OK, maintenance, we all have to do it – and I’m not talking about painting the outside of your house every two years – no, this is about the ordinary, everyday things you, well, I need to do as I age to keep myself from falling apart and looking like a bag lady.  And anyone who has read Nora Ephron’s I feel Bad About My Neck (which I highly recommend) will know that I’ve read (and love) her piece on the same subject.

Yes, gone are the days when I hurled myself into bed with the love of my life – he’s still here by my side, by the way!  No, starting from the top and working my way down to my toes (and doing all that I have to do) takes half an hour.   So, that’s me in the bathroom for half an hour in the morning and again at night.

I’ll spare you all the details, but let’s start with the eyes.  I wear hard contact lens and eye makeup, and I have an eye condition.  First, the contact lenses come out (sometimes not all that easily) are cleaned and put away.  Then the whole face is scrubbed free of powder and paint (actually, I don’t scrub, apart, that is, from my once-a-week exfoliating session – add another 5 mins for that).  And then I pay particular attention to my eyelids because I have blepheritis, which is an eyelid condition (do have a look at this link telling you more about eye conditions as we age), so out comes the paraphernalia to deal with that.

All of that takes at least 15-20 minutes and I have yet to start on the rest of me!  I haven’t even got to my teeth – ah yes, me teeth, *sighs*.  But I did look after my teeth, however, just after I retired, I lost two of them, and no, I couldn’t have caps.  Not, fortunately, my front teeth but near enough, so you can see the gap.  I spent some of my (very small) pension payout on a hugely expensive bridge (by expensive I mean £2000) that would last for 10 years, I was told.  Two years later with the bridge broken and beyond salvation I spent the best £350 ever (such good value) on two false teeth that are elegantly fixed onto a full pink plastic plate that needs the ubiquitous Sterodent fizzy soak in the plastic box thing that everyone would recognize as having false teeth in it. I mean, I love the plate for its value, and it’s so well made you wouldn’t know it was there and I still don’t have to put that glue on my gums.  The only things I have to watch out for are toffees and sticky Christmas cake.  Oh calamity, believe me, if your teeth get dislodged you have to leave the room!

But reader, what happens when you go away for a few days, and you’re staying with a friend and you share the one bathroom?  The question arises will I be able to do all the things I have to do, and even more important – where will I put my teeth!  And before any younger readers are put off this blog for life, can I say, this is a serious question – it’s quite a dilemma.  Actually, when I was away last month I took the teeth out in the bathroom and then scuttled back to the bedroom with the pot and put it on the window-sill, not really wanting my friends to look at the pot and think, yes, hmm, Penny’s teeth.

Anyway, all that maintenance, plus other stuff I do of a night and a morning, doesn’t include the time spent waxing (see the blog I wrote on body hair) the occasional manicure, the chiropodist for corns and the hair colour upkeep.  And no, I’m not going grey to save time (see my blog on going grey).

So yes, it’s well over eight hours a week and counting! Such is (my) life – but tell me what do you do?  And feel free to say whatever, including, that’s way too much time!

That’s all for now

With love, Penny

The Frugal Fashion Shopper

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