I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses, page 16
I’m fine with that.
I have great associations with highlights. Yellow markers that we use to overachieve, and also my favorite magazine of all time.
I mean, who doesn’t love Goofus and Gallant?
No, I’m not talking about Thing One and Thing Two.
Okay maybe I am, but you’re only half-right.
In any event, at some point after highlights, there was something called lowlights, which was supposed to give a more natural look to your fake hair, and I was fine with that too.
I was fine with all this because I have a wonderful haircolorist who I have been going to forever, and she has become my friend, therapist, and general beautifier.
I would never cheat on her. But what happened was that I was on the road, and you know how that goes.
There are men who cheat when they’re out of town, but women do too.
But with haircolorists.
What happened was that I had to go to a meeting in New York and I couldn’t go with my gray roots, since I’m supposed to look young.
Good luck with that.
I felt like I needed to get blonder and brighter and sunnier, so I went to a haircolorist in New York City.
She was young, adorable, and fun, which is probably how cheaters feel about their girlfriend instead of their wife.
Of course, I felt guilty and more Catholic than ever, since I knew I was cheating.
Even though I had a good excuse, I still felt nervous the whole time I was in the chair.
In fact, people in the electric chair have been more relaxed.
But no shade to her, as the kids say, because I asked her to highlight my hair and she thought I needed more lowlights, and basically what happened is she did exactly what I asked.
Now all of my gray is covered, but I have black roots.
So I don’t feel old, I feel slutty.
This is what happens when you cheat, people.
It’s a slippery slope.
I love my girlfriend, but I love my wife more.
And I can’t wait to get back to her.
It’ll be a highlight.
It all started with the garden.
I don’t mean that in the biblical way.
As you may know, I really love my garden, which is full of unruly perennials, like black-eyed Susan, phlox, plumbago, coneflowers, hydrangea, Shasta daisies, and false sunflowers, and brush roses.
You get the idea.
It’s a mishmash.
I’ve read a bunch of lovely gardening books that talk about “theme gardens,” but my garden has no theme.
The theme is whatever was on sale.
The book suggests you can plant a theme garden with all white flowers, or one that has flowers in superbright colors, or one that has flowers in only muted colors.
I chose all of the above.
And I chose too many flowers.
They’ve grown and spread out in three years, so they’re all running into each other in mass plantings, which is exactly what I wanted, believe it or not.
One of the gardening books called it a cottage garden, which sounded to me like a better name than kitchen-sink garden.
My plan was to get a bunch of flowers, and my only stipulation was that they be perennials, because I will be damned if I will plant this garden every single year.
Maybe a better name is lazy-girl garden?
Anyway I planted it in a designated area in the front lawn above a stone wall and flanking the front walk to my house, and I’ve really come to love it.
I even built a small garden room so I could work and eat overlooking the garden.
So you would think everything would be fine.
But I admit, I wanted more.
I just wanted more flowers to look at, but I had no room in the garden.
But that didn’t stop me from going to the garden center anyway.
True gardeners will know about this addiction.
You don’t have room for one more plant, but somehow your car drives you to the garden center, so you can look longingly at plants you should not buy.
And you will buy them.
I feel the same way about books.
I keep buying books and adding bookshelves, then more books and more bookshelves, and the truth is, both of these are addictions I’m proud to have.
Life doesn’t get better than books and flowers.
So in one of these jaunts I found myself at the garden center, where I noticed they were having a big sale on pots, 40 percent off and the pots were of all shapes and sizes and colors, like enamel blue, green, and even a soft golden yellow.
I thought, that’s not a bad idea.
I have a garden, but I don’t have any pots.
Maybe this is a way to expand the garden now that I’ve run out of real estate.
So I bought three pots, some potting soil, and a new batch of perennials that were called blanketflowers, which were a gorgeous yellow.
I got them home and planted them, and then started putting them on the steps in the garden.
The next day I was working at the table and looking at my pots and thought, I could really use a few more pots.
And I knew the sale was still on at the garden center.
I would’ve jumped up immediately, but I hadn’t made my word count for the day. For those of you who are interested in the writing process, I write at least two thousand words every day, and I’m not allowed to do any less than that. That’s fine with me, and that’s generally the length of a chapter in a novel, so I love it. So as soon as I had hit my two-thousand-word count, I went to the garden to get more pots.
Evidently, I have a quota when it comes to words, but not pots.
I bought four more pots, potting soil, and a bunch of bright red coneflowers.
I got them home, planted them, and the next day, when I was writing again at my laptop, I started looking over at my seven pots and thinking.
They’re so pretty, but seven is an odd number.
I like even numbers.
