Hurricane Irene – Does Anybody Understand the Coverage?

Like so many, I cannot help but tune into coverage on Hurricane Irene. It is an event that might cause hardship to so many people by way of power outages, flooding, tornado’s and more.

The problem? I am struggling to take it seriously when watching the coverage on The Weather Channel, Local News—really, any Television Network…Especially when those covering it look like Human Condoms in their plastic rain gear.

Because my Aunt Kate lives in Virginia, I checked in with her. (We talk every day—not just when the weather is inclement.)

Me: Have you watched the hurricane coverage?

Aunt Kate: Did you see the Red Cone? We’re in it.

Me: Yes. But WHAT does it mean?

Aunt Kate: I CANNOT watch any more of it…I don’t really KNOW what it means!!

Me: Oh, thank goodness. I keep watching, but I’m not getting it. I am not understanding what the people on TV are saying.

Aunt Kate: It’s going to be WINDY. And WET.

Me: Yes.

Aunt Kate: I’m not sure how windy, or how wet. Nobody is sure, from what I gather…

We established that she had food, gas in the cars, money and was up on the latest news and strategies…

Aunt Kate: I don’t know what else to do. But I cannot watch the coverage any more.

And I was relieved to have company in being confused by the coverage…mainly because of those delivering the coverage. They distract me. Admittedly, that isn’t hard to do. I am easily distracted.

The Meteorologists look like Human Condoms in their funny colored plastic rain gear, zipped up tight with only a round faces showing. They talk really fast, doubled over in winds gusting too hard for them to stand up. I cannot understand them because they speak bent over at the waist, whilst being pelted by rain…

The Human Condoms might be easier to understand without the interruption in satellite signal that freezes the screen or if they spoke at a normal speed. Their adrenaline seems jacked up from being in the middle of horribly dangerous conditions. They begin speaking normally but soon get lathered up—and their words come tumbing-out-making-it-impossible-to take-in…(Frozen TV Screen Pause) what/they/are/saying/about/the/storm…

I think that the technical jargon spews out, because the Human Condoms get all wound up while trying to explain.  They do so in terms that mean nothing to normal viewers…

Nautical Miles, Maximum Sustained Wind, Millibar Numbers, Pressure Systems, Hand Held Anemometers, Eye Walls…

What?

At one point, Al Roker came on air and went into great detail in how to use Google Earth to check ones elevation levels to decide  whether to evacuate. Or move to higher ground.

HUH??

Storm Surges, High Tide, Low Tide, Erosion, Bands Rotating In, Tropical Downpours, Gale Force Winds, Wind Gauges, TorCon Index Numbers…

Who knew that Storm Chasers were dispatched? Is that a real job??

From the slumped over Human Condoms, most news stations pan back to the Perfectly Pressed People sitting comfortably in the newsroom in full make-up, wearing concerned expressions, every hair in place—urging the Human Condoms to take shelter and be safe…That is beyond my limit!

Is there a place to safely take shelter in the eye of a hurricane? 

And the coverage is speculation. Lots of experts guessing what is going to happen, how wet, how windy it is going to be, how extensive the damage might be, who is going to be affected, to what degree, which areas will flood.

There is value in this coverage and in the expertise of weather forecaster’s, because without them, there would surely much more destruction. Their calculations and knowledge save lives. Because of advanced technology, there are evacuations and we all have time to prepare for catastrophic weather-related events.

Mixed into the reports, there IS useful information. Text message, cell phone tower explanation, Evacuations (subway, airport and other closures…) But it is hard to stay with the coverage, to weed those items out.

If I were closer to the Red Cone, I am sure I would go online, research and gather my preparation checklist—and form my plan.

Rather than listen to the Human Condoms out in the elements—analyzing the size of the Red Cone vs. size of the Wind Field. Huh?

All the dire warnings that those who stayed in evacuation zones were on their own had me questioning who rescues the Human Condoms? Who is going to fish them out of the pounding rain, hunkered down in the wind–Hand Held Anemometers waving in air trying to measure the winds that they cannot stand up in???

