Stakeout To Catch a Runaway

I needed donuts and coffee quick!

According to all the 1970’s cop shows I watched as a kid, it helps while on a stakeout. Keeping a watchful eye out for the “perp”, I anxiously awaited her capture so I could make the call to get an ID.

You know I’m all about slapping on a sticker badge and calling myself Sheriff of the yard. All that Starsky and Hutch viewing was going to pay off.

yard corner

Entrance to the hideout in an overgrown thorny corner

Each day at dusk, the kids and I would spot her and two other gang members sneaking across the yard by the fence line in a covert fashion. Over the past two months, she’s been seen stealing food from all corners of the neighborhood while slyly alluding capture.

No matter how quietly I opened the sliding glass door to the backyard, she heard it and bolted to the safety of the new hideout in the conservation area behind my house. Thorns and overgrown brush that once stopped the teenagers from using is as a path are no deterrent for these seasoned adventurers. Having the time of her life, she isn’t ready to give up this freedom she’s been enjoying during her mid-life crisis.

alligators welcome

Old decaying fence gate leaves a huge opening welcoming critters.

My home sits on what was swampland thirty years ago. Just beyond the useless fence is a rough conservation area complete with a small body of water and a ten foot alligator that I occasionally hear crying out for a mate. His cries sound more like an angry lion so I don’t know how that’s working out for him.

This is also home to countless rattlesnakes, racoons, and armadillos. Welcome to wild kingdom. Hold on while I change into some Jack Hanna safari gear.

the perp


The Runaway

The perp: Lily. My friend’s beautiful black cat

Answers to: Nothing.

Afraid of: Everything that isn’t adventure – especially fake animal trappers.

Problem: She’s hanging out with 2 other black cats. Who doesn’t want to stay with their friends?

Doesn’t she just look like she is up to something?

The Sighting

I know it is bad luck to have a black cat cross your path but what if you have 4 wandering around your yard. (I’m throwing my next door neighbor’s black cat into the count here.) Is that exponential?

My daughter spotted the gang first, so I ran outside and called Lily’s name. There she sat at the opening to the hangout looking at me. Attempts to coax her to the bowl of dog food I had in my hand only led her to take a small step toward me. She nervously looked over her shoulder as if to say, “I’ve gotta go…my friends are waiting and I’m going to miss the mouse hunt.” Eventually she disappeared.

The Animal Catcher 2000

Animal trapper 2000 - When you are looking for a wildlife adventure.This sighting led to the trap being set at my house. Before the PETA people rage on, it is a humane trap. Baited and set, we waited until dusk when the gang sets out on their nightly escapades.


Coming to check on the trap, my friend announced “We have a cat, but I need a flashlight.” It was very dark in the corner of the yard, and the cat was hissing. A few feet away in a pile of brush we heard a lot of commotion and guessed her friends must have been freaking out over the situation and hatching a plan for springing her from the trap. I think I caught a glimpse of a hat with a “no cat left behind” motto.

Turns out it was the wrong cat. She was released and the trap was reset.

Wait that’s not a cat

An hour later I broke into the emergency hurricane kit supplies to get a working flashlight and ventured out to check the trap. Something was growling and moving frantically in the cage. Shining the light, I was met with the glowing eyes of a wild animal. A raccoon. He wasn’t much bigger than a baby, but he snarled and growled as I approached.

At this point I questioned my choice of trapping attire which was shorts and flip flops and imagined it being released only to turn and bite my leg.

Not having opened the trap myself, I had to fidget a bit to figure it out. Meanwhile he jumped at me in an attempt to bite me, and I was thankful there was metal between us. I’m not sure who was more scared.

Never attempt negotiations with a wild animal. In a sweet, calm voice I explained to him that I was getting him out of there. He wasn’t listening and continued jumping at me while growling which cause me to jump back every time and scream. We continued this dance for several minutes.


They look so sweet in the daytime.

Finally I managed to open the door, and he raced to the conservation area like a bolt of lightning. A blur into the dark night. Figuring he learned his lesson, I reset it and returned to the house. Releasing a wild animal from a cage is an adrenaline rush, and my heart was pumping.

