I just had my memory joggled by a FB post by a friend, so I thought I’d take a moment and jot down my memories of my mother’s beauty shop that was one half of our renovated 2 car garage when I was a kid. The other half was the Red Room, which I’ll also describe for you.

In the late 60s – early 70s, my mother did hair in her shop at our house. She’d gone to cosmetology school in the early 60s (one of two choices: cosmetology or business school) then gotten married and proceeded to pop out me and my brother. My father worked at Robert Shaw – Fulton in Oak Ridge [TN] as a machinist. This plant was a part of the war effort and also the space exploration effort. My father worked on a steel box that was used to collect rocks from the moon. Isn’t that the coolest?

My mother opened the shop to make money while my father’s union was on constant strike circa 69-71 or so. I don’t remember why (money, no doubt) but I do remember my parents being stressed out and my dad being home all the time. So they converted the 2 car garage and mom opened the shop. My father left Robert Shaw – Fulton around that time and got into the real estate biz.

Anyway, my mother had this shop, complete with a full wall station w/ washing sink, hydraulic chair and two hair dryers. My brother and I used to play on the hydraulic chair. I remember the coating of hair spray on the back of that chair. You could flake it off like plastic. The station filled the whole wall on one side and had a black sink. The hydraulic chair and hair dryers were lilac and white.

My mother taught me how to wash hair properly as soon as I was tall enough to reach that sink. She’d do my hair in a bouffant and I remember sitting under the dryer with rollers in my hair. I have a picture somewhere of me asleep under the dryer. Since it was a bit past the hey day of the bouffant, my mother mainly had old ladies coming to the shop. I think she charged $4 for a wash/set. They’d come in once a week. (The thought of not washing my hair for a week makes my skin crawl!! I’ve always been a daily washer. I’ve got a greasy head.) One lady I can vaguely remember was Nelly, who had tinted red hair and wore a short bouffant. I think she was one of my mother’s favourite clients. I remember her as being tall, but I was only 5 or 6 at the time.

The door to the shop went into a laundry room, then another door went into the Red Room. The Red Room was a large family room with a fireplace along one wall. The hearth went almost to the ends of the wall. The house was white brick (which I love to this day) and the fireplace/hearth was made of the same brick. The room was paneled with grey paneling that had black seams. Red carpet ran wall to wall. It was a mediterranean themed room, so the furniture was low and fat, covered in red velvet. It was a sectional, with a low square black topped table at the corner. All the cushions came off that sectional, so we used them for forts and such. There was a huge square black lamp on that corner table that looked like it was carved from lava. We also had a large console TV in there and we always put the christmas tree in there – displaced from the front room, where it had previously lived until the new addition.

This was also when we got a new, 7′ fake tree from Sears. It was my job to put it up every year, which I did until I left home in the 80s. When my mother decided she didn’t want that tree any more, I snatched it and now it is MY tree. This thing is at least 40 years old by now, and still looks awesome. And it’s still my job to put it up every year. :)

I remember riding our pedal tractors (got of pic of those, too, somewhere) in there before the carpet was laid – probably the first Christmas it was built (I’m thinking it was probably 70-71). I also remember being stung in the eye by some insect in there and being stung on the hand by another insect at a different time.

The most important thing I remember about the large console TV in that room is the day they reported Elvis was dead. It was summer (yes, Aug 16, 1977) and I was watching something on TV, when a crawl came across the bottom announcing that “Elvis Presley was found dead in his Memphis home, Graceland”. My mother was in the laundry room or the (now defunct) salon and I ran to tell her. She came out and we stood in front of that console TV and cried over Elvis.

My mother did hair until the mid 70s. She was having trouble with her eyes, so she went to the ophthamologist and it was decided that the hairspray fumes were causing the trouble, so she closed the shop. Of course that wasn’t the problem, my mother has posterior uveitis, an inflammation of the uveal tract that causes the pupil to deform (hers looked like a crescent moon), blurred vision and floaters. Once it was more or less under control, she’d have occasional flare ups and I remember her steroid eyedrops in a little pink labeled bottle (I believe it was Pred Forte.) The disease caused her to have cataracts which she had removed a few years ago. As it turns out, my mother has had several auto immune diseases (ITP for one) and a current one that is ravaging her motor control and has ruined her mobility. Of course her sub par doctors have no idea what to do, so she takes Lyrica for the symptoms but they are not doing anything to stop the disease. Buuut, my healthcare rant can wait for another day.

I just wanted to write about the hair salon that I grew up in. This is why I know so much about hair. My mother taught me all about colour and stuff when I was kid. I’ll dig through the archives and see I can find some pix of the salon and Red Room.

Wow, 2014, you’re a douche!

