Thursday, March 28, 2013

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr. Miyagi and the Painful Pedicure

It has been way too long, my Dear Readers. But I have a tale that is itching to be told this morning so I have returned to you for a brief visit. I say brief because I don't want to overwhelm myself with too much commitment, or I will quit before I even start the telling. I have discovered that I am a writing commitment-phobe. I am glad this affliction doesn't extend to my interpersonal relationships because I can see how frustrating it must be to always have the urge to walk away. Not because the relationship is bad; in fact, it can be quite fulfilling and wonderful. Just because staying is scary. Franklin D. Roosevelt said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. I have begun examining this theory to see if there is truth in it for me personally or not. Perhaps I shall delve into this in a later post...(or maybe not). See? Too much talk of future writing forces me to add parentheses to my sentences.


Each summer my family vacations in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina for two weeks. I have been fortunate enough to partake of this tradition since it began when I was two. Though we all overpack, we rarely do much more than go to the beach, the pool, and the local bar that serves the best burgers that you could ever taste. We are currently one week in on this year's sojourn, and my pregnant sister-in-law Lisa and I decided that we must find a place to get a pedicure. Lisa is unable to paint her toenails due to her bump* and I never turn down the opportunity to get this lovely treatment. I located a nail salon in the plaza down the street and we arrived just in time to get the last appointments of the day.

We decided that we'd also get manicures and were ushered by an older Asian gentleman to our luxury recliner massage chairs. These swiveling La-Z-boys** are perched above welcoming foot baths filled with swirling blue-ish water. We sat and I immediately grabbed the remote that activates all of the massage options to make sure it was turned off. Anyone who knows me well can testify that I detest the concept and the feeling of massage for the following reasons:

1. I don't like getting nakey and being told to get under a warm blanket by a stranger.
2. I don't like having said stranger put oil on me and lovingly knead my flesh.
3. I feel silly listening to a recording of waves crashing, birdsong, and gongs.
4. It hurts!

This aversion also extends to chair massagers, which always seem to feel like painful punches that one can direct to specific areas of the upper and lower body. No thank you.

My pedicurist turned out to be the older gentleman, and I was instantly chagrined. As a rule, I stay away from male pedicurists. For whatever reason, I feel uncomfortable, and the leg massages are usually too painful. As he began my treatment, I quickly determined that this pedicure was going to be more like a painful boot camp; my feet were going to get whipped into shape by a humorless drill sergeant. He smacked my foot or leg each time he wanted me to switch. He relentlessly tore at my cuticle and sandpapered my nails with his buffer. All of this was administered with the scary detachment of one who has done this task so many times that it's second nature. I began to see him as my personal Mr. Miyagi***. A firm teacher, with impressive results. At this point, I was fearful of the upcoming massage.

To distract myself, I began to pay attention to the goings on in the nail salon. Lisa also had a male technician, and there was one other female employee present. There was also a tiny, adorable little girl running around a little bit. I quickly determined that this was a family-run business; Mr. Miyagi was the father of Lisa's tech, who was married to the female employee.

As my torture continued, their little girl became antsy, and began to interrupt Lisa's pedicure by trying to climb on her father's lap. He successfully shooed her away but she quickly began fussing and trying to crawl under her mother's work station. Both of her parents were attempting to get her to behave in soothing dulcet tones. This was completely ineffective, of course, even in another language. As the little girl began fussing more earnestly, I noticed that Mr. Miyagi was getting irate. He didn't like the disruption. Seconds later he snapped. He twisted to face the little girl and reprimanded her in the exact same voice I have heard my own father use with my daughter, nieces, and nephew countless times. Sharp, authoritative, and final. The little girl immediately quieted, and began to behave herself.

At this point I realized that the watered down parenting that my generation is currently administering has permeated other cultures as well. No one wants to be firm anymore, in fact, it is looked down upon. But a firm tone can work wonders. Problem solved, Mr. Miyagi returned his attention to my wayward feet.

