I brushed my hair with a toothbrush this morning, for real. I got in the car to go to work, looked in the mirror, and realized I had forgotten to tame my snarly head of hay. I had no hairbrush in the car, but found a grungy toothbrush in my makeup kit. (I use the toothbrush for shaping my eyebrows.) I keep the kit in the car so I will actually have time to put makeup on; I try not to impale my eyes with an eyeliner pencil while my husband drives us work. I'm not proud of the fact that I brushed my hair with a toothbrush; it's just an eye-opener as to how chaotic my life has become, and how I've adapted in order to cope. Better to tame your snarly head with an Oral-B, than with nothing at all, I guess...
I've developed a few other shortcuts in my coping strategy. A handheld shower spray nozzle is a great tool when you want to smell clean, but don't have time to wash and blow dry your hair. Simply pour shampoo around your neck, then use the handheld sprayer to shepherd foam down to your nooks and crannies.
Here's a wardrobe hint: alternate wearing the same two pair of trousers for a year; there's no time wasted choosing what to wear. (One of my two pairs of pants has needed hemming for a year. The turned under cuffs have permanently creased themselves to the point that I don’t need to hem them anymore.) Another hint: Buy one style of shirt in as many different colors as you can. You can wear them every day of the year if you frequently switch out your watches and jewelry. No one will notice, right?
Last week I used masking tape to seal a huge hole in the toe of my favorite chenille socks. It worked well, but haranguing visions of my mother floated around my head until they convinced me to throw the socks away.
My four-year old thought I was tres cool when I taught her this tooth brushing trick: fill your mouth with toothpaste and water, swoosh the minty liquid in your mouth for a few seconds, then spit. No, it’s not a replacement for dental hygiene, and no, it doesn’t really get your teeth clean, but at least it fools your mouth when time has run out for morning ablutions. Now that I think about it, I’ll have to do some toddler deprogramming on that one. (“Oh no, honey, mommy just did that to show you what *not to do....")
I don’t usually worry too much about looking and smelling like a bag lady. It gets me a round of sympathy and free food every now and then. But when I look at my twenty-something, ninety pound, neatly coiffed co-workers, I tend to get a case of the frumpys. Until I go back to my office and look at the pictures of my kids. My mood is automatically buoyed by seeing their fresh little faces, wearing fairly clean clothes and matching socks. I’ll live vicariously through them until they can dress themselves in the morning. At that point the fashion will probably be “grunge” again and they’ll dress like vagrants on purpose. Then I’ll have all the time in the world to brush my hair with a real brush.