In which I choose physical pain

Why do we get tattoos? Sure, they look pretty, but so do things that don’t hurt and/or cost so much. I’ve just returned from a 5 hour tattoo appointment. I have many tattoos, but until today, I only had one that took multiple sessions. I don’t like pain, so I can’t sit for very long. But I willingly went down to see my tattoo artist, requested that he repeatedly stab my entire lower leg with an electric paintbrush for hours on end, and then paid him for it. Why? There are so many other things that my hard-earned cash could buy that don’t involve masochism. Actually, I should specify. I’m not masochistic, since I do not enjoy being in pain atall. AT ALL. If you’ve never had a tattoo, allow me to explain. Imagine a cat scratching you. Mildly annoying, but you can deal with it, right? (Unless you’re a hemophiliac, in which case DO NOT GET A TATTOO.) Now imagine that same cat scratching you over and over and over again in the same place. For hours. Sometimes in ridiculous places. Of course different people have different tolerances for pain, and there are parts of the body that are more painful to get scratched or tattooed than others (this varies person to person too), but it’s the best description I have thought of in the 15 or so years that I have been putting myself through this. Luckily, the pain is temporary while the resulting artwork lasts a lifetime. So, the longer you sit for a tattoo, the more it hurts. This is exactly why the majority of my ink (13/15, unless I’m miscounting – which is entirely possible) has been completed in 2.5 hours or less. I know what my pain tolerance is, and I find designs that can be accomplished in this time. Until recently. I had some hairbrained idea to devote a large portion of my body to visually represent my love of the outdoors in an homage to both my hometown and my current home. I wanted a new work of art though – actual, award winning, beautiful art that both my artist and I would proudly show off, and that would make random passersby’s jaws drop. Brian was excited when I told him my plan. I was excited that he was excited. Until today. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I was there for 5 hours, yet astute readers will remember me saying I can only sit for 2.5 for a tattoo. What were we doing for the rest of that time? Planning out this opus, with markers. I loved that part, by the way. Someone could draw on me with markers all day long and I would be as happy as a rainbowed clam. I even traced my progress via instagram: Step 1: draw the parameters.

Step 1, draw the parameters. #newtattoo #tattoo #leg

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Step 2: Draw the trees.

Step 2: draw the #trees. #newtattoo #tattoo #leg

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Step 2.5: Draw the mountains, and figure out where the faerie (des’ first tattoo!) will fit in. Step 3: Make it even cooler with colors and depth!

Step 3: all the #colors! (in marker) #newtattoo #tattoo #leg #trees

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Step 4: Apply permanent ink! (Thank you Brian, for this cameo!)

Step 4 : ink #newtattoo #tattoo #leg

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Step 5: Complete Phase 1. Repeat once per month, as required, until finished.

Step 5: complete phase 1. Repeat once a month until completed. #newtattoo #tattoo #leg

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About 2 hours in, I stopped trying to actually look at my leg to see the progress, and flat out asked how much more there would be. Brian and I both knew going in that we wouldn’t finish it tonight, so there was an unspoken stopping point. In fact, he wanted to go over a few more spots again, but I pleaded with him to wait until next time. Yes, I know that will make it take more sessions. I don’t care. I can’t handle this pain anymore! I apologized for being such a wuss, to which he replied with a laugh and the admission that he’s the same way. I asked if he had any tricks, since all the ones I know of (namely alcohol and/or painkillers) hinder the process by thinning your blood. His trick? One or two of the airplane-sized bottles of whiskey. Won’t that thin the blood, I asked? Not that little amount – it’s enough to take the edge off, but not fully complicate things. Just don’t binge drink the night before, which is not a problem for me anyway.

So I’m going to try a nip of the clear liquid next time. In exactly a month from today. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In which I battle a corporation for money

You may remember when I got my mini cooper a while back. Not long after acquiring said car, I needed to replace the power steering pump. It was a known defect in certain cars, and though it worked most of the time, it was not fun to be driving when suddenly my power steering went out. Luckily, it was tax time, so Uncle Sam gave me back some of my money and I was able to get this fixed.

