Friday, July 10, 2009

Last Minute Chaos

Although Nationals doesn't officially start until Wednesday evening at the Literacy Signing, most of the Playfriends are managing last minute details before we head off to DC. PC is already gone on some pre-conference site seeing. The rest of us are going a couple days early for the official Smarty Pants's Whirlwind DC tour.

This means the chaos has firmly set in. Despite our planning, our packing lists, our shopping trips and fashion shows, this is the point where everything unravels. Items go missing. Last minute laundry. Grocery store runs to stock up on frozen pizzas to feed the family left behind. Scrambling for manicures and pedicures. Picking up clothes from the tailor or the dry cleaner. Hair appointments and other grooming requirements. For me, the chaos will also include a stop for spray tanning.

I don't tan. Almost not at all. I just turn red, peel, then go back to the same pasty shade I started with. I learned the hard way that its just not in my cards to have a healthy golden glow. Whenever I feel the need to knock a bit off my neon white, I hit the spray tanning booth. I've done it several times in the past with success. I don't turn orange and I don't get so dark that people notice. Its just a nice bit of color.

So I go to the tanning place. I pay for my tan. They take me back to the new machine they've put in. Cool, I think. She informs me the machine will guide me through the process which is a little more complicated than the old one. I get naked, put on the special lotion so I don't end up with freaky hands and knees, put on the paper covers for my hair and feet, then hop inside. I get into the starting position, hit the button, and we begin.

The machine starts to spray. It is supposed to do 4, 30-second sprays while I rotate a quarter turn each time. I hold my breath and wait for it to stop so I can turn to the next position. It stops. All is going well, it seems. Then, it announces in a polite, feminine voice that does not betray my problem...

"Please see attendant."

What? What do you mean, please see attendant?? I'm naked, half-tanned, covered in blocking lotion with a ridiculous looking bonnet on and it wants me to go down the hall in a too-small towel and retrieve the 17 year old girl working at the front desk? Are you kidding me?

Apparently the answer is no. The machine does not have a sense of humor, so it does not follow up with the phrase "Gotcha! Just messing with you, please turn to position 2." So, without an alternative, I get my towel and do as instructed. The two girls working there (who I must assume do not have electrical engineering degrees) hit some buttons, unplug the machine, and decide, after maxing out their troubleshooting techniques, that its broken. Broken. I do not have time for this.

As though this happens every day, they calmly informed me that my only option was to drive across town to the second (and only) location with a spray booth that works. And to do it in the next hour before they closed. I declined. They then recommended I go home immediately and shower, exfoliating well to remove any of the spray tanner. And they'll gladly credit my account for when I want to come back. Come back?! Sadly, the truth is that I probably will since its the only place in town that does it.

As though I don't already have enough to worry about, I have to rush home at the speed of light to scrub off the spray tanner that is busily bronzing ONE HALF of my body so I don't end up looking a fool at conference. That is not the way I want to make impressions on people in the business, you know? I blow past DB without speaking and march upstairs to bathe. He follows me up and I have to admit to the incident through the frosted glass shower door. I can still hear him laughing.

Fortunately, I did not end up half tanned. I scrubbed hard and I think the machine's breakdown caused it not to spray too well to begin with. I would not have heard the end of it from DB, much less the other Playfriends, if I had shown up with half of me pasty, half of me 'kissed' with sun.

Any of you struggling through any last minute preparations? Any similar spray tanning snafus you'd like to share? I haven't had the best of luck with the home tanning lotions, either, but at least they don't break.


PS. Don't forget to pop in while we're gone next week for our answers to the questions submitted by our readers.

PSS. Virginia is Instigator's Winner from yesterday. Please email to claim your autographed copy of Afterburn!


CracklinRosie said...

That's freakin' hilarious! Not so much what happened, but the way you tell it!

Hope you girls have a blast!

Playground Monitor said...

My biggest last-minute prep is getting my cast removed today. Yay! I'll probably have to learn how to walk again without the extra 5 pounds on one leg. And I'm sure this foot and leg are nasty underneath the cast. I'm taking my electric razor with me so I can shave it in the car and then go to the nail salon after I meet Instigator and Angel for lunch.

This weekend, it's final packing and then all the little stuff -- turn off all my Yahoo Groups, leave notes around the house as reminders to water plants, etc, check in online Sunday afternoon.

I can't wait to see the sun-kissed you. I've never seen you with tan before. Usually by this point int he summer, I'm tanned from working outside plus weekends at the campground. With the cast on, however, I've avoided the heat. I may do a little backyard tanning tomorrow and Sunday, augmented by Natural Glow lotion.

Instigator said...

I made my first trip to the spray tan booth yesterday. I am now simply a darker shade of pasty. It will require another trip. It worked, don't get me wrong. I just think that considering most of me was transparently pale there was only so much the bronzer could do.


Anonymous said...

Bless you!!! No, I tan fairly naturally in between the few times I get in the pool and cutting grass/working in the yard. So I wouldn't go to a tanning booth or use tanning lotion. I hope you ladies have a wonderful time.

Smarty Pants said...

I never said I'd come out of the booth looking like a Brazilian beach goddess. Just slightly darker. Gives my face a little color.

I did it once before a wedding and was telling my boss about it. When she saw the pictures later (we scrapbook together) she said... "I thought you were getting a spray tan." I had to admit that I did. And I was still pasty-ish. Just less pasty.

Christine said...

worst experience i had was when i went to the nail place for my eyebrow, chin and lip wax the day i was to go to a goodbye dinner with my friends. the lady almost made me bald above one eye, burned my chin and part of my other eyebrow area with the wax--i was devastated. i had to use brow pencil for the first time ever in my life. it's taken over a year for my brows to look half way normal. i refuse to let anyone near me again...

Sherry Werth said...

Oh my SP! You would think the tanning device would alert the attendant when something went wrong, instead of the other way around. I tan ok, so I haven't had to try the spray tan method.

Good luck on the tanning, shopping, packing, etc. Hope y'all have a great trip and remember to take lots of pictures!

Angel said...

Well, I got some spray tan to try at home. Hope I don't turn out orange. I'm going to do it tonight, so I have plenty of time to scrub if I need to.

I've used lotions before, but I couldn't find any this year. The only tanner I could find was Neutrogena, except for those daily lotion tanners, and I can't remember to put them on every day. We'll see.


Stephanie said...

Lord have mercy SP, I am glad the tanning adventure turend out ok for you.
I am also glad that I am not alone in the unraveling at the last minute. I thought I was in good shape to leave tomorrow but alas I am learning today that I was wrong! On the up side, after hearing about SP's tanning adventure I am glad that I already had a summer glow going!

Oh, my verification id forot. That's what I did about some stuff for conference prep, I forot it!

Kathy said...

Lordy, SP! You've had a horrible time. Best of luck getting 'sun-kissed'.

I haven't packed. I haven't made my list. I haven't picked out my outfits. (sigh) Need I say more? I'm going to narrow down my choices tonight. Rest assured the jewelry I promised you has been neatly tucked away for transport though.

Dare I admit to rising panic?