Before we got married, our families threw us a bridal shower in the basement of my brother's house. Nothing catered or extravagant, but rather a simple party for family and friends to celebrate our impending vows and outfit our new home - a basement apartment near the University of Illinois campus that was empty save the roaches.
But we didn't know that just yet.
We got the practical things of the early eighties that everyone needed. Mr. Coffee. Bath and dish towels. T.V. trays. Pots, pans and gadgets. Folding lawn chairs.
We got a heating pad.
The t.v. trays and lawn chairs would be our dining room set for months.
The heating pad would be the third person in this marriage.
Through cramps, pregnancy, surgeries, root canals, bad days and good, I have used that heating pad. Sinus headache? Fold it in half and put it on your face. Hangover? Don't fold. Lay it right on your face, put a pillow on top and go back to bed. Backache? Lay the heating pad on the floor. Lay your bad back on top. Really bad back from hauling chubby toddlers? Take the cover off the heating pad and grill those tense muscles. Neck ache? Wrap around a rolled towel and lay your head down. Bum knee? Roll around and secure with a rubber band. Cold feet? Put at the end of the bed, bend your knees, place on top and read a book. Wonky atmospheric changes that are making you feel out of sorts? Heating pad and power nap. Toothache? Ibuprofen, call the dentist and put the heating pad under jaw. Bum shoulder? High every night for years.
There was a lull in the dating life of me and my heating pad during The Menopausal Years except for the coldest of nights, but we got back together cuz I just can't quit that thing.
One night when it was on Mark's side of the bed he took a good long at it and said, "I can't believe you're still using this thing. It could burn the house down."
I knew that my 20+ year old heating pad might be a fire hazard but I couldn't give it up without a fight. "I think it'll probably just smoke," I answered.
And then that beautiful thing just stopped working and I was brought me to my creaky knees.
Since then I have replaced it twice. Drug store Sunbeams that the lawsuit industry prevents from getting anywhere near the sizzle temperature of my old one. It's better than nothing but not by much.
I went shopping on Amazon for an industrial-sized heating pad. A model that sells for $60.00 had plenty of admirers in the reviews. "It's heavy but a good heavy. The heaviness pushes the heat straight into your muscles."
The caveat? It reaches a high temperature between 145-155 degrees.
A mere five degrees away from the optimal temperature for pork tenderloin.
I think I have found the one for whom my heart loves.