Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Haircuts and Hems - A New Low

I'm gunning for some award for Superior Parenting. Last week I truly outdid myself. Examples abound, but I'll limit myself to just two:

1. During Mass I glanced over at Kolbe's pants and noted that one leg was noticeably longer than the other.

2. I cut John's hair and left his sideburns looking like a cross between Harry Potter's scar and Mr. Spock's stylish coif.

On the issue of the hem, let me confess that minor mending and repair jobs are not my strong suit. I enjoy sewing. Years ago my dear friend Laurie introduced me to the world of quilting. Let me tell you, I can produce a twin-sized step ladder quilt -- pieced, quilted, and bound -- in less time than it takes me to replace a button on a pair of shorts. Think I jest? Just ask my husband.

Mending. Ugh. When it comes to mending, my track record is nothing short of gruesome. I just don't do it. In this regard, I can rejoice that I was born in the late 20th century when things like darning are no longer required. I mean, if I had been Ma Ingalls, poor Pa would have lost his toes while riding out that three day blizzard in a hay bale.

No, we don't have to darn these days, but a small sewing job occasionally rears its pesky head.

Enter the nice lady down the road who charges a reasonable fee for most minor jobs. For reasons I can't fully explain, she charges an arm and a leg for things like Boy Scout patches. I can justify shelling out $4.00-10.00 for hems of varying difficulty, but $4.00 for that Patrol Leader patch? Hard to swallow. If Tim should one day make Eagle Scout, I will have invested well over $100 bucks adhering all those merit badges to a sash he'll probably wear twice. Tim just became pack historian. I think that means he's expected to tote my camera along to meetings and camping trips. I'm hoping it doesn't mean a new patch.

Customarily, Kolbe's school pants go straight down the street for a hem. Last year, however, I found the sewing lady's hem was just a little too permanent. My homespun hem was loose enough to pull out in a jiffy. I managed to buy myself another inch of school pants and eek our way to the end of the year without replacing them.

A few weeks back, I plopped in a movie, grabbed Kolbes' chinos, and began to hem. Pathetic though it may be, I finished one leg and put off the second leg for a more auspicious moment.

So we're sitting in church, and I notice that Kolbe is not wearing the chinos I had set out for him. Oh no. He's wearing the pair with one hemmed leg. One hemmed leg. One leg clearly -- glaringly! -- shorter than the other. I should have been embarrassed, chagrined, and mortified. In actuality, I really found the whole thing hilarious.

The haircut debacle wasn't quite so funny. In theory, I know a little bit about cutting hair. I've had lessons. The problem is that I also have this troublesome eye condition called I'm Nearing Fifty. I am horribly far-sighted. Bad eyesight and hair cutting do not a good combination make.

The sideburns were an unmitigated disaster. The back of his head? Well, it reminded me of a comment Dave usually makes during carpentry projects: I've cut it three times, and it's still too short. Naturally I got out the hacksaw and accomplished all this just an hour before John left for pre-school.

By way of penance for my sins of omission and commission, I dutifully pulled out the dusty sewing basket and hemmed the second leg of Kolbe's pants. Even Steven! My deepest thanks go out to my friend Heather who not only redeemed John's hair, but also refused to charge me. Blessings, Heather!

We may ship him off to start boot camp at Parris Island with hair that short. On second thought, Marines probably wear lots of patches.


Rachel said...

Love this! Was just writing about how Elliott went to Social with blazer sleeves resting comfortably above his wrist bone.

As for John's haircut, that was a thing of wonder. I had Paul crying with laughter when I told him about it. We laugh because we can identify. We are not allowed within 100 feet of Ethan's hair with sharp objects.

Kelly said...

Outsourcing, outsourcing, outsourcing!

With kids who grow fast, keeping them in blazers and pants that don't scream high waters is a challenge.

christinelaennec said...

I am too ashamed to reveal to the world the size of my mending basket. Whenever I do tackle it, I find clothes that my daughter has already grown out of - problem solved! I have been without a pair of jeans for nearly a year, because I haven't brought myself to hem them. ?!

Kelly said...

Oh, Christine - I have found size three toddler pants that wouldn't fit over the left thigh of a kid who had grown into size eight while the pants sat in the basket.

It really isn't so hard, but I just don't do it.

Patti Doughty said...

As fast as the boys are growing, it's impossible to keep them in pants that fit. As Dane was walking out to Social, Rachel, after I had already inspected him and commented on how dashing he looked in his navy blazer, red silk tie with matching handkerchief, I glanced down and noticed his pants were at the TOP of his ankles! Oy vay!!! We had to pull a pair out of the laundry hamper that he had worn to school that day. Such is life with growing, always growing, boys.

Dianne said...

I've been sewing for 40+ years. I love everything from conceiving the idea through the completion of a CREATIVE process. Mending? Yuk. There is nothing creative there...just work to be done. The same can be said of my ironing basket which hides in the closet...out of sight...out of mind. Quilting sounds wonderful. When Autumn rolls around and I know Winter follows on its heels...I think of quilting and sewing and painting and writing. I do NOT think of mending!

Kelly said...

Mending isn't creative -- just work. Ironing is a drag because it's never done (and somehow different from the floors that don't stay clean).

So good that these kids are healthy and growing.