The Herald Bulletin

March 29, 2014

Theresa Timmons: Getting ready for 'the Ball'

Paper towels, scissors and the magic of makeup

The Herald Bulletin

---- — It was a Saturday in March, the day of the Mayor's Ball.

And I was going.

Since I am not a ball kind of girl, you might be wondering how that could have possibly happened.

It seems that the mayor of Anderson has a particular interest in city beautification. At my place of employment (Aqua Systems) we spend a lot of time maintaining our landscaping and cultivating a not-so-secret garden of color, texture, and vibrant life.

We even have ponds. With fountains. And fish. It's like Kings Island.

We were receiving recognition with a "community image" award, presented in appreciation of our effort at beautification. Since I am the Aqua Systems gardener who spends her entire summer planning, digging, planting, plucking, watering and sweating profusely, I was accompanying my boss, Mark Turner, to the ball.

By 3 o'clock in the afternoon all of my ball supplies were loaded in my car. My 100% silk dry clean only gown was hanging in the back seat looking beautiful without me in it. My matching shoes were in the official designated Ball-grooming supplies bag that said "Office Depot" on the side. I took a quick inventory. Jewelry?... check. Hosiery? ... check. Emergency curling iron?...check. Ridiculously tiny, almost useless purse that can barely hold lipstick and my identification (aka ...'clutch')? ... check.

It was time to go to Clip Zone and allow an expert team of groomers the opportunity to wad up my hair and elegantly pile it on top of my head, creating the hairstyle I call "ball head." I also hired them to apply my make-up.

In my opinion, somebody had their work cut out for them.

The woman at Clip Zone assigned to spruce me up turned out to be a genius. She created my own unique ball hairdo with a mere 25 bobby pins. The make-up was so good it hid all liver spots, moles and sun damage. I barely recognized the girl gawking back at me in the mirror with two separate eyebrows. Mission accomplished in an hour or less.

The time had arrived to dress for the party. I drove to my personal dressing room - my office at Aqua Systems.

One might believe that slipping on a dress and shoes would be the easiest part of dressing for a ball. That may be true for serial ball attendees. But for someone like me, who inspired the nail tech to utter special Vietnamese adjectives when installing my fake fingernails, dressing for a ball can be challenging.

It occurred to me that the shirt I wore to Clip Zone was designed with a not-very-stretchy crew style neck. My "ball hair" with 25 bobby pins was in danger ... getting my head to pass unscathed through the neck of my shirt was a ship-in-a-bottle dilemma. This had not been well thought out. I had a problem.

I sat down at my desk to think.

And the solution came to me, mainly because the scissors with the orange grips were right there in front of me in my spinning desk organizer. That's when I did what any desperate gardener who really wants to go to the ball would do. No regrets, I said to myself. Snip, snip! I hacked off the crew neck shirt with a sawing slice right down the front.

Problem solved. The gown with the scoop neck went on with ease. My "ball head" with 25 bobby pins was safe.

Next I rammed my brand new full set of giant fake nails with glittery gold polish right through my $8 hosiery. Fortunately my hemline fell below the run. Problem number two was solved.

I slipped on the shoes that were the perfect match to my 100 percent silk champagne-colored dress. I took a step ... then two. The shoes were too big and slipped off my heels. The heels flopped and clunked hard on the floor with each step. My ball shoes were flip-flops.

Apparently I had puffy shopping feet when I purchased the shoes. Or tried them on with socks.

I sat back down at my desk. No way was I going to clunk around like a Clydesdale in the Paramount Ballroom. Think, think, think, I said to myself. And sure enough, the answer was right in front of me. As it turns out, it took exactly three sections of Bounty paper towels wadded in the toe of each shoe to lock the heel in place. I was practically a female MacGyver.

I arrived at the ball at 6 p.m. My boss was there.

"Pretty dress," he said. "Aqua Systems has the best dressed gardener."

And the gardener with the most cramped toes.

Theresa Timmons' column appears every first and third Sunday. She is an Elwood resident and can be reached at