Oh, what a middle-aged morning

I am up and on the treadmill by 6:05 a.m. According to my fuzzy pre-coffee calculations, I will be off the treadmill by 6:45 a.m., leaving me an hour and 15 minutes to get to work. This is ample time, even for someone like me.

Today just might be the day I get to work by 8! And suddenly, I am Scarlett O’Hara: As God as my witness, this morning is not going to lick me.

My workout complete, I step into the shower and turn on the water. It’s cold as ice! I duck and cover but cannot hide. The water pummels me with its unforgiving frigidity.

I scream an expletive. This is one of the many benefits of the empty nest. Because when the inevitable curse word slips out, there are no kids around to gasp and say, “Mommy said a bad word. I’m telling!”

I ask myself: Why can’t I just turn the water on from outside the shower, wait a minute, then step in when the temperature is just right, like normal people ?

Because, Silly, says my inner voice, that would increase the possibility of someone seeing you naked.

Someone like a peeping Tom peering in the window this very second through that little crack at the bottom of the blinds.

Or the cable guy might walk into the bathroom by mistake. Because some people do have televisions in their bathrooms, and it could happen, even though cable technicians don’t make service calls at 6:15 a.m. And we don’t have a TV in our bathroom.

Or my husband, who hasn’t seen me naked in full-spectrum light since 1996.

And while I digress, the water turns warm.

Shampoo. Rinse. Condition. Shave. Scrub. Done.

Towel-dry, on with the robe, and it’s off to the kitchen to prepare my daily bowl of steel-cut oats.

Steel-cut oats are like a Roto-Rooter for the body. The oats pass through your system, taking toxins and bad stuff like cholesterol with them because they are sticky and granular. If there’s one food that everyone should be eating for optimal health, it is steel-cut oats. I know this. I saw it on “Oprah.”

I return to the bathroom, where I have 20 minutes to prepare for work before my oats are ready to eat. I am on schedule.

Or am I? What time is it?

If I had a TV in my bathroom I would know. Note to self: Look into cable for master bath.

I apply some whitening strips to my teeth and lotion to my legs and arms. It is a new product containing a self-tanning ingredient that promises to make my body glow. And I look forward to the day when people on the street mistake me for that toothy and tan actress on “Desperate Housewives.”

I zoom through the rest of the routine: deodorant, cleanser, toner, eye-lifting serum, moisturizer with SPF 30, eyebrow and chin hair maintenance, makeup. Blood pressure pill, multivitamin, baby aspirin, calcium and fish oil supplements, antihistamine.

Wait! Did I not take the blood pressure pill, or is that an extra one sitting on the counter? Note to self: Buy one of those seven-day pillboxes. Tell clerk at Walgreens it’s for your mother.

I can hear the steel-cut oats boiling, but there’s enough time to blow-dry my hair. I plug in the dryer and start to style, but something is wrong. I conditioned but forgot to rinse. My head is coated with ylang ylang-infused moisturizing treatment for dry or brittle hair. Drat!

Back to the shower.

And now, there’s a chain reaction of disasters in strict adherence to Murphy’s Law: Icy blast. Soap in the eye. Broken jar of sugar scrub. Glass in foot. Blood on carpet. Steel-cut oats fused to pan. Whitening strips still on teeth 30 minutes past the recommended application time.

By the time I make it to work, my eye is still watering; I’m limping and hungry. (But my teeth are dazzling.) And I wonder how I ever got myself and two little kids out the door on time every morning for all those years. And exactly how much coffee was I drinking back then?

I plop down in my chair at 8:22, gaze at one of the many inspirational quotes I keep next to my desk, and I channel Miz Scarlett once again: Tomorrow is another day.