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By Vicki Sternfeld-Rossi
The Times 

The Joys and Sorrows of my New Singledom


November 10, 2022

Daniel is still working in Portugal, and although I miss him, there is a calm in the house that Mugsy and I appreciate. The kitchen is available whenever I want, and I can have dinner guests when I’m in the mood. That mood is usually indicative of my boredom and frustration trying to have an intelligent conversation with Mugsy.

While living alone for the ten years before Daniel and I got back together, I was proud of my ability to manage most situations independently, assuming power tools were not involved. Admittedly, there were occasions when a friend or three helped with some heavy lifting and repairs that were above my skill level. And I also had a Rolodex (remember those?) full of repair people.

However, recently with my hand in a cast, I’m not as agile as I would like. I am grateful for my friends and neighbors who have come to my rescue when needed (moving composters, building shelving units, operating the grill, and changing propane tanks).

I’ve been trying to keep up with the unskilled jobs around the house. Today, yesterday, and the day before, I raked leaves and probably will rake again tomorrow. I sent a picture to Daniel of our backyard, which, even after three days of raking, looks like we laid yellow carpet across the entire lawn. His comment was, “Nice, pretty.” My retort, “Not if you have to rake it!”

Adding insult to injury, he sent me a text reciting the scrumptious meal he ate with a photo of what he called “an extraordinary bottle of wine.” Exchanges like that make me miss him a little less until I need to move the heavy trash can with all the leaves I’ve raked, then I miss him again.

With him gone, it’s my job to clear the dead and dying plants and clean the garden. Some of our tomato plants have roots that must be 6 feet and stems like tree trunks. I am so over zucchini because even the bug-infested plant produced fruit, and the others were very prolific. I’ve had zucchini grilled, baked, roasted, and made into pancakes (with smoked salmon and Crème Fraiche on top, not bad), ratatouille, and of course, zucchini bread is stashed in the freezer. Yanking out zucchini plants was a joy, both physically and mentally.

I still have bell pepper plants thriving and producing, as well as a tiny cucumber hanging on by a thin stem. I’ve started preparing to plant the Tulip bulbs. My rule is that I can’t plant until I thoroughly weed an area, so I was out this morning in the rain weeding and planting. Those tulips better bloom!

I bought two 150-piece bags of candy for Halloween. I’ve already dug through the bags and eaten the Swedish Fish, Gummy Bears, Twizzlers, and M&M Peanuts. After Daniel shared his latest gourmet dining experience, I confessed to my candy raid. He asked me to save some candy for him; I’m saving the Reese’s Pieces because he hates them. Yes, it’s a cliché, but my mantra at the moment is “don’t get mad; get even.”

Daniel just called, describing his current dinner of goose, chestnut dressing, and a warm homemade potato roll, followed by a dark chocolate souffle and whipped cream. I told him about my planned menu for lunch, and probably dinner, of microwaved boxed tomato soup with some crackers and cheese. I hope he feels guilty. Is revenge best served microwaved?


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