Watching the Paint Dry

Friday, March 19, 2010

I’m not a high maintenance woman. Well, that is sure to get a response. Let me rephrase - I’m not what my grandmother called, “fixy.” I sometimes leave the house without make up, I don’t always wear earrings, and my hands are often dry. Even when I had the time and money for regular facials and manicures, I did not indulge.

But back in January, I looked down at my neglected nails, and thought, “You could really do better.” They were dirty, ragged, and ugly. So I vowed to keep them filed and coated with clear polish. I thought that would make me feel more lady-of-the-house-like, and less Cinderella-before-the-ball. It did. Simply taking such a vow made me correct my posture, take a deep breath, and survey my charges with a greater sense of dignity. I found some time that night, after the children were in bed, to file and polish. There! Much better.

The problem was, it didn’t last long. Changing diapers, drying tinkled toilet rims, wiping noses - all good reasons to wash your hands. Between that, the dishes, and baths for the boys, the nail polish came right off. I tried to find another night to repair the damage, but the nights came and went, and my polish flaked away.

Eventually, it was time for a play date with another mom who always looks nice and I thought, “That’s it. I’m taking the time to at least put on a quick coat before we get there.” But when? Can’t do it before the boys are dressed. Getting their clothes on will ruin it. Can’t do it after - strapping them in the car will ruin it. I know! I’ll do it in the car. While they are strapped in and we are sitting in the driveway, of course. It will only take a minute.

And then it hit me like a thunderbolt - Mom! My mother used to rush us out the car to go somewhere, get us all situated, and then pull out her nail polish. I can still smell it, and see her hand on the wheel, as she flared her fingers out and quickly went, swipe, swipe, swipe, with the brush. My brother and I would hem and haw, “Maah-oohm! What are you dooo-ing? Who cares what your nails look like! Can’t we just go??” She would say, “Just a minute!” and then in probably thirty seconds, we were off. She would round her fingertips and hold them, one at a time, in front of the air conditioning vents as we drove to our destination. When we arrived, she had perfectly dry and polished nails.

Genius! And, what a brat I was! I called Mom to apologize, some 30 years later. She laughed, and asked if my boys had any reaction to my driveway manicure. Not yet - they are too young. But when they do start to complain (as I’m sure they will), I will just smile to myself, hold my fingers in front of the vent, and watch the paint dry.

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3 Responses to “Watching the Paint Dry”

  1. LOL - Love it!!! I do remember those days!
    Good times, now sweet memories (and funny). Love you muchly, ym

  2. I LOVE your new blog! And, sadly, I can relate to EVERYTHING.. from the flat, boring mom-shoes to the ugly nails. Mommy-hood is oh-so glamorous! not! But, we wouldn't trade it for anything. And, I'm still holding out hope that we WILL get our inner-fashionista back soon! Maybe in a couple of years... one can hope!

  3. I am totally going to try this! And, I must say, every time I see photos of your mom on your blog, I have noticed that she always has nice-looking nails!