COVID-19 Random Thoughts – Self-Quarantine Day 7

I thought I was done talking about this, but I’m not. I’m never done talking about anything. Just ask my family and friends. I bet it takes all the energy they have to not throw tomatoes at me during a movie. I feel the need to give commentary even when not wanted. Or needed. Is that the same thing?

Today my day started with making a smoothie and putting a wooden spoon into the running blender. A friend suggested I strain the wood-splintered smoothie, which I proceeded to do…right into the sink. How was your day?

So, here goes my Coronavirus Random Brain Dump:

  • Most restaurants and bars are shutting down across the entire country. Think about the enormity of that. People aren’t gathering anywhere (except Florida beaches but I don’t want to talk about it). It probably hasn’t been this quiet since Columbus didn’t discover America.
  • Less cars on the road equals better air quality. Less pollution. Less gas being used. Less mileage. Longer car life. Has anyone seen the pictures from Venice? Soon enough the Hudson River will be safe enough to drink from. I mean, I know Venice doesn’t have cars. Potato Potawto.
  • Toilet paper is something I will never again take for granted as long as I live. At least until September, anyway. If I run out of it, I don’t know what I’ll do. Wiping my backside with moss really doesn’t do it for me. Growing mushrooms out of there isn’t a trend I would be too keen on participating in. Mushrooms may be hard to find right now, but I’ll take my chances.
  • This event is an extrovert’s worst nightmare. I have been feeling squirrelly since day two. Please send help. Just send it in a hazmat suit.
  • I’m getting so conditioned at practicing social distancing that when I see characters on television hugging or standing close in a group, I scream at the screen, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? SIX FEET, PEOPLE! SIX FEET!!!”
  • I haven’t seen this many kids outside playing and riding their bikes since I was twelve.
  • I think I have tennis elbow by repetitively looking at Coronavirus memes on my smartphone.
  • I really hope the virus outbreaks shrink as much as my pores have from not having an opportunity to wear makeup.
  • If I don’t start shaving my legs soon, there WILL be mushrooms growing. Moss not needed.

That’s about it for today. Stay safe out there, and please don’t do what they are doing on TV. Or in Fort Lauderdale. For the love of God, practice social distancing. Thank you and have a nice day.

Friday the 13th Part XII: The Coronavirus

The shelves are empty. People are fighting over a roll of toilet paper. Schools are closing. Events are being cancelled. Businesses are locking their doors.

It almost feels like we are hunkering down for the blizzard of the century. And it’s not limited to my little part of the country. It’s everywhere and widespread. The entire world is in on this.

The…Entire…World.

Only it’s not a snowstorm. It’s a really bad “B” movie with zombies and aliens, and we can’t get away. As the wise Pat Benetar once said, “got nowhere to run, got nowhere to hide.”

You can’t trust anyone. People are feeling crazy, losing their minds. The National Guard has been called into some areas. They have shut down roads. People are quarantined — not allowed out, not allowed in. There’s mass hysteria. There are no supplies to speak of because we were fools and didn’t listen to the “Doomsdayers.” And to top things off, it all came to a head on Friday the 13th in the United States. The only thing we’re missing is Jason.

Random Jason pic and random mask pic from Google. Creds for putting them together goes to The Kid.

Except it’s not a movie. It’s real life and we’re all living it. Although there are no zombies, there are aliens. And it comes in the form of a virus.

I have washed my hands so much the skin is peeling off. I haven’t touched my face in so long that I forget what my face feels like. If I accidentally touch a door handle with so much as my pinky finger, I get completely disgusted. I run to the nearest sink or hand sanitizing station before I do anything else. Repeat ten thousand times in what seems like a ten minute period because people touched the sink. See the problem?

I’m usually not an alarmist when it comes to this stuff. I really am typically not that fearful. Hell, if I didn’t have a husband with asthma, I might take advantage of the $65 round trip flight to sunny Florida.

But I do have a husband with asthma and there are people out there who don’t have strong immune systems. We also have to worry about our elderly. Therefore, we need to act responsibly. I need to act responsibly. Even though acting responsibly is just about one of my least favorite things to do.

