I know, I know! I’m a cad. I am a dog. A no good scoundrel. What can I say? I want what I want when I want it. I am so first world.
Here’s the story about hair, well my hair and its current iteration.
Let me preface the story.
I had the best hairdresser in Hawaii. Big Wig Salon, Mitch brought my short, uneven, rat bite looking hair to a healthy, shiny, awesome existence (I had it cut at Supercuts and I think the girl was high and not a good, creative, on her game high hence the rat bite looking pieces). He has skills, made wigs for SNL, actually worked on the mom jeans commercial and is just generally amaze balls. But moving away from Hawaii also meant moving away from Mitch.
I have a pretty awesome hairdresser. She did wonderful things to my Huma and her sassy short do. Her products are organic and delectable. She is funny and real and great to hang out with. I love her salon and think we could be real friends outside of hair. She also has her opinions about my hair, mainly its color.
We had tried a semi-permanent color, reddish. I adored it. But then with any darker hair dye color, for those of us with grey or any other color really, we get those pesky roots. And pretty darn fast. When I went in for the touch-up, I ask for permanent dye. I was not using all of my critical thinking abilities. I liked the color and felt pretty and wanted to be a girl who gets her hair done. I was not thinking of the touch-ups every three weeks, the boringness of sitting still in a salon so often or the money. I just wanted to have pretty hair.
My hair dresser said how pretty I looked with that color, how natural it looked and how good my skin looked. I am vain. I liked to be told I have a nice anything really. Flattery can get you somewhere with me. I know, I know. I gotta work on that.
Well, three weeks later I am going mad with roots. They are literally driving me crazy. It is all I see in the mirror, any mirror or any reflective surface. I am fixated. I start emailing my hairdresser what can I do, how can I fix it. Then I get serious and start researching. If I want to have red hair, the most high maintenance of all the colors, I will need to commit to the salon visits, the boredom, the money.
I can’t. I can’t do it.
Was the money what really tipped that scales? My family knows my Scot ways. No, it wasn’t the money that was the biggest determining factor. It was the boredom. The thought of sitting in the chair, once a month for at least an hour was too much. Like a jail sentence where you can leave the jail but have to come back on the weekends or after work. I just couldn’t do it.
So I start researching how to fix this. It seems like I have a lot of time on my hands for hair salons and googling. Well I don’t really, I put off dishes, real estate prospecting and writing blogs to find out the best way to go back to blonde. Turns out red is one of the hardest colors to change. Ugh.
Back to the salon. I explain my reasoning to my hairdresser. She gives me a skeptical look and says she will try to take it blonder. Well, she tried but my hair was still red. A lovely red that I adore but couldn’t keep. I had just sat in the chair for two hours and was no closer to blonde. It was like those really expensive ______ (you fill in the blank, it’s usually shoes for me) that you bought but feel so guilty about you have to return. Or is that just an experience I have? I am a half Scot. Anyway, I felt like I was not getting what I needed/wanted.
A couple of weeks pass and there are those DAMN roots. I had decided to try to go blonde with a different hairdresser. Whaaa?! Premeditated cheating. I cannot even claim “it just happened”, I was looking, prowling, for another person. I felt a tinge of guilt but I went forward and booked an appointment at another salon. Owned by a Mitch type. I was hopeful.
The day of the appointment was on one those days that had me asking, “Is Mercury in retrograde?”. So many things got screwed up that day. My Huma cut her finger and needed stitches, she lost her car keys, forever, one of those days. My biggest obstacle before the appointment was my car died in an intersection. Funny in a way, because I could tell why it died. It seemed like a hose got disconnected and that stopped my car from being able to idle. I just took my girl-only auto class. I couldn’t fix it but I had a good idea what caused it. Sitting in that intersection 30 minutes before my appointment, I really wanted my son to be there in the dead car. To go through those feelings of uh-oh, our car is broken, now what. I think those are important moments. And I could have modeled my not freaking out. Didn’t happen like that though, he wasn’t there. A tow truck came and I had a good friend deliver me to my appointment 15 minutes late. Not so bad for a cheater.
