A Tad Too Much By B. Mower
Tad Stevens sat contentedly on the deck enjoying the morning sun, as he sipped coffee and read the paper. This was the best way to start the day, he thought to himself. He’d sit here for another fifteen minutes, or so, then he’d have to go get ready for work.
As Tad sat there, his attention was diverted inside. Sandra, his wife, was busily scurrying around the kitchen getting breakfast ready for their 3 young children. It looked like a real rat race in the kitchen, as Sandra quickly moved from the refrigerator to the counter to the table to the high chair getting food in front of the hungry children. Tad watched for a few seconds, then returned contentedly to his morning paper. As he slowly browsed through the Business section, Tad suddenly heard a loud crashing sound from the kitchen, followed by the terrified crying of a 2-year-old. Tad looked in and saw that a bowl of cereal and bottle of milk had been knocked off the table and crashed on the floor! It was a real mess! Tad got a disgusted look on his face, rose and crossed to the sliding glass door of his deck, slid the door closed and returned to his chair. “I just can’t stand the commotion those people cause every morning. There must be a better way for Sandra to do the morning feeding without disturbing me so much.” Tad thought to himself.
After a few minutes, Tad looked at his watch, and realized that he had to get going. He went into the house, and surveyed the kitchen. Two kids were seated at the table absentmindedly eating breakfast, getting just about as much breakfast cereal and milk on the table as they were getting in their mouths. The youngest was sitting in his high chair crying loudly over the cereal that he’d spilled on the floor. As Tad looked at him, he threw his peanut butter toast at his mommy.
Tad looked at Sandra, who had been down on her hands and knees with a towel trying to blot up the spilled gallon of milk from the floor. She was now pulling the sticky side of a peanut butter sandwich out of her ponytail. In spite of the mess, Tad loved his wife. She was a beautiful, petite, woman with long, thick, auburn hair that fell almost to her waist. No matter how busy she got, Sandra always tried to look her best for Tad, and he did love her.
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Sandra looked up at Tad, from the floor. He looked back and said, “Remember, I’m getting my Beemer detailed today, so I’ll need to use your car for a while. Since you won’t have a car for a few days, you’d better get any grocery shopping or errands done today.” Sandra watched Tad go into the bedroom to get dressed and thought despondently of spending two days cooped up with no adults and 3 kids under the age of 6. Not having her car was going to suck!
As Tad came out of the bedroom, Sandra had started to get the kitchen back into shape. He kissed her lightly on the cheek as he grabbed his briefcase. “Oh, honey? I forgot. I need my gray suit for a meeting on Thursday. Could you drop it at the cleaners’ today? I’ll pick it up on my way home tomorrow night.” With that said, Sandra was alone with her kids. Tad was speeding off down the highway in his Beemer.
Sandra sat visiting with Helen, as their respective children played in the yard. She was lucky, Sandra thought to herself, that she and her kids got along with the neighbors. It did help lighten the load of child rearing, to have somebody else going through it at the same time.
“I don’t know, Helen. Sometimes it all gets to be too much! It seems like I’m always son the run!” Sandra said.
Helen looked at her. Why don’t you get Tad to help a little more with the kids and chores around here?” Helen asked.
“We talked about that. He said that he’d work hard and bring home plenty of money, but his job would take too much of his energy. It would be his job to work and bring in the money, and my job to raise the kids and keep the house together for him,” Sandra said, for about the millionth time.
“Well, I think you got the rotten end of that deal.” Helen thought to herself.
Suddenly, Sandra’s 3 year old came running up onto the deck, followed closely by Helen’s boy. As he ran to hide behind his mommy, he grabbed a hold of her long hair and pulled on it as he ran around behind Sandra. It hurt! Sandra grabbed his fingers and hollered, “Ouch! You know better than that!” She freed her hair and gave Tommy a gentle slap on the butt as she pushed him off of the deck and back into the yard.
“That looked like it really hurt!” Helen exclaimed, with a kind of amused chuckle.
“It did. These kids seem to think my hair is some sort of rope for them to swing on for their own amusement,” Sandra replied.
“Well, your hair is beautiful, but if I had 3 kids as busy as yours are I’d go straight to the salon and get something short and easy,” Helen said.
“I was going to do that a few years ago,” Sandra said. “But when I mentioned it to Tad he practically begged me not to cut my hair. He said it was what attracted him to me in the first place, and he couldn’t imagine me with short hair. I didn’t realize he cared about it that much, but decided that I could keep it long, for Tad.” Helen didn’t really understand Sandra’s answer, but figured it was none of her business. The conversation soon switched on to other topics as they finished their morning coffee.
