Posts Tagged ‘Willy Wonka’

I haven’t had a bath in years.  In certain times in our history, and in certain cultures of the world today, that wouldn’t be such an odd thing.  But you say that in the good ol’ US of A, and people look at you like you’ve just declared underwater basket weaving to be the greatest sport ever conceived.

So let me clarify:  we take showers at our house.  Ease of use is the big reason – just hop in, lather up, rinse off and out you go.  No waiting for the tub to fill up, no fighting off the cat who just has to play with the bubbles and inevitably falls in, and no temptation to lean back and fall asleep, to emerge a gigantic prune an hour later.  Another reason is that the bath tubs provided in tract-built SoCal homes are barely big enough to be foot baths for the likes of my husband and me.  We’ve come to the conclusion that what contractors and manufacturers determine to be “normal” sized has actually been measured against the Oompa-Loompas from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

The downstairs bathroom has the usual shower/tub combo.  The tub is the “standard” size for a residential home.  That being, about 4.5 feet long by about 1.5 feet wide by about a foot deep.  Go check out your own tub, and you’ll probably come close to this.  Now, find a NFL linebacker and put him in your tub.  Add water.  If you manage to get more than three cups of water in without it overflowing, than your linebacker is too small and probably needs to be traded.  Otherwise, you now have a pretty good idea what it’s like for me and my husband to try and take a bath in something considered “normal” sized.  We look longingly at four-person hot tubs, thinking “Wow. I might actually be able to stretch out in that.”  Note the singular, by the way.

And upstairs in the master bath, they thought they’d get all fancy and we have a shower stall separate from the tub.  Now, mind you, the shower stall is barely three feet square, so putting the likes of one of us in it becomes an exercise in contortionism, but we’ve been in far smaller (or no stall at all) while camping, so it’s not that big of a deal.  The tub, however, makes me wonder if somewhere someone shrunk the blueprints and never told the builder.  It’s supposed to be one of those nice little soaker tubs, a lovely oval with plenty of surround for all the candles and bath salts you’ll be using.  It’s four feet long, two feet wide at the widest point, and ten inches deep.  Yup, ten inches deep.  If I could lay flat on my back in the thing, my nose would stick up past the rim.  At least we know I wouldn’t drown.

I actually tried taking a bath in the upstairs tub shortly after we moved into the house, thinking that it would be a nice, relaxing thing to do after the three hour one-way commute from the West LA job I had at the time.  Putting aside the fact I could only get half my body wet at a time, I also hadn’t had my knee replacements yet, so getting up and down was a bit of a challenge.  When it came time to get out of the tub, I couldn’t.  The whole thing was so low to the floor, and I was so slippery from being bubble-bathed, I couldn’t get any leverage to get up, and there was no panic bar.  I toyed with the idea of just rolling over the edge and onto my hands and knees, but there would have been a tidal wave of water and suds onto the upstairs vinyl floor and I just didn’t want to deal with that mess.  So I called for my big, burly husband.  The man who can hold up an engine block with one hand while changing the transmission with the other.  The man who moves 248lb. blacksmith’s anvils around the garage like they’re child-sized.

The man who contemplated getting his engine hoist when he couldn’t get me out of the tub.

To be fair, the problem was largely one of extreme slippery surfaces combined with lack of sufficient leverage.  We ended up draining the tub and using towels for rescue ropes to get me out.  Needless to say, I’ve never done that again, and the tub now largely serves the cats as an ambush site, when one is lying in wait for the other to go to the litter box.  Much more entertaining than taking a bath.

And the sad truth is, even once we lose the weight we want and get back to our fighting form, as it were, we’ll still be far too large for those puny little tubs.  We’re both descended from those giants of the European north, those Germanic rabble rousers who refused to bow to Rome’s demands and made Charlemagne decide doing his nails was more important than crossing that last border.  We are not Oompa-Loompas.

As a child, we all want to be “normal,” to fit in and have friends and just cruise through the world unnoticed and without hassle.  Well, that wasn’t the childhood I had, and it certainly isn’t the adulthood that’s followed.  My current challenge is to accept that, since I’ve never been “normal” before, it’s okay to not be “normal” now.  Or ever, for that matter.

Now to just figure out how to fit a four-person hot tub in the upstairs bathroom…



©  2010  Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.




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