Toni, this one is for you.
I am really not sure where to begin. If you don't have an hour or the inclination, just stop reading now, because there is just no short way to put this. Believe me, I tried.
I guess I will just start with the moment I opened my eyes this morning. Well actually, the dream that lead me to open my eyes. I was alone in an unfamiliar, European style city, that in retrospect, I believe must have been New Orleans. It was a jumbled mess of a dream that centered around people in costumes, sewage, a pink fringe, flapper style, skirt that was missing most of the fringe and was 3 sizes too big, an attack by mutant squirrels that left me wondering if I was up to date on my rabies shots and if it was a bad thing that I was not feeling the pain as the creatures teeth sunk deep into the flesh of my left arm. Thinking the squirrel was just misunderstood, I attempted to pet him, as I continued to walk with him dangling from my arm. This spurred his accomplice into action and left me fighting off two jumbo sized rodents. Just then, as another sewage line burst, like a fire hydrant full of doodie, my eyes opened, and so began the day.
The events that followed were far less violent and disgusting, but eventful all the same. Liila had an appointment for her yearly shots and check up at the vet, which went well. A few shots and a display of her strong will and strong muscles later, we were out the door and headed toward the interstate for home. This is when Ma decided that she would, indeed, call the hair salon, where we had been on Monday, to try to get the girl who had cut her hair to correct some of the damage she had done. She didn't want to call. But, the cut wasn't right. The salon had set her up with this new stylist when her old new one, (who took the place of her old, old, new one who was on maternity leave, who took the place of her old, old, old, one who ripped her off every time, but was "sweet" so she would not change, left to go to a new place where she thought she could charge the same amount and keep more of the money) was "no longer employed" there, and though the newest stylist talked a good game she did not have the talent to back it up, and Ma was left with, what she felt, was a terrible hair cut, that made her feel like she had a mullet. So after much turmoil, as we passed by the salon, she decided to call. They said, yes, for her to come right over and they would fix it. So, we both sighed a sigh of relief and she headed for the door, as Liila and I settled in for our wait. Our wait was surprisingly short. A few minutes later, I looked up to see Ma coming down the stairs of the salon, cheeks red, hair...well, looking the same, headed for the car. I was completely confused, and asked if she had gotten it fixed. Well apparently, the stylist, who was so sweet and friendly on Monday, turned into a bitchy little monster when Ma asked her to take more off the back. (She didn't even mention that the entire cut was all wrong and she hated ever little bit of it.) Needless to say, the girl did not listen to what she was asking. The stylist furiously snipped at a few hairs and then pretty much refused to do anything else. I have been going to this salon for...oh gosh...over 5 years, but I will not be going back and neither will Ma. It was always over priced, but it seemed like a price worth paying to get a better cut, from an experienced stylist. My past several visits to the salon have left me feeling worse about myself walking out, than I did walking in and dreading my next appointment far in advance. Each time, things got a little worse, and Ma's experience today sealed the deal. So, if you know of any really good salons, where the people are pleasant, that aren't over priced or loaded down with bad vibes, and where the stylists are truly experienced and hang around for longer than a day, I would love to hear about them! Meanwhile, I'm thinking of letting my hair grow longer... Just a thought.
