If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.






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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Thanks, but NO TANKS

If you read my previous entry, you know that my husband bought me a gift certificate for a deep
tissue massage followed by an hour float in a sensory deprivation tank for my birthday.

In case you don't know, any and all crazy ideas around here originate with our son, Zac, and he'd recently gone to that place and loved it. Also, if you don't know, a sensory deprivation tank is a lightless, soundproof tank filled with 10 inches of salt water at exactly skin temperature. It can also be referred to as an Isolation Tank...or Torture Tank, if we're being accurate with the naming. The third piece of key information that you might not know, is that I'm severely claustrophobic.

Legend has it, that one hour sleeping in a sensory deprivation tank is the equivalent to four.
Legend also has it that they used to connect a string inside a coffin to a bell above ground in case they accidentally buried someone alive.
What's the connection? I don't know. I'm rambling.

Let's start at the beginning. Ron scheduled my appointment requesting the deepest massage therapist they have. That would be Angela. And Angela didn't disappoint. If during a massage you ever wonder if the table might give way and collapse under the pressure of a massage, you've got a good one. Now stop your crying and let her do her job, dammit.

I lay there enjoying every painful minute, trying not to think about what was coming after the massage. "But when do I get to get closed into a dark silent tank of water?" asked no claustrophobic ever.

After my massage, they gave me the fluffiest most comfortable robe ever, led me and my basket of personal possessions into the tank room, and went over the instructions.

"Shower before and after."

"Earplugs are optional."

"Avoid causing waves." (Not the first time I've heard that, won't be the last.)

"There's a floaty ring pillow for your head, but you don't need it. There's no way you'll sink." (Not sure if she was referencing the amount of salt in the water or the level of implant in my boobs, but I'm pretty sure they said the same thing about the Titanic, so there's that.)

"Close the tank door or the water will lose it's temperature."

"Try not to get salt water in your eyes."

"If you get salt water in your eyes, it will hurt like a mother." (Okay, I added that one, but is it true?)

"A chime will ring when your session is done. If you don't wake up, we'll knock on the door. If you still don't wake up, we'll come in and bang on the tank." (At that point, they might as well call 911, because if they can't wake me up in a tank full of water, I've obviously drowned.)

Then she left me alone with the open door of the dark tank waiting to swallow me alive never to be heard from again.
Happy birthday. Love, Ron.

I showered, put in my earplugs, and climbed into the tank. Not sure if that slippery bottom was mine or the tank, but I immediately slid onto my back, causing a giant ripple of waves, sending a splash of salt water straight into my eyes, and bolted upright gagging and grabbing for the towel. Great. I'd already broken 2 rules.
Three minutes down, fifty-seven to go.

Start over.

I carefully propped the towel in the tank door so that I'd have a sliver of light, but the water would hopefully stay warm. Which brought me to another observation. The water wasn't warm. It also wasn't cool. It was my perfect body temperature. It was basically wet nothing. I slowly slid myself onto my back in the wet nothingness, put the floaty ring under my head, and then I lay there treading water. She didn't tell me to tread water, and I didn't need to tread water, but good luck convincing my survival instincts of that. Seven minutes down, fifty-three to go.

I was tired of treading water, so I gradually stopped moving one body part at a time, until I convinced myself that maybe I really wasn't going to suffer the fate of the Titanic. That's when my mind started shifting to other points of observation. Other than the salt crystals drying to my chest, I felt nothing. Nothing. Other than the tiny wedge of light from the propped door, I saw nothing. And with my ears plugged and emerged under the water, you might guess I heard nothing, but I learned something about myself that day. I rely on my senses to distract me from the voices. (Don't even act like you don't have the voices.) So deprive me of my senses, and things in my head get very loud.

Regrets, hopes, dreams, worries, fears, my weight, if Dylan the car salesman hates me everyone might hate me, what I'd order for lunch if I made it out of the tank alive...you name it, I thought it. There was a whole party going on in there.

I can't live like that. So I sat up to make sure the door would really swing open in case of emergency, and then I started the whole process over again. Eighteen minutes down, forty-two to go.

And there I lay in a sensory deprivation tank. My limbs floating freely. Seeing nothing, and feeling nothing but the steady pressure of water squeezing against both sides of my head, and I began to sympathize with unborn babies everywhere. Cue the voices.
Babies, kids, grandchildren, hopes, dreams, worries, fears, my weight, self-loathing, what I wanted for lunch...Thirty-five minutes down, twenty-five to go.

Enough.
I decided to spend the rest of my hour taking a long leisurely shower and allow the sound of pelting water against my head to silence the havoc between my ears. If that wasn't enough, the blow dryer would surely finish the job.