Although at times this all seems a bit extreme, I will order my *groceries online, make sure I have enough wine to last through an apocalypse, and remain calm.

Are you calm? I’m calm. Oh, where did I leave that damn cork screw?

*I tried to order my groceries online except there was a week-long waiting period for a delivery. Instead, I weathered “the storm” and was able to get what I needed. I had to leave the house before the sun was up and be amongst the zombis…err, other people…but I survived. Well, maybe. I won’t really know for another 14 days.




A Year With Not Your Average Fitness

One year ago today, I wasn’t exercising at all, I was lazy, and a major couch potato. I was the textbook definition of that word that I hate most: Sedentary.

My flexibility was so bad I would wonder how I was going to do something as simple as push myself up from a sitting position. Time and time again I put off going to the gym in favor of going home and relaxing because I had a bad day and “deserved” it.

I drank something alcoholic every single night of my life and woke up every single morning groggy and with a bad attitude. I basically didn’t care about anything. I wasn’t depressed, but I wasn’t happy either.

I ate all kinds of bad crap. I hardly ever ate a vegetable. I suffered from high cholesterol and terrific heartburn, but I didn’t seem to care. I liked to eat and dammit I ate what I wanted with the reckless abandon of a teenage boy. My weight was the highest it had ever been and was climbing.

I fought with my closet every morning over what to wear, which inevitably made me late for work. I never packed a lunch, prepped a dinner ahead of time, and more often than not I’d go to the grocery store with a list in my head and not on paper. That never ended well and often required me to hit the store again because I forgot something.

I had no good habits. I never wrote which is something I adore. I was addicted to my phone and social media and would choose that over doing something else that I adored: Reading.

I never planned a thing in my life. I flew by the seat of my pants because that’s the kind of person I said I was. The problem is, it didn’t work for me.

A year later I exercise and stretch consistently. I wake up early to do yoga most mornings. I eat right and track my food. I have developed so many habits that not only work for me but have helped to improve the quality of my life that include simple things like packing a gym and lunch bag and picking out my clothes the night before.

I plan out my exercise and meals. I even plan out when I’m going to write and read. I go to bed early to be sure to get a good sleep and wake up before the sun comes up with no problem.

When I think back to that girl I was a year ago, I feel bad for her. I no longer think of exercise as a chore but something I actually look forward to. It’s something I do to improve my life, my flexibility, my mind, and my body. My mindset has changed from being irritated that I need to exercise to wondering how I could ever not do it.

In the past year I’ve lost weight, lowered my cholesterol, and have controlled the terrific heartburn. I have learned about self care and how important it is. Today, I almost want to say, “I don’t even know who this person is.” But I know who this person is. It’s ME. It’s who I always was. I was just bogged down with negative thinking, laziness, self doubt, and no self control.

Is it perfect all the time? No. I’m human. But the difference is now I just pick up and continue on. Instead of throwing it out the window and starting again “on Monday.” Or worse yet, “next month.”

But I did not do this alone. I joined a fitness group online. This group of amazing women, run by a badass instructor, helped me to achieve what I thought was unattainable.

You should join me in the war to combat unhealthy living. It’s really pretty awesome. I would not be here saying this if I didn’t see with my own eyes what it did for me.

You don’t have to be a mom or even have young kids still at home. It turns out, that was really just an excuse for me to not take care of myself. Being an empty nester for 3+ years didn’t change my attitude.

Until now.

I’m sharing because we all deserve to take better care of ourselves. Also, the deal is amazing. And no one loves a good deal more than I do. Also, I’m cheap as they come, just ask DH.

The next course begins on January 13, but the cart is open now.

So, who’s in? (Click the link below for more information)

https://susie-johnson.mykajabi.com/a/20946/boTVei32

Who Even IS Luke Bryan?

Yesterday after work I went to the gym like I do and I saw a friend down there exercising. I went over to talk to her and in the process, lost an end of the rubber earpiece thing that attaches to my earbud.

I dropped to my knees frantic to find it. I retraced my steps all the way back to the locker room. I wasted a good ten minutes of exercise time because I was desperate not to listen to the music the gym was playing — country.

