Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Operation Dislodge-Head-From-Backside Kickoff Day

I’m done with my work obligations by noon, so I have the rest of the day to make the most out of my resort and spa experience. I decide to start by having a leisurely brunch at the top of the ‘tower’ while gazing down at Lake Michigan. I dined on various varieties of smoked fish from the Northern Pacific, an array of cheeses, fancy artisan breads, tangy pasta salad, succulent prime rib and chocolate hazelnut tortes, washed down with buzz-inducing Mimosas. As you can see, my diet is not what my focus was on today. Baby steps, remember?

I follow that with a long walk around the premises in search of the lake’s shore, which I never do find. I think the concierge lied to me about it being in walking distance, but at least I get some exercise. I enjoy the cool, fall weather although it’s making my nose run like a faucet. I kick around a golf ball that I found in the woods which in retrospect may have belonged to those guys a few feet away in the golf cart. I find pine cones, chickadees, lots of colored leaves, several small ponds, and those fuzzy seed things that you make a wish on then blow on and watch the wind carry it away. I stopped periodically and took deep breaths, put my face in the sun, and enjoyed living in the moment. It was a good walk even though I never did find the stupid lake.

Next I sign up for my spa treatments. So much to choose from! From haircuts to manicures, to Brazillian waxes, to bamboo massages…I decide on getting a deep tissue massage to try and get rid of some of the knots in my back and a pedicure since my feet haven’t seen daylight since 2008.

All this stuff is pretty new to me. I have had massages in physical therapy but they were nothing like this one. I have to take off my clothes and wear one of their robes which freaks me out a little. Plus I am rather uncomfortable with being touched by strangers. I’ve only had one other pedicure in my life and it was anything but enjoyable. I felt like they were ripping off my cuticles and they massaged my calves so hard that they caused cramping. So I was a little apprehensive about getting another one.

First I get the massage. I knew I chose the one that was going to hurt, but I was going for a more therapeutic one than a relaxing one. Within no time she is digging her elbows into the entire length of my back. I could feel every time she got stuck on a knot because she would stop for a few seconds. Then she’d go back and do it again. I said, is that a knot? She said well, most of the time people have individual knots here and there but it seems as though your whole back is twisted into one big solid one. Later she tells me it gets even worse the closer she gets to my neck. Great. This doesn’t exactly come as a shock to me, though. I know I have a bad back. I’ve tried several chiropractors, physical therapy, acupuncture, some pain management procedure where they injected cortisone into my back, and some quack guy that claimed he can make pain go away with just a touch of his palm. Nothing seems to work. I don’t make things better by choosing to do activities all day every day which require me to look down and hunch over like drawing, painting, pottery, reading etc. The fact that I sit at a computer all day for work isn’t extremely helpful either. But without this stuff in my life I would die, so I can’t change it. I can, however, pay more attention to my posture, do exercises for my back, get more of these massages (at the cheapie place because if I got them at a fancy place like this on a regular basis I’d have to get a second job which would add more stress and make bigger knots and overall defeat the purpose), and do backbends over my exercise ball every day.

So I endure the massage and try not to cry because I know it’s good for me. Aside from the elbows it was actually quite relaxing. So what if I can barely get out of bed tomorrow? My entire back feels like a ginormous bruise but soon the pain will fade and I will probably get another one.

Next I have my pedicure. I don’t know how most women find this fun and relaxing. I get to sit in a massage chair with a roller that goes up and down, which feels great on my already throbbing back. I decide to order a cocktail to distress about what is about to happen to me. I get my toenails trimmed, cuticles ripped off (I’m sorry but that shit hurts! I would have bet money that if I looked down I would have seen blood), and the bottoms of my feet sanded down. Then she starts globbing all these different icky things all over me. One looked like sugar crystals in oil (I couldn’t even watch her use this stuff because anything greasy or oily gives me serious heebee jeebees (unless, of course I am eating food cooked in it. Then it’s okay )), one looked like guacamole, and one looked like lotion but smelled so strongly that I almost gagged. She didn’t even rub it all in so it got all over my pants and I caught whiffs of it throughout the rest of the day. Finally it’s over and I have to admit that my feet do look awfully pretty. And that dried up blister on the bottom of my big toe is finally gone! All that for $60. Can’t beat that!

I stumble to the front desk with the flimsy flip flops they gave me to wear and paid my bill. Including the drink and gratuity it came to a mere $220. I try to reason with myself that I normally don’t spend a lot of money on personal grooming (I like to think that I’m naturally beautiful….), so I can get away with it this time. I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that I did something completely stupid by spending all that money on something so ridiculous and I feel the knots in my back start to tighten back up. I try to let it go…take it as a learning experience and give myself an A for having the guts to try something new.

After that I go back to my room and lay on the glorious king size, dog free bed and close my eyes. I want to get under the covers but I can’t because my toenails are still wet, so I manage to wrap the rest of myself up in a blanket and take one of the greatest naps I’ve ever had.  And I dream of going home so I can do laundry and get that stinky lotion smell out of my pants!

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