Su Lum: Hot tubbing at the Boomerang Lodge |

Su Lum: Hot tubbing at the Boomerang Lodge

My friend Jeanne Ritter has been displaced from her Midland Park condominium for a week, due to flooding in the unit above her.

“Displaced” meant that all of her possessions, which are considerable, had to be boxed up and put into storage along with all of her furniture, in preparation for the carpet removers, the mold removers, the patchers, the painters and the new carpet installers.

The adjustors had, of course, taken their sweet time getting this project going (the flood occurred before Christmas!) and Jeanne, who has bad asthma, was feeling worse and worse and was less and less able to cope, and it’s more than a little ironic that when the mold removers did go in, they did so dressed in full-body protective space suits and helmets.

We were discussing this in the cardiac rehab class that Jeanne hadn’t been up to attending for over a month, and Fonda Paterson who, with her husband Charlie, owns the Boomerang Lodge, said, “Oh, this is perfect, she can stay in The Cabin!”

The Cabin, as it’s modestly called because it started out as a tiny one when Charlie built it in 1949, is now a two-bedroom, two-bath old Aspen charmer, the most popular digs at the Boomerang, where the Patersons lived until their family outgrew it.

It has a full kitchen with all the amenities and a large, comfortable, rustic living room that invites you to flop down and put your feet up in front of the real log fireplace. It is like being dropped into another world. In short, if you have to be displaced for a week, this is a helluva place to be displaced to.

To top it all off, Charlie and Fonda even sweetly cranked up the hot tub, and at the cusp of dark Jeanne and I, carrying our puffing oxygen tanks, would turn on the jets and sink into the swirling, soothing warmth. AHHHHHHH.

On Saturday night it was snowing, so we made haste to the tub. I sank in up to my chin, we were oh-ing and ah-ing as usual, and I was positioning the small of my back against the jet when I suddenly realized – oh my god – that I was still wearing my backpack, and the oxygen tank in the pack was completely submerged under the water!

Panic and splash. This is a tank that will stop puffing without notice or spew out its contents in a cumulus cloud at the slightest provocation. The liquid oxygen is 300 degrees below zero and I had just dunked it for close to a minute in a 106-degree hot tub.

I ripped off the pack and laid it on the side of the tub, expecting the worst, but it kept puffing away as if nothing had happened, so we relaxed and soaked while the snow fell on our heads, making white caps. Next time the tank acts up, maybe I should try hot water.

Update: Tons of mold have now been discovered (only because Jeanne insisted they look) behind the bathroom walls and the whole room has to be excavated. Gads. These are the guys who originally tried to get by with cleaning the carpet, fixing the ceiling, and painting a couple of walls, until the word “lawyer” began entering into the endless negotiations.

The good news offsetting the bad news is that Jeanne could be weeks at The Cabin!


Su Lum is a longtime local who is hoping for a little flood of her own next off-season. Jeanne is already feeling better. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.

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