Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been wearing artificial nails since, oh, forever. My own nails are thin and fragile, and peel. I can’t even open a drink can with them. Every two weeks or so I go and get my nails done. It’s one of the few “me” expenses I feel I can justify: at around $20 or so a pop, it’s worth it. The salon I frequented in Athens was close, usually pretty quick, and fairly priced. It, like many I’ve gone to in Ohio and Tennessee as well, was run by a Vietnamese couple, and employed mostly Vietnamese, but also a few Chinese. I had my nails done at my regular shop in Athens the day before we headed to Germany, and I’ll miss the folks who worked there. Nice people.

But no more. I’ve been looking around here in Nürnberg for a decent nail salon. I’ve found a dozen of them, “Auf der Amerikanische Art” (American-Style) – also run by Vietnamese owners! I can imagine the fun of speaking German with an American accent to a nail stylist speaking German with a Vietnamese accent…. But it doesn’t really matter, because the average price I’ve found for a “fill in” (also known as a “balance” – it’s where they file down the tip and add acrylic to the area that’s grown out at the base) runs around €25-30! That’s $35-50 every two weeks for my nails… NOT an expense I can justify.

So this week I took off my artificial nails, and found some strengthening polish to put on my poor soft claws. Pitiful! My fingers feel so funny, and typing is really weird! It’s been so long since I haven’t had fingernails, that I’m having to re-learn how to do things. I can’t scrape labels off anymore, and washing my hair feels odd since I’m used to scratching my scalp with my fingernails. These poor weak things fold at the slightest provocation, so even getting dressed is strange!

To make myself feel better, I plan to put €10 per week into a piggy bank. At the end of the year, I’ll use it to splurge on something I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten for myself. Call it an incentive to keep the claws clipped!

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