It’s been 2 weeks – and it still jumps me occasionally. Pass a mirror and I get that “What the…” feeling.
What is making me pause? My “new” tattoo!
Those of you who follow me on facebook, myspace, etc. are probably sick of hearing about it. But, I figured I would blog the “start to finish” of it all and add some of the pictures I took along the way.
I got my tattoo on January 28th. My appointment was for 12:30 and the weather prediction was for a nasty snow storm – starting at about that time. At about noon, I was doing some errands when my phone notified me that I had a voicemail. It was my tattoo artist Krystal. At first, my heart sank as I thought she was calling to cancel due to the weather. Thankfully, she was only running a bit behind and she called to ask if we could meet at 1 p.m. I called her back and told her that would be fine. As the snow began to fall, I wasted the extra time by dropping by the store (Central Maine Wireless). I tried to fool Joe and Ronda by telling them that I had chickened out. Neither of them bought it…they know me too well.
I got to Riverview Tattoo right before 1:00. Krystal showed me her drawing and we went over a few of the little changes she thought would make the tattoo even better. Because my tattoo was of my family crest, each “revision” was carefully explained and my approval was requested on each change. Krystal explained that she didn’t like to improvise on family crests because they were designed a certain way, often a long time ago, and any change could change the meaning of the crest. The changes she suggested were minor but collectively made the tattoo look much better.
After we went over the drawing, she had me fill out the paperwork while she prepped the stencil and set up her needles and inks. As she set up the inks, she explained each one to me and what colors they matched on my family crest. She has a great eye for color and matched each almost to perfection. Then came the moment of truth!!
Krystal told me that she was going to do a small dot to allow me to experience what the rest was going to feel like. She started the needle up and went to work. Now, here’s the part that no one seems to believe…it didn’t hurt! I’m not just saying that to be some macho tough guy. It really didn’t hurt. Most of what I felt was the vibration of the needle. I have to admit that twice I had to really resist yanking my arm away. “Ah Ha!”, you say, “It did hurt!” Nope! It tickled. Yep…you read that right…tickled! I’ve always been ticklish and this was awful. I really had to resist pulling away.
After our break, Krystal went to work on the coloring. She said that the coloring was akin to the color by number paintings you probably did as a kid. She had all of her little pots of ink lined up and frequently referenced the picture I had given her. She commented several times that my skin took the color really well. Apparently, different peoples skin “take” the ink differently. Some skin even rejects some colors. Mine is good for tattooing…even yellow ink, which is one of the most rejected colors, stays with me well.
After 5 hours in the chair, the tattoo was done. The finished product made me extremely happy. Krystal cleaned my arm of the left-over ink, and soaked a paper towel with Witch Hazel and placed it on the tattoo. Despite smelling weird, it felt great. It was soothing and cooled the area down. She let me check out the tattoo in a mirror before putting some ointment on and covering it with a bandage.
We then went over the after-care instructions. She explained the different phases of healing I would experience and what to expect in each phase. She asked if I had questions about anything and answered everything professionally. Oh yeah…and the written aftercare instrcutions are not only thorough, but, also hilarious! With lines like “They do not let your tattoo breathe and they also make crap stick to your tattoo like dust and dirt.”
I drove home through heavy snow with a smile on my face.
Once I got home and waited the required 4 hours, the pain came into play. It had nothing to do with the tattoo. It was removing the damn medical tape from my arm. After taking a good amount of hair out at the roots, I took a picture and then cleaned the area as instructed. The funniest part of this process was when I patted the area dry with a paper towel. When I pulled the paper towel away, there was an almost perfect imprint of the tattoo left on the towel. I lotioned up as instructed and went to bed.
Over the next several days, the tattoo went through the exact phases Krystal told me about. The smudgy, the scaly, the flaky, and the waxy/dry. The hardest part of all of these stages were the scaly and flaky stages. It was very hard for me to not pick at the skin that was falling off. But, I behaved and just kept lotioning up and letting it fall off naturally…in the shower. I made it through the worse parts. Now it’s just keeping it moisturized until it finishes this last stage.
I have all the pictures ready for my next tattoo design and can’t wait to get in and get it done. Here’s what I am getting:
This is my father’s badge. He was a police officer with the University of Maine Police Department from 1968 until his death in 1976. Originally, this was going to be my first tattoo. But, I thought I would get something else first. I wanted to make sure I had confidence in the artist before getting this done. It is very important to me. So, I want it done right. I know Krystal will do it right.
In case you haven’t figured this out, I am incredibly impressed with the work done by Krystal at Riverview Tattoo. She is fun, professionally, and an incredibly talented artist. I cannot recommend her highly enough. All of the folks at Riverview Tattoo were very pleasant. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. I am including their information here in case you are thinking about getting inked in the near future.
State Street (in the old Footman’s Dairy Building)
Brewer, ME 04412
I also have her email address. If anyone who knows me would like it, email me and I will send it to you. I am not including it here to protect her from spammers.