Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coping mechanisms and puppy pedicures

Oh hey guys...

What's going on? You think about it for a minute, and I'll tell you what's been going on here.

So, in an effort to cope with my feelings about my accidental haircut, I've spent a lot of my time looking around at people and seeing how many men have the same haircut as me. As you can imagine, this is not a great coping mechanism...yet I persevere. In addition to NUMEROUS locals (American and German alike) I have compiled this brief list:

1. Justin Bieber
2. Pink (I'm ok with this one. Also, not a man! Bonus points)
3. David Beckham (I'm actually ok with this one, too)
4. This random guy... 

For a more extensive list, please see THIS. (MY GOSH, I love the internet)

And, in my quest to find security and self-worth via the internet regarding this hairstyle, I also came across this quote:
"The modern day "quiff" is a hair style that combines the 1950's Elvis pompadour with the 1980's Duran Duran mohawk. This has now developed into a major hairstyle trend for both men and women. Male models and celebrities like Rachel Wood and Alicia Keys have made it feminine and fashionable for women."

I don't know who said/wrote that, but God bless them. Major hairstyle trend. Nailed it.

Although I'm not quite sure about that last sentence. Does that mean that male models have made it feminine and fashionable for women? I don't know. I don't care. I'm totally en vogue, ok? Don't take that from me.

Obviously still scarred from the hair trauma.

Check back in a few weeks. 

What else? Z's parents are coming in town this weekend. And thank goodness, because the house really needed to be cleaned. I mean, cleaned again. In addition to the usual weekly cleaning. 

We are SO excited. 

We are also desperately trying to turn Olive into a calm, well-behaved, non-slobbering monster in 4 short days. Progress? Microscopic.

I also spend a lot of time trying to keep her clean since her bath on Monday. Progress? Reverse. 

Today I actually found myself sitting cross-legged on the floor with a pot of hot water and doggy shampoo, hand-washing Olive's paws. It was like a puppy pedicure. And I just thought, "is this the level I've reached? I'm on the floor, dipping my dogs paws in hot soapy water, individually scrubbing each foot, and then thoroughly towel-drying between her toes. I am that person. Is there any way I can make a parallel between this and Jesus washing the disciples' feet? ANY way? No...probably not. Rats. There is no way to rationalize this moment." 

And you know what? That little shit princess is going to go outside and dig her toenails into the wet, black, stinky dirt the very next time I let her outside. Sigh. One day I'll look back on this time in my life when I actually expended energy to keep my DOG'S feet clean and I'll laugh and laugh as I remove the pacifier from the dog's slobbery water bowl and stick it in my kid's mouth.

So yeah, a lot of important things happening over here, what with the self-preservation googling of celebrities with my haircut and puppy paw-washing...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Boy-band Hair

You know how sometimes you go into the hair salon and come out thinking, "whoa, what just happened?" 

Those times when you and your stylist/barber are just not on the same page? Maybe you weren't clear about what you wanted, maybe they were having a bad day...but it just didn't work out quite right, you know?

No? Does this just happen to me?

Well, this happened in a BIG way on Friday evening. I've been back in Germany about a week and it was time for a haircut. My "regular" hair lady has been gone for the past 3 months and I've been seeing someone else for my cut and color...someone I really love and who has been doing a great job. But I figured I'd go back to my regular salon this time. So off I went. (Life lesson: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I LOVED my previous haircut. Sigh.)

These are my exact words to my hairstylist: "just a little shorter, a little messier, cleaned up around the top".

This is what I ended up with, I KID YOU NOT:

You guys. The sides and back of my head are SHAVED. The top is long and pompadour-ish. There is no way to style this haircut in a way that is anything OTHER than early 90s boy-band. 

How did this happen? Is my hairstylist angry at me? I don't even know. All I know is that when she picked up the clippers, I didn't think twice. She normally uses them to clean up my neck and around my ears. But suddenly, my head is being shaved. SHAVED. 

