One of Those Months


October 31, 2022 by Jean

October calendarAlthough October is normally the peak of a season I love, I can’t say I’m sorry to see this October end. It has just been one of those months. October began with the death of my next-door neighbor, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the spring. I knew that her cancer was advanced, but I hadn’t spoken with her in several weeks and didn’t realize how close she was to the end of her life. Indeed, I had left a cheery message on her answering machine a week earlier saying that I was just calling to see how she was doing, wondering if she was feeling up for a visit and that I would call back another day.

A week after my neighbor’s death, I was driving along a Maine country road, on my way to the wedding of the son of friends, when I was rear-ended by a distracted driver. I had slowed down while the car in front of me made a left turn and was just starting to accelerate again when BAM!! I never did get to the wedding, spending my time with police, firefighters, and an EMT before finally going home to collapse in an exhausted heap with some comfort food and comfort TV. I was lucky to escape this collision without injury; but my car didn’t fare so well. For several days, until the other driver’s insurance company accepted my liability claim and authorized a rental car, I was dependent on friends to give me rides to and from places I needed to go and to do errands for me. As I waited to hear whether my one-year-old car would be declared a total loss, I shopped online to see what I could buy for a replacement in a time of scarce inventory and rising prices. I was relieved when I got a call from the repair shop telling me that my car could be repaired. Now I’m just waiting for parts to arrive and hoping that the repairs can be completed before the 45-day period for which the insurance company is legally required to provide me with a rental car runs out.

Two weeks after my car crash, I drove my rental car to a memorial service for my neighbor. When I got home, I reached into my jacket pocket for my house keys and discovered they were gone. I was hungry, I needed to pee, I had groceries in the car that needed to go into the refrigerator, and I had no way to get into the house! The spare key that I had always left with a friend to cover just such an eventuality was in the vacant house of my deceased neighbor. In desperation, I wondered how I could break into my own house. My attention eventually focused on the inadequate locks on the original part of the house that I had been meaning for years to replace with deadbolts. Sometimes procrastination pays off; I was both relieved and chagrined to discover that, even with my arthritic hands and lousy hand-eye coordination, I was able to open the door with a credit card in less than five minutes. (Imagine what quick work someone who actually knew what they were doing could make of those locks!) I eventually recovered my lost keys, which had been found on the ground at the cemetery by one of my neighbor’s cousins. While I continue to use them, I have picked out new deadbolt replacement locks and have an appointment with the locksmith to get them installed. And then I’ll give a copy of the key to another friend for safekeeping.

As I turn the page on my calendar, I’m happy to have gotten to the end of October, and I’m hoping that November will be a different kind of month.

16 thoughts on “One of Those Months

  1. Kelly MacKay says:

    Happy Halloween. I hope November is better for you. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

  2. The Misadventures of Widowhood says:

    We all have months like that from time to time. So glad your car accident wasn’t worse. It’s scary to think how quickly life can change.

    • Jean says:

      Jean, It’s so true. I never worry about having a car crash, but both one of the firefighters at the scene and the mechanic at the repair shop said, “This could have ended very differently.”

  3. Jan Powers says:

    What a horrendous month! I hope you’ll have a little sunshine in November! I’m still winding up Wes’s estate, writing the first grant proposal for next year’s Heritage Festival and teaching ESL to two Afghan families. Haven’t kayaked since September. By now you may have a new used car– hope you found something you like!

    • Jean says:

      You sound as busy as always, Jan. Fortunately, my car can be repaired, so I don’t need to buy a new one. Currently, I’m still driving a rental paid for by the insurance company while we wait for the parts to repair my car.

  4. Sue says:

    Oh boy! What a cluster of mishaps! Although I know it is of no comfort to hear that others have had similar situations, we can relate only too well, with Rick having had two car accidents in only a couple of years: one being an unfortunate meeting with a deer and another being rear-ended in almost the same exact manner as yours! Rental cars being scarce as hen’s teeth here, each time he was lucky to get a rental and his car repaired within 45 days. A bit of comedy: one of the rentals he got stuck with for the entire 45 days was a tiny Kia Sephia which he had to literally fold his 6’3″ lankiness into. Quite a sight! And I couldn’t even get in the car with him for the overpowering stench of cigarette smoke that had been bequeathed to the car in spite of the “no smoking in this car” rules. Oy.
    So sorry you had to endure this and all of the other sadness and craziness.
    (I can certainly relate to that sinking feeling when you discover your keys are missing!)
    And so sorry for the loss of your neighbor.
    Sending you positive thoughts and energies for a much better November and on into 2023.

    • Jean says:

      Oh, it would be awful to be driving a car that reeked from cigarette fumes. I don’t have to worry about having to fold myself into a too-small car; I’m always asking for a smaller car than they want to give me. This one is a Kia Rio, which is fine for me.

      • Sue says:

        Yes, the cigarette smell was pretty disgusting. Rick had to drive an hour back and forth to work every day for 42 days with the windows open. 🙂
        As far as height goes, there are advantages and disadvantages to being tall as well as being short. LOL
        The Kia Rio is probably really good for you! Would be good for me too, if ever I were to need one. (Crossing fingers that I won’t!)

  5. Charles F. Emmons says:

    I sympathize, Jean, having had similar months. I wish you a brilliant November! – Charlie

    • Jean says:

      Charlie, It never rains, but it pours. November began with a death in my extended family, but I’m still looking forward to that upturn.

  6. Judy says:

    I hope very much that November and after are less fraught and more enjoyable for you.

  7. Diana Studer says:

    Catching up. I do hope that November will be kinder to you. (A small relief that you could make a keyless entry to your house then)

  8. Brenda says:

    Catching up here, too. I hope your November was good enough to make up for the awful October and that you are safely bolted in and cozy as we finally start to get some wintry weather. Happy holidays to you.

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I am Jean Potuchek, a professional sociologist who has just stepped into the next phase of my life, retirement, after more than thirty years of college teaching. This blog is about my experience of that new phase of life.

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