The Goddess of Good Hair

When I call to confirm the appointment with my hairdresser, she tells me her house has been foreclosed and sold at auction. She has to be out by Monday.

“And, I have all my feral cats and the wild skunks and opossums that I feed and my five indoor cats and my house is crammed with all my dead mother’s treasures and what am I going to do? My water has been shut off and I have to get out and I may have to move to Oklahoma the day after tomorrow!”

This is not good news for either of us.

My hairdresser has been losing her house for years, long before the current explosion of house disasters. She is not good with money. I am very sorry about her current disaster but I am not surprised.

She has trouble with money and with men but she is an artist of the highest magnitude and she is the only hairdresser I have ever had who does not cut my hair to make me look like a standard size poodle with a great ruff on it’s head.

My hairdresser is on the phone with me crying, and I am moaning right along with her. Because I have been at the coast, baby-sitting for fifteen days, it has been six weeks since I have had a cut and color.

If K. leaves the state, my beauty goes with her. She is The Goddess of Good Hair.

All of K.’s clients feel the same way. She has people who fly in every month from other states to have her do their hair. As it is, I give up a full day to her ministrations every four weeks.

My hair appointments are loose and go like this:

“Ring, ring. Hi K., Are we still on for today? No? You’re in the hospital?”

“Your cat is in the hospital?”

“The water pipe to your washer broke and your house is flooded?”

“The neighbor rammed his water truck into your pine tree and brought it down on your garage?”

With luck, after the ‘Ring, ring,” it’s “Oh, good! We’re still on! What time do you think? Noon? Two is better? Well, I’ll call before I drive down the mountain because you know how you are.”

Generally, the appointment actually starts about 3:30 or 4:00PM. Maybe. And from there it’s 3 1/2 to five 1/2 hours, depending…and a long drive home for me in the dark. But, hey, I look spectacular. I look beautiful and I do not look like a Standard Poodle who has had it’s head soaked in prune juice for a fortnight.

So, here I sit tonight, a number of weeks past my hair cut and color date and I will let your imagination decide how I may look. I have just called K., again, a week since our last frantic call and she says, ‘yes,’ she is still in town and ‘yes,’ she can see me, tomorrow.

Hurrah! Well, that’s another full day that I will give up (and thank God for it) and the day should be interesting.

Where is K. living, I wonder? She has told me she had no place to go. Is she moving to Oklahoma or have we, her clients, all been saved by the Big Bell in The Sky?
K. has told me that many of her clients have said she can stay with them. Maybe she has moved in with one or some of them? Maybe so as her clients are that desperate.

I’m feeling desperate, too.
Baby-sitting a two and five year old was the hardest physical and emotional labor I have done in many years. I am ready to get my hair done now and return to My Other Life.

One day, during that rough fifteen days, Lexi, the five year old says to me, ” I wish I had met you when you were young and beautiful, BaBa.”

I suck up a little air and say, “…Don’t you think I am beautiful, now?”

“No.”

Oh. “Why?”

Lexi says, “Because your arms and your face are all floppy.”

Lexi trots off and I am left to snivel and ruminate.

Later, I tap on her bedroom door, and she calls me in where she is playing with a massive doll house full of barbie dolls and furniture and plastic sea creatures.

“What do you mean, I’m ‘all floppy?’ I ask.
(I am ready to get kicked, again.)

“Well…you really are beautiful, Baba,” Lexi says with some reluctance, “but your skin is squishy.”

“Squishy?”

“Yes,” she says. “Here, look.” She jumps up from the floor and grabs my arm and squeezes. “See?”
“Now, feel my arm.”

She holds out her arm and lets me give it a squeeze.

“See? It’s not squishy.”

Never ask Lexi anything unless you want the truth.

I REALLY need my hairdresser.

The kids grandfather, Bumpa, who is Summer’s dad and my ex-husband, helped me out for a few days during the Great Baby Sitting Tournament.

Loch is very verbal. He talks all the time. He tells Bumpa and me that he is “a hard working man.” He loves his fire trucks and his skip loaders, track back hoes and diggers. He especially loves his dump trucks which he calls, and I swear this is is true, ‘Dumb Fucks.’
Bumpa can’t believe he says this and tries to teach him to say, ‘Dump-Trucks.’ It doesn’t take.

Later, after a meal, Bumpa pats his stomach, leans back in a chair and says, “I’m full.”
Loch looks at him and says, “You’re a fool?”

You can’t be too careful around these kids! They pick out your weak points!

I don’t know what this means, but after dinner one evening, Lexi wanders out to the back yard, where Bumpa and I are having a glass of wine and announces that, “Barbie has a penis.” Then, she ambles off to the slide.

Neither her grandfather or I question that announcement and we are left to wonder.

A week later, I’m now recovering very nicely from the long baby-sitting job and I tell Summer that I will never do it, ever again. She immediately books me for two weeks in October when Lexi has two weeks off from school.

What is the matter with me? Didn’t I just say, ‘no?’

Then, she tells me that Lexi has year around school, now and this means she will have 2 weeks off, four times a year and she will email me Lexi’s schedule.

“I can send her to camp, Mom, but she would rather be with you.”

I immediately email her Bumpa and tell him the plan and that he needs to help me. We both know that the Lexi at five years old won’t last, that soon enough Lexi will be older and embarrassed to be seen with us, at all.

Even now, when Summer is in Australia and I have to take Lexi to her first day of Kindergarten at her new school, she won’t hold my hand in front of her classmates and runs ahead of me on the playground.
I imagine that I am a floppy-skinned embarrassment, who’s also weeks past a hair cut and color. Realistically, and understandably, (as Lexi has told me) she is just mad that I am not her mother and she wants her mother to take her to her first day of school.

But, (and I’m whining out loud, now) I can hardly wait for tomorrow and my appointment. I need my hairdresser and I need her, now. It’s kind of a matter of emotional life and death, if you know what I mean……
Maybe…maybe I can even find an extra room in my house for The Goddess…

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