Dear friends,

I got a pedicure yesterday. My first in a very, very long time.

And since I have spent the last two and a half months publicly expressing my gratitude every dadgum day, I wish today to express a little ingratitude.  I trust you’ll indulge my rant.

You see, back home, my best friend did my nails. For 20 years.

She is a college graduate. She is an insanely talented and accomplished artist who just happens to do nails for a living. She’s funny as hell. She kisses me and hugs me every time she sees me. Her salon is as clean as her home. She doesn’t wear gloves because she’s not icked out by my feet and I’m not icked out by her hands touching my feet. She doesn’t wear a mask because she doesn’t use hazardous chemicals. We don’t make small talk because we’re used to big talk. I love her so much and enjoyed the company in her salon so much I used to hang out there even when I didn’t have an appointment. It was my Cheers, in a way. She let me take naps on her sofa, even when she had other customers. She gave me bites of her lunch. She was the Matron of Honor in my wedding. She is the first person to change Kate’s diaper. And beyond all that, she happens to be the most talented, most thorough, most skilled nail technician in all the world.

So I’m guessing you’re getting it that I miss her. And I don’t like her replacements.

I mean, all I can say is getting a pedicure by anybody else is like kissing your elderly neighbor when you miss your husband. Ewwwww.

And if you were tempted to say “Ewwwww” when you saw that photo of my feet, I blame it on yesterday’s nail tech. My feet used to look much better when Alisa took good care of them.

And Alisa didn’t criticize me. Yesterday’s nail tech declared “You cut nails too short.”

“I don’t cut them,” I deadpanned. “I pick them.”

“Too short.”

“Yeah, I know. I also bite my finger nails. It’s a bad habit.”

“You stop.”

“No. I don’t think I will.”

I know. I was being snotty. But come on. A woman comes in with trashed toes because she clearly has a nervous habit and you really think you’re going to convince her to stop with two words of broken English?

I’m being terribly uncharitable. I think it’s a reaction to the grief of losing not only the world’s best nail tech but also my weekly, scheduled, therapy sessions with my best friend. It’s a lot to deal with.

Alisa used to take one look at my toes and say “Oh my. You’ve been stressed lately haven’t you?” Then she’d give me a hug and a glass of wine and massage my feet and ask about my kids and compliment my hair and invite me for dinner. I guess I don’t really expect anyone else to live up to that soul-filling standard, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be crabby about it now and then, does it?

Many years ago, Alisa contemplated running away and marrying a man in another state. I was young in my career back then and I contemplated buying her salon. She taught me all her secrets, and the result is I can now perform a better manicure on myself than any other nail technician besides her. (Heck, I could perform a better manicure on you than anybody besides Alisa.) So the problem is, I am terribly picky and I don’t do my feet well. The angle is tough and I’m ticklish, even to my own touch. So while I have resorted to doing my own manicures, I’m kind of stuck when it comes to pedicures.

And that makes me very, very sad. And my feet very, very neglected. I mean, what kind of tech doesn’t shave the tiny hairs on your feet, which are embarrassingly visible on that photo? I’m both deprived and humiliated.

Without gratitude {for the skilled and loving care of my feet by anyone but my best friend},

Joan, who apologizes for this self-indulgent break in programming but clearly desires your sympathy



  1. texasdeb says:

    Awww. Finding new support staff is HARD. Especially when you know you can’t ever really replace Alisa and the relationship you two share, so all you can possibly hope for here is a new technician who might become a pleasant acquaintance and past that……

    I intensely dislike it when I must change any long standing relationship that has become an entrenched part of my routine. Our dentist is retiring and frankly I dread my routine visit next month when I’ll meet the guy taking over his practice. I didn’t choose him directly so who knows if our philosophies align and if I’ll feel the need to find somebody else, but I do like my hygienist and I’d hate to have to swap dental practices and lose her too, mutter, mumble, insert fretful hand wring .

    Alisa? You are clearly a full fledged Wonder and I hope you’ll read in here how highly Joan thinks of you and how much she misses you and know that you (and your work) are appreciated!

  2. IrishJenn says:

    I feel your pain, sister! As a former military kid and a current military wife, I know what it’s like to have to find new “support staff” as texasdeb calls them. (TOTALLY stealing that, BTW.) I’m on my SEVENTH hair stylist since we moved to Omaha three years ago. Sending good pedicurist vibes your way.

  3. Sue McIndoe says:

    I think this calls for a visit back home to let Alisa take care of you…I have gone to the same nail tech and same hair stylist for over 10 years and thought of switching makes me sick to my stomach…Tell Mr. Mom you need a “girls” weekend back home…Thank you for sharing all your stories.

  4. Alisa Barnard says:

    Miss you, too! Hugs…
    want to come for dinner soon?!


  1. […] when I mentioned I could give a better manicure than anybody besides my friend Alisa? Here’s the […]

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