Tag Archives: Hedonism

A Proper Vacation

toes in the sandI just returned from my first proper vacation in five years. By proper, I mean a vacation in which I do a lot of sitting around at a beach with umbrella drinks.  This vacation was the First Annual Mother Daughter Beach Trip to North Myrtle Beach, SC.  I had a whole week with my mother – something I’ll treasure for always.  And we do it again next year!

The drive down was uneventful.  We arrived a day before our check-in at the condo, so we stayed in a seedy motel on the beach.  It was glorious that first night on the beach sitting in the dark and watching the phosphorescent surf.  After the long drive, I slept like a dead person.

010We stayed in a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo at a Wyndham resort. We unpacked suitcases and put clothes in the drawers and closets.  We shopped for food.  We had board games.  We set the timer on the coffee pot so we’d have coffee when we woke.  We flippin’ moved in.  It was wonderful.

The condo was luxurious – granite countertops, walk in showers, a large soaking tub.  It was equipped with everything we needed including a washer and dryer.  We were on the 9th floor and although we were not ocean front (long story), the view was fabulous.  While I would never give up my barn, there’s something to be said for smaller living spaces – they’re a whole lot easier to keep clean and organized.

029Left to my own devices, I would have sat on the beach each of the 8 days we were there and stared at the ocean until I was fried to a crisp. Mom is more of a get out and do things kind of chick.  So we ran up and down Highway 17 eating and shopping and visiting a sculpture garden.  The garden is truly a marvel and I had a lot of fun with the camera there.  I have still not properly learned to use the camera.  But it’s on my to-do list.  You know, that list of mine that is in volumes.

We did a fair amount of shopping.  I bought a dress that I have no idea where I’m going to wear it other than next year’s beach trip.  Honestly, does a 55 year old need a strapless blue and white striped sun dress?  No.  But what’s need got to do with it.

toes on the balconyBut each day started and ended with me drinking coffee or wine on the balcony. The balcony and I fused.  I was one with the balcony.  The ocean breeze, the scent of salt water, the sounds of the waves, the tightness of my sun-kissed skin.  It would take about 5 minutes on the balcony for me to become all zen.

One afternoon we had a rousing game of Scrabble.  We didn’t keep score, but I think Mom won.  She had longer, more interesting words.  I was too zen to give the game my full attention.  The glass of wine probably didn’t help much either.

I do miss that balcony.

mamas artBetween balcony sessions and running up and down Highway 17, I sat on the beach in my blue sand chair. On the beach, it took me about 2 minutes to be all zen.  There is nothing like planting one’s butt in a low chair with feet in the surf for chilling out.  I was a puddle of ooze with no more ambition, aside from procuring the occasional umbrella drink, than the sand on the beach.  One day I watched dolphins cavort.  Another I watched toddlers cavort.  I was struck, as I always am, by the joy children find on the seashore.  I need grandbabies to take to the beach.  (Do you hear me, Chef Boy ‘R Mine?)

first breakfastWhile we did procure groceries, we ate out a lot. One morning for breakfast, I had a steamer of crab legs and shrimp.  Another breakfast involved fish tacos and a Hurricane in a souvenir glass.  One day we had banana splits (bodacious banana splits) for lunch.  We had dinner in a dive bar and the fish was so fresh, I swear they went out and caught it while I was eating my sushi appetizer.

I went to bed early, slept late and usually managed a nap. We had rain one day and I tucked into a good book while listening to the roar of the surf and raindrops on the patio door.

jeansIt was all good. All of it.  It was the vacation I sorely needed after the past few years and I savored every moment.  I have my commemorative Christmas ornaments to mark the occasion and I have memories of quality time with my mother.  I can highly recommend a proper vacation!

I’m having trouble reorienting to real life. My house is a mess.  The suitcase is still sitting in the kitchen. The puppy missed me and spends a lot of time on my lap.  It’s been hard to motivate to do much more than what is absolutely necessary.  But today I have a fire in my belly to tackle this house – I want it as zen as I feel.  So off I go to clean and declutter and deal with the suitcase.

