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Was having a frazzly morning this morning.

For one thing, at 7:30 I had to contact school for a conference time.  They do it Ticketmaster style (remember back when you had to just keep calling to get concert tickets???): so I listen to a busy signal for ½ hour, finally get through, and choose from the nubbins of slots remaining.

Most families at this school are in a very different income bracket than us.  Like, dazzlingly wealthy.  And when you’re super frustrated you often want a villain, so the 3x a year as I redial and redial and redial, I start concocting a narrative in my head that these rich families somehow don’t have to go through the same process. “They probably have a robo-butler that does this for them,” I grumble.  “Or – no!  I bet if you donate enough money you get a secret # you can call ahead of time and get the choicest of timeslots!”  (Right, phro, and I suppose the robo-butlers serve them mimosas during the conferences, too?)

After that was done, while driving to work, I knew I had to settle down, get in the right mind space for the day.  I had an idea – I would sing myself a soothing Enya song.  Yes, that’s the ticket.  Ennnnnya, I thought, breathing deeply.  I am Enya, bringer of calm tunes to the world.  I am Enya and do not have allergies partially sealing my right eyelid, or an ant problem in the kitchen.

I opened my mouth and sang to myself, “Paaaaint the sty with scars…” 

Well.  Since my brain and mouth were still waking up, it didn’t have the soothing effect I was going for.  But it did give me a laugh.

I went to 3 different grad schools (two for Comm. Sciences & Disorders programs, and one for Secondary Ed).  Only finished the 3rd one.  I’d explain, but it’s a long story plus I have sold the rights to the Lifetime channel, who will be making a t.v. movie of it starring Meredith Baxter-Birney, costarring Danielle Brisbois as the sassy neighbor.

But I digress.

One summer evening in 1997, I was glaring at application forms.  I was in the middle of round 2 of applying for grad school.  I’d done everything but the essays.  Oh lordy, the essays.  You’d think since I like to write I wouldn’t mind doing essays, but for academic purposes I very much do.  Mind it.  With multiple choice tests, you circle answers and, right or wrong, you’re done.  With an essay, when are you done?  Some might say you are never truly done with a piece of writing.  Yes, well, for something that will be assessed, I find that fact unsettling and unsatisfying.

So, glaring at the applications.  Deeply wishing that some deus ex machina would sweep in and write them, or at least provide a legitimate reason to procrastinate, when the phone rang.  Normally one to ignore a phone, I leapt for it.

The young man on the line said that he was with a marketing research firm conducting a survey about the upcoming feature film “Beautician and the Beast”, starring “The Nanny’s” Fran Drescher.  He said it would take about 20 minutes of my time.  I was needed, people.

I practically shouted, “I’d love to take your survey!”.  He’d obviously had no takers that day because he was very surprised, kept thanking me, and had to rummage around to locate the survey questions.

The takeaway here?  I think your average person is not motivated to take surveys by the chance to win a prize or help a cause.  The big motivator is an opportunity to avoid something worse than your survey.  These are the people to locate, Mr. and Ms. Survey Launcher.  The downside is, your population will be 100% procrastinators.  This would typically not be an issue, however, unless you are looking to gauge interest in, say, a book called, “Get Off Yer Duff and Take Care of That Thing Already.”

Oh, and – you may have trouble getting these folks off the line.  Me, after being barraged by questions about Fran Drescher, beauticians, movie ads, beasts, and who knows what else, had feelings of genuine disappointment when the surveyor was wrapping up.

“So . . . that’s all the questions, huh?” I asked, trying to sound casual.  “You folks researching any other films?”  I could practically hear his finger hovering above the disconnect button.

Fine, I thought.  Just you wait until you decide to apply for school, mister.

Manbun Haiku

Talking to tweens – it can be a struggle.

Me: Sometimes planes look like air sharks up there, don’t they?

Her: Yeah.

Me: I wrote a haiku today!  It’s about man buns!

Her: Yeah?

Me:  Wanna hear it?

<Silence, interpreted as permission to recite>

Me:

Your man bun looks like

tumbleweeds in the March winds.

It sure does suit you!

Everyday Complications

Folks, when did things like lunch and haircuts get so complicated?

Lunch

I had some chowder and a bagel at the eco-friendly bagel shop in the college town. I was finished with lunch, although had not exactly licked everything clean. With trepidation I approached the waste station. I’ve been to this rodeo before, I thought with a sigh.

If any of the millennials had looked up from their devices, they’d have seen a confused middle aged lady muttering and slowly moving fistfuls of detritus first above this trash hole, then that one. Each hole had what appears to be synonymous labels. Is my soup-covered fork Compostable? (Is this the place that uses the utensils made from corn or is that the other place?) Does the bagel paper go in Recyclable, Semi-soiled, Biodegradable, Locally sourced goods, or Decaying matter? I wanted to avoid putting anything in the one marked “Defiler of Mother Earth” – the one that actually goes to a landfill.  I need a Waste Sherpa, I thought.

