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Labor Day is Hard Work

Endings are bittersweet. Traditionally, Labor Day is a chance for us to spend the afternoon in the backyard, grilling burgers and hot dogs. We can see most of our neighbors doing the same thing in their yards and the smell of our neighborhood is delicious. The kids join pick up games of baseball and basketball, depending on their age, as the neighbors wander next door chatting with a cold drink. The traditional holidays are a way for us to transition into the next season. Daisy and Marie-Claire were running between the yards playing tag with Junior and Jack Frost. Francis and Steve were standing between the two yards keeping a watchful eye on the grills. I could see Chloe from time to time doing the same thing I was doing, bringing items from the kitchen out to the table in the yard. It was like a play and we were all the actors.

The food is the same every year, and serving corn on the cob is a must. I can’t imagine who first had the guts to eat corn on the cob; you have to literally husk the ears to find it. But it wouldn’t be summer without it. I like to gently simmer my corn with lots of salt in the water. Timing when to start the cobs is tricky since I depend on Steve to let me know how close the food is to finishing and he uses imprecise timing words like pretty soon and almost. He can cook outside but he couldn’t use those same tactics in a kitchen. I sometimes have to go out and move the food around myself to check on it, but I dislike smelling like a grill, and only try to check one time. I made my traditional potato salad early in the morning so that it had time to chill. I had a pot of baked beans on the stove and ready with a large chunk of bacon fat poking out of the top of the beans. The table was set with the plastic ware and a big chilled pitcher of lemonade was already waiting on the table. I was worried about the corn because I had purchased some new cute holders and wanted them to steal the show.

I called out to Steve and interrupted his conversation enough to make him check one last time on the burgers and hot dogs. He told me they were ready and I brought out the last of the condiments and put the foods in serving bowls. I called out to the kids to get washed up and they helped carry out the last of the food from the kitchen as Steve mounded up the hot food in buns. I pulled the ears out of the water and held them with a hot pad to place the holders in the ends. I laid them each in their special look-alike corn plates and slathered them with melted butter. I carried out that tray last to impress my family.

Steve didn’t really notice the little corn plates but the kids loved them. Daisy and Junior dug into their corn first while I fixed their hot dogs. Steve got lots of praise for his delicious food and we ate and talked as our neighbors around us ate and talked and enjoyed their family dinners. It probably seems silly to get so much delight out of corn-shaped plates, but I like the little touches. After the meal, we sat and talked about the upcoming change in seasons and doings. Steve joked about his three students and having to go to meet the teacher night at college. Junior offered to go with him to hear about my progress. I disappointed them both by letting them know that no such thing would happen. We cleaned up the plates and I worked on getting dessert ready. An end of summer meal wouldn’t be right without some ice cream. I sliced four good pieces of neopolitan out onto plates using a serrated knife on the package. Topping each with a drizzle of chocolate syrup and whipped cream and a cherry made it very festive. By the time we were finished, the little melted pools of uneaten ice cream made a rainbow on each plate.

Tomorrow would be an early day for all of us, so the children went in to prepare for bed with more than the usual grumbling. Even that is a tradition. I was tired and very ready to go to sleep but Steve and I sat out in the backyard with Chloe and Frances as we sipped cocktails and enjoyed the last of the evening. Traditions are important; neighbors are important too. The sun gradually set and the air turned cooler; a reminder of what was to come.

My Best Handwriting

The dog days of summer were upon us and I was wilting outside but very excited inside. My little school schedule wasn’t the same as a full-time college student and going to school this way was going to take a lot longer, but I could handle it and handle it well. The last thing I wanted to do was mess up. I knew this year that I could be confident about my writing skills. That would help with finishing homework on time and at least as well as most other students. My children are used to seeing me sit at the dinette with them to work on homework. I liked being nearby to help with spelling and easy arithmetic problems. Stevie Junior had some more difficult subjects this year and Daisy was a real school girl now, possibly with homework. We spent a good deal of time yesterday picking out new lunch boxes. By the middle of the year, the thermos in them will already have been replaced, since they all seem to shatter easily after a couple of months of use and a couple harder than average falls. I gave the children my usual song and dance about the fact that just because the cans were made of metal, the thermos lining would not be spared when the lunch pail is used for schoolyard warfare.

