As the author of a cozy mystery series, I was invited to write a post for Dru’s Book Musings, a website that reviews mystery books, mostly cozies. Dru has a section called “A Day in Life,” where cozy characters can introduce themselves to readers. Since I write my Dickens & Christie series in the voice of my main character, Leta Petkas Parker — an Atlantan who retires to the Cotswolds — letting her describe her world was easy.
Leta’s piece will appear sometime in June, and writing it prompted me to consider a day in my life, especially during recent times. I’ve written about life as a retiree, but my days as of late seem a bit different. Don’t yours?
No longer are my days organized around Pilates class and working out with Amir at the J. No longer do I go out for lunch or coffee with girlfriends. I used to have at least one appointment a week — a haircut, a microdermabrasion session, a manicure, or a visit to the dentist or dermatologist or whichever doctor was on my list. I tried to spread out those appointments so I always had plenty of time for working on my books and my columns. Without those calendar items to keep me straight, I’ve been losing track of which day of the week it is. I bet you have too.
Like most of you, I’m in desperate need of a haircut. The manicures? I’d already cut back on those, and I’ve returned to filing my nails at home. The facials? I dug out a clay mask given to me years ago by girlfriends for my birthday. It works to keep my face clear. I’m not sure it helps the skin tone and wrinkles, though. And, yes, writing this makes me think, “When did I become so spoiled?” I can remember when a manicure was a treat, a small luxury. The regular visits for facial treatments began the year I turned 50 when I decided I had to do something to slow the aging process. I’m pretty sure they helped, but I know that habit places me firmly in the spoiled category.
My husband and I used to eat out once or twice a week. At least I can say I’ve been cooking five to six dinners a week for years — mostly because I’m determined to eat healthy lower-calorie meals, and that means my husband has no choice but to tag along. We’ve gotten takeout a few times, and that’s been a treat.
One restaurant owner cracked me up when he told me about his “order four meals in a week and get a discount special.” When I explained that in the best of times, we only ate out once or twice a week, he told me I was in the minority. He joked that many of his customers had a rude awakening when they could no longer eat out most nights. Maybe that means I’m not as spoiled as I think.
Some things haven’t changed. I still start my day drinking coffee in my recliner, perusing the WSJ online, and playing Words with Friends. I shift to my desk and spend time writing, sending emails, and keeping up with friends on FaceBook. The evenings kick off with a glass of wine followed by a home-cooked meal. We watch two shows nightly on network TV or Britbox or Amazon. And then, as I have for years, I try to be in the bed reading by 9:30 or so — but on my Kindle, because I can longer get books from the library — only downloads.
I know I’ll resume most of my old activities someday, though how soon and how frequently remains to be seen. Going to the library and coffee and lunch with friends are both at the top of my list when the time comes. And it will.
Author Kathy Manos Penn is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her cozy mysteries at the Enchanted Forest and on Amazon. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.