Friday, February 22, 2008

Story - The business with bathtubs.

Ah, nothing like a warm bubble bath at the end of a long, stressful day.....

I should have sat down and reviewed the day before trying this, I guess. It was one of those days where the last thing I did on each project I attempted was out to get me. Had to write a piece to make deadline, writing goes well, printer dies. Pulled out six shelves all by my big self, last nail on last shelf doesn't work and manages to piss me off to such a degree that after literally hanging on the hammer, suspended, I lost it and began beating on it like a maniac and will now get to play games with dry-wall patch, not to mention suffering a week of "hammer elbow" for my efforts. Ordering an album works beautifully until the very last image turns out to be misnumbered and requires 3 hours of searching to figure out.

One of those days, you know. But hey - there's always the end of one of those days and the nice warm bubble bath and the book to soothe one's soul with, right?

So I gather my equipment - towel, fuzzy pink jamies, book, water, candle.... turn on the tub and proceed to get distracted. Here in lies the problem. I have a clawfoot bathtub - a big one. While these are beautiful, certainly, and long enough for a long person such as myself, a lot lies in the timing. When you have an 80 gallon tub and a 50 gallon hot water tank and you are heating cold cast iron, its quite important that you time this well. You have to use only the hot water and you have to stop when you run out. At that point the tub will be just a little too hot and by the time it cools down enough for you to stop sweating, the hot water will have recovered enough for you to get the level over your knees. Works perfectly in theory, but if I'm honest I would have to say that theory has only proved itself about 3 times in my life. The trick lies in sitting by the tub and continually checking to see if the hot water is running out. THERE'S a good time. Being a person who is easily distracted at best, this never works out. And sure enough, I go back in, turn off the water, undress, put my foot in and.... damnit! I've done it again! I debate... I'm naked and the room is freezing, and the water is considerably warmer than I am... do I dare? Memories flood me... memories of hell and in this case it is the hell of being in a tub that is not warm enough but still warmer than the air in the room and being perfectly miserable while I count the seconds until the bedamned hot water heater gets its act back together and my poor children heat water on the stove in a vain attempt to help me out (no wonder people in the wild wild west days hardly ever bathed - THAT doesn't work, btw). I opt out of this, throw on my towel and spend 15 minutes standing in front of my furnace instead.

OK, surely the hot water heater will have recovered by now. I go in and check. I'm good to go. Now comes the next step which would be to simultaneously drain out the water while putting in new water. Simple, you slightly open the drain while doing this swirling business with your hands, creating a whirlpool and watching your rubber duck race around you in circles. Rather fun, actually.

Or not. Maybe it was only fun to play "whirlpool" with my little sister when I was 8. Maybe when I am an adult and dealing with this idiot tub, its not such a good idea. Another problem with a clawfoot lies in hardware. Two things are at play with my tub. One is the original hardware to turn the water on and off. Its so old, it doesn't turn off, so I have to turn the water on using the main valves on the outside of the tub. The other issue is in the drain itself which is one of those screw-in jobbies which are not designed to work well with stressed-out bath takers (or in this case, would-be bath taker). I get in the tub, enjoying the hot, hot water swirling around when suddenly I notice that the water level is not going up, au contraire, it is going down. Fast. OH NO! I dive for the drain and attempt to secure it. The water is so hot, it is difficult to keep my hands there and the bubbles are rather prohibitive to vision. I fight... its not screwing in straight! I fight some more.... the level is going down and down... I give up, stand up, turn off the water, return to tub and finally manage to get the drain secure. I'm only in a few inches of water.... the hot water comes back on, but not before giving me its token dousing of ice cold water during which I pray it is to be followed by hot. OK. Maybe we have this together now. I lean back, ahh.... only to suddenly feel cold water on my feet. OUT OF HOT WATER AGAIN! Really? Argh....

And sure enough, there I was, once again, in hell. 6 inches of warm water around me doing the all-to-familiar-debate of which was worse - getting out of the semi-warm into the cold, or suffering and waiting for the hot water (again, again, again). I read my book, trying to ignore the situation, trying the hot water every 2 pages which only serves to frustrate and add more cold and no hot.

I really should have thrown in the towel (literally) and just gone to bed, but I did not. I suffered it out and finally won. The longest bath in the history of baths, I'm sure. Also one of the most expensive. After an hour of war, just to get the water IN the tub, I found it required an exceptionally long time to soothe the act of doing that out of my body. Probably took another three re-fills on hot and two more hours of soaking to get my shoulders down off my ears.

Today looks to be another such day. I have a bunch of tasks ahead of me that are threatening to have me in a similar state of mind by 5 pm. However, you will be happy to know that I may have learned my lesson - and advanced planning has been done: I've made arrangements to spend the evening in my girlfriend's hot tub.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Photo- Christina, Tarzana

At en months, Christina sat peacefully, giving little smiles to her folks. At two she is ON THE GO! On the go on tip toes, actually. Quite cute - approaches all activity on her tip toes. Very busy. Her folks were worried because they had a very hard time getting shots of her because she only stays in one spot for about one second which would be quite a challenge with the blinkity-blinkity pocket digital camera. After the shoot her mom and I discussed which DSLR she should buy. LOL.
I just adore this child. She is smart, adorable, friendly and mercifully would slow down from time to time and smile at me.

Christina's photos can be seen at and grandmas can see the entire collection at

Fun, fun, fun.

Photo - Theo, Manhattan Beach

And here we have Theo again. This is his new, very cool blanket that he's lying on. Softest thing in the world. I tried to convince him to hand it over, but he wasn't having it. LOL.
Theo is lots of fun. Very much a boy's boy. This year he turned me onto picking and chewing on sour grass and I showed him the nastursium leaf. Gotta love a kid that can eat in the wilds of Manhattan Beach, right?

His slide show is on my site at and family can order at