Saturday, September 17, 2011

I'm blaming it on the recession

I have long since stopped apologizing for being the kind of person who takes great pleasure in girly things; like jewelry (real is good, but fake will work) makeup (fake, but hopefully not as fake as, say, Disco Party 1979) and manicured fingernails (the faker, the better.) The job I have is one where people see my hands a lot - or at least my perception is that my hands can be seen a lot - and I have the world's worst fingernails, despite the fact that the only mammal that drinks more dairy than I do is a baby calf. I'm practically out there in the fields and meadows, skulking around and wresting calves away from their mothers, but do I have good fingernails? No, I do not. And I also eat yogurt every day, so if you really needed any more proof that life is not fair, there you have it.

Before the recession, I completely enjoyed being able to go to the salon to get my nails done. I've always favored a discreet french manicure and it was such a satisfying feeling to look down at my hands and see fresh, pretty nails instead of the dull, scraggly and prone-to-splitting things that God favored me with.

Then the recession happened and life changed.

[Pausing for a moment of piteous sobbing]

So now I do my own nails, mostly successfully because of my friend Juju. Juju does her own nails too and you would never know, they look so beautiful and professional. She claims that she finds life dismal and grey without manicured finger- and toenails, hardly worth getting out of bed for. So she gave me some tips (haha...a little nail-related humor there for those of us in the biz) and I got started and I've been ever so pleased with the results.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, I broke a nail. So aggravating, but luckily I was headed back home anyway, so I stopped off at the Sally's in town to replenish my nail stash (I even craftily bought a packet of nails and a teeny glue bottle to keep in my purse just in case; I don't know why I've never thought of that before) and then drove home hurriedly. My husband was due home from work at about 5:15 and we were going out to dinner. Observing myself in the bathroom mirror, it was perfectly apparent that I needed to do a major overhaul before I was going to consider myself presentable at Applebee's or Ruby Tuesday's or Bob Evans or wherever we were going to end up. I needed to change my clothes, trowel on some makeup over the old makeup I'd put on at eight o'clock that morning, do something to control the mad frizz that had become my hair....and
fix that nail.

The nail, I determined, was the easiest part. Just open the packet, choose the nail that fits, apply a dab of glue to your actual fingernail, press on the fake one and hold for ten seconds, et voila! A perfect fingernail, all shiny and pretty.

At least that's what you'd think. But remember, you're not reading Gwyneth Paltrow's blog about how your life can be just as perfect as hers if you had her fame and her money, you poor thing. Nor are you reading something by Michelle Phan, who is to the YouTube world of cosmetics what Martha Stewart is to doing crafts and putting sheets on your bed with properly mitered corners.

No, you're reading my blog, and you know something bad is getting ready to happen, right?

Well, you know me: always thinking of others, that's me. I wouldn't want to disappoint you, so I'll tell you -- and oh, is it ever true -- that I squeezed the glue bottle a little too hard because I was in a hurry, right? And the squeezing led that glue, which is a very liquidy liquid, to gush out all over my fingers. A LOT of my fingers.

In spite of (or perhaps because of?) its lack of viscosity, that glue dries fast. So in spite of the fact that my fingers were liberally bathed in wash of extremely liquid and fast-drying glue, I managed to grab that fingernail, press it on and hold it down.

If I'd just been able to continue holding that nail down for, say, another week or so, I think everything would have been okay. But there came a time, about thirty seconds later, when I needed to use my hands for the aforementioned clothes-changing, makeup-reapplying and hair-fixing. That was when I discovered that I'd glued about four of my fingers together.

I gasped and did the natural, yet so very stupid thing, which was try to pull my fingers apart. It hurt quite a bit, so I did the next thing I could think of: I went out the the upstairs hallway and yelled down the stairs, "GIRRRRRRRRRRLLLLLS!!! I NEED YOUR HELP!!!"

They were occupied with their own interests, the first and second of which were making their own dinner in the kitchen and listening to really loud music. I waited impatiently for the song they were listening to to end and then bawled out again, "GIRRRRRRRRRLSSSSSS! C'MERE!!! HURRY!"

"WHY?!?" they both yelled.

"BECAUSE I'M THE MOM AND I SAID TO COME HERE!" I hollered, agitated. If my fingers were all permanently glued together, how was I going to live life as I once knew it? My immediate worry, that of changing clothes, repairing my makeup and fixing my hair, wasn't a problem anymore because I knew quite well that there was no way I could go to a restaurant: I couldn't hold a fork.

Grumbling, the girls came up the stairs and met me in the hallway.

"Why are you wringing your hands?" Meelyn asked after looking me over.

"You'd better hurry up and get ready," Aisling advised helpfully. "I think I just heard Daddy's car pull in the driveway."

"Listen," I said. "I do not have time to explain. Just listen, because I need your help."

"If this is about rubbing that cream on your heels again, I am so out of here," Meelyn said, turning to go back downstairs.

"It's not my heels! It's my hands!" I said tightly.

"Can I see your phone?" asked Aisling. "I want to look up movie times."


Meelyn said blankly, "How on earth did you manage to do that?"

Aisling said angrily, "You said I could go to the movies!"

I shot her the Ice Cold Glare of Maternal Displeasure and then turned to Meelyn and summarized the situation: "I was fixing a broken fingernail. I squeezed the glue bottle a little too hard. Glue came out everywhere. My fingers are stuck together."

Meelyn, as the take-charge and competent first-born, said, "Oh, that's bad. What do we need to do to unstick you?"

Aisling, the baby, for whom life is just one big party waiting to happen, doubled over laughing until a sudden thought struck her: "Hey, since you can't, like, use your hands anymore, can I have your phone?"

The next ten minutes weren't a lot of fun. They involved me putting my gluey hands into the sink and the girls pouring acetone-based fingernail polish remover, which dissolves this type of glue, over my hands again and again until I could finally work my fingers loose, unfortunately leaving a bit of skin behind in the process. It hurt. It still hurts, both on my hands and in my soul. Because you know what? I blame the recession.

If it weren't for the recession, I'd be at a nail salon, where any reasonable person would be, getting my nails done by an actual professional. If I broke a nail, I'd be able to swing by the salon, hold out the affected finger, and sit in a comfy chair sipping a Diet Coke while the technician tut-tutted over the damage, fixing it in a jiffy and maybe even giving me a coat of polish to match my outfit. I wouldn't have to be juggling packets of fake fingernails and tiny little obstreperous glue bottles in my bathroom, trying to give myself that ladylike and well-groomed appearance I enjoy.


Later on at the restaurant, I was holding a menu and my husband, who is such a gentleman for noticing little niceties like this, said gruffly, "Your fingernails look so pretty, honey."

I glanced down at my nails, which looked pristine, and thoughtfully considered the other side of my fingers, which were gouged and scraped and a little bloody. "Thanks, sweetie."



Amy said...

LOL! I have short, stubby, oft-chewed fingernails. I keep them that way b/c I type so much. Oh and because the recession has whisked away any money I would have used to have them professionally manicured.

Mary Jo said...

Oooohhhh, that is too funny. I'm nearly in tears!

Mary Jo said...

Oooohhhh, that is too funny. I'm nearly in tears!