I confess to having my own sad love affair with school supplies. My own mother sewed a pencil bag for me to take to school in 1st grade. It was denim with a cool string-pull that was easy to operate and large enough to fit my own collection of different size number 2’s. My teacher thought it was so terrific, she asked my mother to sew one for every child in my class. I remember my mother spent many nights sewing the bags and I even helped pull through the shoelaces that kept them shut. The only problem I encountered was that every kid in my class had the same pencil holder. The teacher used a marker to write every person’s name on each so we could tell the difference.

I spent a morning in the school bookstore buying the necessary textbooks for my classes that were now available. While I was there, I thumbed through lots of other textbooks in subjects that seemed very foreign now but might seem doable later. I found beautiful new notebooks and pens that felt right for my fingers. I am pretty good at not getting ink from my cartridge pen all over the page when making notes and I think it improves my handwriting. Just like in cooking, the right equipment makes life more enjoyable. I felt like such a weird school student but I really enjoyed it. Maybe it wasn’t so bad that it would take me so long to get an education. When I returned home, Junior didn’t seem too excited about my school books but that it is to be expected. Daisy asked me if I was going to have to learn new spelling words. She even offered to help me by making flash cards. She likes school now and I hope it stays that way. I really want her to go to college, right after high school.

For dinner, I made a delicious casserole. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking and just heating up something seemed to make more sense. I used my usual chicken pot pie recipe but placed it in a long casserole pan. The new part was the addition of tater tots to the top. I placed them one by one in long rows to cover the entire surface and then baked everything until golden brown. I haven’t really used tater tots very much in cooking but everyone loved them. I will have to think of new ways to adapt some other recipes to update them also. At least I had one more easy recipe to add to my box. With the school season starting up, I needed all the help I could get!

 

Fancy Man

I feel as if I was preparing for this for a long time. Years of child rearing have produced two pretty good kids who get along most of the time. Steve thinks they have good values and Junior has a good work ethic. Many young men start out with paper routes but Junior has been accepting some pay from Zettie Louise for a while and he hides it away in a cigar box in his bottom drawer. From time to time, Junior even earns some money from extra chores around the house.

What I wasn’t ready for was Junior’s decision to want to buy a couple of bow ties to wear with his dress shirts to school this year. In the past, shopping for school clothes involved a lot of negotiations just to try on some pants and shirts. Shoe shopping required a completely different day after a full nights’ sleep. As I was skimming the shirt display, Junior placed his hand on a solid color shirt and requested that the rest of his shirts all be solid-colored. I looked directly into his eyes to see if he was pulling my leg. Something was up. Junior opened his other hand to reveal three bow ties with stripes and designs. They were clip-on bow ties; a great time saving trick. I stared at them. My mind was having trouble adjusting to my son’s request to wear bow ties with dress shirts to school. It seemed a little over the top, especially with recess involved. I didn’t want to stifle any interest in dressing well though, so we pulled out solid color shirts that would compliment the ties.

The cashier asked Junior if the bow ties were his with such delight that he blurted out “Yes” and went on to tell her that he was even going to pay for them. She praised his taste and his interest in dressing well profusely. When we returned home from shopping, Junior took his bags into his room and I helped Daisy hang up her dresses in her closet. We got involved pulling out some dresses that no longer fit and sorting the rest of the purchases. Daisy’s lace-edged socks required a lot of sorting since some had frayed over the summer. I didn’t know how long Junior had been standing in the doorway before I noticed him. But there he was in a beautiful light blue shirt with a slightly skewed bow tie under his chin. He was adorable and mature at the same time. I fussed over him and straightened the tie. He told me that he didn’t want to wear them everyday but some special days each week. I agreed that showing that kind of style would be best for certain days. I promised Junior to wash and iron his shirts with Steve’s each week. So now there were two men in our house. I couldn’t wait for the young one to introduce himself to the older one. I think they might get along well. As Junior was leaving the room, he yelled out one final question. He wanted to know what age he would start shaving. I poked my head into the hallway and told Junior to ask his father. There’s only so much maturity I can deal with in one day.

Kids for a Day

Sunday was chosen as the day to switch roles. I looked forward to it with great anticipation and pulled out the croquet set to get it ready for Steve and me to play. Steve was going to finish the lawn on Saturday so he could have fun with me without breaking the rules. We decided that there would be no tasks given to the kids that were dangerous or inappropriate for their ages.

