Monday, September 16, 2013

Bath fail

My neck and (especially) ears are cold,
because I pinned up my hair
because I took a bath
because I didn't want to wash my hair today
because it is all falling out
from Lupus.

My bathtub here is huge and has jets.  I did not want a whirlpool tub, but all the houses seem to have them here, except the one that had a soaking tub, which I liked, but Shawn didn't like that house.  Well, it was smaller than this one, and our furniture doesn't fit here, so it's probably a good thing I listened to my husband.

He also told me that with Lupus, I might enjoy a jetted tub.  So the other day I set out to take a luxurious bath.  I've got it, I might as well use it.  Right?

I don't think our hot water heater is quite big enough to fill the jetted tub.  But I worked on filling it up with warm water, and I added some scoops of Epsom salts to soothe the aches while I soaked.  Then I thought, "How about some essential oils, too?  How about peppermint?  That might feel good on the old joints."  And I sprinkled in a few drops.

As I lowered my body into the tub, I immediately felt a sense of panic.  The peppermint oil on my skin burned, but then it made me feel cold.  Either it was the peppermint oil, or the fact that there had not been quite enough hot water, but I realized that I was breaking out in goosebumps.

You are supposed to soak in Epsom salts for 20 minutes, so I dutifully checked my cellphone for the time and, shivering, sunk down to my neck, hoping my temperature would adjust.

I found myself gritting my teeth, furrowing my brow, and counting to pass the minutes,  "Seventy-eight, seventy-nine, eighty, eighty-one," went my thoughts when I checked in on them, and I wondered why I did not remember having started at one, or even ten.  I willed myself to relax but found that my skin was too cold, or too burning from peppermint, or something.

Finally I reasoned that a bath should be relaxing, and since this ordeal was stressing me out, I should try to find a remedy.  I drained half the water out of the tub and turned the tap back on.  After about three gallons of cold-to-lukewarm had run in, it finally got hot.  I lay back and swirled the warmth around to mix it in.  Things were looking up.  Even the uncomfortable peppermint oil had been diluted in the process.

I felt better.  I thought, "Perhaps I ought to try the jets."  I had a niggling fearful thought about used jets in a used whirlpool tub in a used house, but I pushed it aside and turned them on.  I leaned my head on the back of the tub and closed my eyes.

Jets are loud.  And they sort of vibrate the tub in a way that made my head ache after a few minutes.  I opened my eyes and looked around.  Across the top of the water, air bubbles were rising, but they were sort of slimy, and something murky and brown swirled across their surfaces before they burst.  A sludgy brown tub ring was forming around the edge of the tub, and it was especially thick, I found, right behind where my neck had been lying.

"Great," I thought.  "I try to take a bath, and I end up giving myself a staph infection or something."  I turned off the jets and began to drain the tub, turning the tap back on in an attempt to find a water source from which to clean myself after the disastrous effects of my bath.

Once dressed, I scrubbed the sludge out of the tub and went off to search Google regarding: "How to clean your tub jets."  Thereafter I spent the rest of the morning running bleach and dishwasher detergent through my tub jets, and then cycling clear water to rinse it all out again.   I also learned that if you are going to use your jets at all, you need to use them often, and keep them rinsed out and fresh, following up with bleach and dishwasher detergent treatments twice a month.

This seems like a lot of work and tremendous waste of water.

I am puzzling over ways to get some of this jet-maintenance water piped down onto our yard.  It has rained less than 1/8 inch over the 6-7 weeks we have lived here, and the flora is crisp and brown.

It would be nice if we could replace this whirlpool with a simple soaking tub.  But in the scheme of things, that project is on a timeline for after I'm dead.

Nevertheless, I did my frequent-bath duty today and took a bath again, in my now-clean tub.  However, I only ran the jets when I was ready to get out, and then again with a cold water rinse.


Hope T. said...

Twice a week with bleach?! Wow, I will know what to avoid if I am ever searching for a new home. I never really cared for jacuzzi tubs either and that was before I heard about the twice a week thing (with bleach!).

How is the rest of the house coming along? Is the house too small to fit the furniture or is it just that the arrangement of the rooms is different from your old house?

ruth said...

Regarding the house, I came to a standstill when I ran out of space. There are still a couple of boxes in the garage, many boxes in the basement, and a bunch of homeless stuff clutters up the would-be-cute sun porch. I have absolutely zero motivation to continue unpacking, now that there is nowhere to put anything more.

On paper, this house is 400 square feet bigger than our old house. I can't figure it out. Of course, that does not include the finished basement in our old house, which we used heavily, and which added another 700 square feet, bringing the balance to -300 square feet here.

But even only considering the upper floors, it seems that we have gone to (perhaps) more space in the halls, bathrooms and bedrooms (except ours, which is smaller than our old bedroom), while losing space in the living room, dining room and office/study.

Of course, for our stage of life these days, with no kids around anymore, it is a plenty big house, probably too big. I just feel sort of sad when I see my big old comfy leather recliner, solitary in the dim basement. I think I might feel better when my kids actually get to the point where they need furniture, and I can give them some of this... and then buy stuff that actually fits in this house.

The bitterest pill to swallow is the kitchen. I went from a completely custom kitchen that we had redone exactly the way I wanted it--both for form and function--to a very unattractive kitchen with major design flaws in the layout. I even went from a gas stove, on which I was practically a gourmet cook, to an old electric stove on which I either over or undercook everything because I can't control the heat properly.

I know I sound like a baby. I have cabinets, counters, and a complete set of working appliances. I should be thankful. But even my friend , who was visiting me last week, said, "I have absolutely no aesthetic sense, and those counter-tops are even getting to me. I can see why you don't like them."

So. I pray. Because it is hard to get a kitchen redone when you don't know anything about any of the contractors in an area. And also it is costly, and that stresses me out and makes me sad. Especially when I let myself think about how we had a beautiful house, and 20 acres of beautiful land that we could have built another house on, had we gotten dissatisfied enough with the one we were in (which wasn't happening), and we sold them both and still had to go into debt for this house that is too small for my furniture and has a mug-ugly kitchen. Call me materialistic, but I really struggle with being sad about this.

Oh... but it is twice a MONTH, not twice a week with the bleach for the tub jets. Not quite so bad, but still not what I was hoping... (rueful smile)

Hope T. said...

It seems like you've had a lot of loss in a short amount of time.

Your children are all so close in age that they left one right after the other. You lost your last chick when he flew from the nest, you lost your nest itself, you lost your health and your hair, you lost your fledgling teaching career, you lost your familiar friends and acquaintances and to top that off, you lost your kitchen. Cooking is one of the ways you cope with difficult times but now you have lost a decent stove and a pleasant kitchen in which to cook. You have even lost a normal bathtub so Calgon can't take you away from it all.

I think I can understand why you would be distressed and yet still grateful at the same time about having a good roof over your head. It was touch-and-go for a while that you would even have a place to live. That doesn't negate the difficulty of all the changes happening in such a short span and limited options for dealing with it.

Take good care of yourself, Ruth.