Weekends were made for… um… what?

Every week I look forward to the weekend with ever-increasing fervor as the days march on. Because the week is so chaotic! And I’m so tired! And I cannot wait to sleep in and lie around the house and do nothing!


You would think that after all these years of having even MORE stuff to do on the weekends, it would eventually occur to me that it’s a fallacy. Weekends are a change of scene, sure, but half the time I don’t get to sleep in, and even when I do, there’s still kids to shuffle around and projects around the house and all sorts of other things that Need Doing. And it’s not all that restful. SURPRISE!

That doesn’t necessarily mean it can’t be entertaining, though.

On Saturday I had a hair appointment. This was very exciting, because the last time I had my hair done was… April. (Not a typo or an exaggeration.) And—go figure!—it turns out that when you’re a bushy-haired brunette who’s naturally about 65% gray, waiting six months between cut-and-color appointments is, uh, not really advised. I’d love to tell you that if I didn’t work at home I might’ve tended to my personal grooming a little bit better, but that’s probably a lie. I am just lazy. And cheap. And my stylist is amazing, but 1) getting my hair done there takes about four hours and 2) it ain’t cheap.

Next week I’m going to a conference, so I figured it was time to shed the whole aging-Duggar-sister look and get pretty again.

“Wow, I haven’t seen you in a LONG time,” my stylist said, eyeing my 4″ gray roots and split ends with a somewhat horrified expression. There’s a part of me that believes she could really do my hair in about an hour if she wanted to, but I’m being made to do penance for waiting so long. So, the color gets put on, and she wanders off and cuts someone else’s hair, and then she checks the color, and goes to do something else, and then, of course, it takes forever for MY cut, because first she lops some hairballs off the bottom, then she has her assistant blow dry and flat iron me, then she finishes the cut by going back in to layer and thin and basically somehow leave me standing knee-deep in my own hair, despite the fact that I’m not actually, you know, bald.

I’m brunette again, plus I have about 80% less hair than I had before I went in, so I am more aerodynamic and stuff. While I was checking out, the girl at the front desk said, “I just LOVE your color!”

“Thanks!” I said. “This used to be my real color.” (Y’all know how much I love my dad, right? To pieces. But the gray is all his genes. I am more gray than my mother, which just seems unfair.)

“Oh, but that IS your real color,” she said, winking at me. Ooooooo…kay? I guess I could go with that, for about a week, until my roots start showing again….

By the time I got back home, children were doing homework and cleaning rooms and needed to be shuffled off to various places, and Otto had been busy ripping out shrubbery and moving things off the deck (because it’s time for another construction project!), and I felt guilty that I’d just been sitting around a salon for half the day. So I tried to make up for it by saying things like, “I had to have each hair individually dyed. I’m EXHAUSTED!” and “During the haircut, I had to hold REALLY STILL.” I’m not sure anyone was impressed. The children, however, kept running over to stroke my hair, as the stylist-straightening is a novelty. Normally I look like an overgrown Chia Pet, but fresh from the salon my hair is actually all sleek and glossy.

Eventually we shuffled the children off to their various destinations; Monkey went to sleep over with a friend and Chickadee got on the bus to go to a band competition. Otto and I decided to go out to dinner before heading over to the competition, so we did and it was lovely and we lingered a little bit longer than we meant to. (Because… the food! And the wine! And the ability to carry on a conversation uninterrupted by HE’S TOUCHING ME or WANNA HEAR ME BURP THE ALPHABET?) This then led to a rather, uh, brisk drive to the competition location. I kept checking my watch and checking the directions and telling Otto to drive faster.

We finally made it, found a parking spot, and jogged over to the field…

… where Chickadee’s band was just finishing up.

“Do we tell her?” Otto asked me.

“Huh?” I said. I pulled out my cell phone and texted Chickie: YOU WERE GREAT! “No! We tell her she was great. SEE?” I showed him my phone. “GREAT. FANTASTIC. WE LOVED IT.”

And then we stood there giggling like children as the band left the field. Does this make us terrible parents? I’m okay with that. I already did my penance—we stuck around until the kids came back around, having put their instruments back on the bus, and then I stood in the concession line with Chickadee for about an hour just so that I could buy her some soggy nachos. Because GUILT! And FAKE CHEESE! They’re what’s for dinner.

