Saturday, 18 February 2012

Confessions


  • I haven't done the chidlren's lifebooks yet. I know, I know. If you had asked me before we adopted, I would never have believed that I wouldn't have done it by the time they were two and a half.  In my defense: I was waiting for information from the search we did back in July, then I was waiting for the searchers to do some follow-up investigations, then I got super-committed to finishing the first draft of my book. That's done now, though (HOORAY!) so it's time to get other tasks knocked over while I give myself six weeks off before going back to start redrafting. The task at the top of the lists is lifebooks. Any tips much appreciated. On a related note: 
  • We are a two-parent family, but for some reason tasks like lifebooks fall entirely to me. On the other hand, J does all the heavy lifting and gets things for me off high shelves. I think we have a nice balance. On a related note: 
  • I love that J works three days a week and does the parenting two days a week. I'm planning to interview him for the blog about this because I think it's interesting. I talked to him about it yesterday and we both think the key to sharing part time work and parenting is that neither of us is particularly into our careers (unless anybody from work is reading this, in which case I am totally into my career). On a related note:
  • A few days ago, I was in a meeting at work with a thoughtful expression on my face. My boss asked 'what are you thinking about, Claudia?' and I said 'I'm thinking about how we will get buy-in on key internal stakeholders for this project' but actually, I was thinking about some bathroom tiles that I saw on Pinterest.  On a related note: 
  • We haven't had any internet all week. It's been broken (and okay, by 'broken' I actually mean 'unplugged', for reasons that are too complicated to go into. (And - double bracketing here -  by 'complicated', of course, I actually mean 'boring')).  A whole week without being able to pin anything! A whole week without reading or commenting on blogs! A whole week only being able to read email on my phone! It's been incredibly difficult. I'm kind of horrified by how difficult. Now I know what suffering is. On a related note: 
  •  I had to go back to the doctor and got my dosage of brain medicine increased.After three weeks of sick kids and sick self and getting really uptight and upset again, I finally admitted that it was time to move up a notch.  It was strangely difficult - I felt so good after the first few weeks that I was sure everything was going to be fine again, forever.  I felt so angry with myself when it wasn't.  I was in a bad place in my head again, and this time the conversation went 'Claudia, you are such a loser than you can't even get it together when you're taking antidepressants. Wow. All of the stigma of medication with no actual benefit. You really DO make bad choices about your life'.    Fortunately I remembered that tone of voice and knew enough to at least try not to listen to it. And apparently it's pretty normal to feel great after starting and then slip, and now that I've got a few more milligrams in me, I feel fine again. Not swinging from the chandeliers, just normal, which is what I want. Isn't that what we all want?   I'm saying this here because a lot of people have read the original post I wrote about this stuff, and I think it's only honest that I do this follow-up. I've been extremely positive about the brain medicine, and I still am, but I probably was a bit overeager to say 'I'm cuuuuuuuuuuured!' and to use the phrase 'magic bullet'. I'm sorry if I said that to any of you. On a related note: 
  • I've had to apologise more since I started parenting than ever before in my life. Right now, I've left my children 'napping' despite the fact that they have been wide awake for the last half hour. I'm not going to apologise for that though, since they can't tell the time and don't realise how late it is. I'd better go and get them up now, though, and wash their hair.  But first, on a related note: 

  • I got one of these things(US link - and no, none of my links ever get me any money, just in case you were wondering) and I think I want to marry it. It's a hairdryer with a brush that rotates, ie it has magical powers. You know when a hairdresser blow dries your hair while using a round brush? This thing does all that by itself.  I've only had it three days but I have suddenly become very, very vain about my hair. It's so swishy! It's so shiny! You can't see me, but I'm flicking it right now. I'm so enamoured that I've bought one for my mother for her birthday and I'm pretty sure it's going to get me bumped back up to 'favourite daughter' status. I know my sister is reading this and I just want to say that you'd better get on it if you want to stay in that will. On a related note: 
  • I have no idea how to tip a hairdresser. I know that you're supposed to do it;  I just don't know how. My mother never went to the hairdresser (and she cut my hair at home so I didn't go either - is this making you re-evaluate the usefulness of my hair recommendation above?) so I never got to watch how she did it. I had to get my husband to teach me how to tip a taxi driver (because I never used taxis, either - right now I bet you don't believe that I grew up mostly in a major metropolis, not in a cave somewhere) but he cant' help me out with the hairdresser thing.  With a taxi, if the driver says 'eight pounds fifty' I know to say 'make it ten' and hand over a twenty smoothly  and get the right change.  But when a hairdresser says 'that will be six thousand pounds' - or near enough, it seems - I have no idea what to do so I just say 'okay then!' and give them the sticker price.  Because of this, I tend to only go to a hairdresser once. I don't want to get the butchering that would inevitably result from being 'that woman who didn't tip last time'. I really liked my last haircut, though, and would like to return to that salon, so I'd be grateful if you can help me out here, internets.  On a related note: 
  • Internet, I'm so glad to have you back. I've missed you - let's never break up again. 