And there’s plenty of room for more pots.
And that 40 percent sale isn’t going to last forever.
And they had so many nice pots left.
Which is when I realized that you can get addicted to pots.
Pots might be a gateway drug.
To more pots.
Because for the next several days, I kept going back and back and back to the garden center, getting more pots, finding more flowers, and planting them like crazy.
I still can’t even believe how great it looks.
I ended up with twenty-seven pots.
I know it’s an odd number, but I’ve made peace with it.
At least for the present.
I’m pretty sure I can quit anytime.
I recently bought some skincare products, and the saleswoman told me I qualified for a free facial. I declined. Beauty and body treatments, ostensibly indulgent and pampering, never seem to go well for me.
I can be dangerously polite.
In my regular life, I’m confident and assertive, but in a salon chair or spa table, I become meek. I never want to seem like a difficult or ungrateful client, I have a baseline of guilt to have another person catering to my needs, so I’ve bit my lip through blow-dryers that burn my scalp and pedicures that cut me to the quick.
I have had only one professional massage in my life. My mom took me on a Hawaiian vacation as a gift for graduating college, and on one rainy day, we decided to go to the hotel spa and get massages.
Looking at the spa menu, I was overwhelmed by choice. “What’s just a regular massage? Swedish?” I asked my mom.
“No, Swedish massage is too hard. Start with something softer.”
I chose the “waterfall massage” with “rejuvenating hydrotherapy.” I remember my biggest concern was whether or not I should wear a bathing suit.
I was lying on my back and the masseuse told me that she was going to cover my face with a towel and I should close my eyes and relax. Then I felt the “waterfall” part kick in, as streams of warm water pulsed over my body, and the towel on my face grew heavy and damp.
Is this part of it? I wondered.
Soon the towel was completely soaked, water dripped down my nose and burned the back of my throat, and it was hard to breathe. I tried to turn my head to find a better angle and give a few forceful snorts to clear the water, but no use. Finally I reached up to remove the washcloth from my face.
The masseuse yelped. “Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I must have had the showerheads positioned wrong.”
Apparently no water was supposed to get on my face at all, the towel was only intended to protect me from splash. She begged me not to complain to the management.
I assured her not to worry about it. I felt way too stupid to admit that I didn’t even realize my massage was going wrong until I was basically waterboarded.
I swear, I’m quite good at asserting myself when I have clothes on.
The more intimate the service, the more compliant I become. Think I couldn’t get more vulnerable than lying naked on a massage table?
Then let me tell you about the time I got a Brazilian bikini wax.
It was in college. I had never had one before, but my friends told me it was no big deal. One girl who got them regularly told me, “it’s the only way I feel clean,” which, just, wow. And another said, “It’s like having a sexy secret.”
I got the idea in my head, because my college boyfriend had casually mentioned that I was the only girl he had ever been with who wasn’t completely bare down there.
“It’s sexy,” he had said, in a valiant attempt to save the moment. “It’s like they were girls and you’re a real woman.”
Not exactly the distinction I craved at age twenty.
So for Valentine’s Day, I decided to try it. The waxer did one side, and it hurt as I expected. When she did the second side, I was shocked.
“Oh golly, wow,” I said. I don’t think I’ve ever said “golly” aloud before or since. The more curse words that flew through my head, the more quaint my expressions became. Then I apologized and made the understatement of the century, “that side hurt a lot more than the first one.”
“That happens. Everyone is different,” she said before telling me we were all done and quickly exiting the room.
I paid at the front and hobbled across the street to meet my best friend for frozen yogurt.
Fro-yo can make women feel better about anything.
“Hey, how was it?” my friend asked. “Not as bad as you thought, right?”
“It was worse. I can’t believe people do this every week.”
I tried to console myself with my mango fro, but the pain was distracting. I went to the bathroom to check myself.
I nearly fainted.
My underwear was filled with blood. No amount of toilet tissue could sop it up, I was actively bleeding, a lot.
A sexy secret!
So the first person who saw my Brazilian wax was not my boyfriend but a nurse at the university hospital. She treated me for a “laceration” and said she couldn’t be sure whether it was a burn or a tear.
I paid someone to do this to me. Not only that, I tipped 20 percent.
Needless to say, it was not a great Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend got my barely contained fury and I got a full course of antibiotics.
Home and fully dressed, I did call the salon to report what had happened. They refunded me and offered a gift certificate as apology.
I said, “No, thank you.”
Polite to the last.
I’d love to tell you a story, but I have to go.
I’m getting a phone call from my dog.
Well, not yet, but I will be any day now.
The Petchatz HD is a video camera and speaker system that you mount on the wall, hook up to your home Wi-Fi, and download to your phone, which enables you to see and talk to your pet via video.