I must have had a look because she asked if I needed a hug. I accepted but it was one of those hugs that lasted too long. Let me tell you, I had a feeling I should not have my hair done. There were too many things going wrong that day. And I told her that before we even started. I told her just don’t melt my hair (that happened to me before). She assured me we should go forward, she wouldn’t melt my hair. I have to stop myself at this sentence and wonder why on Earth would I take any assurance from a stranger I just met? I proceeded anyway. Tell her my hair history, the products used to dye my hair, how often, everything, all my dirty little secrets. In my research, I found that you must be very honest so not to have a bad reaction, etc. Well, small talk as sparse. She applied the bleach, she was not funny or very interesting. We did not gel. She hid away in the break room while the bleach bleached.
I sat looking how you look with a head of foils and waited. Damn chair, damn boredom. She emerges from the break room, we rinse and I get back into the chair. Then she goes, “uh-oh“. WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?! In my mind I am screaming. She said it and I heard it. Uh-oh is bad. I watch her try to recover. She asks what did I use to dye my hair, she has never had this happen before, am I sure I didn’t dye it myself. There was an accusatory tone like it was my fault my hair turned “peach- apricot” in color. In my mind, there was a rant to beat all rants but I didn’t say anything. Just had the worried look on my face.
She decided to tone it to help with the color. I am near tears yet on the fine line of hysterical laughter. I knew that it was not the day for hair dye. I knew Mercury was gonna step in and cause a kerfuffle. The toner helped but overall I was a cheater who had her karma delivered in a peach color.
At the chair, this new hairdresser chopped my curly hair in a not curly layer-y way. We finished our time. I tried to be stoic but was texting my friend and I am sure the hairdresser read my text that had the laugh cry emoji and stated my hair was orange.
I told the mistress hairdresser I was a cheater and I caught hair syphilis. This could be why she charged me full price. As bitter as I was I still tipped. Oh, not my usual 20% just 15% but still tipped and grumbled on the way out.
Sometimes the grass is greener or blonder on the other side and sometimes it is not worth it. At this time, I have those darn grey hairs doing they thing, mainly on the right side of my head. Funny how greying gives no shits about symmetry, its okay symmetry is overrated. I will need to go back to my hairdresser who I like and spill my guts. I will have to tell her I cheated and caught hair syphilis and see if she can help me. The look in her eyes, the disappointment and hope she doesn’t dye my hair red. And I will have to sit there for a couple of hours, bare and vulnerable, exposing my vanity and complete first world-ness.
Summer has sped away down a dusty road, leaving my hopes for a sultry, golden tan in the rearview. Eugene had exorbitantly hot weather this summer, the fires started in California and I saw a tractor mowing dirt. On bad days, I wonder how long it’ll take for our species to devolve into a Tank Girl/ Idiocracy existence. On good days, I believe we are getting our act together and things are going to get better. This is how I came to end my days sitting on the fence watching the show.
I need to preface my thought process. Politics for me are interesting but I have a finite attention span, as I do for most things that I cannot touch. I was once called tactile in a museum, I prefer kinesthetically motivated. Anyway. Politics would be much more engaging if I had a personal connection and not the pussy grabbing kind (funny timing on the release of that sound bite). Engaging in this election was meh. I’d get around to it.
My first chance to vote for president was Bill Clinton, the second term. My black and white held staunch lines, I was not comfortable in the grey. Then Monica, the dress, the cigar and WTF first lady?! You are going to take that? I felt for Hillary and Chelsea. I felt for Monica. And Bill. It sucked, haha. But really, it was so nationally embarrassing. I am sure in other parts of the world it really was not a big deal to have an affair. We are still puritanical in some ridiculous ways. How could such a brilliant woman stay with such a slime ball? I was indignant. No grey yet. No understanding that marriage is complicated and different for each couple. How could a self-respecting woman allow herself to be treated this way? How could she tolerate him and the press? She was a warrior. She was a shero.
Then we went through the bushes. And I missed the old days, the accent, the policies. I missed what we had. The intelligence, the ease and comfort. The balanced budget. I was nostalgic for acumen.
Fast forward twenty years. I am driving to a golf tournament, this time hosting a hole. Still not engaging in the election. KLCC, the local NPR station is playing a Hillary speech on what exactly I cannot remember, but it felt important. And listening to her talk I jumped off my piece of the fence. I leapt into the mix, I engaged. Vote for Hillary! Except my motivation for her being the first woman was not as compelling as it was last time around. Something changed and I think it was the Obama. His pedestal is high. I know that no person is perfect and mistakes were made but we had it good. Now, we must move forward and this new chapter is all about Hillary.