Does it matter? If one CANNOT STAND, then the wind is moving FAST.

Fast enough to get out of there!!

Then there was Al Roker…doing coverage with surfers behind him. Telling people ‘not to do that,’ noting that there are already reports of surfers who have lost their lives.

Kind of like sitting a child down at a table filled with cookies to watch others eat cookies…then saying “Don’t eat them. They are bad for you…”

Clearly people are suffering, there is much chaos and devastation from this hurricane. And do I plan to go online today, to research whether there is any way I can help out in some small way.

That seems a bit more productive than watching the news coverage…

Teenagers. Parenting in the “Gray Area”

What is the protocol for ‘tattling’ to other parents about their teens?

Me & My Firstborn...Parenting was fairly straightforward.

When my children were little, this was easy. We lived in a neighborhood crawling with children. Because it was a modest neighborhood, most of the moms stayed home to raise their families—some worked part-time. Many went ‘back’ to work as their children entered school.

We had each others backs.

 Me (phoned my girlfriend): Take a look out of  your front door. To the right.

Girlfriend: Okay…

A short pause.

Girlfriend: Oh…he’s in trouble!!

My friend went straight outside to ‘catch’ her son riding his bike in the street. With sidewalks to bike on, there was no need for the children to share space in the street with cars. Zero gray area here!

Easy. Simple. She took her sons bike away for the day, which created enough pain for him to stay on the sidewalks. (At least until the next summer.) We all moved on.

Fast forward to this summer….

Another Parent: Hi…just need to let you know the boys climbed up to the top of a stopped train today. (We have railroad tracks very near one section of our neighborhood.)

Me: Thank you so much for calling.

Other Parent: Yeah…we weren’t sure whether to call the other kids’ parents, but knew we would want to know. If the train started moving again, or one of the kids got trapped…

A silent pause while we both took in the seriousness of the boys actions–and (on my end) was grateful that nobody was hurt. 

Me: Yes. I appreciate your phone call. I always want to know.

End result…my sons group were all grounded, given a talking to and/or other consequences. And because of the other parents quick action, we all took action in our own way, with our child. We were on the same page and established that we had each others backs.

My Daughter and I (left two) My Brother & My Son (far right)...GETTING THE HANG OF PARENTING NOW.

I’m not stupid. Those boys could have been out on a train again. Because kids do dumb things. The only guarantee that we know what they are up to, is to keep them within our sights–or in their rooms. It isn’t possible to keep them under lock and key.

Perpetually grounding a child, or saying ‘no’ doesn’t allow them to grow. Children need to make all the ‘small’ decisions, so that they have the skills to make the ‘biggies’ later on…

But that is scary. Terrifying, actually.

THE BITERS...They bit each other. My little princess bit me. My girlfriends princess bit her...and a sibling or two.

Especially when I consider something that I learned when my children were very young:

If the OTHER children are doing it, your child is either doing IT, has done IT or will DO IT. At least a very high percentage of the time…

This is horribly difficult for most parents to accept. Many do NOT accept it…

If YOU did it when you were their age. They either are doing it, have done it, or will do it.

Take biting. I remember when a neighbors’ child bit her brother. In that moment, I felt a little proud because my daughter had never bitten anybody. Kind of like I must have done something right or that my Parenting was effective—or somehow up to snuff.

That bubble burst a few days later, when my daughter (a toddler) bit me.

Lesson learned. Don’t ever get a little proud, or toss stones at others’ Parenting methods.

My kids are now almost 17 and 14. Ages where transgressions are far more serious than biting, writing on the walls with crayons or throwing sand.

With teenagers, the misdeeds run to drinking alcohol, drugs, lying about their whereabouts, speeding in the family car and getting wrapped around a tree, smoking, low grades in high school, sexual activity, or some combination of MOST of the above. All choices that can grossly affect their future. Arrggh….

As luck would have it, I am a single parent now that my children are teenagers! And a female one at that.