“Thanks for watching my kids this afternoon, Helen,” Sandra said. “It’ll really help to not have them with me today.”
“I’m happy to do it, Sandra. You’re lucky you asked for today, though. Tomorrow, we’re all leaving for a few days visiting my parents,” Helen replied. “Anyway, you looked like you could use a break.”
“Yeah, some exciting break! Let’s see. I get to start at the post office, followed by a brief romp to the video store where I get to return a few movies. After that, a fun-filled stop at the dry cleaners’, topped off by a delightful cruise through the grocery store!” Sandra said facetiously. They both had a laugh, as Sandra backed her car out of the driveway and was on her rounds.
It was a hot, windy, day. Sandra had been to the post office and was just coming out of the video store when she saw Tad’s car parked across the street. She couldn’t figure out why he was on this side of town, when his office was several miles away. Then she remembered that he had a dinner meeting with some prospective clients, and was going to be taking them to the Prentiss House Restaurant. “It just isn’t fair,” she thought to herself. “Here I am, running my legs off doing errands and he’s getting served at one of the best restaurants in the state, at the company’s expense.”
After Sandra had dropped Tad’s suit off at the cleaners’, she was feeling a little sorry for herself. She really didn’t like the thought of being home for next 2 days without a car. She’d be trapped with her kids and very little adult companionship. Defiantly, she turned into the mall parking lot. “To heck with it! I need a break!” She picked up the book that she’d been reading and decided to go into the mall for a relaxing lunch. After that, she’d get back to parenting.
As she entered the mall, Sandra walked past the hair salon and casually glanced in the door. She kept going until she got to the coffee shop, ordered a sandwich and iced tea and began to read her book. As she relaxed in the air-conditioned comfort, Sandra ran her fingers slowly through her ponytail. Looking away from her book, Sandra examined the ends of her hair. They were getting a little ragged. She was going to have to make an appointment to get the ends trimmed soon, she thought to herself. Sandra finished her lunch and spent about 15 minutes simply relaxing with her book. Then she happily paid her bill and got ready to leave.
As she walked past the salon, towards the door of the mall, Sandra thought of her split ends. She also thought of Helen’s comments from that morning. “Well, your hair is beautiful, but if I had 3 kids as busy as yours are I’d go straight to the salon and get something short and easy.” She thought of Tad, relaxing on the deck this morning while she was being overwhelmed in the kitchen. She thought of the look on his face as she peeled the sticky peanut butter sandwich out of her hair. Then, surprising even herself, Sandra turned and walked into the salon.
“Hi! Can I help you?” The perky little girl behind the desk asked, as she looked at Sandra.
“Yeah. I was wondering how long a wait it was to get a haircut this afternoon,” Sandra replied.
The receptionist checked her schedule and said, “Well, Tracy can be with you in about 5 minutes, if you’d like to have a seat.”
Sandra accepted the appointment and took a seat in the waiting area. “This is really dumb,” Sandra thought to herself, as she looked at the style magazines. “I’d better just get the split ends trimmed and get home.”
“Sandra? Hi. I’m Tracy.” The stylist extended her hand. Sandra rose and shook Tracy’s hand.
“Hi,” she replied.
“Why don’t you just follow me,” Tracy said, as she led Sandra to her station. Sandra followed and seated herself in Tracy’s chair. “You have lovely hair! What would you like to have done today?” Tracy asked.
“I was just noticing that the ends are getting a little ragged,” Sandra said. “I think I just need a little bit taken off so they’re healthy again.”
Tracy examined Sandra’s long, flowing locks and agreed. “Yup. I could probably take off about an inch and they’d look great.”
“Ok. Let’s do that,” Sandra answered.
Sandra followed Tracy to the sink, where she sat down to have her hair washed out before having it trimmed. She always enjoyed having it washed. She felt a little bit pampered, as the stylists seemed to enjoy washing her long, thick, hair. Tracy finished shampooing Sandra’s hair, blotted away some of the excess moisture and Sandra followed her back to the styling chair. Tracy then gently began the task of combing out the snarls. It took a while, but she had a wonderfully firm, yet soft, touch. When she was finished, Sandra’s hair seemed to glow. Tracy then sectioned off the sides and part of the back so she had the lower part of Sandra’s hair in back separated from the rest.
“Would you please stand up?” Tracy asked. Sandra stood. This was a common request, when she was having her waist-length hair trimmed. It made it easier for the stylist to get it even.
As Tracy carefully trimmed off about an inch of her hair, Sandra thought to herself about how close she came to having her hair cut short. She was happy she’d changed her mind, but kind of wished she’d gone through with the new look. “It seems like you’re doing a really careful job,” Sandra said. “You almost got a real chore, though. When I came in here today, I was going to ask you to cut my hair short.”
