Blowin’ and goin’: Averting crisis on picture day

By Kristen Tribe | Published Saturday, October 3, 2015

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Picture day at school can cause a bit of stress over clothes and hair, but we keep it pretty low-key in the Tribe household.

Nothing fancy for yearbook photos. My 10-year-old’s only request was to wear her hair down instead of in her standard ponytail. Fine by me.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

For this to happen, it does require her to shower in the morning and then dry her hair, so it will actually lay flat. (Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.)

Everything was going according to plan Monday morning until the dryer began to sputter. As I dried my own hair, it went from a sputter to a shudder, making a horrible buzzing noise, like fingernails on a chalkboard.

I was convinced flames would shoot from it at any moment, but hopeful it would hold out long enough to dry my daughter’s hair.

She entered the bathroom.

I acted as if everything was perfectly fine, but cringed as I turned on the dryer. I was somewhat reluctant to aim it at her head, fearful of a Michael Jackson Pepsi-commercial moment.

I took a deep breath, turned the dryer on and it gave one loud pop, followed by sizzling and smoke billowing into the room.

The fear in her eyes said, “What will we do?!”

Knowing a hat was not an option and there was no way her mane would dry on its own in the next 24 hours, I did what any mom would do – made a flying trip to Wal-Mart.

I jumped in the car and took off, dodging frogs and raccoons while keeping a watch for deer in my peripheral vision. I was on a mission, and there was no time to waste.

I whipped into the Wal-Mart parking lot and flip-flopped in on the grocery side as fast as I could. I took off down the main aisle, heading to the health and beauty section when I froze in momentary panic.

Where are the hair dryers in Wal-Mart? Obviously, it had been quite some time since I had purchased one, and I couldn’t remember ever seeing them in the store.

The logical location would be in the beauty supplies, near the hair brushes and such. But drawing from past experience, I knew that Wal-Mart logic didn’t always align with my own. What if they considered it a small appliance? What if it was on the other side of the store next to the crock pots?

I definitely did not have time to make laps, nor doubt my original decision. I continued toward beauty supply with renewed determination.

I rounded the corner, ducked down an aisle and was greeted with the most beautiful hair dryer selection I had ever seen along the wall. I was momentarily struck by all the options and then remembered there was no time for browsing. Grab one and go!

I was trucking to the self-checkout, doing great on time and feeling as if I could conquer the world. There’s nothing this mom can’t handle!

But in my T-shirt and aged athletic shorts, no make-up and hair in crazy disarray, I’m sure the other shoppers thought, “Ma’am, you’re going to need more than a hair dryer on this fine morning.”

I didn’t let it slow me down. I dashed through self-checkout and made a beeline for the house. Just as I pulled in the drive, I got a text from my daughter: “Are you almost home?” It was 7, just enough time to dry her hair and get out the door by 7:25.


As we stood in the kitchen, my daughter looking adorable for her school pictures as she gathered her lunch box and backpack, I basked in the adrenaline rush of averting a crisis. She thanked me profusely for rushing to Wal-Mart, and then followed it up with “You are coming back home to finish getting ready, right?”

The T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops were perhaps too low key for a work day, even for the Tribes.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.

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