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


At Friday, January 12, 2007 12:47:00 AM, Blogger Netter said...

Hehe! I grew up with a tiny claw foot bathtub. I completely get where you are coming from on this one. However ours was one of those short ones. Plus we didn't have the shower curtain around it. We had one of those hand attachment wands and you had to sit down to shampoo your hair. It took some getting use to. My parents got rid of that house but when the new owners redo the bathroom, they are giving my parents the tub. BINGO! I told them they have to put it in the basement and put pillows in it for my niece to play in when she gets older. They make the best spots to read. Don't laugh. I think I have read more novels in that bath tub than I have out of it. Plus those cast iron tubs are so cold. Whenever I had a high fever I used to sit in the empty tub and it always helped bring my fever down. I learned about this when I was very sick with a 103 temp. I had thrown up several times, so I had been sitting on the edge of the tub while feeling rather woozie. I kind of remember feeling dizzy...just kind of. The next think I know, I wake up in a "U" shape, shampoo bottles everywhere, knees down hanging over the edge of the tub. I had a huge knot on the back of my head but my fever was down to 99. I had a hard time getting out of the tub, I was sort of crammed in it because it wasn't a wide tub. I'd been like that for three hours and either nobody found me or they thought I put myself in that position on purpose. Either way, after that, I spent my high fever days in the bathtub. Strange but true. Now I don't have an iron claw foot tub so I have to either force myself in a cool shower or my favorite thing...laying on the ceramic tile floor in the basement bathroom. Works everytime.

At Sunday, January 14, 2007 4:09:00 PM, Anonymous Nathan said...

I know exactly how you feel with "Buddha in the Bathtub". Being a large person, 6'5" with extra padding, I feel like Buddha in the bathtub in a normal tub; but I still like baths. I have in fact used the "feet on the wall by the tap" method many times. I dream of the day when I can fit into a giant claw-foot tub and soak :-)

At Sunday, January 14, 2007 5:36:00 PM, Blogger gloria said...

Nathan and Netter,
As a "woman of substance" I too share your dream of a tub the size of a small swimming pool. Oh what the heck, make it a medium size swimming pool and throw in those steps with the chrome handrail, too.

Glad to hear I'm not alone in my BBA affliction (Bathtub Buddha Syndrome).

Hey, stay tuned. I've got a picture of the cute little clawfoot coming up. As soon as I can figure out how to get the clip art of the soap off the page. (Oh why couldn't I have been born with a little something in the left side of my brain?)

Thanks for the visit and for dropping me a line.


At Thursday, February 01, 2007 7:33:00 AM, Blogger ZaPaper said...

Ha ha! I had your poptart circular shower-curtain experience once when visiting my brother in Buffalo. I too found it very displeasing! I'm sorry to hear your bathtub is too small. My boyfriend never take a bath either for exactly the same reason (he is a man of substance!). I am chubby but short, so it works out okay for me...only here I don't even have a bathtub. Now I really miss taking baths... but then, considering that 24 hour a day hot water is considered a special selling-point for apartments here, I suppose I should count myself lucky...

At Thursday, February 01, 2007 11:26:00 AM, Blogger gloria said...

Hey Buffalo! Your brother and I are fellow western New Yorkers. Well whaddya know. (insert "It's a Small World After All" music here) My condolences to him and his lack of shower space. I feel his pain. A slimey shower curtain is a sad, sad thing.

But, I'm so glad you wrote. I think about you over there and your lack of things that we take for granted and I realize how good we have it here in many ways. Yet, there are times when I remember my days in England (many years ago) and long for the simpler life and its benefits.

PS. I like to read when I eat by myself as well. Right now I am starting The Adventures of The Thunderbolt Kid, by Bill Bryson. One of my favorite authors. Yes, it's like having lunch with him--or whomever I happen to be reading at the moment. Now, if they would only pick up the tab once in a while.



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