If you know me, you know I am the absolute opposite of a country fan. I would rather listen to Ben Stein on repeat for a month straight than be forced to listen to country music.

Unless it’s old school like Johnny Cash or Patsy Cline. Does this make me a hypocrite? I think not. There is a VAST difference between yesterday’s country and today’s. There just is, so don’t try to fight me on this.

Most people in my life enjoy the stuff. I have countless friends who love it. DH’s family — every single blessed one of them — seem to only listen to it. It is on every one of their car radios, and playing at every single bleeping family event.

A few years ago, two of my sisters-in-laws and a couple nieces even drove me to Tennessee in the hopes of a massive conversion. It was country music everywhere, all the time, for a week straight.

Did it help?

No. In fact, I believe it pushed me even further away. Which is as possible as pigs sprouting wings.

I know what you’re thinking. Especially those of you who love the stuff and can’t see where I’m coming from or are insulted by my little anti-country music rant.

You’re thinking, “Suck it up buttercup. Everyone else likes it, so you need to join the club.” And to that I would ask the question my dear parents bestowed upon me every single time I wanted to do what everyone else was doing.

If you told me to jump off the Brooklyn bridge, would I?

No, I would not. Because I know jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge would most likely kill me. And so would listening to country music.

After enlisting the help of my friend and the gym trainer, it couldn’t be found. Finally, I threw my hands up in the air and gave in. I wasn’t going to go home because I couldn’t listen to my own music. I wasn’t going to abandon my daily workout because I was going to be forced to listen to Today’s Country. No.

I had to put on my big girl spurs and get to doing my thing.

There are two types of people in the gym: the ones who workout to the music de jour. And the ones who listen to their own music. I never understood how anyone can workout without their own theme songs, but who am I to judge? It’s what makes the world go ’round, right?

To each his own.

One thing I discovered about myself yesterday was that music is a very large part of setting myself up for the energy and the motivation to exercise and to exercise hard.

Was my workout up to par yesterday? No. I was cranky and severely annoyed. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t feel like exercising. I did it, but I wasn’t happy. I even got off my elliptical 1.3 minutes sooner than usual because I just couldn’t take it anymore. Also, the blood running out of my ears was making a mess.

I have gotten to a really good place in my relationship with the gym the last few months. I have worked hard to create a habit that I actually enjoy. I have worked hard to get to a point where when I enter the gym, I don’t curse, make ugly faces, and sigh deeply over the fact that my body — inside and out — isn’t perfect and that I even have to spend my time doing this thing called “exercise” at all.

You know, kinda like the fact that spinach and brussel sprouts can’t taste like Big Macs and donuts.

My earpiece thingy may be lost forever, but I will replace it, cement it where it belongs, and never, EVER be without my own music again whilst at the gym.

And if there is a freak incident and it does happen again? I will have a back-up. On top of a back-up. On top of a back-up. On top of a…get my point?

The Gym Bag Blues

Have you ever embarrassed yourself so badly that you aren’t sure how you can ever recover? For me, there are too many such moments to count. But my most recent incident makes me either want to put a bag over my head or lock myself in the bathroom for life.

Dramatic? I think not.

I started making exercise a habit of mine earlier this year. It was a New Year’s Resolution that actually stuck (I also joined this amazing online course that helped to seriously motivate me, so I can’t take all the credit).

As a woman in her 50s, I was really starting to see and feel things happening to my body that I did not want to see and feel. Bingo wings and a behind that practically hits the back of my knees are just two examples of phenomena that have occurred.

Add in tight hips, pain in my lower back, and the inability to stand up from a sitting position on the floor. The latter makes me want to give up and stay there until I die because it would take less time.

After a year with my current place of employment, I finally started taking serious advantage of the free gym. I am now an active member and go just about every single work day.

Note to self #1: when you go to the gym nearly every single work day for nine months, you might want to make sure your gym bag AND gym clothes are fresh.

I started noticing my gym bag was a little ripe a couple months ago. I thought it was my sneakers, so I started throwing them into a plastic bag. Problem fixed?

No.

And then I realized something.

It wasn’t my sneakers.

