Friday, June 25, 2010

Out! Damn Hair!

“Mom, it’s time for your cream,” my 10-year-old daughter observes, eying my upper lip.

“Already?”

My mustache is struggling for dominance on my face again.  Like a weed that gets pulled without its root, the follicles remain alive; the “lip quills” get reincarnated and replicate—an army of hairy zombies in need of vanquishing. 

There are plenty of women out there wishing they could ignore the skin beneath their noses.  “Upper Lip Awareness” is prevalent in women in their 40s.  It’s all part of the “Dry up/Stop Laying Eggs” process, I imagine.  I wonder if there is a place, where bluebirds fly, somewhere over the rainbow maybe, where “Women of Bristle” can feel normal--probably in the Middle East...involving veils that expose only our eyes.

“Didn’t Great-Aunt Amelia have a full beard?” I asked a relative, in attempt to confirm the yarns Mom used to spin about the aunt she feared as a child.  “It’s true,” she said, staring off into the distance, shuttering.

I suppose I can trace my fur-lip trait to my South African circus-folk ancestors, who must have greeted each new baby girl born in the tent with reverence and joy.  “This one will be our GREATEST fortune,” Great-Uncle Ernest would exclaim, elbowing the strongman and “high-hoofing” the Goat-Girl.

I have friends who also struggle with “Crop Control.”  Permanent removal was attempted by a friend with Laser Treatment. Each visit involved blasting an intense light beam, creating a mini nuclear explosion on your face.  The feeling is casually likened to a rubber-band being snapped on your skin...for EACH hair.  “It felt like I got skewered like a shish-kabob... ten-thousand times,” she confessed, sore.  Another permanent removal process tried by a friend was Electrolysis.  She said it was one of the most painful experiences she’s ever been through, and has cursed the modern American culture that forces “Women with Facial Coats” to feel bad...ever since.

I’ve tried all the non-permanent methods such as bleaching the hairs—which made me look like Colonel Sanders--to waxing, which only substitutes a soft, furry mustache with a red-raw one.  I’ve also tried tweezing and ACTUAL shaving (just don’t do this).  The only thing that HAS working my favor is my feigning eyesight and that of my husband, Fred’s.  It also helps that Fred has a mustache, so any lip-tickle can easily be blamed on him.

I’m trying to instill in my daughter the joys of being a woman, but I’m afraid when she looks at me, she is thinking deep-down, “Am I going to look like HER?”    

“At least you don’t have “Back Hair”,” she said cheerfully after reading this article.

“Well, that’s something to be thankful for,” I muttered, holding the mirror up to look behind me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Short Guild to Coping with the Wilderness: By A. Suburbian Girl

1Never Shine Your Flashlight into a Rustic Toilet

“Eyes on me--Do NOT look down,” I commanded my daughter last weekend at a Wisconsin State Park facility while on a waterfall tour.  The fact that I knew how to coach her in the "Proper use of a Rustic Park Toilet” speaks to my previous experience in matters of the hole.

When my son, David, was 9, he had to use the outhouse at night, while camping in the woods, and he made the “Life Altering” mistake of shining his flashlight down into the vast hole beneath the plastic seat.  He froze, and dropped the flashlight.  I looked over his shoulder and saw the light, down, down...down illuminating the indescribable horror up from down the cylinder to Hell.

I AM NOT going,” he announced, the fear-induced adrenalin-rush enabling his body to “plug up” like a hibernating bear.  We departed the next morning, but it wasn’t until days later that he relaxed. 

2.  Speaking of Plugging Orafaces...Invest in Some Good Earplugs

“Tweet.  Tweet.  Tweet.  Tweetity, Tweet, Chirpy, Chirp Chirp!”

When you finally do get to sleep, don’t get too comfortable.  At 4:30 am, plan on greeting the new day feeling like you’re in an Alfred Hitchcock film.  I love birds, but my first morning, I willed all bird nemeses of literature and cartoon--Sylvester, Simpkin and Tom, etc.--to unite like forces of EVIL and scare the feathers off of those cheerful, eardrum attackers.

3.  Can I have a Blindfold with that Martini?

Although I am an over-protective mother, there are a few things that gross-me-out to the “dry-heave” point.  One was when my then-three year old son, Jon, lost his thumbnail after he shut it in a door.  Another involved a mouse and a snake, and the latest one was witnessing a tick crawl up my daughter’s pant leg.  I was repulsed.  I was paralyzed.  I wished I had had a few drinks.  It didn’t bite her, but it was no thanks to me.  Fred, my fearless, outdoorsy husband, had to race over and take care of her.     

On a positive note, we did invent the “Tick Crawl” dance move.    


4.  Bring along Jodi Picoult, for Instance

You might never get to read it--but a good soft-cover, 450 "pager" makes a great fly smacker, in the absence of a more traditional weapon.  My apologies to Ms. Picoult (whose novel "Nineteen Minutes" I finally did read and recommend)--I soiled your book.

5.  “Never go to Indonesia.  I mean it.”

This is a quote from a good friend, Marni Rachmiel, who read my article on bugs and knotty pine.  I don’t know the specifics (I’m sure it’s related to size and quantity of insects), but I trust her...so should you!

*Note:  No birds were harmed during the writing of this article.