Twenty minutes later I was releasing him AGAIN. This time he was REALLY ANGRY. I had the door propped open and he didn’t even notice. I shined the light in his face and explained the door was open after lecturing him on not learning his lesson the first time. Being the rebel he was, he continued to hiss and growl…then it changed to a babyish feel-sorry-for-me whine. At this point I had to guess he didn’t understand English, baby talk, or terror-induced screaming. Once he finally turned his head to see he was free, he was gone in a flash.

Not being able to handle anymore heart throbbing excitement, I shut down the operation for the evening.

I’m switching to day trapping only. It’s scary walking into my backyard at night, and I just can’t take the “guess what’s in the trap” game again. My friend said so far they have caught many cats, an armadillo, and now you can add racoons to the list.

Oh Lily…just go home.

Back to duty.
Trapper Melinda

PS: Update: After catching the third raccoon (this time a bigger one), Operation Find Lily was officially cancelled due to I might have a heart attack if I have to release another wild animal. You won’t see me working at Busch Gardens anytime soon.

PPS: It could have been worse. It could have been a relative of the cat, the bobcat which has been seen several times in my yard.

How to Fall Out of a Car Gracefully

A Guide on Playing Off Embarrassing Moments in Life

Soooooo…a few weeks back I got the call that my car was ready at the shop. Excitedly I zipped over to my favorite gas station, the one with the fast pumps, to put gas back in the rental car.

Used to stepping DOWN from my SUV, I believe it was the awkwardness of the lower vehicle combined with my dangerous flip flops that caused the following scenario to occur.

Getting out to pump gas

arrive at gas station

My flip-flop gets caught and I tumble out of the car

It was in slow motion to make sure all saw...

Laying flat on the ground between the pump and my car.

laying by the gas pump

If you ever find yourself in this predicament, this is the point where you attempt to look like you were checking a leak under your car and are lying on the ground completely on purpose.

Then stand up, check for bloody knees, and proceed to pump gas as if that did not just happen. It’s all in the execution of looking purposeful.

A quick glance around made me think I had actually gotten away with it. I was on the end pump, and no one seemed to be paying attention. I began pumping gas and lowered my sunglasses onto my face like no one would recognize me. My knees were burning as they were scraped and a giant bruise was already blackening on my palm where I caught myself.

Then I heard it…

“Are you OK?”

Turning to look behind me, I see a pleasant looking gentleman sitting in his car where he had been putting air in his tires.

I turned and did a wave while saying, “I’m fine thanks!”

SHOOT! Well I was until I realized someone had seen it.

CREDIT FOR MY STICK FIGURENESS: I snagged one of my 6 year old’s drawings of me after giving up on her ever drawing the figure I requested for this article. My artist on staff is unreliable, especially when sitting next to a pumpkin full of candy.

Ever fallen out of your car?

Stepping on the Daisies

daisy dollTonight was little one’s first Daisy meeting. I didn’t know there was anything in Girl Scouts before Brownies. Daisies are K-1st graders, and she’s been counting down the days for a week.

Making First Impressions

Being the first one there, I introduced myself to the troop leader and proceeded to become her least favorite parent.

Offhandedly mentioning that I wasn’t aware of this level of scouts, I recounted my days as a Girl Scout and Cadet (the middle school version). According to my experience, Cadets do not wear their uniform to school on meeting days but instead covertly stand behind a tree until Mom leaves the carpool drop off lane at which time they cram the vest into a back pack. This is called smart planning to avoid getting beaten up.

Her snarled, annoyed response to my story was “It’s only as cool as you make it.”

At this point I realized she was saying that for the benefit of her close-to-middle-school-aged daughter that was sitting on the couch behind me. Attempting a recovery, I quickly mentioned “I loved the cooking badges.”

Since she was never a girl scout herself, I forgive her for the lack of first hand experience with this horror. I’m sorry but there is no making that sash cool in middle school. That girl is going thank me one day for my wisdom.

Boy was I glad to see my friend walk in the door so I could leave that conversation behind.

It’s all about the cookies

Amazed at not having been thrown out, I sat on one of the couches, and the meeting began. Raising my hand to ask the most important question, I was thrilled to hear that we would be selling Girl Scout cookies. Whoo hooooooo!! My son later asked if that meant we could purchase with a discount. Sadly that isn’t how it works.

I hate camping.

Not a fan. My idea of camping is a tent in the living room and me not in it. I like electricity and don’t find it relaxing to act out pioneer days.

