The title of this post. How cliché, right? My kitchen is swarming with fruit flies, and so I took my trash to the dumpster, running into a neighbor along the way. I remembered when I saw her that the neighborhood gossip (in a good way), Bob the Preacher Man, had told me Sheila has gotten engaged. Sheila lives one building down and has a dog named Izzy and a tiny little bob-tailed cat named Rabbit. Sheila has lived in these condos for as long as I have–10 years now. Which is by far the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere, but that’s another story.
After exchanging greetings, our conversation went like this:
“I heard a rumor about you.”
“You did?” she answered coyly.
“Let me see your hand.”
“I don’t have a ring, yet. But do you remember that conversation we had with Gretchen?”
Gretchen is married to Bob the Preacher Man. The conversation Sheila was referring to took place at a holiday party a couple of years back. Gretchen was giving us a pep talk about finding love later in life. She and Bob married when Gretchen was in her late 40s. Since I’m now 50, the conciliatory effect of the discussion has dimmed. But Sheila remembers.
“Gretchen told us, ‘It’s never too late.'”
Me, always one to shun social constructs, asked: “How old are you, Sheila?”
I was honestly stunned. First, because I didn’t realize Sheila is 62; and second, because who gets married for the first time at 62?
“OK, so maybe it’s still not too late for me, after all. But don’t you worry? Don’t you wonder how you’ll adjust? I don’t know about you, but I’m set in my ways, sister.”
Sheila, being a good sport despite the buzz kill I had delivered, admitted she was a bit concerned.
“The favorite part of my day is crawling into bed with a good book. Alone.”
“Well, for you to take the plunge means you’ve found a good man.”
I’d at last recovered the social graces.
“He is a good man. He’s kind, and intelligent, and sweet.”
“Everything we’ve been looking for all these years,” I replied.
“And he loves animals,” she said.
Now she had me.
“Does he have pets?”
“He has two cats. We will be a blended family.”
Holy shit. Sheila was going to be living with a man, along with his two cats. Two cats to be blended with Izzy and Rabbit. And I thought it was difficult bringing Sophie the stray into the fold with her two black-cat step sisters. Add a man to the mix, and I see some serious Brady Bunch moments ahead.
I then gave Sheila some advice on blending the children, based on my recent experience with Sophie. When I told her it took just over a year to get a photo of the three black cats in the same frame, she seemed relieved.
(Aside: Yes, it happened just a few days ago. The three black cats lounged in front of the television, watching Breaking Bad with me. The photo isn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t like they were going to sit around while I got the lighting right.)
As we parted, Sheila reminded me again, “It’s never too late.”
Since my bachelorette status is unconfirmed, I suppose that’s good to hear.
You still haven’t changed the name to “confirmed”, I see. It is never to late but on the flip side no need to rush either. Glad to hear you remain open minded on the situation. 😉
Ha! I agree. It’s best not to rush. But I’ll stop now, lest I start quoting Elvis. 🙂
Still see no flaw in being a bachelorette – and crazy old cat lady is a title of honour, if you ask me … but who does ask me?
I agree wholeheartedly. He’d have to be pretty darn special for me to abandon that title. Much to my mother’s chagrin.
That could take a huge lot of getting used to! Great news on your cat front.
I was so thrilled when all 3 of them looked so totally relaxed in such close proximity. They have really turned a corner. Well, mostly.
Mostly is all that matters.
and you know…you still could have your cake and eat it too, like me. A relationship that is a commitment but we live separately. I love it! I have my own apartment and his home and property! He enjoys our relationship as well. We live together on weekends.
Gert, I honestly think your setup is ideal. If I found a good guy, I could do it that way. If I found I good guy with a giant house so we (me and the cats) had our own wing, I might be up for that, too. But a man, a dog, and 3 cats in a 1500sf condo is a bit much. As it is, the 3 black cats alone would prefer more territory.
I don’t have any animals. David had a cat, who became a friend to me, but it was way too sad for both of us when he got sick…etc so we don’t have another.
JUST this morning on our bike ride, we met a couple who just got married this past Saturday. David knew her from Parents without Partners, years before I joined the group (that’s how we met, there was a segment of the group that included singles whose kids were adults themselves). David knew him from the bike trail, before I started biking. I never met him, but I met her years ago and we would do events with her and her husband, who died a couple of years ago. Anyway…these two people who just got married, are in their 70s.
I think discussing arrangements are very important and continued following up with each other about the arrangement always is a help. I know that when either one of us is ill we want to be alone and it HELPS each other when the other says…’hey I don’t feel well right now I’m going to stay home alone for a few days’ and the other says ‘I understand, I want to be with you, but I also want you to feel better’.
you never know what’s coming your way
I,m glad you asked her the honest question that you really wanted to know the truth about – because then you could blog share the answer with us!