And here we go again, another move is just around the corner. We’ve begun the “yes I know we’re out of ketchup but I’m not buying a new bottle” stage. Realizing around every corner that “this might be the last time we drive along this road”, and “Oh no, we’re missing the bluebonnets this year”. Trying to squeeze in dinners with friends, visits to favourite places, bulk buying salsas and mole and spices, and stuffing our faces with tacos at every opportunity.

I’ve started packing, as it helps me process the move – most people don’t understand this, but to me, going through the pain of wrapping, discarding, sorting out boxes for donations or gifts to friends, is somehow cathartic, and a vital part of moving on to the next stage of my life. The only thing I need to watch is my tendency to get lost in packing trance, and remind myself I need time away from packing. Needless to say, I’m extremely stressed at the moment. Jolting upright at night, from deep sleep, after the weirdest dreams to forgetting where I’m going while driving on the freeway, I can easily see that I’m not functioning very well. Phobias and tics I can usually keep under control are roaring loudly, not to mention physical aches and pains. Moving is hell, regardless of whether you’ve done it once or ten times.

So, I decided to dedicate some time to self-care, me-time, a few breaks from packing, organising and fretting.

I started with a haircut, which went surprisingly well, meaning I didn’t rush home to wash, restyle, recut (yes, I’ve had my fair share of traumatic hair appointments). The gorgeous waves my stylist created in my poker straight hair didn’t last beyond the evening, and I already know that there is zero hope I might recreate this look myself, but all in all I’m pretty happy with the new ‘do.

What next? I thought and went on the Groupon page. Can’t beat a good deal, and the first one that caught my eye was a one-hour floating session in a sensory-deprivation zero gravity salt water floating tank. Bingo!

I arrived at Float Spa, watched a little instruction video, got shown my little room with shower area and floating tank, nodded along to the therapist’s instructions, locked the door and got ready for my one hour of bliss. Maybe I would really be able to float into another state of consciousness and forget about all my aches.

Provisions I got were a small bottle of clean water to wipe salt from your face if necessary, a wash cloth for this purpose, a couple of support noodle thingies, and some earplugs. My worries about having my ears under water were thus unfounded, as the earplugs surprisingly fit and stayed in, and after I had checked that the water bottle and cloth were within reach, and pulled the lid of the pod shut to be properly cocooned, I happily let my body sink into the warm but not too warm water. After a few minutes, the soft music stopped and the low purple lighting dimmed to blackness. It was very quiet. And very dark. I also realized that I had forgotten to put the petroleum jelly provided to cover cuts and grazes on the popped blister on my thumb I got from painting the bathroom the day before. My thumb was throbbing with pain. I tried to breathe it away, since getting up and applying the balm now was just too much hassle. I sighed and focused on the sensation of floating. It was too quiet. And too dark. I remembered that I’m really not good in enclosed dark spaces. What was I thinking? I sat up to open the lid of the pod a tad. Cool air from outside the pod rushed in, and I shivered, sinking back into the water, sloshing salt into my eyes in the process. Where was that water bottle? In the dark, I fumbled around and managed to knock the bottle and the clean cloth into the water. Great. Now my eyes were stinging too.

I tried to bring my focus away from my eyes and thumb and managed to get half way through a full body scan. My neck, which has been in agony for the last few weeks, felt very tender. Maybe I would be more comfortable with the neck support noodle? I sighed. Of course I’d left that out of reach. I sat up, opened the lid fully and hopped out, grabbing the noodle while wiping the salt out of my eyes and got back into the pool in seconds.

This time, I managed to close the lid fully, found the switch for the soft purple light and felt finally ready to relax and embrace the cocoon. The problem was, it was still too quiet. The sloshing sounds and tummy rumbles weren’t helping. I started to feel annoyed that I hadn’t turned on Spotify on my phone to play some relaxing music, or at this point, any music. Waited another minute or so, then heaved myself out of the pod a second time and hopped over to my pile of clothes. This time, the overhead lighting came on. Oh no, I thought, was this going to end the treatment? I fumbled for my phone, chose a playlist and tried to put the now salt encrusted device back on top of my clothes. While the light was still on, I tried to rip open the packet of petroleum jelly, but my eyes were stinging so much that I couldn’t really see what I was doing. I briefly thought about turning the shower on to rinse off but was worried that this would alert the attendant.

By this point, I was starting to get grumpy. But also kind of giggly, as this whole relaxation plan was clearly turning out to be the worst idea I could have had. Luckily, I had only paid half thanks to Groupon!

Back in my pod, neck support in place and soft lighting on, I realized that I couldn’t even hear the music properly with the lid shut and my earplugs in, but I resigned myself to the fact that I could endure the muted sounds for however long the tank was still mine. Of course I hadn’t checked the time on my phone.

Once the bubbles came on in the pool – the sign I had five minutes before my time was up – I didn’t hang around, jumped out, showered and left without further ado.

Maybe I’ll have more luck with the massage I booked for next week. Or maybe I should actually try and learn to meditate.

P.S. My skin felt amazing for a few days.

2 thoughts on “ The countdown has begun ”

  1. Oh, Steffi! This made me laugh so much! So identify with the hopping around and everything not quite right out of reach then salt in your eyes bits! Pretty much a little mini version of how our lives can feel some days… 😉 A symbolic catharsis and cleansing very good though and intrigued to see The Haircut That Met The SXC Standard Of Excellence 💇🏻‍♀️ x

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  2. Oh how funny 😀 Well i’m sorry it wasn’t quite the R & R you were needing but it sounds like it was a bit of fun You time !! Good luck with packing etc, see you East side soon XXX

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