My response? Hysterical laughter. I had to sit in my seat with my nails digging into the palm of my hand to create pain so I would not burst out in hysterical laughter over what was happening. I didn't know what else to do. And she's all "this will grow out really fast and you'll have a nice layered look..." I don't even remember the exchange we had as she finished up and I paid, because all I could think was "get out the door, get out the door, do not laugh, DO NOT LAUGH".

I got into my car and burst into a fit of laughter. The kind of laughter that makes your abs hurt. I remember thinking " so this is what it feels like to go crazy..."

Then I had the following conversation with Z via text:
(side note: I'm happy that he doesn't know what members belong to which boy band. I'd be worried if he did. Lance Bass is obviously part of *NSYNC.)

Then my sweet husband said something about me always looking sexy, which I've edited out of this post since our parents read this. You're welcome. Then I replied:

First of all, God bless Zach for being so wonderful in my distress (although he did abandon me in my time of need with that "jumping in the shower" bit). Secondly, for the rest of the story to make sense, I need to show you what I tweeted earlier that day:

So in my distress, I drive home and park in the driveway without thinking twice. Except I cannot actually park in the driveway, which is on an incline. The clutch is out, the car is off and in gear, and I'm still rolling backwards out of my driveway. At this point, I'm just trying to get in the house and get a shower to see if I can do ANYTHING to fix my hair. Plus, I'm really worried about a neighbor coming outside and seeing me. Or ANYONE coming outside and seeing me. Z has so kindly supplied my car with a cinder block, for such a time as this when I would need to wedge it under a wheel so the car would stay put. HOWEVER, I cannot get out of the car to place this block behind the wheel...so I push the brake petal in to stop the car and call Z on his cell. As I'm calling him, he walks out the front door. We make eye contact. He gives the slightest smirk...and that is all it took. 

I burst into tears WHILST hysterically laughing. I'm talking the kind of laughing that doubles you over and makes you concerned that you might wet your pants. I can't even speak. Tears streaming down my face. Laughing. Crying. Hysterics. I unroll the window and manage to gasp out "I need help!"

Then I started trying to explain that maybe it's just the way my hair is styled and after I take a shower it will be better...but I'm laugh-crying so hard that I'm pretty sure it was all unintelligible. At some point during this fit, I took my foot off the brake and start rolling backwards.

So there I am, sitting in the front seat of my car in hysterics, gasping about trying to restyle my hair while Z is confusedly trying to comfort me and understand me while yelling "BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE!" as I roll backwards down our driveway in slow motion.

You wish you were our next door neighbors.

I don't really remember what happened next. I somehow made it inside and upstairs. Z secured the car in the driveway. I took a shower. I tried to restyle my hair. Z offered encouraging words. 

I tried to restyle...but failed. There's no fixing this.

So, Z has spent the last 3 days assuring me that my hair is NOT a disaster and that it doesn't look terrible. But I'm pretty sure he's paid to say this... In the meantime, I spend a lot of the time reminding myself that it is ONLY hair and it WILL grow out. And avoiding mirrors. And cameras. And feeling sorry for myself. And trying not to leave the house.

Don't even ask for a picture; I won't show one. It is THAT bad. Trust me. Only time will heal these wounds and fix this disaster...

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quick Reference Guide for Air Travel (Coach Class edition)

While I was in the states for the past two weeks, my mom and I took a trip up to Ohio to visit my grandmother. My mom made an offhand comment as we deplaned that "someone should write an etiquette guide for air travel" and I am here to tell you that I WILL BE THAT SOMEONE. But not today. Today is just a Quick Reference Guide to Air Travel, Coach Class edition. BECAUSE APPARENTLY THAT IS NECESSARY. (You know what else is necessary? Getting Through Security 101. No sir, you can't take your jumbo bottle of sunscreen. Yes ma'am, you DO have to take off your belt. Just like everyone else. Is it really possible that you have not flown since 2001? Did you miss that whole thing? Have you heard about Google yet, because your mind is about to be BLOWN.)