Meaning that my choice to make ‘social plans’ and be out a little late, leaves an empty home–with nobody playing ‘gatekeeper.’ I don’t have a wingman to hang around at home to put on ‘eye’ on the children as they arrive home. Or on my home, during my absence. (Anybody remember waiting for parents to leave, before descending on the empty house?)

My father was in the back doorway when my brother and I arrived home. He asked questions that required much more than yes/no answers, checked to see that we didn’t smell like smoke and made A LOT of eye contact. He was Parenting—with a capital P. I’m quite sure he was tired after his long workweek, that he wanted to go to bed—or that he and my mother might rather have been out with their own plans.

Knowing I had to pass ‘inspection’ when I walked in the door helped me make good choices many, many times—and helped me get home on time. I never once returned home to ‘sleeping’ parents—or to an empty house. Not ever. And on that rare occasion, I know my parents gave the neighbors a heads up–and had Aunt Kate do a drive by (or several).

And so I have followed in those footsteps. I am around to see that the kids get home safely, to make sure we all sit down to dinner, to see them off to school and am usually in the bleachers at their sporting events—whether they are ‘riding the pines’ (my Dad’s term for sitting the bench…) or in the ‘starting’ lineup.

This obviously means that I have to arrange my plans (and life) around Parenting. And without a wingman to pick up my slack—meaning I can’t slack! Nor would I want to. There is nothing more important to me than my children. Not one thing.

The two best decisions of my life...They are getting older. Moving deeper into the PARENTING GRAY AREA.

And honestly, I do make plans. And I do trust my children. But I am also aware that there is such thing as giving them rope and some slack…and giving them enough rope to hang themselves. And for me, expecting my teens to adhere to ‘my rules’ while I saunter home at 2am–unable to enforce them–makes no sense. Worse? When parents tell their teens they will be home very late…giving the teens a heads up that there is no ‘gatekeeper.’ Duh?

I understand that each family has its own rules. Each parent comes at Parenting in a different way, with their own unique philosophy and bed of life experience. My Parenting methods certainly might not work for every family. I wouldn’t expect them to…

But as my children get older and Parenting seems more complex, I have found myself wondering when (if ever) it is acceptable to rat out a teenager to his or her parents? How much (or little) are we expected to watch each others backs?

If I have information that another teen is sneaking out of the house, or drinking…is telling another parent going to stop this? Or just cause that teen to go to ground. To find another way to do more of the same?

Or will I only infuriate the other parent–causing them to direct their anger at me? And what if I only heard about the incident–didn’t see it with my own eyes? Is the other parent going to pick me apart–and allow their child to talk their way off the hook? Because we tend to believe and trust our children, don’t we? It is the other children…not our little bundles of joy…that misbehave and lead our darlings astray. Isn’t it?

Do we apply the same concept used to sidestep tricky adult situations? If a parent wanted to see what was going on, wouldn’t they see it?

Are we obligated to make an attempt to help another parent, child, family? To pass along information that might keep a child safe?

If (when?) one of my children engages in dangerous behavior…or actions that could alter the rest of his/her life–I absolutely want to know.

And the chances that they will do something foolish during their teen years are very, very high. Most teens will do something stupid at some point. Just as we all can remember having done something stupid as teenagers…

Parenting teenagers is far more complex than Parenting younger children. There is gray area ALL over the place!

It isn’t as simple as sending another mother outdoors to bust their son riding a bike in the street…

Today, I sent my teenagers off to their first day of school. AGAIN. One to her Junior year in high school. The other to 8th Grade—his final year in middle school.

Another year…more parties, sports events, formal dances—more opportunity for them to go astray…And often children must go astray, to learn. Even when it means learning the hard way. I do get that–not that ‘getting it’ makes it easier!!

And so I cross my fingers, say a prayer, take one day at a time…and do the best I can.

Because what comes next???

I send them to college…as ADULTS.  And then turn them loose into this world, hoping like he#& I did an adequate job in Parenting them.  Because I can’t go back and redo this MOST important job I’ve ever undertaken.

And the repercussions of failed Parenting are far worse than rinsing sand out of a toddler’s eyes and hair. They are life long. Never forgotten. By child or parent.