I tell you, the end of ’13 and beginning of ’14 have been pretty stressful. I’m already pretty beat down and ready to just give up on EVER getting the fuck out of here – this house, this state and this RUT. Ugh.

AS you probably know, Nick’s 99 Ranger bit it about a week before Xmas. It was a shock, but I managed to find a replacement that same day. Bye bye $8700. That was about 2/3 of our savings. Then on the heels of that, the dishwasher decided it’d be great to start burning the insulation of its wires. Bye bye another $350. (I did get a Bosch dishwasher which is awesome.) And we’ve still got to get the plates for the new 05 Ranger, which will run probably around a grand. That would be $10,050 for those keeping score at home. We’ll get a little from the sale of the 99 Ranger, so let’s just say $9050 for fun.

Then we had a horrible New Year’s Eve/Day thanks to some very bad decisions made by the people hosting the party we attended. We are traumatized by that scene and it’s not really helping the rest of this shit. Dammit. Our stress was definitely cranked up by that shit.

Also around this time, we’ve been discussing our need for new digs. This place is too small for all the projects we’ve got going on, especially the arcade games. We’ve toyed with the idea of building onto this place, but what’s the point? The loan is tangled up and it’s about $47k under water. We’d previously looked into renting and not only is it pricey, but I didn’t find anything we’d be happy with. So, we decided perhaps it’s time to try to buy another house.

We’ve known that this house was in a grey area. It was “technically” discharged with the bankruptcy 2.5 years ago, but since we kept paying, Wells Fargo didn’t move on foreclosure or short sale. Now that we are wanting to make our move out of this house, our folly has come back to bite us on the ass. Although we don’t “technically” own this house, it’s still under our name since Wells didn’t foreclose. Which means as far as mortgage companies go, we are on the hook for the remaining $89k of this mortgage. See where I’m going? This albatross is preventing us from getting a loan for a new place. On top of that, if we do let it foreclose, then we’ll be banned from any mortgages for at least 3-4 MORE years. (Those of you in the know will notice that these rules are EXACTLY the same as they were before the “new regulations”. New MY ASS, the banks still run everything the same fucking way, to THIER benefit and no one else’s. AND they got TRILLIONS in free money from us, as well.) There is a chance we could do a short sale, but we’ve got to have somewhere to go! Conundrum.

There is a slim chance we may qualify for a(nother) mortgage loan since this house is the ONLY debt we have. But it’s slim and I don’t expect it to pan out. I’d like to know how all these other fucking people with shitty credit, tons of debt and 3 houses keep getting loans? If anyone knows a sketchy loan company, PLEASE let me know. I’m not afraid to go sketchy. The thing is, once we get another loan and get moved, Wells can do whatever they wish. We’ll be long gone and the foreclosure won’t matter since we’ve got another loan. BUT the banks, poor things, they don’t want that kind of “risk”. RIGHT. We’re pretty much fucked at this point. HARP is bullshit.

On top of all this awesomeness, Nick’s work may lose one of its two big clients. This is the client that has always been solid. The second client has always been wobbly and could go at any time, so this means that BOTH clients are now wobbly. Not good. If Nick loses his job, we are pure-T FUCKED. We have practically nothing in savings thanks to the above expenses.

So, yah, we’re stressed out. We both didn’t sleep well due to stress dreams last night and the night before. I am really tired and cranky. I’ve been foul for days. Foulapalooza continues. :(

And the cherry on top is: I’ve got company coming in next week. ::sob:: I hope I can hold it together. I know, between us, Nick and I will pull off the visit next week without a hitch, but it’s just all this CRAP that’s piled on top of us…

I don’t have any energy to give to anyone right now. We’ve got PROBLEMS. Potentially devastating problems if Nick’s job is in jeopardy. This is why we have begged off most social stuff. 2013 was a bastard and it seems that 2014 will be one as well. We are in survival mode, so don’t take it personally if we decline invitations. We are just trying to hold it together. We are not ones for panic, but we are very cautious right now. I’m thinking that Heroes Con may not happen for us this year. We need to save money like crazy. We always succumb to the siren call of Heroes, but I think we’ll need to be strong and skip this year. ::another sob::

We have a home, paid for cars and groceries in the fridge. It takes a lot of willpower to concentrate on THAT rather than the rest of this shit. When things get like this, I just need quiet. Lots and lots of quiet. Which is why having company will be extra hard for me.

We are grateful for what we have, despite the uncertainty of our situation. Hope springs eternal.

ALL Mirena updates AND Removal (2011 – 2020)

Updates for Mirena over the years (original review after updates):
1. 3/26/12 I’m currently on week 8 w/out a period! Yay! But I doubt it’ll last. I’ve had all other indicators of impending bleeding, but none yet. So. I still give it 2.5, but if the periods stop I’ll up it to 3 or 3.5 perhaps. Here’s to hoping!