My dislike of camping ironically stems from childhood experiences at Girl Scout camp. The brochure would have described it as:

Enjoy a rain-filled weekend in a mosquito-infested, muddy campsite featuring a three hour terrifying tour of the inside of the car during a record-breaking lightning storm.

Your taste buds will delight in a non-melted s’more cooked over a wet bonfire.

Experience chaffing from wearing wet clothes while hanging up clothes to dry on our state-of-the-art clothes line.

Wait till you see our latrine! Doesn’t it just sound fancy?

With all the fun included, it is hard to believe you also take home with a BONUS camping badge for the back of your vest where your long hair will cover it for the next two years.

Worth it?

Absolutely not.

So you can imagine my horror when I scanned the agenda’s list of upcoming events and saw the word “CAMPING”. I started eyeing the exit door options and plotting an escape plan until I learned that Daisies aren’t allowed to camp overnight. Great! They only go from 7am until 7pm. What? 12 hours? I’m a one hour and go kinda camper. I made a mental note to plan a “vacation” for that day. “Sorry we have plans that weekend. Darn because I was really looking forward to that.”

After forking over $44 in cash, I was handed a vest and a stack of patches. Back in the day, everything required sewing on patches by hand. Thank goodness for the invention of iron-on patches because I’m about as handy with a needle and thread as an elephant.

Little one couldn’t wait to get home to transform the plain vest to the patched version, so I warmed up the iron and spent the next ten minutes getting them out of the vacuum-sealed containers.

How hard could they be to iron on?

The first patch was a breeze.

The second ended up turned at a 45 degree angle. Crap!
daisies try 1
The more I looked at it, the more I knew that was not going to pass inspection and we were going to get kicked out. Luckily you can reheat the patch and unstick it.

With attempt number two, I only managed to reverse the problem.
daisies patch try 2

Third time is the charm…I think. At this point I can’t even tell if that is straight or not.

Next meeting she will earn the center of the daisy patch for reciting:

The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

With all eyes on her, I envision my little girl nervously rambling the chorus to Lady Gaga’s Judas by accident.

I hope we can hang in there until the cookies arrive in February/March.

Finding the Humor | The First Year

Finding the humor birthdayGuess what? This blog is officially one year old as of yesterday and this is my 90th post. Happy Birthday Dear Blog, Happy Birthday Dear Blog…

One year ago I sat down and wrote about how my jeans were affecting my life. Then a blur went by, and here I am a year later.

Over the past year I won a Stylish Award, participated in a meme that I still can’t pronounce, and even attempted to virtually steal a painting with my crew.

To celebrate I’m listing some my favorite posts from the year, so if you missed them…enjoy!

My Personal Favorites

Why I’m Never Taking My Kids To The Grand Canyon
Shoe shopping fun with my son
Sticker Mania
Spa Day Adventures and the Need for Bath Skies
What I Could Have Done With $900
Why Cooking A Turkey is Like Being in a Horror Film…or at an OB-GYN office
Gaming With The Kids

Thanks to all my wonderful readers who make me laugh in the comments! Love you all! Have a piece of cake.

Subconscious Living Can Be Frustrating

PREFACE: Last night’s dinner was eaten while standing at the table. Why? We didn’t have any chairs to sit on due to the fact they are being used for forts and tents all over the house. Is summer over yet? What do you mean there is another month?!

Working at home with three children on break has led to little sleep, so bear with me. It is only fitting that this topic is about the brain.

The mind is a fascinating thing, and as I get older I’ve realized just how much of my life is ruled by the subconscious part.

For example, lately I’ve been adding apps to my iPhone at a disturbing rate, so I moved them into neatly organized categories and folders.

Immediately I realized my thumb needed to be reprogrammed because instead of opening Facebook or Twitter I was getting my clock or iTunes that now occupy the old spots. This progressed into a two minute battle with my subconscious which continued to insist that it knew the location of Facebook. Such a strong-willed opponent!

Ever been on the way somewhere…jamming out to some tunes and singing…and realize you just drove somewhere else?

Who is calling the shots here?

Slightly off topic, but this reminds me of my favorite TED talk. Not only am I a huge fan of TED, I absolutely adore Dan Ariely who is a Professor for Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. (I will forgive him for that – NCSU graduate here and sorry we are basketball rivals.)

Predictably Irrational is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, and he gives examples of how we make irrational decisions everyday. I’m pretty sure I could be his lab rat. One week at my house, and he could have a whole new book’s worth of material.