 

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Filed under September 2014

Hot times in the bedroom

006Those of you who hang out with me on Facebook know that I’m still in the seemingly-endless pursuit of organizing The Barn.  I go in fits and starts with this, but lately my fervor has been renewed.  I love an orderly, clean house.  I’m just not very good at it.  (But I’m getting better!)

For all of my short-comings in the house cleaning arena, I’m pretty good about keeping my bedroom orderly, in part because I love my bed.

I have a grand bed.  I think everyone should have a bed so imposing it is reminiscent of a throne.

I bought the bed along with the Beloved Vanity and other pieces a good 8 years ago.  The furniture is so big that they couldn’t bring it up the stairs, but had to lift it to the top of the truck and then from there hoist it through the French doors in the master bedroom.

003I decided that since I spend a third of my life, more or less, in bed, that bed should be a haven, a sanctuary, a symphony of hedonism.   The bed is appointed with luxurious coverings including very high-thread count sheets.  There is a mound of pillows that I remove each night, but leave in place for afternoon naps.  I love sprawling among the pillows and watching the sun come through the French doors.

I love my bed.  It’s king-sized in keeping with my throne desire and I can sprawl all over the thing without body parts hanging off.  The animals sometimes join me in the bed, though not regularly.  There’s room for all of us.

In the winter time, I love keeping the bedroom cold so that I can burrow in the bed like the cocoon it is.  It’s simply delicious to wallow.  It’s only when it gets blazing hot outside, as it is now, that my bed is not quite so wonderful.  The bed linens are heavy especially so with the goose down-filled comfortor.  While I have central air, the construction of the barn is such that cooling the upstairs when it’s 80F at midnight means keeping the downstairs at freezer level.  I don’t want to pay Appalachian Electric that much.  So, tonight I will lie on top of the covers and let the ceiling fan swirl air over me.

I realize this is a first-world problem and that I have no reason to whine.  I’m not whining,  not really.  I think I’m marking the entrance of Summer to what has been a very strange Spring.

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Filed under June 2014

DragonMan

bonemanWhen I wasn’t calling him by his real name of Doug, I called him either HMO’Keefe or Dragonman (sometimes shortened to DMan.) The former was a nickname of his choosing based on an historical character. The latter, and the subject of this blather, is my nickname for him. Once in a great while, I called him Boneman which was his online moniker when he wasn’t using HMO’Keefe.

I don’t really remember how it got started.

We met on an anthropology listserv (a kind of online forum.) I was the middle-aged undergraduate student with no fear and he was the gentle scientist. As is my wont, I blasted into the group with questions and commentary. He was one of the first to respond. In his gentle manner, he told me I might want to tone it down a bit. I said, and I’m pretty sure this is exact at least in meaning, “Ah hell, y’all are hollering ‘fresh meat’ and loving every second of my nonsense.” He laughed. The group gave me a hard time, but they gave everyone a hard time. They also seemed to like me. I’m kind of likeable on some days. Doug became my academic mentor.

columbus in the springWith respect to the listserv, I think, he said something along the lines of “I’ll help slay the dragons.”

I said, “You are the dragon! And, besides, I’ll slay my own dragons, thank you very much.”

We were friends a good while before we were lovers. During that friend phase, he was the Dragon in the Computer. It wasn’t until later when we both left our marriages that we became a couple. I don’t know when it was that we went from platonic to romantic, but I do know when, where and how it was consummated. Most of our time together was spent 800 miles apart. I remember our 3D meetings in vivid color.

Boston in the snowI think the nickname tickled him. He adopted Dman. I have mixed CDs he put together for me labeled A Dman Compilation. I called him DragonMan. I had no interest in slaying the dragon, but I may have tried to tame him. He had a stubborn streak particularly with respect to his leukemia and the ensuing chaos. There was friction. Oddly enough, I was the fire breathing one.

