Monday, July 25, 2005

The Proverbs of Carrot Top

I am to be dubbed with a new nickname now, thanks to this evening’s hair color misfire. Carrot top. It’s my new name and it suits me. Oh, it suits me. It is a frighteningly accurate new description, and yet in a bizarre twist I am extremely calm about it at the moment. But it's dark outside and darkness hides a multitude of hair color sins. I'm sure the glow of the morning light and the continuous brightening of the harsh afternoon spotlight will change my calm demeanor. It's permanent color, you know. I didn't pick something that would wash out. I wasn't thinking. I WASN’T THINKING! WHY WASN’T I THINKING?!!! This is my hair we're talking about.

At first, when I applied the color I was feeling good. I was sort of looking forward to being darker, much darker even. I had a little hint of "Mary hair" going there for a bit, with a darkish, hinting-at-the-thought-of-a-semi-reddish quality. All was well. The excitement of new hair and a new me was building. Step two, apply highlights. The little photo shows tender strokes and few of them. I am a direction follower, so I tried that, but I have a creative streak too, and opting for a natural look and a broader stroke, I took liberties. One must be cautious with their liberties. Liberties are not to be slathered around willy nilly. No. These things I know... now. The color lightened ever so quickly and the strands seemed to bleed into the entire top of my head somehow. They promised on the box that this wouldn't happen. I didn't really do THAT many, but I guess the excessive, stubborn gray was playing it's evil tricks and plus I was trying to highlight Casey’s hair in the midst of doing mine (not recommended for best results) before I had finished the back of my own, and I stopped timing, getting all confused about how to time it starting at the end of the application if one is also applicating another’s hair at the same time which adds exponential minutes to the process. And besides, you know how I am with numbers. Enough said. Next thing you know, catching a glimpse of the sudden process acceleration in the mirror, I'm rushing in a panic to the tub to rinse, realizing that much more time has elapsed than my directions indicated would be beneficial. No denying, they were clear on the 15 minute limit. Feeling much like a handful of old Santa Fe in the-summertime-straw now, my hair received a rinse and a continued rinsing and I slathered it overabundantly with gooey conditioner. I was hoping to reinfuse life where the highlighter had sucked it out with a cruel vengeance. I was trying to undo the effects of leaving highlighter on too long as it bleached holes in my hair like a black shirt in a clorox spill. I had visions of looking somewhat in the neighborhood of what’s-her-name who does the Jenny Craig commercials now. The pretty one who got hefty... I can't think of her name and I didn't aspire to look like her size-wise mind you, and esp. not with one of those bulky other-era dresses on; it was her hair, her hair I was after. I was so close, really I think I was within only a few mistakes of really nailing it.

Sort of darkish warm butterscotch golden blond with lighter streaks... It all seemed so simple really. Cough up $18.00 at K-mart and rush home clutching my box of new hair life, a little smile escaping ever-so-quietly from my lips at the thought of how cute my hair would be in just a few short hours. And yet an hour and a half after opening pandora's precious hair box, I have decided to cast myself into seclusion. The escaping smile has been replaced with a wrinkly lipped look and squinty eyes staring hard at the mirror, trying by sheer force of will to see what I had so hoped to see there shining back at me at about this time. But my eyes aren't lying to me like my little box of "black (orange) magic" did from the K-Mart shelf. So it has come to this. I will be banned from human contact for an appointed time, isolated, shunned to live a solitary life until all my hair grows out or falls out. It matters not which. In a bold stroke of "luck?" it happens to be falling out in large wads as of late anyway, perhaps in preparation for this very event. Perhaps I'll grow new hair like that little doll who's arm you used to wind or crank while you pulled the pony tail. It would grow magically. Magic would be welcome.

So what could be worse than being dubbed Carrot Top at the plastic-gloved hand of one’s own ineptitude? Well, I just went to look at the coif now that it is pretty well dried by the fan blowing on me. The ends where I was careful not to apply too much color, they look sort of ashy and bland like the old hair. The orange didn't make it beyond the crown. Woe is me. Now I'm elevated to Carrot Top Supreme, a title reserved for only the worst offenders. It wasn’t quite so bad when I thought my whole head was a carrot, but now I am a freak carrot on top of it all. At this rate I will have to add insult to injury and put my hair in a pony tail to avoid small children's innocent but nevertheless rude comments. And I know Elyse will sigh and shake her head at the sight of me. I can't take the color in a box lecture. I was gonna so rise above that. I have always been a good girl, I have. It was my first offense. I don’t think I can handle the disappointment.