Tracy looked at Sandra, and said, “Really? That would have been a change. What kind of short style were you thinking of trying?”
“I’m not sure. I was thinking that I’d like something easy to style and maintain. I didn’t have any real solid ideas, though.”
“Have you ever had short hair before?” Tracy asked.
“No, it’s always been long and straight. My husband, Tad, likes it that way.”
“Well, maybe you pay just a tad too much attention to what Tad wants,” Tracy jokingly said, as she got back to trimming Sandra’s long hair.
Sandra chuckled a little bit at Tracy’s joke and fell silent. In a way, Tracy was right. It was her hair, and she was getting tired of having it long. Tad would have to get used to it. She looked longingly at the short, perky, crop that Tracy wore.
“With the summer being as hot as it is, it must be nice to have all your hair cut off of your neck and ears,” Sandra said to Tracy.
“It sure is! I did it about a month ago, and have no regrets.”
“Tad would just freak out if I came home with my hair cut short like that!” Sandra said.
“I’ll bet he would,” Tracy replied. “Do you think you could ever do it?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Just the thought of asking to have it cut makes my stomach churn,” Sandra said.
Tracy said that she was finished trimming Sandra’s hair, and indicated that she should have a seat while Tracy blow-dried it a little bit. Sandra sat down. “I’m just going to check the ends one last time,” Tracy said.
Sandra relaxed in the chair as Tracy slowly ran the comb all the way from the crown of Sandra’s head to the nicely trimmed, even ends at her waist. Then, she almost jumped out of the chair as she felt the cold steel of the scissors touch the middle of her neck! Before she knew what was happening, she felt and heard the scissors snick shut! As she turned around, she saw about 30 inches of her hair lying in a pile on the floor!
She reached around and felt the missing section in the middle of her back, and exclaimed, “What did you do? Why did you do that?”
Tracy stammered a bit and said, “I thought it was what you really wanted. You just couldn’t bring yourself to ask for a short haircut.”
Sandra didn’t know what to do. She sat there, staring silently at her long hair in the mirror. Then she looked at the pile of hair lying on the floor. She looked at Tracy, and asked, “What did you have in mind? How are you going to cut it?”
Regaining her confidence, Tracy said, “You’ll love it! Just relax!”
Sandra leaned back stiffly into the stylist’s chair, and Tracy reached for her scissors. Starting at mid-neck, Tracy cut from the back towards the front. Sandra felt a tear roll down her cheek as she watched her thick, luxurious hair pile up on the cape and floor. When Tracy got to the front of Sandra’s left shoulder, she paused. Sandra looked at the lopsided figure in the mirror and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Tracy quickly moved to the right side and proceeded to cut off all the rest of Sandra’s long hair. In a matter of about a minute, Sandra had gone from having long, thick hair that flowed to her waist to a ragged bob that stopped at about mid-neck!
Tracy divided Sandra’s hair into a few more sections and instructed her to look downward. Sandra did so, and felt the scissors right at her hairline. Tracy cut quickly across the back of Sandra’s head, and 4 more inches of thick, auburn, hair tumbled down over the cape. It was then that Sandra knew her hair was going to end up extremely short.
Using the scissors to hold up a section of hair, Tracy quickly cut the hair off at about a quarter of an inch. She did this all the way up the back. Sandra couldn’t help but flinch a little when Tracy took the comb and combed upwards up the back of Sandra’s head, while checking for a uniform cut. She couldn’t believe how short it was getting cut!
Tracy moved to Sandra’s left side and roughly cut an outline through Sandra’s hair that revealed the entire left ear! She looked at Sandra’s shocked reflection in the mirror, smiled and winked. Then, Tracy used the scissors and comb to cut the left side short to match the back. With one side short, the right side soon followed. With the back and sides finished, Tracy cut the top of Sandra’s hair short so that it blended in with the sides, but not too short. She left it about an inch long at the crown. After some more trimming, and using the electric clippers to trim up the neckline, Tracy announced that she was finished!
“What do you think?” Tracy asked.
Sandra looked closely at her newly shorn head in disbelief. Finally, she looked at Tracy and said, “I love it! It’s gonna take some adjustment, but it’s great!” As she rose from the chair, Sandra stepped onto the carpet that used to be her hair. She was amazed that so much hair had been attached to her head!
As she walked into Helen’s house, Helen exclaimed, “WOW! That looks great! What made you cut your hair?”
“I just felt that it was time,” Sandra said, with a smile. “Although, somebody is going to be a tad disappointed when he sees me tonight.”