I signed up on her website to volunteer when I got home, but all I get are donation emails. So I try to talk to people about voting for her and many people distrust her. Why is this? I hear it is because she lied and is linked to corruption, Benghazi, the email server. And it makes me wonder. Is she really another lying politician or is she a female, lying politician beating the old boys at their game and they don’t like it? Could the main issue be that she is a woman?
Hillary is brilliant. Experienced. Well read. Well traveled. Consistent in fighting for minorities and against -isms. Does it really come to the fact that she has a vagina? And honestly I think it does. This makes me want to campaign harder for her. V power. She is also a lifetime politician.
There are over 7 billion humans on Earth. 6 billion of us live in PEACE. 1 billion do not. I propose that the 6 billion of us stop watching, listening, giving any attention to the 1 billion that are doing their best to bring us down. Let’s take that high road together and remember our power. Let’s not give it away or let it be stolen. Let’s VOTE!
Life is now every shade of grey. And it is beautiful. Maybe this happens with age or having a child or falling in love with a woman or letting go of everything I was supposed to want. This grey opens my heart to the rest of the world. When we grip so tightly to our safety and security, our hands cannot hold any more and we miss out. Let’s not give our fear control of our future, lets turn our faces towards what we do want and not look back.
It’s true and I know you have met them, maybe you are one of them. It could be temperament, you’re just born inexcusably unable to be pleased. Or maybe you’re conditioned through the factors of sheer existence. Life has worn all your joy away. Some people just want to wear a frown and pee on everybody’s parade.
Writing people off as crazy or finding some other mental flaw can take some of the frustration off but I feel this is not the way. If we are to deal with these people with loving kindness how do we come to terms with the fact that you can’t ever win, by doing enough, bending enough, being enough? How do I not take it personal when I have done my personal best and the feedback is my best sucks?
Well, I like to do two things. And it takes practice. I am currently practicing really, really hard. First, notice and remember there is god in there. I have had my personal struggles with the term god. I am much more spiritual than religious and being so, subscribe to a belief in the Great Spirit that we all share. But to speak a language and word that many people can relate to I use god. Part of my practice then is to look for god in the dismal person. I often find the presence in their teeth. Weird, I know. But we all share teeth, at some point we have all had them. The hardest of cases when the teeth don’t cut it, I find god in something that I also have like frizzy hair. This practice is hard in the heat of the moment. Angry, hurt, underlying fear bubbles, sometimes much more than bubbles to the base of my neck. You know how it feels. Finding something that we share takes away the separatness of them and me.
The second part of my practice, remember they are suffering. Their suffering is deep and constant and what a terrible way to be. No one wants to suffer, ever. We are all trying our best to NOT suffer. Even when the person is getting exactly what they desire the most, they are suffering. Therein lies the negative feedback loop of getting your way but it is not enough. This is like the ray of sunshine on the fact that stuff won’t fix or fill this hole that the sufferer carries. This is also difficult to deal with in the moment.
Try this Metta Meditation. Start small with yourself, May I be happy. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease. Then radiate it out to loved ones, strangers, strangers suffering and eventually get to this person that can never be pleased. And Ha! by this point it is not about winning or making people happy. You have put forth your good and that is your job. Put happiness and good into the world. Sounds easy, but I know you know it is not. May all beings be happy and free of suffering.
I know, it’s kinda cheesy and terribly overdue. It’s so true though. You gotta believe in Belize. It’s your next trip.
Using trip instead of vacation evokes a sense of adventure. Sure, you may relax a couple hours on a beach but a trip for me usually involves walking, a lot of walking. On adventures, you use your body and mind. It is taxing and rewarding and when the day is over you’re tired. A party may still unfold and those couple hours on the beach the next day allows vacation laze.
We took a trip. And when I say we, I am speaking of my very own Huma Abedin. Trusted intern turn advisor. Also known as my super great girlfriend. And holy cow, Hillary is a lesbian?!?! Hmm.. I see it. Yes, this makes me much less angry about Bill being a cad. Google it.