He drizzled cotton candy-pink lotion down both of my shins and began the dreaded massage. He snaked his fingers repeatedly up and down the sides of my shin bone, applying an incredible amount of pressure. It hurt like the dickens. Next he kneaded, kneaded, kneaded my calf muscle. This too, quite painful. But the piece de resistance was yet to come. Once all the kneading was finished, Miyagi picked up my foot and made eye contact with me for the first time. He then pressed into the middle of the ball of my foot. Hard. So hard in fact that I wondered if he was using a sharp object. As he continued to stare me down, he pushed deeper and harder into my foot. The white hot pain was almost unbearable and in my agony I began to wonder if he was trying to hit my reset button or exorcise a demon. I wondered if riding the wave of pain was going to take me to an unknown, utopian state.

I tried to maintain my dignity and a stiff upper lip but I had to shift in my chair and steel myself to bear it. He kept staring at me and I wondered if I was passing his test or if I was a weakling in his eyes. Probably the latter. He eventually released my foot and it throbbed as it resided on the foot rest for the remainder of the pedicure. Unfortunately, I knew that my poor left foot was now going to receive the same treatment. The pain began for lefty, and again culminated in the eye-contact ball push. Yikes.

Finally, it was time for polish, glittery gold as you can see. I figure it'll look good peeking out of the sand. Miyagi did an expert job on the polishing front, for which I was grateful. Once I got away from the suffering, I felt as if I had accomplished something by being able to endure the experience without whimpering. I've been told one feels the same after Bikram yoga. Opting to embrace this theory, I decided that the pedicure was my form of exercise for the day.

Lisa told me that her tech was too soft, and that her massage was ineffective. Much like his parenting technique, I suppose. If I had to choose between the two, I suppose I would go with Mr. Miyagi, because he definitely got the job done. However, methinks we will try a different place should we get the urge again in the future.

As of now, I have not experienced any utopia due to the ball press. I'm disappointed. My feet are sore, too, and I swear I'm receiving phantom pains even now from the middle of my foot-balls.

My luxury vehicle clearly rejects Mr. Miyagi's reflexology.

*Baby bump is a gross phrase.
**La-Z-Boy has the most ridiculous brand name and spelling ever.
***It should go without saying that no offense is meant by using the name Mr. Miyagi, yet I feel compelled to say I mean no offense. :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

5 Minutes.

Well, dear readers, Nancy said that I should force myself to blog for 5 minutes a day, so I am forcing myself to take her advice. I have been quite blocked as of late, for reasons that I fully recognize are quite ridiculous, so I have decided to find out if her advice is sound or not. So here it goes: I'm starting my iphone timer*

I just got back to my luxury flat (I love calling it that) from a long jaunt around my new neighborhood on foot with Ayodele. We stopped at Robeks (smoothie mecca) on the way back on this very humid day. We did so because I was choking on the pollen fluff that kept getting sucked into my mouth as we were chatting. I kept making a hacking coughing noise and couldn't seem to rid myself of the awful throat tickle. I laid eyes upon the sign and we gratefully trotted over. I am mystified by these protein shake/smoothie establishments, though I love me a good smoothie when I get the hankering for one. Nevertheless, I entered the oh-so-green (in every sense) shop with confidence, though I know that I'm not a member of the Cool Kids Organic Nutrition Club.

I was feeling proud of myself for knowing that I wanted a "Strawnana Berry" when it was my turn to order, but then the very friendly teenaged employee (wearing way too much makeup) asked me what I wanted my "nutritional boost" to be and just like that.... I was naked in the spotlight. It became glaringly obvious that I am not a health nut. I felt judged, if only slightly (read: insecure) and as I stuttered and admitted I had no clue what a boost was, I felt like a lazy junk food lover in the midst of a healthy Utopia. Then, my sense of self-worth returned and I realized that these boosts are quite ridiculously named and entertaining. I have no idea if any of them actually work, but the idea of a "trimbek boost: chromium and thermogenic herbs to increase metabolism and burn fat" is fantastic. Is this shit for real? Can one of these boosts actually do that?

