Vicki Estes: A few instructions for life

Vicki Estes is a freelance writer in Topeka.

Stray thoughts on aging, rules and circumstances beyond our control:


I had a dream that beauty technology had advanced to the point where I could air brush my body to perfection in the shower and touch up my gray hair with a quick rinse. If we can put a woman on the moon, why not? Oh, wait. A woman hasn’t landed on the moon. If she had, she would have asked for directions and found intelligent life.

Accurate or not, some leaders throughout history have been called “the great unifier” – Abraham Lincoln, Helmut Kohl and Nelson Mandela, to name a few. In my household, bacon is the great unifier. No one ever leaves the dining table in a bad mood after enjoying anything infused with bacon. But don’t leave perfectly crisped strips of this delicacy within reach of the dog. Then no one is happy, except for the dog.

Why do we pay for reserved seats at concerts when we end up standing the entire time? After 30 years in the workforce, I want my money’s worth when I spend hard-earned cash.

I was the subject of the infamous “cleanup on isle 13” during a recent trip to the grocery store. I could have dropped and broken any number of items in my cart – jar of honey, bottle of vanilla, container of raspberry jam. Nope. I busted the jar of minced garlic, with all of its pungent essence lacing my sandals, legs and nearby shoppers. All I could think to do was hand out chunks of my crusty French bread to soak up the juices.

What went awry with my sense of fashion that I now ask my teen daughter for clothing advice, relying on her to make sure my husband and I won’t be laughed at on date night? Is that a sensible plan?

Backyard swimming pools should only be sold after the homeowners can pass a chemistry test and understand pH balance, algae growth, and when to cut your losses and start over.

Driving rules have been modified throughout the years, but as far as I know double-yellow lines on a roadway still mean “do not cross.” No matter how confusing a construction zone might be – for example, the intersection of 21st and Wanamaker – if you’ve crossed the double-yellow lines, you are heading for disaster. If you’ve crossed the double-yellow lines and I am coming toward you, put down your phone and swerve to the right.

Speaking of rules, who subscribes to the “no white after Labor Day” fashion rule? I say if it’s hot, wear white, whether it’s the first week of October or the last week in February. Fashion rules were meant to be broken. That’s why denim is worn for nearly every occasion, black and navy do mix and my shoes do not match my purse or sometimes my outfit (or sometimes each other).

Can someone please share their secret to keeping track of the myriad food, gas and hotel rewards programs in which we earn points that help us save money but make us lose our minds?

Life’s Little Instruction Calendars debuted in 1993. Who would have thought we would need a calendar to provide daily instructions on how to live our lives? Here’s my advice: Breathe, eat, pray, sleep, repeat. And sneak a piece of bacon every now and then.

Vicki Estes is a freelance writer in Topeka.



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