What happens to clothes that you hard-core sweat in almost everyday? They start to take on a life of their own. I wish I could be one of those cute, perky girls who barely breaks a sweat and when she does, she still smells good.

But I’m not.

I stink when I perspire hard. It doesn’t matter how much deodorant or body spray or baby powder I use.

Last Wednesday (I remember the exact day because I have PTSD) I pulled my workout clothes from my bag and oh.my.dear.god. The odor that hit my nose was akin to something the cat dragged in.

But because I really wanted to get in a workout I put them on — against my better judgement — and went and did my thing.

Note to self #2: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT turn on the wall fan that is behind you when you know you smell like Fluffy’s latest conquest.

After about 20 minutes on the elliptical, the man on the machine in front of me turned around and gave me a look. Then it hit me. About as hard as it hit that poor guy.

People could smell me. After about another two minutes, he moved along. The paranoia in me was running deep. I stuck my face down into my shirt and inhaled. Even though I already knew. I knew like I know my own name.

Note to self #3: If your own stench makes your toes curl, then you’ve got a problem, Houston.

I finished my workout and high-tailed it out of there, although it was a little too late.

I should have gone home as soon as I took those clothes out of my bag. These are people I see in the halls at work.

All.the.time.

Needless to say, I spent the better part of last weekend de-stinking my gym clothes, gym bag, and sneakers. Although I feel more confident I won’t smell too badly anymore, I’m afraid I have stained my reputation (pardon the pun).

It’s too late for me, but it may be not too late for you. Below are some tips to stay fresh as a daisy, although you most likely have more common sense than a goldfish than I do:

  1. Hang your workout clothes to dry after the gym. Because putting them into a hamper wet is just asking for it and is the beginning of all your problems.
  2. Speaking of hampers, keep these clothes in a separate one. Or a bucket. Or the garbage. Burning them is also an option.
  3. Before you wash them, turn them inside out. For obvious reasons. I, apparently, am not familiar with Captain Obvious.
  4. Do not put them in the dryer ever. Heat + Odors = Disaster.
  5. Wash them with a 1/2 cup of vinegar sometimes. Vinegar, the Miracle Liquid. Good for everything from a sore throat to washing your windows.
  6. Wash your gym clothes separately from all your other clothes, in cold water, and detergent specifically made for said clothes. This is not the occasion to try to save time. Or water. Or electricity. Or soap. This activity will not help to reduce your carbon footprint. But it is reducing pollution, so take your pick.
  7. Store your sneakers in a bag that is vented, hanging from the outside of your gym bag. That person walking by you will not appreciate it, but he will just have to take one for the team now won’t he?
  8. Drop a couple dryer sheets in your gym bag. By a couple, I mean fifty.
  9. Spray your sneakers with some kind of odor refreshing spray. I picked up Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X. The can is already half empty and I bought it three days ago.
  10. Repeat all of the above for as long as you live or suffer the consequences.

So, my friends, there you have it. Some words of wisdom from the apparent not so wise. I had ten ways to get it right, and I didn’t even get one. I was never a good test taker.

Now go live long and prosper, exercise almost everyday, and stay odor-free. If you can’t stay odor-free, just don’t turn on the wall fan.

A Bloody Apocalypse

Did you ever have a nose bleed that was so intense you were sure you were going to bleed to death?

Last week I had nine such nose bleeds. This whole bloody nose thing started around the beginning of the year. It started out slow and steady, but was getting worse. It seemed to be a growing trend in my life. One that was very unwelcome.

Last Wednesday I was taking an exercise class during my lunch break. I felt a little something running down my nose, but I thought it was, you know, snot. Because that happens when I exercise a little too hard sometimes.

It was not snot. And before I knew it I painted my little section of floor with the red stuff. It’s amazing how bright it looks under those fluorescent lights.

It was gross. Not to mention embarrassing. The nurse’s office happens to be in the same area as the gym, so I decided to take a walk over. My thinking was she could give me some tips on how to stop it.

She reached into her drawer, pulled out two tampons, and shoved them up my nostrils. Just like that. I remember making a comment that I hadn’t used a tampon in years, and then I laughed and laughed at the absurdity of it.

