This year has been particularly grueling. Work has been stressful. Teaching two classes instead of one, on top of that full-time job? Also stressful. And no matter how much I love my family, this transition kicked my butt. I know it's shocking, but Bea has a completely different personality than Olivia, and requires a completely different level of patience and parenting.
So, even when I take an hour here and there to read a book or go to the gym, I never really relax during that time. I'm always thinking about what needs to be done. Emails. Grading. Lecture prep. Vacuuming up the rhinoceros-sized birddust bunnies under Folly's cage. Dealing with the load of laundry that I meant to switch from the washer to the dryer four days ago and now have to wash again because OMG does it smell.
On one particularly horrendous day, I had an idea. "Self," I said, "you need a long weekend at a spa."
Two hours later, I had Memorial Day weekend booked at Kohler Waters Spa and I was daydreaming about not talking to anyone for an entire day.
And people, it was the best thing I've done for myself in a long, long time. I have never (NEVER) felt that relaxed. My heart stopped doing its weird palpitating. My shoulders parted company from my ears. My brain only processed thoughts like, "I should take a nap now" and "I think I want some more cheese" and "oh, my toes are all pretty and sparkly."
First of all, the place itself was wonderful. I was greeted on Friday with a fluffy robe and a glass of champagne. Everything I wanted or needed was either right there or just a simple request away. The people were kind and down to earth. The food... OMG, the food. Particularly the cheese and the fruit and the creme brulée french toast and the little cookies at turndown every night.
The spa was lovely, and since it was in the same building as my room, I never had to get dressed. I seriously spent 80% of my time in my robe and slippers. Breakfast in the little nook outside the spa? Robe and slippers. Cocktail hour in the little nook outside the spa? Robe and slippers, baby. In fact, on Saturday night I cancelled my dinner reservation because I was too relaxed to put on real clothes. I ate cocktail-hour cheese and veggies and fell asleep IN THE MIDDLE OF MY KING-SIZED BED at 8:30 pm.
I scheduled four treatments: craniosacral therapy, the body balancer, a hot stone massage, and the foot/leg treatment with pedi. The first two were nirvana. I felt like I was floating during the craniosacral treatment and promptly took a nap next to the waterfall pool after it was over. The body balancer included exfoliation, a bath, a mud wrap, and a Vichy shower and was possibly the most wonderful thing I've ever experienced in a spa. (Marred only by the promised-but-didn't-happen scalp massage.) I actually fell asleep during the foot and leg treatment (Sarah: "You didn't have a jimmy leg, did you?" Me, to self: OMG, what if I kicked the pedicure lady in the head?!).
There's a cute little village a few blocks from the spa with a cafe specializing in scrumptious chocolates and coffee, with outdoor tables next to a little lake. I had my pre-brunch coffee there on Sunday morning, and might have purchased a lot of chocolate to take home.
It was amazing, fabulous, peaceful, and exactly what I needed. I'm already plotting a return trip.
5: Number of naps I took (this is miraculous -- I'm not a napper and can never relax enough to fall asleep)
1: Number of naps that involved snoring (as far as I know)
2: Number of times I doused the bathroom because I turned on the whirlpool jets before the water was high enough in the tub (some people learn from their mistakes; I am not one of those people)
14: Approximate number of pounds of cheese I ate
2: Number of friends who made me laugh til it hurt, made sure I had all the best custard and coffee and JesusMobile sightings Milwaukee offered, and schlepped out to brunch, spa, and dine with me on Sunday