So becoming a hermit for a few months is the only answer. How long can I go without working or seeing people, I wonder. I have to water the yard, but this can be done under the cover of darkness. You know, this follicle fiasco is a testament to why hairdressers say not to color out of a box. But certainly then, they beget the mishap by always pretending to worry about getting color on the ends when they do it, citing a mysterious need to make sure the hair doesn't get too dark there. Hah! That's just to trip us up so we'll fail when we do it ourselves. And then we will be enslaved to their professional touch for life. I'm thinking maybe just for the heck of it I’ll throw Carrot Tops to the wind and try it again. I’ll try it again one day and prove that I can learn, I can master the art, that I too can live nickname free.

The worse thing is that in my haste to clean up and get that colored goo out of here before we stained something with it, I rinsed the bottle out. I could’ve ransacked the trash and done a semi-fix up to make the ends match the top. There was a ton left. But I didn't just throw it away, I was my thorough self and rinsed it down the drain. Gone. The highlighter mixture is as dry as dust now or I'd go back and just bleach the heck out of my head with a bunch more streaks to tone down the orange. Big dummy. All the way around. Just a big dummy. I should have been happy with solid colored hair, flat and plain looking. But no, I was wooed by the “simple two-step color application process.”

Now what? Cruel fate. I just wanted a nice head of hair for heaven's sake. Is that too much to ask in this life? It must be. That's it, it must be just too much. So I ask you, now what? Please advise on solutions for permanent hair color fixes. Someone must have volumes written on what to do when seduced by thebox. I guess I need a tone-down application. I just wish I hadn't thrown my bottle of color away. Boo hoo. I don't even have anyone to go out in my place and buy something to remedy my hair color woes tomorrow. I don't want people gawking at me as I carry yet another box of color through the store with my head glowing copper colored like a duracell battery. Cally will be at work, I'm supposed to be at work, and casey doesn't drive yet. I lament that. When children are really young, the thought of running errands in a car is equated with a road trip to Disney. Once the license takes up residence in their wallet, errands are relegated to a place likened to having to go to work every day at McDonalds wearing a hair net. Worse yet, at Burger King. Time and perspective change things. I am hoping that tomorrow I will awaken with miraculously darker, less "hot" and more evenly colored hair. It was supposed to be warm, not hot, and I assure you it wasn't anything remotely red on the picture on the box. Nothing whatsoever. Nada. I am going to send the company a photo of MY hair to use on the cover of the next batch of this color/highlight two-step combo. If they choose to use it as the "don't photo" with a black bar across my eyes, so be it. I feel that if I can serve humanity in some way, no matter how humbling, I should do my part. And let that be a lesson to us all. Somewhere in here there is a lesson. A turning point. A brilliant orange moment of sheer insight. I'll let you know if one comes to me. Perhaps it would be something like, “The inept should never be left alone with a box of hair color and a dream.” The Proverb of Carrot Top.

Monday, July 18, 2005

As Promised

Despite my misfortune with the $8.99 before tax skirt during laundering, I did manage to get a photo before I annihilated it.

Feast your eyes on this baby...

Please scroll down...

Just a bit more...

Come on, it's worth the effort...

I look so HOT!...

Ta da....

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It's my Florida Summer Outfit... in silouette form. Just look at those lines. The form is exquisite, don't you think? Isn't it just gorgeous after all? And really this photo is nothing without the accent of the new brown wall. The brown isn't exactly coming across as it really looks, but what do you expect with a throw away camera? In real life it is a rich brown, and with the textured walls, it looks like leather. I think it's tres chic.

Okay, here's the real thing, but please... this photo can be described as nothing less than dorky. But I said I'd show you and at least it's not as bad as the other one we took. See what I mean that it's not really all that summery? I guess I was confused by all the excitement of having a new skirt, $8.99 before tax.