So, Huma and I planned to go to only countries that start with “B”. Well I just thought of that, but it could be a fun way to pick destinations. We actually picked it because we went to Spain a couple summers ago and LOVED it, while on the flight home we started planning our next adventure. We both wanted to go to Central America but neither of us speak spanish. I made the vow to learn the language but found a work around for my own vow. BELIZE. They speak english and a bunch of other languages, but this time looking for food without meat would be much easier.
Huma used her flyer miles and we actually flew to Belize for a ridiculously affordable amount. Woot! It was a relatively great round trip flight. We have flown often to Hawaii and it’s like that. But cheaper. And the people like you more. Born and raised in Hawaii, my sensibilities for Hawaii may be skewed. Side note: I was born in the same hospital as President Obama. Lame claim to fame, but FYI for all your birthers.
We planned to bus around the country but while at the Belize City airport rented a car. Good choice! We drove all around the country, which was what we did in Spain but Belize is much smaller. Our plan was to AirBnB for two days in multiple locations. Most of our accommodations were operated by expats and we stayed in a hostel. All fab.
First night we stayed in Belize City. You can skip it. Although, Altun Ha was a pretty sweet first ruin visit. Then we went to St. Ignacio and stayed at Maya Mountain Resort. Loved it! Took an all day guided tour to Caracol had the best guide, Viktor Gamez. Get a guide. The money helps the local economy and guides are knowledgable of the area and history. Money well spent. Get a guide. We also took another guided tour to ATM. We hiked a half mile up an underground cave, traversing through a river and pitch blackness to Mayan ritual sites. Crazy amazing! Our wonderful guide told us that ATM will close in the net five years. You should go now. Belize ATM This is the company we used and I cannot recommend it enough.
After St. Ignacio, we went to Hopkins. A small coastal town, relaxed, pretty and walkable. We didn’t drive around much. Went on an intense hike in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (Lonely Planet) the first jaguar refuge, swam in two waterfalls with tiny fish that nibbled on dead skin. (I must tell you one thing about Belize, they do the opposite of exaggerate. The moderate hike made me sweat harder than an Insanity workout and the mild hot sauce burned my tongue off.) Huma saw a wild tarantula. Hilarious sound came out of her mouth as she agitated the spider hole, we still laugh about it.
From Hopkins, we ferried to San Pedro. Total party town. There was no need to stay two nights. We stayed in a hostel, met really cool people and learned the best drinking game ever. After San Pedro, we ferried to Caye Caulker. Caye Caulker is paradise. Absolutely. Our time there was great. You should go. Like now. Caye Caulker has three sand streets and most people walk or ride bikes. At night the crabs come out and I actually ran one over while on my bike. The crab and I locked eyes and I couldn’t stop. Huma says it kept running. I started screaming and the local police rolled up on their golf cart asking what happened. Through my rolling laughter I explained I hit a crab and they pulled away, slowly, you know golf cart style. Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world and we took a guided tour to snorkel around. I even touched a shark. For real, I jumped in first all excited, put my hand out to touch them (many swimming around) then my innate self-preservation kicked in, I pulled my hand back then immediately started thinking the sharks could pick up my sense of fear. I ended up touching them and feeling bad later because I am not really sure if it was the right thing to do. But cross that off my list. Although, my Huma wants to dive with Great Whites for her next b-day. Hmmm.
Overall, the people of Belize bring the nice out. There was no underlying resentment about tourists being there. The people were proud and happy to share their world. It seemed the whole country was for sale and Guatemala is encroaching on Belize country lines. Our money is double and Belize promotes a respect for the natural world. There is a rich history and the ruins are breathtaking and interesting. I learned so much about the country. I even had a tick! Money well spent. You should go. Soon.
Here we are. Autumn. Pumpkins. Halloween.
My favorite of all, Halloween. Free candy, dressing up, parties. Halloween has been a favorite of mine since childhood. And somehow I have overlooked for much too long the greatness of a wig. Not any more. Wigs are now front and center for my decorating and frightening. Let me explain.
I have had a rough couple of years trying to carve and paint my pumpkins. This year I had an idea. Just put a wig on the pumpkin and call it good. I loved this idea, so we headed to Goodwill. There was a large container of used wigs just waiting to have another life. And looking at these wigs I was hit with the sheer awesomeness of a wig. I can wear them, duh, decorate my pumpkins with them, and scare the daylights out of my family.