After church, I changed into my play clothes and sat down at the kitchenette waiting for my lunch. Junior dutifully made bologna and cheese sandwiches for Steve and me. Half-filled glasses of milk and two cookies were placed next to each plate. After I was done, I left my plate on the table and went outside. I was called back inside to bring my plate to the sink to get cleaned. These new parents mean business. I may have left some crumbs on the table in retaliation. Steve and I had a good time outdoors playing and stopped each other when some adult task called out to us. We strolled around the house looking at the garden and flower beds and discussed possible changes. When it got a little warm, we showed up at the back door begging for something to drink and were handed cups of water. We were handed some grapes to munch on also. When we asked for more, we were told that it would spoil our dinner. Daisy closed the back door in our faces after telling us to run and play. When we played croquet, Steve cheated by moving a wicket and I complained loudly, calling out Junior’s name to get a ruling. He came outdoors and told us to get along and be quiet. Strong parenting skills on display!

I really started to get hungry and went inside to get something to hold me over. I found Junior and Daisy sitting at the kitchenette coloring and talking. Daisy scolded me for eating too close to dinner, which I didn’t see getting made. When I asked what we were having, Junior and Daisy both looked up at me. I repeated my question. Junior looked at me and said he didn’t think he could cook a whole dinner because he was just a kid. I smiled at him and told him that we could order a pizza from Vesuvius and have it delivered. There are some perks to adulthood, pizza delivery being a good one. Daisy set the table and Junior got the drinks ready and when the pizza arrived, we all enjoyed it. After dinner, Steve brought out the Monopoly game to play while the kids cleaned up. We had a good time swapping roles for the day and as I got up to clean up the game, Junior looked at Steve and me and told us it was bedtime. I hoped the children wouldn’t notice how happy we were to be sent to bed early.

I was reading in bed and listened to the children clean up and eventually close the doors and go to their rooms. It wasn’t much later than they would usually be told to go to bed and Daisy knocked on our door to kiss us goodnight. As she was leaving the room, I saw Junior’s hand reach into the room and turn off the light switch. He followed that up with a stern warning for us to go to sleep,

I was not about to argue, so I put down my book and pulled my sleep mask over my eyes, putting my head down on the pillow. Steve, on the other hand, was not about to go without a fight. He called out loudly for a drink of water. I heard the kids laughing in the hall as they headed to their rooms, ignoring his request.

Trigger Isn’t Just a Horse

Some things really get to me some days. I haven’t yet figured out the pattern involved, but I definitely have a shorter fuse some days than others. Worse news than that, the children know when to steer clear of me. I overheard Junior tell Daisy that I must have one of my “splitting” headaches after I yelled at him for tracking mud in on his shoes. It wasn’t a lot of mud, but I had just been on my hands and knees for an hour scrubbing the floor.

I tried not to laugh to myself at the description since I apparently didn’t enunciate well in anger and it probably sounded silly. I realized that whenever I told the children that my head hurt, it was always “splitting.” I took two aspirin, closed the drapes in the living room and sat down in the semi-darkness to relieve the pain. Poor kids, they must have a skewed idea of adulthood if they watched us carefully. Mothers and dads go about their days like clockwork and have the chance to complain, loudly at times. but I usually put a stop to the kids’ complaints about food they don’t like, itchy clothing they don’t want to wear and having to go to bed at a certain time. No wonder they think life will be paradise when they are adults. Little do they know.

The reality of adulthood is that we would love to be kids again, especially in summer. Open the screen door, run outside, ride bikes and play. Come home for meals. Go to bed and repeat. So, I invented a new day. The children would be in charge for a day; this would require some light clean-up duties, easy meals to prepare and the chance for Steve and I to chill outside enjoying the day. The children would be permitted to stay up after us if they wanted and could tell us when to wash up and go to bed after dinner. I explained my plan over dinner and everyone seemed to think it was a great idea. I can’t wait.

The Abundance of Tarts

Zettie Louise never ceases to surprise me. When Junior was helping her yesterday, she made him lunch. That wasn’t surprising but the fact that Zettie Louise had Junior help her make a gourmet treat was a hoot. When Junior came home from helping Zettie Louise yesterday, he was sweaty from working outside but holding a platter full of beautiful Ricotta Tomato Tarts. That’s not something you see everyday in my son’s hands. He was showing them to me because he had helped make them. Mind you, Junior is a great son and knows how to get the spoon to his lips most of the time without making a mess, but his cooking skills are sporadic. The tarts were gorgeous and he placed them in the icebox for dinner. I gushed over them and he smiled before going to clean up.

