Friday, January 6, 2017

The Best and The Worst

I was thinking today about the very best hair cut I ever had... which was because I was telling the story of the very worst thing I ever did to my hair.

The question that ensued was, "OMG... is this on your blog?"

No.... no it isn't.

Until now.

Since "The Worst" story led to "The Best" story-- let me start there.

The Worst Haircut I ever Had

Mama used to go to Debbie's Hair Cottage on Monte Sano Avenue, pronounced Mahn-Tee-San-Oh. Debbie's Hair Cottage was across the street from the Knights of Columbus building with an aging royal blue awning. That blue awning had, what appeared to be, iron-on letters. The parking was behind the building, with cracked asphalt and faded lines. 

At the time, I was 18- heading to The University in the fall and going through sorority rush. 

These two tidbits are extremely important to note. 

Mama went to Debbie's Hair Cottage because her aunts went to Debbie's Hair Cottage. My mom, at the time, was in her early 40s... let's go with 43. Her father was the youngest of 8 children, making the age of my great aunts range anywhere from 70-113. 

Because women in that box are known for great hairstyles and not for blue hair and helmet head.

Debbie's Hair Cottage, catering to only the finest.

My great aunts all had beautiful hair... for their age. 

When Mama started going to Debbie's, no one really noticed. Her hair never changed. So, it wasn't really something to note where Mama went to for her hair. In hindsight, I think Debbie just followed Mama's haircut until she started losing her sight-- Debbie, that is. Mama can see just fine.

But, Debbie's Hair Cottage had this word-of-mouth deal. If you brought Debbie your own color, she would put it on your hair for $5.

Talk dirty to me.

I can get my hair "done" for $5? Yes, please.

Off to Wal-Mart I head in my convertible, days after graduating from high school. Over to the beauty products and into the hair dye aisle for L'Oreal High Lift Blonde, Number 3. 

Why L'Oreal? Was it because it was known for quality? low-ammonia? Easy application? No... I had a coupon.

It made my total $2.67.

For $7.67 I was going to get my hair "did" at Debbie's Hair Cottage with the royal blue awning and ironed-on letters. This will be the story I share when people compliment me on my hair. It was going to be legendary...

And so it was.

I walk into Debbie's at the appointed time and sit on a naugahyde chair held together with the hopes and dreams of Debbie and the $5 hair treatment.

It turns out that Debbie died years prior and Carol actually owned Debbie's Hair Cottage. Carol, in her skin tight lamé pants and low cut shirt walked over to... wait, that was Dolly Parton in Steel Magnolias.

Carol comes over in elastic banded, acid washed jeans, and years of caked makeup on her face. She popped the box open, stuck her cigarette between her yellowed teeth and set to work on my $2.67 box of hair dye.

My great aunts were prim and proper ladies- surely there is a back room to this place where they have their hair set. This was not a place for the meek. 

While she worked with magicians hands, I noticed all the fake plants, lattice work, the drop ceilings and just how dark it was in there. It was in this moment I started thinking that this might not be a good idea. 

But, there is always a constant reminder that something doesn't need to be flashy or expensive for it to be effective.

Hence the $2.67 box of L'Oreal High Lift Blonde, Number 3.

Carol paints the dye on my hair and places me under the dryer. Clearly, this made it an authentic experience. I picked up a Cosmopolitan circa 1991 and read through the whole thing before picking up RedBook from three seasons prior and reading that cover to cover.

Carol smoked her 10th cigarette and worked magic on the hair of my fellow comrades in lung cancer. Carol, as I watched, could do a mean permanent. 

As I finished that second magazine, I started to feel a little tingle on my scalp and I have flashbacks from that Tina Turner movie where she lost her hair. 

"Ummm.... Debb, I mean Carol.... is, uh, is this...."

A pull from her cigarette and a wave her hand, "Shug, the longer it stays on, the better it is."

Well, Carol was a professional. She knew what she was talking about. I trusted her, leaned back and picked up a third magazine, reveling in the decadence that was linoleum and lattice work. 

After about 13 hours, Debbie finally says, "Let's get you over to the sink and wash you out."

She lifted up the helmet from my head, I wiped the sweat off my brow and made eye contact with myself in the mirror. 

My Hair Was Dry.

My hair was dry... and it was yellow.

Carol washed my hair and asked if I wanted a hair cut. Sharp objects were not the best idea for Carol to offer me at that moment.

"Not with those God-Forsaken scissors," I thought. 

"No, I, um, well, yeah. We're gahh... we're good. Yep. Here's your $5. No tip today, I... um... yeah, that's all the money I have on me."