For Mother’s Day this year he gave me a gift certificate to a gardening catalog. After much fretting and carrying on, I chose the lawn dragon. I didn’t tell him what I ordered. I wanted him to be surprised. At the time, I was sure it was priced too high and would be too small. I was wrong. It’s quite substantial, just the right size, and a fitting memorial. It was delivered a few days after his death.

The eye of the dragonI put it out Monday, finally, just before the first snowfall of the year. I set it amidst a bed of white stones. The stones are temporary. This spring I will plant the area with Irish Moss.

I bought one small clump of the moss this year and plopped it in the yard to see if it would thrive, just survive, or plain old die. It has thrived and is remarkably beautiful. I was loathe to buy more than one as it was expensive and I need about 20 of them, but since it’s doing so well I’ll get what I need or maybe more. I’ll probably have to take out a mortgage to fund this, but it will be spectacular.

snow dragon in the gardenI enjoyed seeing the dragon frosted with snow this morning. As much as DragonMan bitched about it, I think he liked snow. I don’t think he could have done 30 years in Boston otherwise.

I miss him, but the dragon makes me smile much the same way he did.

—————–

I typed the draft of this post on a Neo2. The Neo is a nifty little keyboard with a small screen. It can hold 8 small files. Allegedly it’s all the rage with writers, although designed for classrooms. It weighs next to nothing, is cheap, uploads to word processing programs easily, and nobody would be interested in stealing it unless you’re in a room full of writers. My dad showed me his and I drooled all over it, so he gave me one for my birthday.

It’s great for dragging out to the garden, or the auto shop waiting room, or any place that a laptop might take a beating. It runs on AA batteries and is just a little gem. If it breaks, or is lost or is stolen, you haven’t lost your whole life. It’s a nifty little tool and I’m quite impressed with it. It reminds me of my misspent youth when I worked in a law office on IBM’s first electronic typewriters. They too had a tiny memory, but were tremendously useful for storing paragraphs or legal descriptions used over and over in a case. I think I love this little thing.

http://www.renlearn.com/neo2/default.aspx  (Aw damn, like they’re discontinuing you them in the states.)

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Filed under November 2013

The Things That Go Together

Chef Boy ‘R Mine left today to return to his life in Charlotte. We had a nice, low-keyed visit. For once, he got out of here without having to cook for me. I served him a bad breakfast (unintentional), but one that involved champagne. I also had a dozen, fresh Jolly Pirate donuts on hand and some homemade bread, so I don’t think he felt unloved.

The Boy can wax poetic about Jolly Pirate donuts.

While I’m slowly returning to a past hobby of cooking, I spent this holiday largely outside the kitchen. But as last night was The Boy’s last night in town, I rummaged around in the cabinets and freezer and collected food for a late night repast. A wonderful one.

Last Christmas, Chef Boy ‘R Mine rolled into town bearing my gift. It was a gift of labor, love, food and luxury. It was a gift from Super Foodie to Regular Foodie. It was sublime.

It was a torchon of foie gras with the appropriate accoutrements – port, kumquats and maple syrup.

Foie gras is very controversial.  I loved it before I knew how it was made. (In fact, while not the same thing at all, by any means, I loved Armor potted meat as a child. People think that’s gross and, what can I say, apparently I love spreadable organ meats.)

Foie gras is the super fatty liver of a force-fed goose. It’s the texture of soft butter and just melts in your mouth oozing the most astounding flavor considering we’re talking liver. It’s sweet with a hint of salty. It doesn’t taste like meat. It doesn’t taste like anything else on the planet. Wittgenstein might as well have said, “Describe the taste of foie gras” instead of “Describe the aroma of coffee.”

As a visual aid in explaining the process of making the torchon, my son showed me a video by Swedish Chef Francois Xavier which is a hoot and a holler and said video also pretty well sums up my feeling on the foie gras controversy, to wit:

If you are a person who does eat meat, a person who does wear leather shoes for your feet, or perhaps have a leather wallet, in that case, I think, before judging people who eat foie gras you might visit your local slaughter house to see how the other animals you are eating are treated. I think you are in for a very bad surprise.