In many ways, Junior is different at Zettie Louise’s. More mature or thoughtful or something. He really respects her and has learned a lot listening to her. He throws in comments at dinner about subjects that they discuss. I’m not sure how many in-depth discussions I have had with my son about the state of the world but Zettie Louise covers a lot of serious topics with him. That makes me proud of him but I wonder if he thinks I am more superficial than her. I suppose in my position as mother, it will always be a little disconcerting to have someone else teach my son something. When children are young, you are with them all of the time and you are aware of everything they know. Then one day, someone else babysits them and they come home knowing new stuff. That’s when they start to surprise you with their own discoveries.

I called Zettie Louise after dinner and thanked her for the tarts. They were truly delicious. She had used her own home-grown tomatoes and basil. I also thanked her for the way she interacted with Junior. Zettie Louise always calls him Steven when she talks about him. After our call, I realized that Zettie Louise was in touch with a different side of my son. Even my nickname for him kept him my baby. It was a little late to start calling him Stephen but it wasn’t too late to start treating him a little more like a young man.

Today, Zettie Louise sent my son home with some beautiful tomatoes and the recipe for the tarts. I asked my son if he would take some time with me to prepare the recipe so he could teach me any tricks he learned along the way. He graciously told me that he would fit me into his schedule and we both laughed at the formality of his reply. His laugh reminded me that Junior was my little boy and always would be. Who he was with others was not supposed to be who he was with me. I was special in his life because I was his mom. We prepared more tarts and they were absolutely delicious. Everyone clapped at the table when Junior walked out the platter and placed it on the table. He deserved the applause and thanked him for making the meal extra special again.

 

Saving Time is Delicious

I was pondering some efficiency methods to make life run smoothly when I returned to school in the fall. As in most houses, getting everyone up and fed took the most courage and planning. The lack of a good night’s sleep for even one member of a household affected everyone. I am a sleep zealot. I try my best to get seven hours every night. I get up before everyone else to get the day started well and prepare a good breakfast. I also really need a few minutes of quiet time before starting to interact with other humans. My morning smoke is crucial planning time for me and I consider my morning ritual a chance for me to work on autopilot until I am fully functional.

With such a high premium on getting each day started right, I was going to tackle breakfast differently this year. I am planning on stealing a few minutes after dinner each evening to get everything in place for breakfast. I don’t want to dumb down these good meals but I figured some meals could be made more mom and time friendly, much like casseroles do for dinner. I was going to start out with making a Baked French Toast casserole. It’s special enough to make my family feel my love but not so unusual for them to reject it without tasting it.

My next big task would be getting the children ready for the school year with clothes and shoes. Daisy enjoys this task more than Junior, but boys are easier to buy multiples for once you know their size. Once I have established the right size for pants for Junior, I just pick up four more in different colors. I try and choose shirts that are neutral enough to go with most of the pants. His sock choices are easy as long as they “don’t itch.” Shoe buying required a whole afternoon and since I always put it off until the last possible day, it remains the most stressful. I like to start to talk about the fact that we are going to go shopping for school clothes long before we actually do it; that helps get the children used to the idea. If I start really early, I can let them off the hook after their first protests by telling them I will put it off a little longer. That way, I remain the understanding mom who can be tricked into seeing things their way. Little did they know, I was way ahead of them. I usually followed up a week later with another warning about the upcoming shopping day. During this announcement, I like to muse aloud about maybe having time after shopping to get an ice cream sundae. Then I change the subject entirely before they can add anything. Progress in difficult tasks takes time. I actually read that in one of my textbooks last semester; I checked to see if a woman wrote it since it sounded just like mom-talk. By the time we actually get to the shopping day, all resistance is futile and the children will be grudgingly looking forward to it. Now I need to find a way through my issue with shoe shopping for them. Those last minute buying days are always with packed with kids who have too much nervous energy.

Last night before dinner, I gathered the ingredients for the Baked French Toast and put them on the end of the counter. After dinner and finishing most of the dishes, I left the sink full of soapy water, another great time saver. I assembled the casserole and placed it in the icebox. This morning, I surprised everyone with a delicious hot breakfast treat and they all liked it. I am going to add a few more morning casseroles to my repertoire over the next few weeks. It’s nice for me because I don’t have to rush around as much in the morning. I need to make sure I have plenty of time for a good breakfast too.

