Notes from the Nest
She’s a real beauty. Long, lean and coming in at just over five feet, she has legs to die for. As I relax into her warm embrace, any tension or negative thoughts are released. Her body is poised, strong, smooth and I’m comforted as she cradles me. Contentedly, I smile, as I’m uplifted by her bubbly nature. Her name is Grace and I’m in love.
Lest you think I just swallowed a Harlequin, romance novel, that I’m emphatically regurgitating or I’ve spent too much time over the holidays, indulging in the Hallmark movie channel, let me enlighten you. Grace, is a bath tub. An antique clawfoot one, to be exact, that we’ve recently released from captivity and installed, with much effort, into our bathroom.
Our first residence as newlyweds, nearly 30 years ago, was a bachelor apartment in the triplex we owned. It was charming, cozy and perfectly adequate, for the pair of enamored love-birds that we were. It wasn’t much bigger than a squirrel’s nest, though, so a few months later, when the tenants in our two-bedroom unit moved out, we took advantage of the opportunity for a larger space, renovated it and moved in.
It was while dismantling the bathroom, that we discovered Grace, who’d been encased by boards, disclosing only her rim and bowl. When we liberated her from her enclosure, her true style, symmetry and handsomeness were exposed and we decided to invest in her future. We paid a tidy sum to have her reglazed and spiffed up.
For almost a year, I delighted in the sensual pleasures of various bubbles, oils, and salts as I indulged in many pleasant hours, soaking away my cares, in fragrant, steamy water, until reaching an acceptable degree of tranquility and quiescence. I decided at the time that immersing myself in a tub full of white, frothy effervescence, was not only purifying and therapeutic but also one of life’s more pleasant, lavish and affordable luxuries.
Life is like riding a train. You hop aboard at the first station, bustling and bumping along, as you ramble ever forward along the tracks. For Randy and I, the next location down the line, was moving into the lovely, old century home that we’ve shared with our growing family, for the past 28.5 years. Since we’d put so much love and effort into having her restored, we loaded Grace onto our train and brought her along with us to our next stop.
The plan was always to have her installed in our new home, so until then, she was safely secured in a wooden box, in the garage.
In 1957, American writer Allen Saunders wisely stated, “Life is what happens to us, when we are making other plans.” This is precisely what happened, in our case. Having children, family illnesses, necessary repairs, that come with owning an older home, a new furnace, leaky roof, extra-curricular activities, new cars and kids’ educations were all reasons why it was never quite the right time. Both Grace and I have been very patient.
Finally, this fall, the forces that be aligned and we made the decision to renovate the bathroom and install our beloved, vintage treasure. Much gratitude goes to our son, Benny, who toiled along with Randy, ripping out, hammering, sawing, insulating, mudding, taping, gluing, plumbing and installing. Their tasks were achieved with great skill, fortitude and patience.
Thus far, I’ve neglected to say that our home has only one bathroom, so I must say, they were extremely polite and accommodating as their work was frequently interrupted for bathroom breaks. Persevere they did, however, and finally two weeks before Christmas, Grace was wheeled indoors, into the kitchen, where I gave her a thorough scrubbing before she was maneuvered into the bathroom, to her new station.
There she sits, stately and splendid in repose, under the window, resting up next to the aromatic, woody-scented, tongue and groove, cedar wainscoting. The rest of the surfaces bear a fresh coat of paint, there’s new flooring, and a sleek new vanity and sink, to keep her company. The shower hookup, is still to be completed, as we await the necessary parts, but I’m unconcerned. After almost thirty years, Grace and I, have been reunited and I’m more than appeased.
Of course, as per Saunders’ earlier sage advice, we hit another unexpected bump, when the furnace conked out the week before Christmas, requiring replacing. Despite completing renovations, having a new furnace installed and preparation for holiday festivities, I remained composed. I simply turned on the tap, poured in some bubbles and let Grace take me away. Like the sign in our bathroom says, “There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” Sylvia Plath.