Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Road To Hell........ paved with good intentions, indeed. A person should never allow himself to be coerced, cajoled, or convinced to do something against his better judgment. There comes a point when each person should take his or her stand as an immovable object against an irresistible force just for the sake of self preservation and dignity. In this instance I am a miserable failure.

The day began well enough. Up before daybreak putting a succulent, savory pot roast with accompanying veggies in the crock pot to enjoy an all day spa treatment for the evening meal. At 7 am out in the garage to gather all the necessary accoutrements for working in and about the yard. Hour after hour, wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of twigs, branches, and piles of raked up debris that had been fermenting beneath the snow. The brush pile is taking on Alpine proportions. Sloshing and slogging about the glacier-enriched lawn turning soil for imminent plantings. Restacking the stone wall after months of sub-arctic upheaval. By 2 pm I had accomplished all I'd set out to achieve (and all my body could absorb) and sat down triumphant to allow the first day of Spring's efforts to wash over me. It was a beautiful day--warm, sunny, clear. I took in the results of all I'd done and said to myself, 'it is good'.

Being a warm day and having expended more physical energy than I had been accustomed to I determined that I was in need of a rejuvenating ablution. That accomplished and freshly attired, I ventured into my mother's realm of influence and litanized what I'd accomplished out of doors. She was very praising and encouraging--which I should have recognized as the opening salvo across my bow. However I was too full of my own heightened self-satisfaction to do so. I ended my history with the fatal question: "What shall I do next?"

That's when it happened. The abyss yawned before me and I walked right into it.

"Well, I have an idea." said my sweet, encouraging mother. "How about giving me a perm?"

My mother had, in Paris between 1939 and 1944, been employed by Chanel as one of those ladies who come out wearing couture for prospective buyers. That's where she met my father, a strapping young lieutenant, after the liberation, chauffeuring officers' wives around to the fashion houses. Anyway, she has always been very particular about her appearance and most especially about her hair. She is unable to go to a salon comfortably and everyone who's come here to work with her hair has declined to do a perm. Mother wants a perm. I don't 'do' hair. Therein lies the dilemma.

"Oh, don't worry", she says. "It's easy and I'll be right here guiding you all the way."

I protested. I voiced my doubts, inadequacies, and concerns. To no avail. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed wanted a perm and there was no appeal or commuting of sentence.

So, I set about doing my very best Vidal Sassoon/Paul Mitchell impersonation. All the right tools, warmed towels etc... My mother did, indeed, walk me through the entire process. I felt empowered.

When all was said and done and the rollers were off and the final rinsing was in progress I began to have a very bad, no, serious foreboding, of what was about to happen. All my mother had said was to take a combful of hair, envelop it in the paper, roll it snugly, and secure it in place. She didn't say what direction it was to be rolled. The phrase is 'roll up' isn't it? No one ever says 'roll down' do they? Needless to say the results were less than satisfactory in her considered opinion. She now resembles the Bride of Frankenstein or perhaps Madame Pompadour on acid. It's the curliest bee-hive you've ever seen. She says it can be fixed. She says it isn't my fault. Her face is set in granite as she repeats the words. Over and over and over. All it needs to be 'complete' are a few Christmas ornaments or a stuffed bird or two.

I am mortified. At the same time I am experiencing inner hysterics. Outwardly I am apologizing profusely, reiterating my earlier disclaimers. "Mia culpa, mia culpa, mia maxima culpa". Inwardly the men in white coats are ineffectively trying to subdue me.

This first day of Spring is one for the history books. This is the day I successfully tamed nature AND defied gravity. Sorry, Mom. Poodle On!


  1. I bet you were rolling!! And mortified...but in hysterics! Ha! THat's the last time she asks you to do her hair ;-D Good ploy.

  2. I am rolling on the floor laughing my a$$ off!

    It's still there.
    More's the pity.

  3. AHHHHH!!aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhaaaaaa!!!!!
    Your poor dear mother..the combination of a face set in granite and the hair will keep me smiling all day, so wrong to smile at the misfortunes of others but I've a few she can smile at any time.What a wonderful and interesting life she has had, culminating in this enriching experience and test of patience, fortitude and endurance!
    And You! You unfortunate recipient of another of life's miserable lessons...never perm and crock-pot on the same day!Did that lovely meal at least make a better end to the day? And what work you did to welcome Spring!Do hope today will be a much better one with less hairy outcomes.Bless!

  4. what can I say....remember when you decided to try my auburn hair color? You definitely don't 'do' hair. I will be chuckling all day. Maybe you two could just start a new hair fashion trend?

  5. Oh - I was considering asking you to come to CO and be my stylist. However, I am rethinking that. Perhaps you could just work in my yard?

  6. Red--Definitely the last time I'm ever going to be allowed within 10 feet of her hair! It's really not that bad....really....Bwahahahaha!

    June--SO AM I!! Inwardly of course.

    Von--Dinner did, indeed, turn out superb and Mom was very complimentary. It was excruciating to sit across from her consciously trying not to choke while laughing hysterically on the inside and chewing at the same time. Outwardly we both ignored the elephant in the room. I'm hoping that TCM will air some really old movies starring Gloria Swanson wearing her famous turbans--that may be the way to go for a while.

    Lady H.--Oh yes, I do remember that--5 weeks of purple hair. I ended up giving myself the Patrick Stewart/Yul Brynner treatment. I don't think the world (with the exception of a few places I don't care to visit)is quite ready for my brand of hair design.

    Barb--Welcome!! If you have an electric outlet handy and some jumper cables I can fit you in and fix you right up. The yard stands a much better chance of surviving Lord Wellbourne's beauty regimen.

  7. You are so funny!!! Fabulous story teller!!

  8. Thanks, Gwen. You've given me goosebumps! Except for late Summer and and early Autumn, Maine can be pretty bleak so humour is a healing coping mechanism.