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Archive for the ‘on my own’ Category

Note: This is a short piece I wrote at a recent writing workshop.  The prompt was to write either about “Saturday mornings” or “On my way here”.  It was a seven minute write.  Here’s what happened:

On my way here I thought about Saturdays and Saturday mornings and how the day has changed or what I do on this day has changed from year to year.

Growing up I remember not liking Saturdays because there was no school on Saturday and I loved school.  Later on I looked forward to Saturday evenings because I would get to do things—fun things—with my sisters.  We might go to a school sponsored event or we might go to the drive-in, or to a dance.

As a mom, I looked forward to Saturday morning because it was a day to sleep in and spend lots of time with my kids.  I remember waking up and hearing the slight sound of Saturday morning cartoons playing on the TV in the den, next to the master bedroom.  The kids would get up and turn on the cartoons for themselves, turning the volume down low and letting Mom and Dad sleep in—at least sleep in until they could not agree on which cartoon to watch.  That’s when they would come running in to Mom and Dad to settle the dispute.

When the kids were older, in high school, there were always places they had to go to meet with school mates for homework or to see some specific place for background info for school.  Sometimes it meant taking a carload of their friends some place for some school activity for extra credit.  I also remember taking them to cultural events like a cinco de mayo carnival or a dies y seis de septiembre festival.  Saturday nights were for drive-in movies if they had nothing to do for school.

Then they were gone and all there is left is quiet as I wake up to an empty house with only me on Saturday mornings.

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I’m 52 years old but my hair is almost entirely (well about 80%) white, which makes me look at least ten years older.I’ve been dying my hair for many years.I do it at home from one of those bottles you can buy at WalMart or Target or Big Lots.About two years ago, I realized that if I don’t color it every four or so weeks, it looks pretty bad and I am treated older.This I don’t like so I try to do it often.Earlier this year however, while I was in the packing and moving stage of my out of state move, I went about three months without coloring it.It looked horrible.I felt and looked about 70 (well at least in my book I looked a lot older).When I came up with my final load (well final minus all the stuff I left in storage), the first thing I did was go to Target and get a box of hair color.That was a while ago.I’ve been so busy that I hadn’t even noticed that my hair was pretty white all over again (not “pretty white” but a lot white).It had been two and a half months since I had colored my hair.By then I had gotten some stuff from storage, including three bottles of hair dye.So I grabbed one and dyed my hair.

Now you have to understand that dying your own hair, while very much like shampooing your own hair, is not as easy as it sounds or looks.You need to be able to get every bit of it soaked in hair color.Every strand.This was easy.Before.Like a few years ago.Now it’s not so easy.I can get the hair I can see, in the front, top and sides, but I can’t get the hair in the back.

I colored my hair and two things went wrong.First and most obvious, I apparently grabbed the bottle my daughter had bought for me to put in her hair.It’s black.I don’t ever color my hair black because it’s just too dark for me.It’s too severe of a look, especially for a 52 year old.I usually use a dark brown, which is my natural color.So the first thing I noticed when I washed it all out and took the towel off is that I now had dark, dark, dark black hair.Oops!

The second thing that went wrong was unknown to me for a week.My daughter came over yesterday and we spent the day together.In the middle of one store, she grabbed my hair and shrieked, “You missed a spot!Oh my you missed a HUGE spot!Oh Mom!It’s all white in the back!”

Apparently my hair has gotten too gray for me to do by myself without really messing it up by missing a huge spot.So I either need to go get it done at a salon, find someone to come help me do it at home, or get my daughter to come over and just take a look and make sure I’ve gotten all of it in the back.Doing it at a salon is far too expensive and I don’t know anyone in town to come help me.I guess I will have to trust my daughter to come when I need her to come so she can inspect the back of my hair.I also need to get two bottles of the same color so that I can use two bottles to make sure I get it all, if necessary.

In the meantime, I will walk around with a skunk stripe in the back.Aging stinks!

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Room Mates~Part 1

Room mates can be a god sent, but they can also be a nightmare, or perhaps more accurately, a series of nightmares. Although I have not had a lot of experience with room mates, I do have some interesting stories.

