My children are all back at school and fairly well settled in to their new routines. Yesterday, I decided that it was about time I did something about my own self-maintenance.
You know what I'm talking about. That doctors appointment that NEVER gets booked. Or, it gets booked, and somebody else in the family gets sick, and you become far too busy to actually KEEP your own appointment. Then there's the dentist. And the hair dresser. And the shopping for clothing... All of these things seem to get done on a regular basis for all of the other members of my family, but by the time I am done with all of them, not only is my bank account completely drained, but so am I.
This week, I decided it was High Time that the Goddess got a little attention. I set up my appointments, found a babysitter for Wee Three, and set off.
Yesterday, at 7.30 in the morning, I found myself sitting in a dentist chair. This is no small feat for me, as I have an aversion to dentists that borders on the psychopathic. As I child, I was treated by a dentist who could very well have doubled for the neighbourhood blacksmith. My experiences with him were so shatteringly horrific that as soon as I left home, I swore that I would never be forced to visit a dentist again, as long as I lived. Not in a fully-conscious state, anyway.
Years and years and YEARS went by before I decided it was time to venture back to the dentist. More than ten years, in fact. It was when my own first child was in need of orthodontic work, and I realized that my aversion to all things dental was beginning to affect the way she was feeling about her own experiences. I knew then that I needed to nip my emotional problems in the bud, for the benefit of my child. I was referred to a very good dentist here in town, who is endlessly patient, and also a mother of three small children (thus no stranger to craziness). She had me in for a long talk, took a quick look at my situation, and we set up a maintenance plan.
The first couple of visits were excruciating... On the first visit, I had a panic attack while the hygienist was in the middle of cleaning my teeth, and actually jumped out of the chair and ran out of the room. On the second visit, they tried sedating me with a little nitrous oxide... but the only good it seemed to do was that the maze of tubes and wiring kept me "tied" to the chair. I was finally given a hefty prescription for Atavan, which I have been using to quell my nervous attacks since then. The dentist, hygienist and I ALL seem to fare much better, nerve-wise, since I started taking the tablets about a half-hour before my appointments...
I blame the residual effects of the Atavan for what happened next...
Yesterday afternoon, once the loopiness in my brain wore off a bit, I set off to keep the appointment I had booked with my friend Elsie, who is also my hairdresser. I love going up to see her, as she has a very similar sense of humour to my own. We always book at LEAST an hour together, so we can natter and gab and laugh till our sides hurt. The fact that she has impeccable taste and ALWAYS makes me look vastly better than I do when I arrive is the BONUS part of our time together.
Elsie's shop is located in a little town about half an hour north of where I live, and at SOME point during the drive, I decided that A Change In My Appearance was in order.
Now people, let me confess something, here. I have my hair coloured on a fairly regular basis. The reason for this is simple: the people in my family tend to "go grey" at FAR too early an age. About six or seven years ago, when the grey was growing in faster than I could pull it out, I decided it was time to take the bull by the horns, and fight the un-natural aging process (hell, I had just hit my THIRTIES, for crying out loud). Elsie and I decided that the best way to "fight the grey" was to lighten my natural hair colour, thus blending in any new silver strands that might appear in-between appointments. The greyer my hair became, the lighter the hair-colouring had to be. And yesterday, as I looked at my reflection in the loser cruiser's rear-view mirror, I realized that if this plan of attack went on for too much longer, my hair would soon look like a sorry excuse for a Marilyn Monroe fright-wig.
So what did I ask Elsie to do yesterday?
I asked her to darken it. As in, DARKEN IT.
We went dark, all right. From light brownish-blonde, to dark-mahogany-brunette.
It was a good idea at the time. Until I returned to the cutting chair, the towel came off of my wet, tousled head, and I got a first glimpse of myself...
Me: (hand flying up to my mouth and gasping) CRAP!! I look like Marilyn MANSON!!
Elsie: (laughing at my shock) You SO do NOT!! You look great!! It's just going to take a little time to get used to it!! You SAID you wanted a CHANGE!!
Me: (covering my eyes, now) Jeez, Elsie!! What was I thinking??!! LOOK AT ME!! You just get me one of those white contact-lens-eyeball-thingies, and I'll pop it in and start screaming "The Beautiful People"!! I swear, delinquent teenage drop-outs will FLOCK TO ME!!
Elsie patted me down and smoothed my ruffled feathers, and I have to admit, once she had trimmed my hair and blow-dried it into a shwanky little "shape" again, I did look remarkably better. Still not like myself, but definitely striking.
I was feeling pretty good about myself, pretty "hip and updated", until it was time to pick up my children from school.
I stood outside on the pavement, and waved to Child Number Two when she appeared at the top of the school steps.
She didn't see me, so I called to her.
This time, she heard her name, but looked STRAIGHT THROUGH ME, searching for the woman she knows as "Mummy".
Child Number One had the same reaction.
Eventually, I had to physically go and GET both of my children from the school steps, because NEITHER of them recognized me. They didn't exactly "hate" my new look, but it certainly surprised them.
Child Number Three, on the other hand...
Well, she wouldn't even come NEAR me when I went to pick her up from her friend's house. She knew it was ME, but she wouldn't give a cuddle. Or a hug. Or even a measly handshake.
Okay, I admit. THAT HURT.
When we finally reached home, my children all lovingly asked me when I was planning on getting back to "normal". I told them it would take a little while, but eventually, the colour would fade with washing in a couple of weeks.
Well, people, as it turns out, it's not even going to take that long.
Because this morning, when I went in to Child Number Three's bedroom to get her up for breakfast... before I had even turned on her LIGHT, the very first thing she asked was:
Child Number Three: (in a sad little voice) Mama? Your hair change back, yet?
At 8am, I left a phone message on Elsie's answering machine... telling her that while I love her, and she is an artistic genius, my children have decided that they want "The Woman Formerly Known As Mummy" back.
I have an appointment booked for the re-transformation on Friday... which will give my husband an opportunity to take the "New Woman" out for dinner tonight (at least HE seems to like her, no matter how nuts she may be)...
But, I think I've decided something. I'd rather have my hair look like a poor-version of Marilyn Monroe's, than a fantastic version of the OTHER Marilyn's...
Hell. Wouldn't you?!