I love to take a bath. Not in a corny, “Calgon, take me away!” Sort of way, either. I am offended when people trivialize a bath in this manner. A bath is a privilege. A truly spiritual experience and should be treated appropriately. I make my own homemade bath bombs, I have a specific scent of Jo Malone candle that is reserved for my tub time–seriously folks, the bathtub in my last house was a shrine to the bath gods. And my new house has a very lovely oversized shower.
We rented this house sight unseen from a couple who saved us from certain divorce and homelessness. Nobody knew what it would be like until we walked through the door on the day they closed and gave the keys to us. There wasn’t even a guarantee of a stove, so I simply couldn’t bear to ask about a tub until the papers were signed, for fear I might just put my kids and dogs in the car and head home.
At the end of the hall, behind a creaky door with an original 1935 milk glass knob is the guest bath. It is lovely, with 1 inch honeycomb tiles with a black and white checkered border on the floor, original subway tiles with black accents on the walls, an original cast iron pedestal sink with separate hot and cold faucets so that you have to plug the sink to get warm water, and a TUB. An honest to goodness, deep, long, cast iron tub….at least I was pretty sure that there was a tub, under all that gunk….
When we moved in, I cleaned the house top to tail. The doors, the walls, the floors, and I thoroughly coated this bathroom with bleach, let her sit, came back and scrubbed with a brush, and then shook my head….”You and I, I told her, are going to have a reckoning. I’ve got some things to take care of, but don’t fret, I’ll be back.” And I closed the door.
Today, armed with a full arsenal (read: Rubbermaid cleaning caddy) of weaponry, I slowly approached the patient. She was having some water retention issues. I won’t bathe in anyone else’s human soup, so that had to be solved. Liquid Plumber …. and done. Next, she was wearing a dreadful ring that wasn’t afraid of bleach and a scrub brush, so I knew I had to up my game. I put on some painting clothes and jumped in. I cleaned every inch of her with straight from the bottle CLR. On an unrelated note, I hope that whomever invented this stuff is a millionaire. She was looking much better, but there was still the matters of her grey, splotchy bottom and the fact that someone had used her as a paint bucket more than once. Her sides looked like the Chianti bottles at old Italian restaurants–the ones that have the wax of several candles dripping their sides…I gently coaxed all of the paint drippings from her sides with a straight razor dipped on Goof Off then I covered the entire tub in Bar Keeper’s Friend–it’s like Ajax, but with smaller scrubbing grit. On my hands and knees, up to my elbows in foam, I hit every surface.
In the end, I felt it necessary to make friends, so I sit, finishing my bottle of champagne, with my toes on the tap and my iPad in hand, smiling and humming, in my bath!