First, let me tell you that I lived a very sheltered life.  My parents were very strict and I wasn’t allowed to go out much unless it was with my sisters.  None of us were really allowed to date.  My older sister would end up going places with me and then sort of disappeared until it was time to go home.  I was a “good girl,” or at least obedient.  In high school, I went out on a date once.  Just once did I have someone come and pick me up and take me out and bring me home.  We went to play miniature golf but I wasn’t allowed to go by myself.  I had to take my younger sister with me.  Then after it was all over and Larry brought me home, my father said something about my date being a “telephone pole” (Larry was about 6′ 2″).  I never wanted to put anyone through that again or go through it myself so I never had anyone pick me up again.  Instead, I’d go with a big group to the football games then for pizza afterwards.  Sometimes I’d be dropped off at a group function and meet Larry there (which is also a good story about my first kiss but that’s another post).

When I graduated from high school, I was lucky enough to win a full scholarship to a major private university (think a very irreverent marching band and a tree for a mascot) about twenty miles from home.  I had also been accepted at another private school in my own town (think Catholic nuns and a real honest to goodness  mission) and received a good amount of financial aid but not a full ride.  I chose to go to the one that gave me the full ride for a number of reasons, among them the fact that it was quite prestigious and the fact that it was a full scholarship.  My main reason is that they did not make exceptions for local freshman as the other school did, meaning that I would not be allowed to live at home and commute.  That’s what I needed . . . to get away from home.  My parents were in the middle of a very messy “situation” which ultimately ended in their breakup and I just didn’t want to be around home.  I wanted MY turn.

So I moved into the dorm and met my room mate who was K from North Carolina.  K was from a very wealthy family.  K was in the marching band which meant that she had a group of  “built-in” friends.  Three days after move-in, our phone was hooked up and she began to get phone calls from a man whose voice sounded much older.  When I gave her the messages from R, she said it was her boyfriend.  Later on she told me he was also the vice principal of her high school and a married man with whom she had been having intercourse with.  I had never spoken to anyone about having intercourse.  I was THAT sheltered.  I wasn’t too comfortable with the fact that she had been sleeping with a man three times her age who was married and she was way underage (still 16 years old).  I said nothing.  Within a month, she was dating an upperclassman who was also in the band.  There were many nights that I had to sleep on the couch in the dorm lounge because she had a band-aid over the keyhole,  meaning she was “entertaining.”  Then, a couple of months after that, when we were both sleeping in the tiny dormitory room with our twin beds four feet from each other, she opened the door to her very drunk boyfriend who came in and proceeded to have sex with her, thinking I was asleep.  I was not.  All night long I could hear them having sex.  When I needed to get up and go to the bathroom, I didn’t because I’d have to face them having sex and that wasn’t something I wanted to do.

The next day, I went to a friend who lived in another dorm and cried as I told her what had happened.  She said it was not right for me to have to put up with that when there were open rooms elsewhere.  Apparently there was a room in her dorm and although it was university policy to not let freshmen change room mates, the Resident Fellow at her dorm talked to the people in the Housing Office and by the end of the day, I had gotten the clearance to change dorms.

I had a room to myself at the new dorm.  I had friends there.  I was much happier there.  Then I got a room mate.  This room mate proved to be no problem, almost.  She had a boyfriend off campus and used the dorm room only as a cover for her parents.  In the four months we shared the room, I only saw her twice; when she moved in and when she moved out.  Her parents did come to look for her once and I had to make it sound like she did live there, although I couldn’t tell them what her schedule was or when she’d be back to the dorm.  That was awkward but I could deal with it and I did.

The following year, I had a room to myself again, except for having to share it with Sandy for about a month until another room opened up and she moved there, leaving me alone. During my junior hear, I was in a singe once again, however, about three months into the school year, Melanie who was one of the Residential Assistants, came to talk to me.  She told me about a freshman who was having a really tough time with her room mate and needed a place to move to.  My room was technically a double but as an upper classman, I had it as a single because we were not at capacity.  She came to ask if I could take Linda in. I didn’t have to but she wanted me to know that there was someone who really needed to move as I had needed to move during my freshman year.   She assured me that if I took Linda in, they would move her to another room as soon as one opened up.  How could I say no?  I couldn’t.

That was one of the best things I have done in my life.  Linda became not only the best room mate I ever had but she became a sister and her family became my family.  We know each other’s secrets and we support one another, regardless whether we agree with the other’s choices.  Isn’t that more like a family than a friendship or a room mate?  We are still in touch with one another and the day Linda’s father passed, I felt as if my own father had passed.  My children knew her father as a grandfather.  Her family knows mine as part of their own.  Linda was a blessing disguised as a room mate.

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