10: The Bubble Bath

10: The Bubble Bath

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

The Bubble Bath

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.

~Sylvia Plath

The tub in our new house beckoned to me. It wasn’t just any tub, though. It was the likes of which I’d never owned before. Never even dreamed of owning. It was a marvelously decadent Jacuzzi tub big enough for two, with jets and all. And it existed in our new house for me to use whenever I wanted!

I couldn’t believe our good fortune. We’d been able to purchase our dream home for less than market value, which included this grand tub.

Granted, there was a reason for the bargain price. The previous owners hadn’t taken very good care of the home. It needed a lot of repairs.

But they were mostly cosmetic and superficial. A little new carpet, some paint, and we’d be able to enjoy our beautiful dream home.

What was a little elbow grease? When we’d made the offer on the home, I’d been in the process of prepping and painting our Jacksonville house for our move to Nashville. I was an experienced DIYer. I could handle shaping up the Nashville house too.

Or so I thought.

Our new house was only six years old, but the previous owners had been very hard on it. It turned out there was a lot more wrong with it than stained carpet and scuffed walls.

Sometimes we had water pressure in our shower, sometimes not. The air conditioning worked sporadically. The dishwasher backed up on its first use and flooded our kitchen. One of the banisters had a disturbing jiggle, as if it was going to give way each time we grasped it. The roof leaked — a slow, gradual leak in our master bedroom that resulted first in a faint, almost imperceptible stain. We weren’t even really sure we had a leak until a heavy rainstorm sent a deluge onto our carpet. The lawn sprinkler system exploded the first time we tried to use it and shot a geyser ten feet in the air until we could find the shut-off valve — an hour later.

Basically, everything we touched seemed to break, crumble, or collapse on us. We felt like Tom Hanks and Shelley Long’s characters in the movie The Money Pit.

I’d wanted to take a bath from the very first day we moved in, but I had waited. It was going to be my treat after I completed all of my painting projects. (Which I thought would only take a week or two. I hadn’t counted on the other repairs the house needed interfering with my painting schedule.)

Plus, with everything else that had gone wrong with the house, I feared my precious Jacuzzi tub wouldn’t work either. I didn’t dare touch it.

For weeks I only looked at it admiringly. Then one day the temptation proved too great. My arms and back ached from a hard day’s work in the yard. I was sunburnt. I smelled. I was in desperate need of some solace.

Even if the jets didn’t work, I could still soak in the tub — provided the floor held and I didn’t go crashing into the living room.

Apprehensively, I turned on the water. I half expected the stopper not to work. But when the tub filled without leaking, I dared to press the on button. There was a pause, then came a rumbling grumble, a sputter, and those jets started spewing!

I let out a triumphant cry. After nothing but calamities, something was finally working right! And what a something it was. My big, beautiful, beloved tub! Calgon take me away!

I lit a candle, grabbed the bubble bath, and slid into the tub. I squeezed the bottle generously, not sure how much to use in such a large tub. Certainly more than a regular tub. I figured a third of a bottle ought to do it. Then I sat back, closed my eyes, and relished the massaging water jets.

For two minutes I knew heaven.

Then Mr. Meow, our ever-demanding feline, leaped onto the tub’s ledge and meowed for attention. I promised him I would pet him as soon as I was done. But that wasn’t good enough for him. He came closer, mewing louder. Something tickled my chin. I knew he was flicking me with his tail.

“Stop it,” I admonished him, keeping my eyes closed. This was my time. He wasn’t going to wreck it.

He tickled me again. With eyes still closed, I swiped at my face to try and catch him in the act. I knew his tricks. I might be able to resist his pathetic cries, but there was no defense against the powers of his tail. He’d use it to taunt me relentlessly until I paid him the attention he sought.

I simultaneously got whacked on the head and tickled on the chin. Either he was becoming incredibly talented or…

I opened my eyes and saw Mr. Meow’s butt towards me, his tail swishing, but not to torment me. He was staring intently at the bubbles, engrossed in swatting them.

“Oh no!” I shouted, not at the cat, but because the bubbles had multiplied at an alarming rate. They were now threatening to spill over the tub and onto the floor!

Frantically, I searched through the field of foam for the off button to the jets. But before I found it, I saw that in his quest for a better bubble-batting spot, Mr. Meow had repositioned himself near the candle. His tail now swished mere millimeters from its flame. No sooner had I comprehended the possibility of his fur catching fire than it did.

I jumped up, grabbed him, and doused the flames with my hand. My rescue was rewarded with a hiss and a nice gash across my belly before Mr. Meow squirmed free and jumped to the floor. Which was now a sudsy swamp, thanks to the bubble waterfall cascading over the tub’s edge. He left a nice trail into the bedroom as he ran away.

I leaned over the tub to hunt again for the off button. I managed not to tumble head first into the tub as I shut off the jets. Then I rinsed myself off in the shower, bandaged my wounds, and headed downstairs for the mop and bucket.

So much for a nice relaxing soak.

Well, at least my dream tub had worked, but I learned relaxation was not necessarily synonymous with bubble bath. Just like renovations, it also required effort.

That first attempt at a bath was a disaster. I have since mastered the art of relaxing in my beloved tub. It requires flameless candles, locking Mr. Meow out, and using bath salts instead of bubbles.

~Courtney Lynn Mroch

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