[I had a hard time capturing all of his words, if the quote is not exact, well then, piffle. I’ve captured the spirit of his thought, if not his quirky, musical voice.]

Watch the video, but bear in mind, he’s making a terrine, not a torchon.

Another blogger has detailed 70 steps to a torchon.  Seventy steps might be an exaggeration.

In the United States, it’s more difficult to buy foie gras. That which is available either comes from the Sonoma Valley or the Hudson Valley. Chef Boy ‘R Mine maintains that the Sonoma liver is far superior. Of course, he chose the Sonoma for his mama’s gift.

Over the course of days, he deveined the liver, soaked it in milk, cured it with salt and sugar overnight, rolled it into a cylinder, poached it, re-wrapped it and hung it to dry for 3 days. He then individually packaged it in vacuum sealing gifting me with enough to last a year.

So, last night I pulled out the last little torchon. I pulled out the bottle of Krupps Brothers Black Bart Syrah Port (2007) which is a more than respectable port. I pulled out the Blis Maple Syrup which is big deal and not something you drown Hungry Jack pancakes in. [

Per Se and The French Laundry drizzle this stuff on tasty little morsels they charge huge money for.  Part of the cost is for the syrup.  This stuff comes from old-growth forests and sold in numbered bottles.  I keep it hidden in the back of the fridge lest HMOKeefe accidentally drowns a Bisquik biscuit with it.]

I had a boule of crusty bread, which wasn’t ideal but it was fresh out of the oven. To perfectly complement a torchon of foie gras, a sweet-ish bread such as a brioche is best.

[I had a brain freeze for a minute and couldn’t summon the word brioche. I was astounded and tickled to find that Wikipedia has a list of breads. Go look at it – it’s wonderful! With pictures! Don’t go hungry.]

HMO’Keefe has not partaken of the foie gras before and, like I was the first time, taken aback by the thought of drizzling maple syrup on liver and washing it down with port. I believe he liked it, but I couldn’t much catch him with his mouth empty to get an exact quote.

After scarfing it all down, we settled into a bottle of a nice Zin and talked. It was a nice end to a nice visit together.  HMO’Keefe remarked on how charming my son is.  Well, duh.  The kid takes after his mom.

I’m not sure if my son’s foodie gifts to me explain my return to the kitchen, but after not cooking as a hobby for a long time, I find myself in the kitchen more and more.

I’ve been dabbling with Thai and Indian here lately and thus gifted by Mr. Charm with a beautiful French curry powder and other spices as well as some kick-ass plates to serve the finished product on.

But HMO’Keefe loves Mexican cuisine as do I. So I’ve been fooling around with a pozole recipe for two days as well as playing with the new tortilla press and the 5 lb. bag of masa harina. Tonight’s Pork and Pozole Stew was lick-the-bowl good and handmade corn tortillas are a gift from a loving deity. The stew changed direction three times and what ended up in the bowl was not what was intended, but what was intended proved to be uninteresting. So after adding this and that, a bottle of beer, and some buttermilk masa dumplings, culinary satisfaction was achieved. Damn good stew.

Other than wandering into the kitchen to dump something else into the stew pot periodically, I’ve done nothing but sit on this couch and watch thoughts bobble in the sludgy creek of my mind.

So. Today was a good day to be me. A few more days like this in a row and my creek might run clear. I haven’t thought of a catchy phrase for 2012. Maybe after I get the sludge out of there.

 

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Filed under December 2011

Everything Old is New Again

 

I spent my moody teens (and one memorable night at the Charleston Holiday Inn) mooning over Emerson, Lake and Palmer.  Nutrocker was my favorite Christmas music for a long time. Even now, I use it when I need to speed-clean the house.

