There is an old phrase which says "ignorance is bliss". Well, whoever thought that one up had never been to a spa. Now I understand why, when you mention the word "spa" in some people's hearing their eyes light up, the "heavenly" music plays in the background and they sigh and say, "Yessssssssssssssss" in sort of an ecstatic way. Oh now I understand.
If we go back to the last post you will know that I had never been to a spa before December 3, 2008. There is a nice spa just a short drive away from my house. I drive by it almost every day when I am out and about. It is fairly innocuous looking from the outside. Just a series of white, Western Reserve style buildings surrounded by tall trees. Nothing that jumps out at you and screams DECADENCE! But it is all an act, a deception. Because behind that small white door, with the cheery little Christmas wreath there lurks indulgence, nirvana. Lets go in shall we.
My friend and I had appointments for the "Spa Teaser". We were greeted as we walked in the door, lovely "new agey", soothing music playing in the back ground. Ah, I can feel myself relaxing already. Take my coat? Why thank you. We were seated in the waiting room and promptly presented with piping hot cups of tea to help us while away the moments before we are escorted up stairs. Of course there are some forms to fill out. You have to assure them that you don't have any medical conditions which might cause you to drop dead some time during your day. Also I needed to make the decision about what I was going to have for lunch. Wine with lunch!!! Yes!!! AND dessert. Are they mad! What do they think this is a spa or something.
The spa is really a series of rooms, all nice and cosy, sort of rabbit warren like. You never feel like you are lost in a carvernous room that is cold and uninviting. You just traipse from one low ceilinged room to another all sheltered and warm. Quickly you are escorted up, up, up and shown into a small waiting room where you sit and sip some more tea. Then the lovely lady comes and gives you your locker key and shows you where you can change into your attire for the next few hours. Uh oh, first hurdle to get through. Dottie is one of my best friends but it is a test of friendship to strip down to nothing and get into that nice comfy bathrobe. Oh what the heck, just do it. Then it is back out to the lovely waiting area to sip the tea and wait. Soothing music, wonderful conversation. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Our first portion of the spa teaser was the steam room. This is serious pore adjustment I can tell you. This isn't some sauna thing where you throw some water on the hot rocks and enjoy the heat. HECK NO. They lead you down to the bowels of the place, show you where to change (again the naked thing) into a nifty little towel thing, hand you a glass of ice water and a really cold wash cloth and escort you into a small room that is warm and damp but nothing to speak of. Close the door. OK it is definitely steamy in here, sort of the the rain forest in Ghana. I can do this. But then there is a little sound and out of a small spigot near the floor the steam comes pouring out. WOW. I can hardly see Dottie and she is sitting hip to hip with me. Hmmm, is it physically possible to breathe air that is this hot and damp and not come away with parboiled lungs? Now I know what that lobster feels like when you put him in the pot. I have to assume that all the toxins from my bad and riotous living have now been expunged from my pores. I am not sure how long we were in there, it could have been 5 minutes or an hour. I just know that at the end, when the door opens and the voice says, "Are you done?" I didn't have the energy to do anything but languidly ooze out the door, gulping my ice water and mopping my brow with the wash cloth. Back to the changing room, strip AGAIN, shower, back in the robe and back up stairs to another waiting room (how many of them are there?) to wait for the next installment.........the massage.
When a tall woman who hails originally from a former Soviet bloc country calls your name and tells you that she is your masseuse you follow, with fear and trepidation but you follow. You also do what she tells you. She is smiling and seems nice but you never know. Get on the table and under the covers without any clothes on!!! OK. Oh yeah, the blankets are warm and you feel like you are in a comforting happy place. She starts out on your face and neck, smoothing some lovely smelling lotion on. Oh I can do this. Then the real work begins. Yes she is using soothing lotion and she is massaging but she also kneading your muscles like you are some tough bread dough. Dig those steel fingers deep, work all the tension out. After the massaging was done she covered me up with the blankets and did the pounding on the back that you always see in comedy. Who knew that having someone pound vigorously on your back would feel so excellent. Pound away Helga (not her real name), pound away.
When my massage was done I oozed back to the waiting room and waited, in a boneless heap, for Dottie. Time for lunch and I was starved. Who knew that doing nothing so vigorously would make me so hungry. A very interesting experience to eat lunch in a bathrobe and flip flops. I don't even eat in my bathrobe at home let alone in a spa dining room. The lunch itself was yummy, the wine was excellent and the chocolate dessert thing was HUGE and covered with strawberries and whip cream. Oh yeah.
Then it was back upstairs to get dressed and then downstairs again for my last installment which was a manicure. I have never had a manicure before and what a wonderful thing it was (except for me dropping a bottle of red nail polish on their tile floor. SPLAT, oops). More hand massaging, nail filing and buffing, painting bright red. I could get used to this. Of course now I am paranoid about chipping my nails. When that happens I will take the polish off because chips in nail polish make me nuts. So, I am trying to enjoy the nails while they last. Sigh.
Finally, after 4.5 hours, I emerged from the spa a changed woman. I am going to have to start saving to do this again next year. I don't think that I would want to do it more often than that. It was such a glorious experience that I wouldn't want it to become common place. It was something that should be anticipated, like the Christmas cookies that I make only once a year. That shining thing that is on the horizon just once every 12 months. OK, I am getting a bit sappy here so I will stop. All these words are just to say that I had an absolutely lovely time at the spa and that I am going back some day. It is always good to have a goal.