The Daily Dose (December 13, 2011) The birthing chair birthday

Charlotte, me and my mother.  She's somewhere between 23 and 117 years old.  Doesn't she look great?

Charlotte, me and my mother. She's somewhere between 23 and 117 years old. Doesn't she look great?

On December seventh I turned forty four. Yes, I am telling you how old I am, and yes I look young for my age (have you seen my mother?  She looks great but she would kill me if I told you how old she is.  I’m so tempted.  I won’t.  She looks good no matter how much she complains about how she looks.  More importantly, she can still zoom around town and walk miles and miles with shopping bags, which is impressive, in fact you’d be really impressed if I told you how old she is, but I won’t.)

Here’s how my birthday went down.

1)  Rob went out of town to do a show for 6 days, leaving Monday the 5th, and immediately (like clock work) Beatrix started waking up in the middle of the night.

2)  The next day (December 6th) Beatrix suddenly spiked a fever.  Just totally out of the blue, no other symptoms.  To keep things easy I put her in my bed where I was smashed in the face, kicked, asked to watch Minnie Mouse at 4am and served as a waitress with numerous deliveries of watered down juice.  Basically, neither of us slept more than a few hours.  To add to the complication, Beatrix was supposed to go to school and I’d scheduled plans based on her being well and in school.  Cut to my babysitter saving the day and me packing a bag and trudging down to the Reebok Sports Club where I was meeting my friend Eileen (at my request, as you remember, she wanted to eat lunch), to work out.  Before I walked in the big swanky glass door I was so unbelievably exhausted–like jet lag tired or new born baby tired, or cramming for finals tired (did I get everyone?  You all get it, right?  I mean, I could just say I was tired, but that’s no fun.  It’s always better to qualify things, right?)

3) Eileen and I walked around the swanky club eventually doing some cardio and weights, and then off to the shower.  I have to tell you, I was proud of myself for managing to bang out a workout, but where I thought it might revitalize me, instead it just made me more exhausted.  Rather than joining Eileen for a bite to eat, I sat on a bench and thought…..

What do I want to do?  Me.  All by myself.  On my birthday?  What?

And a voice from deep inside me spoke loudly.  One word and one word only.


It was 5 pm, pouring down rain, pitch back outside, and  all I wanted to do was nap.  I considered my options.

1)  I could go home.  Well, that was a terrible plan.  Beatrix was at home being sorta sick and very needy–and exhausted–and Charlotte and Ally (my sitter) were doing a great job of entertaining her.  Besides, I was supposed to see a show at 7pm in midtown.  I couldn’t get home and back in time.

2)  I could take a nap on a lawn chair by the whirlpool in the club.  Nope.  Too…I don’t know….too “homeless middle class white person” for me.

3) I could get a hotel room.  Uh.  a hotel room during the holidays in Manhattan.  Too “I’m a rich privileged white person” for me.

There was no clear cut solution for this.



I had a faint recollection of something I’d seen probably a year ago in my Facebook newsfeed.  A little something someone had posted that had made me chuckle…….

Could it be true?

I pulled out my handy dandy iPhone and Googled:

Nap Manhattan

And there it was.

New York spa nap | Power Naps, relaxation treatment & more at

YeloSpa offers its renown Manhattan spa nap experience – supremely comfortable power naps in a soothing spa atmosphere. Combine a massage therapy


A spa that offers power naps as a spa treatment?   It’s like getting a facial, minus the facial, and just the nap.  It’s like getting a massage, minus the massage and just the nap.


I was jumping up and down with excitement, except I wasn’t because I was too tired.

So the burning question……how much for the nap?  If I couldn’t afford a hotel room, could I afford a nap?

I made the call.

Attendant:  Hello, Welcome to Yelo Spa.  How may I help you?

Birthday Girl:  Hi, I was just reading that you offer……naps?  Is that correct?  (I felt like a total idiot.  That is a ridiculous thing to say.  SURELY I had this wrong.)

Attendant:  Yes we do.  We have a power nap experience.

Birthday Girl:  (Trying to play it cool.  I mean, I have a power nap experience all the time.  No. Big. Deal.)  Yes, wonderful.  Can you tell me more about it?  (And by “more about it”, I mean HOW MUCH ARE WE TALKING?)  What are the rates for service?

Attendant:  It is $17 for a quick 20 minute nap, and $30 for a 40 minute total nap experience.

$30??????????  I can TOTALLY afford $30.  I’d just received a crisp $50 in the mail to buy “whatever I wanted for my birthday” and THIS is what I wanted to BUY.  No stupid scarf.  Not a pair of shoes.  I wanted a BIRTHDAY NAP.  I booked the 40 minute nap and walked the 10 blocks in the pouring rain, only bothered by one thought.

You know you’re old when

for your birthday

all you want as a gift




But, never one to wallow in negative thoughts for long, I decided to celebrate my brilliance in the nap purchase and embrace it whole hog.  I got to the spa on W. 57th Street and went in.

