I'd been pleased and proud to limp out of the holiday season upright. There were still the daughter's and the mother's birthdays to deal with and the every few days' (or once a week) sly and sometimes unkind shots made across my bow, but I thought I was doing pretty well. And then I made the phone call. When I was told that Stephanie no longer worked at Massage Envy, I couldn't reply. I don't think I said, "OK, good-bye." Now, I know how to find Stephanie. Her major job is in the spa at a high-end resort on the Strip. Although she'd never said a word about leaving Massage Envy, she had been bringing me spa magazines and speaking to me of vichy baths, exfoliation and various mud treatments, so maybe . . . . She'd been trying to figure out the best discounts for me, based on credit cards I held or frequent traveler scams I might belong to. Uh-uh. I'm not doing it. We found a way for me to get a 70% discount, and the day's treatment was still hundreds of dollars. I don't want a spa citron salad and a fluffy terrycloth robe all day once a month with treatments I don't seek made on my naked person. I want my frequent deep tissue massage, delivered by one person I trust and rely upon.
The phones took off dramatically at work. It was evident that none of us had kept our edge sharp for dealing with nearly impossible demands of time and resources when we're booming. Homes and I were feeling the pressure, steam cleaning machine hoses sprung funny leaks and the general public's attitude has improved little. One customer had a major flood in his home, resulting in a huge water damage job. No, we don't wish anyone ill. But that's income for us. That's what we do. We didn't flood his home. We just fix it. Unfortunately, the man appears to be a tremendous alcoholic. Sober when Troy arrived to do the work, he required assistance to write his check at the end of the job. Now we cannot raise the man from the bed he shares with his demons to get our industrial fans out of his house. We are also concerned about the man's welfare. For me, there is pressure because it was month-end, year-end, accountants, taxes, and the anticipation of helping to breathe life into David's new business venture. This is all shared simply to say, "New day, same old stuff." I get through it better at some times than others.
I'd asked Stephanie for recommendations of some of the other massage therapists. My friend was looking for a way to reduce the cost of frequent massage and wanted to give Massage Envy a spin. "How about if we each book a massage, pay attention to the talents of the therapists, compare notes, and go from there?" "Good idea!" "OK, I'll book the appointments." We presented ourselves at the appointed time and met in the lobby afterwards. Walking toward the car, I asked, "How was yours?" He said it wasn't bad. Not perfect, but slide her some points for this being the first massage. "How was yours, Les?" I'd have to say it was good. Definitely promising. I'm not shy about saying, "Hey, is there any therapeutic reason you can't _____?" And now we know three different massage therapists there who are at least acceptable. Other massage days will roll around, and so it goes.
I'd been given a generous gift card that could be used at any of four dining establishments. We were massage-lazy, so we chose the nearest, not the one we already knew we liked. Being seated was smooth and easy and the vivacious Vicky soon had brought his Tanqueray martini and my iced tea (no, not the Long Island variety). She enthused to us for quite a long while about the restaurant's new menu and pointed out several ways for us to "get more" and "pay less". We could actually get about 5,000 calories worth of food for less than the fewer than 1,000 we'd hoped for. But the fun really began when we opened the new menus and began to study them. For we - two truly irreverent, sarcastic and sometimes rude individuals - found ourselves in the west's last bastion of applewood smoked bacon. We are two people with a serious aversion to bacon. After seeing it on the menu, even in the desserts (no, not literally), I began to notice the plaques on the wall celebrating the greasy stuff. I heard him say, "Oink" and "Do you see anything you'll eat in here?" And I started to hoot in my seat. His burger was decent he said - "Hold the bacon, please." My quesadilla explosion salad fed me three meals - "Hold the bacon, please." Note to self: Avoid that diner ~ it smells of bacon!
And then, the end of the evening. We took time, again, to speak gently, with care, of things damaged between us. We acknowledged again that neither of us knows how to fix these things, completely. We committed again to wanting to repair what is broken - to find the way. A week prior, he'd come up with a brilliant idea and I'd pursued it. I shared my findings and the comments made to me to be shared with him. We shared schedules for availability and we took hands and agreed, there are some things not to be put down forever broken, but pursued until they are fixed or until there seems no reason to pursue them. We spoke of camping soon to be shared, and a blanket of peace settled.
So, dear Kass, you were right. The little elevator car that is me slipped a cable and took a dive down a couple of floors. I did not crash into the floor 20 stories down. I just slipped a little ways. And now I hear the professionals gathering. Tools rattling, measurements being made, voices. "Broken cable over here on Number 4 - easily fixed." "Little shot of WD-40 and some duct tape, this will be as good as new." "As long as we're here, let's polish up the buttons and replace the light bulbs." You see, when you don't know how to fix it yourself, you ask for help. Call for service. Trust in the good intentions and ability of all the players (I understand that, I work in a service industry!), set the appointment and go.
I share this, feeling somewhat vulnerable. This could be easily mistaken for "crazier than batshit". I would hope the reader has read enough from me in this and past posts to understand it is pretty healthy. I performed a ritual this week. I drove to the Mojave Preserve and parked in a paved, well marked parking lot. I took the fairly short hike that is nearly flat in the first half and pretty torturous rock climbing in the second. I am never 100% certain I'll make that last 500 yards. One ends up in a rock citadel with a 360-degree view of the world. This being a weekday, I saw no other human being on foot. I did not create this ritual. I read about it and I understood it. I "got" it. One gathers her anger into a fiery ball and hurls that flaming orb into the cosmos. I flung that fireball like an Olympian discus thrower. And then the next. And the next. I threw balls of pain and anger and every other kind of rot until my ancient shoulder forced me to stop. I began to sag a little in the climb down the rocks. Before Las Vegas came into view, I was worried I'd fall asleep at the wheel. I slept all night long, never getting up to use the bathroom, tend to meowing cats or explore why the BlackBerry was breeeeeng-ing me at 2:00 a.m.
Photo credit: Hammer Head - J. D. Morehouse
In my ears right now: "Crying", a most beautiful song. I've loved it by Roy Orbision, Roy Orbision and k.d. lang in duet, Don McLean and k.d. lang solo. Yes, I'm playing them obsessively in order.
Something that charmed me:
I like k. d. lang's "baring my soul", "baring my feet" performance style. I suspect splinters are an occupational hazard and a warm, wool rug is a perk.