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Cheap shoppers mustn't be too choosey.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Rationalization vs Breakthrough

Word to the wise. Brilliant purchases that make you feel a little high and mighty about your shopping savvy are nothing more than tools meant to catapult you headlong into humility.

Remember my new summer skirt, $8.99 before tax. I washed it (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do after wearing something all day in the summer heat?) It came out of the dryer looking like it cost $8.99 before tax. Unfair! The black background has now been reduced to a mere tonal fraction of its original intensity. It looks like I’ve had it since junior high.

Other than that I don’t have a lot to say about this life of mine. Well, other than the fact that I did have a breakthrough today during church. I realized that there are people who go on vacation for a month+ during the summer. Lots of people. I get bent out of shape with myself if I lay on the couch and read for a while on a Saturday or sunday afternoon. What am I thinking? There are people jet skiing, hiking, boating, lounging, shopping, dining out every day for weeks, reading and doing whatever they please. Of course the month-long vacation set have regular and hefty incomes to support a life of summertime leisure, but heck, I think I deserve some summertime leisure on the grounds that I DON’T have hefty and/or regular income. How about that?

You know, you can pretty much find an excuse for anything if you give yourself the time to think it through. Due to today’s breakthrough (rationalization) you can find me on the couch this afternoon, avoiding discount stores that lure stupid shoppers with $8.99 skirts, and I’ll be enjoying my day of rest. Hope you do too.

Monday, July 11, 2005

My Florida Summer Outfit

and 10 reasons I’m sick of summer:

Okay, I really only have two hardcore reasons. No, make it three... the heat, the thick humid air and those colorful little plastic cups and bowls and stuff they sell at all the discount stores. I can’t explain it, but quietly as I walked through the drug store this evening, with Casey a few aisles over surveying the Almay Eye enhancing makeup again, without warning and for no apparant reason, my eyes unintentionally landed upon the colorful plastic seasonal summer accessories and I became sick of them, sick of summer. Like fingers snapped, and so did I. In a bizarre twist, I recognized it all for what it was, a cheap ploy that had one run too many. I was transformed, there in CVS, into a summer Scrooge. And the thing is, I’ve always loved that stuff, enjoyed it with a fervor like Scrooge’s dog Max would work up over Christmas. They were so festive and sparked thoughts of parties and friends and a fun start to the upcoming months of eternal heat, a reason to think happy thoughts about air so thick it hugs the insides of your nostrils when you try to suck it in, and it all made me forget that soon I’d be driving in an oven on wheels bonded to leather seats by my own sweat. I mean I really do buy in when I walk through Target in say, May or so, and I see all the really cute stuff with fresh retro polka dots, better yet, stripes of pink and green and purple and yellow. But now, just like that, I’ve been jaded. It is as if I blinked a couple of times, opened my eyes and accidentally stumbled into a harsh reality there in the seasonal aisle of the drug store. Like I grew up and lost my youthful innocence with one wrong turn down aisle 12. Oh that I had never walked that aisle. What have I done. Never again will I pour over the bright prints and imagine barbecues and patio furniture decked out with summer trimmings. Why I ever believed, now I’m not sure, as I have never once seen anyone actually deck out their patio with that stuff in summer; come on, it’s too hot to go out there. But I believed... somehow I always believed. It’s like Santa rolled up his sleeve revealing a tattoo on his arm. I just need a minute, really, I’ll be fine.

