The Outback in My Bathtub

My house is old. Well, PARTS of it are old…others just LOOK as if they’ve been around since the conception of the Mayan calendar. The outside appears to have already been subjected to any dire, 2012 predictions of the aforementioned civilization. Inside, the possible scenario of post-cataclysmic destruction isn’t QUITE as apparent, unless one needs to use the “guest” bathroom. There, the ravages of age, lack of decorating sense and ability, and, of course, lack of funds,  have all coalesced into a mini-chamber of an interior designer’s worst nightmares.

The sink and toilet flow like Niagara Falls on a hot, summer day.  I have changed washers, nuts, bolts and seals so many times, now, that I’m seriously considering a new career as a plumber. Unfortunately, my only real expertise in permanent repair and restoration of anything is the swing of a sledge hammer. There is an area in the ceiling the size of an olympic swimming pool that once housed a florescent light with a plastic cover over it, whose main function was NOT to diffuse the light, but to hide a ghastly shade of puke green that at one time covered the entire bathroom. It is now like the legendary “Blob,” hovering in place over my toilet, waiting to engulf the unwary as they attempt to maintain a firm seat on the john. But, the hideous color does give the eyes something to focus on while pitching and rolling on the “throne.”

The “potty” is an amusement ride of sorts, grabbing the user’s attention quickly. Core muscles need to be engaged in order to sit securely on it, or else one must be fairly proficient at riding rough rodeo stock.  Every since we had the new commode installed several years ago, it has bucked and yawled like a bareback bronc coming out of the chutes. There is NO multitasking on the damn thing. Just “do it” and dismount before ending up face down on the plywood flooring.

Yep…. plywood. One afternoon, tired of the musty, moldy smell of damp carpet, I ripped it out. Now, the floor is bare, but at least one can clearly see the wooden strips for tacking  carpets onto…the ones that are mined with those vicious little nails sticking straight up, looking for a foot to pierce.  They’re relatively easy to maneuver around and avoid,  unless you fall off the toilet.

However, nothing in the bathroom speaks of age and disrepair quite like the old, nearly 6 foot long tub. Comet, Duz, Ajax, Bon Ami,  or even that bald headed genie guy aren’t getting the stains out of this old bathing hole. I’ve tried, even using one of those industrial strength wire brushes for rasping off the lava- like crust on barbeque grills, trying to remove 60 years of  ranch detritus.  All THAT did was leave tiny grooves into which more dirt, cowshit, hay and varmint hair could accumulate, adding to the dead grey color of the porcelain. Over the years, the tub has “settled,”…. sunk, might be more accurate…. into the sub-flooring, which, in turn is slowly rotting away due to constant oversplash from tub and shower.  I am waiting for the screams from my husband when the floor finally does collapse, sending both him and the tub plunging into the deep, dark and dank crawlspace underneath the house.

Due to the decades long settling, the top edge of the tub has separated from the tile walls, leaving a gap around two sides of the tub large enough for small critters to squeeze through. At times, the interior of my bathtub resembles an outback nature shoot for National Geographic. Small rain frogs delight in springing from the gap, or from high up on the walls, into bathers’ unsuspecting laps, or tumbling from the shower head into shampoo suds and across wet toes. It isn’t unusual to find potential bath/shower partners in the spiders and various beetles that drop into the tub and are unable to clamber up the steep and slippery sides.  The cat, (I’m not sure which one, since I have five), finds the tub a handy pantry for stashing lizards. Sometimes, Cat forgets to retrieve these captured prizes, and I am left to deal with “cleanup in aisle one,”……dead or alive.  Once, a small, black, water snake emerged from the gap, hoping to find, I suspect, a tasty morsel in the outback smorgasbord that inhabits my tub. I am eternally grateful that no guest was taking a “tubby” at the time!

And now, the raccoons have arrived……..

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About sageryder

Animal lover, advocate and rescuer.
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