I woke up this morning and checked my iPhone on my nightstand. It was six months to the day since my daughter Maggie dropped me here and about one month since my hip replacement. I guess things could be worse. I could be dead. Instead, I’m slowly, but surely, unfurling my body (as we Rheumatoid Arthritis club members like to say) in my soft, high-thread-count sheets as I start my day. Maybe I will go back to bed? Or maybe I will force myself to get moving and enjoy the killer Sunday brunch I know is underway down the hall. I had heard Gwendolyn’s family was coming to join her today; I am dying to see what the spawn of Satan actually look like. Oh, she is such a phony.

Sarah, a lovely Avanti care member (I can’t believe I just praised the staff—this place is really getting to me), came to help me get up and get dressed. I usually am able to dress myself, but today I need help. Turtlenecks are such a bitch to put on, but they provide the perfect canvas for the long, large turquoise necklace I’ve chosen to wear to brunch today. Plus, Samuel once complimented me on this accent piece so perhaps it will catch his eye again today and Gwendolyn can stew as she hears his flowery praise for it once again. Lillian was probably already at Taste Restaurant. Yesterday she told me she planned to go early and nab us a prime real estate table where we could do some good people-watching. It’s so nice to have a friend who is the early bird type. This really balances out my lateness. Did I just call Lillian my friend? Hmm. I guess that is what we are now – friends. This actually feels good to say this. She is good people. A bit slutty, but who can blame her? Sam is attractive – and well, with the paltry male to female ratio in senior living residences even a dog with fleas will get attention. Plus, one can only pretend kiss the classical Greek busts that grace our suites for so long – eventually you do start craving the real thing – and with Viagra readily available to the men – you get my drift.

I dabbed on some Shalimar and painted my pout a Shanghai red, fluffed my recently coiffed bob from the Spa, and used my Lucite cane (I wouldn’t be caught dead with a standard medical cane) to navigate the hallway to Taste. I could see Lillian, already seated, holding court, saying hello to the friendly staff and some of the other women from The Strength Class. As I got closer to the host’s podium I could see Gwendolyn sitting with her family in the back corner. She had a large family. They all had bright red hair like her (surely a birthmark from their emergence from the fiery pits of Hell) and freckles. They all looked so magazine perfect: the men in their navy blue blazers and the women all with flat-ironed red hair parted to one side in sweaters and pearls. They seemed to eat in unison. It creeped me out. Gwendolyn shot me her best dirty look as she saw Sam approach Lillian and me at our table.

“Oh, you’re wearing your fabulous rodeo piece again I see,” said Sam as he pointed to my necklace and then kissed me on the cheek.

Then he kissed Lillian, who swooned. I stroked my large gong-of-a-necklace and shot a killer smile at Gwendolyn, whose eyes met mine and went wide with horror. I gave Lillian a big, warm hug. She felt so “quilted” today in her hot pink terry cloth shoulder-padded jogging suit. Lillian didn’t have one mean bone in her tiny body. The only thing she lacked was fashion sense; I knew we had met for a reason.

“I just love Sunday brunch—bacon and waffles!” said Lillian.

“Me too,” said Sam.

“Me three,” I said as I took my seat, unfolded my napkin and pulled out my readers from my clutch bag. Would I order something off the menu and stick to my diet or splurge with the brunch buffet? One look at the giant crab legs jutting out from a passerby’s plate and I was done. Buffet it is. I was living large and in charge today!