Happy Monday Everyone! Today marks day 17 since the flu entered our home.  I thought I would be over it by now, but things just didn’t work out that well.  So, after 17 days of “do it yourself” doctoring, which included honey, lemon tea, nasal irrigation, and essential oils (to name just a few things) I have started my regimen of antibiotics that the doctor seems to think will be better for me than my “do it yourself” remedies.

Looking back I have always been a “do it yourself” kind of person. My results have ranged from highly successful to incredible failures, with the most memorable “do it yourself” experience undeniably falling into the latter category, so much so that I still cringe whenever I recall the events of that fateful day.

It was a quiet Saturday morning in our home. I fixed a nice breakfast for everyone and when we finished cleaning up I announced that I had some personal things to attend to. Yes, I had a plan.  Several days prior to this I had purchased a waxing package from the store (does anyone realize that the cost of waxing your eyebrows in the salons have now gone up to $12.00-and my waxing kit was only $8.98 and could be used multiple times).  So, in ever increasing economically troubled times, I decided to take some personal initiative to reduce the cost of my beauty care.

Retiring to the bathroom this winter morning I laid out my “instruments” on the vanity, much like a surgical nurse does for the doctor. A quick trip to the microwave to heat the wax and I was ready to perform the “operation”.  Tongue depressor (to spread the wax), wax, waxing strips, scissors, cream to decrease the chance of an allergic reaction (that came with the kit-yes, Sally Hansen knows what she is talking about), and cotton balls to spread the cream.  The cotton balls were my own idea.

I put a mirror by the window for extra light and began my work. I wanted to make sure I was able to see all the eyebrows that needed eradicating.  The wax was warm and the day was right.  Ahhhh, if this peaceful feeling could have lasted more than a brief moment.  But, as soon as I put the first bit of wax on, it disappeared.  Did I mention that I wear glasses to read, write, and do anything up close?  Well, I do!  And we all know you can’t wear glasses to wax your eyebrows.  This should have been a clue as to the outcome, but I was too busy thinking of all the money I was going to save to even process that thought.

So after dipping the tongue depressor in the wax again I turned to my eyebrow with confidence. I could do this.  I spread this additional wax where I thought it should go.  It looked okay through my 48 year old eyes (minus the glasses), and I cut the strip to match the size of the wax spread.  In hindsight I should have done this before I did the spreading, but I was new at this.  By the time I got the strip cut the wax was starting to dry, so I hurried and slapped it in place, RUB, RUB, RUB, and then ripped it off.  Let’s be honest, you don’t pull those strips off, you hurry as fast as you can so the pain doesn’t hit before the strip is gone.  I squinted in the mirror.  It looked pretty good to me, so I went about the next eye.  This time I cut the strip BEFORE I spread the wax.  Hey, this “do it yourself” gal learns from her mistakes. This second eyebrow came out as well as the first.  Yeah, life was good!

Then I decided to do my upper lip. This idea was my nieces’.  She said when you go to the salon for a beauty package they always wax your upper lip.  Didn’t I deserve the whole package?  Of course I did.  Now, I should tell you that she told me this five years earlier and for the life of me I could not understand why it popped into my head this particular Saturday morning…but, I was game.  There was no visible hair there but maybe there was some waiting to burst forth.  After all, if 20 year olds wax their upper lips why shouldn’t I?  Of course, 20 years olds party all night and think that’s a good idea too, and I know I can’t do that.  Another clue, lost to the moment. What would ever make me think I could keep up with a 20 year old?  But hey…it was Saturday morning and the wax was soft (and hot, very hot), or at least it was after I ran back down to the microwave to reheat it.

I just have one thing to say. Don’t ever attempt to wax your upper lip without heavy sedation.  When you pull that strip off…I’m trying to think of a good way to describe it, but there is no pain I can compare it to (kidney stones maybe, as I’ve never been through natural childbirth).  Then, there was the realization that I HAD to do the other side because my OCD would not allow me to leave one side undone.  I decided to make haste and get it over with.  By this time the pain from side number one was excruciating and as soon as I finished side number two I reached for the cream to take the sting away.  It must have been at this time that I got the tongue depressor with the left over wax stuck in my hair because I had to lean over to get the cream off the counter.