He’s funny and the topic is fascinating. In the video he covers a few things from the book. If you don’t have 17 minutes, go to min. 14:00 and watch the date preference experiment.

Or watch on

If there is one thing to take away from this video, it is be aware of who is asking you to accompany them out to a bar.

I feel better knowing that my irrational behavior may not be completely under my control which justifies my need to purchase the shampoo I don’t like that comes with a free sample of denture cream that I will never use because that’s a steal and a must buy!

What does your subconscious control that frustrates you?

Bonus points to the person that recognizes the song I was singing in the car.

This Isn’t What I Expected | My Worst Job Ever

During my freshman year of college, I worked at Miller & Rhodes, a department store that shortly after went out of business, but that’s not my fault…I swear! The best thing about working in a department store is you get an employee discount on clothes! The worst thing is that you have to use the department store credit card to get it.

Working over the Christmas season, I netted around negative two hundred dollars.

This, however, was not the worst job I ever had. It just caused it.

Working off debt

Summer vacation arrived, and a credit card debt needed to be paid off. Talking with the local temporary staffing company, I begged for anything they had. Desperate to regain debt-free status, I enthusiastically screamed “I’ll take it!” without asking what “it” was. She tried to explain why I probably didn’t want it, but I wasn’t listening. Just give me the job! I can do anything! Ahh…the naive rantings of the young.

worst job outfit

The actual sweater was even brighter!

Figuring I would be filing papers or answering phones as usual, I borrowed my sister’s EXTREMELY bright, turquoise sweater. (See the outfit in the picture).

Fashionista Reporting For Work

Pulling up to the building, I noticed it was a very plain, brick building with a tiny sign that I almost missed. Grabbing my purse stocked with hairspray, lipstick, and gum, I took a deep breath and ventured in.

“Good Morning!” I peppily announced with a friendly grin.

My chipper voice seemed to startle the girl behind the counter, and she darted into the back.

The small lobby was disturbingly drab without as much as a picture or plaque of any kind on the wall. Strangely there was no furniture to sit on, so I had to guess they don’t get visitors.

Suddenly a stoic-looking, middle-aged lady dressed in jeans and flannel shirt appeared. I identified myself as I curiously glanced around to discover where the filing cabinet or phone system was hidden.

The Adventure Begins

Following her through a system of long hallways lined with safety posters, I suddenly felt like Dorothy in Oz. I wasn’t in Miller & Rhodes anymore.

We stepped through double doors into a cavernous warehouse which was a bustling hive of activity. The sounds of machinery and heavy smell of burning plastic overwhelmed me.

Hmmm…I don’t think there are phones back here.

You know that moment that Dorothy steps out of the house into Oz and the picture turns from black and white into color? That wondrous moment of awe!?! This was the complete opposite.

Leaving the world of color behind in the parking lot, I had entered the grey, dreary heart of a plastic bottle manufacturing plant. Still trailing my guide, I took in the sights while trying to figure out what I was doing here. Dressed in drab clothes with handkerchiefs tied around their heads, busy workers tended to the huge machines that ran the length of the building. It was the Willy Wonka of plastic bottles.

When I saw the workers’ dirty hands, I second guessed my choice of white pants, and my curled, hair spray-set hair swept back into a colorful headband seemed silly. My heels echoed throughout the endless room, and they seemed to say “Look at this girl!! HA! She wore heels!”

I was a foreigner in a distant land, and by the looks of the stares…an unwelcome brightly-colored, misplaced one.

My job

We came to a stop at the end of the metal, steaming creature, and my guide pressed a button.

Warm, empty, plastic shampoo bottles exited out of the molder and filled the assembly line. My job was to grab them off the belt and pack them 100 to a box. It seemed simple enough until I was also instructed to inspect them for defects. Any bottles that didn’t meet standards were to be thrown back into the melter. I would have practiced some basketball shooting if I’d had known because the shoot was a few feet over my head.

My gold bangles were confiscated for safety reasons, and I got right to work.

In the beginning things were fine, and I quickly packed away my first box with only a few defects returned to the melter’s shoot. Shortly after my feet began to ache from the heels I wasn’t used to wearing, and I enviously eyed the tennis shoes of the other workers and caught their snickers when they looked my way.