My Daughter and Niece. BEFORE they launched sand at each other and the scene got UGLY...the camera was forgotten in the mayhem.

And so if ANYBODY out there catches my teenagers straying down the WRONG path, by all means let me know! I won’t be upset, nor will I turn it around on you. It might be my only chance at saving them from themselves…

Trust me, I understand it is unlikely I could do much at that point…

And still, I’d want the opportunity to try. To do something. Rather than nothing.

24 Things I have Learned…

I’ve been feeling somewhat reflective this week.

Maybe because one of the Extras heads off to college tomorrow. Maybe because the other children are getting older and heading back to school next week. Maybe because I’ve been through an awful lot in the past several years and am full of gratitude because the children and I have landed in a good place.

In no particular order…

  1. It is possible to dig around a minivan and find enough spare change (mostly pennies…) to put a gallon of gas in a vehicle. If you pray really, really hard—that gallon will get one home, then to work the next day (payday) despite a 25 minute commute via freeway. You can roll into the nearest gas station at noon on fumes…
  2.  Pancakes are not just for breakfast. They work for dinner when trying to stretch the food budget.
  3. Ask for help when help is needed. But only after digging for a solution on you own. People grow tired of ‘the boy who cried wolf’ person who needs perpetual help. But I’ve found that there is always somebody willing to help, when I’ve needed it most.
  4. It is possible to avoid getting mowed over by a treadmill, when your daughter throws one down the stairs at you. (I know Katie—I told you to PUSH when it was stuck…and you Nick, standing there watching with a juice box and popcorn??) Thankfully, I have ‘catlike’ reflexes and managed to shuffle backwards down a few steps quickly, bounced off a wall and hung onto the damn treadmill. It was cheap entertainment for my son.
  5. It is possible to walk away from a life…a home, marriage, financial security…and move toward God knows what?? And for it to be an adventure. To enjoy the journey, laugh and have fun amidst the struggles and sadness.
  6. No matter how dire the situation, there is always a rainbow if you wait a while, look hard enough and are willing to seeit.

    Our UNPLANNED Puppy. We rescued Grace last summer. She just turned ONE. She has been a wonderful addition to our family...

  7. Entire root systems will grow in gutters. (Sorry Teresa). My son cleaned (weeded?) the gutters yesterday. But all is well now…
  8. Kids will re-arrange a family room when you least expect it. We had been talking about changing it around all summer, but lacked the time, energy—or both. Exhausted, after not sleeping the previous two nights (thunderstorms kept Rocky dog up. He in turn, kept me up…) I staggered into my room to lay down for a bit. When I wandered out, my son, Godchild and Godchild’s boyfriend were all relaxing and watching a movie on our huge sectional couch. AFTER moving the furniture around exactly in the way I had wanted it!! They were like church mice–I never heard a thing. And my house is small…Love those children! They are the BEST.
  9. A twelve-year-old Honda Accord will make it from Ohio to Hilton Head, South Carolina and back home again. It isn’t quite as luxurious as traveling in a newer mini van with a ton of space and DVD player with cordless headsets. On the other hand, without the electronics, there was conversation and bonding. Which I know my children loved.
  10. Financial restrictions can make a person more creative than they’ve ever been; re-finishing old furniture, finding needed items for free, sharing a lawnmower with a neighbor and more.
  11. If a parent is happy and at peace, the children who live under that parents’ roof are happy and at peace.
  12. Children crave time and attention from happy adults far more than they need or want material possessions, money or ‘stuff.’
  13. Sadness goes away in time.
  14. Hurts heal.

    The Coolest Christmas Tree Ever? An almost 25 ft.  ‘deciduous’ tree created with branches from outdoors. Of all the Perfectly Pretty trees we slaved over…I know a handful of children who might remember this one best!!