So, since it was early afternoon, we dropped Liila off at home, ran by the post office to mail some things and headed to the court house to get my car tags. Ma dropped me off at the door, I ran up the stairs, flung my bag down for the security guards to scan, and walked through the metal detector, that then spring to life with beeps a plenty. Pointing out my jewelry, one guard asked me to walk though again with my arms raised above my head to see if this would solve the problem. Nope. Beeping. The guards look at one another, one settles on an expression and the other seems to understand. He pulls out a big wand thingie and tells me to lift my arms. A woman passes without incident as I stand there, being scanned, like a potential suburban threat in Joe's Jeans. After the guard concluded that it was officially my jewelry causing the beeping and not some nifty homemade shiv, they apologized for the delay and I moved on to the tag office, where I was met with a mishap in billing and a temperamental printer, but eventually got my tags, waved bye to the security guards, ran down the stairs, and hopped in the car. On to the nail salon. We have been getting our pedicures at this salon for several years. Owners have changed, hot stones (which I loved) have been replaced by warm neck pillows and a nice orange tropical punch with frozen punch ice cubes, served in lovely crystal glasses. Since it is a slow time of the year for nails, we are often the only customers and the owner is often the only one working, so we have come to know details of her life and personality. We have bonded over stories of gardens, celebrities, food and family. We have talked about modesty and laughed about thongs. She is a sweet lady. She works really hard. She loves her daughter. Her business is slow. We bonded. So today, as we sat sharing stories, the only customers, her the only one working, we were in no hurry and she was in no rush. That is until two other customers walked through the door asking for pedicures. This was a surprise, and visibly made her nervous, but she needs the business, so after making sure they were in no rush, she asked if they could wait about 30 minutes. They said yes, that they would shop a bit and be back. Content, she went back to work. A few minutes later another girl came through the door wanting a pedicure and acrylic nails, but unlike the others she had a time limit, she had to get to class. In a bit of a panic now, but not wanting to turn away a customer, she began calling everyone she knew to try to get someone to come help her. It seemed hopeless for a while, call after call and then finally she found someone. Her phone rang several times after that. Time passed and help was nowhere to be seen. Another lady came through the door wanting her chipped nail fixed. At this point, she looked around at the salon, now full of people and asked if the lady could come back tomorrow. She said she could. As she finished painting my toes, she hopped up and ran off to do one thing or another and never came back. She had moved on to the girl who had to get to class, which was fine, but what about my top coat? I thought she would come back after the paint had dried a bit and finish them up but she never did. I looked at Ma, who can not read my lips to save either of our lives, and tried to get across the point that I had no top coat. When she finally understood what I was getting at she looked at me like, "well, I'm sorry, you see what all she is dealing with here". Yes, I know but a quick sweep of the brush on each toe and I'm good. Two seconds. Two seconds is all I ask. The top coat is one of the most important parts! Ma just kept mouthing the words "I'm sorry but you aren't getting a top coat. You will just have to do one at home". Please note that if I could paint my own toe nails and not have them turn into a gloppy mess I would be more than happy to do that, but alas I can not. Which is why I have to have them done at a salon. I need that top coat! Well, her help arrived and as the salon buzzed with energy, I resigned myself to the fact that I was not getting a top coat. As the boy who can not work the credit card machine, attempted to work the credit card machine, and the pretty girl with the mask and gloves took it away from him, we paid and left, in summers flip flops, with paper towels rolled and twisted, woven in between our toes, lacking the very important top coat. We had to stop on our way home at the gas station and after standing in the cold, pumping gas, the receipt did not print. The screen flashed, "clerk has receipt". Great. I make my way across the parking lot, flip flops and paper towels fully intact, and ask the clerk for the receipt. Handing me the receipt, she tells me that for the inconvenience, I am welcome to a free soft drink or coffee of any size. I perked up, said thanks and made my way over to the drinks. I decided on a large coffee. I figured Ma and I could pour it into our own cups at home and have plenty to share. As I stood there trying to decided between the medium roast, the dark, the bold, I felt eyes upon me and heard laughter. I know I tend to be paranoid, but this was real! I looked to my left and see four sets of eyes staring right at me and one man behind the counter laughing so hard he was red in the face and could not breathe. I look at them, eyebrow raised in question while the man attempts to explain and act out the scene that he seems to have witnessed. Apparently, while I was contemplating the coffee, I was making a less than attractive and utterly amusing facial expression that left this man breathless with laughter. He tried to explain, but couldn't contain himself long enough to get out the words. All I understood is "I love it!" I have no idea what kind of coffee I ended up getting but, it was hot. Very hot. In the chaos I forgot to get a sleeve for the cup and the one that Ma gave me when I got back into the car did very little to keep it from burning my hand. But after pouring it into our cups at home, it was a nice and unexpected treat. I tried to tell Ma what had happened inside the store, but even I'm not sure. It was a heck of a day. And to think, this was our "day off".
It wasn't until I looked in a mirror that I saw the rash, or burn, or...well who really knows what, on my neck, that I'm guessing was from the warm neck pillow at the nail salon... Whatever.