Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Bad hair (and body and nails) day

It took roughly 3 months, but I finally made a hair appointment to add some aubergine tones (that's a thing) to my hair. I know what you're thinking: "But Pharon, is that enough time to think through such a DRASTIC decision?!" and I know you're being sarcastic, but trust me: It still felt like I made the decision on a whim. Especially because my normal hair girl was unavailable so I had to go with a sub. So yeah, I'm scared.

But guys? Salons are not my friends. They aren't. Some of my worst decisions have been made in a salon.

I suppose it started, as all bad appearance-based decisions do, in high school. I was a fresh-faced Sophomore attending my first formal dance. My parents had allowed me to go get the much-coveted "up do" at a fancy Edina salon. I told the 80-year-old stylist I wanted to look "classy. Mature, even." I walked out of there with this:

That right there is a giant French twist with some suuuuper classy face-framing spiral curls. I looked like an adolescent Giada Di Laurentiis. I'm surprised I didn't fall over more, considering the massive size of my head and my pre-beer 90-pound body. I don't know math, but I know that physics and gravity were working against me.

After that came several other no nos: the misguided blonde phase, the time I cried and kicked a pedicurist who had the gall to touch my feet, the regrettable hair-stripping incident when I sat under a hot dryer with green goo slipping down my face as it got rid of my gothic-black dye.

OH! And there was the time when, as a full-fledged adult, I went to a spa for a body polish. That's where they lay you down in a dimly-light room while a lady in a white coat turns on calming music, slips some lavender oil between her hands and then roughly sloughs off all the dead skin from your body. I was such a nerd that I got in the salon's shower with my underwear on because I was paranoid someone would walk in on me rinsing the top 3 layers of my skin off and be like "HAVE SOME DECENCY, WOMAN!"

I'm just not cool when it comes to pampering. I am too antsy; too talkative; too nervous; too self-conscious. I don't say, "No, Ethel, that French twist is insane," or "So how do I shower?" I'm like a middle-aged fedora-wearing gamer. No social skills or awareness.

Also? Can we talk about salon politics?! I never feel worse than when I make an appointment with someone other than my main stylist; it's like being caught at a speed-dating event by the person you're married to. Then, like, you SEE your stylist and she smiles at you and is super cool, but deep down, you're thinking, "I'm a traitor and the next time I see her, she has every right to 'accidentally' chop off all my hair." That on top of the pressure of doing tipping math in my head is enough to keep me away from the salon for 9-12 months.

Oh, and is there ANYTHING worse than chatting during a hair-drying phase? You have to literally YELL over the sound (lest you be rude and just stay silent) and then they turn the dryer off and it becomes crystal clear that you have been screaming about your weird rash thing for 10 minutes.

So anyway, here I am, heading into the firing squad with a dream of aubergine hair and no actual knowledge about how to tell a perfect stranger what I want. You can't just be like "here's a picture" because then they'll be like, "Okay, well this is Selena Gomez. And you...do not have Selena Gomez's hair. Or complexion. Or any other feature even SORT of resembling Selena Gomez. Also, you're old."

Then there's the risk that your version of aubergine is someone else's version of cherry, or that "subtle-yet-noticeable" to you is not the same as it is to someone who isn't paying $200 for hair paint. Really it's all just a big coin flip at this point, and that makes me scared. Which is weird because I can't even DO my hair...or my makeup...or put an outfit together, so you'd think I just don't really care. But I DO care. And it's not like I'm going to speak up...I'll walk out of there gushing about my Bozo hair done up in a French twist like a Kardashian gushing about lip injections.

I guess we'll see what happens. Chances are, the change will only be noticeable to me; on the other hand, I could also wind up looking like someone who works at Hot Topic. Oh well, at least I'll know what to do with my underwear this time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

If you give a mouse a paper towel...

My fear of mice is well documented. There are few things -- and zero creatures -- that frighten me more than mice. People tell me I'm silly. But to those people, I say: SHUT UP. People I know are afraid of snakes or getting fat or the dark and I don't make fun of THEM (to their faces).

Anyway, here we are. Right at prime mice-decide-to-invade-everyones-homes-because-they-are-dicks season. It's getting colder, and these disgusting vermin are all "Well, time to enjoy a nice cozy home without paying ANY RENT." They spill in through holes the size of dimes and then have a zillion disgusting babies and it's the WORST.

So okay. It's that time of year which means I am on CONSTANT alert. I've all but stopped doing laundry in our basement; I've spent more time cleaning than I have Netflixing (nah, that's impossible). I've sent Geo to the hardware store multiple times to buy more and more mousetraps. I've had our landlord move this pile of wood away from our house because that is a known haven for the heinous creatures. I wake up every day with one mission: watch out for mice.

