Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Feeling Flush...a humorous column about the fact that relaxation is tough to come by...even in the shower

February 2, 2010

Feeling Flush

What is it about announcing, “I’m taking a shower,” to one’s family that seems to serve as an open invitation to wash a large sinkful of dishes, water the lawn, throw in a load of laundry, flush the toilet, or all of the above?

Perhaps your residence is different than my own humble abode, but in our not-quite-twenty-year-old home a flush, or any household water usage for that matter, must be preceded by a warning. Let me explain.

At this point in our lives, we have rented, owned, lived in, or homesteaded dozens of homes and never, in any of these locations, has the toilet and shower worked autonomously from the rest of the water delivery system(s). Our experience has shown us that few, if any, plumbing systems co-exist peacefully with the various water outlets installed in the average dwelling. What’s worse, the same combination of activities – taking a shower while the commode is being flushed or brushing one’s teeth while the shower is on – does not generate the same punishment at any given time.

The flush may send me screaming from the shower with early signs of frostbite, but it’s equally as likely that I will exit my watery torment with a decidedly sunburned hue because the water registered a Fahrenheit just slightly cooler than freshly spewed lava.

This random temperature pattern seems to be some sort of water company version of Morse code for which I, evidently, need a plumber to decipher said code. While the hydrology of the situation never makes sense, it does lead to some creative choreography in the shower, evoking images of Twyla Tharp, Martha Graham and Bob Fosse, particularly if they lived in places where the shower did not play well with any other water-distributing devices. In my efforts to elude the quick step painful temperature change I have executed many a seemingly impossible leap, turn and jeté, making me appear as though I’m auditioning as a dancer for an aquatic Broadway musical.

One of the questions that may be prudent to ask when purchasing a home, along with, “How many bedrooms are there?, “Is there air conditioning?”, or “Do rabid raccoons run rampant?” might be, “Are you able to flush the toilet at the same time as someone in another part of the house is sprucing up in the shower without having to engage in hydro-dodgeball?” This may not seem critical, but if you share space with active children or a family member who just plain drinks a great deal of water, well, you can figure out the ramifications of such a situation. I’d rather take on the rabid raccoon running rampant.

A shower can be a relaxing time of respite from the usual stressors and commitments that life offers, taking full advantage of positive ions – or so people have told me. I don’t want to give the impression that this situation has been all bad because it has led to some positive adaptations, such as my unique talent of being able to soap up my hair, armpits and feet simultaneously. In addition to enhancing my ambidexterity I have also gained a weapon in my already-fully-stocked marital arsenal. Shower Power!

Having been irritated with my husband once or twice during the course of our heavenly unioFont sizen, our bathing facilities have provided me with a tactical plus during spirited discussions with my spouse. The fact that, during my slight pique, I have found an absolute need to flush the privy during his hair shampooing sequence is an unlucky happenstance...for him. It’s also the ultimate payback for any situation and, while I am not particularly proud to admit that I have used the “Shower Power” weapon when I’ve felt miffed, it has been an effective ploy.

The last word becomes the last flush, if you will. (I have also learned that just a teensy bit of running water – just enough to use for brushing one’s teeth, say – will do the trick as well.) There’s nothing like a nice high-pitched, “Arrggghhh! What happened to the freaking water temperature?!” to really make a woman feel as strong as two-ply toilet paper. That’s when I’m feeling really flush.

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