It took forty-five minutes for the flow to stop. Apparently, the old-fashioned way of tilting your head back is a no-no. Something about giving you an upset stomach.

The nurse also mentioned something about drowning. That certainly would be an interesting obituary.

I find the old-fashioned way to be much more controllable and less time-consuming. If I were to tilt my head back, that bad boy would have ended in a short few minutes.

Credit goes to The Kid for making this picture a little less disgusting for your viewing pleasure.

But who am I to go against modern medicine? And besides, drowning is one of my biggest fears.

The problem was the dear nurse wanted to call an ambulance. Visions of me laying on a gurney with two bloody tampons sticking out of my nose, being wheeled through the corridors of my place of employment in front of all my colleagues put a fear in me so deep I had to revert to begging.

She must have felt bad for me because she eventually backed off with the ambulance threat. But she did make me call my physician, who was none too happy to be pulled away from a patient so she could tell me to call an ENT.

Duh. Ears, Nose, Throat. “Nose” being the operative word here.

I finally made it back to my desk and called the ENT, but was forced to leave a message. Eh. That’s ok. Maybe it wouldn’t happen again. Dumb thought, seeing that this is a growing trend, not a descending one.

Except it did happen again. The following night. That time it took over an hour for the flow to stop. After I spit out a blood clot the size of a newborn puppy, I decided it was time to do something about it. I mean, I’m pretty sure I lost enough blood that week alone to save a small army of really big men.

I was able to get in to see the Nose doctor from the ENT establishment. One quick look up my left nostril confirmed what I never even thought of — I had a broken blood vessel. I’ll be honest with you, visions of something dark danced through my head. Because that’s just how I roll. Yet another instance of when I started to plan out my funeral prematurely.

Interesting fact: Only 6% of the 60% of people who experience nosebleeds, suffer from a broken blood vessel. I’m not sure if I should play the lotto or lock myself in a padded closet.

I am not ashamed to admit I was a tad nervous about the procedure. I felt my blood pressure start to rise. I told myself that I gave birth naturally, so this would be a walk in the park. But the good doctor put some numbing solution up my nose, and carefully got to work with repairing the broken vessel, making it as painless and comfortable as possible.

Ten minutes and $900 something later, I was good as new. You know, if it took. Because sometimes “it doesn’t always take.” Perfect.

Before I left, he told me not to blow my nose, exercise, or really exert myself in any way for a few days. He also explained what to do in the case of another bloody nose.

You know, in case that $900 procedure didn’t take.

“Pinch the nostrils and lean forward.” Which prompted this conversation:

Me: What about tampons? That’s what I’ve been using.

Doc: Sure. You can put cotton up there. That’ll work.

Me: No, I mean tampons.

Doc:

Me:

Doc: You mean, as in vaginal?

Me: Uhh, yeah.

Doc: Oh, ok. So, you split them in half first. Sure, that does the job.

Me: No, actually. The entire thing. I put the entire thing in my nostril.

Doc: (jaw on floor)

And that is how I taught my doctor a new trick. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m thinking I should get at least some of my money back. I mean, that was a pretty good tip. Even if it really came from the work nurse. But I won’t tell her, if you don’t.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Last weekend I celebrated my birthday. I’m not shy about telling my age. I was never one of those people who felt the need to lie about it. I don’t judge you if you do, it’s just not my thing.

At the writing of this post, I turned fifty-two precisely seven days, one hour, and twenty-seven minutes ago (my mother makes sure to remind me of the exact moment I entered this world, giving me as many gory details as she possibly can short of an actual reenactment).

I’m also not gonna lie and say I embrace my age. I think I’ve gotten better over the last few years about it, but I’m not quite there. I’m not sure I ever will be. I mean, how do you embrace something that keeps going up, instead of down? Unless we’re talking about the stock market?

The last time I checked, going up in this case means we are just closer to death. I know that sounds morbid, and it is. I have been worried about it since I was a kid. My obsession with time and it’s uncanny ability to move forward like a pig with its tail on fire is probably as healthy as telling Mike Tyson his tattoo is stupid.