I doubt it but I'm game to give it a shot. I was also intrigued by "kidbek" and "intellibek" for Sophia (daughter, 9) as these are designed to boost memory and "essential support for growing kids". I can't decide if all of these healthy alternatives that have sprouted up everywhere are designed to fleece all of us out of more money...but they are compelling. I'm going to try to find the time to give this a bit of study, but if one of you knows something on this topic and can save me the time, please post a few compelling facts.

In the meantime, my smoothie was delicious.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Nose Piercing Complications :( part two.

...I faithfully used the aspirin treatment beginning that evening before bed... yet within a couple of days, my keloid had returned. Nothing I did made it go away. I tried the aspirin at night... teatree oil during the day... I washed it and kept it clean... I used a bit of Neosporin... nothing worked. I called NCBM again and asked for Marcie, but she was still out of commission. I was told that Beckie was another piercing expert and that she was in the shop on Saturdays, so I decided to go in and talk to her in the hopes that she would have the magical solution to my woes. Beckie was very sweet. She told me that we needed to try to clear up the keloid or remove the piercing to avoid any permanent scarring, that my body was trying to reject the foreign object that was invading it, that some people have this reaction. (This made perfect sense to me because my luxury vehicle WOULD try to protect itself.*) Beckie told me that there was no way that my jewelry could be causing the reaction and floated the idea that perhaps I was cleaning the piercing site too often. She suggested that I only clean it when I shower with soap that my face was familiar with and leave it completely alone the rest of the time, except for an occasional sea salt water soak, which was her final treatment recommendation. "Sea salt water," I thought to myself, "my magical solution, at last!"


Another few weeks passed as I continued to try to convince myself that I would be able to keep my piercing. Then I got a cold. While vacationing in Puerto Rico no less. The bump grew larger and redder and after I finally took an honest look at it I realized that I needed to take action. I did not want to be left with a much dreaded bumpy scar and copious amounts of self-loathing. I decided to take action. I went to the piercing shop in the mall in San Juan and purchased a 14 carat stud and corkscrew. I told myself that I would simply remove the existing jewelry and replace it myself-- since I was nowhere near NCBM but felt that time was against me in my quest to remain scar-less. I continued to attempt to psych myself up to the task of self-inflicted pain-- but eventually realized that I would have to be patient and trust that the bigger scar risk would come from my pathetic attempt to play piercer than from waiting until I returned home to have it taken care of by a professional.

Upon my return to lovely Mentor, Ohio, a flurry of last minute Christmas errands kept me from North Coast Body Mod, but my keloid wasn't getting any better. If I accidentally bumped my nose or had an itch it was painful. It was unattractive, and I was still being asked questions about it by others who were curious as to why it still hadn't healed. One morning, around 5am, I had finally had it.

I went into the bathroom to blow my nose and the keloid decided to bleed for no reason. After spying the blood on my tissue and then daring to examine it in the mirror, I decided the time had come for me to remove it. I gathered my resolve and braced myself for the pain and discomfort I was about to inflict. I knew that it was going to hurt like hell to try to remove the corkscrew. The site (gross) was very inflamed, as was the horrible BUMP. The first step in the removal process is to pull the flat part of the jewelry straight down so that it rests on your nose on the diagonal. As I write, I am shuddering a bit as my body remembers how excruciating that pain was. I pushed on the knob at the end of the metal rod and forced it down. From there I needed to twist it and follow the curve until it popped out of the hole. That was very uncomfortable too. At last I finally had the evil invader in my hand and I marveled at how thick it was comparatively to the new 14 carat one that I had purchased. I began to hope. My new hardware was so much smaller (and gold). Maybe... just nose just MIGHT accept one of them.

