“Of course you have a sauna in your bedroom,” a co-worker grinned knowingly after she overheard me telling a friend about heading straight for it when I got home because it’d been a rough day and a cold was tickling my throat.
In addition to laughter, meditation, yoga, and protecting my private time and emotional well-being like a maximum security guard, pampering has long been my primary method of self-care.
I unapologetically spend a lot of time making myself feel good. That’s why last Spring, I bought a sauna.
Yes, I did.
I’m not bragging, just saying that for me this purchase was as essential as HVAC and a new sewer line, both of which also happened the same year.
So, I thought I would share the story of how that came about.
The seed? A former massage therapist had an infrared sauna and he freely let me use it before and after massage to further relax and detox. The combo was heaven, so I quietly vowed to get my own.
The one I bought is almost identical, except instead of cedar the wood is hemlock. It has a two-seater bench, infrared lights, a towel bar, a magazine rack and a built in stereo with wi-fi.
It is m-a-g-i-c-a-l.
Here is a picture.
But, back to the story.
In the span of six weeks, I sold my last home, house-hunted IN WINTER and entered a contract to buy my current home. I haggled down the price because it needed a few fixes which I was willing to make because I loved it AND IT HAD ROOM FOR A SAUNA.
I attended a Home Show a few weeks before closing, hoping to get landscaping ideas and connect with a plumber and handyman. Then, I spotted the sauna guy and happily propelled myself toward him. He was a good salesperson – friendly while soft-selling the familiar health bennies of infrared saunas (stress relief, immune building, detoxing).
At his invitation, I climbed into the model, played with all of the buttons and switches and went to the lobby to call my mortgage broker to get permission, I guess.
As expected, he said, “No major purchases before you close. It might break your loan. Don’t.Do.It.”
“Okay, okay,” I finally sighed because it made sense.
But the sauna made sense too and it was deeply discounted during the Home Show only.
My mom told me that when I was little I’d hold my breath to get something I wanted. That was my level of commitment. When I scarily started turning purple, she’d pop my chubby cheeks, which I don’t even blame her for, especially since, afterwards, I got my way. When I was a teen, I learned to “pitch her.” It was often something simple and inexpensive, like a favorite meal, TV time or a book. I wasn’t (highly) obnoxious; just (highly) persistent.
I want what I want.
Walking back to the sauna guy, I was filled with the weirdly calm energy Young-Me deployed when something I really wanted was in someone else’s hands. I wasn’t going to hold my breath – nah – but I was determined to have that sauna at the sale price.
So, explaining that I was closing on a house and couldn’t make anything that looked like a frivolous purchase, I offered him 10% of the total in cash to hold the sauna at the sale price, promising to pay the balance right after I closed. I invoked birthday favors too as my birthday was on the horizon.
The day it was delivered, my handyman was there installing blinds, shelves and closet systems before I moved in. He lobbied to set up the sauna in the garage and use the bedroom alcove to build a master bathroom. He was still making his case when I nodded to the installers to set it up in the alcove.
When the movers delivered the rest of my stuff the next day, I unpacked some and then got into my sauna and, according to those who know me best, have been there ever since.
As it heats up, my bedroom smells like I’m walking through the woods on a sunny day. I slide in and it warms me to bone, providing sanctuary from a crazy, chaotic world. Afterwards, I shower sweat away, slather myself with lavender oil and sleep like a newborn.
Back to my co-worker. She had questions about my saving-for-a-sauna strategy.
Here’s the thing.
Some people buy expensive cars, clothes and jewelry. I frugal through these things so I can travel, grocery shop at Whole Foods and buy a sauna.
Now, I am looking for a mobile massage therapist. if found, I will probably never leave home.