I know it’s “just a number,” “you are as old as you feel,” and “it’s better than the alternative.” And for the most part I agree with all of it. Except the part where I’m fifty-two. And, well, getting older.

Heck, I should appreciate the fact I wasn’t a woman living in the 19th century. I’d be at the end of my life by now. If that doesn’t scare me, then nothing will.

Except my age.

Might I remind you Luke Perry died last month from a massive stroke. He was fifty-two like me. He didn’t get run over by a bus, or was in a plane crash. He didn’t suffer for months or years from cancer. He had a stroke. At fifty-two years old. And it’s freaking me out.

I feel bad for my physician. I’m a handful as it is already. I know she must not look very forward to my annual visit, which is in two weeks. My list is as long as Santa’s naughty list of things that bother me, and what I think they may be. Self-diagnoses is what I do best, even though I’m always wrong.

These days I do feel pretty good though. I’ve recently tried reversing the aging process as best I can without actual surgery or costly procedures. I’ve started using toner on my face, drinking less wine, and exercising.

Actual exercising. Like, going to the gym, putting on one of the only pairs of Lululemon leggings I own, and building up a sweat. Because everything is better in a pair of Lululemon leggings. My daughter said so.

I do worry about having a heart attack while exercising, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take for better health and a longer life. Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t even push my baby out of my body too hard for fear of having a brain aneurism. See how I’m growing?

So, Happy Birthday to me. Maybe next year I’ll look forty-five, feel thirty-five, and act fifteen.

I have the fifteen part down pretty pat. But I’m hoping that toner takes effect pretty soon so I’ll at least be able to say, “two out of three ain’t bad.”

I’ll let you know in eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours.

It Could Have Been the Bubonic Plague

I don’t really get sick. The last time I had a cold, which was actually pneumonia, was back in 2008 when my father-in-law passed away. Imagine having to mourn the loss of your beloved FIL while also having to stand vertically in a suit, and heels, to attend funeral services and all that goes along with it, for hours on end? Good times.

The last time I had a stomach bug is not even registered in my memory banks. When The Kid was little and brought home whatever ailment-of-the-week was from her school, I never got it. (There was the incident in Turks & Caicos, but I blame that on the water.)

So, when DH became sick last Sunday night with something that very much resembled the stomach flu, I had no fear. My confidence was in overdrive and although I probably should have stayed away, I didn’t.

Little did I know, it was too late. There was something akin to the Grim Reaper already lurking in the background.

But more on that in a minute.

As I left for work Monday morning, I asked how he was and what I could get for him because you know, I would be fine and could stop by the store for soup or Gatorade or Lysol on my way home.

Hell, I could even stop into the local Mexican restaurant for Chimichangas and double shots of Margaritas. I was feeling that cocky.

But by evening, my confidence had started to wane. There would be no Mexican restaurant stop, and although I was hungry for the leftover enchiladas in my fridge, throwing up is NOT my favorite pastime. I had enough smarts to know if I put that in my stomach it may be coming up in a short few hours. And it wouldn’t be pretty.

That was my strategy. If I didn’t eat at all and let the salad I had at noon be the only thing in my gastrointestinal tract, surely that all would have digested by then so there would be nothing to worry about.

Except somehow, no matter how much you starve or dehydrate yourself there is always something that will come out of some orifice somewhere.

And it will continue to come out until pigs fly. Which means forever. 

At one point I feared for my life. At least hourly for the next twelve hours I was awakened by a rumbling and a strange suspicion that I was about to resemble a human volcano.

I managed to text my boss at 6AM saying there was nothing that could make me get out of bed.

Except diarrhea.

By noon, I had started to feel better. I even made myself some rye toast and applesauce (half of the BRAT diet…the old Dr. Mom comes out on occasion), and sat up to watch some television.

I couldn’t wait to get back into the office the next day. There is nothing worse than feeling anything less than human.

Except at about 6PM on Tuesday, I started to feel a little feverish. Then within minutes I was shivering so badly I nearly shimmied myself off the couch. With a quick temp check — something I haven’t done for myself since I was about twelve — it seemed I had spiked a fever of 102.