My birthday nap adventure starts here.

My birthday nap adventure starts here.

Everything about this spa is a normal spa.  Nothing unusual…you walk in, get greeted by a receptionist and are asked to fill out a form.  Okay, well, it is a little odd I suppose, because the form has options like “What kind of sound would you like for your nap experience?” and then a list of sounds like, Ocean Waves, Rainforest, Zen, Classical Music, Jazz, White Noise, and my personal favorite, “The nap sampler”.  It’s like an appetizer plate of nap sounds.  I did not choose the nap sampler, I went with the age old “Ocean Waves”.  I was a little annoyed that I didn’t get to pick the specific ocean after all this attention to detail (TOTALLY would have chosen The Pacific Ocean), but okay.  Next up, you had to choose the essential oils you’d like for your aromatherapy enhancement.  They had a long list, but this was a no brainer.  “Sleep” Duh.  What idiot would pick “energize” for the nap experience?  You might as well just sip a Red Bull at the same time.

Okay, so next up, I was led to my “sleep pod” (I’m not kidding), which was oval shaped and made out of the same material a cubicle is made out of, except it has a ceiling and a door.  And by “door” I need you to picture something about as sturdy as the lavatory door on an airplane.  Are you all with me?  Is it getting weird yet?  Just wait.

In my sleep pod was a bed?  No.  A chair.  It was some kind of weird cross between a dentists chair and a leather Lazyboy.  I have to admit, I had a small twinge of, a chair?  I have to nap in a chair?  I was picturing a giant four-poster bed with a down comforter and plush pillows, but, alas, they were the power nap spa, so I had to trust their expertise.  Apparently they have napping down to a science.  Who am I to judge?  No problem! I took off my shoes and climbed into that nap chair faster than you could say, Zzzzzzzz, pausing only to take this picture for all of you.

When I said I was going to take a picture, the woman did not even bat an eye, and instead stood back as if she'd seen it a million times.

When I said I was going to take a picture, the woman did not even bat an eye, and instead stood back as if she'd seen it a million times.

Okay, is it weird yet?  Just wait.

So after adjusting my ocean waves to my liking, and preparing my aroma therapy, the attendant asked if I was ready.  I said yes–I mean–obviously–I was in the not so comfy chair–ready to sleep.  She leaned over me, hit a switch and with that the chair started lifting up my legs toward the ceiling.  Picture a hospital bed raising up at the bottom.  Now picture that it just keeps going, also while leaning your head and torso back towards the floor.  Seriously, it adjusted for so long that I was actually afraid I was going to fall out (which I told her, and she laughed, but I was serious.  She said they’d done “studies” and it was the best way to fall alseep quickly because it lowers your blood pressure).  Finally the ride was over, my toes and knees were facing the ceiling, while my head and torso were parallel to the ground.  Ladies, the closest approximation I can make is that it felt like I was in “birth position” which was not very soothing at all.

And with that she wrapped my feet in a towel, told me a light simulator would wake me up gradually, switched off all the lights and shut the door.

I was in total darkness.

In birth position.

In a sleep pod on 57th street.

On my birthday.

And right then I knew for sure that this moment would become a blog post because HOW CAN I MAKE THIS SHIT UP?

I did have the thought as I was laying there, “This is something my husband would absolutely never do.”  Then I tried to think of who exactly would do this, and I have to say, the list was short…and by short I mean non existent.

My friend Brynn asked if I had anxiety because there was such pressure to fall asleep and I can tell you I did not have anxiety, although I didn’t really sleep per say, I just really relaxed.  Well, okay, I must have fallen asleep for a minute because a giant ocean wave crash woke me up (it was obviously the Atlantic.  The Pacific would never be so rough to me.)  Overall, though, I give the sleep pod experience an A+.  For $30?  Totally worth it.

That $30 nap granted me the ability to sit and watch Seminar, Theresa Rebeck’s new play on Broadway (which I LOVED) without getting tired, and even allowed me to go out for a bite afterwards to Joe Allen’s (my favorite restaurant in probably the entire world bar none) with my gay husband.  We had a blast.

That $30 nap also granted me the power to get through another sleepless night with Beatrix (this time there was a stomach issue as well….neat….) until my Mother and my Aunt showed up the next day and took over night time duties so I could sleep.  And I did.  In the middle of my bed, no chair, no feverish sleep partners, no stress, no alarm clock.

The moral of the story?  A sleep pod is great but a Mom is better.  (But that sleep pod was pretty great).

(For the next post in this series, go here)


About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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2 Responses to The Daily Dose (December 13, 2011) The birthing chair birthday

  1. Tracy Bristol says:

    I am so going to that place the next time I’m about to drop onto the sidewalks of Manhattan! Thanks for another great blog, Sharon.

  2. Julia haubner says:

    I had a gift certificate for that place a couple years ago that went unused. I was so pissed but once the babies came, always had to rush home but it sounds awesome!

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