As I wrote before, Susie gave Carol and I the lovely gift of a mani-pedi at the glamourous spa/salon named Panache where she gets her hair done and her nails done and her little pink piggies done and her back and shoulders massaged and who knows what else -- Brazilian, Susie? Hm? It was a premium, A+ experience and so for all two of you out there who, like me, have yet to experience the wonders of a mani-pedi, read on.
When Susie first called Dana, the manicurist/pedicurist to schedule the appointment, she confessed to Dana that neither Carol nor I had ever had a pedicure before.
Dana, who has a Kentucky accent that rolls off her tongue like butter 'n' black pepper off a cob of sweet corn, was aghast and said, "Sissy, you take a look at their feet when they get to y'all's house and then run off to your bathroom and call me on your cell phone, so I'll know if I need to schedule an extra half hour for them."
Sissy. That's what she calls everyone, Sissy. Isn't that just so cute? I've been called "Missy" before (mostly by my mother whenever she was angry with me and tired of using my middle name, which is dumb and ugly, in tandem with my first name), but never "Sissy." I found it very endearing, even though Dana was obviously implying that mere professional pedicure tools weren't going to be nearly powerful enough for my rough dogs and that she was going to have to break out the Black & Decker belt sander to deal with me. And maybe a pair of diamond-blade toenail clippers of the size usually reserved for the massive claws of Great Danes.
We got into the mani-pedi room at the spa and it was so beautiful, I thought maybe I'd been somehow transported through a time warp to the Empress Eugenie's personal sitting room. There was even a little fireplace! I had never seen a mani-pedi chair before and was enchanted by the swirling warm water in the little footbath, lighted from within and glowing aquamarine in the golden earth tones of the elegant decor. The water felt so very, very good and I thought that was as good as it was going to get until Susie handed me a glass of wine and Dana punched some buttons on a remote that was nestled on the arm of the chair and the blessed thing started giving me a massage. A chair! Giving me a massage! I think it was one of those Shiatsu-type things, and although it did punch me once in the kidneys, a slight upward adjustment of my posture took care of that little problem.
After allowing my feet to soak, Dana got down to business, lotioning and massaging and probably surreptitiously looking at my calluses and wondering why she hadn't chosen some pleasant, easy career path, like, say, working in a mine. Then she went to a sterilizer and selected a number of tools, which she placed on a tray and as she set them down on a low table by her elbow, I began to wonder if she was going to work on my feet or remove my spleen.
This is the part of the story where Susie and I began laughing so hard, I began to see little black dots swimming in front of my eyes. Carol was getting her manicure from Tiffany and her back was to us, so she kept going, "What? Who? What are you doing? Who?" like an owl, but it was kind of hard to hear her over the screaming and bellowing.
Dana was no shirker when it came to callus and cuticle removal. She grabbed my left foot, propped it on her knee, secured it in the crook of her elbow and began to pumice my calluses so hard, smoke was practically pouring off that scouring tool. I yelped a few times, mostly because I am a big baby and she said, "Sooorrrrreeeeee, Sissy!!!" in her inimitable accent, which made me laugh and shriek at the same time. Which sounded slightly drunken, but I'd only had the one glass of wine, so I can't be blamed, no matter what the manager of Panache says.
When she got done with that, she went to work on my toenail cuticles, which were a great disappointment to Dana. But she was brave and stalwart and went after those things like Aragorn going after those Nazgûl in The Fellowship of the Ring. I twitched and whined and Susie bent double laughing and Dana looked at me over the tops of her rhinestone-studded glasses and said, "Soooorrreeeee, Sissy!" while continuing on with her own stream of side-splitting patter until I had tears in my eyes, either from her conversation or from my owie toes, it was hard to tell which.
By the time she got finished painting my toenails a very nice mango/coral color, I was giggling and relaxed and aware, even more than usual, that beauty requires some suffering. My feet looked fabulous -- all painted and satiny-smooth and kind of glowing. They did not really look my own usual feet, and only the fact that they were attached to my legs convinced me that they were the same sturdy things that carry me around from day to day.
Tiffany did my manicure afterwards, while Carol got her pedicure. Tiffany and I had a long, lovely discussion about Meelyn's possibly going to cosmetology school (starting during her senior year) and how important it was for her to go ahead and get her four-year degree so that she'd have two professional careers. Tiffany told me what's important to look for in a school of cosmetology and some other interesting stuff about the beauty business and the whole conversation ended with me wanting to go to cosmetology school and become a mani-pedi person, never mind about Meelyn.
It was all so much fun and I couldn't have enjoyed myself more if Santa had suddenly come down the chimney and landed in the mani-pedi room with a reverberating "Ho, ho, ho!!!" and given me a mani-pedi person of my very own to paint my finger- and toenails a different color every day.
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