It happens many mornings, after I get ready for work, that one or both teenaged daughters will look at me with raised eyebrows when I come upstairs in the morning.
“You’re wearing that?” they might ask with exasperation, scorn or disbelief.
I usually go change immediately.
You might remember, if you’ve read this column before, the time I wore sandals and cute capris to the pig-picking event.
My dear friend told me to dress appropriately. It was a cool, early spring morning. What could be more appropriate than cute sandals, which were, I might add, waterproof, and capris?
When I got to the fairgrounds to help my children choose their 4-H pigs from the hundred or so on display, my friend looked at me with dismay and said the all-too-familiar line, “You’re wearing that?”
I thought maybe she had talked to my daughters. But no, she was incredulous that I would wear something so wrong.
She thought I was going to help pick up baby pigs and put them in the trailer. I thought I would stand in the sunshine and watch, from a safe distance. This was just one example of my inability to pick the right outfit for an occasion.
During an end of summer trip to San Francisco, the kids wanted to stop at the Golden Gate Bridge overlook.
I pulled the jeep into the parking lot, and the kids raced out of the car, not even looking back to make sure I followed.
My older daughter and I were both wearing skirts and flip-flops, which is entirely appropriate for San Francisco.
It is not, however, appropriate for careening down the face of a cliff to the ocean below, which is exactly what the three younger kids were doing. They found a quasi-trail and hurtled themselves down it to reach the ocean.
Deirdre and I stood at the top of the cliff, watching them slide across rocks, down the barely visible trail.
I suggested we might find a better trail, but she was concerned about leaving the kids alone near the water.
So, we did what any reasonable person would do. We started down the face of the cliff, wearing our flip-flops and skirts. Fortunately for me, I was wearing a skort, a skirt with shorts underneath. It was short, but stable. Deirdre had a short skirt that immediately blew up over her head. She could not hold the skirt and the cliff face, so I offered to go ahead of her to prevent anyone from looking up her skirt. After several harrowing minutes, we made it, barely, to the waters edge. It was quite a show for those waiting below.
I believe my biggest wardrobe malfunction came recently, during a beautiful fall afternoon.
I was wearing a dress and tights. I decided it would be a good idea to feed my bees, before the weather turned cold. It’s not good for bees to go without food, nor is it good to open the hive when temperatures drop.
Rather than change out of my dress into pants, I decided to put the bee suit on over my dress and feed them quickly. It’s a five-minute job, and I figured I’d be done before the bees had a chance to get too mad.
I opened the hive, carefully prying off the lid with a hive tool. At first, the bees hummed gently in the afternoon sunlight. When I started adding the syrup water to the hive, their quiet hum turned into a very angry buzz in a matter of seconds. They dive-bombed the bee bonnet, which fortunately protected my face. They landed on my arms, which were covered with elbow length gloves. Unfortunately, the bee suit is only a shirt. It ends at the waist. The dress billowed in the breeze, attracting unwanted attention from my now angry hive. Those bright pink tights must have agitated the bees even more. Before I could get the full gallon of syrup into the feeder, I felt them landing on my legs. I couldn’t swat at them, because my hands were full.
Instead, I felt their angry stings, one on each leg. As I raced to empty the syrup into the feeder and replace the top of the hive, I noticed that several bees were stuck up under my dress.
My heart was pounding. If I left these bees there, I would surely get stung in some very tender areas. So, I did what any smart beekeeper in a dress would do. I lifted my dress over my head and began dancing wildly, to get away from the bees.
I’m sure, if it were anyone else, it would have seemed comical. Instead, my heart pounded with panic as I envisioned bee stings in every place you don’t want to be stung.
I raced away from the hive, flailing wildly, and finally the bees stopped pursuing.
This might be an opportunity to examine more closely my apparel, but I doubt it. After all, what fun would that be?