So, now I sit here writing this on Wednesday, four pounds lighter, because I feel pretty good. I’m definitely back to feeling human and I’m looking forward to getting dressed and actually looking human as well.

I’m not really sure what my point is, except getting a good virus sure does make you realize how often we take our good health for granted. I swear I will never take it for granted again.

Until next week, of course.

And as for those four pounds? You can guarantee they will find their way back home by the end of Thursday.

Edited to add: It is now Monday — one full week later. And to answer your question, yes. Those four pounds found their way home. They must have left a breadcrumb trail. They sure do think of everything.

The Salty Wanderer

They should call me the wanderer. My brain roams like a cell phone outside of its home area. It roams around, around, around, around, around.

Case in point: A couple weeks ago I joined a few friends for a salt cave experience. If you haven’t heard of this trendy new spa-like therapy, let me explain.

It’s basically a cave — albeit a manmade cave, but a cave nonetheless — with Himalayan salt covering the floor and walls. When I Googled the benefits, I was told tiny particles of salt is released into the air. I’m not sure if they did that at the place we went to, but I will say my lips and mouth tasted like I drank a salted margarita. Which normally isn’t a bad thing, except there was no tequila.

The health benefits are aplenty from helping to ease inflammation to respiratory issues. As well as a slew of other ailments. Sounds good, right? Yes, it seems so.

When we arrived, we were told we had to be quiet. This is a difficult feat for me. I’m the person who checks off “I like quiet” while I’m getting a massage, but talks the massage therapist’s ear off anyway.

I’m the person who has been told by dear friends, more than once I might add, that I don’t “always have to talk.”

I’m the person who, if there is no-one else to talk to, will have a full-on blown-out conversation with herself. Or the dog. Whoever wants to listen.

Needless to say, this part worried me a bit.

When we were led with stockinged feet into the grotto, we were met with a quiet glow. The room was softly lit with carefully placed rock lamps all around, chaise lounge chairs with blankets draped over the backs were evenly spaced about, and fake stars twinkled across the ceiling.

A nice, professional picture I found on US News. This is very similar to the place we visited.


This is my amateur photograph. I’m not sure what it is, but you can see the salt on the floor.

The temperature was set at a cool 68-72 degrees. You would think that was cozy, but it’s not. It’s chilly, and I believe there is a reason for that. Hence, the blankets.

After we assumed our positions, a soft voice came over the loudspeaker. It basically told us to breathe deep, relax, and enjoy. And were warned that in approximately forty-five minutes we would be awoken and our session would end.

Forty-five minutes. How was I going to do this? That’s soooooo long. I repeatedly told myself to be still in my mind, to be present in the moment, and to try to stifle the giggle that was forming at the back of my throat. The kind of giggle that emits from a twelve-year-old every time he hears the word “fart” or “penis.”

But within seconds, I was peeking at my friends from the sides of half-opened eyelids, wondering where the speakers were that emitted the spa-like music, thinking about what I would want for lunch, and hoping the new boutique by me would be getting in their new spring line soon.

Then something happened. With the warm blanket draped over me, I fell asleep. And before long, that voice, the same voice that told us we were about to begin, came over the speakers telling us our session was over.

The voice that was so soothing to me just forty-five minutes before, was like a jackhammer to my eardrums and startled me from my slumber.

The twelve-year-old in me was suddenly four and I felt like I was being jolted awake during naptime at nursery school. I was not happy. I needed another two hours. I wasn’t ready. I was relaxed.

“But you’re hungry,” I reasoned with myself. And the stomach wants what the stomach wants. So, I put on my big girl pants and moved along. It was past my lunchtime, anyway. And margaritas were calling my name. With tequila.

The Non-Facial Facial

I went for a facial last week. I haven’t had a facial in over twenty years. My pores have got to be as big as Lake Eerie. But I wouldn’t really know, so don’t pack your swimsuits yet.

You can’t tell from this photo, but my face is on fire.

I was expecting to be criticized by the apparent lack of time I spend on my skin.

I pictured in my mind what was going to go down between me and the esthetician:

Her: What do you do to take care of your skin?

Me: Oil of Olay cleanser and moisturizer. Twice a day.