48 comments:

  1. OH, how I love you and your swishy hair.

    I laughed so loud I nearly choked on my (rhubarb and custard) sweet.

    I never tip the hairdresser so I have no clue!

    I do want a picture of your fantastic hair - I think I need one of those but will I use it? I'm so lazy I just book an appt when I Can't Stand It Anymore.

    I love what you said about being thoughtful in a meeting. I can't even do that thing that you did. And about not caring about your career.

    Again, I have a post about that in my mental drafts.

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    1. I probably worded that badly - I definitely DO care about my job! (And I'm not just saying that because people from work could be reading.... heh). I'm not usually thinking about bathroom tiles when I'm there. I guess I just meant... ummmmm... actually I'll try to work out what I meant by the time I write the interview with J!

      And believe me, you would use one of these hair things. I am totally lazy about my hair (hadn't had it cut for nearly a year... major grooming FAIL) but this is just so easy. I just tried to take a picture of my hair with my phone in the mirror - it didn't really work but I'll try to upload it later.

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  2. Haha!

    I always tip my hairdresser, but recently left one I really liked because they only took cash tips and I never have cash on me and was, therefore, unable to tip. It was too stressful!

    My rule for tipping is 10%-15% for pretty much anything. If I spend $60 on a haircut, I will give about $6 for an average experience and $8 or $9 for better. The taxes confuse me though, because I think the tip should be based on the pre-tax price and it can be hard to figure that out. Ugh!

    The one thing I don't tip for (because it ticks me off) is counter service at a cafe (or tipping before receiving anything). Do they have those annoying tip jars in the UK?

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    1. YES! We do have those jars and I tend to just ignore them. But I always tip for table service. That's probably crazy, right?

      And yeah - STRESSFUL is right. As if having scissors near my head isn't stressful enough.

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  3. You're not alone. I have all the pictures. I have all the notes and travel journals and everything. But I have not created an actual, tangible life book yet. I'm thinking it might be possible to accomplish a task like that when Yosi starts school. And of course, I tell him his story, so I think I get partial credit.

    (I tip about 10% at the hairdresser, so if I had a E45 haircut, I'd hand over E50. I have NO idea if that's the done thing. Just took a guess. I have, however, revisited the same hairdresser repeatedly without retaliation so I think it is okay.)

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    1. Partial credit here too, for the same reason. And we look through old photos a LOT, so I feel like that lets me off the hook. But I forget that I have a big picture of everything that happened (well, to some extent) and they don't. Because the photo album we look at most is from our first trip, it's all of them in the orphanage with us. We almost never look at the pictures from when we were all in the hotel together. Putting it together into a book would balance that out, I'm sure... but when I actually think about doing it properly I feel paralysed.

      (By the way, when I saw E45, before I thought of euros I pictured the emollient cream and thought WHY would someone be cutting your hair with E45??? That's going to make no sense if you dont have that cream in IRL!)

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    2. Ha! We do have it here... hee hee hee. I've had some bad haircuts due to rampant compulsive layering among hairdressers in Dublin, but none so odd as to involve E45 cream! Yet... And my other tipping rule is that I leave with my hat on blinking back tears because some lunatic has tried to layer my hair, I don't tip. At all. So take that, layering happy maniac who left me looking like I was attacked by small children with safety scissors despite being shown multiple pictures of me with the desired haircut. Not that I'm still bothered by it years later.

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    3. Now that is a good rule for tipping. Don't give money to someone who has just made you cry. (Unless they are your therapist, I guess).

      I think that the only time a haircut actually made me cry was the one time when I went to Supercuts. And that probably served me right.