Maybe I’m just tired of the heat. After all, summer in Florida is like watching the movie, Groundhog Day over and over and over. It’s redundantly redundant. I think I loathe summer. The only thing I am happy about with this summer is the new skirt I have from Ross that I got for $8.99, 10.50 if you count tax, but I don’t count it technically because then it doesn’t sound like as great a deal. Unfortunately I have compulsive tendencies which behoove me to tell you the final price like I’m making up stories if I don’t. So even if I want to tell you it was $8.99, I have to tack on the tax for honesty’s sake. It’s hard being me. But it was a great deal and the fact that I can wear it outside and all over town, even in the car and feel all breezy and cute and summery, oblivious to the usual cares about the sweat greasing up my hair, is a special tribute to it’s allure. But only once a week. I’m limiting myself to once a week... wearing it, I mean. So I’m really only able to enjoy summer on that one day out of each 7. I am really trying to make the most of that day too, going lots of places in my cool “Florida Summery Outfit.” The fact that I in any way feel cute is even more of a tribute to it since the fact that it is summery lends to the idea that I am wearing something that shows legs, arms and back, and none of these body parts has seen the sun in over a year or so. This is equal to, if not more amazing than the fact that I have boldly nixed hairspray from my bathroom countertop. Have I mentioned that my skin isn’t all that perky and summer friendly either? So the whole thing is this huge paradox. I look like crap, like a snowbird in Hawaiian print, but it makes me feel as oblivious and chipper as Elle on “Legally Blonde.” (At this point my girls will be absolutely gagging, mortified that I would in anyway liken myself to Elle from Legally Blonde, saying very matter of factly in that authoritaive tone they use with me, “Mom. No.”) and all of this only testifies to the divine nature and the paradox of “a Florida Summer Outfit”. The halter top I have been wearing with the skirt is another countermeasure to the evils of summer. I got it two years ago for a class reunion, never really wore it again after that. Now I’m wearing it all over the place with the black and white hawaiian print skirt ($8.99 before tax) blending it into what is my “Florida summer look”, what with wearing my flip flops with it and all. That’s one of the very few blessings of Florida and the heat, you can wear flip flops with everything at just about anytime and Stacey and Clinton can’t touch you on that one. Yeah, this is my only “Florida summer look”, so I have to enjoy it. And now I find myself wanting to wear it every where I go. That’s another sign that summer has done a number on someone. They wear the same thing all the time because it’s the only thing they have that matches the weather, their one small attempt at happiness in an oppressively hot and humid world.

But summer has its perks. In case you didn’t know, today was national slurpee day, 7-11, 2005, or at least that’s what I’m calling it. All these years I missed out not knowing this entitled me to a free slurpee, just like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. How have I missed that all these years?! Once again the public school system failed to teach yet something else about practical daily life. But maybe this is a relatively new trend. Cael called to tell us this news today. Bless him, high school graduates know a thing or two these days, and he knows what really matters to me. Casey and I took off to 7-11 and she was kind enough to go in and ask about it before going off whole hog for a super jumbo slurpee gulp. We made sure we scrounged up enough change just in case our “source” had steered us wrong or this was national-make-a-fool-of-your-mother-and-tell-her-slurpees-are-free day. Well, while she was in there, I should have had her find out the history, the details and whether we can hit them up next year. If so, we have a day-long plan for acquiring free slurpees all over town. We will by then, of course, have mapped out the precise locale of each and every 7-11 within a 25 mile radius and the most direct routes to each. It will be our mission to slurp all over Palm Beach County. Count on it. Okay, they were only giving a sample sized cup, but plenty big enough, like 6, maybe 8 oz. This is a great country! I love 7-11. Well, I love slurpees. I find 7-11 to be an icky place where I don’t want to touch anything, a grungy oasis for small unsupervised children turning slurpee handles at will and sweaty men leaving used napkins on the counter, a place where your flip flops stick to the floor and psychos hang out and try to hitch rides, and the gas pumps either don’t take your card and you have to end up going inside of all things when you only came because of the fast pay gas pump and the cheap price, or else the automatic shut off on the pump decides to go manual on you and 2 or 3 dollars of gas pours out all over your leg, the car and the concrete...but the slurpees, man, you can’t beat em, especially the oranage flavor they had last summer that tasted like those baby asprin we used to sneak and eat like candy when we were kids. Oh thank heaven!

Summer? I’m still over it in general, and in principle. And unfortunately we have about 4 more months to go. If a hurricane hits, you won’t hear from me about it because there will be no power, so I won’t be able to blog. I won’t be able to breathe for that matter. But be assured I will be making noise. I may even hit the highway if I am clever enough to get to the 7-11 pumps and gas up the car in time to get out of our “summerville” and find a cool and happy place to ride out the storm. It’s all theory, sort of like a dream. But dreams do come true, I mean today, while I was wearing my “Florida Summer Oufit”, we got free slurpees didn’t we?

