Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stupid Spas

I'm going to spend this afternoon at the spa. Because I have to. That's right. I have to.

Well, I don't have to.

But, see, I have this problem with spa gift certificates, in the sense that I get them, and I'm like, "Yay!" and then I put them in a drawer and I find them two years later, way after the expiry date. And then I think, "Damn. That's like a $200 gift down the drain."

Gift certificates to spas stress me out. Yesterday for example, I saw the gift certificate the fiance bought me for a Mother's Day package. This Mother's Day spa package includes a manicure (an hour) a pedicure (an hour) a massage (an hour) and lunch. In total, this package was for four hours.

Ok, I know four hours in a spa may sound nice. But what working mother has four hours to spend in a spa?

Ok, I do.

But I don't really like spending four hours anywhere.

Yes, even in a spa, where I'm supposed to be getting pampered, I get bored.

And it's never really relaxing. While I'm getting a facial, the facialist is always yammering on about what products she's using now and why they're so great and why I should buy them. It's less stressful watching an infommercial.

But I've dealt with that. I just say, "You can tell me all about the products you use after we're finished, but I think I'm going to try and fall asleep during the facial." Hint, hint.

Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. Even when I say I want to fall asleep, they'll be like, "And now I'm putting something hot on your face. And now this is going to feel cold. And, oh, and this product is great. I'll write it down for you so you can purchase it after."

And I get really stressed out thinking, "Ok, will she shut up now? Is she going to say something now? Why is she talking to me? Should I tell her again I want to fall asleep?"

Massages, well, I try not to get them anymore. The thing is, half the time I leave feeling great. Half the time I feel like - what the fuck? - they just screwed up my back forever. And, also, I always forget to request a woman and so sometimes I end up with a man. I don't like strange men rubbing my ass. It makes me stressed out. (And, my fav part of a massage, is when they rub my gluts.)

Manicures? Well, I usually ask, "So what's the popular color this season?" And, I'm not sure if it's because I'm in Calgary or what, but the answer is usually, "Bright orange!" So I have to explain that, um, I'm not a senior in Miami Beach so I can't go around wearing bright orange nail polish. How about something pale pink?

Anyway, I didn't want this year's gift certificate to go to waste, beacuse I've let too many spa gift certificates go to waste and why should the Stillwater Spa get my fiance's hard earned money? So, I went to the trouble and called.

After being on hold for 9 minutes (which, when you're on hold, is a very very very long time) someone finally came to the phone. (This stresses me out too. I do not like to be on hold.)

I explained the fiance bought me a mother's day package. I was told they were booked for weeks. Which stressed me out. I do not like making appointments weeks in advance. Because I don't remember appointments made weeks in advance.

It took years, but I finally have people in my life who can fit me in THE NEXT DAY. That's right. I tip very well, and so when I call (fill in manicurist/facialist/masseuse/therapist/trainer/hairdresser) I say "Hey, it's Rebecca. Can you please, please, please fit me in tomorrow." And they always do. Even if it means they open the doors at 7 a.m for me. (They also get very nice Christmas gifts.)

Weeks to use up my gift certificate? No. I want to use my gift certificate. And I want to use it now. Thanks.

So, I said, "Well, I don't want the massage. I want a facial instead. And I don't need the lunch." The woman typed typed typed away into her computer, god knows what, but came back to the phone and said, "OK, when were you thinking of coming in?"

So I told her the truth. I told her I was thinking that I wanted to come in "tomorrow." (Meaning today.)

Type, type, type away. And, go figure, she somehow got me in for a manicure, a pedicure and a facial for today.

So, I said, thanks. And then she said, "Well, you may as well get the meal thrown in as well, because it's paid for."

So I said OK. (I'm not sure how it went from I couldn't get in for weeks, to getting in the very next day, but whatever. I'm in. The advice here is to always keep asking until they will fit you in - after they type type type away.)

And it couldn't really come at a better time. I need a pedicure. And it's not because I do yoga, which was the reason I used to get pedicures.

It's because at The Dictator's music class, we have to take off our shoes. I know. Awful. But a rule is a rule.

And I just know the other mother's are staring at my feet, because when you have to take off your shoes, that's what you do. You look at other people's feet and you think, "God, she needs a pedicure."

Anyway, I'm heading to the spa. I'm sure it won't be relaxing. But I have to do it. I have to.


Blogger Cindy said...

oh how stressful!

Yeah I've worked in salons and such and they usually can fit you in with no notice. They just don't like to, because you might think they aren't busy. Busy = good. Not busy = bad salon. It's silly.

Hope you have fun though. I wouldn't give up a massage for anything, but facials are nice too.

1:52 PM

Blogger kittenpie said...

hmmm. these days, I just wear socks. I'm working on rehabilitating the feet for those cute summer shoes though.

2:40 PM

Blogger Sheena said...

Is the fiance using the same spoiling reverse psychology strategy on you that you use on the Dictator?

3:57 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you really tip your trainer?
now i feel like a schmuck, i never gave mine a christmas gift. What would the norm be?
I do tip the newspaper delivery person (not sure who they are as they deliver at around 4am) but mostly because they leave an empty envelope self addressed at Xmas time.
hmmm, if I don't lose weight should I still tip?

5:01 PM

Blogger petite gourmand said...

hee hee you said the f-word.
keepin' it real.
the best thing about still water is the chocolate biscotti and cucumber water.
though I feel kinda wierd sitting around in a robe with total strangers, or worse, running into someone you know.
enjoy (or hope you enjoyed) your spa day.

8:13 PM

Blogger Kristen said...

The Boyfriend hinted at getting me a spa gift certificate for Mother's Day and I expressly forbade it. That's right. Forbade! I hate being touched by strangers, and what else are they gonna do but touch me at a spa? Plus, I'm not a big fan of spending hours someplace alone (unless I'm someplace buying shoes or purses or clothes of course). He tried to talk me into it, but I kept saying if you get it, you're wasting your money because I will NOT go. Period. And suprise! He actually listened!!

10:37 AM

Blogger Maddie's Mom said...

The difficult thing about being on Mat leave is that I really dont have any time for all the necessary SPA activities...I used to do all of these things-gel nails and toes (the best as it looks great and lasts about 5 weeks), the hair and colour, blowdrys and all the waxing DURING OFFICE HOURS-I work in SALES obviously. You wouldnt believe the 'procedures' that would go on while I was on conference I have to get the DAD to babysit while I get these done and I HATE going on Saturdays when it is so busy. Not good as the DAD really doesnt need to know how high maintenance I really am...and how much time and $ I have to spend...

I do believe in the over tipping when you find a great estitician (nice spelling) trainer they fit you in and throw in your eyebrow etc for trainer is so great that I can bring the BEBE and he keeps her occupied while I get my workout in. MADDIE LOVES the trainer...

8:34 PM

Blogger sunshine scribe said...

Thank you for writing this!

Every birthday and mothers day and christmas I get a spa gift certificate from someone. I usually forget about them or when I go I get bored. I am not into the spa and when I tell people they think I have two heads.

12:48 PM

Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

I had the exact same experience with Stillwater - nothing available until you press them, and then, what do you know? No problem.

Then? A couple of hours of stressing over frittering away valuable free time...

4:34 PM

Blogger Kristin said...

This is too funny... I just recently had my first Thai Massage and I loved it because I could keep my clothes on... yes, I worry about being naked... time, I happy to waste!

9:47 AM


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