May 13th, 2005



Two of the most nerve-wracking things in the world are finding a new dentist and trying a new hairdresser. When I find one I like, whether for the top of my head or the inside of it, I tend to stick with them through hell and high water. In Chicago, when I lived 1 block from the lake and had essentially given my car away to a friend because I never drove it, and it was too much bother in the city, I had to borrow it back from her at regular intervals to go to my dentist (1 hour away in Wheaton) or my hairdresser (1 hour away in Carol Stream).

I loved my dentist, Dr. Bob, because he gave me laughing gas instead of shots when I had to have cavities filled (shut up) and let me listen to my cassette tapes on his stereo. I loved my hairdresser because she was the only person who consistently could deal with my rowdy head of waves and curls. I lived in Chicago for 10 years. I had the same dentist and the same hairdresser for roughly 6 of them. Every time I've ever had to go through the process of trying out new hairdressers or dentists, it's been an exercise in fear, agony and despair.

Moving around as a military brat growing up meant that we never had the same dentist or hairdresser more than a few times. You learned to live with the pain. By the time I was an adult, I had had so many different dentists work on my mouth (I was apparently terribly cavity-prone as a child) that Dr. Bob once commented that it was like a museum of dentistry techniques in my mouth.

When we moved to Sweden, I had to brace myself to go through the torture of finding these essential people in my life IN ANOTHER LANGUAGE on top of the already arduous process. Anders' family dentist was a darling dear and I loved going to him, but after our first year in Sweden he retired, and his replacement was a butcher with no bedside manner. On another friend's recommendation I found a wonderful woman who is gentle, thorough, personable and accedes to my wish to come in every 6 months instead of once a year (according to the Swedish system) because I learned my lesson the hard way years ago with a root canal.

I was lucky enough after the first year and a couple of horrible months of waiting for a bad cut to grow out to find a hairdresser who knew instinctively what to do with the barking poodle I keep on the top of my head. She's been coloring, cutting and blowdrying my hair for over 6 years and I love her. I felt SAFE.

So, imagine my horror when I called in March to change my appointment by a few days and was told that she was on extended sick leave for 2 months. AUGH! "Do you want to come in with one of our other stylists?" I was asked. "No. no...I'll, um, I'll make other arrangements..." I answered in a shaky voice. Then I sat on my hands for 2 months while the poodle grew increasingly out of control and turned all sorts of silvery shades to boot (the barky little bastard!) Finally, a week ago, I called again to see if Annika had returned after her 2 months so I could put my sad head back into her capable hands. "I'm sorry," the voice of the other perky stylist said, "She's out for another month."

AUGH! I cried. "2 months I could manage, but I CAN'T wait another one." I was so rattled by the prospect of impending doom that I agreed to come in this week and let one of the other girls near my head with scissors. Nail-biting commenced. Today was doomsday.

Perky Girl colored my hair. She didn't have anywhere near the same authority with it (Down, Boy!) that Annika has always had, and she did several things that made me uncomfortable and worried, but she asked me questions and she found her way through the tangles and she colored my hair (thank god for customer history cards) and she cut it and damned if it wasn't okay. She gave me the very sad news that my hairdresser won't be returning. She's been forced into early retirement by chronic pain from an old whiplash injury. I was plunged into mourning. But when I got home and checked Barky out again, I was relieved. It wasn't so bad. In fact, it was nearly up to Annika's standard. Anders complimented me. I think things will be okay. Whew.

And on the way out of the salon, I passed by was sucked into made out like a mad bargain hunter at a 50%-off-everything-closing-sale that garnered me some dirt-cheap kid party decorations, decorative papers, ephemera, stocking stuffers, notebooks, gel pens and a feather duster! Woot!

Bright and Beautiful Birthday Wishes to redpirk and La Coquette!

Yeah, What She Said! Get With the Program