Monday, January 08, 2007

Buddha In The Bathtub

I don’t know who coined the phrase, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it,” but whoever it was, I’ll bet they had a Buddha in the bathtub experience, too. Yeah, I guess that needs a little explanation, doesn’t it?

As many of you know, we recently sold our way-too-big-for-only-two-people house and moved into a much smaller home in a neighboring town. Much, much smaller. Bungalow-size, to be exact. And many of our new home’s details reflect this diminution (admit it, you didn’t think I knew words like that) in size. Such as, the adorable claw foot bathtub.

I am a world-class tub bath taker. My lengthy soaks have produced some pretty impressive raisin fingers, not to mention, fogging up every window in the house and possibly the neighborhood. I can think of nothing I like more on a cold day than a good long bath, the hotter the better. So, when I discovered that the house I was thinking of buying had a deep claw-foot tub, I was more than a little excited, though I played it cool for the real estate agent by doing a modified rendition of the traditional Goody-Goody Dance and singing the Hallelujah Chorus under my breath.

But my excitement fizzled the first time I tried to actually take a bath in it. Sure, it was deep, but not wide. Simply put, I am not a small woman. I’m not even a medium woman. I’m what the cartoonist, Oliver Christianson, calls, a Woman of Substance. I soon found out my adorable claw-foot tub is what people in the claw-foot tub business refer to as a “junior size” and was never meant for substance the likes of mine.

In the online photos of the house, the tub didn’t look that small. And even when I saw it in person, I suppose I was momentarily blinded by the fact that it was, indeed, a claw-foot tub and paid no attention to the minor, but critical, fact that it was about half the length and width of a normal claw-foot tub. The upside, though, is we’ll be prepared if we’re ever visited by a dirty Lilliputian that wants to wash up.

After my first venture into the dubious delights of using our antique bathing fixture, my husband Dan asked, “So, how was it?” “Imagine Buddha in a bathtub,” I replied.

Probably a politically incorrect comparison, but I just couldn’t come up with any other way to describe it.

Cozy, yes, but not particularly comfy. I did find that if I scooted down and propped my feet up on the wall behind the faucet I could affect a more supine position (admit it, you didn’t think I knew this one either), however this led to very cold feet very quickly which meant I had to scoot back up and bring them, along with the subsequent legs, into the tub again, allowing for very little room for the rest of me. It was something of a trade-off with lots of scooting and propping going on, which led to much unwanted sloshing due to my having filled the tub to it’s recommended depth, and then some, by stuffing a plastic bag in the overflow holes.

Then there was the whole shower fiasco. Warning: This paragraph contains graphic images not suitable for persons suffering from vinylhydrophobia!

Imagine if you will, standing in an area about the size of a Pop Tart. Correction: exactly the size of a Pop Tart. Now, imagine that you are in your birthday suit and surrounded by a clear vinyl shower curtain. Add the fact that claw-foot tubs are free-standing, so this makes it imperative that you use a circular shower curtain system (you know, the kind your grandmother had or you might see in a Martha Stewart magazine accessorized with home made grapevine wreaths and bars of oatmeal soap in the shape of hearts and flowers). All of this makes for the stuff from whence come nightmares of the slimiest, stick-to-your-ankles kind.

If you’ve ever used this type of shower, with this kind of 360, wrap-around curtain, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And if you’re a vinylhydrophobic, like I am (see previous post of July 8th, Vinylhydrophobia? No Problem!), then you’ll also know what contortions it takes to keep wet vinyl from touching any part of the body while at the same time trying to keep shampoo out of your eyes without losing your footing. And in this case, your very limited footing.

After my first attempt at showering in this manner, Dan (a man of few words) asked again, “So, how was it?”
“Imagine showering in a Zip-loc bag,” I replied.

A bit of a tight squeeze, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. A few more showers and I may even be able to stay in long enough to cream rinse before I begin to hyperventilate.

And just think, our new downsized bed will be delivered this weekend. I can only imagine the adventures of getting use to a smaller sleeping surface. Our mornings will probably go something like this:
Dan: hanging on for dear life to the edge of the mattress, trying desperately not to fall off and roll into dust bunny territory.
Me: the queen of blanket-stealing sprawl asking, “So, how was it?”

clip art courtesy