I digress.

I didn't really feel strongly about any of this until my plane ride from Charlotte to Munich. You know, the 9-hour leg of the trip.

First, let me just say that I flew a military flight from Germany to the states. It cost me $30. I didn't know when I would get on a plane (or what type of plane I'd be on) or where I would land, but a cross-Atlantic flight for only 30 buckaroos? Worth it. And this flight experience was delightful. Yes, I was in a middle seat in the middle of the plane. Yes I was in the row right in front of the galley so my seat didn't exactly recline. But my seat-mates were so pleasant. We were just so thankful to be on a flight (a cheap flight) and headed for "home". I couldn't have asked for a better experience. Happy, pleasant people on a smooth, easy flight. I really do attribute this to the fact that it was all military members and dependents. We were grateful. We were respectful to one another, acknowledging that we're all in the same boat. No whining. No drama. Beautiful.

Also, my time in Atlanta was fabulous. More on that in a later post.

Time for my return trip on a commercial flight. I paid way more than $30 for this flight. And it was the exact opposite of my flight to the US. 

First leg, Atlanta to Charlotte. Uneventful. Then, Charlotte to Munich. Board plane. Find seat. I have a window seat, just one man sitting next to me. We settle in. A few hours (one movie) in and it's time for dinner. We eat, the lights dim, we settle in for the long night. The lady in front of me reclines her seat. I decide to recline mine as well. 

Hmm. Something must be wrong with my seat. It seems to spring up every time I try to push into a recline. 

Try again.


Try again. 

This time, the spring back is not so subtle. In fact, this time I realize I'm being PUSHED back into an upright position. What the...?!? 

Try again. I'm not even going for a full recline right now. I'm just trying to get halfway back so my nose is not in the movie screen on the chair in front of me. 
Definitely being shoved forcefully forward now. In fact, not only am I being shoved forcefully forward, but I have knees forcefully digging into my back. Lots of force happening now. Now I am not reclined but still definitely feeling a lot of pressure on the back of my chair. 

Fine, let's do this. Headphones off. Turn, smile, expecting to see a small child. Woops, older lady. Continue smiling, puzzled about this passive aggressive behavior from an adult. 

"Excuse me, do you mind if I recline my seat just a little bit?", I kindly ask the lady behind me.

"No. You can't. We do mind." This gruff reply comes from the man sitting next to her. Her husband, I assume.

*blink blink*

He continues, loudly and with great agitation: "We don't have any room back here. You can't lean back. We have long legs and we have no space."

"Sir...I think all of us have the same amount of space back here."

"No, I don't care. You can't lean back. We have no room."

"Sir, your wife's seat is reclined, so that's not really fair..."

I am interrupted, this time by the woman.

"NO, my seat is NOT reclined. Because that is rude to the person behind me and it gives them no space so I don't recline my seat out of RESPECT for them."

Whoa. At this point, I am truly at a loss. Her seat is clearly reclined, she clearly will not allow me to recline my seat, and her husband is clearly ready to bully me into submission. Her knees are firmly planted in the back of my seat. She is braced and there is no way for me to remain seated comfortably, reclined or otherwise. She is also about 4 times my size (there is no way to be delicate about this...she was big. And not in a "tall" way) so I abandon the idea of using strength to win this battle. My usual go-to strategy, naturally.

People are starting to look over at us to see what's the fuss. I am about to break out in hives, so I simply turn to the man beside me (who has remained silent the entire time, thanks bro) and ask if he will excuse me.

And then I march back to the flight attendant and tattle on the people behind me. 

Ok, not really. But I did approach a flight attendant (knowing how much they LOVE solving passenger issues like this. Because we are, after all, adults) and say "Hi...I'm so sorry to bother you but I'm having an issue with the woman sitting behind me. She is preventing me from reclining my seat. I really do not want to create a scene or cause any issues, so is there something you could suggest?"