I was worried that the hole might close up very quickly so I wanted to get the new jewelry in as soon as possible. I sterilized my new corkscrew and held it up to my face to try to figure out how on earth I was supposed to go about the installation process. I deduced that I needed to hook the coiled part in and then follow the curve until I got to the straight part, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about DOING any of that. I made a couple of painful attempts to hook it in, but it seemed like instead of going all the way through my nose where I could touch it, it was twisting somewhere, horrifyingly enough, INSIDE my nose itself! At this point it was all I could do to stay focused on the task at hand and not freak out completely. (I must digress for a brief moment and inform you that I hate needles, blood, loose baby teeth, anything related to unsavory bodily functions. In fact, the only way that I was able to dig deep enough to attempt this bit of surgery at all was out of scar-fear, and by telling myself that what I was doing I wasn't actually doing to my own nose.) I had to detach myself completely and do it for the greater good. After I made several unsuccessful attempts, I decided that it was time to wake up an assistant. Poor Ayodele went from peaceful dreaming to being invited into a hot bathroom (I had put the shower on, in the hopes that the steam would keep my nose soft and pliable) to try to help me with my ridiculous task. She was a trouper, put on a brave face, and attempted to push the metal through my nose while my eyes teared and I winced, flinched, sniffled, and said "ow, ouch ow!" repeatedly. At one point after she, too, was unsuccessful, she grew faint and had to sit down. I'm still not altogether sure whether or not the cause of her dizziness was the heat or the freaky sight of something twisting inside my nose.

What to do next? Google it, of course!

I typed "how to insert..." and before I could type "corkscrew nose ring" in, "how to insert a tampon" popped up as a suggestion, which struck me as comical in the moment. Once I finished typing in my question I clicked on the first link to a video that looked like it might be informative and not too scary. The girl is very thorough in her demonstration so I was able to get a better idea of what to do, and feel less unsure of myself. As we watched the video of her twisting this jewelry in and out of her nose I must be truthful and say I felt sick to my stomach. I returned to the bathroom, determined to get the new jewelry into my nose once and for all. (If you are wondering at this point why I am still bothering to try so hard to keep an inconsequential piercing, I ask you to refer back to my original writing on this topic. It was symbolic, and I am nothing if I am not persistent and one-track minded). I would not give up without a fight.

I would love to pretend that with this firm resolve, I was able to successfully push the corkscrew in... but I wasn't. I decided that since North Coast would be opening in a few hours, and it happened to be Saturday so Beckie would be there...that I would put in a temporary stud to keep the hole open and ask her to do the honors of inserting my 14 carat jewelry.

I arrived at North Coast with my new corkscrew in one of my daughter Sophia's plastic princess tea cups (it was what was nearest to me when I needed to sterilize earlier.) I waited patiently for Beckie, and then once I was in the piercing room (again) I told her the update and explained that I would like her to insert the new jewelry into my nose as my final attempt at keeping the piercing. She agreed and began examining my nose closely, since there was no jewelry in it to impair her ability to look at it from all angles. She asked me a couple of questions about my keloid... how long it had been there, when it had started to grow, things of that nature. She then turned away from me and donned her gloves. Beckie then began advancing towards the piercing table where I was perched trying to psych myself up yet again for more pain. She reached toward my face empty-handed, and before I could register more than a brief moment of bewilderment, she began scraping at my keloid with one gloved finger, picking at it repeatedly, relentlessly, while I squirmed, quivered, and shuddered with acute excruciating pain. "Wha..what are you doing?" I asked a couple of times, yet I received no answer, just more scraping. I can only compare the feeling to when an unhealed scab gets ripped off without warning. But remember, this wasn't a scab, it was actual scar tissue that was still very much ATTACHED to my face! It was horrible. I went into shock. I was twitching. I tried to pathetically beg Beckie to at least warm up the area first, hoping that if it was softer it would make whatever she was trying to do less agonizing, but by the time I finally managed to stutter out my question, she replied, "There. I did it. It's gone, and maybe now it can finally heal."

