Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Not You, It's Me

Its Not You, Its Me

By Allison Adams 02-06-11 / Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 02-07-11

Dear Jan,

We’ve had wonderful relationship for a long, long time. We’ve seen each other regularly for over a decade, and throughout those years you have been my confidant and my trusted advisor.

I can’t think of too many things in my life that I’ve put before you. There have even been times when I neglected some real important things – like a friend’s wedding, or a doctor’s appointment, or my daughter’s piano recital – just so I could be at your disposal.

I’ve even dragged my feverish, pitiful self up and out of my own sickbed because I couldn’t bear to miss our time together.

I realized how just serious I was about our relationship when I voluntarily cut my family’s annual beach vacation short just so I could get back in time to see you.

Our dates together have always been “inked” on my calendar.

Your work phone, cell phone, and home phone numbers have occupied the top three spots on my speed dial list.

I the words of the Supremes: “Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from getting to you, baybay.”

Our relationship is deeply rooted, but the truth is I’ve grown weary … of my regular root touch-ups.

I don’t know how to tell you this except to say that I’ve come to a different place in my life. I’ve changed my mind about something that will affect our future together: I’ve decided to embrace my gray hair.

That’s right - you heard me: I’m not fooling anyone anymore.

I know you’re sensitive enough to have seen this coming. I’ve been dropping some serious hints for about two years, but every time I said something about giving-in to my gray hair, you tried to brush me off.

You said I wasn’t ready.

You said I’d be sorry.

You even went so far as to say that I was your “cash cow” – but I knew you meant it lovingly.


Well my mind’s made up - I’m afraid you no longer own my head.

No more secrets, Jan. Now everyone will know what once only my hairdresser knew.

I’m ready to parade around publicly beneath my pale, pigment-less pelt.

Hi-Ho, Silverness!

Oh – I know it’s not going to be nice-n-easy. The months ahead will be extremely awkward for me: Vanity, thy name is Allison.

I'm well aware that people will look at my transitional tresses and wonder why I haven’t bothered to glance into a mirror.

They'll wonder why I’ve obviously missed several critical hair appointments.

They'll even wonder if I’ve totally lost … your telephone number.

But I will not turn back. I have made up my mind.

I just want you to understand that its not you, its me.

You’ve been wonderful, really. I couldn’t possible have asked for more from you. What began as a rescue mission from my self-inflicted over-the-counter hair color debacle back in Y2K, quickly blossomed into a decade of standing appointments so you could carefully, chemically enhance my natural hair color every three and a half weeks – come H-E-Double Hockey Sticks or high water.

And as long you maintained my mane no one knew that beneath that carefully concocted hair color I was naturally “granny gray”.

Until now.

Dear Jan, after you’ve had some time to allow all of this to sink in, I hope you’ll agree that we can still be friends.

After all, we’ve come so far together … and I’ll still need you to cut and style my lackluster locks.

We just can’t go back to the way we were. Those days are gone.

(If you have an opening next Tuesday I could really use a trim.)

Your truly,

Yours Truly

Friday, February 4, 2011


By Allison Adams 09-15-07, Submitted to The Greeneville Sun on 09-18-07

I really try to avoid dabbling in my kids’ homework.

You see – I began to struggle a little once my children passed the point of being required to memorize Dolch sight words, multiplication tables, and state capitals.

Oh, I still ask the usual generic homework questions (Do you have any? Have you finished it?), but my confidence as a competent study partner was shattered once each of my children reached the sixth grade.

I’m pretty sure it was their math homework that shut me up. Their graphing calculators confused me – way too many options.

I’m a plus and minus gal. I don’t do decimals.

My point is this: I know my homework-helping limits. It is very … limited. So, mostly I try to express my genuine concern about my kids’ homework situation without actually becoming directly involved - unless I can use flash cards.

Recently though, during routine questioning, I lost my cool. Then I lost my perspective.

“Have you finished your homework?”
“All of it?”
“Are you sure?”

That’s when I got the Look.
“Don’t give me that Look, mister!”
“Sorry, Mom. I didn’t mean to look at you.”

That little remark ignited my mood and before I knew it I was flaming with a false sense of self-confidence.

“Well,” I said, “it sure didn’t take you long to finish.”
“I only had six problems.”

Six problems. Problems? That meant math. Darn! Probably algebra! Please, oh please, let there be flash cards.

“Well, mister – march yourself upstairs and bring me your flash cards.”
“Flash cards? Jeeze, mom. We don’t use flash cards. We use a formula.”

Formula? Problems with a formula? Uh oh. Where was my husband when I needed him? He could solve a math problem while blindfolded, at twenty paces, with one hand tied behind his back.
I kept pushing.

“Let me see your work.”
“Are you serious?”
“Dead serious, mister.”

He flashed me The Look. I get The Look several times a day so it usually didn’t really faze me. I pressed forward.

“I’ll wait here while you get it.”

In a few moments he returned and handed me several worksheets stapled together. I felt him Looking at me as I rifled through the papers.
As I suspected, I found the stuff on the worksheets undecipherable.
“Do you need me to explain it to you, mom?”

Oh. Oh. Oh. How DARE he! I turned around and unleashed The Look.

“Thank you, but no. Just give me a minute to familiarize myself with the way your teacher has presented the problem to you to solve.”

I thought that sounded pretty good, but I was in Deep Doodie and he knew it. With no flash cards to fall back on, I would have to rely on The Bluff.

“Ahhhhh. Here we go.” I said confidently. “Uh huh. I see.”

I continued to stare at the pages.

“Now, son, you know I’m just doing my job – just trying to help you.”
“Right, mom.”
“If I didn’t love you, I wouldn’t care if you finished anything.”
“Uh huh.”
“Okay then,” I said, trying to slip out of my charade, “This looks fine. I mean – the ones I’ve checked here – uh, you know – they look fine. You may have a little adjustment to do on this one here, uh, thingy. The others, uh – well, I guess your math teacher will just have to check it and deliver the final grade.”
“My math teacher? Mom, that’s science homework.”


“See mom - based on the information in those problems, we had to find the given and unknown values so we could determine the volume, mass, and density.”

(Well I know a little something about density.)

If you need me, I’ll be sitting on the stool in the corner … wearing the cone hat.