Day at the Spa

January 30, 2011

Today I put good use to my Gene Juarez gift certificate.  Rather than either losing it or waiting a year before booking an appointment, I took the afternoon off and visited the Bellevue salon.

I’m not one to hit the spas on a regular basis (though I wouldn’t complain if I could), and any time I go, I usually book a facial or a massage.  This time I decided to try something new, that being in the form of algae.  Specifically, the Algae Body Masque.  This is a process of exfoliation, detoxification and relaxation through “deep-sea therapy.”  The spa therapist first exfoliates my skin with some sort of scrub (I unfortunately forget to ask what it is, as I am too preoccupied with regretting to have not used the bathroom beforehand.  I had lounged in the waiting room for a while, sipping lots of tea while reading 1001 Ways to Be in the Moment, and before I knew it, it was my turn).  The therapist then covers me in a mineral-rich algae wrap, first painting on the warm, fishy potion and then wrapping me up in plastic.  Meanwhile she talks about puppet shows and how they frightened her as a child.  I don’t respond with much, as I want to subtly hint that I’m not one of those clients who like to chat while receiving a spa service.  Didn’t Jerry Seinfeld mention that in one of his shows?  About the massage therapist who wouldn’t shut up?  Anyway.  So I’m laying on a table with this Vichy Shower above me.  This aquatic therapy was first used in the French city, Vichy. It acts like a thermal massage, hydrating the skin while stimulating blood circulation.  I had never seen one before, and honestly, the whole place reminded me of an autopsy room.  The walls and floor are covered with white tiles and there’s a large drain in the center of the floor.  The single “bed” looks like a gurney, and after she wraps me in the body bag/wrap, she uses a control to raise the bed towards the ceiling, so I’m directly under the five shiny metal heads that are the Vichy Shower.  She’s draped a white towel over the length of my body (now all I need is a toe tag) and has placed a plastic covering over my face so the water doesn’t spray me, but she’s put a towel over the top of that, so I can’t see anything and am quite shocked when the shower jets suddenly start pummeling me at every angle.  Four minutes face up, four minutes face down, lower the table, smooth seaweed-rich lotion all over, and I’m set to go.  All in all, it was a good experience.  I felt relaxed and my skin was supple.  I used the fancy hairspray and mouthwash in the women’s lounge.  Best of all, it was covered with a $100 gift certificate.  I’d recommend the service to a friend.  Just don’t go near the wall of stainless steel drawers behind the front desk 🙂

As the mommy of a 15-month-old, I’ve become witness to the exasperating disappearance of the morning nap.  One day it’s there, the next–  gone. But then it’s back again.  And then it’s gone, along with the afternoon nap.   And then, for a couple of glorious days they’re both back!  And then… gone.  When my husband, Sean, asks me what my son and I have planned for the following day, my answer becomes a mumbled succession of errands and activities, partly because I’m trying to work through possible scenarios in my head, but then ending in the conclusive statement, “It depends on his naps.”  Sean had lost my train of thought three football highlights ago, and I begin to wonder if I’m alone in living the life ruled by the ambiguous yet omniscient nap.  I’m happy and relieved when, arriving at a coffee shop with my son to meet up with another mom, she calls to tell me she’s running late– “Anthony refused to eat lunch, then he had this huge messy diaper right after I dressed him, and you know, his naps have been so inconsistent lately…”

Why am I starting a blog?  I hardly have time to check email, eat a warm meal, do my makeup and, on some days, even shower.  As a stay-at-home-mom, I’m able to experience every smile, cuddle, tantrum, laugh and poopy diaper from my little one.  I love it and would not trade it for anything.  And though I give all I have to my son, I’ve realized that I’m a better mom when I’ve had my little escape from this 24/7 job.  Whether it be a 30 minute bubble bath, a quick trip to the gym or a chapter read from a book that does not include the words “baby,” “sleep,” or “teething” in the title… it’s a slice of peace, solitude and freedom.  And I come back to my son recharged.
Busy schedules, long to-do lists, sleep deprivation and even “mom guilt” often hinders us from taking these moments to ourselves.  But I’m here to put my mom calm moments up further on my list and, while doing so, maybe help other moms do the same.