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An advertisement on the evening news caught my attention yesterday. The TD Ameritrade spot showed two guys chatting and laughing while playing darts. Then, one guy threw a dart, it missed and fell to the floor, and he said, “You turn 40, everything goes.”  

Seriously? Wait a couple more years.

Everything around me is “going.” Our roof sprang a leak, the Cuisinart coffee maker has a death rattle, the roll-up shade in our bedroom won’t roll up. 

And take my bathroom towels. (Please.)  I bought them more than a decade ago when Mr. Wonderful and I moved into our just-built house here at Kennebunk Beach. The Egyptian cotton was so fluffy and thick, I had to peel the lint shield twice when the towels came out of the dryer. Today they are bald.  BALD.  

The living room carpet, pristine and nubby when installed 18 years ago, now resembles a Rorschach inkblot test. Countless unknown blob-like stains from  wrist-waving elbow-bending gesticulating relatives (whom I adore) during raucous Charade games last Thanksgiving weekend (and countless Christmases past) defied even my rug cleaner to remove. Unfortunately, like some hostess gifts, these are not recyclable.

I treat my elderly Maytag washing machine with kid gloves and utter respect. I ignore the chipped paint on the floor moulding in the dining room. I never use the front left burner of my Samsung kitchen range because it goes ROGUE when I turn it on. It goes to high and stays on high. Sometimes I just want my soup to simmer.

Do I notice the water stains on the living room ceiling? The hair-line cracks in the bathroom tile floor? Apparently I do.

Everything around me is old. Everyone around me is old.  That face in my bathroom mirror is old. And I need glasses to see the details. So we went to Costco and bought several packages of cheater glasses. That way we could place a pair in every room of the house because sometimes we forget where we place things. 

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Now I can read my mail in the kitchen, dining room, living room, or bedroom. And guess what comes in the mail?  Nearly every day a notice from Marty Layne Hearing suggesting we make an appointment for a auditory test. Or flyers touting joint discomfort medicine, portable oxygen tanks, walk-in tubs, even “Plot Plan Possibilities” from the local cemetery. 


Our aches and pains are old, but that’s not new. It’s accepting that as the “new normal” that’s new.  We joke with our friends that growing old is not for sissies. That it beats the alternative. But you know what? That doesn’t ease excruciating lower back pain from stenosis and sciatica. Or refocus slowly-blurring vision. Or having to ask our children, “Can you say that again?”

We’re having the roof repaired. I’m being extra nice to the coffee maker.  I ordered new bedroom shades. I’m buying new bathroom towels. It’s a new ballgame.  I have a whole new attitude. I hope I can keep it.