Nutrocker was Emerson, Lake and Palmer’s nod to the Christmas season.  The Trans-Siberian Orchestra is performing the piece.  I keep reading that Emerson, Lake and Palmer was one of their major influences.  I’d say so.  While the quality of the video leaves a lot to be desired, it is immensely better than any of the clips I could find of ELP performing.

Y’all are probably more familiar with TSO for the following:

So, I “discovered” the Trans-Siberian Orchestra a year or so ago.  Everything old is new again.  It looks like I can spend my moody menopausal years mooning over TSO.  At the moment, I’m pondering plunking down some significant cash to see the spectacle that is TSO’s Winter Tour.  [I’ve always been a sucker for a good spectacle.]

Happy Whatever You Celebrate, Y’all

 

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Filed under December 2011

Warmth and Sun

Morning Daydreams

It’s getting to be that time of the year when I switch my living arrangements. It’s winter and in the interest of not paying Appalachian Power more than my mortgage, I’m moving upstairs.

The only way to keep the downstairs bearable is to crank the heat to 75 or 80 which turns the upstairs into the Sahara. In fact, I turn the heat down to about 55 at bedtime so that I can enjoy the cool bedroom I like while sleeping. It’s so delicious to burrow into the down comforter and feather bed without fear of heatstroke.

The barn has two temperature zones – cool downstairs and warm upstairs. During temperature extremes one floor of the house is insufferable while the other fluctuates between uncomfortable and pleasant. The reasons center on the cement slab the barn sits on along with the multitude of windows sans draperies.

By January, sometimes earlier, the downstairs carpet will be cold to the touch radiating proof that the slab is frozen. I abhor so the multitude of windows in the barn will also radiate unchecked cold. Indeed, my windows are dressed only in my dressing room so as to protect the mailman, the trash guys and the electric company’s meter readers from my brazen nudity. The airy lace panels do little to insulate. Nevertheless the dressing room is one of the rooms I will decamp to – that and the study with naps in the guest bedroom. Setting the furnace to a reasonable temperature keeps the shivering windows at bay most of the winter. On particularly frigid days, a space heater actually warms the room unlike its behavior on the first floor where the open floor plan defeats its abilities.

With the cold, dark days of winter I go upstairs not just in search of heat, but also light.  The upstairs is much less stingy with natural light than is the first floor.

Along with my dressing table, the dressing room is furnished with the completely ridiculous and much loved chaise. Oh how I dithered before plunking down a silly amount of money to buy it. I kept trying to justify the cost and couldn’t. While it was logical to think the room required something other than the vanity bench to sit on, the chaise was not the best choice.

One cannot just sit on the chaise. With its graceful s-curve, it invites a languorous and prone lounging. One is seduced by the comfort of the upholstery, there is no choice but to surrender and sprawl particularly since that s-curve makes just sitting uncomfortable. So the chaise is completely useless in facilitating the donning of socks or hosiery – my one feeble justification.

A chair would have been far more utilitarian, but much less fun.

Mmmm, sun-warmed silk.

Even with the lace panels, the dressing room is aglow with morning light. The winter sun hangs low in the sky streaming rays that make the chaise all the more irresistible. Its sybaritic splendor is further enhanced by a heavy silk kimono a dear friend gave me. There is a magic about silk that no other fabric comes close to imitating. I wrap myself in the kimono, lounge on the chaise and drink my morning coffee. I can lose hours on the chaise.

The study is also kissed by that morning light, but it’s a brief kiss. The mature oaks standing close to the house that give the room a tree-house feeling in the summer still manage to block most of the morning sun. At sunset, the study glows with the low hanging sunset sauntering in through the room’s one western window. The light is silky amber that compels the room’s furnishings to glow. The grain of the heavy oak twirls and preens while the metal of knobs, handles, stapler and ornaments shimmer. If not for the brevity of a winter sunset, I would lose hours sitting in the study’s outrageously comfortable chair.

The guest bedroom with its one window is the warmest room of the house. After the sun begins it rotation to the west, that room holds the afternoon light in clearly defined beams. The canopy draped over the bed holds the light in a web of glimmer. The bed is like being inside a prism. It’s a glorious place to nap.