PS: I may have a photo of my florida summer outfit sometime soon. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Out of The Club

The car a/c isn’t working again. I am not saying this as a complaint, though I am certainly not above complaining about it, as I often do that. However, today I mention this because the non-working a/c was a catalyst to other thoughts as I sat at every red light on my 20 minute drive home sweltering and trying not to sweat profusely and trying to tame my freewheeling hair as it blew every-which-way in the suffocating breeze, poking me in the eye, going up my nose, sticking to my neck and getting in my mouth. You see, due to the a/c situation I have to drive with the windows down. It’s a wild ride when I do that, especially if I have both front windows open and have to cross a busy intersection. At that point, the thick and humid, 90-some degree wind cuts across and past me to get out the other side and completely whips my hair all across my face and around my head in crazy knots, like a cartoon character, making it difficult to maneuver the busy traffic and avoid certain death. I’m steering and brushing hair out of my face and trying to get it behind my ears while I also try to find a free spot in which to merge into traffic, and hair behind the ears is not a particularly attractive look for me either which distracts me yet a bit more. It ranks right up there with having it up in a pony tail. I’m not about pony tails. And for those concerned not only for good hair but also for safety, I’ll tell you it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for beauty and for safety to drive with the windows down. And really, what’s left after that?

And here’s a news flash... I don’t wear hairspray anymore. It may take a while for this to sink in; the sheer gravity of it is enormous. I have reached the end of my hair care days, I’m pretty sure of it. In a bold and calculated move, I took the hairspray bottle off of the bathroom counter the other day and put it away, out of sight, in the cabinet, in some sort of gesture of closure. No more coiffure couture if there was such a thing. Just like that, one day I was done with it. I’m not sure when it happened, but the shift began some time ago, months ago, yeah, right after the hurricanes last year. Hurricane hair dispels many a hang-up, though I have to say, it’s not all that glamourous to dispel hang-ups. My children and my friends probably wish I’d pull the hairspray bottle back out. (I can tell you this much, Casey told me to do the family a favor and buy some new clothes, but that’s for another blog post) But anyway, one day in a wild hare of a moment, I was liberated from my Jhermack Super Hold Unscented Spritz, maybe never to return. So, now with my standards lowered dramatically, I’m driving and sweating and my hair is everywhere it shouldn’t be and it’s certainly not paying homage to the time I spent on it this morning. So I start thinking about how “devil-may-care” people look driving with the windows down. Guys for sure, and young girls in jeeps mostly, but then, when I thought about it, I realized, that’s probably about it. Young girls in jeeps with long hair can can do whatever they want and they just look cool, in that youthful, “I’ve just been to the beach and I’m salty and sweaty and wind-whipped” way, even if they are on their way to work. I wanted to feel like one of the freewheeling, liberated-hair crowd. I had the windows down in above 90 degree heat for heavens sake. I should get something for that And then I realized that while there was a time that having the windows down was cool for me, those days are over. Just like that I was out of the club. After a certain age, women who drive with the windows down, they aren’t cool, no one believes they are on their way home from the beach. And they are covered, not with salt spray but road construction dust, accented with the scent of diesel fuel and exhaust Their a/c just doesn’t work and frankly, that’s not attractive. All I could do was sit at each red light, and I mean each and every red light on my drive home and scan the traffic for other drivers who’s a/c wasn’t working and mentally bond with them, one in our suffering. I wanted to stick my fist out of the window and yell something profound about our plight, but then it occurred to me that maybe their air works fine and they’re still just trying to be cool, part of the freewheeling club. I wasn't sure, so I suffered in silence.

So what’s to come of this? I can’t even be cool now that I’ve finally given up hair product and have given myself over to the casual and carefree. It’s so not fair. Next thing you know I’ll be going to the grocery store in slippers and curlers. These things have a way of degenerating. Casey tried to describe my hair today after I arrived home from my a/c-less drive home. While gingerly holding a few lifeless strands in her hand, it was as if she was trying to conjure up just the right words for a sorely pathetic situation. All she could finally get out was, in her words, “It just looks... (pause) it just looks... well... bad. (Can you tell Casey is hitting the teen years?) Enough said. Too old to ride with the windows down, too poor to fix the A/C, and hair that no longer plays with the wild wind and comes out laughing. They say that age has its privilege. So when do they send me my senior discount card?