I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe that without warning, she had just reached over and scraped and removed scar tissue from my face. It was bleeding, of course, and though my nose was still throbbing, Beckie then needed to insert and twist my corkscrew into place. She warned me that it was going to hurt, which was an understatement, and then it was finally over. Beckie apologized for the surprise attack re: the keloid removal, and with an "um, I think your eye teared a little bit, here is a tissue" she held one out for me and watched me as I wiped off my face. I think she realized that I was still a bit stunned.

Ironically, as she walked me out of the piercing room and up to the front of the store, she allowed for the possibility that the change of jewelry could in fact make a difference in my healing process. After so many people told me that the metal had nothing to do with the infection, this admission from Beckie infuriated me a bit, and made me wish that I had gone with my first instinct and changed the corkscrew immediately. Maybe if I had I wouldn't have had to go through so much anxiety and drama. I forced those thoughts out of my head right away though, because after all, what good does it do to lament what can't be undone?

As of now... several weeks later... my nose is doing much better. I no longer have a large bump. There seems to be a tiny bit of scar tissue, but it isn't visible to the naked eye, and it isn't discolored. For now, it seems as if my face is accepting this foreign visitor. I am smart enough to know now that at any point, this could change, but I am cautiously optimistic. My healing process this time around has felt different from the very beginning: there has been less tenderness, seeping, and swelling, and my nose is definitely less sensitive to touch and can handle occasional bumping or tentative rubbing without any pain. Ayodele and I laugh about the fact that only 14 carat is working and have decided that it is a modern day version of the fairytale "The Princess and the Pea." We have determined that I must truly be a princess (as my name would indicate) since my nose is doing so much better now that it has gold in it. Now if only someone important could get this memo and bring me my throne...that would be fantastic.

I'm still glad that I pierced my nose, irregardless of all of the shit I have had to go through as a result. I'm very glad that I can say that and mean it, because the only thing that could have made all of this worse would be if I regretted my original decision at any point along the way. I will hopefully close this painful now, and heal normally.

However, I won't predict "happily ever after" again...just in case my hopeful phrase was what jinxed me in the first place...

*My luxury vehicle comes complete with flu-resistant properties and super bones. MOTL

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nose Piercing Complications :( part one.

I'd love to say that my nose piercing and I lived happily ever after. Sadly, this was not to be the case. Shortly after I posted "A permanent accessory" I developed a small bump around the top of my piercing. It was also red and slightly swollen-looking. A friend recommended tea tree oil, the first of many remedies that I tried in the hopes of being able to keep the piercing that I wanted so badly. Tea tree oil is very strong, and has a very potent smell when applied to your nose. It also burns and, regrettably, was of no help to me whatsoever. I tried to delude myself into thinking that it was helping... but lucky for me both my mums and lovely sis JULIETTE would constantly squint at it... then advance closer to my face. "That doesn't look right, is it infected?" (M) or, "I hope that isn't a staph definitely looks infected." (J) never let me forget for too long that something wasn't right about my healing process.

I reluctantly decided to call the shop where I had this hardware installed and discovered that my beloved Marcie was going to be out for the next couple of weeks due to illness. This news left me feeling vaguely unsettled. Since I didn't want to go see a different piercer I postponed my trip to North Coast as long as possible... which wasn't that long because I was beginning to have visions of my poor proboscis (we had made a tentative peace) now adorned NOT with a cute little post... but a gigantic wart-like SCAR. I would look like an evil witch!

I love googling any random question I may have, but made the mistake of hopping on my macbook (get a mac) and googling "bump on nose piercings". The repulsive images of disgusting protuberances of all sizes will forever be singed on my brain.

From that point forth, (though outwardly appearing confident that the piercing was healing nicely), I was secretly terrified at the thought of a nubby little bump on the side of my nose... mocking me for ever trying to improve it in the first place. In subsequent weeks I ended up taking a total of 4 additional trips to North Coast Body Mod (NCBM), each visit a bit more surreally horrible than the one before it.

