We’ve had some glorious spring weather. It has been warm… into the high teens… It has been sunny. It has been a real joy to be outside with so many flowers in bloom. Bees, butterflies and small buzzing things have fluttered about busily. The birds are flying around with beaks full of twigs and fur to build their nests. It was so pleasant that even the summer skirt and sandals came out to play…
So why, I have to ask, did there have to be a thick sheet of ice across my windscreen this morning? I know the answer to that question… because it was the day when I had to clean out my son’s ironically named hot tub.
For my son, the hot tub is a necessary and therapeutic form of hydrotherapy, addressing the non-existent circulation and spasticity in his limbs. He uses it every morning. It allows him to warm immovable muscles and, after half an hour in its swirling, heated waters, he can move about with greater ease and a little less likelihood of injury.
For me, the hot tub is a monster I get to clean every month.
By the time I get my hands on it, that warm, comforting water has been replaced by the gelid jet of the hosepipe and I get to get wet. I get to plunge my arms shoulder-deep into a pool that would give arctic waters a run for their money. By the time I am done, my teeth are chattering, my lips are blue and I am chilled to the core. My hands have done their best impression of the Union flag, cycling through white to red to blue, reminding me they have Raynaud’s. What I really need at this point is a long soak in nice, warm water… and I stare at the misnamed ‘hot’ tub, cursing.
I have, in the past, had to crawl around in there removing leaves, debris and stray gastropods. I have fallen in head first and fully clothed, much to my son’s delight. I have walked away drenched from head to toe. These days, I generally manage to get away with just being cold and damp. I have learned, in fact, how not to clean the hot tub.
Necessity throws many unpleasant tasks our way. We always learn from them and some of those lessons can be applied to other situations. We grow in knowledge and experience, finding new ways to address old problems.
Then we get complaisant. We think we know what we are doing. We’ve got it sussed. We get blasé… and every so often, we are reminded that we don’t know half as much as we might like to think. We stop paying attention and that’s when the hot tub overfills and you have to bale… And it will inevitably do so on a day when the temperatures don’t climb much above freezing.
Paying attention, giving yourself to the task at hand, being present… we can talk about it all we like, but we are easy to distract and sometimes, we will get it wrong. And even everyday tasks can be teachers.