Thursday, March 04, 2010

Home Again

Because our son-in-law David had to travel upstate to Rock Island on Monday, I spent Monday and Tuesday nights with Katherine and our grandson Sam in Marion. It was late when I got home last night after yesterday’s activities, which ended with senior citizen shopping at Kroger. After making sure items that needed the fridge were put away and eating sandwiches with Gerald, I went to bed early.

At Katherine’s house, suddenly I was enveloped in junior high days again with basketball practices, ISAT testing, and buddies. I always felt I could best keep in touch with my kids and their friends when I listened in while driving them places. In the same way, it was fun hearing Sam and Tyler discuss school, sports, teachers, and coaches to and from the Upward basketball championship game Tuesday night. Kids soon forget the driver, and you get an honest look at their world and feelings. Gerald brought Katherine in the van to see this final game of the season. Although we lost, it was not unexpected, so there was no grieving. Saint Joe’s team was first in the league and undefeated. I enjoyed the familiar sounds and noise of the game and seeing the unfamiliar gym at Third Baptist.

Last week I’d phoned the cosmetology lab at the college to see what the current procedures there were. It had been a long time since I had been there. For a couple of years, I have been very happy with the stylists I found at a local chain. I can’t fix my own hair since my sister spoiled me doing my hair as I was growing up, and I soon learned to depend on daughter Mary Ellen during adulthood.

I have had the misfortune of frequently losing beauticians down through the years as their shops have closed. I was envious of a friend in another area town who had been to the same shop for forty years. When I found a shop in town with multiple people I liked and where I could go with or without an appointment as the need arises, I thought I had it made. But now the corporate office has decided to limit options there, and no more permanents are available. I decided to start trying the local college students again. A third cheaper than other places, I could afford the gas to drive there.

The young student answering my inquiries said only walk-ins are taken, and she emphasized that for a morning perm, you must be there by 9:15 at the latest. After Katherine’s aide arrived Tuesday morning, I dropped Sam off at school and even had time to make a quick stop at Wal-Mart to look for photo corners. I didn’t find them, but inquiring at customer service, I had wonderful help and soon a clerk brought them to me! They were in the scrapbook section of the store, she explained. That made sense.

I hurried on over to Carterville to the college, found a scarce parking spot, and walked the long distance to proudly arrive at the cosmetology lab at 9 ready to be made beautiful. The place was eerily empty and silent. Finally an instructor came out of a back room, hailed me, and walked up to explain that the lab was not open on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. All students were in classes. Why the student phone receptionist had not explained that was a mystery to me as I am sure it also was to the teacher who had trained students to answer more fully. My inconvenience seem unimportant, however, when she explained she had taken off the day I phoned because her son was leaving that day for Afghanistan.

I came on home and fixed lunch for Gerald and me and made plans for the supper meal at Katherine’s house before the big championship game. Yesterday morning was her aide’s day off, so a young friend came to help Katherine out of bed for the day. She needed someone to drop off a loaner cushion for her chair that hadn’t helped the discomfort. Since there was a branch store on the airport road on the way to the college, I decided I’d make another stab at getting a perm in the afternoon since I’d had a haircut just to prepare for the perm. The medical supply business was going to charge Katherine $75 to pick up the non-helpful cushion even though they had a truck coming nearby. (This too was explained as a corporate decision if a truck went to anyone’s house.) That $75 errand may have been the most I have ever been worth in a day in my life!

At the college and another long walk from far-away parking, a student with beautiful long blonde hair in large spirals surrounding her youthful face gave me her first perm. With my permission, she took before and after photos for her portfolio. She was so sweetly conscientious that she made me nervous, but with the instructor’s help, things went well, and I hope the photo made her look good. By the time I picked up my suitcase at Katherine’s house, shopped at Kroger, and decided I was too tired to fill up the gas tank, it was a late supper at Woodsong when I finally arrived home—made even later as I patiently waited for fourteen young deer to leap across our lane one at a time in front of my car until I was positive no more were coming.

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