Not long after that, like less than a month, mini sent out a recall notice. They stated specifically that if we had already replaced the part, they would issue a reimbursement. I got all my paperwork together and sent it in on June 5, 2013. I was told to wait 6-8 weeks.

So I waited. And heard nothing. I gave them a call, just to make sure they received everything. They had, and Good News! They were reimbursing me the full amount, with parts and labor came to almost $1000. So that was excellent. Also, by this time I had a new address, so I gave them that so there would be no confusion. Then I continued to wait, already making plans on what to do with the money once I got it back.

And I continued to wait.

Every 3-4 weeks or so, I would call mini again to find out the status. Every time I called, I had to verify all my personal info, including the address (which I had changed, remember). This is an important detail to stow away for later.
Every time I called, they promised me a different release date for the check. First it was the original 6-8 weeks. Then it was “by the end of the month.” Then, the end of the year. Then, they just stopped giving me estimates.
A few times, they couldn’t find my records at all, which was hilarious and maddening all at the same time. Lucky for everyone involved, I myself had kept detailed records. When I gave them this information, my “case” was finally found again. I even asked to speak with supervisors and managers. Once I was transferred to the “I want to be financed for a brand new BMW*, please” representative. That was just all kinds of wrong. They are supposed to pay me! 

Eventually I got the news that an actual physical check had been cut in my name. So I checked the mail every day, and continued to wait. After another month or so, I called them again. Much back and forth led to the discovery that my mystery check had been sent to my old address. You know, the one I changed about a month into this whole ordeal, and had to verify with every biweekly phone call? So I re-gave them my new address, though at this point I’ve lived here for about 9 months.

And I continued to wait.

(I did receive an email asking me to participate in a customer satisfaction survey. I decided they didn’t want me to fill that out until I actually got the thing I’d been fighting almost a year for, so I saved it til later. I’ll still fill it out, but at least now there’s closure to my case.)

Until today, Lo! A Fedex envelope that required a signature. The return address said BMW. I was almost in tears as I opened it. Did I really get my check, after literally 50 weeks? I had almost started to believe it was a myth. My elation was cut short, however, as I noticed several pages attached to my check. Did.. did they send me extra money? No. They sent me 5 other people’s checks paperclipped to my own. Some goon at the BMW head office was handed a stack of checks, instructed to mail them, and didn’t bother to see if they were all going to the same place. Mine happened to be on top, so they all came to me.

Interesting side note, they spelled my city incorrectly. Apparently I put in additional syllables and letters when I say my address. Or someone doesn’t bother to double check anything. Just one more thing that may have been able to speed the process up.

My own check went immediately into the bank, before there was any case of BMW calling backsies. I was tempted to call  (or at least reply to the email) to let them know of their error, but then I figured that if I had fought this long and hard for my check, these people probably have too. If I tell BMW they effed up, they’ll cancel the checks and those poor bastards will have to start the process over. So, I’m going to write each person a little note explaining what happened, and send the checks out myself. Maybe there will be some karma, or maybe these people will flip out and call BMW themselves. Either way, my battle is finally over.

The end.

?

UPDATE, JUNE 5:
in the three weeks since writing this post, I’ve heard from 4 out of the 5 people I sent checks to. I received 2 emails, one handwritten card, and one person even found me on facebook. They all had the same story: they’ve been battling for at least a year for this money with no end in sight, and they were all very grateful. Not grateful enough to send me a portion of their newly acquired money, but that’s ok. 😉

 

 

*BMW is the parent company of mini.

relationship resume

Seeking similar, like-minded individual  for companionship and maybe romance. Applicants must live nearby, have a car, and be responsible and financially stable. Pet owners a plus. Non-smokers only, please.

