I don't usually make New Year's resolutions. In fact, I used to think the idea of making such yearlong promises to myself was frivolous.
A lot of people make resolutions to exercise more and eat less fast food. It's a good idea, but the 52-week plan usually only lasts for about 14 days. By the time February rolls around, it's back to eating French fries and burgers and thinking that exercise means walking from the couch to the kitchen to get a snack.
This year is different, though. I've thrown my usual feelings about resolutions out the window for the sake of my hair.
When I left Cape Girardeau for vacation a couple weeks ago, my hair was mostly brown with a few leftover streaks of blonde from when it was last highlighted.
It would still be that way today if I had not gotten the idea that I could play hairdresser.
My sister Stacey and I decided last weekend we were going to have our sister Jenn highlight our hair. We went to the store and cheerfully bought boxes of hair color. What happened over the next three hours would turn our cheer into sheer horror, and teach us several important lessons.
Lesson 1: We are not hairdressers, nor should we ever claim to be.
It took Jenn over an hour to pull Stacey's hair through the bonnet-like highlighting cap. Being impatient, I decided it would be OK if I just dyed my whole head St. Tropez Red No. 31 instead of just highlighting with it. Jenn and Stacey agreed that would probably be OK -- probably being the key word.
Lesson 2: Only dye your whole head St. Tropez Red No. 31 if you wish to blend in with fire trucks and stop signs or if you wish to blind people with the glare when you stand in direct sunlight.
The box said I could do a strand test before I started dying my hair, but I figured it would be OK to leave it on for the recommended 25 minutes.
Lesson 3: The strand test directions on the box are not just there to take up space.
After 25 minutes I rinsed my hair and headed upstairs to blow-dry it. As it dried, the true color began to emerge. With every passing minute, I looked more and more like Elmo's long-lost cousin.
I hung my radiant head in shame as I walked down the stairs to where my sisters and brother-in-law waited. As I expected, they laughed.
Lesson 4: Your problems might seem bad, but they could always be worse.
When Stacey was done rinsing and drying her hair I didn't feel so bad about my new SEMO-pride hairdo. Her hair, once light brown, was now about 30 shades of blonde and orange.
In the end, even though we looked like circus clowns, we were circus clowns together. It was one of those moments sisters must go through together -- like making New Year's resolutions to go to professionals if we ever want our hair dyed again.
Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.