My Strategic Savings Plan

The very first blog post I wrote over two years ago was about learning to braid hair.  It took Stephanie and me thirty minutes to pull off one small strand on the side of Michelle’s head.

I was so proud!

But now, now I’ve learned to French braid!  And not only  regular French braid, but reverse French braid.  I call it Hcnerf (Huk – nurf).

Two weeks ago, Stephanie walked in the kitchen with a head of wet hair.  “Dad, can you do the Katniss braid?”

“The cat nip braid?  What are you talking about?”

“No.  Katniss from The Hunger Games.  It’s a reverse French braid.”

“The backward French braid?  Oh, you mean the Hcnerf?”

Blank stare.

“Anyway, no.  I can’t do a forward French braid, much less a reverse French braid.”

“Will you try?  I can tell you how.”

I’ve found that braiding hair is sort of like juggling:  two hands, three clumps of hair.  It’s more difficult than riding a unicycle while tossing bone china in the air.

For those who want to learn, here’s how you do it:

Step 1:  Grab three independent clumps of hair from the front of the head.

Step 2:  Hold two clumps in one hand but keep them separate, they CANNOT intermingle.  Hold the third clump in the other hand.

Step 3:  Take the clump furthest to the left and tuck it under the middle clump.

Step 4:  Look for some random hair on the right side of the head.  Just a little.  Pick it up.  Incorporate it into the original right clump while still independently maintaining full control  of the middle and left clumps.  Then tuck the new right clump (original plus the small random piece) under the new middle piece (which used to be the left piece).

Step 5:  Repeat Step 4 on the left side of the head.

Step 6:  Continue doing Steps 4 and 5, adding little bits of hair each time.

When you get to  the top of the neck, or when two hours have passed, whichever comes first, combine all clumps of hair into one mumbo clump.  Pray to the good lord above that you remembered to grab a rubber band and that it is within arm’s reach.

Now for the hard part.  Hold the clump in one hand while you twist the rubber band around the bottom of the braid.    Do this until your child screams in pain.

Take a quick picture before your kid moves her head, and the entire thing falls out.

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

My dad used to give my mom a permanent in our kitchen.  He did this because we were poor.  I don’t know why they call it a permanent because it isn’t.  It should be called a temporary.  Right after the procedure, my mom’s hair would be tight as a tick, boofed up like John Travolta’s doo in the movie Hairspray.  Four weeks later she’d look like Squeaky Fromme.

When my dad gave my mom this treatment, our house smelled like a combination of formaldehyde and a nuclear reactor leak.  If I took a deep breath, it would burn the hair out of my nostrils and my lungs would sting deep down inside.  And when it was over, my mom would feed us in the same room.  Meatloaf with a chemical aftertaste, mmmm.

It’s a wonder I don’t have seven toes.

Lisa would not let me do her hair.  “Chris” did it.  I never met him but given the choice of me or him moving from Raleigh, I’m not sure which she would have chosen.  I don’t know how much it cost to dye her hair, but I know it was well over $100, and it seemed like she went once a week.  I tried to convince her that gray hair was sexy.  She disagreed.  If I would have taken over Chris’ responsibilities, like my dad did, we could have purchased a beach house with the savings.

Fortunately, I’m building trust with my daughters.  I have a plan.  It starts with braiding.  Before you know it, I’ll be giving them a wash and set, maybe even highlights right in the kitchen.  With the money I’ll save, I’ll send them to college.  Thank goodness permanents are not in style.

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  1. Pat

     /  March 25, 2013

    Danny, maybe you need a Groupon for braiding lessons. you could learn all the trick braids.
    Loved the Today show this morning, stayed home from work just to watch.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 25, 2013

      You’re awesome Pat. Enjoyed meeting your husband. Maybe I need to be teaching the braiding course!

  2. Mel Ham

     /  March 25, 2013

    courtney and Chad have a highlight story you may want to visit this with them. Wash and set..maybe when they are the age of Mrs. Gladys…The braid looks good i’m proud of you. I never learned how to french braid never had enough hair…well I do now..will you do mine at the beach? I can paint your nails when we do the pedi afternoon.

    • Mel Ham

       /  March 25, 2013

      next cruise you could make a buck or two…when out at sea all girls love to get their hair braided.

    • Danny Tanner

       /  March 25, 2013

      Start letting your hair grow out now! I need long locks!

  3. Wayne

     /  March 25, 2013

    Complain if you like, but all that money we saved with the permanents put you boys through college!

  4. Cindi

     /  March 25, 2013

    Not bad! Just in case you want to know, there are tons of youtube videos which can teach all kinds of hairstyles–and cool ways to paint nails, etc. Have fun!

  5. You rock

  6. You really are doing great job I cant even do that

  7. Courtney

     /  March 25, 2013

    DO NOT… I repeat… DO NOT highlight the girls’ hair. No matter how much they beg you to. I got dad to do mine one night because I could not wait for mom to do it. When my head came out looking like a spotted giraffe, he asked “can’t you just part your hair on the other side and no one will see it?”. $400 and 2 different salons later and my hair looked slightly better.

  8. Hopie

     /  March 25, 2013

    You are WAY ahead of the game — you do know there are moms that can’t do that right?? (not mentioning any names…) And BTW – your instructions were no help!

  9. Aunt Susan

     /  March 26, 2013

    Awesome braid! video looked good, you all look really good, Lisa is very proud of you.

  10. When I was 7, I had long, beautiful blond hair down to my backside. My mother wanted to cut it all off to spare the daily screams and snarls of my tender-headed woe, but my dad wouldn’t let her. When she had kidney surgery and was hospitalized for a week, my dad cut off all my hair by Day 3 and fed my brother and me alternating meals of Frosted Flakes and Wolf Brand chili.

    Don’t forget that there are thousands of beauty “how-to” videos on You Tube. And stay away from Wolf Brand and home highlighting kits.


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