It began, of course, with packing. And after checking the weather forecast, packing a lot of sweaters. The packing also includes a couple cases of champagne, a BIG Bag ‘o Fabulous prizes, a scoreboard, books and many other necessary goodies for a week of fun with girls.
Then there’s the drive up which included passing the new, sweeping, seriously gorgeous entrance twice. Then there’s arrival when everything related to reality just falls away with one big sigh.
This is Drunken Spa Girls Week.
Unpacking is so much more fun than packing. That first glass of champagne is ambrosia. There is some tech work, ie figuring out the Smart TV and hooking up the Wii for the tournament, but it’s followed by the first glorious treatment in the spa.
And best of all, friends trickling in with that same look of bliss.
Lots of hugs, chatter, more champagne, ordering room service for multiple women–the really marvelous staff has this delivery down to a science now.
Then the games begin. If memory serves the first rounds of Scrabble and Wii Bowling for the first night’s competition. Moans, groans, cheers, sarcastic comments.
The first stickers slap onto the scoreboard.
Mornings–and they prove cold–mean workouts for me, and with the cold DVDs in the room. My pal Jo joins me every morning at 7:00 for an hour or so before we wander down to the communal lounge and fall in with the others for a light breakfast. Breakfast is not usually on my list as at home no one prepares a lovely display of fresh berries for me. So it’s a special reward for that workout.
Some of us scoot off to morning treatments, others slide into a book, some poke around the shops or hit the gym before afternoon treatments. Massages or facials or mani/pedis. We might run into each other in the locker room or the relaxation room pre-treatment.
Some make sure they’re back for tea time and scones and strawberries. Some nap. But we’re all together again at cocktail hour(s), a thoroughly relaxed and happy group once again ready (or not) for room service and the next round of games.
So it goes through the week, eleven women with pretty toes and happy, naked faces, ranging in age from their 30s to their 70s, writers, professionals, MBAs and Art Majors, wives and daughters, mothers and grandmothers–and all of us sisters.
Elaine’s mom has sent along adorable bandanas she made for us. Some of us wear them as do-rags, others as little scarves, still others as headbands or as actual bandanas. It goes to show.
The Just Dance round hits high on the adorable scale. Four women trying to coordinate their bods and movements to the animation on TV–with Laura shaking her remote, certain the computer isn’t picking hers up. (Yeah, yeah, I hear you, Laura!) My fave here might be the old Tom Jones number–It’s Not Unusual–we chose. And watching everyone do this little scoot left, scoot right. And this all with infusions of adult beverages. [Note from Laura: the remotes worked MUCH better when there were only two dancers.]
Competition increases as the week goes on. Those stickers and scores mount up. The weather pretty seriously sucks, so we miss our walks and hikes, but settle in.
One day I wandered over to the gym and found Mary Kay, Mary and Elaine having a healthy little lunch at the counter, Pat working out. Another I run into Sarah at the spa shop, Kat in the locker room. Here’s Jo and Jeanette in the relaxation room, and Nicole just back from a treatment. Laura, apparently, in one.
We’re going to paint and drink wine. The painting portion of this evening draws reactions from glee to dread. Pat and I discuss our personal talents, which we judge equal. We know how to do box houses and suns–circles with rays–clouds, trees that are lines with what look suspiciously like clouds topping them. And squiggly lines that are birds.
But we’re up for this.
We opted to choose one painting to copy–a fallish woods with a path through it. You can picture eleven women sitting around long tables facing a canvas. We have an that art major (Kat) and have discussed requiring her to hold the brush with her teeth. But we let that go.
Carolyn, our instructor is a marvel. Somehow she herded all these women, walked them through steps and stages, encouraged, praised–and kept those wine glasses filled. I’ve researched how to paint for characters, but doing is different. And fun. A lot of fun. And fascinating. When I get up to walk around the tables and see what others are doing, I’m amazed. Everyone’s look really, really good. Not Kat good–or Elaine good–but really good. And different. Like the bandanas everyone has the same base, but interprets in their own way. Jo’s is vivid, Nicole’s is delicate. Some of the paths are distinct, some mysterious, some straight, some curved. Someone says mine has movement, and when I step back from it, I see my trees lean a little. But I can say I meant to do that!
Paint night is now on our annual agenda. In fact Elaine and Kat (those show-offs) went back the next day to do another.
Next round, more stickers, more prizes. We complete the Bowling and Dance sections, and the final round of Scrabble proves intense as always.
At this point, Kat’s leading the tourney, with Sarah and Jeanette right behind her.
Another annual is meeting up in the jewelry store. So you’ve got eleven women trying on earrings, pendants, bracelets, rings, giving each other advice. No one leaves unhappy, and it’s time to top that off with more treatments.
More books to read and lazing around, more scones and cookies. Advice and demonstrations of stretching and its importance pre and post workouts. More room service! And more adult beverages.
It’s time for Trivia. We do that three at a time as there was whining–that is a discussion–last year claiming the computer didn’t read four remotes well. We use the Wii You Don’t Know Jack here, which is full of silly, punny questions, where leaders can easily fall into minus scores by the final round. I think Nicole had a minus 25,000.
On our last day, winter came back. Blowing winds, blowing snow–about four inches before it finished. It looked like February. A hot stone massage can counteract that kind of insult.
We save Charades for last. Reverse Charades courtesy of Jo. Teams–chosen by eye color in our case–compete by three women acting out the phrase at the same time (unable to consult, it’s see the phrase and go) for the fourth member. You’re scored by how many phrases you guess in a minute.
No question we saved the best for last. Competition, frustration and hilarity spike high. I’ll add the rules say you can use actual objects. Seeing Jo stumped, stuck on Apple when Laura grabs an iPad (for Laptop) stood as one of the highlights. But the best, and never to be forgotten moment: Kat instantly leaping onto Laura’s back, waving an invisible crop in her hand. I think Elaine was the guesser, and really who could blame her for not getting Jockey when everyone in the room was howling with laughter.
I regret not having a picture of that one, but who knew?
[Note from Laura: I think Kat got her cue when I dropped down to all fours without saying a word. We are psychic. Nora has also forgotten that I hoisted Jo onto my back for piggyback. What can I say, I threw myself into it.}
In the end, Kat was crowned our Queen, and Laura as her lowliest subject. We have a crown and scepter for our queen, and a pair of tacky pink plastic earrings for the lowliest.
And so the tournament ends for another year.
The morning is packing, stretching out the moments over breakfast, saying goodbye. We see each other off and on during the year–some of us see each other a lot–but this is farewell to the girl spa, and that’s bittersweet. Laura announces it’s 376 days till the next one (we’ve already booked it), so that’s something.
I treasure my circle of women, their humor, their wisdom, their eccentricities, their innate kindness, their common ground and their differences. My fabulous prizes from this week are, as always, the memories and the moments we made and shared.
Just two more notes from Laura: the last official act of the week is the official toe photo. And the load was much lighter going home.