Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Interrupt This Regular Blog to Bring You a Vacation Moment....

First, a disclaimer:  I am not a "spa" type person.

I get twitchy during the occasional manicure.  My legs start bouncing if after 35 minutes, the sytlist is still messing with my hair.   I think a lot of the emulsifying, purifying, hydrating, vitamin enriching theraputetic gobbilty gook that is offered at resorts and the like, are over-priced over-hyped hokum that wastes what could have otherwise been in the hands of a professional chef or even a rank amature, good food.   "Honey cucumber facial, blueberry seaweed body raps, rice and salt rubs, chocolate mud bath..." the lists of options for putting edibles anywhere and everywhere but your mouth are as endless as the inventory of a Whole Foods warehouse.     

So when my husband signed me up for a Tri-fecta spa day while on our vacation, while moved by the lavish and sweet gesture, I secretly viewed the whole idea with suspicion.  I told myself, just order a hair cut and a pedicure and manicure and get them all done at once.  

The spa however, while hailed as one of "The Places" in Maine, did not offer hair cuts, only hair nourishment (whatever that was).  So I settled on a facial for novelty's sake, a pedicure and a shoulder and neck rub.  The woman wrote down my selections and said, "Fine, here is your robe and here is the changing room.  Lock your clothes and things in this locker and come to the waiting room." 

I have to get undressed?  Really?  Frankly, it took all my mental control not to bolt that instant.  My brain raced for an alternative: I'd jog for the hour and a half before my husband came back.  Yeah!  Then I'd have the glow of having worked out and he'd mistake it for a facial.

There were three problems with this plan: 1) my inability to in all likelyhood jog for more than ten minutes; 2) the unmistakable smell of me if I did manage to run all that time and 3) the fact that my beloved had just shelled out 100 bucks to be romantic to his spouse of 20 years.   Not wanting to be a sissy,  I told myself, you've had nine kids, you're raising nine kids and pregnant with the tenth, you can handle this now stop being such a baby and get in the robe! 

The lounge was full of adults of all ages. No one made eye contact and everyone was silent. All were painfully aware that each of us was only wearing a borrowed robe. Most were trying desperately to appear diffident or overly interested in the fire, the ocean view or the new age art on the wall, and everyone jumped a bit whenever one of the clinicians would come out dressed smartly in all black and call out someone's name.   "Hi, I'm Julie.  How are you today?" as if each of us was dying to make our next new bestest friend while clad only in a loaned terry cloth.

When it was my turn, the woman asked me, "Do you have any conditional issues?"  "What does that mean?" I asked.  She rattled off broken bones, recent injuries, diseases, pregnancy.

"I'm three months pregnant." I explained.
"Oh.  Then you can't do the massage or the pedicure."
"What? Why not?"  I asked.  I'd had pedicures before; why was this suddenly verboten?

"Well, there are certain places on the foot we don't touch for fear of stimulating labor."
"I'm three months."
"Well, we like to be safe."

"I've had nine.  If foot rubs could have induced labor, believe me women would be lining up the manicurists at the hospital rather than taking on those petocin drips." 

She gave me a reproachful look.  "Most hospitals don't appreciate the healing and helpful powers of touch." 

Maybe so but I still thought she was way way way overdoing it.  I mean, I'd had foot rubs.  My husband specializes in them in the third trimester.  Not once have we not needed that stupid IV drip to deliver one of our children.  Realizing having an arguement with the woman who is supposed to pamper you would probably be a bad starting point and that this discussion would be breeching possible theological grounds for her if I mocked it too much, I asked, "Where is the spot that brings on labor?"  She motioned her hand in a cupped position and stroked the bottom of my foot.  I promise I didn't but man was I tempted to yell "OW OW OW OW OWWWW!"  Instead, I said, "I'll remember that for my husband come January." with a smile. 

"Now, since we can't do what you requested, how about a pregnancy massage?  It's only 50 minutes and it will cost less than what your husband signed you up for." 

Pregnancy massage?  I thought okay....and immediately began hoping it didn't involve rubbing my belly.   But only 50 minutes?  Sign me up.

"Fine, first I need to get you the pregnancy pillows."  This seemed a bit much.  I mean, I'm only three months.   She came back with a special hollowed spa black foam shapes.  One was for my face so I could lay on my stomach; there was also a molded pillow for my chest and two curved ones that would lift the belly and support the hips and two for my knees.  She placed them on the bed and put a sheet over it.  "Get inbetween the sheets while I'm out."