If you want to connect with your dog, you use the app, which plays a ring tone and your dog will come to the video screen.
And not only that, you can get other accessories, like a machine that dispenses a treat remotely, so that if your dog comes to the video camera when you call, you can give him a treat.
Arf Arf Arf!
I’m not sure who’s being trained here, the dog or the person, but what’s the difference?
I love my dogs and I love giving them treats, and I think I might like it even more if I didn’t have to put up with their barking for treats in the same room.
In other words, I love my dogs remotely.
And according to the Petchatz website, you can even “record and share your videos,” which opens up new realms of possibilities.
You can record your dog and send the video to your cat.
And you can tag your parakeet and your ferret.
The other accessory is something called the PawCall, whereby your pet can call you on your smartphone.
It’s a plastic gadget that sits on the floor, and on top is a big green button in the shape of a pawprint.
And to make a long story short, you’re supposed to schedule call times in your app, which causes the green pawprint to blink, and in time, your pet can be trained to call you over Petchatz.
I can’t decide if this is idiocy or genius.
The website says Petchatz will alleviate your pet’s boredom and sadness when it’s home alone all day.
In other words, the sales pitch is guilt.
I have no problem with that.
Guilt is a great motivator, especially for women.
Nobody wants to be a bad mother.
Even if their child is a hamster.
The website shrewdly exploits this in a banner that says in big letters, YOUR FURBABY IS WAITING FOR YOU TO CALL! ORDER TODAY!
Before we go any further, I confess that I’ve totally bought into the whole “furbaby” thing.
At first, I resisted.
They’re animals, not babies with fur.
But then I stopped being so picky.
They’re furbabies because I love them like babies with fur, worry about their physical and emotional needs 24/7, and on top of that, have to prove I’m a terrific mother.
So you know I’m buying this gadget.
Even though I work at home.
I do travel, and I like the whole idea.
The only problem is I can only imagine how phone conversations with my pets will go. As you may know, I have four Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Peach, Little Tony, Boone, and Kit.
If Peach calls, I won’t be able to get her off the phone. She’ll talk nonstop. I know this because she barks nonstop. She’s always at the window, yapping at a squirrel, a blue jay, or a deer.
If she calls me, I’m hitting Decline Call.
Or I might ask Boone to answer the phone and tell her I’m out.
Kit is almost as yappy as Peach, plus he barks at planes. If he called me on the phone, he’d be one of those dogs that starts with, “Did I catch you at a bad time?”
I’d answer, “Yes, Kit, I’m busy working.”
To which he’d reply, “Okay, but let me just tell you, there’s something flying in the sky that’s big and silver and you need to start worrying about it, like I am.”
Even dogs don’t mean it when they ask if they’re calling at a bad time.
They’ll bark through your boundaries.
I can imagine what Little Tony would do if he could call me. He’s the quietest of my dogs, but he’s very clingy, so I’m figuring he’d call me a bunch of times a day, but the conversations would be the same:
And Boone is food-crazy, so as soon as he realized there could be a treat for a call, he’d call me right away. But I wouldn’t be able to understand what he was saying, because his mouth would be full.
Ruby The Incontinent Corgi is my fifth dog, and the only one I would trust with the phone. But corgis tend to be bossy, and she’d call to tell me to bring home milk, bread, and diapers.
And of course there’s Vivi, my cat.
Let me ask you this:
Do you think a cat would ever call?
So are you.
Lately, you’re not allowed to be judgmental.
Or as people say, judgy.
And I get that.
I’m on board.
I used to be very judgy, and believe it or not, I wanted to be a critic when I grew up.
I’m not even kidding.
As soon as I got old enough to read movie and book reviews, I wanted to be the person who tells everybody what’s good and what isn’t.
Because back then, it used to be okay to have an opinion.
Mother Mary was the queen of opinions.
She had opinions about everything, all of them strongly held, but she didn’t go on and on, expressing her opinion.
She didn’t even use words.
She used a set of hand gestures, like Italian-American sign language.
Her favorite gesture was flicking her fingers under her chin, which was the universal sign for disapproval, annoyance, or disrespect. It also doubled as the F word, only signed, in case you were deaf and/or polite.
The same gesture got the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court in trouble, many years ago. A reporter for a Boston tabloid asked him a question he didn’t like, and Justice Scalia flicked his fingers under his chin, just the way my mother always did. The reporter claimed the gesture was obscene, but Scalia denied it, claiming that it was merely “a gesture of indifference.”
I can tell you right now, it was much more than indifference.
Italian-Americans don’t do indifference.
Other author's books:
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