Rather than writing lately, I’ve been involved in finishing up major renovations to a house my husband and I bought last May. LAST MAY. We are still living in our rental, but the reno is finishing up, as is our patience with paying rent and mortgage, so the plan is to move in during the last week of March.

What, you ask, does this have to do with the Regency?

Well, Ms. Smarty-Pants, it’s that I am breathlessly anticipating such modern marvels as a washer/dryer, a dishwasher, a temperature-controlled refrigerator, a non-running toilet, and a brand new stove that has the output of Hephaestus in a temper (for the record, the last non-rental I lived in was in 1976; the rental we moved to had a broken window in the bathroom, which we plugged up with an Incredible String Band record album. Yeah, I was raised by hippies/wolves).

Which made me think of modern innovations, and how essential–and how much we take them for granted–they are in our modern life.

Depending on their station in life, some of our Regency heroines (the governesses, companions, poor relations, et al), might have had to wash some of their clothing by hand. Ugh. And even if you had someone to do your wash, there was no guarantee things would come clean. Indoor toilets were around, but hardly ubiquitous; stoves and ovens were huge, beastly hot things that required careful handling. If you had frizzy or limp hair you had to live with it. Forget about cell phones, iPods and DVR; you had to be at the local musicale to hear it, and that was it.

So if you could choose one modern convenience to bring with you as you embark on your time traveling journey of a Regency lady’s life, what would it be? A dishwasher? Eyelash curler? Blow dryer? Vacuum cleaner? Toilet? A ballpoint pen?