By box two I realized that the machine gets faster after it is fully warmed up and the bottles came pouring out. I kept losing count, and the bottles were backing up. My solution was to dispose of five bottles, so I tossed them into the melter to catch up.

With each passing minute, I got further and further behind as the machine seemed to spit them out at an ever-increasing rate. After quickly glancing to see if anyone was looking, I tossed 10 bottles for every 10 I packed. I wasn’t doing well at all. Bottles began spilling onto the floor.

Just like this…only with bottles

A whistle signaled the 10:30am break, and I welcomed the chance to catch my breath. The line was shut down, and I followed everyone to the break room. Happy to be off my feet, I sat all by myself at a table drinking a Dr. Pepper while wishing I was anywhere else. No one spoke to me, and my feet throbbed in pain. Happy to end the awkwardness, I returned to my station and looked forward to lunch.

The backup of bottles continued to get worse and worse until I was doing nothing but throwing them into the melter. I don’t remember that I even cared if anyone saw by that point.

bottle packing nightmare

During my lunch hour, I quickly escaped and drove the ten minutes home to change clothes and grab a bite to eat. My tennis shoes and jeans were a welcome comfort. I frantically scribbled a note on several scraps of paper for my mom. Something about this being a nightmare, and if I don’t return then assume I jumped into the melter.

I didn’t want to go back. Even if I didn’t get paid! However, I’m not a quitter; so my conscious drove me back even though my feet and body attempted to resist.

The rest of the day is foggy in my memory, but I do remember being surprised that they asked if I wanted to come back. Come back?!? Do this again?! Mentioning that this probably wasn’t my talent, I politely declined.

Memories best forgotten

If I had a picture from that day, it would have looked something like this:

factory workers and me

What’s the worst job you ever had?

Tell me about it in the comments. If you decide to write about it on your blog, let me know and I’ll add a link here.

If you haven’t seen the Women of Industry series from Kelley’s Break Room check them out.

UPDATE (6-29-11): I’m included in Kelley’s recent Name That Job #5 so see if you can guess the right answer about my past jobs. You already have a hint here…so it is like I gave you a cheat sheet!

Followed By Paparazzi For A Laugh


Ever wondered what it would be like to be stalked by an ever present camera?

Like a celebrity avoiding her latest outing appearing on the front page of The Enquirer, I’m dodging my daughter’s camera left and right these days.

Occasionally, I react by striking a pose just like the picture only it doesn’t look that glamourous. I’m missing the dress, oh and the hairdo, and fan, and something cool to lean on. The effect isn’t the same using the kitchen counter.

She’s managed to accumulate a vault of videos of me:

  • Dancing to the Kinect
  • Dancing in my seat while driving
  • Talking on the phone
  • Demonstrating stupid things – total set ups

The motive

A six figure offering is not the motivation behind this constant filming. The perfect recording of my laugh is.

The sneaky photographer walks into the kitchen where I’m cooking and tells me something funny. Not realizing she’s on the phone, I’m laughing my normal laugh. While walking away, she places the phone back to her ear and excited says, “Did you hear it?!?!”


Apparently my laugh has become famous, and I’m left perplexed at why.

Trying to recreate a laugh doesn’t work when you are consciously trying.

I’m Now A Ringtone

Her newest creation is a ringtone consisting of my laugh. This was accomplished with her iTouch’s voice recorder while I was talking on the phone. Lovely. When I call her phone, it plays my laugh. Now I’m limited to texting for obvious reasons.

I have to guess she was using a dork filter because I’m certain it sounds MUCH cooler than…this….

(Warning turn down your speaker…all the way down is recommended.)

* Audio is Copyright 2011 and not available for replay without permission of my wonderful daughter who I’m sure would sell me off for $1 based on her recent attempt to trade moms with a friend like I’m a baseball card.

That was the edited short version. Eeeeee gads I must make people deaf on the phone.

Now that I’m a ringtone, should I be offended or take this as a compliment?

Virtual Painting Heist of the Century | Operation Duck Rescue

You know how a bad song gets stuck in your head, eventually it starts to grow on you, and then you’re buying it on iTunes? That happened to me this week; only it isn’t a song – it’s a painting.

The actual owner doesn’t appreciate it’s fine paint-by-numberish qualities, so I have no other choice but to attempt a daring rescue.

After watching the entire Peter Sellers Pink Panther series and Ocean’s Eleven multiple times, I’m practically overqualified to orchestrate the “Virtual Painting Heist of the Century“.

