“Over the river and thru the woods…” Well, it’s more like over the highway and thru the gridlock for an hour forty.

My “To Do” list is long.  I seem to add more things to it than cross off of it by the end of each day.  {sigh} But if I waited until everything was marked off the list to have some fun with my family…we’d be racing our walkers down the street. So Mark and I decided to put everything on hold and drive to my Mom’s for the weekend.  “I get to sleep at Grandma’s house?” Nate asked. He was so excited, his little voice went up 5 octaves. “Can we  look for Gus and Gertrude?” He was bouncing off the walls now. “Sure, you can look for them with Daddy. Only with Daddy.” Gus and Gertrude are the two gators that live in the lake behind my Mom’s house.  There’s been many Guses and Gertrudes because when the gators get old and big enough to kill people, they catch ’em and sell ’em to local restaurants for meat. Then, there’s a new younger gator to take their place…kinda like Lassie. (except for the meat thing…at least I hope that part’s different.)

We decided to stop at my cousin Linda’s hair salon on the way to Grandma’s. She just remodeled and became a Paul Mitchell  Focus salon. www.internationalhairgallery.com The shop is gorgeous and fun. I love going there. Most of the stylists are from NY, including my cousin. Linda’s been in FL for over 17 years and she still sounds like she stepped out of the SNL’s sketch, “Coffee Talk” (That’s cawfee tawk if you spell it phonetically). It makes me feel like home to be there. Not only because of the accents and family but because I was a hairdresser in my “other life”.

I got my cosmetology license  a million years ago. I went to “Romar’s Beauty Academy” in 1983. That’s back when men were men, but they still got an occasional perm.  Hair was big. How big was it? It was so big, that carnivals had to raise their “You have to be THIS big to ride this ride” signs!  {rim shot} The instructors at Romar’s were all in their 60’s and 70’s, which meant my graduating certificate licensed me to do hair in the 19 40’s. Want a Bee-hive? Come on over! I think I still have my teasing comb. I loved doing hair, but I didn’t love all the salons I worked in. I worked in all different kinds of places. From budget $6.00 haircuts to hoity-toity, celebrity $125. haircuts to a kid’s salon on the second floor of FAO Schwartz Toy Store in Manhattan. (I was there when they filmed the movie “Big”) That was the worst one. Cutting kid’s hair is like trying to do a circumcision on horseback…very dangerous. I was one lollipop away from being arrested for child molesting! Please…let me explain: I was alone in the shop when a Mom came in with her 4 or 5 year old son. She pushed the kid toward me and ordered, “Cut it short. I have to do some shopping. I’ll be back in 20 minutes.” and she left! I just stood there in shock. Did she actually just leave her child with me? I was shaken out of my stupor by the now screaming child. I picked him up and put him on the horse/chair and tried in vain to wrap the cape around his little neck. He was kicking and screaming at this point so I got one of our stuffed animal puppets and started to “put on a show” for him. “Hey little boy…look at the monkey! He’s gonna get your nose! He’s gonna get your nose!” and I gentle touched his nose with the monkey. “NOOOO!” he started screaming, “That’s my privates! That’s my privates! Stop touching my privates!” WHAT?!!! His privates? I freaked out. “No, no, little boy. That’s your nose…that’s your NOSE…THAT’S YOUR NOSE!!” I’m going to jail. I’m alone with a child who’s screaming “don’t touch my privates”…I’m definitely going to jail. I grabbed a lollipop and shoved it into his mouth just when his mom walked back into the shop. “How’s it going?” she sung. “It’s going…” I sung back. I don’t really remember anything after that. I must have blacked out. All I know is, I cut the kid’s hair and got him  and his mom out the door before he finished the lollipop and could talk. I locked the door, turned out the lights and turned in my resignation letter. That’s when I decided that working in seedy nightclubs doing comedy late at night would be a much safer career choice.

But I digress.

