“You see what I mean?” I asked Hubby while stretching over the bathroom sink examining my locks in the mirror.
“Yeh, I guess.”
“Here, let me show you.” I plucked a couple of strands to prove my point and swished them in front of him.
No, I wasn’t going bald from chemo or some hereditary wicked gene. I knew exactly what was causing my defoliation…work! Supervising twenty-nine employees and juggling impossible demands to produce 200% quantity and quality was stressing me to the point where I began job-hunting.
Meanwhile, Child #4, had returned from her first year of college and announced, “Mom, Dad, you’re spending a lot of money on tuition and I don’t really know what I want to do. But, I’m wondering about becoming a pet groomer. What would you think about sending me to pet grooming school?”
Hubby and I glanced at each other. With three other children in college that year, our answer was…yep! And off she went.
After Kris graduated, she began working for a mobile pet grooming company and as I watched her skip to work each morning, swinging her little grooming kit to play with doggies all day, I thought: I can do that. After all I have transferable skills. I’ve cut Hubby’s and five kids’ hair, plus I’m a pro at broom-sweeping.
Mobile pet grooming was in its infancy in the 80’s and the general response when asked what I did was, “Huh?” My mother said it more succinctly, “It took you eighteen years to get through college while raising five children and you’re going to do…what?”
Mobile pet groomers, after brushing, bathing and pulling out ear wisps, discover fuzz in the strangest places. It flies up your nose in the van; it’s floating in your Big Gulp; it collects like a pelt under the dash and clogs the blower. It itches, it scratches and when you undress that evening you find it sticking in your bra and undergarments. Trust me; it does not entice amorous feelings from Hubby. And when racing to a party after eight hours in the van a friend might tease, “I love that little touch of white in your hair.”
A macabre pet-groomer joke was, “When we die, they’re going to find our lungs clogged with pet hair.”
I was nonplussed the first time a client handed me a bag to fill with Susie’s clipped locks. I must have appeared startled, because she clarified, “I spin it and knit little coats for her.”
The second time a pet’s owner asked me to save her fur I asked, “Are you knitting a sweater for Hank?”
She looked askance. “No, indeed, I make animal pictures with it. You wouldn’t believe how popular they are.”
No, I wouldn’t.
How ironic that my own balding condition resulted in twenty-one years of removing hair from cats, dogs, wolves and the occasional bunny.
Who would have guessed?