When I was a kid, my mom would take me to one of the local barber shops along Water Street in Salem to get my hair cut. Except, we had a process for this. We’d get up eeeeextra early on non-school days, or Saturdays if it were the school year, and we’d go in and sit outside in the car waiting for the barber to flip the “Closed” sign to “Open”. Then we’d go in, mom would explain how she wanted the hair cut (“shorten the bangs, blocked in the back”). I would just sit there uncomfortably in what was clearly a place for old men to gather, and cringe at the sound of the razor and struggle to keep my sleepy eyes open. Mom would sit in the corner.

It was until yesterday morning I realized why we always had to get up so early: she hated going to the barber shop.

Mom went to the House of Fashion in Salem and Vivian had cut mom’s hair for years and years. It wasn’t until after mom died that I myself started going there. My grandmother still goes there. Mom, I assume, must have thought that boys should go to barbers, and thus, she would take me to the barber because that’s what moms do and Dad wasn’t inclined to doing it because of work.

In life’s little ironies, we should have just always gone to the place mom wanted to go because it was the place I eventually wanted to go when I was old enough to start making that decision on my own. I came to trust Sheila at the House of Fashion with my hair and was satisfied with her work and went there right up until I moved to Indy.

Once in Indy, I bounced around to all sorts of places trying to find the right place for a fair price (I’m sorry, I’m not paying $50 for a haircut; I don’t have that much hair. I get that it’s often priced for a woman’s amount of hair-cutting, but that’s not me, so I’m not paying it). I didn’t find such a place until I tried Snipz in Irvington, which I found and had my hair cut and slightly colored at once. I liked the decor, it was gender-neutral, had a great staff, fair prices, and they treated hair like the art that it is. It only took me 7 years to find that place. Then I moved to Connecticut.

So now I’m in this process again, scouring Yelp reviews and trying to find a place that meets my exacting standards. Because of my experiences at the barber, I detest having a razor taken to my hair. I want it hand-cut with scissors. I want it to be to no more than $25 for a haircut (and even that irks me, but I’ve grown to accommodate that much). I want someone who makes good conversation, not idle chit chat, while cutting my hair. I prefer to have a gay man touch my hair because I can get persnickety about color and style and I don’t have to feel weird or “gay” about it, but I don’t want an older guy or any woman who has that “stylist look” (you know the type: the overly fussy hair, colored all to hell, sporting ridiculously long fingernails (I detest fingernails, who knows why).

It’s not easy finding that sort of place. Here I am at it again, but over the last 20 odd years, I’ve at least learned what I don’t like. In the meantime, I keep wandering by places, noticing the fonts and graphic design on the shop window, checking out the website (no prices listed or photos of your work is a flag to me), checking Yelp reviews, peeking in at the decor because I don’t want to sit in a pink chair with a box of rollers sitting nearby, and ultimately wandering on because of a failure to match my requirements by so many places.

2012 Goals Revisited, 2013 Goals Set

It’s about that time of the year when everyone sits and mutters off their New Year’s Resolutions they won’t keep. Like usual, I’m here to report on my end-of-year achievements and next year’s goals. So what’d I do in 2012 I actually said I would last year?

  1. Bike to Salem – DONE! Did this in April!
  2. Payoff all debts but the house – DONE! I have no credit card debt, no car loans, no student loans, or any other frivolous debts.
  3. Use an iPod Touch as my only phone – DONE! Did this a few months ago and no longer have a monthly phone bill or hefty data plan. I get by nicely with Ting and about 2-4 times a year I activate the cellular data plan for $20 on my Verizon iPad Mini.
  4. Read a book a month – DONE! I averaged a book a month at least. I read mostly web design/development theory books, enjoyed reading Goldfinger a few weeks prior to Skyfall’s release and a few other biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs.
  5. Keep deadbeat clients under $2000 this year – DONE! I managed to lose $0 on deadbeat clients this year. Everyone paid on time and in full.
  6. Keep living expenses under $1200 / month – DONE! Some months were close, and some months were way under, but for the most part, I lived comfortably on about $1000 a month thanks to having no pre-existing debts and only a few recurring bills (water, lights, mortgage).

I failed to a few things this year. I never got to a beach, though next year shouldn’t be too difficult to do that considering I’ll be living on the coast. I didn’t write as many human interest stories this year as I wanted and I didn’t quite make 40% of my income from non-web work, though I did earn more from non-web work this year than I did any prior year.

For 2013, my goals are:

  1. Go to a beach.
  2. Finish my novel.
  3. Organize or take part in some community events in Connecticut.
  4. Push my cumulative number of miles biked over 6,000.
  5. Get in the best shape of my life.
  6. Travel somewhere (far enough to need to use a plane) at least once.
  7. Take part in a bike race or ride.
  8. Write more letters (I’ve always done a bit of this, but I want to write to a wider (read: random) selection of people).
  9. Enjoy more coffee.
  10. Replace at least 10 things with the absolute best of those things (i.e., toaster, desk chair, silverware, knives, etc.).