*Cue Mission Impossible Music*

My target: Greg’s newly acquired duck painting. (@TellingDad)

I simply must have it for no other reason but…I don’t have one, and now I feel like he has one-upped me with this recently-acquired, signed masterpiece. I have reason to believe it’s just leaning against a wall on his front porch waiting for someone to steal it. Can you imagine?!

If you have no idea what I am talking about you have to see the duck painting for yourself and all its glory at “Anyone Wanna Buy Some Ducks?” and then come back.

Back? Now you know why I’m heading up Operation Duck Rescue to acquire this fine specimen of artwork PLUS it’s really going to snazzy up my guest bathroom in Trump Tower style.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to recreate a movie heist and wear my black trench coat.

I’m gathering experts, so meet my dream team:

The Lemon Twelve…Like Ocean’s Twelve but much cooler and lower budget

Mitch of Morpho Designs, Communications Coordinator – If he doesn’t have any surveillance equipment lying around the house, I’ve got a back up set of Barbie walkie talkies that should suffice plus some extra AA batteries.

Kelley from Kelly’s Break Room, Snack Coordinator – She already has a whole refrigerator full of Diet Coke, and we’re going to need some caffeine. The whole heist could last up to ten minutes.

Patricia from Lavendar Uses, Damage Control – Since we might accidentally mess up a flower or two and Greg just finished that beautiful flower bed, she’ll be on hand to cover our tracks and make the necessary repairs. We’re considerate like that.

Allan from Simple Life Prattle, Branding – In charge of carving “Finding the Humor” in a lemon. He’s a skilled craftsman and the only one I trust with the plastic Wendy’s knife. The “calling card” lemon will be left on the doorstep.

Jessica from Surely, You Jess!, Lookout – If she sees anyone coming, she can distract them by breaking out into a song and dance routine from Hairspray while wearing her signature black boots.

David from Courageously Creative, Painter – He can decorate the get away van in lemons so we don’t forget which van is ours and get in the wrong one. Embarrassing!

John from Hypertransitory, Spy Gadget Supplier – John can blend us up some unnecessary but cool spy gadgets and sunglasses. We’re going to fall all over the place because we can’t see at night with the sunglasses on aren’t we? How does Lil’ Jon do it?

Alexandra from Good Day, Regular PeopleNegotiator – Hello! She’s an Empress, which is practically like being a lawyer, so she can talk us out of any situation just in case we’re busted…even though we won’t because this is a well-thought-out plan here, people. With her on our side, we qualify for diplomatic immunity.

Since the painting is just sitting on the front porch, that doesn’t make much of a story; so we’re adding some EPICness of our own.

Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas, Special Effects Coordinator – His red laser pointer will be used to fake some armed sensors (dodging laser beams is required theatrics). If he doesn’t have a pointer, he’s going to need get one anyway for all those presentations about rubber cars after he takes over the world. Maybe we need two. You can’t have too much suspense.

Margaret from Conjuring My MuseHistorian – Who else would I have write my biography about the heist when I’m 80 and admit to be the leader of the notorious Virtual Lemon Twelve gang? Without her actually witnessing my tripping over my coat jumping over the red sensor like a ninja, I think it’s going to be hard to do the description justice.

Marianne my sister, Handywoman – She’s good at hanging things on walls straight and already has a ruler. She’s to replace the original with the fake so they don’t even notice it is gone for days, and we’re safely back at our blogs.

fake duck painting

Stunning resemblance?
The attention to detail really made the difference.

My job? Risking the ripping of every muscle in my side, I will attempt a bad cartwheel over the laser sensor up the stairs, leave $50 (because we aren’t really criminals here), swipe the painting, and dramatically jump down 3 steps. This is probably a good time to mention Patricia is a nurse.

The success of the scheme is completely dependent on the calling card for PR reasons, and I can only hope the lemon makes it through the night without molding into a dehydrated, shrunken blob or eaten by a raccoon.

What if you can’t read “Finding the Humor”?!? We’re not going to get any credit! This is the kind of story timeless ballads are based on.

Spa Day Adventures and the Need for Bath Skies

spaA few years ago my good friend (who will remain nameless unless she fesses up to this escapade) and I ventured to a relatively-famous luxurious spa for a little pampering. Please keep in mind this story is being told from the point of view of a mom of three who thinks being spoiled is finding two matching socks.