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  4. I am on over-tipper, so you should probably not take advice from me, but I'll tell you what I do. I add 20% unless it's absolutely awful, in which case I tip 10% because hey! They tried! I've only ever had fantastic or awful hair experiences, so 20% has seemed appropriate since it's someone I'll come back to again (I want them to feel good about me and my hair!), and 10% has been a way of not completely insulting a person who is simply in the wrong profession.

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    1. And THIS is a perfect illustration of why you are such a nice person. If someone does a bad job on my hair, I feel like they should give ME money. Your way is much friendlier though! (Unless, of course, you tell them that you are giving them the 10% because they are in the wrong profession... that wouldn't be quite so friendly!)

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  5. You crack me up tooooooo much. Seriously. I got a belly ache laughing here.

    Tipping- I'm a simple girl. Too simple to figure percentages. $5 for a decent cut- if they've taken the time to style it properly after ward (if they've rushed me through and over booked themselves and I have to leave with wet head (yes it happens) nadda.) If cut and colored and styled usually $10. But if you go to the places that have one person check you in, another get you coffee, another wash your hair another compliment your eyes another rub your feet, another comb your hair all before every seeing the stylist.. I have no advice.That's just too many people in my life in one day.

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    1. yes! The place I've started going is that kind of place! It doesn't cost any more for a cut than I'm used to - I've figured out that they make ALL their money on colour, so for as long as I can stay away from that, I can sit in their massage chairs (YES REALLY!) without going bankrupt. But as soon as I succumb to the highlights... it'll be back to supercuts for me.

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  6. I was lucky to get the "life book" done for me by an old therapist during our transition time. Although, Genea has not asked to see it in like, 4 years.
    That zippy looking hair thing looks like it would get stuck. Could make a good weapon though :)

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    1. Yeah, if GLAMOUR is a weapon. I'm flicking my hair at you right now.

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  7. I could never figure out the tipping thing in England, especially with hairdressers. In California you tip 15 -20%, that's the rule. So when I moved to England I would tip that same amount and they'd look at me like I was insane and be all "WOW, thank you!!!" which made me feel stupid and self-conscious. So then the next time I wouldn't tip because I'd be embarrassed, then feel weird and guilty for not tipping and overtip the next time.... poor stylists, I'm sure they never knew what the hell was going on. It's surprising even to me that I lived there for eight years and never got the hang of certain things.
    Amy x

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    1. yeah, that's me too. Eleven years now (gulp!) and sometimes I still have no freaking clue what I'm doing. Errr, obviously!

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    2. Which reminds me - on re-entry to your native land, does everything fall back into place or now do you feel clueless THERE? Cos THAT would be annoying.

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  8. # 4 made me laugh and laugh. I wish I could think that fast.

    I throw $5-7 on to my haircut price. And I like that I can do that myself on the credit/debit terminal at the salon I go to now, because at the last one you had to announce out loud what you were tipping so the cashier could add it on to the price when she keyed it in. I HATED that.

    And I admit that I even tipped when I got a colour NOTHING like the picture I showed before we started. And it was even a picture of ME, so it's not like my hair is genetically incapable of being that colour, or anything. The cut still kicked ass though so.... yeah. Tipped.

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    1. Ah, see, that's what I need - a space on the debit card terminal to leave a tip silently. I think the only way to do it here would be like you say - announce it to the entire salon. I can't handle that.

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  9. Oh my ... if it makes you feel better, the Demie Diva is going on for five, and I haven't freakin' started the lifebook. And I don't get points for effort, as I've got the whole flippin thing ready to lay out and therefore inaccessible to her.

    Hair thing will hurt you - but tip your stylist 10-15% if they rent the station, 15-20% if they're on a salary. Then, when the hair thingie hurts you, you have a stylist on your side when it needs extricated.

    Hang in there....the inexact science of neurochemistry is a bear to work with, but well done for figuring out what you need.

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    1. DM, I just cannot IMAGINE how much harder it must be when you are trying to balance out someone else's neurochemistry. That must feel beyond impossible.

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  10. I never understood the tipp thing. In my country we have no tipp "rule". I sometimes give tipp in restaurants if I am really satisfied and that`s it. Maybe I am weird but I don´t know why give tipps for something I allready paid a full price. :) And how to decide which professions deserve tipps and which dont. I never get tipps at my job. :)

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    1. Yeah, me neither! I always figure it's tips for people who are being paid to be nice to me. I don't have to be nice to anyone at work... therefore no tips. Is that a standard rule????

      PS - now that I can actually reply to comments I want to say a huge CONGRATULATIONS on your news!!!