I walk out the door into the blazing May sunshine and quiver in fear as the sun reflects off my hair and into the eyes of cars driving by. Cars swerved into telephone poles as gawkers stared at me.

Before going home and showing my mother the handiwork of Carol at Debbie's, I stop by my best friend's house and knocked on the door, knowing she was home. 

She opened the door and her eyes. Oh, sweet Jesus, until the day I die- those eyes were saucers and her beautiful blonde hair swung back and forth as the first words out of her mouth were: 

We can fix it.

Not, "It's not that bad," not, "I've seen worse," or, "Gosh? You got your hair done." Nope. When the first words are, "We can fix it" you know that you have screwed up.... royally.

Mary Margaret and I run upstairs to her bathtub. We start pouring water in my hair and shampoo. Lots of shampoo. She remembers that her mom uses 'toner.' My 18 year old self did not even know what toner was, nor did I care in this moment. My hair had both the consistency and color of straw. We used the toner six times on my hair and that nest on my head went from yellow to a mustard yellow. We put a notch in the "W" column as I left.

Mama saw my hair and ... her face... it looked just like Mary Margaret's when she first saw it. Had I just gotten used to it? Or was it really that bad?

It was really that bad. 

Mama said, "Listen- you're going to be in the sun all summer. If we try and fix it now, it'll just make it harder to fix it again when you leave for college. You're just going to have to have a good attitude about it and, well, count down the days."

And that I did.

That summer, I went to the lake, the beach, the pool, anything that had water and sunshine-- that's where I was. My brother and I went to my aunt's lake house for several days in the blazing July sun. While there, she fixed us breakfast before we went out on the water for several hours. Upon returning for lunch, my aunt said, "Wife, I swear to God- your hair has changed colors."

Oh, it had. It went from pineapple yellow to phonebook yellow. Those who don't remember, phonebooks used to have yellow pages for businesses. That was the color of my hair.

Fast forward to August, I was counting down the days before my salon appointment and then off to college. The day before we leave, I go into a beautiful, glitzy, well-lit salon and pay an ungodly amount of money to correct my $7.67 mistake. 

My hair was brown, glossy, and beautiful. I felt like a goddess.

Days later, I pledge my first choice sorority and began my college career. My corrective color started to fade and I was too afraid to sit in the chair of another stranger for someone else to correct the problem. It was going to have to grow out with pride.

Now, if you don't know me-- my hair is not naturally blonde. Shocking, I know. It's brown, dark brown- let's be honest. As the color faded, the phonebook yellow came out and all I could do, all I could think to do was let that heinous color grow out and cut it off; it was the only way to rid myself of it. My hair stayed in a pony tail or under a hat. But, you can't hide heinous. And my hair, yeah- it was heinous. 

When I could finally cut it off, I walked into Great Clips and spent $8 because I did not want one soul to see this happen. I had been embarrassed for long enough.

She asked how much I wanted to cut off. I answered: See that blonde? I want it GONE. She started cutting and cutting and cutting and that yellow fell to the floor. It was the shortest hair I had ever had. 

The haircut wasn't that bad, but having the yellow gone made it completely worth it. 

Walking back into that million dollar sorority house, my pledge sisters- whom I had not been that well acquainted with- looked at me and commented on how good my hair looked and what a great decision it was to not do my hair again with the blonde. I looked at them and thought, "Ya think I wanted that blonde hair? I had to let it grow out. Ain't no way I liked walking around with two completely different colors of hair on my head."

But, I just said thanks and moved on.

It traumatized me so much that I refused to color my hair again until I had my streak of gray from my first winter in DC, 2010. But, that's another story.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

This Kid

This kid turned four almost a week ago.

She kills me. At this moment, she is currently not taking a nap like she is supposed to be doing. Rather, she's building a tent and trying to move her bed so she can fit in it or under it or something like that.

I'm letting it slide.

Another crash and another "whoops" and maybe I should rethink the whole independence, etc.

Meh, the house is quiet sans those crashes and she is happy. Every few minutes she runs up front to ask if she can get more blankets. I politely say no. She turns and runs down the hall, heading directly for the closet where the closets are.

Now she is hungry and wanting to take Cheez-Its to her room. I draw the line. No one steals my Cheez-its. Cheez-its are not allowed in the back, only in the kitchen.

