Pretty much the only thing I miss from our previous house (built in 1912), where we lived for 28 years, is the old-fashioned claw-footed bathtub. And it’s not like it was a reproduction-style old-fashioned bathtub, it was just an old bathtub. One drawback was that it did become another place where things got mislaid, as in:
“Mom, I can find my shoes!”
“Look under the bathtub.” And there was a pretty good chance that that’s where they would be. Or, if not the shoes, something else that was lost might have ended up there. Like a soccer uniform.
I didn’t really use it all that often, until I started teaching at the community college. My first semester, I had a couple of day classes. For the other nine-and-a-half years, I had at least one, and sometimes two, night classes. They did meet only once a week, but they were 3 or 4 hours long, and I wouldn’t get back home until 9 or 10 o’clock. And adding in the hour or so that I spent, on my feet, getting ready for class, and sometimes that much time after class, putting away materials we’d used, and cleaning up, I was pretty worn out when I got home.
When I did get home, I couldn’t go to sleep. Another instructor put that problem in perspective. “People with day jobs,” he said, “work hard all day, come home, eat dinner, relax in front of the television or spend time on the computer or read until time for bed. We, on the other hand, work for three or more hours, often on our feet the whole time, then pack up our teaching things, and head home. We are wide awake, full of the energy of teaching, and we need a similar amount of time to unwind. Which means that we’re not able to relax until ‘way into nighttime.”
He was spot on. I developed a routine for relaxing. I would arrive home and immediately turn on the hot water in the big tub and let it run for a few minutes. Then I would go to the back of the house and listen to the hot water heater, to be sure it was heating up. (The large tub required quite a bit of hot water, first to warm up the chilly porcelain itself, then to fill the tub with hot water.) I would sit in the room next to the water heater and read and relax. When I heard the gas go off, I’d stop by the kitchen and make half a pimento cheese sandwich and pour a glass of cold tea or water, which I took to the bathroom. I had one of those nice trays that went across the tub. I could put my snacks there, as well as a book.
Bath beads and bath crystals were important, too, dissolving in the warm, warm water and making the whole bathroom smell wonderful. I would then ease myself into the hot water, an inch or so at a time. I could completely submerge myself, up to my neck. I would snack and read and relax. The perfect end to a busy, tiring day.
In our house now, I actually can submerge myself in the bathtub, but I’ve got to bend and contort to do it. And, the inner edge of the tub is too shallow to support one end of a bath tray. I only have hot baths now when I’ve been working in the yard and feel really sore. It’s . . . a C or C- experience.
So, I usually just shower, in the small master bedroom bathroom. I’m reduced to trying to find solace in good-smelling soaps.
I regularly read the little environmental suggestions each day in the newspaper. A while back, it reminded readers that liquid bath/shower soap comes in plastic containers that are often not recycled, and put forth the idea of using bar soap, instead, since it gets all the way used up. So, I bought a package of several bars of Olay soap, packaged in individual recyclable lightweight boxes. And I bought some additional washcloths.
But, I’ve sort of fallen off, part way, the bar soap wagon.
Remove my sin, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:7 (Good News Translation)
The best kind of clean.