 

SKILLS / STRENGTHS

 

  • Able to quote the Simpsons, Futurama, and various other movies and tv shows extensively
  • Vast knowledge
    – geeky / nerdy
    – media
    – trivia
  • Good at communication
    -small talk with families and coworkers
    -say what I actually mean (no “girl speak”)
  • Active videogamer
  • Excellent support system
    – monetarily (when possible), physically, emotionally
  • Award-winning bedroom behaviour
  • Some cooking, more restaurants
  • Excellent sense of humor
    – fun loving
  • Financially stable
  • Intelligent and educated
  • Responsible
  • Open minded and optimistic
  • Animal lover

 

NEGATIVES / WEAKNESSES

  • Likes attention
  • Works many hours and long days

 

 PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIP EXPERIENCE 

  •  1997 – 2008
  • 2008 – 2012
  • 2012
  • 2012 – 2014

References available on request.

 

 

 

Misconceptions about hairdressers

In my work as a hairdresser, I’ve discovered that there are many things people assume (often wrongly) about my profession. I’m going to try and clear some of that up.

Hairdressers are professionally trained.
In every state, you must be licensed to cut or use chemicals on hair (and nails, and skin, etc.) In order to get that license you must first go to school. In most states, you need to log 1500 hours in school before you can even take the two tests – written and practical – required to get your Cosmetology license. There are a few differences in between states, but either way, school acts like a full-time job. It took me a year and a half to complete my education, and I was one of the few in my class to actually graduate on time.
Also, beauty school is not just girls* playing with each other’s hair all day. Obviously there is some work with hair because practice makes perfect. You may not realize, however, that we also learn sciences like anatomy and chemistry. This is what allows us to do our jobs reliably and effectively. This  is the reason you pay us to do your hair rather than having your buddy cut & color your hair after a few drinks.
*There are some men in this profession as well, though I will admit it is generally a female-dominated trade.

Hairdressers get paid in different ways.
Depending on the salon (privately owned, franchised, or corporate), the pay scale varies greatly. Some are paid salary/hourly, some are commissioned, and some are a combination of both. There are also things to consider like booth rental and additional expenses. We generally have to supply our own products and tools, so everything we do costs us money and/or time. Did you know that a good pair of shears (i.e. the main tool of our trade) can cost from $200-up? The prices for services reflect this. Regardless of that, all hairdressers depend on tips.

Speaking of tips
Yes, you should tip your hairdresser, just like any professional that performs a service for you. While the standard in the US seems to be 20%, please consider that we are performing a service for you that you can not do yourself. (You can try, but then it will end up costing you more money when we have to fix it anyway.) Don’t just whip out your calculator to figure out exactly 20% of the end price. Remember that we used our time, expertise, and products to give you a result that makes you feel beautiful. If you love your look, tip a little more to show your appreciation. Just like any service, repeat customers that tip well tend to get better service because we know you appreciate our efforts.
If you can not afford a tip, you can not afford the service (this also holds true for dining out, etc.)

Hairdressers encounter a lot of health problems.
Standing for 8 hours a day performing repetitive motions takes its toll on the body. Everything from cut fingers to varicose veins to carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis to torn rotator cuffs and neck/back/shoulder/leg problems. It is so common for hairdressers to have muscle problems that massage therapists know exactly which areas to work on without having to be told. If you see your hairdresser sporting a bandaid or a brace, remember that is one of the sacrifices we make for doing a job we love, but sometimes the injuries are severe enough that we need to miss work (and thus miss out on income, because most of us don’t get paid leave).
Also, most of us have to provide our own health insurance. Generally our profession does not include those benefits, even though we need them. Hopefully we have insurance if our health gets bad enough, but that’s another rant.

I don’t know if this article will change anything, but maybe it will inspire you to look at your hairdresser a bit differently. For many, Cosmetology isn’t just a “filler” while we try to get a “real job.” And please don’t have the stereotypical view that a hairdresser is a mindless ninny that should be on the first boat to  another planet (thankyouverymuch, Douglas Adams). I for one, have two college degrees and didn’t start doing hair until I’d gained 30 years of life experience. That experience, however, is what led me into this career – which is a career that I enjoy very much.