My Mind was Set

I set up a meeting with my school advisor to discuss my upcoming semester. Junior was spending the morning with a friend but I decided to take Daisy along to the meeting. We needed some one on one time anyway and I promised her lunch at the school cafeteria. There were fewer students on the campus and the walkways were almost empty, so Daisy ran ahead of me and climbed on the short walls and steps along the sidewalk. Her legs had gotten longer this year and I couldn’t dress her in short dresses anymore since she was more little girl than little.

Daisy was very polite with the advisor, who sat behind a giant wooden desk. While we spoke, Daisy looked over the book I brought to keep her busy. I wanted Daisy to go to college right after high school instead of playing catch up like me. The advisor was not overly impressed with my big two class schedule but I did my best to act like a student who would eventually take on more classes as my day job being a mom decreased. The advisor told me that until students starting taking half a full schedule, they usually didn’t need much attention. Full time students required the most attention. Being taken for granted is probably commonplace for older students. The advisor dismissed my slight concerns and told me to check the catalog for my next choices. I gave him my weakest smile, collected my daughter and headed for the quad. Daisy returned to climbing and running as we walked toward the building that housed the cafeteria. Some of the students lay on blankets on the grass, some reading, some talking to each other and some staring at the clouds. It looked relaxing and they didn’t seem to be stressed over their studies.

Daisy pushed her tray along the food line and I lifted her a few times to help her make her sections. She was excited to see so many desserts but had a hard time picking the perfect one because they all looked delicious. We stopped and I broke down the selections for her – pie, cake or pudding, chocolate, fruit or not, with whipped cream or not. Eventually, she settled on chocolate cake with whipped topping. Daisy smiled up at me and thanked me. Everyone needs help with choice at times. Especially when there are a lot of good ones.

Maybe I needed to think about college like a younger person. There were a lot of choices but manageable if I used logic. The quad was a place of fun and not just the way to get from one place to another. I was really lucky to live in our beautiful home to do my studying and enjoy my family while doing my coursework. Going to school was definitely a challenge and I think next semester might be a good time to add another class. That would make me a half-time student. I could handle that.

Watching other people sometime helps me make up my own mind. School was something my mind was set on. Having the outlook of a student made me feel like the whole world was out there for me to learn about. As Daisy balanced on the small wall next to the sidewalk, I stepped up behind her and followed her lead.

It’s Not the Heat, it’s the Hot

Summers are generally very warm at some point. Those first few days really feel good as the sunshine tans my skin after the cold of winter and the wet chill of spring. Spring gets away with being cool because it is extra pretty. The good thing about summer are the trips to the club pool or hanging outside with a cool drink. Every day this week has been an extra level of hot though. I could feel the wall of air when I opened the door to go outside. Even my cigarette smoking felt excessively hot. At the club, I jumped into the pool multiple times yesterday and finally just borrowed one of the inflatables the kids were using and floated around in the water. I may have looked a little silly, but I felt better.

When we came home, the children hid in their rooms playing in the cool air. Thank goodness for air conditioning. Growing up, we just had box fans in the windows moving hot air around. When Steve came home from work, he was concerned about his grass going dormant and not looking great, so he positioned the sprinkler on the front lawn. He sat in a chair in the shade with Francis between the houses as Francis watered his lawn also. I brought out a drink to Steve and noticed that Francis had a bottle of beer already. It was too hot to cook a big meal but I had prepared some salads for dinner. It was really too hot to eat. From time to time, the guys would get up and move their sprinklers, getting a little wet in the process.

After eating, Steve and the kids went back outside while Steve and Francis continued their watering. When they moved their sprinklers, they repositioned their chairs a little, always on the edge of the water’s reach. The children came out and ran around the lawn close enough to get a little wet. When Marie-Claire came out, they played sprinkler tag. At least, they wouldn’t need baths. After cleaning up the dishes, I made myself a drink and called Chloe to see if she wanted to join me outside. Her phone rang but she didn’t answer. She was probably taking a bubble bath or doing something French women do.

