“What have we done?” I asked as six men grunted, heaved, and rolled my wife’s mid-life crisis onto our back deck.
“WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!” the ringleader yelled as they set the giant rectangle down on the deck with a WHUMP.
As the guys pulled the cardboard and foam padding off of our new monstrosity, I noticed a little label in the corner that read, without a hint of irony: “Portable spa.”
I might posit that if it takes six burly guys to move something, that thing is, by definition, not portable. But despite its apparent portability, the one on our deck isn’t going anywhere, ‘cause those six guys went home.
The regular reader(s) of this column may recall that I recently turned forty, a milestone that I have decided to enthusiastically embrace because it justifies my bald spot. A balding guy in his twenties or thirties? Aw, that’s too bad. A balding guy in his forties? Yeah, that’s kind of the deal. Our bodies just go through changes at this age. It’s like the opposite of being in the seventh grade for guys my age. We have hair disappearing from where it had always been before.
In any event, while I took the birthday in stride, I think I may have underestimated the psychological toll that it took on my wife, Kara. You know what’s tougher than turning forty? Being married to someone who’s turning forty. Yeesh. Gross, right?
Kara’s only thirty-seven, too, so I really robbed the yoga mat with her. But I’m pretty sure that MY big round birthday triggered HER mid-life crisis.
“Wow, you’re forty. That means I’m going to be forty soon. Well, not THAT soon,” she said. Still, you could see her grappling with the idea.
Generally, the realization that life is not unending manifests itself in the purchase of a car with no backseat. In this instance, though, the ridiculous purchase was of the decidedly non-mobile variety, despite its clearly labeled protestations to the contrary.
Yes, we have a hot tub now, a veritable cauldron of youth, sitting just outside our back door. Kara grew up with one, so she can now revisit her childhood by simply stepping onto our deck and parboiling herself.
The idea behind hot tubs is that they relax you. I’ve found that they actually are quite relaxing, as long as you can stop thinking about how much electricity they’re using, which I will never be able to do.
I get most of my exercise from following family members around the house, shutting off the lights behind them. It gives me great joy to hang wet clothes on a drying rack, so that I don’t have to run the clothes dryer. Go ahead, sweatshirt, take two days to dry. You’re welcome, Earth.
Sometimes, even though I know people are still drinking coffee, I’ll turn the coffeemaker off, just to save a little electricity. The complaints of the people who pour a cold cup of coffee a little bit later? Totally worth it.
But now we have a million pots of coffee on our deck, always hot, and I haven’t figured out how to unplug it yet. I think I have to throw the breaker to the entire house. Might be worth it.
When Kara takes the lid off and the steam wafts into the air, all I see is a visual metaphor for our money.
“Sorry, Earth,” I’ll whisper. Cheapness and tree-huggerishness are so tightly interwoven that I can’t tell which impulse is motivating me sometimes.
The rest of the family seems to be enjoying soaking and splashing around in there, so I’ll try to lighten up about the whole thing. At least we have a hot tub now to help relieve my hot-tub-related stress.
You can cool your jets with Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.