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Off the Deep End: Maintenance of an old wife

Published: Saturday, July 5, 2014 8:46 a.m. CST

Dear Stan,

Remember the 40-ish-year-old natural blond you spotted on the dance floor some 30 years ago, the one you wooed, and subsequently married?

Well, she’s still here, although she now resides in a geriatric body and requires a whole lot of maintenance to even remotely resemble your 1980s memory. Therefore, it is imperative you are aware of what you must contend with to even envision a glimpse of her in days gone by.

Understand her hair has to be colored every four weeks. Give up any notion that if only she would stop coloring it, her hair will turn back to its natural blond state. (It wasn’t natural to begin with.) If not dyed, it would be stark white, and that of course would make YOU look older when accompanying her.

Know she has to keep buying age-defying skin care products. It IS necessary for her to purchase every creme, oil or serum with the words “repair,” ”regenerist,” or “cellular” in it. If you hear, “I’m considering Botox,” know that you will never buy that motorcycle.

Recognize how to entertain her so she’ll feel young. She’ll look in the newspaper and squeal with delight over an upcoming Motley Crue concert. Get tickets. For a whole 15 minutes at the concert, she’ll be transported back to the 1980s, when you two were just starting out. After the 15 minutes are up, she will complain about the noise, the crowd and the pyrotechnics. You, however, will not be able to hear a word she said. Just nod and appreciate that you are deaf to her. Eventually, she will she tell everyone how much she enjoyed the concert. Her memory isn’t that great either.

Notice her when you’re going out for an evening. Don’t just say, “You look nice.” Try something such as, “You look young.” If she asks, “How young?” don’t answer, “At least 10 years younger.” That would put her in her 60s. Make it 30 years. It’s one of those lies your mother said you could tell.

Don’t let the grandchildren make fun of her age spots or anything else about her. When a grandchild says, “I could play Connect the Dots on your arms, Grandma,” don’t laugh. Same nonreaction goes for, “You have hair growing out of your ears.” And do NOT laugh when the child runs to you and screams, “Grandma’s dead,” and you find that she’s just taking a nap.

Realize it will cost you money so she can have facial hair removed. YOU look good with a mustache, beard and heavy eyebrows. She does not.

Understand she will be cold the entire summer. Even if it’s 95 degrees, she’ll carry little white sweaters everywhere because she thinks the air conditioning will cause hypothermia. She will still be cold despite the sweater. Assure her the cold will preserve her.

So, Stan, just follow these simple rules and you can probably maintain the aging gal another 30 years. What a lucky man you are!

Good luck,

Your Old Wife

Judi Veoukas is an award-winning columnist and writes from her home in Lake Villa.

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