What is the point of having a junk drawer if you don’t find the junk you need?

Gearing up for an at-home hair cut for the past two, three, or four weeks while salons are closed is not easy. My husband, Jon, finally reached his COVID hair maximum. Hair clippers including trimmers and guards were ordered weeks ago. They were backordered due to demand since we groom at home now. We received our pair of clippers maybe two weeks ago and the contents were pretty foreign to me. I had no idea of the difference between a #3 versus a #7 but I was determined to find out.  Hoping not only to learn but to become skilled quickly. 

The box and all of its untouched contents sat on our kitchen counter for the many days leading up to today. I did not forget the box was there and with each pass of the very counter it occupied I acknowledged its mocking existence. Somehow my many years of hair dryers, hair straighteners, curling irons have never led me down this path. In preparation of being called into action I decided my best defense was to watch YouTube tutorials for when Jon was not only ready but ready to trust me to cut his hair. I could see the hesitation in his eyes or maybe even quite possibly panic…I am not sure which.  Yes, I am certain. Panic. Definitely panic. After much thought and way too much conversation we decided that a traditional cut was the way to go. We would reserve the use of this new household device for clean-up duty. How badly could that go?

Last night, a Friday night like the many before it we were making our social distancing weekend plans. I am not even sure what that really means as “weekend plans” seems like an oxymoron these days. We decided as we watched a Jeopardy rerun with a very young Ken Jennings to up the ante this weekend and make Saturday the day for a haircut. Big, big, big weekend plan! Saturdays generally and mentally have a more relaxed feel to them even in times when our schedule is consistently and foreseeably more relaxed.  This weekend we have no Zoom dates booked.  So, if things didn’t turn out quite as we hoped there would be an opportunity to employ Plan B before Monday morning. Plan B?  No clue what that might be.  There was no Plan B. 

The kitchen was prepared and turned into a make -shift salon. A plaid Eddie Bauer flannel sheet (when living in Vermont flannel is required) was placed on the hardwood floor acting as a catch basin of sorts. A kitchen chair was placed on the center of the sheet acting as a salon styling chair. No adjusting for height nor swivels but I worked with what we had. Realizing that I would need a fine-tooth comb to cut hair,  I began the household item search. There was a time when we all carried fine tooth combs in purses and back pockets. Unfortunately for us it has been a very long time and a number of moves since we have owned a fine-tooth comb. Wide tooth combs yes but fine tooth …nada! I searched bathroom drawers, travel kits and even our kitchen junk drawer. Batteries, yes but not a single fine-tooth comb. Like many home adventures lately I have learned to improvise …

Nerves were heightened even after a morning run as Jon took his seat and I picked up the scissors. It soon became apparent that we would benefit from music playing to ease our anxiety. Folk music. The soothing sound of Joni Mitchel filled the air.  I began to relax while cutting his hair as I recalled my study of a barber style cut.  I navigated Jon’s head with my mother’s silver Singer shears as I created my first men’s haircut.  I realized after an unknown number of minutes had passed while lessening my intense focus that Aretha Franklin was singing “I say a little prayer.”  Yes, Aretha, exactly…me too!

I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone look too closely at the cut even if that were possible right now. I know this trim would not pass the scrutiny of a professional.  Fortunately, Jon has very forgiving hair. However, this haircutting adventure made us both feel a bit better this morning.  The sense of accomplishment one feels when you “successfully” do something out of your wheelhouse is rewarding with an added bonus of helping someone you love.

Many aspects of our daily lives we once so freely accomplished have become challenges. Some challenges are certainly bigger than others.  So, when we feel we have some control over our circumstance even as small as a haircut it feels reassuring. Will these small insignificant victories make us better? I think they help. I have decided to revel in the small daily successes during this very uncertain time.

Will I let my husband cut my hair?

Seriously? 

No.

Of course not…that is just not the natural order of things in our little yellow house on the hill!

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

One thought

  1. I know how he feels our barber shops opened yesterday and I was in the chair by 11 it felt so good to get a hair cut. So simple yet so important to get the feeling of normalcy back. We are coming back … tonight THI Friday was packed in the outside seething. So was Mexico Resrurant. We will survive this

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