Friday, February 08, 2008

just when things were looking up

Yesterday was one big roller coaster. Wanna ride? Alright, hang on...

I stumbled across a new hair salon chain last time I was in Troyes that offers haircuts, color and perms for easily half what most salons offer here in France. Now, I am no hair salon snob and always frequented chain store salons back in the states (mostly because I always colored my own hair and usually just needed a trim). But this new place offers a cut and color for such a ridiculously low price that I thought I'd get my hair colored professionally for the first time in my life. Yesterday, I took off for Troyes just after lunch and arrived at the salon just after 2pm.

Now, the downside is that this chain does not take appointments so you'll be at the mercy of how many people are waiting in front of you and how many stylists are on duty. Yesterday I basically spent my whole afternoon at the salon! Also, they don't have a shampoo girl/hostess to welcome clients, so all the stylists help out welcoming people, taking their coats, etc. so this also played into why I was there so long. Another downside is that they are very, very big on upselling - the reason the prices are so low is that they make up for it with added on hair masks and selling products. The thing is that I totally expected this and was ready to pay more for products because y'all, my hair is so fried from this water that it looks and feels like straw - and that's without ever using a hair dryer! After trying dozens of different products, I decided I'd try the professional stuff.

The good news is that these girls know their stuff! My stylist gave me really good advice, gave me a choice between two different products (the main difference was the price of course), actually listened to me, gave me advice on hair color, and above all was really, really nice. I ended up with a new cut and color that I really like, plus shampoo and hair mask (I think it's called "I Can't Believe You Still Have Hair" for Extremely Damaged Hair) for the same price that my mother-in-law pays for a cut and color. I will definitely go back!

So I swished and sashayed back through downtown Troyes with my fabulous new hair and all was right with the world - only problem is that it was now 5:00 and I had planned to go to the big box grocery for a few things and then across the street to Grand Frais but now everybody and their brother were bound to be there, so I was trying to decide what to do, but then my car decided for me. As soon as I turned the engine over I knew something was wrong. The whole front dash was vibrating and it sounded like Nascar's finest. I drove it down one street and I knew something was very wrong, so I rushed back downtown on foot, bought credits for my mobile (thank god I had it with me!), and called Stéph. Since there were no lights coming on on the dash and the temp wasn't rising too high, I ended up driving home at 60 kph (just under 40 mph), easily pissing off all the "rush hour traffic" we can muster out here in the country.

As soon as I got home, Stéph came out and said, "I heard you coming from upstairs!" He looked under the car and said, "I thought so, take a look!" Y'all, I drove all the way home from Troyes with my muffler detached. Yes, I am that classy. Thank god it wasn't so bad that it was dragging, but I swear if I had looked when I was still in Troyes I never would have driven home, and that would have been a whole other mess of problems. The thing is that we just had the car inspected last month, and while we were told we had to get our brakes worked on before the car would pass inspection (that was done just this past Monday), we were also told that the brace holding the muffler in place was rusted and while it wasn't required, we might want to think about replacing it. Stéph reckons that the rust finally gave up the ghost after the drive to Troyes and snapped after it cooled while I was getting my hair done.

So the car's back in the shop, we're going to have to dip into the savings AGAIN this month, and I had a mini break down last night because it just seems like absolutely nothing is going our way these days. Stéph was awesome and reminded me that hey, we do have savings just for this reason and we're lucky because we have no debt and can cover ourselves when we have these rough patches. Not so many people are so lucky, and he's right.

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