“Good lord, Richard, do you ever remember being this sore?” I asked gimping into the house.
“Not since we dug the trenches for the roses,” said Richard flexing his hands.
“I’m sorry, but next time we have any trees taken down, I’m paying someone to dig out the stumps. This is for the birds.”
“You know Fannie, it’s too bad Tubs isn’t open any more, wouldn’t it be great to soak in the hot tub and hang out in the sauna for while?” asked Richard rubbing his lower back.
“Yeah and a massage to boot,” I said stretching out my legs.
Inspiration whispered into Richard’s ear Monday evening. He surfed the internet looking for hot tubs.
“Hey, Fannie, come in here, I want you to see this,” said Richard from the office. “What do you think about buying a portable hot tub?”
I leaned over Richard’s shoulder as he scrolled through the testimonials.
“So what do you think?” he asked.
“I don’t know about this. Where would we put it?” I asked.
“In the back yard, of course. I will groom a couple of the hydrangea to give us screening from the neighbors and we can sit out there on cold nights and get warm and cozy.”
“Why not, we can take it with us when we go camping. How about this, we just try a small one and see if we like it,” he said.
“Hmmm, why not. It sure would be nice.”
Tuesday morning Richard spoke to one of his customers, Darryl, explaining the portable hot tub idea.
“Richard, we started a side business. We’re demoing portable hot tubs in the of the back shop. Why don’t you come by and take a look?” asked Darryl.
“I’ll be there on Thursday,” said Richard.
“Fannie, I’m home,” called Richard from the garage. “Can you help me unload the car?”
“What’s this?” I asked looking at a car packed floor to ceiling with parts.
“Our new hot tub. Darryl gave me this really great deal. I couldn’t fit the crate into the car so we unpacked it and loaded it in the car,” said Richard beaming.
“This is portable?”
“Oh ye of little faith, we just have to get it put together. You’ll see.”
Hauling the parts from the garage to the patio, we laid out the hot tub. The direction slid under the driver’s seat.
After finding the directions, the hot tub took shape. Handing Richard the ribbing, he assembled it. Using the air mattress pump, I practiced step aerobics. A high-pitched whistling noise signaled a puncture. Using the kitty corrector, Richard misted the hot tub. We found the puncture and patched it.
“Okay, Richard, all we need now is to assemble the pump and heater unit,” I said. “I’ve got the clamps, can you hand me the hosing?”
“Fannie, there aren’t any more parts to assemble,” said Richard, “I must have left some of the parts at Darryl’s office. I’ll call him first thing in the morning.”
Darryl shipped the parts on Friday. For three days we looked out the window at the new hot tub. The hot tub looked back.
The parts arrived Monday afternoon.
The pump and heater snapped together like clockwork. Richard walked the garden hose over to the tub.
“Okay, Fannie, hit it,” said Richard.
Cold water poured from the hose. Two-hundred-fifty gallons later the tub filled to the two-person mark.
“Okay, stand back, chemist at work,” I said putting on my gloves.
Richard laughed. “Righto professor, please don’t blow anything up.”
“Who has little faith now?” I asked pouring the pre-mixed chemicals into the tub.
“According to the directions, we need to turn it on and give it from 24 to 48-hours to come to temperature,” said Richard. “Would you like the honors or shall I?”
“Let’s do it together.”
The pump sputtered for a moment then revved up. Bubbles burst from the water’s surface. The thermometer read 43º F. Richard set the heater to 100 degrees.
Before bed, we marked the calendar with the chemical care and maintenance reminders for the next two months.
“I can’t wait to try out our hot tub, can you?” I asked Richard as we drifted off with visions of chasing each other around the tub dancing in our heads.
A weak sun filtered through the clouds. Like children on Christmas morning, we peaked through the bedroom window, looking for signs of steam rising from the water.
“Do you see anything?” I asked.
“No, do you?”
“No, let’s go out and take a look.”
Opening the back door, a frigid 21 degrees embraced us.
“Whoa, now that’s what I call cold,” said Richard.
Richard leaned over the tub reading the thermometer, “38 degrees. I think it’s going the wrong way.”
“Maybe it needs a few more days. I doubt it’s designed to start-up in these temperatures,” I said.
We checked the temperature before bed, 44 degrees.
Water dripped from the trees and roof, steam rose from the ground and the rich smell of wet soil greeted us the next morning. The pump continued whirring away, so we went about our chores with joy in our hearts.
Around 11 A.M. we checked the tub.
“Richard, look, the top tube on the tub deflated,” I said pointing to the vinyl sagging into the tub.
“Look at this seam, it just separated. I doubt we can patch it,” said Richard leaning over for a closer look. “Hey, where’d the water go?”
Over the course of the night, the seals around the jets in the tub leaked about 100-gallons of chlorinated water onto our patio flowing into the hydrangeas we groomed as our screen from the neighbors. The hydrangeas turned greenish-black.
“Look on the bright side, the water is 48 degrees now,” I said.
Going online with tech support we discovered the inflation of the upper tube on the tub holds the seals in place.
The manufacturer sent us a seam patching kit with a warranty disclaimer for temperature. “Do not use in temperatures below 50 degrees.”
We drained the hot tub and sent it to the depths of the recycling center and landfill. Just don’t tell Darryl.