On Sunday, Chickadee slept late and then spent the day alternately working on the project she’d been putting off for weeks and just complaining about the project she’d been putting off for weeks. [Sidebar: This year Chickie is supposedly in an “accelerated” Spanish class, for high school credit. They don’t appear to have learned ANY Spanish at all, yet. They do, however, have assignments like “make a diorama of a Mexican house” and “bring in a puppet that looks like you.” Because…? Yeah. I am on the verge of contacting the school. Dioramas are against my religion, anyway (busywork alert!), but in eighth grade, when they’re not actually learning any course material? Yeah. No.] I picked up Monkey and took him grocery shopping with me, then we went home and he told me he wasn’t tired at all and proceeded to go upstairs and fall asleep.

By dinnertime, I was trying to imitate a side dish I’d had at the restaurant on Saturday night. Chickadee stopped working on the tiny hammock she was making to ask what it was. “It’s a yam gratin,” I said.

“A WHAT?” she asked.

“Yam gratin,” I repeated. “Yams, cheese, cream, butter… all things you like.”

“Yam gratin doesn’t sound like food,” she said, peering into the baking dish. “It sounds like… goat.”


“Yes,” she insisted. “If I had a goat, I’d name him Yam Gratin.” I marveled at the weirdness that is my daughter, and she giggled and threw her arms around my shoulders, then began to pet my hair. “Your hair is SO SHINY, Mom,” she said. “Even my goat Yam Gratin noticed!”

The moral of this story is that my family is weird and there’s no break from that, even on the weekends. Even when my hair is shiny.


  1. Megan

    The weird is what makes the chaos bearable. That and shiny pretty hair!

  2. Chuck

    As Popeye said, I Yam what I Yam.

  3. Patricia

    I have more gray than my mother. Trust me, this fact horrifies her far more than it does me. (I however, gave up the dying and choose to live with the gray and enjoy my extra hours out of the salon; but that’s me…a very gray me.)

  4. Holly

    I absolutely LOVE weird! Weird is awesome.

  5. Caitlin

    I love reading about other families’ weird conversations! Every family has silly things they say only around each other and it’s like a peak into another world when you see that side of things. I know what you mean about how sitting still can be exhausting. When I spring for a cut and color (rarely, I’m also cheap) I feel like I’ve done so much when I leave the salon. I usually schedule those appointments for the evening so I don’t feel badly about going home afterward and taking a long nap AKA sleeping through the night (I hope).

  6. Karate Mom

    I think that one of my favorite things about your family is how silly they are! The whole “Yam Gratin” comment is absolutely something that I (or one of my clever children!) might make!

  7. Beth R

    Chickadee is a hoot. And it’s comments like this that keep you from eating her when she’s being a teenager :)

  8. Nelson's Mama

    I’ve been gray FOREVER and visit my stylist every 5 weeks to hide it. My beautiful 19-year old daughter is already high-lighting her hair to cover some odd gray hairs. Genetics suck sometimes…

  9. Ani

    Come to think of it, i think my last haircut was in April too…luckily, my gray is not that bad yet.

  10. Otto

    So, since she ate some of the yam gratin, does this mean she’s not a vegetarian anymore? Should we be worried about the dog if she’s taken to eating pets?

    Maybe I need more sleep, too …


  11. Rachel

    What is with school district Spanish??? Our (public) school offers Spanish in 3, 4 & 5th grades. In 6, 7 & 8th grades they have a 9 week session of “World Languages” that is supposed to be in intro to several languages (Spanish, French, German, Latin & maybe a few others thrown in because I am sure you can learn all of those in a 9 week session?). We were fortunate enough to travel to Cancun Mexico when my daughter had 3 years (YEARS!) of Spanish & my son had 1 year. I was hoping their Spanish would help us out, WRONG! Both are pretty good students, but the only think they had learned in elementary school Spanish were colors, a few animals, numbers, and stuff relating to the calendar… It would have been helpful in Mexico if they had at least been taught basics like “Where is the bathroom?”, “I can’t find my parents”, “I’m hungry, is there restaurant near here?” etc, but instead could only tell people they saw a brown bear in March. However, my daugher is now taking Spanish as a freshman & has learned more in the first 6 weeks than I learned in a semester of Spanish class in college. She even texts friends using Spanish instead of English… hopefully they’re not talking about me. =) I’d be tired of the stuff Chickie’s teacher is having them do too.

  12. dad

    The tradition lives on.

  13. Celeste

    Mir, I think I’m as cheap as you are and I’m surprised you aren’t coloring your own hair. Seriously, it’s not that hard. I have been doing it myself for over 20 years, and never had a bad outcome. Just stick with the box hair color and follow the directions. You can do it!

  14. The Mommy Therapy

    There just aren’t enough stories with a solid moral anymore. Thank you Mir.