Bless this woman's heart. She says "wait right here" and walks down the aisle. She comes back momentarily and says "that is just not right. HER seat is reclined!", to which I reply "I know, it is really unfortunate, but I truly do not want to cause an issue" so the flight attendant says "Ok we have some open seats, let's just move you."

Sigh. Long story short, I moved from my nice window seat to a middle seat in the middle row. The people in this row who previously had empty seats next to them were not thrilled, but gracious nonetheless. Should I have had to move? No. And believe me when I say that there are MANY scenarios I have played out in my mind where I responded differently or chose another method to deal with the old, overweight, Scrooge-y couple behind me. I have tons of awesome responses now that I've had time to think about it. But the point is, in that moment, shocked, emotionally fragile, tired and traveling alone, did I REALLY want to start something? Especially with the husband, a man who was obviously ready to get angry and hostile with me? No, I don't think so.

So I have taken this time to compile a short guide to air travel, specifically when traveling coach/economy class. 

This is for you, unhappy couple sitting in row 35, seats A and C. I wish you the best...upon your return home. Until then, may your European vacation be filled with missed train connections, rain, and lost hotel reservations. At the very least, may you miss your flight home and be forced to reschedule, sitting by the bathrooms with small children kicking at your seats and babies screaming incessantly. But after that, I wish you only the best. No hard feelings.

Army There Yet's Quick Reference Guide to Air Travel (Coach Class edition)

Welcome to Coach Class! If you purchased a ticket that isn't First or Business class, here's what you can expect from your seat (and all the seats in this part of the plane):

- there's not a ton of space. You don't have a ton of space, the person in front of you doesn't have a ton of space, the person behind you doesn't have a ton of space. The person next to you probably has more space than you. Nope, wait...just kidding. The person next to you doesn't have a ton of space, either.

- you paid for a coach ticket. Assuming you've flown before, you know what to expect. If you haven't flown before, let me encourage you to visit your airline's website, where the dimensions of leg room and seat sizes are clearly outlined. This may help your set you expectations and determine if coach class is right for you.

- I also paid for a coach ticket. I knew what to expect. I paid for my leg room (which is the same as YOUR leg room). I paid for my seat size (which is the same as YOUR seat size). I paid for my seat to recline (surprise twist! the person in front of me also paid for THEIR seat to recline and you also paid for YOUR seat to recline. WE ALL GET TO RECLINE! Can you even believe it?!)

- if you think that traveling in a space this size will be a problem for you, you are encouraged to consider your options. These options include (but are not limited to):

1) buying a Business or First class ticket. Seriously, do you SEE how much legroom those guys get? Yes, it is more expensive. But worth every penny. Maybe you don't have money in the budget for it? I encourage you to consider cutting some money from other areas for a short time in order to save for the greater cost of a Business or First Class ticket. I'd start with the food budget. Tighten the belt, you know. Literally annnnnnd figuratively.

2) putting on your grown-up pants and realizing that you may not be in a state of extreme luxury of comfort whilst traveling by air. Suck it up. No whining. No drama. No need to be rude. We're all in this together.

3) driving. Taking a boat. Staying home. Emphasis on "staying home" for some of you. 

4) enhancing the trip by dulling the discomfort level. I suggest any of the following: Benadryl, Ambien, Xanax, wine, liquor, beer, etc. Probably check with your doctor first.

- Finally, when the plane reaches the final destination, understand that everyone will be allowed off the plane at that destination. No need to panic. When you're seated in coach class, you're probably closer to the back of the plane than the front. This means you will not be the first one off the plane, despite your best efforts. While it's pretty impressive to see how fast you can unbuckle your seat belt, jump up, and retrieve your bag from the overhead bin, it is equally impressive to watch you have to wait for every single person seated in front of you to exit the aircraft before you. Again, if you think that this may be a problem for you, please revisit the options above. Minus option 4...that's just for traveling purposes, not deplaning. Reel it in.

I hope this Quick Reference Guide has proved helpful. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. We're here to help.