ideas and solved many problems while riding my mower.

After I get the grass cut I plan to start taking Abby’s room apart. I have found someone that will put her current furniture to good use. I think it is wonderful that another little girl somewhere will get many more years of use out of the furniture that Abby has used since she got out of a crib. It is all in pretty good shape. Abby has taken pretty good care of it and has gotten a lot of use out of it. I would much rather see it find a home with another little girl rather than wind up in the landfill. Her new furniture is scheduled to be delivered on Saturday and Abby is not scheduled to be home until the following weekend. She knows that I have ordered the new things but that’s about all she knows. I am hoping to have it all put together and in place for when she next comes home. I think it will be a big surprise. I have even purchased all new pillows and bedding for her. Of course, I will probably be forced to return the comforter so that she can pick one of her own choosing. I’m okay with that though.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Last night my friends Roy and Diane invited me to join them in attending a concert at Ashford Manor. Every summer Ashford Manor holds a series of outdoor concerts. It is quite a spectacle and a lot of fun for a people watcher like me. I suppose this is what put me in the mood I was in last night and in large part the reason for the blog I posted.

While I had a good time and enjoyed the company, I once again found myself feeling much like a third wheel. This is not due to being with my friends. On the contrary, if it were not for them I certainly would not have attended. It is simply because these days I tend to feel alone in a sea of people. Even in a large crowd I feel very much alone and singular. I suppose the walk back to the truck kind of puts it in perspective. I come alone and I leave alone with nobody to discuss the evening with or to laugh with. It was just a quiet walk back to the truck. While these events are somewhat uncomfortable for me in an unnatural way, I feel that I must force myself to get out and meet folks.

I am better this evening but still thinking about what I posted last night. A person that is very special to me put it into perspective for me today. They said that there is a middle ground out there somewhere. Being a mature adult, if and when I do find someone to spend my life with, I will no doubt find someone that will also be mature and able to understand my situation. They will not ever expect me to completely forget.

Monday, June 8, 2009


How can this be so gripping and unyielding? I find myself at a precipice, a point where I feel as though I am being forced to take one rode or another. I find myself at this point where I must decide to move on or live life forever in mourning. Can't there be some middle ground. Some way for me to remember her and cherish what we had but still move on in my life. I don't want to just put it behind me and let Lisa just be a distant memory in a previous chapter of my life. Some days I think, I can do this, I can move forward and put this horrible nightmare behind. Then I think, no I can't do this, I can't forget. I have to keep the memories alive and fresh in my mind. I feel guilt, a guilt that I am doing something wrong. Like I am somehow doing something that I should not be doing.

I know this is crazy. I know that Lisa would want nothing more than for me to be happy. I was happy. I was happy being with her. I was happy being her pool boy, mechanic, yard man, provider, husband and lover. Sure, she would say get off your pity-pot, it is what it is, move on big boy and enjoy life and all that it has to offer. I know thats what she would want and yes I would want that for her. However, I suppose it's hard when you have spent the last 20 years living to make someone else happy. Caring only about them being content and happy with everything. I have for the last 20 years only wanted for her happiness, not mine. It was very simple, when Lisa was happy I was happy and when she was not I was not. So it's a bit hard to focus on my happiness now. I am trying and I am working toward it but still I find that, no, I fear that I will in the process forget. I really don't want to forget.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It Ain't Like Driving Ms. Daisy

This weekend flew by. I am so blessed to have a three day weekend. I supposed its all what you are used to. This weekend flew by but I hate to think what things would be like if I worked a five day schedule.

I finally got back into the shop yesterday and started to work on the last of the drywall mudding and painting. While I did this Matt worked on another project. The day was gone before we knew what happened.

Today was much the same. We decided to sleep in and skip church today. Of course sleeping in for me is 6 or 7. I got up and put together a crock pot Mac & Cheese dish to take to 4-H camp. Today was family picnic day at the camp. We were able to go see Abby and all the other young adult leaders at the camp. These things are still awkward for me. I am so used to having Lisa to cling to and turn to at these events. This was her kind of thing. Besides, half the time she would run into a dozen or so kids that she had taught over the years. They loved running into Lisa. You could see their faces light up when they saw her. It was not uncommon for us to be at an event like this and hear from way across the room Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Anderson. I would just look at Lisa and smile knowing that she would not be available to me for a little while. It was kind of like going grocery shopping with her. What would take most folks thirty minutes would take us an hour or more. Lisa was like a rock star with a following of young girls, boys and parents clamoring for her attention. It's getting to be the same way with Abby due to her involvement with the perfectly polished classes and other things. She has a following of young girls that just love her. Me and Matt call them Abby Groupies.

