When we made the impulse decision to buy a hot tub, all I could think about were long soaks chatting with friends and sipping wine. Reality is so annoying.I had achieved the empty nest. I got cocky and my hubris kicked in. I soon found the tub was as demanding as children, dogs and my husband. Not all at once, but still.
OK. It hasn’t taken as much time as my children, but it has demanded my attention like a spoiled child. Actually, like a contrary child. Right when you need it to behave, it goes off. And then, for no reason I can fathom, except that I have called the repair guy, it begins working again. I’m thinking poltergeists.
I shot myself in the foot at the start by thinking that a saltwater spa would be easier and more eco-friendly. The salesman did not dissuade me. Now there’s a stunner. I have since discovered that was decisively incorrect.
The thing was messy, mercurial and not all that much nicer to my skin. In the end, it began to resemble the Red Sea or maybe the Dead Sea, complete with icky mineral build-up. And who got to scrub and wipe all that red scum off the walls, spigots and floor of said spa? Who got to power rinse the red gunk out of the filter several times? Silly question.
Should the choice be given to you, consider what I forgot. Our tap water comes from the Colorado River, which already has serious salinity issues. As the kids so aptly put it, “Duh.” I did get points for my good intentions, though, when the spa makers replaced my salt system with a regular chlorine one at no cost.
And did I mention it needs to be tested twice a week to keep all things in balance? I just know the makers of the test strips sit laughing in their office at how impossible it is to determine if the square is lavender, mauve or heliotrope. And even if you tend to your spa-child, it has to be drained and refilled every three or four months. Picture me running across the yard with a hose held high, hoping the other end doesn’t slide out before I get the suction going. Picture me bailing out the last 6 inches of water, now cold. Imagine me forgetting to put the filter back in, teetering half naked on the rim trying to do it without getting wet, and losing my balance. Again, into cold water.
Yet, like a contrary child, once it is sparking clean, chemically balanced and all warmed up, I can’t resist forgiving it all its transgressions. I will soak until I’m pruney or reality strikes again. Aaaaah.
Jean Gillette is a freelance writer ready to give her hot tub a time out. Call her at firstname.lastname@example.org.