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A Day at the Spa

It’s December 23rd and I’ve got one-hundred and forty-thousand things to do and one hour to do them in before I have to go to the spa. My boss is sending me to an afternoon at the Cape May Day Spa on Jefferson Street, for my “on assignment.”

Really, who has time for spas? I have grocery shopping to do. I have grocery shopping lists to make. I forgot to buy my accountant a gift. I forgot to buy Megan’s brother a gift. I have to pick up dessert at the bakery – oh no that’s tomorrow. I better make a list reminding me to make a list of things to do tomorrow.

Now why would he send me to a spa?

Oh. I have to clean the house but I can’t clean the house too soon before the 24th because then I’ll have to reclean the house.

Now, what time do I have to be there? Oh Gawd. NOW. I have to be there now. Off I go. Of course it’s raining and I can’t get the bloody umbrella to go up. Where did that puddle come from? It wasn’t there the last time I walked this way.

The sign on the door says no cell phones. OK. Where is my cell phone? Oh No. I’ve lost my cell phone. Oh. I remember. I left it in the pocket of my coat because I couldn’t figure out what coat to wear. It’s very mild today but it’s raining. I could have worn the red coat for the holidays but that didn’t have a hood and …..what’s that?

Someone at the desk is talking to me.

Yes, I do have an appointment. What am I getting? I don’t really know. My boss did say something. I’m writing an article on my experience here so it really doesn’t matter but can I take your picture? No? Ok. How about I take a picture of the desk? Good that’s good.

It appears as though I’m getting a facial, pedicure, manicure, and full body integrated massage and that I’m being triple teamed by Talitha, Brenda, and Francine.

I’m taken into the inner sanctum and asked to remove my clothes and put them into a locker. I put a wrap-around thing about me like a bath towel with Velcro that wraps under my arms. Over that, I put a very nice popcorn cotton robe and blue disposable flip-flops.

“Are you nice and warm?” asks a very nice woman.

“Oh yes.” Warm? I’m hotter than Hades.

I’m escorted to a waiting room where I fill out whatever necessary information they need. I could never work here because everyone is very quiet and speaks in very low tones. I do not speak in low tones and like to laugh, loudly, for all the world to hear. My mind is still reeling with lists of things I have to do and people I have to call and I better remember to get everybody’s name right and how am I going to take notes while I’m…

Yes. I’m ready for my facial.

Brenda escorts me into a room.

Can I take your picture?

No? OK. How about I take a picture of the empty room and the table – this very odd looking table? What are these people going to do with me? What’s that hole in the table for?

Talitha blessedly agrees to let me take her picture.

I’m told to take off my robe and flippy-flops, lie on the table and when I’m ready, Brenda and Talitha will be right in. I readjust my wrap-around because it keeps coming undone. I don’t think I caught the Velcro quite right.

Hmmmm. I open the door. Brenda and Talitha are patiently waiting for me to get on the table, problem is, I can’t figure how.

 “Is that where my head’s supposed to go?” I ask

“No. Your feet go there. Your head goes up here.”

All righty then.

Hey. What’s happening? Hmmmm. I like this. First of all, I can’t see. Brenda has placed some kind of healing eye pads on my eyes – so I can only describe what is happening by sensations.

Talitha puts my feet in a seaweed footbath – no it’s not like REAL seaweed, like green spinach stuff floating around – it’s just this greenish, perfectly warm, nice feeling water. (I looked at it when I thought my head went there).

Talitha takes one leg and starts massaging my calves and goes to work on me feet – cuticles, toes, exfoliating stuff on my calves and feet.

Oh my Gawd – I think I’m in heaven.

At the same time Brenda smoothes a gentle cleansing milk on my face and turns up the steam. Apparently, I’m in for the Anti-Aging Facial – can’t imagine why they’d pick that one. She explains all the products and what she’s doing but she’s not overly chatty which I like because man, this is like acupuncture, you get into a zone and all your little troubles melt away. I’m melting…

Speaking of melting away – after a while, Brenda smears a “Vegetal” exfoliant on my face and I can feel the pores opening up. This is followed by a nice warm towel around my face and each of my toes being painted with Deer Valley Spice polish. All thoughts of lists drifted away to the sounds of gentle music.

 Next Brenda applied a replenishing serum, rosee visage (whatever that is – but it smells so nice), a revitalizing mask and an extended day cream. But then comes the best part –  Brenda uses a hydrating body lotion and massages my shoulders, neck, and arms. I think I want to live here – right here on this weird table.

Ah Oh. It’s over. The toes, calves, face, neck, steamy, seaweed water thing is over.

“Francine will be waiting for you in the room across the hall when you’re ready for your massage.”

I open my eyes. Massage? There’s more?

Off the weird table and across the hall I go where Francine is adjusting the massage table for me. This table I understand. And you know how I was hotter than Hades an hour or so ago? Man, am I cold now. Francine, however, puts a huge, blanket-like towel over me and I’m fine again.

I am lying face down – there’s a little indentation for my head – and Francine begins her magic. First of all, she has the warmest hands in the universe. I must confess that sometimes I’m a little afraid of massages especially in the shoulders and back of the neck area where everybody gets tense. It seems to me, on the two or three other occasions when I’ve had a massage – that there is more pain involved in the thing than pleasure and that I’m more tense afterwards than before. I’m sure that’s just my imagination working overtime but there you have it. So, I can feel myself getting a little tense just as I feel her hands on me.

Francine massages all my fears away – nothing (except possibly the facial-pedicure) could have been more pleasurable. I was thinking that the pre-massage treatment might have been a good prep for the real message and that’s about the last thought I had. The hour floated away while I listened to the sounds of the soothing sea.

I’m getting dressed and ready for my manicure and cup of chai when I realize that I am fascinated with my toes and must take many pictures of them because they will never look this good again.

Talitha pretty much repeats the same process for a manicure as for a pedicure, although without the exfoliating message. And, at the end of it, I look fabulous thank you very much.

I leave the Cape May Day Spa feeling happy, happy, happy and pretty much stay that way for the rest of the day. I’m so relaxed, in fact that I don’t know how I’m going to get anything done – nor do I care.

I have the best job in the whole wide world and I bet you wish you could be me. Well, guess what? You can be me. What better way to spend a wintry day or for that matter a romantic weekend than in Cape May getting pampered? And don’t think pampering is just for girls, there are plenty of guy things offered and numerous winter specials including “New Beginning” offered, appropriately enough in January. That’s a 3-hour session with a deep soak bath, ultimate detox wrap with foot and hand massage, topped off with an aroma relaxing facial and lite fare. Or come on down to Cape May in February when “Restful Rendezvous” and “Victorian Duet” are on the menu, as well as “Love and Wellness.”

The larger hotels like Congress Hall, The Southern Mansion, and The Virginia Hotel are open in the winter months as well as several B&Bs, including Victorian Lace, which is owned by the same people who operate the Cape May Day Spa and offers several accommodation packages including, of course, a day at the spa.

So, listen, think out of the box. Cape May’s not just for beachgoers. It’s for people who need a little R&R and what a great time to come here. No crowds, no jostling just the soothing sounds of the sea.