I always thought that old age came with wisdom and dignity.
Instead it came a bladder the size of a walnut.
It makes for interesting times.
At church, I am the guy who gets up and takes a quick break during the sermon. I do it twice during movies and let’s not even discuss cross-country flights.
But life has a way of making amends – because along with the autumn of my years came a bathroom of my very own – well sort of.
I have always had to share a bathroom.
I was born the son of a plumber who had eleven children and one bathroom. If that were not bad enough, the majority of those kids were girls. I don’t know what it is about girls and bathrooms but from an early age I learned that a bathroom always has a sister in it. When my wife and I bought our first house, I went to use the bathroom and found one of my sisters using it.
So finally, after all those years of sharing with my sisters, brothers, wife and children, I got a private restroom of my very own. One where I could close the door, lock out the world and not worry about anyone or anything else.
It was a requirement for our retirement home.
The house we found had one bathroom on the main floor and one in the basement. Perfect! Since my wife has bad knees and avoids stairs – it all but guaranteed that I would never have to share.
But before we moved in, we talked to a contractor about remodeling. My wife said that her bathroom needed just a few things, starting with the detonation of a small nuclear device
So as we were planning the remodel, I mentioned that my bathroom in the basement could use updating too.
Our contractor pulled me aside.
“You don’t want to do that,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked naively.
He winked meaningfully and said, “Because if we make it nice, she’s going to want you to keep it nice. Catch my drift?”
So while she got the walk-in shower, the marble topped sink and the warm tile floor; I got the cracked mirror, the chipped vanity and the toilet seat that drifts south by southwest whenever you sit on it.
Still, it was mine. All mine.
At least it was for a day. The morning after we moved in, my wife handed me the cat litter box and a tub of sand.
“Put these downstairs in your icky bathroom,” she said.
“Why?” I asked, “they are your cats.”
She just gave me her look that told me the discussion was over.
“And remember,” she added, “since you are sharing, always leave the door open.”