Fuzzy isn't sleeping much these days, either. Per Husband, he chirps from about 4am-6am. It doesn't bother me and I sleep right through it. Apparently, Husband doesn't. #MOTY

Bennie is snacking on M&Ms and a cookie at the table and her curls are out of control on this overcast and drizzly day. Spirals that would make Shirley Temple jealous- and they are standing completely on end. Thank you for my MIL, a barber by trade- she is the only person in the whole world who knows how to cut curly hair. All kids get piled in the bathtub for haircuts when we head to SmallTown. She can trim hair, pull a kid out from under suds, and find plastic bath toys for four kids at a time.

It's quite impressive.

Christmas came and went again this year. The kids all said that this was the best Christmas ever. Husband and I agree. Bennie is currently looking for Gurgle, our Elf on the Shelf. My response of "He's at the North Pole" was not sufficient for that brain underneath those curls. She found the Gurgle Grabbers (laypeople might know these as tongs)

The past two nights, the girls have slept in a tent that Santa brought down the chimney. They have little lanterns, sleeping bags, and two kid-size Coleman chairs. Since it's too cold outside right now-- high today is a typical 72-- we have this make-shift campsite set up in the playroom. After dinner, they retire to the site where they watch TV, use modern bathroom facilities, and otherwise camp. Because camping = sleeping in a tent until they get uncomfortable and climb up to the blow up mattress outside said tent.

I was a Boy Scout and I know all about camping in the woods. This former Camper does not fault them one bit for finding the blow up mattress. I know all about starting a fire without matches, but that's another story.

Fuzzy is jumping up and down in his crib and Bennie wants to know if she can Doritos AND Pirate Booty to go with her M&Ms and Cookie. Pass that kid a high-test Coca-Cola and she'll be in business.

Time to rescue that almost 2 year old from the nap he is also not taking.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

My little Angel

Bennie was an angel in the Christmas Pageant yesterday....

She melted my heart!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Decorating and all the rest

I just got back from jogging. Of course, let's be honest-- "jogging" is a strong word. A 12 minute mile is my current pace. I have never been a big jogger, but I'm 36 now, so I should be trying new things. Yoga, 1993 Reebok Step Aerobics, Richard Simmons, and hardcore-long-distance walking... those are my things.

Today though, was an accomplishment. I had surgery last week. "Surgery" is a word that looms in the air and inevitably, the next question in one's mind is "What kind?" -- but people, no matter people, are always too polite to ask. If it isn't offered, then the word hangs, waiting to be answered.

I debated about whether saying anything about the surgery on my blog, not because of the surgery, rather the surgery itself has to do with, ahem, parts that are not discussed in good company. Insert words that are too big for auto-correct here. A D&C and ablation were scheduled for last Tuesday in the hopes of preventing a hysterectomy.

Say whaaaaaaa

One week into the expected six week recovery and I have to say that this recovery is better than anything I have experienced over the last year. It's like finally admitting defeat before back surgery and realizing how much pain you were really in. Or, looking back on a part of your life and thinking, "I didn't realize how bad it was until I found out how good it could be."

Let's not dwell on one's nether regions though, kay? This is about what's been going on lately, besides that. {Of course, if you have any questions-- drop me a line-- and I will happily tell you what I know}

Before I went under the knife, we decorated the Christmas tree. After spending $180 on two trees and two wreaths and yelling at the very excited kids far too much, they finally got to start pulling out the ornaments and putting them on the tree.

Somewhere along the line, plastic ornaments must have been on sale. We have so many of them and I have no idea where they came from. NONE. Of course, they came from Target- but when they were purchased... beats me.

But, thankyouJesus, we had them. Fuzzy's favorite toy is a ball and now, apparently, a ball with a  string attached to it that hangs at the bottom of the tree. He pulls it off, throws it, laughs, runs to pick it up, and starts over again. At present, 8 ornaments have hit the trash. Imagine what that number would be if we put the real ones on the tree in the den?

The tree in the living room has the sterling flatware and hand blown ornaments. THAT tree is behind lock and key this year. As presents start piling up under it, a fence will be built around it.

Bless Fuzzy. "He's all boy," as they say.

The house has a fine layer of glitter intermixed with dust over all surfaces and the children are constantly on the prowl for the funny elf, Gurgle, who made his appearance not too long ago.

When this kid smiles-- I don't know what she does, but this is what happens:

When she doesn't think I'm going to take a picture and is actually smiling, something so much more beautiful happens:

My iPhoto software updated a few months ago and it now mirrors how to edit pictures on my phone. With those two pictures above of Birdie, I had to put the second one in black/white because the color balance was crazy off. It's not me, it's not my camera- it's the dang software. Looks like someone is going to be in the market for spending money in the near future. PLTTHHHHH

Fuzzy was all about decorating the tree. And Birdie found a "Gurgle Stocking" -- that is actually my grandfather's stocking that he used to hang on his mantle next to my grandmother's from when we were all small.

