• Picture of a drill to illustrate what DC widow Marjorie is trying to learn about repairing things in her house
    Things That Suck

    Not My Domain

    Shit just keeps breaking. For real – I cannot keep up with everything that’s broken in my house. The toilet paper dispenser in the downstairs bathroom has been ripped out of the drywall, the handle to the refrigerator is so loose I can barely close it and the back door has a doorknob that routinely falls off. My solution over the past year has been to ignore these problems. To be fair, this was what I did when Shawn was alive. The only difference was that he would actually fix things that were broken. Usually, I didn’t even have to ask. Shawn was handy. I didn’t grow up with a…

  • Garden at house of DC widow Marjorie Brimley
    New Perspectives

    My Garden

    I’ve always loved my garden. I love the way I can plant a tiny seed or a miniature seedling and with just a little work, it can grow into a plant that towers above my children’s heads. When the kids were really little, Shawn spent a series of weekend days digging out and building vegetable beds for me. It was a labor of love, and involved a lot of back-breaking work. I remember when he finished them and sent me a photo. There wasn’t any text with the photo, but I felt a rush of love for him when I got it. He didn’t need to write anything else, because…

  • Image of car tires to represent the flat time of DC widow Marjorie Brimley
    Things That Suck

    I Might As Well Get Cheaper Tires If My Husband Has to Be Dead

    I heard the hissing immediately. What the hell was happening? I hopped out of the car, and looked down. A woman walking her dog stopped. “It’s your tire,” she said. “It’s not good.” She wasn’t kidding. There was a 2-inch slit in my tire and it was completely flat. “Shit, shit, shit!” I said, staring at the tire. Austin’s baseball game was starting in 5 minutes. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to a 2-hour second grade baseball game with a 4-year-old in tow, but at least it gave me time. I walked up to the game. “My tire is flat,” I told the parents who had assembled for the game.…

  • Marjorie Brimley's backyard in Washington DC
    Things That Suck

    No Ma’am

    I came home from work yesterday to find three ladders in my back yard. They extended from my property across the fence and onto my neighbor’s roof. I did not put them there, but my dad reported that the workers next door had done it without asking. My kids were running wild near the ladders and I started screaming that they needed to go inside. I mean, take a look at that cover picture – it’s pretty insane. I tried texting my neighbors, but I couldn’t immediately reach them. I barely know them anyway, as they bought the house a few months before Shawn got sick and still haven’t moved…

  • Marjorie teaching in a Mount Pleasant park with students before becoming a widow

    The First Day of School, Part 2

    I love my job. For almost a decade I’ve been teaching at my current school and I truly enjoy every day. I mean, get to teach history and government in Washington, D.C.! I can even walk to work. I do love having the summers off, but I miss my students and my identity as a teacher when I’m away from school. And so I was really happy when Labor Day arrived and school began. Last year, I missed chunks of school when Shawn was sick and then I missed two months after he died. Everyone at my school was really supportive, and I knew I was lucky to work in…

  • Brimley family treadmill in basement in Washington DC house
    Missing Shawn

    The Treadmill

    People really hate having treadmills in their houses. I’ve heard this before, but I truly realized it a few months ago when I posted this to my community listserve: I’m looking for a free/cheap treadmill. If you have one you’d like to sell or give away, please email me. I got three responses in the first 20 minutes it was up. I wanted a treadmill because it’s been really hard to figure out how to fit in a workout without Shawn around.  Of course, my dad is almost always home during the school year, but in the mornings (when I liked to work out) the kids really just want me. …