Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting Ready for Vacation is Going to Kill Me

English novelist Catherine Aird famously wrote, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning."  I love this quotation.  It runs through my head many, many times a day.  While this blog is devoted to charming and heatwarming stories of our Norman Rockwell life stories about the bizarre stuff that goes on here at the Taylor house, sometimes I like to use this forum to dispense advice.  So pull up a chair, spike your Coke Zero, and let Auntie V tell you a thing or two about preparing for vacation.  Or rather, how NOT to prepare for vacation.

Let me first say that I am really fired up about our trip this year.  We are revisiting Isle of Palms, which is one of my favorite places on the planet.  This is impressive because the last time I was there, I was six weeks postpartum with Davis, as large as a house, depressed, and hormonal.  I had a lovely time watching my family frolic in the waves as I attended to my screaming newborn who picked that week to decide to forget how to sleep.  And yet I still have fond memories.  I remember thinking, "It would be great to come back here someday when my kids are older."  Well, friends, "Someday" is upon us.

So in the excitement of my "do-over" vacation, I have dieted, exercised, had my hair cut and highlighted, slapped some white strips on my teeth, done the mani-pedi, packed cute dresses that cannot double as tablecloths, and have tried in every way to ensure that the pictures from this trip can in no way be confused with the pictures from five years ago.  I was feeling good about myself, which is ALWAYS a prelude to disaster.

There was only one self-improvement item left:  the fake tan.  As you probably know, (since my blog readership is limited, HI MOM!) I sport a very fair complexion.  A very, very, very fair complexion.  I glow in the dark, basically.  I can't tan.  Despite spending summers on the lake and at the pool, I have the same pasty glow in August as I do in January.  Even self-tanners look fake on me, but I continue to try them.  Aside from those Twilight kids, pale really hasn't taken off like it should.

I called a local tanning salon with questions.  How much would a spray tan cost?  Would I have to make an appointment?  How long would my "tan" last?  The middle-schooler on the other end of the line patiently answered my questions, probably thinking that yesterday was the day they let the looney bin patients make crank calls.  Later that afternoon, I showed up for my appointment.

The posters for spray-tans showed lovely, smiling men and women, their lives obviously given meaning by the virtue of their golden glows.  They seemed to exude confidence and attractiveness.  "Yep,"  I thought.  "That's me.  The pasty, annoyed looking girl on the bench watching these morons skip by.  What idiots."  Yet, I continued down the hall to the tanning torture chamber.

Barbie herself showed me how to turn the chamber on, and walked me through the various poses I would strike as a beep sounded.  There were four beeps, one for my front, back, and each side.  Each pose she showed me looked more like advanced yoga than just getting sprayed.  I was sternly warned to do each pose JUST AS SHE SHOWED ME or I would not tan evenly.  God forbid my left butt cheek get the wrong dosage, but OK.  I was also given a verbal list of instructions.  Please know this about me:  I am not an auditory learner.  I can remember anything once I have read it, but tell me without writing it down and it's out the window.  This fact is important later...

Barbie left and I stripped down and entered the torture chamber.  As I pressed the button and the beeps sounded, I froze.  Which side was I supposed to face?  Where did my legs go?  Was I supposed to put the "shield lotion" on my fingers, toes, and palms before or after the spray?  As I looked around the tube for any hint of what to do, I was blasted in the face by the spray.  I took a huge gulp, ensuring that my lungs and sinuses would be nice and brown for the next thirty years.  I frantically did a spread-eagle and willed the spray to do its best.  My next poses can only be described as "Walk Like an Egyptian" and "Fight Scene from Women's Prison Movie."  Since I did not pay extra for the immediate bronzing option of my tan, I looked at myself in the mirror, declared all to be well, and left the tanning salon, head held high. 

I woke up this morning looking like a chicken that had been deep-fried on some of its parts and left raw on others.  Upon examination of my hands and feet, I realized I was supposed to put the shield lotion on BEFORE I tanned, which might have kept them from turning the lovely orange color that they now are.  My legs literally have stripes on them. Outside of a horror movie, I have never seen skin this color.  Despite two showers, I still smell like a landfill.  The best, however, is...

SPOILER ALERT:  All right, boys, I'm about to talk about my boobs here.

The best part of my new look is my chest.  See, in those lovely posters, those girls had perky B cups.  No sagging.  No gravity.  Having and feeding two children did nothing good for my chest, and let's just say my boobs are much better friends with my belly button than with my chin.  I was obviously without the aid of a bra during my tanning session and so this morning as I lifted the girls up to get dressed, I discovered white half-moons underneath my breasts.  Great.  Next time I am going to ask to pay extra for a twenty-five year old underwear model to hold my big ol' boobs up while I tan underneath them.  Sigh.  The things Pamela Anderson never told me...

The good news is that because this stupid tan is supposed to last five days, it will be completely gone in two.  My beach pictures will show a happy, relaxed, pasty-pale woman.  And that's completely fine with me.

SPOILER ALERT #2:  Did you honestly think you were getting pictures?


  1. How in the world do you expect us to BELIEVE YOU without pics? Just the striped legs is all your public needs to be convinced! This is hilariously written, by the way. Have fun on the trip!

  2. I love your post! Judee Reeves shared this link with me, as I have just gotten a spray on tan. Did it in a girl's home this time and it was more "customized" if you get my drift. I went through the yoga-pose horror of a booth spray once and will never do that one again. Imagine a puddle of brown poo in the seat of the white wedding chair as I proudly stood as the step-mother of the bride...with a spray on tan...yep! It literally melted off in the 109 degree California heat! NOT pretty!

  3. I just did a versa spa tan and loved it but was scared to death. I've heard horror stories about some of the others. I can't wait to hear about your trip, and I think pale is the trend...right? At least your lungs are tan.

  4. I am the palest one in my family so I know how it is to be a very fair skinned woman. Plus I have my red hair and freckles to add into that mix. I don't tan. If i go into the sun, I burn then turn white again.