In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

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In 1989, Joanne Palmer left a publishing career in Manhattan and has missed her paycheck ever since. She is a mom, weekly columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, and the owner of a property management company, The House Nanny. Her new book "Life in the 'Boat: How I fell on Warren Miller's skis, cheated on my hairdresser and fought off the Fat Fairy" is now available in local bookstores and online at booklocker.com or amazon.com.

Joanne Palmer: The fountain of youth is in my wallet

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— Quite by accident, I have stumbled upon the fountain of youth - the secret to looking and feeling younger. This revolutionary secret does not require a visit to a Swiss spa, a doctor's prescription or painful injections.

In my younger years, I thought the aging process wouldn't bother me. I convinced myself I'd gracefully accept the wrinkles, crow's feet and sagging body parts. I even may have mocked older friends and family members who bemoaned the aging process and started buying expensive creams, lotions and potions.

Ah, the stupidity of youth.

Now, when I contemplate my visage in the mirror, I am sometimes startled and likely to cry out, "Wait! Who are you?"

Last Friday night, my dear sweet face looked particularly bad. Because of a nasty cold, my nose was red and swollen, my eyes puffy, and I felt as energetic as a pile of dirty socks. The problem with cold medicine is that by the time I go to buy it, my brain barely is functioning. It feels like a tribe of type-A caterpillars have spun cocoons around my brain cells, and I am almost incapable of making any type of decision. All I want to do is wrap myself in an old quilt and lay on the couch with a pile of magazines and catalogs.

If I really want to add to the suffering, I might try to get one of the hombres in my house to feel sorry for me and bring me a cup of hot tea with honey in it. As you might suspect, the guys in my house secretly are glad I'm out of commission, so I can't offer loving and helpful suggestions on what they should be doing, such as:

"Clean the bathroom!"

"Sweep the garage!"

"Make your bed!"

"Take the garbage out!"

They are wisely avoiding me like the Typhoid Mary I am, because they don't want to get sick, and I don't want them to get sick because then I will have to take care of them.

With all of these things weighing on my beleaguered brain, I head to the grocery store to buy nighttime cold medicine. I already have been spraying the homeopathic gooey gunk in my nose, steaming myself in the shower and trying to replicate the humid climate of the rain forest inside my house with one puny humidifier.

Now, I'm here to tell you, there's daytime cold medicine, nighttime cold medicine and probably middle-of-the-day cold medicine. There are remedies that promise 24-hour relief, instant relief, time-released relief and just plain ol' relief. There are caplets, gel tabs and liquids. However, for reasons I am not going to explain, all of this relief now requires you to be older than 18 to buy it. The good news is, old ladies like me are getting carded just for buying over-the-counter cold medicine.

Yahoo! Carded!

This is the secret fountain of youth. A request to show my driver's license to prove I'm older than 18 makes me insanely over-the-top happy. It had been so long since I'd been carded, I'd almost forgotten how to do it. And then, in a flash, it all came back to me. I pulled out my driver's license and with a flourish proudly displayed it. For one brief second, all the joys in the universe were mine as I skipped out of the store with the cold medicine and the false knowledge that someone had mistaken me for a twentysomething.

I can't wait for my next cold.

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