In winter, I move room to room to follow the sun – the dressing room for daydreams, the study for deep thoughts and the guest bedroom for illicit naps.

Now and again I think I would love living in a small cottage – less to clean, less to maintain, and less to heat. It would be practical and free up a lot of time. It’s hard to justify one person living in this multitude of rooms.

Ah, but I am a space junkie – usually an unapologetic one. I love all of my single purpose rooms, nooks and crannies. From my son’s old bed tucked underneath the stairwell’s eaves to the tiny book nook under the stairs, each one has not just a purpose, but provides this hedonist with the pleasures of the well-defined ambiance of each.

It is winter and I’m in nesting mode. Besides a thorough cleaning, I plan to use these months to tackle the painting of the stairway and the living room/dining room. These two areas of the house are among those that most irritate my hedonistic self. While I do abhor draperies, I am thinking of installing some in the living room/dining room The planned ambiance of that room may require substantial ones that will wrap around the windows rather than covering them, yet can be pulled closed when winter sneaks up on me. It would be nice to have a winter-livable room downstairs.

Between glorying in morning sun, napping in afternoon sun, and marveling at winter sunsets I’m going to need razor-sharp discipline to excise my predilection for sitting around doing nothing for hours at a time. [I was genetically predestined to be one of the idle rich and something went terribly wrong.]

It will be a war of wills with my hedonist me waging battle with the industrious me. I’m already alternatively nagging and promising my hedonistic self that a few months of industry will provide years of sitting year-round in a room that provides splendid sunlight from noon on. A room for reading and gazing out the atrium doors. A room for fine dining on fine china with friends and family. A room to adore a Christmas tree. And a room to watch summer rainstorms and winter snowstorms. .A room in which the pleasure of those activities is not diminished by the sight of needed work.

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Filed under November 2010

Cold Tub

Sun Worshipping, Yet Vigilant Willy

In 2002, The Ex and I bought a hot tub, er. . . I mean spa. We had always wanted one, but after we installed the fence to corral puppies, the perfect alcove was created. It would have been a crime not to put a hot tub spa in that spot.

One of The Ex’s most annoying and most redeeming qualities was that he shopped things to death. Except for one notorious car deal, I don’t think we ever paid one cent more than rock bottom on any major purchase. He was legendary in his wrangling which was not limited to just the major purchases. The guys at Firestone still talk about him and his fist full of coupons and competitors’ advertisements. He felt a failure if he paid more than $10 for an oil change.

We schlepped all over three states and the entire internet looking at hot tubs spas. In the course of comparison shopping, we were informed that the cool kids refer to them not as hot tubs but spas. Hot tubs are large vats of hot water. Spas are mini-vacation experiences that involve jets. The number of jets determines how much you get to swagger at the convention of Cool Kids with Spas.

I was pretty sure that standing around in showrooms peering at molded acrylic wasn’t the best way to determine the suitability of any one hot tub spa. I got in them and sat down. Sometimes they had water in them, sometimes not. Through trial error we determined the features we were willing to pay for and the ones we wouldn’t tolerate at any price. We then narrowed brands. Then price. Then swagger.

Finally, we ordered the damn thing. Finally, it arrived.

During the shopping phase, I was quick to say that it was primarily for The Ex. He had always wanted one. When we went on vacation, he gravitated to the nearest hot tub spa and soaked for hours at a time. Hot tubs Spas contented him in a way I never did.

I liked them well enough, but after twenty minutes or so I’d had enough.

Well. We got one. Here. At the house. Bathing suits optional. Privacy guaranteed. Open at any time of the day.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

The spa boasts 57 (I think) jets. I fell in love with each and every one of them, but particularly the configuration of five that massage my back in just the right spots. My back that had ached for 20 years, ached much less. My stress levels plummeted. It was all good if pruney-skinned.

