MJ’s Musings: Rituals from My Childhood

My mom had Saturday night rituals for us that I haven’t thought about in years. I have no idea why I stopped doing these things. Maybe modern materials don’t require as much care as things did back in day. Maybe we took better care of our belongings because we had to make them last.

We polished, then buffed our shoes every Saturday night. There were three or four colors of shoe polish and/or paste on the upper shelf in the bathroom. My dad had a large shoe brush. According to Amazon, shoe brushes are still a thing.

The other thing we did every Saturday without fail was wash our combs and hairbrushes. I can still smell the Prell shampoo we used. My mom had a dedicated fingernail brush we used to get between the teeth on our combs.  I sometimes used a toothpick.

Yes, I still clean the hair from my brush, but my comb isn’t dirty. Is my scalp cleaner than it was when I was child because I wash my hair more often? 

Do you have childhood rituals you abandoned?

 

MJ’s Musings: “Do You Have Change for a Twenty?”

I dread having someone ask me this question.

People like me, who use ATMs, always have too many twenty dollar bills.  I’m fortunate that my bank’s ATM has an option with $5 increments, so when I withdraw cash, I make sure it’s $35 or $55 or $75 dollars. (If you take out $95, you get a $50, which sucks worse than a $20, especially since the McDonald’s next door will no longer accept $50 or $100 bills .)

So yeah, I usually do have change for a twenty in my wallet.

But if I make change for you, then I’m stuck with your $20, which defeats the purpose of my banking strategy.  And lately, it seems as if I’m asked if I can break a twenty a lot.

I need to start lying, and others need to change banks.

Pregnancy Dreams

Back when I was pregnant, my doctor didn’t believe in routine sonograms. If something was wrong–spotting, or a baby refusing to be born–that was different. Even if you did have a sono, the techs weren’t allowed to tell you the baby’s sex.

But each time, I knew what I was going to have. Yes, I had a friend who did the pencil, needle, and thread trick. I don’t remember if her predictions were right or not. Because I had dreams. Vivid dreams.

When I was pregnant for Y-Chromo, I still had my cat. My dream consisted of tying to put blue disposable diapers on my male cat, and failing. You see, a cat’s legs only go forward and backward. They do not splay the way human legs can. That was the first problem. The second problem was the fur. The adhesive tabs kept getting stuck in the cat’s fur.  I awoke from that dream exhausted and knowing my child would be a boy.

To this day, I still cannot think about or discuss the dream I had when I was pregnant for X-Chromo. Let it be enough to say I knew she would be female.

Something Else I Don’t Get

Several years ago, when X-Chromo was still in high school, I attended some sort of awards breakfast. I ended up sitting with a woman who lives around the corner from me, and with whom I had butted heads–in a very minor way–on several occasions when our daughters were in middle school. X and this woman’s daughter were not friends. They weren’t enemies, but they travelled in different circles with different priorities.

I had heard this mother was “never the same” after she suffered a head injury in an auto accident. Because of that, I always tried to be compassionate.  Even when our ideas about how to improve the schools were at odds, I tried. So maybe this head injury is behind the explanation of what I don’t get.

Back to the breakfast. “Jane” sat with me, probably because I was a familiar face. Like our daughters, we were not friends. She started chatting. That was good. I’m lousy at small talk. It’s a skill I’ve never learned. Somehow, a discussion of the school dress code came up. “Jane” started spouting off about, of all things, high heels. About how her daughter wanted to wear high heels and it just wasn’t right. And a ban against high heels needed to be added to the dress code. On several occasions, she’d caught her daughter trying to sneak out of the house wearing high heels and that was something young girls should not be wearing.

I happened to see her daughter on line at the buffet–wearing a spaghetti strapped tank top and shorts cut up to her hoo-ha (both violations of the dress code, but she was a jock so it was overlooked). And her mother was worried about high heels?

I don’t get it.

One of My Finer Moments

A former co-worker recently passed away. There were many heartfelt tributes to him on social media, all of them well-deserved. He really was a good person.

However, we did have a couple of points where our views on life could not have been further apart. One of them was the ERA–the Equal Rights Amendment. As far as I could tell, my co-worker thought women should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

On June 30th, 1982, the ERA “died”. Not enough states add ratified the amendment to the constitution within the deadline or the three-year extension it was given.

On July 1, 1982, the front page of the local morning newspaper featured a photo of my co-worker raising the American flag at a celebration of the demise of the hoped-for amendment. He took a lot of ribbing that morning. Even I patted him on the back. But as I did so, I was also taping a handwritten KICK ME sign there.

Other co-workers laughed. Hours passed before someone told him about it. He was good natured about it. As I said, he really was a good person at his core.