Sunday, January 29, 2023

Bike Britches and Bank Balances


our town is known as 
The Horse Capital of the World.

The two weekends a month when my name is not on the schedule to greet at church, we watch the service on-line, dressed casual and sipping mugs of hot flavored coffee. That was the case today. It was the early service and therefore too soon for lunch after the benediction, so we got out our bicycles and went for a ride. 

My new identity since Beloved's passing gave me not only the title of "widow" but after meeting Gary, "newlywed." Another change with my new identity has been specific clothing I did not need in my "previous life," so to speak. 

We ride our bikes several days a week, depending on the weather -- we've had a lot of wind this winter which makes a formidable ride when headed into it. But no matter the forecast, I've learned appropriate clothing makes the ride easier. 

Spandex shorts, capris, and ankle-length pants give comforting support, warmth, and cool, as needed.  If I shop carefully, I find them with long, deep pockets down the side of the thighs for carrying my cell  phone. Mine are black so they don't clash with any other colors I'm wearing.

Visibility to traffic is very important, so for a shirt or jacket, I wear that chartreuse yellow-green or a nearly glow-in-the-dark orange. We have those webbed-fabric vests seen on road construction workers, too.  

my bodyguard

We have helmets, too. When Gary wears his with sun glasses, he looks like a highway patrolman (which is a hint at the kind of work that employed him years ago).

Mine is a shade of aqua blue (see top photo) that serves me well but definitely messes with my hairstyle. (a price I pay for physical fitness)

breakfast for Sunday lunch

Gary makes our Sunday lunch every week and it's a filling meal. Scrambled eggs, bacon fried real crisp, and cheesy grits. My contribution to today's plate was fresh cherries from South America -- note: they weren't that good. I'll be waiting until cherry season here in the USA before I buy more. 

The above paragraphs address that part of today's blog title regarding Bike Britches. But before I move on to 'bank balances" I'll segue through the cemetery.

This past week was the two-year anniversary since Edith's passing. On that day we made a trip to the cemetery to leave flowers at the graves of our dear ones. It's been nearly two months since our last visit when we placed Christmas wreaths at their headstones.

photo amended for privacy

As much as we try to move on with our lives, and we are doing exactly that, the feelings of losing a mate is something that never goes away. Memories from decades of shared living are frequent. I think it's inevitable that significant life lessons come with those reflections. This brings me to that other part of my blog title for today, "Bank Balances." 

A painful lesson I've learned is something I need to share with my readers with the hope my experience is helpful to those for whom it applies. In my marriage to Beloved, he took care of all the finances. All of them. 

Well, wait. Let me amend that. I knew how to spend. But he took care of providing, processing, and making sure I knew the spending limits. I was not a spendthrift, but I did not balance the checkbook. My husband loved math, finances, and being the one to deal with it. 

In looking back I now realize that when he died, not only was I grief-stricken for missing his loving companionship, but I was terrified to face the banking matters. I knew there was enough for my needs but I did not know how to manage it. My fear was mismanagement on my part.

Blessedly (and let me repeat that, blessedly), a family member stepped in to be my bookkeeper. An excellent handling of everything followed, which dispelled much of my fear. 

But I knew in the deep part of myself that I should have enough character to take this on. I was ashamed of myself for not having taken on some of the management of our finances while I still had Beloved to teach me.

Be thou diligent to know
the state of thy flocks,
and look well
to thy herds.
Proverbs 27:23

After two years of responsible management of my books, the time had come for my family member to turn the matter over to me. The Lord has been my helper (and my family member has thoroughly answered all my questions during the transition). 

This is a deeply personal revelation I've shared with my readers but it's in keeping with other aspects of my grief journey I've shared. I am certainly not alone in how widowhood has affected me. May my experience be a lesson for others to consider and perhaps implement while there is time to do something about it. 

In my last post I talked about preparing for last things. My conclusion of these matters is to urge us all to, as much as a person can, plan ahead. 

Until next time, grace and peace.


  1. Well, in our case, Hubby would be hard pressed if I predecease him. I have always taken care of the bills, tax records, files, etc. Now, he has and does make the investment decisions but I know all about those as well. But, it's so important that both share in these important matters. I have also shown both of our children where everything is in the event that they needed it. Goodness, just a whole lot to process. I continue to be so very happy for you.

  2. Great job at working on your fitness. The right clothing is key to comfort. Great advice on finances. I'm afraid there are a lot of women out there who are in the dark if their spouse dies. So nice that you had someone help you and that you are ready to take it back into your control.