I was standing in my bathtub with the mirror on the window ledge for better light, remember? And then, there were the strips stuck to chest and chin because when I bent down for the cream I held the mirror so it didn’t fall.  This brought my face in contact with the window ledge, where I had inconveniently laid the used strips.  I didn’t even think about them when I grabbed for the cream.  All I could think about was how it would get the excess wax off while soothing the pain.  I quickly dabbed the cream on a cotton ball and put it to my face.  The cotton ball stuck to the excess wax and I didn’t even care.  I needed the pain go away.  I used another cotton ball, with the same results.  Now I know why there was no mention of cotton balls in the directions. Did you ever see a woman with pieces of cotton ball stuck to her face, clinging to excess wax, under which the skin is already becoming read and swollen?  Let me just say, it was NOT a pretty sight.

I’ll keep the rest short. After cleaning up my mess (and don’t forget the strips still clinging to my hair and chest-I had already yanked the one off my chin) I took my second shower of the morning.  And I’ll let you know in case you ever try your own “do it yourself” waxing-excess wax does NOT come off in the shower.  I forgot to say that I didn’t put my glasses back on until after this second shower.  But, I didn’t need glasses to see the redness and swelling surrounding my eyebrows and my upper lip.  I hurried and put on face cream followed by foundation and mineral powder.  Maybe if I couldn’t see it then it wouldn’t be so bad.  THEN I put my glasses on…and I wish I hadn’t!  I had to look at least 10 times before I could accept the fact that I hadn’t done such a great job on my eyebrows after all.  Thank the Lord for eyebrow pencils.  I now know they were created for women who think they can do everything themselves.

When I went downstairs my loving husband looked at me and in the nicest way possible asked, “What happened to your face?” I hadn’t told my family what I was up to but it was obvious that it was something that had gone horribly wrong. I mean, even though I had make-up on there was still evidence of the trauma, not to mention little tiny pieces of cotton clinging to my face that were impossible to get off. It took a while but the swelling went down, the burns healed, and I was able to wear my bangs in such a way that you couldn’t even tell my eyebrows had been traumatized. You would have thought that I had learned my lesson, right?  Wrong!

I wish I could say that this was the only “do it yourself” encounter that I had subjected myself (or my family) to with horrible results, but it was not. There was the time I tried to do my own acrylic nails.  HA!  Try that one on your own.  But, the kit was only $8.98 (that’s a magic number for me) and the directions were so simple I laughed at how easy it was going to be.  I will say that I did not have the last laugh because the people at the nail salon where I went to have them “fixed” were still laughing when I left the shop.

I should mention that I tried the “do it yourself” acrylic nails AFTER I tried a “do it yourself” manicure. I really did a great job filing and painting my nails.  It was just before bed and I slipped between the sheets and folded my arms across my chest, like they do to people when they put them in their caskets.  I didn’t want to take any chances of ruining my masterpieces.  But alas, I was tired and the last thing I remember was having a conversation with Dave about how much money I could save money by doing my own nails.  When I woke my perfect nails were dry….and stuck to the sheets.  No, I don’t think I’m the “do it yourself” nail kind of person either.

Then there was the time I cut my hair (actually this occurred on many occasions, but I have since learned my lesson), and the time I gave myself a pedicure and left my feet in the “special soak” in my foot spa for so long that my baby toenail fell right off. Yes, I am not kidding.  And let me just say, once it falls off it doesn’t just grow back overnight.  I was months painting a nail on my baby toe and I could not even go to get a pedicure because I just knew the people at the salon remembered me from my “do it yourself” acrylics and I could still hear their laughter in my ears. No, I couldn’t subject myself to that again.

And for my friends and family on facebook…who could forget the picture of the back of poor Dave’s head when I gave him a “do it yourself” haircut and forgot to put the number 7 guard on. That’s right, I took those clippers and zipped a straight line right up the back of his head, with no guard at all.  I’m so thankful he has a great sense of humor.  He actually handled it much better than Daniel did when I gave him a “do it yourself” haircut one night when he had school the next day.  This attempt resulted in an early morning hunt for some kind of barber or beauty shop to “fix” my attempt.  Thank goodness there was a beauty shop next to the grocery store in East Greenbush, NY that opens very early in the morning.  It made me think there were more “do it yourself” mothers out there than just me.

Now, I’m done with trying to save time and money on “do it yourself” care. The pain and humiliation just aren’t worth it. And in the event I forget about these lessons in life that I have learned I always have my family to remind me, because they have NOT forgotten.

Now I guess I have to cross “do it yourself” doctoring off my list as well.

I hope my little lessons in life have inspired you to seek professionals where professionals are needed. I am woman hear me roar, I will never wax anymore…at least not on my own…or cut my own hair, or do my own nails, or…..

I hope this Monday Morning Perspective brought a smile to your face. Have a blessed week all!  “See” you next Monday!

Penny