Survival guide for the hunting or fishing widow, and how to deal with your husband's obsession

Welcome fellow widows of hunters, fisherman and other outdoor enthusiasts.

Feel free to post your own comments, tips, advice and stories!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summertime -- more light for the fisherman means less time at home

Longer days mean there is more time to fish, at least for the devoted fisherman. There's more sunlight during the day -- it doesn't get dark until 8ish now. That means the husband can stay out later without having to come home from fishing.

Summer is not a friend to the fishing widow. Because summer for the fishing widow means coming home after a long day of work to find the husband waiting anxiously. Not out of concern for the fishing widow, and not because the husband is excited to see the fishing widow. No. The husband is waiting anxiously because the fish are biting and he only has four more hours of daylight left.

The fishing widow has to be very careful on days like this. Because if the fishing widow doesn't watch out, the husband is likely to run over her as he rushes out the door once he sees her pulling into the driveway. Ladies, watch for this. It is very real.

"You've got dinner all right, right?" he will call, sometimes waving, as he peals out of the driveway. He will not wait for an answer, of course, even if the fishing widow is yelling back that she planned to call out for pizza. The fish are biting, after all.

So, the fishing widow is left alone. Well, except for the making sure children are fed, bathed and then put to bed part. Usually, the fishing widow is putting the finishing touches on the bedtime story and about to tuck in the kids for the last time when the husband re-appears. Suddenly, he's the hero of the night and the kids jump out of bed and the fishing widow realizes she has another hour of work to do. Because now she has to start the routine all over again.

The fishing widow really hates summer sometimes. At least until hunting season starts up again.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My fisherman is growing up

You know, the best thing about being a fishing widow or a hunting widow is that sometimes your husband comes back to you. Usually, this is when you least expect it. And then you realize you aren't really a widow after all.

Tonight, just before dinner, my husband went off as usual with his friend to go do some fishing for an hour. I didn't have a problem with it. He's been doing solo duty this week while DS is on spring break. So who was I to begrudge him an hour or so by himself.

He returned within a half hour -- a personal record for him. He said he felt guilty going, knowing I was home and knowing I wanted to spend time with him and DS. He said he should have taken us fishing or just taken a stroll on the beach together.

I almost cried. It was sooo sweet.

But, I had to tell him, I think it's good that he gets out with a buddy to fish. He needs the break every now and then. Even though I complain on this blog, I know fishing is good for him. It gets him out and he can relax. But I do have to say, it was nice to hear him say he missed me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Love your hunter or fisherman -- and don't give ultimatums

I was driving home the other night and heard "I'm going to miss her" on the radio. I can't remember who sings it, but basically it's about a guy who loves to fish. His wife tells him if he goes fishing again, she will leave him. Hence, the name of the song. The chorus is basically an "Oh well, she's gone" sentiment -- "I'm going to miss her. Oh, lookee here, another bite."

I find the song really sad.
First, I don't think I would ever give my avid fisherman and hunter an ultimatum about something they love doing. As much as I complain about him going fishing every weekend he's not out hunting, I know he really enjoys it. And, I can't see myself telling him not to do something he loves that much. Besides, it sometimes lets me have some alone time.

Second, I'm afraid I would become the wife in the song. I know my husband loves me. But, I think part of me is afraid that if I hit him on a bad night, he would go off fishing just to spite me. And I think it would be utterly humiliating to have to tell my friends and family that I told my husband to choose me or fishing and he chose to go fishing. Serious blow to the self-esteem!

Third, I don't think giving an ultimatum is quite fair in this case. My husband lives and breathes hunting and fishing most of the time. Telling him to not go fishing is like telling him not to breathe. Besides, my rule of thumb is that if my husband had the vice before we got married, then I can't nag him about it. He provided full disclosure of his hobby well before the wedding. I knew it and I chose to accept him -- hunting and fishing and all. If my husband significantly increased the time he went hunting and fishing, I might have to re-evaluate. But, if anything, he goes out less. So, I keep my mouth shut. Well, most of the time, anyway.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Surviving in-between Florida hunting seasons

"You need to go out to the woods," I told my husband. "I need more material for my blog."