    I used to love the weekends when I worked, but now I feel like it’s just two days without preschool or our normal routine to carry us through. I get all confused and off track and instead of relishing in the deviation, my children go haywire. I assume this will eventually change slightly when they aren’t doing things like napping and eating only peanut butter and jelly.

    I would miss almost anything my children were doing for a delicious dinner alone with my husband. I think it was a solid parenting choice to just lie about missing it. You’re probably a better Mom just due to all the pleasure you had from the food and conversation.

    I am lazy and cheap about getting my hair done too. I have to hire a babysitter to have it done so on top of expensive hair fixing costs I also have to pay someone $12 an hour to play with my kids. It feels too excessive. I do love getting my hair done though, shiny hair is great.

  15. Mom

    No one ever gets what they want in the hair department. I have _NO_ gray hair but would love to have a headful of the gorgeous white hair my maternal grandfather had. My maternal grandmother was steel gray, so I guess I got all my hair genes from my father’s side. Neither of his parents were gray, nor was he.

    Hair discontent marches on.

  16. Vern

    I feel so at home here.

  17. carson

    My sister has lovely red hair with a streak of grey like a witch’s lock. I don’t have enough grey for a whole lock, but it’s happening. (Thanks, daughter’s school!) It won’t look as cool with the mousey brown, though.

    But I agree that it is your real color. It’s on your hair. You paid for it. It’s real.

  18. Jessica

    I’m very lucky that I have my dad’s hair. My mom’s side of the family started going gray (women) or bald (men) in high school. My mom always told me, “Just wait! You’ll be going gray by the time you’re 16!” All of the women in her family were almost totally gray by 25. I still have my natural brown with red and gold touches (in my early 30s), and I’m just glad I do.

  19. Tara

    Chickadee is a girl after my own heart. Our house is just as weird. We revel in it and bring out the weirdness on special occasions for all family members to enjoy.

  20. Liza

    Yam Gratin! Yam Gratin! I hope she made a goat for the diorama and named it Yam Gratin, even if the teacher would not understand.

  21. mamaspeak

    I don’t know, I think she has a point; what would YOU name your goat?

    On a side note, we have a good friend who has a sheep farm, at which she makes cheese. Mmmm…cheese…
    So she needs lots of Mama goats, but really onlyt a couple of “studs” (makes me giggle bc I’m a 9yo boy at heart). Her farm is called MonkeyFlower Ranch, and all the females are named after flowers.
    Conversely, the boys are usually named lunch. ;-)
    (My 5 & 8yos know this & are in on the joke. This makes for some interesting conversations when they have open houses that include “joe public.” And somehow, we still get invited back.)

    I think Yam Gratin is on par w/Lunch.

  22. Aimee

    Yam Gratin *is* a good name for a goat, totally. ;)

  23. Tricia

    Oh man – I totally read that wrong and thought that YOU were trying to be a yam gratin (like – you yourself were imitating the side dish). I was wondering how that would look, but then I read on and realized that you were just trying to recreate it. Ah well, it was a good laugh while it lasted.

    And yeah – I could name a goat Yam Gratin. We already have a chicken named Fried. My husband delights in calling “come here Fried chicken”. He thinks he’s super funny.

  24. Mya Maternity

    Weird is the best… and aerodynamic hair!

  25. Chana L

    OK, so I don’t get it- why do they color your hair and THEN cut it? Sounds like a huge waste of color… or maybe I misunderstood?
    Weekends… never seems like a break, just a change in routine. Same with “vacation”.

  26. Katie in MA

    Okay, I was really digging how yummy Yam Gratin sounded, but…I don’t do goat. Oooh! Except goat cheese! Especially with dried pineapples and apricots. Mmmm….

  27. Debra

    The color is real and you paid for it, therefore it is your real color. It’s my logic and I love it.

    Chana L: The color is always done before the cutting. Something to do with making sure the chemicals don’t ooze through the tiny little abrasions that the various implements may inflict and causing massive brain tumors. It also makes sure that the color is “even’ at the ends. :)

    RE: band competition- Does Chickie read your blog?

  28. Headless Mom

    Semi related to your school/busy work rant: I recently found out that my 6th grader’s science teacher has the online textbook read to the students in class. A COMPUTER IS READING TO MY CHILD. Every day.

    *head exploding*

  29. Nancy

    Chiming in late here, but I have to say how very very much I love the name Yam Gratin for a goat, or any other pet for that matter! Chickie rocks!

    I still get excited about weekends until I am in the middle of them and wishing I was at work. Weekends are never restful with 2 toddlers and a teenager. I feel like I got a break if I get to go to the bathroom by myself.

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