A Whale Of A Time 

Magaret B. Davidson

© Copyright 1999 by Margaret B. Davidson

Photo of a whirlpool bath.

Work on the building of our new house had progressed to the point where we needed to order fixtures for the bathroom. We selected the sink and toilet quite quickly and then proceeded to the bath section of the plumbing showroom. In previous discussion we had agreed that we would install a tub with a whirlpool feature. After looking at the various models for a few minutes I said, "Phil, I think this one is really nice, and it's on sale."

"It's not big enough."

"What do you mean, 'it's not big enough.'? It's a regular size, and you're not a terribly tall person."

"It's not big enough for both of us to use together."

Now maybe twenty years ago sharing the tub might have struck me as a romantic idea. But these days I tended to view my bath time as an opportunity for peace and relaxation. It seemed that that luxury was about to be terminated. I didn't have the heart to dampen Phil's enthusiasm and, as a result, we purchased a rather large whirlpool tub.

Over the course of the next few months Phil often referred to our whirlpool. He reiterated many times as to how he couldn't wait for us to try it out.

"It's going to be so much fun..."

Finally we moved into the house. Much to Phil's chagrin we were unable to make use of the whirlpool the first week as we were minus window coverings in the bathroom. However, by the end of the second week the blinds had been installed thus ensuring our privacy.

I had been working like a dog unpacking what seemed like trillions of boxes and filling closets and drawers with the possessions we had accumulated over the past thirty years. Possessions that we did not need but, for various reasons, seemed unable to part with. By Friday night of week two I was grumpy and exhausted. Phil arrived home from work earlier than usual.

"Pour us a couple of glasses of wine. I'm going to run the tub."

I did as he asked and, not wanting to be a wet blanket, even produced some candles to place around the bath. It did look wonderfully romantic, and I was beginning to catch the mood. And the thought of that nice warm, swirling water was enticing.

Phil stood there in his altogether running water into the tub and sipping his wine.

"Isn't this great? Get undressed, I'm going to turn the whirlpool on."

He pushed a couple of knobs and all hell broke loose! Water came shooting out of those jets with such force that it hit the eight foot ceiling, dousing everything in its path. The entire bathroom was drenched by the spouting water. It was running down the walls, the mirror, Phil, everything. My hair was dripping and plastered to my head just as though I had spent the last hour or so in the ocean.

Hurriedly Phil turned the knobs to the off position.

"I wonder what's wrong," muttered my husband.

Before I could stop him he tried again. We received a repeat performance. The tub resembled a giant spouting whale. Once more he turned the thing off.

"Have you read the instructions for this thing?" he inquired.

"Yes, I read the instructions for the tub. This week I also read the instructions for the microwave, the oven, the dishwasher, the garage door opener, the washer, the drier and the whole damn house. And, no, I don"t remember how the darn thing works!"

The last part of my tirade was lost as I am hit by yet another barrage of water. I began to scream,

"SHALL I GET YOU THE INSTRUCTIONS?"

He ignored me and continued fiddling with the knobs. I was furious.

"I've had enough of this. I've now got to clean this entire bathroom... again. I cleaned it thoroughly this morning. I'm fed up. I'm tired. The candles are out, the wine is watered down, and I don't want a stupid bath anyway!"

I stamped my feet, sending more splatters of water up my legs.

He turned the thing on again... and watched complacently as the mechanism churned and swirled the water around the tub in the way that it was designed to do. Smugly he explained,

"If you turn it on when the water level is only half way up the jets then you have a problem. You have to be patient and wait until the water level is above the jets. I knew it had to be something simple like that. Come on, let's get in."

Well, I was wet already, so what the heck -- I clambered in.

I have to admit that it was rather pleasant. In fact I really liked it. I would have enjoyed it even more if it hadn"t been for the thought of having to sop up all that mess afterwards. And what about the inevitable "ring around the tub?" This tub is so large that you have to actually get in the tub to clean it. Now how romantic is that? As these thoughts attempted to erode my newly found sense of peace Phil says,

"You know, we could have done with a bigger one."

I am aghast.

"Why on earth would we want a bigger one?"

"So you can get four people in it."

"You want four naked people in here?"

"No, you tell them to bring their bathing suits, silly."

"Oh. 'Please come for dinner on Saturday night, and bring your bathing suits so you can take a bath.' Great idea Phil!"

Well, our marriage has survived bigger traumas than this. And maybe I can sneak into that bathtub unaccompanied now and again.

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