Matt asked if he could drive us to our destination and I agreed. This was the first time he had driven out of town. He did pretty good until he got brave and tried to set the cruise control. After a couple failed attempts and trips onto the shoulder of the road he got it set. It was all I could do not to wet my pants grab the E brake and scream profanities.

Now we are home and Matt is preparing to go off to camp next week. As I have already mentioned he has a whirl wind camp schedule for the next two weeks. He leaves Monday returns on Friday and then is back out the door on Monday. He comes back the following Friday and will go right back out the door that evening for a long weekend.

Father's day is coming up pretty soon and I think we may try to make a trip to six flags. For many years we have gone to six flags on Father's day. It actually works out pretty well. The crowds are not bad since it is a holiday. Nothing I hate worse than a bunch of humans crowding around me trying to get to the same place all at the same time. I hate big crowds. I would much rather be on a hiking trial in the middle of one of our great national parks or even just down the road a piece at the botanical gardens. Of course, six flags is not for me, its for them. However, they like to think that it's a great way for dad to spend fathers day. Yeah okay...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Supper Club

I find myself struggling to find anything noteworthy to write about this week. Everything seems so mundane this week. Go to work, call and wake up Matt, call and check on Matt, call and check on Matt, call and check on Matt, go home from work. Cook dinner do a few chores, go to bed and do it all over again.

We did break things up a bit last night. I was all caught up on chores and decided to let Matt drive us out to the Georgia State Patrol barracks where he will be taking his driver’s test at the end of the month. He is doing pretty well with his driving and it is hard to believe that he will be driving himself around in just a few short weeks. This is going to open up a new world for him and me. No longer will I need to concern myself with how he will get to weekday appointments or to 4-H functions. It is true that Matt driving will be a blessing it will also worry me to death. I still worry about the phone ringing every time Abby is on the road.

Tonight is Supper club. It meets the first Wednesday of every month. I was invited to join by my friends Roy and Diane last summer. The group rarely invites new members so I am very flattered. It is a group of mostly older Oconee residents from the education and art’s community. The group is made up of mostly retired teachers and other eclectic individuals with strong views on most everything. While I like to attend this pot luck dinner, I tend to gravitate toward a younger and more politically conservative group. They are wonderful people who have been very kind to let me join their tight knit group. While they treat me like an old friend I am very much an outsider and find myself biting my tong every time there is a conversation concerning politics or public policy. I am smart enough to know that if I spoke my opinion I would be quickly challenged and overcome by this group of more liberal thinkers. They are a very smart and educated group that would quickly pounce on and tear apart a lone conservative voice. None the less, they are kind and generous people and I consider myself lucky to be a part of the group.

Matt will be off to camp next week and I will be alone for two consecutive weeks. I am not sure if I am dreading it or looking forward to it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Harry Bissetts

What a fantastic weekend. Lisa’s mom and dad were able to make it over to take Matt out for yet another birthday dinner Friday night. As always, they told Matt it was his choice. Matt decided on Harry Bissetts. Little did he know this was the last restaurant that I had taken Lisa to and I remember it like it was yesterday. This was our secret place. We never took our parents or the kids. This was the one restaurant that we did not share. It was a special place for us. I was okay with it. We had a great meal and Al and Lois loved the place. After dinner we came back out to the farm. Matt showed them his garden. It’s his first so he is very proud of it. I am looking forward to home grown tomatoes again.

Saturday was a work day. Most of the day was spent cutting grass and spraying weeds. Matt got his car washed and vacuumed. Abby is not much on cleaning an automobile so her hand-me-down to Matt was pretty dirty. Matt did a pretty good job on the clean up.

Sunday was great also. Another banner day weather wise and a great guest speaker at church. I have not laughed that much in some time. So often, church makes me think of Lisa. Sometimes that’s all I can sit there and think about. The speaker was dynamic and energized. He really made me think about how small my problems are in the scheme of things. Like I have said. It is way too easy for us to get wrapped up in our own little world. We forget that there are others out there with problems much bigger than ours.

We wrapped up the weekend with a dinner of chicken ziti, compliments of Mrs. Charlotte, French bread and a salad. A couple of loads of laundry and we are ready for a new week. It’s amazing how much less laundry we have with Abby of at camp.