If I say that I spent the day in a hot tub, does that conjure for you an image of decadence, pampering and relaxation? Do you think of lazing beneath the sunlit blue of a warm spring sky, champagne, perhaps, in hand?
Or perhaps the aching body is allowed to bask blissfully in the warm and healing fragrant steam, washing away the stiffness, gently massaging the tension and soothing a tired frame?
A tempting image…. but think again.
“I’m going to get the hot tub back in service, Mum.” This ‘I’ business was purely rhetorical… we both knew what that meant. Groans from the house hobbit….this thing is the size of my bathroom.
I shouldn’t complain. It has been decommissioned for a long time now and I have been able to ignore the thing. It was originally installed to serve a particular and necessary purpose as part of my son’s recovery, restoring the damaged circulation and providing a deep massage… purely therapeutic. Honest.
The beer fridge beside the hot tub is only used to hold only water and as his musical tastes have mellowed from Eminem to Mozart, neither the wildlife or the neighbours would mind the thing being put back into service.
Even so, recommissioning it was not something I was looking forward to. I managed to stave off the task for a few days, called in the cavalry to remove the resident slug population and braced myself for the inevitable.
I had awoken particularly stiff from chasing the dog the night before. My own fault. Serves me right. I should, at the very least, have used the extending leash, but as ‘her’ lawn is dangerously full of fissures big enough to engulf my legs, let alone hers, I knew she would want a run. I just hadn’t reckoned on that long a run or the involvement of a rabbit. So I was already a tad worse for wear when I wandered stiffly down to my son’s.
The sun was already hammering the back garden. It was going to be a long day. I had refilled the tub when the engineer came to fit a new motor, so it needed draining, cleaning and refilling. It takes three hours to fill and as long again to empty. The slugs had moved back in, two years of grime needed scrubbing and weird wiggly things lurked behind the headrests. I did the only reasonable thing I could, apart from telling him what he could do with his hot tub… I set up the pressure washer.
Within minutes, I was dripping, wearing several gallons of water and watching the stuff squelch out of my now sodden shoes. I blasted everything in sight, rescued as many creatures as I could and blasted some more.
My son, perversely, chose this point to be concerned about me. Not so much for my wellbeing as my sanity. Asking if I had ever heard of the concept of growing old gracefully. I assured him I had, but had discarded the notion in favour of ageing disgracefully. Seeing no reason why such insanity should not be hereditary, I passed him the cleaning cloth and sent him in.
To be fair, I did expect him to strip to his swim shorts first…the sight of him in there fully clothed and wielding a dishcloth is not one I will forget in a hurry. While I wrestled with the filters and scrubbed the jets and waterfalls, he scrubbed the sides and rescued snails. It took us nine hours of solid hard labour before we finally set about the task of remembering how the control panel worked. That was the one thing we got wrong, so it was a full twenty-four hours before he could get in, relax and congratulate himself on a job well done.
Next day, I could barely move. By the time the hot tub was warm and working, I could move even less and was hobbling around, groaning with every attempt at movement and failing miserably to turn my head even a little. Said my son, with unconscious irony, “You should use the hot tub, Mum. It would do you the world of good…”