That's when he broke the news. The deer and hog hunts are essentially over for the area he hunts. We have to wait until turkey season for him to go out again.

That's a few months away -- sometime in the spring. My husband isn't much of a turkey hunter -- it's a lot of work to go through for something you can buy plucked and cleaned at the grocery store. But that's another blog topic.

The purpose of this blog is to help the hunting widow get through this in-between time. Of course, there is the cleaning to do. The husband's hunting camp for the most part comes home in January, which means there are lot of clothes, sleeping bags, towels, blankets, etc. to clean. It's amazing just how dirty these things can get. The hunter now also gets together his inventory to see what he used and what he needs to have replenished in time for the next hunting trip.

The phone calls are endless. It's as if the buddies go through campfire withdrawal about two weeks after the last hunt is over. They go on endless talks reliving the best kills, laughng at the guy who fell asleep in his tree stand and missed the 8-point buck and wondering about next year.

The hunter misses his hunting weekends. He'll start poring over catalogs from Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops, and start planning his trip for next year.

But this year has been a lot different. My husband has grown up and really played his part as a good dad. He's missed many of his designated hunts -- hunts he put in for months in advance -- so he could attend our child's plays, games, even birthday events. So, he hasn't been out all that much. Now the hunting season has come and gone.

I am not sure how to handle this new hunter. It seems strange for me to push him out to the woods, especially since I've spent most of our married life trying to pull him back home. But I want to keep writing the blog. And so, I tell him, he needs to go out scouting or something, just to give me some content.

I can't very well call myself a hunting widow if my husband is at home during hunting season, can I? Oh well, I'm sure it's just a phase my husband is experiencing.

At least there's no problem with his fishing. He's out casting his lines almost daily these days.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Broken-down boat does not make a happy husband -- or fishing widow

The husband's fishing boat is down. Again. Seems as if it just got out of the shop. As you other fishing widows know, a boat that is grounded makes for a very unhappy fisherman. And his wife.
The fisherman usually doesn't know his boat is broken until he is ready to use it. Sometimes, he doesn't notice the problem until he actually launches it. This is a problem on multiple levels. He most likely has spent the previous night preparing for his fishing adventure with lures spread out all over the kitchen floor and fishing rods that need new reels. He is highly anticipating the day on the water. It is painful to see a grown man so disappointed when he gets all ready to go fishing, only to find his boat doesn't work.

If he doesn't notice the problem until he is already on the dock ready to launch or has already launched, then he usually calls the fishing widow to come rescue him. Luckily, that has never happened to me. We also have never had to bother the Coast Guard with a rescue. I guess that would be another blog topic.

The time between the fisherman takes his boat to the repair shop and when he gets it back is pure torture. For days, he just kind of sits outside with a strange look on his face and stares at the spot where his boat is supposed to be. He wanders aimlessly out to the utility room where his fishing rods and equipment are, only to just wanter aimlessly back in the house. After a day, he just sits in the house and sighs. Or he monitors the Weather Channel and comments on how great the boating weather is and how he should be out on the water. After two days, he calls the boat repair shop. He will continue calling said repair shop until they finally get his boat fixed and in working order.

During this time, he drives the fishing widow (or spouse) crazy. It's as if he has nothing else to do but fish. When he can't do that, he mopes. A lot. The fishing widow prays for the repair shop to finish quickly, and then makes a mental note to herself to check online programs on how to make boating repairs herself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Freezing while trying to be supportive of your Florida hunter

I'm from New York, where it gets very cold. I've even spent time upstate, where it gets very, very cold. But I've found that since I've lived in Florida, my blood has become very thin. I can't take the cold the way I could up in New York. Although, maybe I can. I never went camping in New York.

