Monday, June 04, 2012

Sitting Pretty

Watching all my fellow Brits braving the downpour at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was a good reminder of how we take weather for granted over here. Want to play tennis outside a week next Thursday? No problem. Planning an outdoor party, a night in a roofless tent or a two hour run? The weather won't ruin it - because it's not going to rain until at least October.

But before you start thinking it's all daily margaritas by the pool over here, consider the downside to so much sunshine.

I know this may be hard to take if your four day Jubilee weekend now has a severe case of rising damp - but there are real difficulties with living in a warm climate. I'm sure you can agree that having to apply thick gloopy sunscreen to two small children several times a day is no picnic, but the real challenge is maintaining that perfect pedicure. I know. Hard times.

Every second shop in Santa Barbara is a pedicure place. Everyone (and I'm including a lot of metrosexual men here) get a pedicure at least every couple of weeks. Open toed shoes are part of the Santa Barbara lifestyle. Several of my co-workers wear flip-flops daily. Having nude toenails means you're just not trying hard enough. You're practically letting yourself go, and the California lifestyle is less about fun in the sun as it is about relentless self-improvement. You will be judged for your barren toes, so you'd better be a triathlete or a hippy to wear flip flops with bare nails.

-- Interesting aside -- my Aunty used to be a nurse and when she was in training in the 1960s they told her if a woman came in to the hospital with painted toenails they would ALWAYS test her for syphilis. How times change --

In an effort to prove I was syphilis free training for my run meant that for over six months I remained without a pedicure. They advise you to buy brand new shoes when running, for the sake of your knees. LK bought me a brand spanking new pair of Sauconys - but I'm not sure I exactly broke them as much as they broke me in. I had developed a perfect road-map of callouses on my feet. I nurtured them, knowing that each callous meant one less blister on my next run. A pedicure was out of the question.

It was inevitable - the way to celebrate finishing my half marathon was to go and get a pedicure, and I took Anna with me. It was a big treat. She's had her nails done once before, with a group of tiny ladies for her sixth birthday party nearly one full year ago. Leaving her twelve months between pedicures meant that Anna had come up with an elaborate and much mulled-over pedicure plan. She presented the poor Korean lady with four nail polishes - she wanted red and turquoise on alternate toes, each with a different glitter top coat. I could sense a big tip was in order, and that June, our pedicurist thought I had more money than sense (only wrong because I don't have any money either).

I chose to go for a very deep navy colour, that the elderly lady next to me seemed fascinated with. There I was sitting next to my six year old who was getting multi-coloured alternate nails, but no, she was fascinated by my Boots #7 Navy polish. "Well" she said "that's bold, where did you find that colour, it's very.......impressive". Impressive? Not a word I'd usually associate with toenails, but then, maybe I've actually achieved self-betterment through toenail polish. The American dream.


FE Loy said...

HA! I have literally just spent the last two days trying to find the cheapest way of getting regular pedicures - manshape is up in arms because apparently one of the greatest attractions in his wife is my low maintenance! But you're right - my feet are now horrible and I insist on wearing flipflops every day....maybe a trip to Santa Barbara is in order!

Lara said...

Just chiming in to say both of your pedicures sound awesome. And I find it very charming that you call highs of 66 in JUNE a "warm climate". Where I live (TX) we haven't seen LOWS in the 60s for weeks, and I don't expect to see 'em again until October. I'm not bragging so much as complaining.

Stinnie said...

I feel your "pain". The daily sun screening of two wiggly toddlers and then worse you feel you should bath them at the end of the day as a result. PITA!
As for the pedicures, pregnancy and post-partum somehow caused me to develop foot eczema. It's finally starting to get better, but it ruled out pedicures for quite a while and short of a wedding, I DO NOT paint my own toes.
Love Anna's nails!

I don't know if you want to post about it, but I'm wondering how you're hanging in there with the housing and Landlord situation. I'm also a reluctant landlord and am feeling lately like throwing in the towel. So much work and bother and $ down the drain, will it ever be worth it? Any chance you'll be able to convert to condos in the near future?

AliBlahBlah said...

FE Loy - I pride myself on my low maintenance too, which is why the pedicure thing is so laughable. Well, what's actually laughable is my attempts to do my toenails myself! Some things just are worth the money.

Lara - thanks, I'm still in love with my gothic dark nails, and amazingly Anna's are still intact. Notice neither of us elected to get manicures though!

Stinnie - you're right, I should follow up on being a landlord. The housing situation is still a nightmare, in fact we're considering a move. It's a long story so perhaps a blog post is in order!

Thanks for reading!

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Hi there. Ooooh, I'm envious of you living in SB. We went on a road trip to Cali 2 years ago and loved it. One of my favourite places was SB. I quite liked the fact that it was well manicured and I'm not talking nails here. V neat and tidy. We'd been camping in Yosemite for 7 days and our motel (Mason Beach) was absolute luxury in comparison. I also like the shops and the fact that they were in the main street and not in some mall out of town. Searched long and hard for the thrift stores but couldn't find them *sigh*.

Funny post. Look forward to more. xx

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