Now again, I felt like bolting.  This was just to wierd and too intimate but I quickly scuttled into the bed and positioned myself on the pillows.  My neck was a bit extended.  The first sign that spa-itis has set in, you begin expecting only to be comfortable.  She came in and asked how I felt.  I mentioned my neck, feeling a bit silly.  She adjusted it.  "Perfect." I said as I settled into the warm and now amazingly comfortable bed and began spa type thinking, "9 times and I've been doing this all wrong.  You know Sher, being hardy is way overrated.  Why couldn't you ever be just a bit more high maintenance?  I mean man this is nice.  I like these.  I wonder if we could buy these.  These are good, even it this is the last pregnancy, these are really really good."

Then she said, "Whoops, you're pregnant so we have to turn off the heat from the bed." 

"But I like heat..." I wimpered as she flicked the switch.  I wanted to say, no whine, "Turn the heat back on." but I knew she wouldn't for the same reason I wasn't getting a pedicure and I also was mildly annoyed and amused by my own petty demand.  The second sign I was beginning to get into the spa type experience.

New age bird song music began being piped in the room and my brain hit the spa brakes. 

"Don't you ever have a day when the spa music gets to be a bit dull and ever want to shake things up by putting on acid rock?" I asked.  She said, straight faced, "No, then I just ask to do any pounding massages that get requested."  I wondered what massage therapists do to unwind at the end of a given day but given that she hadn't laughed at anything I'd said up to now, I decided not to pry.

She started rubbing and I flinched but she didn't.  She started asking me about my kids as a means of distracting me and it worked.  After ten minutes of banter, I stopped talking because the rub was having it's intended effect.  The lazy thought "After the beast has been tranquilized, she'll be tagged and released back into the wild for future monitoring."  skirted across my brain as I drifted off.

Thirty minutes later, only at her request, I flipped over.  It took a tremendous act of will.

When the whole thing finally ended, I felt as if I'd been asleep for hours.  She handed me a glass of ice water and told me it was important to hydrate a lot after a massage.  I was too dopey to ask why even though I couldn't figure out how lying innert for an hour would deplete one of water.   I did manage a groggy and grateful "Thank you." and felt the abrupt return to reality when she said, "Get out of the bed and back in your robe so you can get dressed."   I had to move?   How much for another hour part of my brain wondered. Could I come back tomorrow or would that be too much?

Getting dressed, I felt floaty, as if I wasn't exactly of this earth.  I also felt rarified, in that I noticed everything.  The air in the hallway was colder than that of the room where I'd been massaged and that bothered me.  The bathroom where I changed was luxurious and the act of washing one's hands felt somehow transformed into both a pampering act and forced labor because I had to do it.  I noticed the paint on the walls, the details of the carpet, the ambient noise of the hotel.  It felt as if everything else and everyone else was moving at 78 rpms while I was blissfully trodding along at 33 and almost irritated at the demand I speed back up. 

I got back to our room and my husband smiled at me, "How was your time at the spa?"  he asked.  "Man, the rich live in a much rarer air than the rest of us.  I'm not sure I'd be tolerable if I could have that sort of luxury more often. It's like I can feel everything and so I'm hyper aware of even the mildest discomfort."

"Poor baby." he laughed.  "Guess we should go cheer you up with some lobster for lunch."
"Yes.  That would be perfect!"

Still not a spa person but I've got to say, having a 20th anniversary rocks!

Happy Anniversary My Love!  You are Magnificent and I am a very blessed woman to be married to you!


Single Dad Laughing said...

"I've had nine. If foot rubs could have induced labor, believe me women would be lining up the manicurists at the hospital rather than taking on those petocin drips." Haha, loved your post.

Seriously, is it even possible to induce labor that early in anybody and with anything? I mean, maybe castor oil mixed with serious laxatives, while getting that foot rub. Really, it's probably more an issue of me not appreciating the power of touch.

Maria Fernanda McClure said...

i've never made it more than 5 minutes into a massage. maybe i should go to THE place in maine...

MightyMom said...

massages aren't for everyone...but me, I LOVE me a good massage. matter of fact when my feet hurt with every step and I was frutrated enough to cry at the slightest look I decided I needed to get a pedicure...with an hour long leg/foot massage....ahhhh heaven. I've since decided that shall happnen on a regular basis...like about every 2 months!

that whole foot rub causing labor is from "reflexology" which is just this side of snake oil. look it up, you'll get a good laugh. I put more faith in accupunture actually.

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