Please enter paradise

As we entered the ornately decorated lobby, we immediately felt out of place. After being presented with plush white robes, we were led to the woman’s locker room which smelled like lavender. The last time I had been in a locker room was during high school gym, and it was nothing like this. An extravagant fruit display welcomed us, and an elegant table with overstuffed chairs practically begged for us to relax with a cup of hot herbal tea. I immediately decided I could easily live here. Would they notice if I didn’t leave?

Standing in front of the lockers, we were suddenly face with the realization that…we had no idea how “undressed” we were suppose to get. With a whirlpool bath on the agenda, we had come with bathing suits stuffed in our purses in preparation. Without proof, we had a suspicion that wasn’t the modus operandi of the spa. A ten-minute, panicked-filled discussion took place as we debated the pros and cons of each level of nudity under the robe. What if there is a male attendant in the bath area? Are we suppose to have a bathing suit on? What if we are wrong? Even if there had been anyone else in the room, it was too embarrassing to ask.

I made the final decision and announced that we could get a good laugh from our mistake in 10 years or so if “Ricardo” stays in the room.

By then we had wasted all our pre-service time, and after just getting settled with food and tea, we were whisked away. I was sent to the whirlpool, and she was rushed to the facial room. We would switch after 30 minutes. The whirlpool room was a beautiful, dimly lit room with candles burning. Soft spa music filled the air, and I looked forward to a relaxing soak in the HUGE tub that could fit at least 5 people.

What is that?

The first inclination that all was not as it seemed should have been obvious. There were strange metal bars in the tub, and their purpose perplexed me. The attendant left the room noting that the tub was on a timer and the whirlpool would begin in 5 minutes. It would automatically shut off when the time was up.

I set my tea on the side of the tub next to the candles. Sitting in the warm bath, I imagined what it must be like to be royalty and to experience such a treat on a daily basis. I never have time for a bath. This is going to be awesome.

Five minutes later the whirlpool started up. Within thirty seconds I knew what the metal bars at my feet were for…bracing. It was like being dropped into the ocean during a hurricane. The current was so strong I could barely sit in one spot. I tightly gripped the 2 side bars for dear life while pushing on the bars with my feet to keep from being swept from one end of the tub to the next. Water mist was spraying everywhere, and I felt my hair getting soaked. It was like water skiing in a bath tub. I eyed the cup of hot tea and wondered how I would manage to grab it with one hand and not be sucked under water, so it sat untouched. Do people drown in here? Is this normal? Is this a joke and I’m on the Ellen show? OMG I hope not because my bathing suit is in the locker. Is this suppose to be relaxing because I’m pretty stressed out here.

I see land

For thirty minutes I battled the sea, and my legs were sore from the constant pressure I had to exert on the metal bars. I thought about attempting to escape but quickly imagined myself slipping on the step stool I used to get in and them finding me sprawled out on the floor unconscious…so I stayed. When the waves of fury finally subsided, I felt like a shipmate disembarking from the boat after a rough storm. My hair was now half wet and hanging in my face, but hey…wow…my skin is soft as silk. Well I wasn’t entirely convinced that it was from the milk bath and not the pressure of the jets shaving off three layers of skin.

I passed my friend in the hallway where she asked if I heard her scream. With a strange, questioning look I said “No” and warned her to hang on in the bath. I wanted to hear more about her experience but we were wisked away once again.

Exhausted after the bath battle, I was thrilled to be able to lay on a table and relax for the facial. My face covered in a “stimulating and nourishing” mask, I relaxed beneath the cucumbers on my eyes and decided this was worth it. When the cucumbers were removed after ten minutes, I was face to face with a long needle getting ready to gouge into my pores. Over and over my skin was pricked with the needle of doom. Now I knew why my friend had asked about the screaming. Is this covered in the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions? They don’t show this part in the commercials because I would remember it.

Why you shouldn’t be jealous

With red, swollen faces, my friend and I left that day with the reality of what goes on behind those golden doors. Torture.

I have received the wonderful gift of a half day at the spa, and can’t wait to use it. I don’t think a hurricane bath is included, and I’m dodging any needles in the facial room by informing them that “I’m collecting clogged pores, so I just want the mask and head massage thank you.”

However, I will once again find myself standing in the locker room facing the ultimate decision. Bikini or full swimsuit?