Lunch can feel more stressful than the work you return to sometimes.

 

Haircuts

Later that night I tried to read a bit of my paperback before settling in to sleep, and kept having to blow shaggy bangs out of my face. I have managed to find yet another hair stylist who is so petrified of creating a Mullet that I pretty much get a Tellum – an anti-mullet. The back is practically scalped and the front is long and unruly about a week after my cut. So I “trim” the front part, of course (I randomly cut pieces, but with tiny delicate snips like at the salon, so it feels legit).

When I do return to get my hair cut, the stylist assesses my head, wrinkles her nose, and asks, “Who trimmed your bangs?” She wants to know if I cheated on her with another stylist. She knows the trim is bad and can’t wait to insult the Other Woman. But fear not, I paid no money for this.

“So, the thing is . . .,” I begin. And she knows I’ve been tangoing with dull scissors.

“You know we do discounted bang trims between haircuts,” she will say. “Just pop in.”

Yes. The trouble is, it’s at 10:30 pm on a Sunday that I can no longer take the sheepdog situation. I can’t just pop in. Seriously, what working parent “pops in” anywhere? We schedule pee breaks in advance.

Not that a haircut is just a haircut lately anyway. I was getting my hair shampooed recently at the salon, and the stylist asked, “Would you like a complimentary paraffin hand treatment?” She said it in a way that assumed I would know what the words “paraffin” + “hand” + “treatment” mean, perhaps because I am female. (The wrong sized hand-me-down corduroys I wore should have been a giveaway that I’m not much into “beauty treatments”, or “appearance”, but that’s another story).  I DO, however, know the word “Complimentary” and I like it a lot.

I said, “I don’t know what that is, but I’ll try it!”

She brought me and my sopping head to a station with a bowl of hot wax. She directed me to dip my hands in 3 times, one at a time. I kept forgetting to splay my fingers when dipping, so my fingers fused together as one hardened, waxy unit. Then she slipped oven mitts on my hands. I was wondering if I should tip her for this additional service when I realized there was no way in hell I could wrangle cash out of a wallet unless I used my feet.

Which made me think that this would be a great mugging scheme for a high-class area! Offer someone a complimentary paraffin treatment, and once the wax and mitts are on, sha-bam – she’s immobilized and you run off with her Kate Spade bag.  Or whatever it is the fancy ladies carry these days.  I was trying to figure out how much the paraffin and a means of keeping it warm would cost – would the investment be offset by the profits?  If you need a second person to collect the bowl and heating equipment while you escape with the purse, then you’re already splitting the take.  Hmm.

I was lost in this imagining, smirking and spaced out in the fancy salon in my hand-me-down cords and oven mitts, until I was roused and directed to a chair for my next Tellum.

On prisons

~~The other day I found something I wrote, from Sept 2012, that I wanted to share.  The kiddo was 7.~~

“When people are in prison, their family and friends still come to see them and visit with them?” she asked during tuck-in.

“Yes, they usually do. If someone goes to prison it doesn’t mean you stop loving them. You might be angry at them – maybe very angry – but you wouldn’t stop loving them,” I said.

“I think I probably won’t ever go to prison,” said this pixie with missing teeth, so earnestly.

I kissed the top of her head. “Well, I doubt you will either. But even if you did, I would still love you.”

“You’d be mad, though?” she checked.

“I might be mad if you made bad choices that got you there,” I said. “But I’d always love you. Mommies’ and Daddies’ love never goes away, ever.”

“Even if you’re dead?” she asked.

Nobody knows! I just don’t know, my agnostic mind shouted.

But, “Even then,” is what I said.

Some

Dear unsated self,

I’d like to introduce you to Some. Some is better than None. Some is even sometimes better than All, because it may mean moderation. It may mean not exhausted, not tapped out, not 0 to 60, not over-caffeinated, not unrealistic, frustrated & whining.

Some is your friend. Some is the real world. Some can be cause for celebration in some contexts. Some is the down-to-earth, working class, worn but comfy couch of the sanctuaried mind. Some laughs with you.

Embrace the Some. Invite Some in, try it on like a new-to-you fleece vest. Close your eyes. There. Some wants you to remember the journey. Memento vivere. Some is the truest legacy.

To Do

Hey there, just going over the status of my to do list for the holiday break; let’s see now:

  • watch a chucklehead try to simultaneouly smoke and sled with his nieces – check!
  • make delicious eggless banana bread (thank you allergy mama Kelly Rudnicki…) – check!
  • fold 77 loads of laundry – check!
  • catch up on 8 months’ worth of bill filing – check!
  • annual grouse to spouse about how lame of a holiday new year’s eve is – project was started but needs some additional attention
  • go iceskating, take a digger – check!
  • glare at the xmas tree from 12/26 on, in the hope that it will sheepishly climb the 2 flights to the attic and put itself away – check!

lookin good!

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