In hot water yet again, or not
It began as a creak, barely audible above the roar of steamy effervescence soothing our limbs into a jelly state.Then an ominous groan, a strange rumble from the depths and our vessel was listing toward the lawn. We collected our beers and abandoned ship shortly before the hot tub tilted skyward, then slipped jerkingly into the abyss of the backyard amid the splintering of wood, sending a cascade of chlorinated water into freshly mowed grass. I waited for sparks to fly – literally – but the tumult subsided, the slosh ebbed to a trickle and one last jolt shook the rotting timbers.Well, it could have happened that way.Instead, a couple of really loud cracks, accompanied by shudders that rattled the house, prompted quick preventative action – namely cutting the electricity and draining the hot tub, which remains parked on the rotting deck like a posh alternative to a Buick on blocks in the yard.Now, we’re faced with the option of 7 square feet of additional lawn space or spending an obscene sum on a replacement. Either way, we need to hire a crew of beefy guys who will saw the junked tub in half and haul the pieces out through the hole we’ll have to punch in the fence.I never set out to own a hot tub, but this leaky, used version came with the house. Installed by the previous owner, aka Close Enough Construction, it’s perched on an extension of the back deck that isn’t sturdy enough to hold a Weight Watchers meeting, let alone a hot tub that tips the scales at two-and-a-half tons, once you add water.Perhaps it was the lingering effects of heat stroke from an extended soak that led us to think we might replace it, having become accustomed to a dip after a day of skiing.That was before we actually stopped in to browse at a couple of the valley’s hot tub purveyors. What an eye-opener. For one thing, we weren’t looking at hot tubs, but rather, “spas.”Various models offer different seating capacities and arrangements; the ones where all the occupants sort of sit in a circle are “conversational spas.” That’s as in, chin-deep in foam, one of your friends will invariably ask, “So, how much did this set you back?”Let’s just say, it’s entirely possible to purchase a spa that’s worth more than our house. I figure we can justify buying a new one, though, so long as we spend all of our vacations for at least the next five years immersed in it.Jet configurations are key. If you want more than one per seat, prepare to forego a few extras in other facets of your life, like food and phone service.On the other hand, I’m not sure we can go without one of these hydro miracle workers, which apparently promise everything from utter contentment to playful moments and a better sex life.Judging from the pictures of the people in the glossy brochures, a “stylishly soothing” new spa will also make me beautiful, unlike our old hot tub, which merely left me prunishly wrinkled and a little flaky, skin-wise.Add surround sound and the “healing effects” of colored light and one can’t help but lead a better life.One brand boasts a dimmer-controlled LED light for luminescent ambiance, which uses less energy than a standard light bulb. Right. Anybody who thinks they don’t boost their carbon footprint to something approximating the size of a small African country as soon as they start heating an outdoor body of water all winter long has been inhaling more than the evocative fragrances from their spa’s aromatherapy feature.Nonetheless, a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of certain spas goes to some sort of wildlife fund. If that doesn’t soothe my guilty conscience, I’m sure a little pulsating jet action from a dual-port rotary nozzle will do the trick.Besides, I’m going to need some vigorous hydrotherapy after we tear out and rebuild the rotting deck.Janet Urquhart may have to start hot tub-hopping in Aspen. Consider yourself warned, or invite her over to use yours at email@example.com.
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Columnist Roger Marolt is learning to hold his breath longer during these hot, dry summers, he writes.