As I turned around the corner of the house, I was completely taken back by the scene on the front lawn. There was a giant game of sprinkler tag going on with squeals of laughter coming from the participants. I stopped short when I saw who was playing. Joining the kids on the lawn were Steve, Francis and Chloe, all chasing one another as they slipped on the wet grass. More than that, Zettie Louise was chasing along drenched in her usual olive drab. What a sight! I sipped my drink as they played, not even noticing me. It’s at a time like this I wish I carried my camera around with me.

A couple of minutes later, a really wet and dripping Chloe dragged me into the game. I tried hard to refuse but she hugged me and pulled me in. Once I was wet, there wasn’t much use in not playing. I was a tagged immediately by Junior and had to get up to speed to catch somebody else to be it. It took a minute or two since I slipped on my wet sandals but eventually I grabbed the back of Steve’s shorts and got him. Catching my breath, I went to the edge of the water and grabbed my drink to take a sip. When I looked up, I noticed Mags and Harold sitting on chairs on their lawn watching our spectacle. Mags waved when she saw me look up. It was then I realized that Harold had his movie camera out and was filming the scene. How embarrassing! Oh well, you are only young once I thought as I ran back into the sprinkler.

See you Later

Motherhood is grueling. Endless nights without sleep, followed by days of feeding, changes, cleaning and caring. The compensation can be tricky. A toothless smile or a giggle can make it all worthwhile. My mother called me to tell me about the need to care for her older brother. My uncle was born several years before my mother came along and there was a gap between her and her older siblings. She was raised differently since her parents were probably worn out by the time she came along. Since she was the baby of the family, each of them had depended on her to take care of them in various ways as they grew old before her. They cared for her as a baby, and she cared for them at the other end of life. Due to some health concerns, my uncle was going to have to move in with my mother. He was a childless widower with enough savings to go to a nursing home, but my mother thought it would be nicer for him to be at home. His house was put up for sale, many of his things were given away and he was ready to be moved. My mother’s attitude surprised me. She sounded as if she was looking forward to his coming. I can’t recall her acting as if she loved being a mother when I was young but maybe I just assumed she put up with us because it was her job. I told Steve that I was going to drive over to see my mother in case she needed any help.

When I arrived at my mother’s house, she was humming and cleaning. I couldn’t remember ever hearing her do that before. We sat down for coffee and she told me I looked tired. Now that was the mother I remembered. I still had lingering feelings about somehow letting her down in life. After we made up the spare bedroom, I sat down on the edge of the bed to catch my breath. My mother took another concerned look at me and she knew. I did not know what to say to her because I didn’t know how I felt about having another baby. She reminded me that she was a surprise baby and I got her point. I was trying to accept what happened. The weird part was that I didn’t feel pregnant.

We picked up my uncle and all had a delicious dinner together. My mother made my favorite childhood meal and my uncle was very grateful for her taking him in and said so repeatedly. Before I drove home, my mother and I had a talk about taking care of myself. I realized at that point that my mother may have enjoyed being a mom. She sure liked the idea of having her brother with her and she understood what was going on with me without my saying it. Maybe motherhood at the other end of life isn’t as grueling. I had much to think about and promised my mother that I would check in more often. She reminded me that we can’t always plan what would happen in life. Then she gave me some words to ponder. Mother told me that things were not as good as I wanted all the time, but they weren’t as bad as I imagined. I drove home in silence thinking about those words.

That night, my period started and the moment was bittersweet. No baby. just a chance to practice what I said I wanted to preach. I called my Mother in the morning and let her know so she wouldn’t worry about me. She had planned a day for my uncle – the barbershop for a shave and haircut. I couldn’t recall the last time that Steve went to Charles’ Barbershop for a shave. It was a mysterious practice to me with straight-edges, hot towels and tonic. I would never know how indulgent that must be. I mentioned the shave business to Steve that night. He thought that getting a shave at a barber shop was for old men on special occasions but did admit that it felt great to have someone actually shave your face that closely. I thought more about it later as I perched on the edge of the bathtub with a razor in my hand while shaving my own legs. I borrowed Steve’s shaving cream cup and brush and lathered up to see if I could shave more closely. It felt okay but I probably wouldn’t do it again; my time is precious and I need to shave a couple of times each week to keep the stubble under control. I wish someone would invent a shop that shaves legs for women. It could have little bathtubs that we could perch on while some devoted professional gallantly shaved away. I doubt it will ever happen, but a girl can dream.