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Who’s got the soap?

I’m wondering at what age I’m allowed to hire a personal care attendant, covered by insurance of course. I haven’t reached my toenails in two and half years and the other day in the shower I seriously considered whether or not it was worth it to soap up below the waist. It hurts when I go anywhere past my kneecaps.

I’m okay with gray hair; that’s been coming in since I was in my 30s and I could still reach my ankles. It’s the burgeoning mountain under my man-sized T-shirts, just below my sagging breasts, that really gets to me. I want to know when exactly I stopped looking like I was 20, because it feels like yesterday. I look in the mirror strictly from the shoulders up these days.

It’s not completely depressing. I know there are about a billion other women in the same boat I’m in. I love the women who wear whatever the hell they want. Doesn’t matter if they’ve got those top-heavy grandma arms or busted veins mapping their legs. I say, go for it ladies. I’m gonna get there someday. I’ve already begun collecting scarves and heavy silver bracelets, and I’m working on finding a kaftan with just the right colors. I’ll wear it over all those leggings I can’t bring myself to wear in public. They’re like thick pantyhose, and I hate those, too.

I used the stand-up desk option at work for nearly two and a half days before I caved in and sat my happy ass down in my crappy black office chair, which, by the way, sinks lower and lower every time I plop down on it. I do encourage others to use the standup desk, though. They’d be the same people who bring kimchi for lunch. But secretly I googled stand-up desks and I believe they’re now finding that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Just like sugar-free chocolate frosting.

I work full time now, at least as long as I can manage to convince everyone that I know what I’m doing. I find people are a little intense these days. You make one little mistake and everybody goes nuts. Whatever.

I have one thing going for me: the younger folks are so transient that I find there are still some old farts in charge who rely on people of a certain age to take care of business. So a bunch of dinosaurs are putting together the last remnants of your genuine hand-held, bird-cage-ready, use-for-wrapping paper newspaper. Remember when we all read those and people gave a sh**? God love ‘em.

— Connie Berry

Connie Berry grew up reading and loving Erma Bombeck. She is former editor of The Catholic Sun newspaper in Syracuse, N.Y., and a new resident of Martha’s Vineyard where she was copy editor for the Vineyard Gazette. She lives on the island with her husband and youngest son. Her two older children read her blog,, from Syracuse.

Reflections of Erma