Even in winter, particularly in winter, I loved to sink inch, by inch, into the hot, steamy, bubbling water. As long as it was warmer than -10F, it wasn’t too cold to dash naked from the family room to the spa.

The biggest pain was lifting the cover. It was a good sized and, particularly with an inch or two of snow sitting on the cover, getting the cover off could be challenging.

We invested in a lifter – a metal contraption that works on the principle of torque. With one hand, I could rock the cover open or closed. It was better than all good.

I started most days and finished nearly every day with a good soak. I particularly loved morning coffee. That little alcove just the perfect size gets morning sun. After dark, I would turn the underwater light on and sip wine while pretending to be one of the idle rich I was genetically predestined to be but which, through a cruel twist of fate, was not.

During the cool days of spring and fall, Willy and I discovered that sitting on the cover was the perfect solution to wanting to be outside but it being too cold to be outside. The cover absorbed and retained heat from the water beneath and the sun above – the top was 10F warmer than any other place outside. He and I clocked a lot of hours sprawled on the cover.

When the heat of summer hit, I would turn the temp down to lukewarm. Mid-day soaks were still out of the question, but mornings and nights were wondrous.

Vapor barrier, styrofoam and the sweat of my brow.

The cover, and the spa, are now nearly 8 years old. Last year, the cover began disintegrating. The vapor barrier split and peeled. Covers, I learned, are nothing more than steel reinforced Styrofoam. The foam waterlogged. Slowly, as the wet summer of 2009 dragged on, it became more and more difficult and finally impossible to lift the cover.

I kept hoping that if it would quit raining long enough, the cover would dry out and I could Mickey Mouse a temporary vapor barrier that would last me until I could get the money together for a new cover. Styrofoam is more costly than I would have thought possible. Nothing doing. Once the thing waterlogged there was no drying it out.

This weekend, my brain fried by the heat, I decided to wrassle that cover off and at least use the spa as a miniature swimming pool. I figured I’d have to use a boat load of chemicals to keep the algae at bay and still have to drain it regularly, but it seemed like a good idea. There would be no jets and no nifty underwater light as there’s no way to operate the thing without the heater running. I’m not about to pay Appalachian Power to heat the already too hot great outdoors. Stupid design.

Stupid Thing

Wrassling the cover doesn’t begin to describe it. Two 8x4x3” panels of high-density, waterlogged foam hinged together and wrapped in a tasteful brown vinyl nestled in a perfect little alcove are a bitch.

The hacksaw was useless and I figured I didn’t need to be poised over 3 feet of bacterial infested water with power tools. It came down to me, a bread knife, and a pair of pinking shears.

It was ugly. After nearly concussing myself, coming close to stabbing my thigh and almost lopping off a finger, I managed to get one of the panels off the spa and into the yard WHERE IT WOULD NOT BUDGE.

I pushed. I pulled. I prayed.

All this in 95F with 90% humidity.

I had a tantrum and kicked the damn thing. Evidently, I kicked it in just the right spot and the foam cracked like the shell of a hardboiled egg.

The second panel was a lot easier.

After all that, it took the rest of the day to get the spa to cycle completely through the start-up phase of pump priming and whatnot. I was fixin’ to have another tantrum when the pump finally started to pump, the jets began to bubble and the digital readout informed me the 9 month-old water was 76F.

I drained that puppy and cleaned it between attacks of heat stroke. Had I not been able to get it to start up, I was going to take a sledgehammer to the thing, haul it out in pieces and install a $10 kiddie pool from the K-Mart. But it did start and Plan A is being executed.

Oh, Lord, it's cold...mmmmmm

Today, I am finally filling it. In an hour or so, I expect to slip inch by inch into icy water as the sun slips over the hillside and the solar lights begin to flicker on. While it’s possible I’ll opt for a glass of wine, it’s probably a surer bet I’ll be nursing a mug of hot coffee. One of the more gruesome aspects of this heat wave is that my caffeine levels are well below normal.

The cold tub spa will soon be open and I am thankful for small mercies.

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Filed under June 2010