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Monday, March 10, 2014

Laser Hair Removal: The Approach You Should Avoid...

My sister just got a laser hair removal machine. As in, zip-zap-zappo and the leg hair is gone. And we're talking one of the big, fancy, commercial kind that spas use, not some dumb little diy at-home model. Can I just say how exciting that is? Especially when she says things like, "Hey Jenny, your pasty white skin and dark hair just happen to be perfect for laser hair removal. Would you mind growing out your leg hair so I can take before pictures of it and then letting me zap it ALL AWAY FOREVER?"

I had to think about it. For about a millisecond. Then operation grow-out-my-leg-hair commenced. (Of course I already had about a week's head start on it. It's like I'm psychic or something, because I'm sure I never went that long without shaving my legs before...)

That was about a month ago, and today was the big day. My sister has a friend who is training people to use the machine, and I was to be the practice subject for today's student. I admit that I wasn't crazy about the idea of someone 'practicing' on me, but if the end result is no leg hair, sign me up. So this morning I took my hideously hairy legs over there for a little laser action.

I arrive, and she (the trainer/friend) takes a few pictures of my lovely legs and then tells me to shave. See, a laser burns the hair out of the follicle, and the more hair you have above the skin the worse it hurts. Cause it burns. Unfortunately, being the optimistic person that I am, I disregarded the implications here. You know how pamphlets for stuff like this always say things like, "You may experience some minor discomfort," or "The sensation is something like a small pin prick,"? Yeah, as a matter of course I always assume these things to be gross exaggerations made for the faint of heart.

You know what assuming makes you, right?

And so, with my usual disrespect for such precautions, I whipped out my little electric shaver. It's true that the batteries were low, but that didn't worry me. A quick (and not very close or thorough) shave later, and I was ready to have my hair follicles burned out by a high powered laser.

Have you ever smelled burning hair? Have you ever heard the sound of hair follicles popping as they're disintegrated by the beam of a laser? Have you ever seen wisps of smoke coming off your own legs in the aftermath of said disintegration? Let me tell you, it may sound bad but it feels much, much, much worse. And the whole time the teacher and trainee kept saying things like, "Wow, that whole patch really popped, didn't it?" and "It's starting to smell like burnt popcorn in here," (chuckle, chuckle, chuckle). (I was not chuckling.)

The ankles were the worst. Especially because the 'trainee' didn't seem to get the part about keeping the laser pressed straight down on the leg. You see, if you tip it or lift it THEN IT ARCS. You know, like what lightning does when it causes a building to burst into flames? Or like a 50,000 volt electric fence will do if you get too close to it? Yeah, she couldn't seem to get that memo despite the fact that I kept saying  things like, "Um, I think your TIPPING IT!!!" (This last would come out as a shriek as the arc of the laser made contact. Popping and wafts of smoke would generally follow.)

Finally, however, it was done. Over. Finished. Kind of. Because I'll need at least one more treatment, and probably two or three to get rid of all the hair. Is it worth it? Definitely. People get their hair ripped out with hot wax repeatedly, so I think I can take little laser arcing and follicle burning in the name of hairless legs. But will I shave, and then shave again, and then shave again before I go back for round two? Uh, yeah. And I recommend you do the same if you ever get a chance to get any of your hair lasered, because the amount of 'slight discomfort' you will experience will be significantly more if you fail to pay heed to that one, simple, and vastly important step.

The things we do. All in the name of beauty, right?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

To Wave or Not to Wave?

My kids very possibly have the nicest bus driver in the history of the world. When I went into the 1st grade and started riding the bus my bus driver's name was Mrs. Horn. The name was fitting, and I was terrified of her. You know the bad guys' 'Mama' from Goonies? Well, she wasn't quite that bad, but to my already-terrified-and-anxiety-ridden self she might has well have been. She was not warm and fuzzy, she didn't smile and learn your name, she certainly didn't hand out candy every Friday, and I'm not actually positive that her name wasn't granted to her because of her very loud, very commanding voice.

(Now that I think about it, I may have my older brother and his friend to thank for Mrs. Horn's presence on our route. They were not good bus passengers. For instance, there was some song {Van Halen maybe???} in the '80's that started with the sound of a train whistle. Well, remember the boom box? My brother and his friend had one, and they decided that it would be an awesome idea to cue the tape, turn up the volume, and hit play just as the bus was passing over the railroad tracks...)

(I think that may have been the last time they rode the bus in their high school careers, but they still claim that it was worth it.)

Anyhow, Mindy is not Mrs. Horn. She gives candy. She smiles. She ALWAYS pulls over when there is a car coming from either direction. (Seriously, I've been completely spoiled, and I now have no patience for driving behind a school bus. I can also always tell when she has a sub because apparently she is the only pull-over-and-let-the-cars-pass bus driver in the world.) And despite pulling over she always gets my kids to school on time. And she always waves.

Always. Which leaves me to the question at hand: how many times in the same day do you have to wave at the same person when you pass them on the road? And I don't mean 'if you pass them and wave in the morning do you have to wave again in the afternoon,' I mean within a five-ten minute period.

See, it's like this: My younger kids' school (which is out of district, so they don't ride the bus) is west of my road, and my older kids' (who only ride the bus home from school) is east. When I drive west to drop off the younger kids, Mindy is driving east. We wave.

Then I drive east and (often times) have to go back up my road to pick up my older kids, or get something that one of us forgot. On my way up my road Mindy will be driving down. We wave.

Then I'll be going back down my road and invariably catch up to the bus (because it keeps stopping to pick kids up) and of course Mindy pulls over to let me pass. As I pass - we wave.

AND THEN, after I drop my kids off at school and head west for home, Mindy is driving east (because I passed her on the road and got ahead of her again, remember?) AND WE WAVE AGAIN!

Do you think she gets as tired of waving as I do? (And have any of you had to draw a map to keep all of this straight yet?) I admit that sometimes I'll put my visor down or pretend to be texting because waving repeatedly gets SO AWKWARD! I begin to feel like an idiot. In the meantime, I pass my sister when I leave my younger kids off and she's on her way to drop hers, and we wave, and then after I drop my older kids off and head back home we usually pass again and I have to wave again.

And there are at least three other moms I dance this I-pass-you-a-million-times waving dance with, and I keep wondering why we're all still waving.

I also have to admit that occasionally I'll be driving a car no one's familiar with and I blithely make my entire drive without waving at any of them, all the while feeling so happy that they don't know they passed me. It's so much easier. Am I the only person in the world who has ever had this problem? (Other than the poor people who have to keep waving at me, of course.) Do other people just hit their limit and start refusing to wave on principle? Can I do that?

I don't feel like I can. I feel compelled to wave. I tell myself I won't and then my hand flies up on it's own and does it anyway. After all, they're all still waving, right? Are they just nicer and more polite than me, or are they rolling their eyes when they see me and quickly pretending to tune their radios so they can get out of at least one of our morning waves?

Okay, this is kind of going on and on. Enough. Enough with the waving. For now, anyway. I'm sure that by Monday morning I'll be right back at it again...