Monday, February 25, 2008

The Home

Both of my sisters are involved in the caretaking of elderly mothers-in-law. Well, one of them isn't that elderly--she's only 20 years older than I am and damnit, that's not elderly. But she needs some assistance and she's getting it.

Anyway, I mentioned to my oldest daughter that I'd seen her future in my crystal ball--caretaking me in my dotage. Daughter immediately set me straight: "Oh, no way! You're going right to The Home!"

Oh, thanks.

Well, anyway, the laugh's on her, or it will be, because there's no money for the home. And by the time I need it, my social security check probably won't cover a week's groceries, much less long-term insurance. In fact, if I don't quickly get a J-O-B, there won't be health insurance either, and will she be sorry then!

But I do have two words for my darling daughters, or whoever ends up getting stuck with my care... WAXING. Oh, wait, that's only one word. Okay, RELENTLESS WAXING. Because that's going to be the most important part of my nursing care as far as I'm concerned. Waxing, tweezing, plucking, shaving, whatever it takes.

I read the other day that thinning hair has become a widespread problem for post-menopausal women in the last few years. And I'm one of those women who has noticed that lately there is a Barbie-pink bowling ball under my hair. I can accept that--it's not ideal, but I can live with it. Like wrinkles and crows feet, I've earned it. And I suspect that it's my Higher Power's payback for all those men I laughed at with their bad rugs and combovers.

What I can't accept is that, even as my head takes on the aspect of a tonsured monk, there is enough hair on my chin and upper lip to make into a small coat for Barbie. Even my eyebrows have begun to resemble one of those photos of a 1945 union organizer or a Russian government official. Now, there's just something that's not right about that. And, yes, I know there are people who spin their dogs' hair but I'm not ready for that, so don't suggest it.

But it's changed the way I live. For instance, I now carry a spare Tweezerman tweezer with me at all times. Some people worry they won't have on clean underwear when they have an accident--I worry that I'll be driving 70 MPH on a highway somewhere and find an aberrant hair that ... I ... MUST ... GET ... RID ... OF ... RIGHT... NOW! (And it's a fact that if you don't get it immediately, it will turn transparent and limp and you'll never be able to find it again, until you're in a major meeting, making a presentation to the Board of Directors, and it will suddenly and magically reappear, looking like a size 13 black aluminum knitting needle hanging down from under your chin.)

And let's face it, those rear-view mirrors are just about useless for tweezing, especially at highway speeds. Forget cellphone usage as the major contributor to highway accidents--if truth be told, half the women drivers over 40 are spending more time tweezing than cellphoning in their cars.

The equipment in my house is suddenly inadequate. The mirror over my vanity, all 30 square feet of it, is not large enough. The five lights over the mirror are not bright enough. The vanity is too deep, so when I find the little devils, I can't get close enough to the mirror to see them clearly. So I use the lighted makeup mirror, and the 5X magnification makes me look like a straw-stuffed scarecrow.

And back to those tweezers. I have about 27 of them, at least six on the vanity in various sizes and strengths, some pointed, some slanted, and one straight across, two in each suitcase I might use, one in each purse, two in each cosmetic bag, and at least one in my knitting bag. (What else would you use to pick out that provisional cast on?)

By the way, there's nothing worse than completing the morning reconnaissance--On Hair Patrol, as it were--and having the lady who does your pedicure say, in a hushed voice, "you want wax today, right, miss?" That's a sure sign that you missed at least one, and probably a whole field of them. God help you if you say no--then you get that pitying look that says, "okay, but you'll be sorry!"

I know my daughters. They say now that they'll pluck, but I know them. In time, they'll grow weary of the whole process, or more likely, they'll have discovered their own herd of hairs by then and they'll be self-focused. I'll be sitting on my sleeping bag, under the bridge, which is where people who haven't saved enough for The Home end up, and some fat, bald, toothless hobo will stop in his tracks to tell me there's a giant caterpillar under my nose. Oh, yeah, I can hardly wait.


Anonymous said...

Hi Diana - check this one out! Pugs rule.

My mother and I had an agreement, started by her, in a tonque-in-cheek style, saying that if push came to shove, I was not to take care of her in her dotage because we would drive each other crazy. She was an invalid for about 10 years - fortunately my father was able to care for her at home for most of this time.

talk to you soon - Hester

Debby said... tweezing here but...I try to shave in the shower and I can't see without my glasses. Therefore I have little tufts of hair here, there and everywhere.