  15. The definition of DECIDUOUS; “Trees that have leaves that fall annually.” Or a fancy term for dead tree branches and sticks.
  16. It is a bad idea to blog about losing weight BEFORE going on vacation. It is almost inevitable one will come home having gained a few pounds…and then those who read the blog must be thinking, “what was she talking about?”
  17. Often we are protective of our children and we hurt when they are sad or struggling. Parents never want their children to experience hardship and often want their children to have life ‘easier’ than they did. My new outlook isn’t that my kids have no challenges or struggles; it is that they have the strength, courage and determination to overcome their challenges.
  18. Lead with love. This is a biggie for me. I try very hard to look at my intent and motivation when making decisions. To make sure I am coming from a good place. It is never a good idea to lead with anger, frustration or negative aggression—nothing good comes of it. Positive things come when we lead with love. (I win some and lose some here–but do my best…)
  19. There is always a solution. Sometimes we don’t like the solution. But there always is one.
  20. If you are in a relationship and trying to figure out if the other person is IN or OUT, it is best to proceed as if they are OUT. If a person is confused about being in or out, then they are OUT. We tend to make this complicated. (I know I have in the past). But it really is that simple.
  21. Further, if you don’t know if you are in or out—then you are OUT.
  22. The more uncomfortable I am, the more likely I am on the right path. I am always glad to find the other side, when I push through fear and doubt. I’ve found that nothing is accomplished by staying in my comfort zone.
  23. I have never had regrets when I put my favorite People first—before all else. Even when it seems another decision is the better way to go, or is easier.
  24. Sometimes the best things that ever happen to us come from our biggest failures, or in getting exactly what we DIDN’T want.

There you have it. My half assed list of things learned in recent years. 

Please share your lessons, if you are inclined.

I Played Hooky From Work…with no regrets!!

Last Wednesday, a couple of My Favorites burst through my front door just after 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Because she knew Alex and Mackenzie were over, my daughter arrived a few minutes later.

Yes. We had plans…but the girls were a bit early. I was pushing hard to complete a work project, so that we could head to a neighboring community for a “Take Pride in America” event.  It featured the United States Marine Corps Drum & Bugle Corps, Silent Drill Platoon and Marine Corps Color Guard.

Though I knew I could spend more time working, I chose to shut down the computer.

There was every reason to send the girls off without me. I could easily have continued on with my project. I knew that I might be working late into the night—possibly all night due to the choice I made.

On paper, our Funny group of five makes no sense. But when we are together, it makes Perfect sense. My daughter and I. Alex and my Godchild (I dated their father for a couple of years.) And the girls’ mother (my Former Flame’s ex-wife).  Yet we genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

We loaded into my Trusty Honda, with my Godchild at the wheel. She likes to drive. I rode in the backseat with my daughter and Alex. The Former Flame’s, ex-wife rode shotgun…white knuckling it as her daughter drove. We were laughing before we hit the end of my street…and the fun continued until we pulled back into my driveway about five hours later.

If I came from another family, I might live my life differently.  Make different choices.

But I come from family who always put People first. Always.

Take my Uncle. He is a busy man. He holds an important job for a large international corporation—he carries a heavy load of responsibility, stress and puts on long hours. He is one of the hardest working, most dedicated people I have ever known.

Yet every year, he takes a vacation day on Aunt Kate’s birthday. Every. Year.

And I am quite sure he schedules meetings around this and has to shuffle his schedule to make this happen.

Uncle Joe -- in Relaxed "vacation" mode a few weeks ago...

He also spends a week sitting on the beach in Hilton Head every summer with Aunt Kate, their son and daughter-in-law. No laptop. No phone on the beach. Nothing but family time. And again, I’m quite sure that it takes some doing to make this possible.

Incidentally, Uncle Joe–by anybody’s standards—has a very, very successful career.

Even more important, he has a successful 39-year marriage and a son and daughter-in-law who adore him. That is no accident…

He knows what is important. And I can’t say I’ve ever heard him talk about it. He lives it. It is clear in his actions, the way he conducts his life…each and every day. No words necessary.

In turn, my aunt wakes up each day to make his coffee. She could sleep in. But she doesn’t. While he gets ready for work, she puts his coffee in his favorite covered cup—so that he is ready for his commute. (They live in Virginia, about 30 minutes outside of Washington D.C.)