2. Dec 2012 So, it’s been almost 2 years now and I’m happy with Mirena. The periods stopped a few months ago (Sep?) and I only have occasional spotting. All is well for me and I’ll give Mirena 3.5 stars. The first year is a bitch, but once everything settles, it seems to work like a charm. Hysterectomy would still be more efficient, but if you don’t want that, then Mirena is a pretty good choice.

3. October 2013: Still chugging along with Mirena at almost 3 years. I sometimes get light cramps, but I’ve not bled in a long time. YAY! Mirena has been great for me. Perhaps by the time this one needs replacing (it’s a 5 year device) I’ll be ready to yank out the Vile Organ. ::fingers crossed::

4. December 2015: As I am coming up on the 5 year mark (Jan 2016), I was getting anxious about having to replace the Mirena. Since the previous update, I’ve had no periods and things have been great. It’s about as close to hysterectomy as you can get w/out the knife. Fortunately, my gyno informed me that I do NOT have to replace the Mirena since I don’t use it for birth control. She wants me to keep going on this one to see how long the drugs actually work. I’ve become a test case to see the ACTUAL lifespan of the Mirena for therapeutic use rather than birth control. I’ll post more info as time passes.

5. January 2018: At year 7 and still working! Yay! I still have no periods, no PMS, no nuttin. The only time I’ll see a spot is if I’m really sick, really stressed or post surgery. I had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy in May 2016 and spotted a little after that, but other than that? It’s like the vile organ isn’t even there. The Mirena is the best thing I’ve ever done besides VSG. I’m 70# thinner, I feel great and I still have no vile organ issues! I *do* have some hot flashes, but so far, that’s it. I am 52 and my gyno is interested to see how the Mirena interacts with menopause. I am interested as well. I’ll report more when things happen. (Oh, I did find out that it’s no longer “Mirena”, it’s something else now, but basically the same product.)

6. March 2020: Finally got the Mirena removed. I forgot to mention that at my last visit to the gyno, she informed me that I’d gone through menopause. !! I had no idea!! She said that since it worked so well for me as a menopausal facilitator, she’s going to recommend it to other pre-menopausal women. I had the Mirena for 9 years and it supposedly stopped working at year 5-6. Since I went through menopause at the same time, it’s hard to say. All I can tell you is that it is MAGICAL and I highly recommend it! I had no periods after the first year of adjustment and as I said, I went through menopause without knowing it. Having it removed was literally NOTHING. I was nervous, but on the table she said, “hey, can you hold your breath for a second?” and by the time I answered, she’d popped it out! LOL She held it up and said AHA!! It was all discoloured and gnarly looking, too! EW! But that damn thing worked like a charm and was worth EVERY PENNY of the grand it took to get it.

My overall opinion of the Mirena (or whatever it’s called now) is, if you CAN get it, DO IT. Ovarian cysts will disqualify you and perhaps some other things. There are horror stories of the pain involved with getting one installed, but I didn’t have that. It was odd and slightly painful for a second, but I didn’t have any big issues with the install. And once it’s in, it’s good to go. Mirena changed my life! It ended the horrible periods and got me through menopause seamlessly. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Original post:

I had the Mirena (IUD w/ hormones) installed Jan 3 2011. Read about what it was like to get the IUD installed HERE. The first year has mostly sucked. I had a three+ month long period after I first got it. No cramps, but I fucking bled nonstop. Then it backed off and I was having a period every 5-7 weeks with no cramping. BUT STILL HAVING THEM. That went on for months then I had a 2 month break Oct-Nov, then on Thanksgiving, it came back with a vengeance – complete with mild cramps. I just finished another period with mild cramps. :(

So, the promise of no periods with Mirena has been a LIE for me. I’m not surprised. Nothing involving the Vile Organ EVER works as advertised with me. Yes, I’m glad to not have incapacitating cramps, but I still have to deal with the fucking bleeding (+PMS) and that sucks donkey balls. I’m SICK of dealing with this messy nastiness. I’ve dealt with it for over 30 years and I AM SICK OF IT. I just want it to stop!!

The Mirena is $800 plus installation fees, so about a grand all together. The Mirena company does offer a payment plan with no interest, which is nice.

Are your cramps worth $1000 to eliminate? That’s really the bottom line. (BTW, you do NOT have to be a breeder to get the Mirena. It is approved for ALL women, regardless of breeder status.)

My point is that the Mirena, while great for cramps, is NOT a substitute for a hysterectomy. If given the option, I’d say go for hysterectomy in a heartbeat.

Mirena gets 2.5 out of 5 stars. NOW: 3.5 stars!