Her: **faints**

But that’s not how it went. More on that in a moment.

When I entered the room, she told me to get undressed. I then had a choice to put on the wrap-around terry-cloth thingy or get under the covers naked.

Since I couldn’t figure out the terry-cloth thingy attachments, I opted for nude. I don’t have a problem being nude when I go for massages, so why should it be different for a facial?

When she re-entered the room, she gasped when she saw the terry-cloth thingy sitting there.

Her: “OH, you chose to go NAKED! Ummm, okaaaeeee then???!!!”

Well damn, lady. You gave me a choice. Don’t make me feel bad about it. I’m pretty certain I’m not the only nude person you “facialed” in your lifetime.

She never asked the question I was fairly certain she’d ask. Instead, my face was immediately accosted by a 50,000 watt light bulb and scrutinized by something that must have been equivalent to the highest powered microscope legally allowed on the market.

Her: Oh honey, do you wax?

Me: I used to but now I don’t because it’s all grey and you can’t see it. 

Her: Oh honey, I’m looking at black hair on your lip. Your face is the first thing people see. You really need to clean this up. And your eyebrows. And oh my, your CHIN!

Me: Wait. What? I don’t have hair on my chin!

Her: Oh honey, you do.

I know I’m starting to go through the change, but come on. Enough WAX-ABLE hair on my CHIN? I’m still trying to deal with this new bit of information.

I may need several hours of psycho-therapy.

She then proceeded to tell me I should get contact lenses. I suppose to be able to see my facial hair. If I need to get contact lenses just so I can see my hairy chin, then I believe I would really need to have my mental stability looked into.

Next on her agenda? Her interest in my diet. I should eat greens. All kinds of different shades. Every chance I get.

The words “I exercise,” came out of my mouth. I don’t know why.

“Oh, honey, eating greens is MUCH better than exercise. How can you expect to lose weight?”

Come on, lady. I’m not THAT fat! I may be nude under here, but you didn’t actually get a peek.

The insults kept on coming. When she told me I don’t want to look like my mother, I nearly took my naked self out of her room.

Instead, I informed her that she didn’t even know my mother, and told her I know how to eat thankyouverymuch. I’ve been eating since 1967, after all. A lot longer than her. But of course she may just look younger. Because you know, she gets facials…and eats greens.

Anyway, she could give me a nice wax right then if I’d like. But it will cost me $15 per section. 

Yup $45 to wax parts of my face. Oh, what the hell. I was having a day at the spa with my girlfriends. Suddenly I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

Off came the hair.

Of course, I’m very sensitive to waxing and so my face looked like a flaming cherries jubilee for three days. But hey. I have no facial hair at the moment. And that was the purpose of that exercise after all. I suppose I should call this a “Win.”

The next item on her list to conquer was the issue of dryness. “Oh honey, your skin is so dry. For $25 I can moisturize you and it will be wonderful. You’ll feel like a new woman.”

Yes. You heard that right. Twenty-five dollars to slather on some lotion. It could have been Ponds Cold Cream for all I knew.

I sat there trying to quickly calculate this twenty-five minute “facial” that really was no facial at all. I initially laid on her spa bed for $75. We were, at that moment, approximately eighteen minutes and $145 into it.

Again, I heard myself say it. “Ok. Sure. Go for it.”

I should have had my tongue cut out. It would have been cheaper.

As she slathered on the $25 moisturizer that I was hoping was not Ponds Cold Cream, she informed me that she had no time to give me an actual facial.

But she could massage my hands and arms.

It’s a miracle. 

If this ordeal and exchange of whatever the hell I just paid $175 for, including the 20% gratuity this “spa” took upon themselves to gift this judgmental, pushy, wax-hungry, over-moisturizing member of the gestapo, wasn’t so comical, I’d be pretty pissed off.

Instead we all laughed it off at the hotel bar with some margaritas and my hairless, red face. Shall I mention that I had a lime in my drink? I think my esthetician would have been proud.

Next time I’ll stick to tweezers and my Olay. Although, that place did smell really good. Oh, what the hell. I’ll throw in a lavender candle, too. I think I have one in my junk drawer.