When we all got to Linda’s shop, I decided to give the boys a well-needed summer haircut. I usually cut their hair in the kitchen at home, but no matter how well you clean, you have little hairs popping up for weeks. So being able to make a mess at her shop was awesome. Not to mention the chairs and special booster seats that can raise Nate up to the right height which saves Mommy’s back for other projects. Mark always says, “Nothing like having the right tool for the job!” Still, I do like the old-school little boy on a phone book haircuts!

A professional haircut from Mommy...still requires an UNprofessional seat!

A professional haircut from Mommy...still requires an UNprofessional seat!

My Mom loves long hair. Boy or girl, doesn’t matter…she loves long hair. Me? I love not having to stick Nate’s head under the faucet to rinse out the bed-head  he gets every night from “wrestling gators with Steve Irlin”  in his sleep. And I love not having to hear his screams “Ow! Mommy you’re killing me! I have tangles. Leave my tangles! They’re my tangles!” So…I love me a buzz cut on my oldest son. It says, “Hello, summer! I’m ready for my hair-ripping swim goggles now!” Besides, Nate looks good in any haircut:

Before...(my little mop-top cutie!)

Before...(my little mop-top cutie!)

After! (hard not to pinch his cheeks 24/7)

After! (hard not to pinch his cheeks 24/7)

Zekey's turn! Before...(he's at that touching-the-camera phase)

Zekey's turn! Before...(he's at that touching-the-camera phase)

After! Cutest cut ever...if I do say so myself.

After! Cutest cut ever...if I do say so myself.

Grandma met us at the shop. She’s not a very good actress. “Ooooh, Nate. You got your haircut…short. Very, very short.” “Maaaa!” I sing thru clenched teeth, “tell him how handsome he is before I strangle you…” “What I say? It’s short. I said it was short, I didn’t tell him he looked better with it long…”  “MA!” I snap. “What? she says. {sigh} “Nevermind.”

The next morning we decided to take the boys to the beach. We’ve lived in FL for an entire year now and the only beach they’ve seen so far is the handful of shells we throw into their turtle pool/sand box.

Nate and Zeke looking for shells on "Turtle Beach".

Nate and Zeke looking for shells on "Turtle Beach".

Shame on us.

So we looked at the map and picked Crystal Beach. Sounds perfect. My Mom opted out of the beach excursion when she found out it was outside. “You’re gonna just sit outside in the hot sun with the bugs and the sand everywhere?”  she said with the same shock and disgust you would have when saying, “You’re gonna just sit there and eat that dead skunk?!”  “Yeah, Ma…that’s what you do at the beach. We might even…get our hair wet!” {gasp!}

It started out great. Shallow, clear water with lots of creatures for Dad and sons to discover.

"Dad? Is that crab a nice one or a bitey one?"

"Dad? Is that crab a nice one or a bitey one?"

Nate listening to the Sirens' call...

Nate listening to the Sirens' call...

Zekey listening to the apple's call...

Zekey listening to the apple's call...

Then tragedy struck. I was trying to apply sunscreen to Zeke’s lilly white skin. I got to his face and he wiggled away from me, getting a finger full of lotion in his eye! Poor little guy. That really stings, ask Mark. Sunscreen burns his eyes even when he doesn’t have any on! Zeke started yelling and crying so loud, people came running to see who got bit by the shark. I tried everything, wiping off his face, flushing out his eye with water. (No, I didn’t use sea water! I used bottled water. I’m not THAT dumb!) His eye started to swell and get really red so we called it a day. Nothing left to do but get to Grandma’s house and take a bath.  That felt so good…we decided to give the kids one, too. {rim shot}

There’s nothing like being away from home for a few days to make you appreciate your own cozy, baby-proofed house. We brought in the suitcase, put the boys to bed then snuggled on our couch. “Oh, hang on a minute” I told Mark. I got off the couch and went over to the stack of papers that needed to be tended to. I picked up the list of things to do and wrote, “Visit Grandma again.”

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