Thursday, May 10, 2012

treat yo self

"Are you Korean?" one of the nurses in the endoscopy unit asked me yesterday.

"Nope, Chinese," I told her, and waited for the second part, which, in my experience, is usually 1.) asking if I can help translate for an Asian-eque patient who can't speak English, or 2.) asking if I know a certain other Asian person, even though (SECRET INFO) we don't all actually know each other.

But actually, she said: "Oh.  Because my daughter and I went to a great Korean foot massage place this past weekend.  It was totally..."  At which point I wheeled around, grabbed her by her lapels (uh, her scrub lapels) and rasped, like Christian Bale's constipated Batman, tell me more about this massage place.

Because I have been looking for a good Asian massage place since we moved to Atlanta almost four years ago.  I just specify Asian because usually they're a lot cheaper, and are generally disinterested in talking to you, which for me is perfect.  (I don't even like chatting with the lady at the salon who cuts my hair, which I probably why I never get my hair cut until it starts getting into Yoko Ono territory.)  I used to go to this old Chinese reflexology place in New York, which was on the second floor of a brownstone above, I think, a nail salon (I know, so typical), but we don't live in New York anymore, and most of the massage places I've seen around Atlanta have been of the fancy ladies-who-lunch variety, or at the very least, ladies-who-Groupon.

Also, she said the magic words, which were: foot massage.  Because I think I've come to terms with the fact that I don't like body massages.  I just don't.  I keep thinking I should like them, because, you know, everyone likes massages, and look at me, with my bad posture and high stress job.  But I just haven't ever gotten a body massage that I liked--and don't use this opportunity to tell me about your "happy ending" massage story because I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT.  Mostly massages are just painful.  Maybe I just don't have enough muscle to massage?  Because massages, no matter how light or soft I tell them to go, just feel like people contusing my bones for half an hour, and then I'm bruised for, like, a week after.  So body massages are not my thing.

Foot massages, though, I can get behind.  Because those are rarely painful, and my feet, I am on them a lot.  See also: pregnancy.  So I got the info, and today, since I was post-call and therefore early off from work, I went there.

It's called "Treat Your Feet," which I'm sure you can see because you are able to read.  It's located in one of these super-industrial strip malls on the Buford Highway (which Atlanta locals will know is the place to go for Ethnic Stuffs), but the inside is actually really nice, much more luxurious than I was expecting.

Anyway, after I told them what I wanted, they hustled me into this dim room with these amazing overstuffed pillowy chairs, and brought out this bucket of hot water for me to soak my feet.  And it is because I am not a vain person that I will show you what my feet look like, because hey, these are not good-looking feet right here.  I can also tell now, looking at this picture full-sized, that despite it being fairly early in the day (it was about 10:30am when I took this picture) that I already had a line from the elastic where my socks were, which, I KNOW MOM, means I should probably obtain some compression stockings at some point, only they're so tight and itchy and I hate them so whatever, I'd rather be swollen.

I didn't take any pictures of the massage part because that would be weird (also it was kind of dark), but know that there was oils and kneading and hot stones and some kind of crazy little foot hammer like in "Raise the Red Lantern," and at the end, they even did a brief face/scalp/neck/shoulder massage, which was like, bonus.  (The shoulder massage hurt a little bit, but the scalp massage was awesome--I wear a scrub hat a lot of the time, so who knows, maybe it's cutting off circulation to my scalp and that explains all my mental problems.)

Want to know the best part?  The best, best, best part is that the one hour foot massage, with the head and neck massage, only costs $30.  Actually, with this coupon (I used the "Early Bird" special because it was a better deal, but I actually I could have used either, since it is a Thursday and I am a lady, SO FAR AS YOU KNOW) only cost $26.  Twenty-six dollars, people.  So that's a hell of a good deal.  So much so that I gave them a $15 tip, because I felt kind of guilty that my enjoyment of the experience so far outweighed the cost.  Also, my dad taught me that tipping well is what you do when you're a decent person, especially if you intend to return to a place of business again.  Which I most certainly will.

(Sorry, this is all very region-specific, and exactly the kind of post that would get me despondent on another blog, because why can't anyone tell me where to get an awesome $26 hourlong massage here in Bismarck?  Or wherever you live.  But now you know where to go when you visit Atlanta, between the Aquarium and The New World of Coke.)

