Friday, October 13, 2006

my labors are rewarded (but only by myself, sigh)

Lately I've been obsessed with meeting my fundraising requirement for Lola's preschool. This preschool is a non-profit parent cooperative which charges unheard of low tuition, and in order to make ends meet, the parents put on a charity auction each year. Each family must generate auction items. This year, the amount was raised to $600 from last year's quite doable $400.

I had procrastinated getting started on this, in part because I am lazy and wait until the last minute so often in life, and in part because I've been sick since mid-August (today was the first day I felt semi-healthy, and I enjoyed it). It's been all I could do to get the girls to and from their schools and to get us into a new routine.

But anyhow, at the last minute I had my own sewing projects,and I had donations to gather, and I turned in a total of $1,049 in auction items (nearly $900 of those were turned in this morning, ten minutes before the final deadline for all items to be physically turned over). Dollar value of items raised by the Sober Husband: ZERO. He was supposed to, at a bare minumum, donate a copy of the software from his primary start-up job (this is a shrink-wrapped product which is sold to the public), but he flaked at the last minute for reasons which remain obscure. Shame, Mr. Husband, shame. I've been bizarrely stressed over this for six weeks, and he could have created something, but maybe next year.

On the other hand, I'm feeling the love from my delightful donors, Isotope Comics, Colorbox Salon, the Mechanics Institute, and Kids Only, on Haight St., all genuine San Francisco icons, plus my mother (who genned up $300 worth of children's clothes).

I hadn't done anything but slave on my sewing projects in my spare and non-spare time for ages (I made three children's jackets to be auctioned off), and I had run out of make-up, a crisis in the world of the Drunken Housewife. I rewarded myself for getting all my work done (I didn't finish until midnight last night) by running off downtown on BART. I'm telling you, Macy's in Union Square has become a fabulous beauty destination. I think they have really amped things up out of fear of the new competition (Bloomingdale's has just opened a massive store up in the shopping district). Walking in off the street, I was able to get my custom make-up made at the Prescriptives counter, pick up some fabulous lip gloss, get an amazing half-hour massage from the talented Pippin at the Origins instore day spa, and have my eyebrows professionally done by the fabulous Janet at Benefit (and the Benefit people so nicely hand the somewhat disheveled client, but with fabulous brows, off to have her make-up freshened for no extra charge).

The massage was a huge surprise. I did it on the spur of the moment instead of eating lunch, because I could see what looked like a surprisingly good massage going on while I got my make-up made. Everything exceeded expectations about it. The last massage I got before today was at an actual spa, the Kabuki Hot Springs, and it sucked. I had a $200 package of spa services, and I left cranky and unrelaxed. My massage was painful; the therapist did something particularly excruciating around my hips which had me bracing for agony, rather than relaxing. The facial was brutal and left my face feeling slimy. I had to sit in a waiting room, the only woman surrounded by gym queens, in an ill-fitting tacky little bathrobe which I had to hold shut (these men did not want to see the Drunken Housewife's merchandise). Then came the worst part, the body scrub, which was in a charmless and chilly room which looked like a hospital operating room... probably a veterinary hospital at that (in my experience, San Francisco hospital operating rooms are much more spa-like, featuring a heated operating table that is well-nigh cosy for those nervous moments before the general anesthesia kicks in). The water sprayed on me was COLD, and the spa attendant was brisk and unpersonable, making me feel like a filthy kitchen floor which needed a strong disinfection. I left, feeling cheated and greasy and uncomfortable.

Now, unlike the Kabuki Hot Springs spa, the Origins people at Macy's know what they are doing. They serve white tea while you fill out their little medical form, served in cups which were peculiarly nice to hold, and they drape a hot beanbag scarf around your neck (I usually hate those things, but this one was lovely). The din of the shoppers is like white noise, more relaxing than the New Agey music most massage professionals favor. The massage chair was cosy. And best of all, Pippin was an accomplished massage professional, doing some interesting diagonal stretching on my back which I've never encountered before. She was thoughtful, too, occasionally tugging down my shirt whenever the massage pulled it up, so as to spare me the unrelaxing knowledge that my butt cleavage was showing (sidenote: I am so sick of the low-rise pants fashion. In the future, everyone will mock this decade for our overly low pants. I have seen more than enough butt cleavage and underpants to last me the rest of my life).

I left feeling invigorated, healthy for the first time in nearly two months, and with sculpted eyebrows and reduced tension in my backfat (that is a Simpsons reference, by the way. The computerized house of the future massages Homer's shoulders and notes, "You're carrying a lot of tension in your backfat, Homer"). I just made it back in time to pick up Lola.

I love this city. My child goes to preschool in a frigging eucalyptus grove up a long, rocky path, and yet I can run off and get custom made make-up, a world class massage, and a brow make-over with no notice and no effort. I love mass transit, which I don't take often enough (I never even drove until age 30, and I didn't own my own car until age 37, when I was in the 3d trimester with my second child and just couldn't hack the hills or the Muni buses any more). I drive far too much, shlepping the children and their possessions about the city, and it's wonderful to be able to go off on my own, accompanied only by an obscure Swedish crime novel, and take the subway. I'm so glad to be finally feeling healthy again and to have achieved my major goal for the fall.

Now just one question remains: as more than one mother asked me today, "Are you gonna buy your stuff back at the auction?" My daughters and I are in love with the jackets I made, and asininely enough, I may well end up buying them back. Last year I slaved and slaved over the Ultimate Princess Dress-up Gown, which I ended up buying back for Lola, and so it was a bit of a farce overall. I should perhaps keep my sewing projects and my fundraising separate.


Green said...

May I ask how much the massage cost? I'm thinking after my parents leave, I will get myself a small massage or something fancy.

May I also just say I'm impressed with your fundraising abilities? I don't know the first thing about how one does it, but apparently it's quite stressful.

Steve said...

Your work is beautiful! Thanks for posting the pictures of what you made for the auction.

Susan said...

Those jackets are beautiful! If I had a girl, I'd definitely buy one!

Freewheel said...

Very cute, especially on your model. I hope she gets to keep it.

Anonymous said...

those are adorable! you make such lovely things.

- yr fan, M