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  11. hi claudia, the internets were eerily quiet for a while there.....i had great plans to work on the life book now that she's old enough to help me, but she didn't really want to and so I've let it go for now...perhaps its better to get it done before they're old enough to express an opinion? (no pressure!) I'll probably just start doing it myself and she'll get semi-curious maybe. and yes, what's up with this sort of thing defaulting to the mother's to-do list? i get a bit ticked about stuff like that.

    anyhoo, good to have you back and making us think and larf. oh, and tipping hairdressers, my cut and color is usually around $85 so I give them $100...which ticks me off too, because i'm having to get my color done almost every 3 weeks...i have dark hair with very white grays, and i'm just about to become a mother again so I'm a bit conflicted by that. harrumph.

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    1. oooh, yeah, that extra fifteen is a heckuva lot of diapers. Or wine. Especially every three weeks! They must LOVE you!

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  12. Hey Claudia, I already gave away my copy of the book on how to write a lifebook or I would send it to you, and now looking for it on amazon I see it is out of print. I think this is the updated version:http://www.amazon.com/Lifebooks-Creating-Treasure-Adopted-Updated/dp/0970183208/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329665719&sr=8-1 eek! can you click on this? Here, I'll write the name and author just in case: Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure For the Adopted Child Updated and Revised by Beth O'Malley. I was able to get it done easily and quickly with the help of the book whereas before I had the book I was stumped. I know you are more creative so maybe you don't need it, but the book helps you in tricky passages where you don't know quite how to handle saying the difficult things.

    PS I don't get any money for saying this either, haha.

    PSS, glad you are back on the computer. missed you too.

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    1. THANK YOU. I'm totally buying that. And I would still buy it even if you were minting it from that recommendation!! It was the words 'quickly and easily' that sold me...

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  13. Ok, I've been feeling so guilty about barely even THINKING yet about starting our kids' lifebooks that you've made me feel infinitely better! Not being a crafty/photo book kind of person, the notion of lifebooks terrifies the bejeebers out of me. I don't know how I'll ever get them done, but I know that one of the reasons I'm procrastinating is because it's going to be such a huge job and I'm going to need to put a huge amount of effort into attempting to perfect it...all the while knowing that the second I print it all off in a beautiful book I'm going to think of about ten other things I should have put into it! Ok, I'm just pushing it in the back of my head again.

    On the tipping thing, I usually pay 10-15% of the pre-tax total, depending on how expensive the overall bill is (the more expensive the cut/highlight job, the smaller the percentage of tip just 'cause I can't bear seeing that much money charged to my visa bill) and how much I like the cut. I don't tip extra around Christmas time, though I know a bunch of people who do.

    And way to go on getting your book's first draft done!!!! Wow, you're living another dream of mine!!!

    Blessings, Claudia!!

    Ruth

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    1. Ruth, when you say 'another' dream, I'm guessing the first dream is living in a really tiny house with kids who don't eat anything and almost no natural light? I get taht ALL the time.

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  14. Must order one of those hair thingys...ahhhh, the reviews were good as was yours :)

    Don't fret over the lifebooks...we haven't done one either. STill waiting on the freaking US government to acknowledge our Freedom of Information request for...information.

    Post a pic of that fabulous hair!

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    1. Do it, do it! You will NOT regret it! (And yeah, it was the reviews that decided it for me. I wasn't sure when I saw it in the shop, then I read the reviews!)

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  15. I think I am going to do a small life book for this year, with what we have so far, and then if we get more info, if we get more photos, and especially if we have visits (including just to his birth state) we'll do another one later, maybe one every couple of years. I also have to deal at some point with information that can only be revealed when he's older, but we may not put that down in black and white.

    Like all forms of tipping, you don't need to give as much here as in some other countries. I usually give some cash to the girl at the desk (not the one who does my hair, usually) and say "that's for H", or if it's her, I say "that's for you". It would usually be less than 10%, usually a note/larger coins, and I don't round up the credit card amount (I don't think they leave a space for you to do that) but I might do if they did. I don't do it every time and she still does nice things with my hair.

    Not quite sure of the logistics of fitting in a 2-3 hour highlights appointment at the moment, though.

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    1. Forgot to say, I will probably make his life book on a photo book website, but I really want to find a pocket or something to stick in as we have his hospital anklet and a couple of other things that are physical objects.