I could go on, but I’ll stop there.

My father always put People first, as well. Didn’t matter what he had to do, he never missed a ballgame, concert or anything my brother and I did growing up. In my 40 years, he has AWAYS had time for me. Has NEVER been too busy when I needed—or just wanted him. Honestly, I cannot remember a time he lost patience with me, judged me or yelled at me…

He was a wonderful husband to my mother while she was alive. And he is now a loving husband to Jannie. My father has also had success in his professional life, along with lifelong friendships and relationships.

Again. Not an accident. From what I have seen, successful people tend to know how to balance their lives. How to work hard at in their professional lives. But they know when to set that aside and embrace the People in their lives. They know that People come first. That without the People, financial and professional success mean little.

My children and I spent a week in Hilton Head sitting on the beach with those mentioned above. In many families, we would not all ‘hang’ together.

My father is what many would consider ONLY a brother-in-law to Aunt Kate and Uncle Joe. (My mom and Aunt Kate were sisters) In many families, my Dad may not have stayed part of ‘the family’ after my mom passed away. Especially when he re-married a woman not Aunt Kate’s sister. It doesn’t work like that for us. My Dad’s wife is one of us, as well.

Because of the type of People I’ve always been surrounded by, I didn’t have to think too hard about shutting down my computer last Wednesday. And it was a magical evening…

I don’t know a damn thing about music. Cannot play a note. Nor can I sing one, unless I want my dogs to howl in protest.

There was a good bit of pageantry and ceremony.

At one point, my Godchild whispered in my ear, “This is almost like Catholic Church.”

“Huh?” I said, not getting her meaning.

“Stand. Sit. Kneel.”

We had just stood to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Then sat back down…She had a point!

But when the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps marched on the football field in their Crimson Red coats and pressed white pants, I was in awe…speechless. (A rare occurrence for me…)  Their matched sets of silver instruments were stunning—their every movement in sync. They played Perfectly…

Honestly…those who know music might want to check out Alex’s blog. (It is below this one) Alex goes off to college this week with eight years of band under her belt, so she appreciated a lot of ‘musical things’ that are beyond me. What I understood was that I was in the company of people I love, respect and who are important to me. And I was watching some of the most talented young men and women in our country perform—and the experience was breathtaking.

After The Drum & Bugle Corps finished, the US Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon executed an impressive drill routine with rifles and fixed bayonets. There are no words to describe it…I won’t try.

I admit to sneaking glances down the row of bleachers to catch the look on Alex’s face. You see, the young man she dated for four years in high school is at Marine Boot Camp as I write this—this display carried a different meaning for her. (Her mother was sneaking glances at her, as well.)

It was an evening I will never forget. It was not to be missed. Yet it would have been easy to skip the event. To wrap up my project on the computer at home and miss out on this experience… (I admit it crossed my mind for a few seconds)

But I am a product of my family. A person who has never been told by her parents that they ‘didn’t have time…’ (Or even later in my life, by my Dad’s wife Jannie)

My mother was fond of telling us that we make time for what is important to us. And she was right.

I believe our lives are comprised of little decisions, little moments. When we string them together, and look back at our memories—with any luck, we have taken advantage of every opportunity to spend time with those we love.

When we do that, we are truly happy and filled with joy. And we radiate that and bring it with us out into the world—and tend to find success in our community, professional lives,  friendships and relationships with those we love.

And as we move through life, we add to our circle of People—if we’re lucky. Which is why I spent an evening with Alex, my Godchild and the Former Flames ex. Because they have a place in my family now. (And thus a place with my Dad, Aunt Kate and other relatives…)

I’m not sure what will crop up needing my attention this week…but I can say with certainty that I will be sitting in the bleachers to watch my son’s football scrimmage on Tuesday.

Whatever it takes.

Because I understand that we never know what comes next. That is why the smallest choices–the little things–add up to mean everything…Because we can never be certain that we will get another day–Or another chance.