Since I was already on the Buford Highway, I decided to stop by one of the many ethnic eateries for lunch, and while I was tempted to go for Korean food (one of my favorite restaurants was actually right across the street), I decided to go for something which is actually even harder to find in Atlanta, which is a good bowl of Chinese noodles.  I think the place I went to was called The BBQ Corner II, which, I guess, presupposes the existence of a BBQ Corner I.  Anyway, it was not really a BBQ place, except for the fact that they did sell Chinese-style grilled pork and duck.  I had the duck noodle soup and some dim sum style desserts (basically sesame-encrusted glutinous rice balls filled with sweet red bean paste, deep fried).  It wasn't anything mind-blowing, but in a town where it's hard to find real Chinatown-style casual Chinese food, it was more than good enough. Final bill, including a soda, $10.

So.  As post-call days go, not too bad.


  1. I am doing that regional semi-bitterness thing right now, because that foot massage sounds amazing! Also, $26?! How I miss living in the south sometimes. Anyway, sounds like a great find and I hope they hook you up with another discount or freebie for the shoutout!

  2. Any day that ends with those sesame ball thingies that I do not know the name of sounds amazing to me. The foot massage too, but mostly that sesame ball.

    Will send my husband a link to this - he can basically copy your day and make it my mother's day present!

  3. That sounds like a deliriously good post-call day, especially the little balls of sesame-coated crack at the end. Mmmmm. I go to dim sum just for those.

  4. Anonymous5:03 PM

    This post is so funny. When I was in dental school, I got into the habit of having a treat yo self day after a crazy midterm or final exam. You are done so early with the whole day ahead of you, and you are slightly tired and delirious from studying the night before, so you go shopping and eat food all day. Good times.

  5. Erika (Wellesley '99)5:05 PM

    So glad you didn't go to the Korean place where they shot someone the other night. You know, the massive one out in Duluth that has like 300 stations you can go to for various massage services and relaxation exercises...except it's not so relaxing when you hear gunshots? On the plus side, it is open 24 hours and I have a pregnant friend that went there (pre-shooting) at like midnight after her children were in bed and now worships the place (except for the gunshots).

    Oh and you might see me at Treat Your Feet someday if it's $26.

  6. Thank you for telling us where this place is. Having grown up with in walking distance of the intersection of Buford Highway and Clairmont Road, I am very familiar with the road. Please, please...please tell me if there is anyway to get the foot massage without the neck massage. It sounds heavenly, but I lymphedema after radiation of my left supraclavicle lympnodes. Can't afford to have lymphatic fluid drawn into that area.

    1. I'm sure if you just tell them to skip it, they'll be more than happy to. (Especially if you're just going for the foot massage primarily.) It's a very nice place, I'll definitely be back--see you there!

  7. Love body massages. Am going to miss the obscenely cheap ones here in Beijing (something like USD 10 per hour...I know, right?) when we move to Hong Kong this summer.


  8. Anonymous12:41 AM

    So glad to hear that you are a good tipper. I believe you can tell a lot about a person by their tipping habits.
    I am also frugal, but believe that leaving a good tip (especially in places I frequent often) is just the right thing to do.

    OMG that bowl of food goodness is making my mouth water!!!!

  9. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Sounds very relaxing.
    As for the compression stockings you can try the compression sleeves by CEP, I got mine at the local running shoe store...I like them a lot and they have helped tremendously with the sit-on-your-ass-at-your-desk-half-the-day leg swelling...and yes, I do walk around every hour but it doesn't help, these sleeves, help, and they don't itch.

  10. Oh, how fabulous! I love having those wonderful treat yourself days! (especially massages and taking myself out for lunch - adding a wee bit of shopping doesn't hurt either)

    I am extremely jealous (only partly because I don't live in Atlanta) as I am madly trying to finish my Grand Rounds presentation on perioperative hemodynamic optimization and have no free time right now. I am currently post-call and my husband took the kids to the lake so I could stay home and work on my powerpoint (except that I am briefly procrastinating by reading your blog).

    Anyway, so glad you enjoyed yourself post-call! Next post-call day I will do the same.

  11. oh you can make your own duck noodle soup, or turkey or whatever meat you have! just get some chicken broth + bones from poultry of choice and boil; cook your noodles till 80% and drain, shred the meat; cook some veg in the broth; take out bones and put noodles for final 20%. serve. takes 10+ minutes and very delicious, especially with duck and goose!

    so glad you enjoyed your massage... looks fab :)

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