So I sat up, swung open the door, and couldn't find the floaty ring pillow anywhere. I squinted toward the dark end of the tank, but no way I was going down there. Surely I'm not the first person who's lost their floaty ring pillow to the dark side, so certainly they have someone willing to float-crawl down there and get it.

I wrapped myself in a towel, walked back to the shower, and passed the mirror.

Good news: I found the floaty ring pillow.
Bad news: Apparently I still can't feel anything.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Massage Scare-apy

Ask any Massage Therapist what their biggest problem is and they'll probably answer, "Finding a good Massage Therapist." Sure, we have friends in the field who swap sometimes, but coordinating schedules becomes it's own hassle and sometimes we just want to go pay for a great massage. And by great massage, I mean no-pain-no-gain deep tissue. And that part where they say "Let me know if it's too much pressure?" No. Sir. I will not. And maybe let's just don't talk at all while we're at it. Which is why I very rarely tell them that I'm an LMT, because as soon as my face hits the padded ring, it's like they can't help themselves and ask, "So where'd you go to massage school?" And believe it or not, I'm too polite to say, "I went to SHUTTY-Ville."
Maybe I need to work on my boldness.

One thing about Massage Therapy is there's a wide range of personalities drawn to the field. You might show up and find them wearing scrubs, dressy clothes, jeans, shorts, hipster garb, or heavily tattooed in a mumu and head wrap. I have a home office, so I'm more of a shorts & t-shirt girl, unless you schedule an early morning session, then it's jammie pants for me. Massage Therapists get away with basically anything.

Anyway, Ron knows that a good massage is the go-to gift for me, and he's always on the hunt for the perfect one. Of course he has no way of knowing who will be the right match for me, so I've had a variety of interesting experiences.

But once you find your person, you hang on to them to the point of stalker-like tendencies. I found a guy named Peter in Hilton Head and went to him every time we went down there, but then Peter freakin' moved and ruined my vacations forever, but whatever, Peter. Do what you need to do, Peter.

Ever since then, my Hilton Head massages have been a total crap shoot. I saw one lady who met me at the door and opened with "prepare for me to love on you for an hour," gave me frequent hugs, liked my "energy" and kept whispering that I was a "good receiver." As an Introvert, this entire scene was the stuff of nightmares. But at one point, I think I almost drooled, and when she grabbed my foot, one of us groaned. I don't think it was me, but then again, I might've almost drooled so who the hell knows. Toward the end, she rolled me over, put bean bags over my eyes and then one of the bean bags fell over my nostril and I thought, this is it. This is how it's gonna end. Suffocated by a bean bag blindfold under the spell of a voodoo energy trance. Protect me Jesus.

The whole thing was weird. Like, serial killer weird.
I threw away her business card.

So last year, Ron got picky. He called several different people on the island until he found the one. He was sure of it. "Shar, this chick massages Sylvester Stallone when he visits here." Well, then. What could go wrong? So he booked me a 90 minute session and I began slightly regretting my request for deep tissue from a lady who massages Rocky and probably crushes grapefruit with her bare hands for fun.

I was a little surprised to arrive and find a much older lady dressed in a long white skirt and crazy socks with no shoes. The only way to describe her massage technique would be sporadic. Absolutely no rhyme or rhythm to it. Neck, leg, hand, foot, back, foot, arm...If her intention was to confuse the crap out of me, she was succeeding, all the while coming in and out of the room to "get stuff." Whatever that "stuff" was, I didn't ask, partly because she wouldn't stop talking. Non-stop with the talking. Let's just say, I now know more about Sylvester Stallone and Jennifer Flavin than I should ever legally know. And according to her, I have a "high positive healing intention." That's a new one. Also, she claims she's psychic. Relevance? Unclear.

When she excused herself to go to the bathroom, I lay there seething, wondering if she's so psychic, why didn't she know she'd have to pee beforehand and plan accordingly? Has she ever interrupted Sylvester Stallone's time and told him she had to pee? I'm gonna guess no. Clearly this lady is crazy.

And when she returned from the potty, she sealed my suspicion with one question.
"Has anyone ever told you what good energy you have?"

Ok, nut job, that's it. If you're not picking up on my pissed off energy vibes at this point, one of us is way off, and I'm gonna go with you on this one. I'm also pretty sure my days of Hilton Head massages are o-vah.

But several months later, Ron bought me a gift certificate for my birthday and redeemed himself. Sort of. I mean, the hour of silence while Angela used her weight to try to push my body through the table was glorious...it was that follow-up hour in the sensory deprivation tank that has me wondering if my husband maybe wants me dead.

Stay tuned for Thanks, But No Tanks, coming soon to a blog near you.