License number MA59253.

By law I have to put that on anything where I say my name and ‘massage therapist.’ Absolutely no problem there, and not for nothing but 59253 is the zip code for Peerless, Montana. How perfect is that?

I had Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream for pudding after tea this evening, and not just because I called the state health department today and found out that I’m legally entitled, nay, obligated, to rub people the right way.

I ate the ice cream also because it’s so flipping hot outside one would think it’s summer already.

So yes, I am totally and irredeemably psyched to finally have my license, and I’m not even going to bore you with all the history of how I came to get it, and the hardships and false starts, and what-have-yous of that which went before.

Suffice it to say I did it, I finished the course and I kept the faith, and I only want you to know that this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and every single person who trusts me to work on his or her body.

I’m trained, I’m educated, I’m eager, and I am determined never to let down the men and women who put themselves in my hands. You will be the only item on my agenda for the full hour – or half, or the 15 minutes of post-race sports massage, or whatever. I FOCUS!

My friends and loved ones already know they will have my undivided attention when I put the massage hat on – okay, the massage tee shirt – and that there’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free massage from Mark. You’re paying for our lunch, and dinner too maybe, after I work those corrugated, galvanized knots out of your neck, and I’m not kidding.

So here I am, boys and girls, all revved up and so many places to go I scarcely know where to start.

I have the office at Emerald Coast Massage Specialists, 1198 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida, where I’ll work with Sean and Ted and Gail and a few others, including a chiropractor and an acupuncturist.

I’ll be doing home visits at special rates in my apartment complex, Northwoods, a rather vast but attractive array of buildings at the very north end of 9th Avenue in Pensacola.

Also I mentioned that I got my license to Tische, the woman who cut my hair today, and I’ll talk to her boss at Cuts By Us to see if I can work out of their salon over on Davis Highway a few days a week.

Then there’s the big senior care center just down the street on Olive. Old people need massage just like everyone else, and probably more – no, definitely more, and I know because I’m old.

I’ll get over there and talk to the manager as soon as I get my tax permit for Escambia County. I’ll do that tomorrow, the tax permit, and I need one for Santa Rosa County too, for Gulf Breeze.

So much to do; so glad finally to be doing it. Many thanks to my friends and family who supported and sustained me while I got this far.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life as a massage therapist, and the entire world is quite literally in my very talented hands.

That is all.

Mark out.


Truckin’ – Got My Chips Cashed In

I made another healthy stride toward getting this massage business off the ground today. Wish I could say I had got my license, but this is really a lot more spectacular and a heck of a lot prettier than a slip of blue and white paper.

Pictured above is my brand new, to me anyway, 09 Chevy HHR truck in candy apple red, or darn close to it. I had thought to get it in silver but the one they had was two years older and not at all in good shape.

I thought I would have to haggle, but the dealer immediately accepted my offer of two grand less than they asked for so I drove it home. Still I had to cash in quite a few rainy day chips to make this work.

The interior is roomy, as one might expect of a station wagon, which is how this model is listed on the title. The design is based on Chevy’s panel truck from the 40s and is very similar to the Chrysler PT Cruiser. PT stands for Panel Truck – I think – and HHR stands for Heritage High Roof, a high roof being what the old panel trucks had I suppose.

This roof is plenty high, for my head anyhow, and my massage table, folded in half and in its heavy duty canvas cover, fits flat and exactly into the back gate without having to put the rear seats down. Along with that there is plenty of room for my roll bag full of linens and lotions and whatever else I need to schlepp around.

I’m going to get magnetic signs with Emerald Coast Massage Specialists printed on them for the doors, and maybe one for the rear gate so people behind me can read it.

This is another head-turner vehicle, though maybe not to the extent the Firebird was. Speaking of which, I need to sell that soon.

I love the way the HHR handles and it has a lot of pep for a small engine, which gets great gas mileage, over 30 mpg, a lot more than any SUV out there.

But as far as I’m concerned this is a truck, or at least the closest to one I’ll ever own, and it has a name, Annie. I already referenced one song in this bit so I won’t say much about “Tomorrow,” though I do like the optimism in that piece.

It just happens that someone very near and dear to me has the middle name Ann (she thinks this vehicle is HUGE but she is English and lives in England) and she suggested I call it by that name.

That absolutely works for me, and it’s nice to be back truckin’ on, and on.

That is all.

Mark out.