It makes me smile.

We leave this week for a Disney Cruise, compliments of my parents. Instead of buying a bunch of things for all of us, they spring for the experience and the memories, which we are all very appreciative of.

Brother and SIL are flying with Niece and Nephew. Let's all pause for a moment of prayer for their sanity.

We're driving.

My cousin is coming in town next week. I don't talk much about this one as he's the baby of the family-- all 26 years of him-- and has lived everywhere from South Georgia to Western Louisiana and many places in between. He's the head golf pro in Memphis, having graduated from Mississippi State a few years ago. The kid is going places. Lucky for me, he's going to swing by Hometown for a few days on the way.

And we're going off the reservation for Christmas brunch this year-- sausage gravy and biscuits. YUM! We don't want pucks to go with our luscious homemade gravy, I'll be picking those up from the local hamburger shack. Best biscuits this side of the Mississippi.

In a nutshell, that's us of recent. There's a kitchen that needs to be cleaned as I made flour yesterday. But, that's another story.

Thoughts on which photo software would be appreciated.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Uncle Andy's

We went to Uncle Andy's on Wednesday before Thanksgiving to shoot guns and ride the land.

Riding the land is a farmer's pastime and I love riding the land, but considering I have not ridden the land in about, ohhhhh, 10 years- it was fun to hop on the back of the truck and get a little dusty.

What's 'The Land,' is a reasonable question, but the answer is always different. Wednesday, The Land was Uncle Andy's 200+ year old farm. It is the original piece of land from before the Revolutionary War. King George gave his family the land grant and, miraculously, the land has stayed in one piece and in the same family for all these years.

Think about that for a second-- my family couldn't even keep a set of silver together for fifty years. How much land he has is somewhere between 400 and 4,000 acres, I can't remember. I just know that I don't want to be in charge when it comes to pull weeds.

We pulled onto the moss covered drive....

And all the kids tumbled out of the car and into the freshly picked cotton fields.

The kids loaded up on the back of the truck and we were off.

Uncle Andy gave Daddy a project. A project in the form of an abandoned house on the property. If we fix it up, we can use it. Dad is pumped and ready to get moving. He asked me to take a before picture:

 I thought an inside picture or two would be cool... Per my father, this was the first phone in the county. Now, I love my father-- but he can spin a tall tale when he wants to. Let's just leave it at the fact it's an old phone:

They have their own church on the farm. We didn't see it this time, but I ass-U-me that this register is from their church. I'd like to see it sandblasted and hanging on the wall.

The house is in the middle of a field, maybe a wheat field?

Can't you envision the bon fires and cocktails? Grilled hamburgers and fresh picked corn? Oh, I can. All in good time and place. 

After seeing the old house, we headed over to the "red" barn. Let's not be confused-- it's not the blue barn, the stable, the silo, the new barn, or grain thing-y. It's the "red" barn.

And the red barn had some cool things inside...

Remember how I said Dad could spin a tall tale? When he saw this picture.......

He said that CD player on the right could be sold as an 8-track in the picture. I laughed and said the CD player was about as old as an 8-track these days. I don't think he found that nearly as funny as I did.

There was a Model A Ford, maybe a Model T Ford- either way, it was very cool.

Andy and his brother have a hobby of "wrenching" on old cars. They like to restore them in their spare time. Because, FYI- when farmers are in season, they're working sun up to sun down. But when they season is over, they don't have much to do.

I gathered, based on the cars, that Andy's brother enjoys working on old military cars, specifically from WWII, while Andy prefers old trucks.

Old farms have old things... like a 10 ton pontoon bridge from 1941. Ya know, because there are so many oceans around the middle of Georgia.

The girls had a blast riding in the back of the truck and wondering where the seatbelts are.

We all got dusty.

At one point, we stopped in the middle of an empty cotton field and Husband showed the girls what the different tracks were. FYI-- the ones that look like little hand prints are raccoons.

And big farms have big wheels.

Birdie wanted to trick people and make them think that a BIG raccoon lived on the farm, so she put her own hand prints down in the sandy ground.

After a quick stop in the sunflower field...

We rounded into the next cotton field and picked a little to bring home.

It was about this moment that Birdie put her head in my lap and said she wasn't tired. Bennie crawled into Husband's lap, found her dirt covered thumb in her mouth and closed her eyes. the quick spirit down the highway to get a little dusty had come to a close before the first skeet was tossed.

Next time.