So far, I've been successful.

Then last week, I realized how foolish I had been. I have a punching bag in our garage and I go out there to work out in between rounds of carb- and wine-loading. I had been so busy congratulating myself for taking 45 minutes out of my laying around time to work out that I never considered what a hellish environment I was in.

Picture this: a cold, detached garage full of "stuff" that's warmer than outside: blankets, cars, cardboard boxes, garbage I can't be bothered to put in the bin and instead throw on the the ground.

So okay, one day last week, I was out there working out. I have wireless earbuds so I can have vulgar, violent music drive me through my workout without destroying the precious childhoods of my neighbor's kids, but on this day, an earbud fell out and it was immediately clear to me that I was in a very quiet room. Then the lights shut off after like 15 minutes and I realized how dark it was in there. I went to turn the light back on and I saw it: not a mouse, but EVIDENCE OF A MOUSE.

It was a paper towel roll sitting on a shelf, chewed through and surrounded in mouse poop. I immediately called off the rest of my workout, ran inside and tearfully crafted a text to Geo that said "I'm sorry, I know I'm a baby, but there are mice in the garage and I need you to buy all the poison that exists in the world."

I avoided the garage for like a week...only going in when it was absolutely necessary to get my car. I would open the garage, wait outside and remote-start my car to give the disgusting creatures the time to run out of the garage and/or interior of my car. Most times, I just parked on the street.

However, I have a wedding and a trip to Cali coming up, and the Rochester weight I put on won't seem to go away on its own, no matter HOW many times I eat salad BEFORE a plate of ranch noodles, so I had to get back out to the garage.

I went in there today, averted my eyes from every nook and cranny to avoid seeing anything I wasn't prepared to handle, punched louder, breathed louder, and basically scream-sang along to all my music. I was panicking the whole time. At one point, the light shut off and I just kept going in the semi-dark because I couldn't handle seeing that paper towel roll again. It was the worst workout of my life; but considering how much I sweat and panicked, it probably was the best one as well.

Anyway, while I have yet to see an actual MOUSE, the fact that they are DEFINITELY interested in living in our space has been enough to make me crazy. And now they have a taste for our sweet, sweet paper towels...

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Why your Christmas lights (might) suck

I LOVE the holidays, you guys. Mostly, I love looking at decorations that go up everywhere. And even though I'm not a HUGE seasonal decorator inside my home, I do have have a few Christmas-y knick knacks I display around my empty wine bottles, dirty socks and Lean Cuisine boxes.

But one of my favorite things to do this time of year is to put up Christmas lights. Holiday lights. Hanukkah lights. Whatever. LIGHTS! I love them. They are THE accessory of the season. The problem is that way too many people are ruining everything by putting up the worst lights ever. Listen, if you're going to do something to draw attention to your house, those of us who have to look at it get to judge. Here are some of the worst offenders.

Mismatched lights: When you get ready to go out for dinner, you don't put on delicate pearl earrings, an enormous turquoise bedazzled bracelet on one hand and some plastic green cuff on the other, then pile on 16 different-colored friendship necklaces. But that's exactly what it looks like when people put up stupid mismatched lights. A multicolored bush with a single blue tree and white icicle lights on your windows? If those houses could talk, they'd be screaming "the people the people the people!" (what up, Sally Field in that movie where she's skitzophrenic!) Pick a color, a theme, ANYTHING and go with it.

Haphazard lights: No one is MAKING you put up lights. You're not a teenager doing dishes, which means you don't have to $hit all over the job you're doing to try and prove a point. If you are going to go through the effort of putting lights up, put them up right. Don't just throw a string in a tree and call it a day. Putting lights on your actual house? Do it symmetrically and securely. Take an extra 30 minutes and have some pride in yourself and your home, for God's sake!

Nonsense lights: I have a neighbor who put up the most random lights I've ever seen. There's a strand of white hanging down on one side, then they curl over the other side, outlining a window. From the center of the house, a giant green strand juts out in front of the house and (in white lights) winds around a tree trunk in the middle of their yard. What. The. Eff. Do better, neighbors.

Partially-working/partially-flashing lights: Test your lights, people! If they aren't all working, don't put them up. If a strand burns out, put your big kid pants on, buy some new (matching) lights, and switch them out. And if you insist on having seizure-inducing flashing lights, have some respect and make sure the flash for a reason. If one chunk is flashing but none of the others are flashing, you could be inviting aliens to come invade us via morse code. Do you WANT to be responsible for an alien apocalypse?!

So that wraps it up. Don't do any of those things or I'll come over and cut the power to your whole house. Happy Holidays!