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    2. speaking of logistics... my cousin (in Australia) goes to a salon that offers FREE BABYSITTING. If that was available here , I would pay almost any price, and I would get the longest cut and colour they offer, plus some kind of conditioning wrap, plus a manicure and a pedicure too. I totally want to start that business in my town - I think there would be people queueing out the door. Because otherwise - it's impossible to find the time! That's why I had such a long wait between appointments this time - my mother was supposed to look after the kids while I got a cut during her last visit, but she got sick... I was acting all sympathetic about her being sick but I just kept thinking WHAT ABOUT MY HAAAAAAAIRCUT!!!!!

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  16. I can't afford to do a lifebook. I gave all my money away, as a tip, to my hair stylist.

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    1. but you earned it back doing standup comedy, right???

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  17. I can't afford to do a lifebook. I gave all my money away, as a tip, to my hair stylist.

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  18. Loving this discussion about the tipping thing. One of the many reasons I delay my next hair cut for as long as humanly possible (and then show up with hair so bad, I feel obligated to tip at least 20%, even if the person is kind of a jerk and gives me a blah haircut). I have also been avoiding my 'regular' (as in, um, like 4 times a year if I am being awesome?) person because I recently gave myself a home dye job -- to cover up the roots of her grown-out dye job from last September, which I am too cheap to have re touched-up professionally. As you can imagine, I am one hot broad.

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    1. I'm giving you a cheap high-five right now... I'm too cheap to get my hair coloured at ALL.

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  19. I wanna see that swishy hair!

    Also, I'm the queen of awkward when it comes to tipping of any kind. I constantly feel like I'm paying for sex when I tip (hairdresser, taxis, what have you). how messed up is that?!?!?!?!?

    glad you're feeling normal. normal is good. :)

    hugs

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  20. I found an Aveda salon here in the states and they are no tipping on principle. You pay for the experience of the stylist ($22 for a wet cut for me). They do have a tip jar for whatever charity they are currently sponsoring. The last time I went it was clean water.

    I did however work in the service industry for Yeara you can never be too generous. However the standard is from 10-20%. Just to throw a wrench in there too. You don't have to tip if the salon owner is the one cutting your hair. At least in the states the lower stylists rent their chairs.

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  21. I had so many things to say. Then got distracted by the 41 comments above. And now I can't remember anything other than a vague feeling of coveting a hair instrument. I'm always looking for more hair beauty. I need you to send me a photo of your hair to prove I will like this tool...

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  22. You are not alone in the lifebook-guilt boat (and if it makes you feel better my kid is older than your kids!). Let's see some proof - we could all use a little hair magic :)

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  23. Somehow this got lost on my blog list--I can't believe I almost missed a Claudia post! I've always wanted to try that hair dryer-curler contraption, but wasn't sure if it would work. Definitely giving it a go now. And I overtip my hairdresser big-time (I think I'm generally an over-tipper, really) because I have tons of frizzy, graying hair (I started going gray at about 22) so my hair is a humongous pain to deal with. Lots of color, lots of conditioning treatments, lots of cutting. A pain, and worth keeping my hairdresser really happy.

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  24. What wonderful and completely inter-related points! I love seeing how your brain works, with little or lots of "brain medicine." Sheesh, I don't know how I made it without it!! Glad you are feeling more normal again. I don't know how to tip hairdressers either. I usually add about 10% or so. No real science on my part. On a related note ... could you find a perfect curly hair tool for me? I am sick of hair!!!

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  25. Loved reading this post!!!

    I'm glad to hear that you are feeling normal again. I've seen firsthand what the right medication can do for a person with someone in my immediate family who suffers from bipolar disorder.... it was a life-saver for him. Literally.

    Maybe we could join a club called "Our Mothers Never Taught Us How to Tip Hairdressers". I think I only found out about this phenomenon a few years ago. Then I felt terrible for NOT tipping for so many years. But my hairdresser charges me like $140 bucks every time I go every six weeks so there is no way I could justify tipping 15 or 20%. My husband would kill me! So, I only tip a little bit. $5 when I get my roots done and $10 when I get full highlights.

    No, I am not a natural blonde. ;)

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  26. I discovered one of those curling iron brush hair dryer thingys recently thanks to a friend and I am in love, too! As for tipping hair stylists, I have the same problem. Usually I calculate 20% and then work a little backwards unless I'm crazy happy about my hair and then I give them the full 20%. Seems like a lot but apparently that's the going rate around here and I don't want to look like a miser.

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Over to you!