Trip #1- I spoke with a male employee (I'll call him Brutus since I didn't catch his name) who told me that my nose didn't look infected... it was just taking awhile to heal. He told me that I had two possible options to treat the "keloid" (disgusting word that I hate): 1. the tea tree oil 2. the aspirin treatment.* When I informed him that I had tried the tea tree oil already, he told me to try the aspirin treatment and that it should clear up in 3-4 days "no problem". Brutus also said that he didn't think that the tea tree oil was very effective but that anyone he had told about the aspirin never came back into the shop to say it hadn't worked. I was skeptical, but cautiously optimistic.

I also inquired as to whether or not it was possible to be allergic to the metal jewelry NCBM uses for new piercings. I had first put this question to Marcie on P Day back in October but wanted to hear Brutus' take on the matter. Long ago I got my bellybutton pierced and my body (I call it the luxury vehicle**) reacted in the exact same way. Same bump, same strange not-really-infected, but yet not-really-healing situation. I had ended up having to remove the piercing after multiple attempts to keep it. I wondered back then if it had something to do with the type of metal in the jewelry, since my ears always get infected if I wear earrings that aren't 14 carat or sterling silver. I never tried out my 14 carat theory on my bellybutton and ended up with a scar and no piercing. I figured I would at least ask this time to see if it was possible.

Brutus quickly informed me that it is impossible to be allergic to the piercing jewelry. He assured me (as did Marcie) that when people have reactions it is because of the nickel that is found in some jewelry... but that North Coast pierces with no-nickel-having-surgical-steel. Marcie had gone a step further in her explanation and said that it is the same metal used in surgery when you need pins for broken bones and such, which means that people can't have an allergy to it. Both of them spoke with such conviction that I felt a little foolish for asking (twice). But even while immersed in that uncomfortable "foolish" feeling... I still didn't really believe them. I thanked Brutus, left, and went immediately to Walgreens to fetch some Bayer aspirin and hoped for the best.

Well, 3-4 days did nothing. Nor did 3-4 days after that. In fact, if possible, the bump was bigger, and the skin was beginning to peel. This was extremely upsetting to me, and I was also still fielding questions from Mums and Juliette with regularity, fueling my anxiety further. After about a week of the aspirin treatment, I woke up one morning and discovered that my bump looked just like a blood blister. Bright red... and evil. Instead of being scared and disheartened, which probably would have been the normal reaction, I was excited. I thought, "if this is only a blister, maybe someone at North Coast can do something to it, and then all will be well!" Wrong again. I was beginning to think that this whole nose piercing affair was God's little way of letting me know how often I am incorrect about things.

Back I went to North Coast and this time Brutus called upon a fellow with an impressive mohawk and tattoo collection to assess my pathetic non-healing situation. I don't remember his name either, probably because he traumatized me so much, so I have christened him Mohawk for storytelling purposes. Mohawk was very nice, and took me back to their piercing rooms. He put on his gloves and began examining my nose. He deduced that yes, it was a blood blister and theorized that if he was able to "release the fluid" then perhaps I would be on the road to healing. What followed was incredibly painful and involved the wooden stick end of a cotton swab being jammed repeatedly into my bump. Mohawk would jam the stick, then twist it, then swipe the increasingly bloody utensil through some disinfectant he had applied to a medical tray. I know that sounds disgusting, and I apologize for the graphic deets, but I owe it to you to be as specific as possible. Mohawk repeated this process at least 10 times, so I'm sure you can imagine my horror and pain as I saw my blood on the tray and felt this blunt little torture tool being jabbed into my face.

When he was finished, he apologized for any pain he had caused and said that now I should use the aspirin treatment and that I should be successful. Wiping the involuntary wet tracks off of my face with a paper towel, I thanked him, and quickly left so that I could reflect on this excruciating episode in the solitude of my car. I took a few moments to lament the fact that other people get piercings all the time and don't have these troubles. After wallowing for a bit, I got on with my day and tried to feel optimistic. Little did I know that even more pain was coming my way, and that my saga was only halfway over.

to be continued....

