It has been bitingly cold lately and John has been teasing me for leaving my electric heating pad on the couch. “It’s such an old person thing to have,” he says. “It’s like having a bedpan lying there.”

“It is NOT,” I say indignantly, but it’s true there’s something a little, ah, aged about the way it looks: the flimsy fabric covering, the mouse-tail of a white cord winding its way through the cushions.

Maybe more than the thing itself is the assortment of things: my side of the couch is next to an end table where I usually have a small pile of books, magazines, my cellphone, a glass of water, and at least one crumpled-up tissue. My laptop lap desk is on the floor within reach, the special pillow that I always hold on my lap while watching TV is nearby. Now there’s the heating pad. It has the hallmark of an elderly person’s nest, this scattering of creature comforts and necessities. Every hospice patient I’ve visited has a nest, usually one next to their bed and another next to a well-worn easy chair. I’m only missing the magnifying glass and bible.

My bedside has a different set of easy-grabs: jar of melatonin gummies, hand cream, earplugs, headphones, lip balm. And really, when you think about the immense dreariness of having to stagger out of bed multiple times per night to deal with an ever-shrinking bladder, a bedpan doesn’t sound like such a bad addition.

I kept finding tiny bits of white string all over the house and it was driving me crazy. I’m sure it was something Riley tore up, John shrugged, and I agreed: of the two kids, Riley’s the one prone to worrying off pieces of whatever he’s holding or eating. Paper, crumbs, plastic, he leaves a little trail wherever he goes. The strings appeared in greater numbers until I finally figured it out: the cat had been peeing on a bathmat, then ripping at the fabric in a half-assed effort to bury her deposits. It was like solving the world’s lamest mystery. A brief flash of self-satisfaction — by jove, I think I’ve got it! — then UGH.


A new friend of mine is wading through the murky waters of online dating. She sent me a screenshot of a man who had messaged her that he was 19 and looking for someone who could show him a thing or two. It’s every woman’s dream, I texted her. A man who has no idea what he’s doing and is sure to last all of two seconds. You can’t make this shit up, she says.


I managed to lose the weight I wanted to lose all summer and I will tell you what that looks like at 44: it looks like a candle that has been burned in the middle. Tapered on the top and bottom, a slurry Videodrome disaster from armpit to pubic bone. Putting on a bra is like trying to shove a half-melted sno-cone into an inadequate cage of fabric, those elusive skinny jeans finally fit but my torso looks like the forehead of a hairless cat. I’m trying to be kind and loving to this aging skinsuit of mine but jesus.


The gym I go to used to have two separate workout areas for men and women but they have finally conceded to modern times and have combined everything. Everyone is having a hard time getting used to the new locations for various machines and I must say, the men are by and large much LOUDER than the women when it comes to vocalizing their complaints. I’m sure it will all become routine soon enough but for now it is like being in a room filled with angry toddlers with access to heavy pieces of metal.


I was in Walmart today — I needed a bathmat, you know — and I saw a guy whose face was absolutely covered in tattoos. There wasn’t a theme or any kind of cohesive design, it was just a bunch of blurry blue scribbles that looked pretty old and maybe the DIY variety. You wonder about a person like that, whether they are filled with regrets and if they could do it all over again, if they wouldn’t let an ink-stained needle come anywhere near their smooth unmarked flesh. Then again, maybe we’re all a bunch of scribbled-on collection of wrong turns and what-could-have-beens, just pushing our carts at Walmart.

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