My two guilty pleasures…

My two guilty pleasures are haircuts and pedicures. And for good reason.

Somewhere in my twenties and early thirties, I decided it was best to focus on my hair and my feet. Nothing good happens to all the pieces parts in between…

Eventually there just isn’t enough Botox, liposuction, or newfangled product to stop the march of time. Unless one wants to look perpetually startled or be unable to form a smile. Plastic surgery can head off aging for a time, but then time, effort and money must be dedicated to ‘surgical maintenance’ to keep everything in place. And ultimately, you’re the woman in the nursing home with the shriveled up body and boobs that resemble baseballs shoved under the loose skin. Or a face stretched free of wrinkles–with a hanging neck, because necks just can’t be counted on to hold up.

My third guilty pleasure would be getting a manicure, but I cannot in good conscience add them to the list. My fingers are stumpy, short and indelicate. Because my fingernails bend and break before they gain length, I tried acrylic nails a few years back.

For a time, fake nails were part of my ‘maintenance activities’ and I admit to feeling quite glamorous with my bi-weekly French manicure, even though they mostly ended in disaster.

Forget about a manicure lasting two weeks. I had difficulty making it out of the salon without destroying the polish—I often smudged a nail (or several) while letting the damn things dry. I perpetually got dirt under them while working in the yard and found the simplest tasks impossible. Typing. Peeling off a band-aid. Turning pages in a book. And it is far more painful to rip off an acrylic nail on accident, than a real nail.

When I got my first set of acrylic nails, I drove home with my hands resting on the steering wheel—kind of like when we hold ten fingers in the air. I couldn’t wrap my fingers around the steering wheel.

My Wingman: You can hold onto the steering wheel…AND LOOK AT THE ROAD!!

Me (Tearing my eyes away from my nails): But my nails feel funny…

My Wingman: You WILL become ONE with the nails.

I never did.

But they were really pretty. Sometimes for five minutes. Sometimes five days. But NEVER for two weeks.

Which is why I love a nice pedicure. Because it is almost impossible to screw it up.  Unlike a manicure, a pedicure tends to look great for a month, or so. And I do so enjoy looking down at my feet to see a Perfect set of ten shiny red piggies winking back up at me. More so, when other parts of me aren’t looking so great.

And so it has come down to hair and toes for me. I fluff my hair in the mirror in hopes that it is spectacular–or at least interesting enough–to keep attention from wandering down to what is below the neck. The goal is to draw the eye up.

Thank goodness, I’ve been blessed with one good genetic trait–my brown hair. In my family, we tend not to go gray. Which means I don’t need to color my hair. Though in July, I noticed one thin, gray strand of hair in my bangs—but that is probably because I’ve been surrounded by teenagers all summer.

And it isn’t terrible, considering I will be 41 in October. Even pushing 60, the most I’ve seen anybody in the family do is highlight their hair every few months. There is still enough brown to avoid coloring the entire head.

I used to get a haircut about every two and a half months at an expensive salon. Because my budget is a bit tight, it is more like every six months these days. Still, I’d rather have infrequent haircuts at my favorite salon, with my favorite stylist—than risk a horrible haircut.  I’ll say no more. We’ve all been there…

None of this would be so terrible if our men fell apart along with us. If THEY required ‘maintenance activities.’ But they don’t. Their behinds remain supple and dimple free; their legs keep their muscle. Salt and pepper (even gray) hair is distinguished. A little–or even a big–gut does not detract from their looks. In fact, men tend to wear their maturity well, getting more handsome as they age.

It just doesn’t seem fair that as women, our in-between parts (in-between the head and toes, that is) begin falling apart soon after they finish developing.  We never really get to enjoy the Perfection, because when we ARE young and Perfect, we are also somewhat immature and insecure. Meaning we see flaws instead of Perfection.

And by the time we’ve got this figured this out, things are already falling apart…

Maybe it’s time I worked on developing a winning personality? Or went shopping for some clothing that better accentuates my positives…

More likely?  I’ll just get a pedicure and call it good.