Now if your family is anything like mine, frightening each other is a game that holds an odd delight. The wig is a superb scaring device. You can leave them hidden in surprising place like the shower or in the bed. You can attach a string to them and move them slowly across the floor like an odd animal. Our brains want to categorize everything and when we don’t expect a wig because they are so amorphous, we have a momentary delay in recognition. And this is how a wig is such a great tool. The swiss army knife of Halloween decorations. Buy a few and let the Halloween joy ensue.
In all the excitement of having some buyers, I forgot to coach them on how our relationship will play out. This was a mistake. It’s like in the classroom, you set up your routines and reinforce positive behaviors. Clients can also use clear guidelines and positive reinforcement.
I have been hacking away at learning this new biz for the last six months, time flies right? In this time, I have not skyrocketed to financial freedom like I had hoped. It seems real estate is similar to so many other professions, it takes work and education to succeed. Real estate demands another skill to reach success and that is a degree in psychology. I did not read about that in my study guides for the test. Nor did I realize my role as couples counselor.
If you think about it, buying a house can be super stressful, fear inducing and a breeding ground for issues with miscommunication. Now multiply it by 5 when you are trying to buy a house with a partner who wants the opposite of what you want. A partner who has the tendency to change their mind in a 180 degree fashion. This is the world I now navigate.
The beloved clients can turn out to be major pains in the neck when the couple cannot get their shared vision to gel. I feel a couple assessment could help me at the start of a real estate relationship. I can ask basic questions like the Newlywed Game. Examples: How often does your partner completely change their mind? What is your partners communication weakness? Does your partner actually want to purchase a home? Oh the list can go on and on. I daydream of this questionnaire. My reality is trying to tease out what one person really wants while reading the other persons nonverbal cues and adjust accordingly. All about adaptability.
This was not quite what I had envisioned. When it was time to purchase my first home, I looked at what was out there, found an area that could work, toured some homes, then picked the one I wanted. I wasn’t looking for a dream home. I was looking to buy a house. It didn’t take that long, I was underwhelmed by my real estate broker, impressed by the escrow lady and went forward in life. I now know this is not the process for many people. I had a Realtor show me about 5 houses. I did my own research and house hunting. I left that Realtor off easy.
The beloved clients have now seen 17 houses. 17!! There is always some minutiae that is so wrong, silly things. It started with the garbage disposals. If the house didn’t have one, off the list. Then other things that could easily be fixed became deal breakers. Then the whole search widened into areas, structures and ideas that totally threw me off course. Okay, rebound, I am flexible, I am adaptable. You want to look at acreage with manufactured homes, got it. Oh, now it’s raw land to develop, okay. I have to admit we saw some questionable homes. Knives everywhere as decorations, odd smells, ridiculously steep stairs, mini trailer parks, we know the inventory. Finally, I called in the big gun, my principal broker, and we had a come to Jesus, the next week after touring 3 more houses, there was an offer. An ACTUAL OFFER!! Oh, but it’s not that easy. Always a catch in this biz. FSBO. For sale by owner. Ahhhhhhh, I didn’t prepare for this.
One offer presentation to the seller later, I realized unless people have serious experience in the state they are selling a home, they really should not try to do it themselves. I am sitting at the sellers kitchen table trying to explain the papers in front of her. She just wants something simple. Like a homemade handwritten sale. As she is looking over the sale agreement I brought, she starts to sign it. I let her know that this document is legally binding and by selling it she is agreeing to sell to my clients. Oh boy.
Fast forward to the counter offer which ends with a sentence about me taking all responsibility to ensure the seller meets all legal and time requirements. I look at it and think whatevs. I can deal with that, I am gonna do it anyway because there are not other brokers involved. But it just so happened that my favorite Pro was in the office and looked it over and in colorful language expressed how I should most definitely not agree to that. She is not my client, by selling her home without a broker it is the seller who assumes those risks.
So now I have learned A) couples bring their baggage to the table and I get to slog through it. B) FSBO’s are a handful. All valuable lumps I appreciate learning. If you are keeping track, I have had two buyers who do not mean what they say. A seasoned broker mentioned to me a little rhyme: buyers are liars and sellers are storytellers…Well, my clients decided that the house wasn’t the one. And back to the starting line we go….
Next time, I may share about my new clients: the disgruntled ex-husband who wants to sell the house while the obstinate ex-wife lives in it. This should be a test of my counseling skills and flexibility.