  3. Wonderful post. I love seeing you in your riding garb and out in the fresh air and sunshine. You are definitely stronger and healthier than you were a couple of years ago, in my opinion. Not that you were weak and unhealthy by any means, but I can tell that you are thriving on the exercise and fresh air especially. Regarding bank balances, I have always handled our banking, bill paying, etc. I've tried to make it simple for John to handle should something happen to me, but I know he would still be a bit in the dark about some things. Thankfully (well, mot so much thankfully), we don't have any investments and other major financial items that require a lot of concern. Our finances are pretty simple...what there is of them. And he has started paying more close attention to the online bank balance almost to my chagrin...I am having to explain all my little purchases that before he never paid any attention to. LOL. Actually, there aren't many anymore...since we retired we are on such a fixed income we can't venture much farther than a weekly dinner out. Anything beyond that takes careful planning in advance, and he is very much aware of those details. So it's working out for the best for both of us to be more in touch with our financial state. And God definitely provides all our needs. We are very very thankful.

  4. I love it Barbara that you and Gary can enjoy staying fit together. As my primary Doctor will say, "Cindy, just keep moving". Some weeks is easier than others at times but trying to take care of this one body Jesus gave to us is important for sure. Marty takes care of all our finances and always has. I do know how too and I can if needed too but I've never liked it so I let him have at it. However, someone asked me a few months ago was our electric bill was costing and I couldn't tell them. I had to backtrack a little and make myself know these things. It's amazing what we get used too isn't it? I hope that your week is lovely and enjoy your bike rides girl. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

  5. You were wise to dress appropriately for your bike rides, including wearing something bright! And good for you for the bike riding.
    I'm glad you and Gary are able to share in remembering your spouses. It seems very healthy to be able to do that together.
    In my home, I do all the banking and taxes. I've been showing Bob parts of it and how I handle it because as you said, if something happens I don't want him to be in trouble.

  6. As you know, Joe was a CPA, but I was an accountant with responsibility for many millions of assets in my work. I took care of all of the home finances so the only transition required, on that subject, was how to manage without Joe's income. That included finding a part time job. I am happy to say that I just might be able to "retire" again by late summer. Fingers crossed. Joe and I also made our final arrangements years ago. It does make a big difference and brings a certain peace, knowing it is done and a phone call is all that is needed when the time comes. Good advice, Barb!! Love your bike britches!! xo

  7. I didn’t get a chance to comment in your last post, but the rat is dead. Thank the Lord. I too have decided I want to be cremated. I had leaned into that thought after Jeff’s brother’s passing last February. Then Mother threw me for a loop when she announced that she wanted that as well. She had decided that the cost and the digging up all around Daddy’s grave was going to be a mess. I could just bury her ashes next to him in her slot.
    I also have been one of those who doesn’t like to deal with anything other than the monthly bills but I have been paying attention more lately. Not my favorite thing, but a necessity. I loved 5e book my brother in law had put together. It made things a lot easier so I have been assembling one of those for our children. All accounts and how I pay for them…just all the things in one spot for them to find it a bit easier to deal with. Simply not a fun topic at all but one that is wise to do. Now I need a bike ride:)

  8. Always love your insightful posts - there are so many things to navigate in the loss of a spouse, I can only imagine. There are always going to be gaps and things that one or the other did well. It is always a loss when the team of two is now just one. I'm thankful you had help to navigate the financial aspects in the years afterwards, and truly believe that the Lord will help supply all your needs going forward too! Blessings to you!

  9. I have always done the paying of bills and keeping track of our finances. My husband took it over when we first got married and it stressed him out. I had always done it in my first marriage so I took it all back and I'm good at it. I keep him updated - so he's never in the dark. But you do give out good advice.

    Right right it is cold and windy in Northern California. I could use some warmer temps. Last week we were mild and it was so nice to get out.

    I wish I could ride a bike but I have ruptured discs and bike riding makes it worse. I found that out the hard way and it took me almost a year to heal. Swimming is my go-to exercise and no impact!

    You sound like you're living the life...I'm happy for you. I always look forward to your posts. God bless.

  10. Danny does the home finances, but has managed to teach me a lot along the way. After all, I was a single mom for many years before I met him, and had to handle my own finances, which I managed to do quite responsibly. However, I hope that one day I'm not forced back into that roll as it isn't one I enjoy.
    I'm glad to hear that Gary and you are having such fun together; you both look so spiffy in your biking outfits! And your Sunday brunch? Right up my alley, Barbara. I do so love bacon and grits.

  11. I love your transparency, Barbara. Good words here. I can't help but think persons who manage the family's finances need to read this the most (man or woman) and be proactive in involving the other. Most of us who are in charge of the things we're in charge of fall too easily into the mode of it just being easier to do it ourselves. The applications of this are numerous.