Hunting season in Florida is very strange.  It starts around August, when grown men (and some women) get themselves sit in the hot woods with archery bows. I've been out driving around in the woods (which my husband calls scouting) in the August heat without air conditioning. Let me tell you, it's brutal.

But it's not as bad as in January and Florida experiences an unusual cold spell. And your Florida hunting significant other camps in a tent. Brrrrrr.

It's been cold in this state, which made me think of the time the hubby took me on my first camping trip in January. I had been camping with him before, and it wasn't so bad. I never understood why he packed so many clothes and heavy coats. It was Florida, after all. That January, I finally understood.

The temperature had dropped to the teens. In a tent, there aren't many ways you can stay warm. You have to pile on layers of sweat pants and sweaters and crawl into a sleeping bag with another couple of blankets on top of you. Yes, I am a spoiled American woman. I don't like the cold. And for those who think this sounds romantic -- I assure you, it is not.

I couldn't sleep that night. Every time I moved, another part of my body froze. So I tossed and turned hoping I would generate enough heat to keep me warm. That's when I felt something cold and wet rub against my hand. It was my husband's Rottweiler.

My husband had owned this dog for years before I came along. I was scared to death of it. She had slowly become used to me, but only after I kept feeding her treats. Now, this poor dog was trying to make friends. Not because she liked me any better, but because she was cold and wanted to come into the sleeping bag with me.

There wasn't enough room for me and the dog. And, truth be told, I didn't really relish the idea of letting the tempermental dog into my sleeping bag if she was going to growl at me if I accidentally rolled over on her during the night. So, I compromised.

I lured the animal over with a piece of cookie or treat -- a major big deal, since my husband didn't allow food in the tent. He was too afraid the food would attract bugs. When she lay down to eat, I took my husband's warm coveralls and laid it over the dog. I found a blanket and some towels to keep the dog warm. The dog looked up at me and finally stopped shivering. I think she smiled at me for the first time.

"Sleep well," I whispered. "Now, you will be warm."

My husband turned over at the sounds of my voice.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Covering the dog. She was shivering, and tried to get in bed with me," I explained.

"Oh," he mumbled. "Thanks."

We survived the night somehow, and the rest of the nights seemed warmer after that. My husband bought some battery-operated heaters for the next camping trip, so we would never be that cold again.

But it wasn't all bad. The dog became my fast friend. Seems she never forgot that small bit of kindness. From that point on, she always stuck by my side, even growling at my husband if she thought he was hurting me when he tickled me.

So ladies, remember, if your significant other wants to go hunting in January, always check the weather. Even if you're in Florida, where it's supposed to be sunny all year round. It gets cold here. Bring plenty of  blankets. Better yet, make hotel reservations!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Best New Year's Eve ever for the fish and hunt widow -- at hunting camp

I'm not much of a partier, never have been. Even in college, I didn't really like going out to the bars. I especially don't like being out on the roads on New Year's Eve when everyone else has been ringing in the New Year and driving home with alcohol rining in their ears.

One New Year's Eve, however, stands out. It's the year we spent New Year's Eve at my husband's hunting camp. My husband had a special hunt that weekend, so we decided to get a few special steaks and take along champagne instead of beer (the husband's usual after-hunting choice) for the night.

Now, I have to confess, I was really leery when my husband first suggested the idea. But, I discovered, camp is probably THE most romantic place to spend New Year's Eve at camp. I'm not kidding. We camp at a public camp area that by late December/early January is filled with other hunting campers and trailers. But on New Year's Eve, the place was pretty much deserted, with a few exceptions. And, you know, there is something to be said for a roaring fire (even in Florida), twinkling stars and counting down the end of the year with your favorite guy.

Since it no longer is just the two of us, we haven't been able to spend New Year's Eve like that in some time. But it's down as one of my favorite memories.

So for you other fishing or hunting widows who don't have plans for the end of the week, if your significant other suggests he might want to go hunting or fishing over the weekend, consider going with him. Don't forget to bring the champagne glasses and champagne to count down the final seconds. And make a wish on the stars.