* the aspirin treatment: crush an uncoated aspirin and add water until it becomes the consistency of toothpaste, then smear it all over the outside of your piercing and leave it on overnight. Let me tell you-- it is a very attractive look.

** more on the luxury vehicle later. Forevermore, when I have more to say on any topic I shall use the acronym of MOTL.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A permanent accessory!

I have always had a love/hate relationship with my nose. I love it because it is mine and I should... it has always served me well... (sometimes too well I think since particular odors seem to be WAY more offensive to me than to anyone else)...but it is also the facial feature that I cite as the one I would change. It is too long, and there is a bump on the bridge that my mother and I theorize is the by-product of being a breech baby. If I ever convey my dislike of it to anyone they either say that they've never noticed it before (unobservant or lying) or that it "fits my face." How does one respond to that?

In my younger days I toyed with the idea of getting a nose job eventually, but that concept never sat well with me. How would I be able to look in the mirror and see a foreign object where my old schnoz (gross word) used to be and feel good about myself? What if surgery went horribly wrong and I ended up with a hole in my face? I would DESERVE IT for trying to alter the nose that God gave me! (Gotta love ridiculous self-indulgent thoughts.) I've wanted to pierce it for at least the past 10 years, but something always held me back. I hadn't made peace with my beak, so we just stayed in a holding pattern.

Until yesterday.

I decided that since I'm never going to allow myself to change it... I might as well decorate it.

Once I made the final decision to go ahead and pierce my sniffer, (yes, I am attempting to use every synonym for nose in my mac thesaurus for fun) all that was left were the necessary details: placement and permission. Placement was determined using microscopic bits of crystal from Claire's Boutique. These little money wasters were a real pain in the ass to try to get to stay on my nose long enough to get an idea of how a cute little stud would look. Eventually, I convinced one of them to stick and found the perfect place for it.

Permission was granted by Ayodele and Sophia, and my Mums was as permissive as she could be, opting for "I really wish you wouldn't, but it's your nose..." as her trail-off sentence. Well, that was good enough for me, especially since I had already decided I was going to do it anyway! All of this permission business was just good form. No need to incense anyone, is there?

So off I boldly went with Jo in tow for moral support. (Well, off I went... I was still working on the "boldly" part.)

The first tattoo and piercing establishment I visited had run out of the clear crystal corkscrew that I preferred and didn't have any others that tickled my fancy. We left and I was still fully committed, undeterred by this minor setback, though time was growing short and soon all of the shops would be closing. (Gotta love small towns. Ugh.)

Jo was thrilled to use "google 411" with her cell phone (she has been extolling its virtues to me for a while now) and ended up getting connected to a shop right around the corner from my condo. As soon as I heard a soothing female voice, I knew that she was the one that I would be getting pierced by that evening.

We arrived at the shop where we were ushered back to the piercing room by the soother herself: Marcie. She had a calm piercing-table-side manner that instantly put me at ease. As she donned her pink surgical gloves she told me that it was going to hurt, but that she was fast and good. I believed her. I don't know why some people feel that confidence is offensive. I find it vastly reassuring. Marcie approached my face with her piercing equipment (no clue what exactly she had... saw a big needle and stopped looking) and said, "well you can close your eyes now, or whatever if you want," so I gratefully did. She told me to inhale... which instantly made me realize that when she said exhale that it was going to hurt like hell and question why I was there at all. I proceeded to follow her direction, though my inhaled breath was the shallowest of my life. Upon my exhale, the sharp, excruciating pain felt like God's wrath raining upon me...though only for about 5 seconds. Then it was done! And I am thrilled with the results.

Marcie was fantastic, my much lamented feature became permanently decorated, and though no one else will probably give it a second glance, I am happy to say that because of it, my nose and I have resolved our issues and will live happily ever after.

(unless it gets infected of course!)