Friday, June 4, 2010

“I Feel All Exposed...and Nasty”

At this point in my life, I am not at all comfortable prancing around in my bathing suit.  To prevent mishap, men turning to stone, and children having nightmares of my rhinoceros legs, I much prefer to be viewed or photographed fully-clothed, wearing a furry, winter coat...in a shadow somewhere, with someone strategically positioned in front of me. 

Recently, on a camping weekend, my husband, Fred, found a place to go “tubing” on a river.   I have never “tubed” before, but as it was described, it sounded harmless and fun.

“You’ll have to leave your belongings locked in your car,” the clerk said, “and walk your tubes down to the river.”

“Along that busy street?” 

“Yes.”

Holding a tube over my head, wearing just a bathing suit was uncomfortable enough, but, wearing just my bathing suit marching along a busy highway was going a...little...too...far.  But...my daughter, Krista, had already begun the trek down the road, followed closely by Fred.  I tried to hold the tube at my side so at least the drivers would be shielded from me...but I dropped the tube... and had to bend over to pick it up.  A car horn honked...and then brakes screeched.  With my un-tan, poultry-white leg-skin, I must have looked like a tailless, albino mare.

“What IS that?”  I imagined the driver saying to his passenger. 
“That’s something’s ass.”

I was relieved once we reached the river--I wouldn’t be as “visible” on the water.  Fred flopped into his tube, floundered a bit, and then opted for the prone position.  I plopped onto my tube, my knees wide apart and pressed against my stomach like a "Butterball" ready to be trussed.  The last time I was in this position, someone was shouting “Push!”

“This is NOT a good look for me!” I called to Fred, and repeated the “Shrek” Donkey line, “I feel all EXPOSED...and NASTYI was a parade balloon minus ropes and helium.

The river was “low” due to a lack of rainfall.  I could float for about 5 feet before my butt crashed into a protruding rock.  By now, my 10-year-old was floating WAY ahead of us...alone.  The only way to catch up was to "lift and release" the heavier parts that were getting stuck on the river bottom.  These “Butt Lifts” made me think of Jane Fonda in her 1980s leg-warmers, saying, “Feel the burn.”  The main difference between Jane’s glut-squeezes and my “Tube Maneuver” was that SHE had TIGHTS ON under her leotard!  When I “hiked it up,” I prayed that my suit stayed in place, but I REALLY couldn’t tell...and I HAD to get to my daughter.

When the river bended, we got out and boarded the bus that returned us to our car.  Towel-less and sore, I gave up trying to cover myself.  In the bus seat, Fred pointed to my chest.  Momentarily flattered, I looked down, and realized one of the under-wires from my bathing suit bra had sprung free and protruded in a half-moon up to my neck. 

“Mom, what’s that?”  Krista asked.

“All that’s left of my dignity.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How About a Nice Coat of Paint on that Knotty Pine?

“Isn’t this peaceful?” my husband, Fred, asked me as we sat on the porch of our weekend rustic cabin rental.

“No.”  To me, the wilderness is totally over-stimulating. 

From the dozens of chattering chipmunks, invisibly darting through the tall grass like “Predator,” to the twittering birds, buzzing wasps and the annoying rustling leaves, I longed for my serene, painted walls and bird-less, tree-less living room.   

Inside, the unfinished, natural knotty pine look was just as over-stimulating.  I understand the charm of white pine--it arouses the pioneer spirit, the urge to shoot a gun and to eat baked beans.  A room made from this material coordinates perfectly with “Little House on the Prairie” era quilts and furniture.  But the irregular, hundreds of “eyes” on the wood surface make perfect camouflage for bugs.  At night...I know critters crawl out of their deceptive, dark spots...to do their evil, woman-frightening work. 

At bedtime, after final inspection and conclusion that the only bugs inside were dead (or at least faking it), it was mutually decided that my daughter, Krista, and I would take the bed and Fred would take the futon in the front of the cabin so he could do “Woodsy-Man Things” like whittle or shave himself with a hunting knife. 

“Mom, that dark spot up there just got bigger,” she said after a few minutes in bed.  I tried to follow her finger to the knot in question, but without my glasses on, the knots were all beginning to look like bats--which, as all women know, are much worse than any unidentified “night bug.”  “Your eyes are playing tricks on you.  Go to sleep.” I said.

“I hear something buzzing!” she cried minutes later, and, in one movement, attached herself to my side like a Koala Bear to a Eucalyptus Tree.

“Something....tickles,” I said and wildly batted at my leg.

Fred, hearing the commotion bolted in, saw the huddled females and grabbed the only weapon he could find--a long-handled, plastic broom. “What?  What’s going on?”
“Daddy!! There’s a bug diving at us up by the light!”  Krista screamed.  

“I’m gonna get it and then you’re going to sleep.”  Fred announced and crashed the broom against a ceiling support above the bed.  The reverberations from the sudden smack caused dust, bug carcasses and the moth he just killed to come showering down on the bed.  Krista and I looked at each other and together screamed:

“OH, MY GOOOOOOOODDDDD!” and rolled over out of the bed still “koala-ed” together at the hip, “Are you CRAZY?” I accused.  Fred, crestfallen, retreated to his man-room and scrounged around for ANY kind of alcohol he could find.  “It’s gonna be a long night,” he muttered.

Next year, we would prefer a wilderness-themed Hotel...without knots, please.