Hot Tub from Hades

My hubby and I stole away for a romantic pre-Valentine’s weekend. We had it planned pre-diabetes diagnosis for our seven-year-old, and my wonderful mother agreed to still come and tend all the kids and take on the duties of being a pancreas. She is amazing.

With everything that has been happening, the hubby and I needed to relax, recharge, and rediscover the love that had led to the creation of the crazy fun family from which we were getting a break.

Now, gentle reader, lest you think this post will delve into intimate details, let me reassure you that I will write nothing of the kind. However, if you are adamantly opposed to the idea of a married couple getting into a tub together, skip this post and read another. If, however, you can handle the notion, read on for quite possibly the most unromantic, yet entertaining, hot tub experience that has ever happened in the history of hot tubs.

The bed and breakfast in which we were staying was equipped with a jetted tub for two. Not knowing how long it had been since it had been cleaned, we turned on the jets before getting into the tub ourselves to flush out any impurities.

Impurities we got, in spades. When we had filled the tub up somewhat and turned on the jets, disgusting brown and grey flakes shot out along with the water. I don’t want to speculate on what they were. I prefer to think it was hard water deposits and leave it at that. Otherwise, what happened next is more horrifying than hilarious.

When we saw the flakes come out of the tub, we exclaimed, “Gross!” and attempted to find some sort of cleaning agent we could flush through the system. Nothing was at hand, and while we were searching, the jets really started ramping up their power. What started out as a powerful but tub-bound stream of water soon grew in intensity. It grew so rapidly, we had our own World of Color, right there in our room.
Disneyland 2010 160
Jets of water were shooting first four, then six, then eight feet out of the tub. The carpet around the tub was soaked before we even registered what was happening. “Turn it off!” I yelled!
“I’m trying!” my poor husband shot back, “the button is stuck!” And stuck it was. Not just sort of stuck but completely, not-moving-at-all stuck. We could not turn off the jets.

“Quick, get me some towels!” my husband yelled as he attempted to cover the geysers shooting from our tub. While he covered the jets, I turned on the water so the level would eventually cover the jets.

After about five long minutes, the water filled enough to keep the jets from shooting out of the tub. But by that time, the footboard of our bed was soaked, along with the clothes that were hanging off the end of it. The bags we had packed, even though they were zippered shut, got soaked enough that the clothes inside were wet.

You may ask why we didn’t simply call the front desk as soon as we knew the jets were stuck. Good question. Why? My husband had already disrobed. We were, after all, planning on getting in the tub.

Yep. I still have the perfect image of him getting sprayed all over, attempting to hold back the Niagara Falls of jetted tubs with a couple of bath towels. All while wearing only his birthday suit. I had not yet taken off my clothing, but I wish I would have since it got soaked during my failed attempts to help him. A small (OK, more than just a small) part of me wanted to simply get out my phone and snap a pic of the hubs bending over with arms spread wide, towels somewhat effectively pressed on the jets all while naked as the day he was born. I resisted the impulse however.

Hopefully, you weren’t just drinking, or your beverage may have shot out of your nose as powerfully as the jets shot from our tub. Sorry, I won’t be responsible for any damages.

After finding clothing way at the bottom of my bag that was sort of dry, I went down to the front desk to tell them what had happened. The lady was super nice, said she was, “horrified and so sorry” and then proceeded to say she would come up to clean the tub “right then.”

Swallowing the giggle that had momentarily escaped, I told her to let me give my husband some warning, ran upstairs and told him to put on the driest thing he had (a robe and a pair of sweats that came from the depths of his carry-on that were still pretty wet).

The front desk lady came in, proceeded to start cleaning the tub and actually said, in what was an attempt, I’m sure, to lessen the emabarrassment for all of us, “Just pretend I’m not here.”

Hmmm. If she had really thought about that statement, I’m sure she didn’t mean it. After 20 minutes of scrubbing and using W-D-40 to get the jets switch unstuck, she finally left, telling us that the owners wanted to comp us a future stay.

Being the frugal people that we are, we took them up on it. But, I don’t think we’ll be using the tub during our next stay.


Reception Deception

My hubby and I went to a wedding reception Saturday night for the daughter of my hubs coworker.  It was in a small town, at the end of a canyon.

The drive was strange.  I guess we’re entirely too citified, but seeing black all around instead of the light pollution we’re used to was weird.  There were no street lights, not even much traffic coming the other way down the highway so everything felt, well, dark.   Isolated.  Like if we had to stop no one would ever find us again.  OK, now I’m exaggerating, but it was a surreal drive for us.

We pulled up to the church building the coworker’s other daughter had held her reception at.  On the way in, hubs said, “I guess I should have checked the invitation for an address, but how many churches can there be in one small town?”

We went in and saw a long, long line.  From a couple in front of us we heard, “The line wraps all the way around the hall and out that door, over to here.”  Wow.  We really didn’t want to wait that long since we were hoping to go to a restaurant up near the small town we’ve been to once before.  But, wait we did.

A mom with a toddler boy and a baby girl in a carrier was right in front of us.  The boy kept telling his mom, “I have to go to the bathroom.  Now!”

“Just wait for Dad,” the mom answered back.  But just a minute later the mom looked slightly frantic when it became clear that her son was growing more and more desperate.

“I’ll watch your baby while you take him to the bathroom,” I offered.  With a look of relief, the mom yelled thanks over her shoulder and ran with her little guy.

Once she got back, we had moved a little, but not much.  After about 15 minutes total, we made it close enough to see into the hall itself.

That’s when we noticed something.  It was the wrong bride and the wrong groom.  Well, they might have been quite right for each other, but they weren’t the ones we wanted to see.

We accosted some lady in the hall and asked, “Is there another church of this denomination in this town?”

“Oh sure,” she replied.  “just two blocks down the street.”

So, we pulled up to the next church building, and got out.  Luckily the line was shorter, and we got to see the bride, groom and their families.

Then because we hadn’t thought to call ahead and get our names down, the wait was too long for the restaurant we wanted.

So, dressed in our nice reception attire, we ate at the local Subway attached to a gas station instead.  While I would have liked my nicer dinner, I’m sure the mom in front of us at the first reception was grateful we were at the wrong reception, just at the right time, so her son wouldn’t have wet pants for the rest of the night.

Mr. Mom Teaches Me

Even though I am a stay-at-home mom, I am sometimes gone from my children, especially with my current church responsibilities. I know they are in good hands, though, since my husband is usually the one to take care of them while I am gone. But even he has moments when the little darlings become too much.

When I came home from an activity with the youth, an activity my oldest was actually with me on, my husband said, “Oh, I am so glad you are home!”

He then proceeded to say “The girls have been so crazy tonight. It seemed like all of them needed something at once, and when I would get done with one of them, the next would need me. I meant to get the dishwasher loaded and switch the laundry, but it just didn’t happen. I’m so tired. Can you put them to bed?”

I smiled a knowing smile and he said, “Oh, I know, this is how it is for you all the time, isn’t it?”

Well, yes, actually it is. And it felt good to have my hubby recognize that. I felt validated and appreciated.

But more than that, I learned I am not doing something wrong if all the household chores don’t get done. It is OK. The kids are more important. I knew that, usually live by that, but it was good to be reminded of it by my sweet hubby.

Most of all, I learned I married a pretty great guy. He cares enough that the kids get their piano practiced, homework done, etc. to let a little chaos reign while he’s trying to get those things accomplished. And he’s never complained if they laundry fairy’s wings have been clipped or the sink still looks like the leaning tower of dishes. Because he cares most about me being a mom.

Spooky Night

Halloween came a little early to me this year. First, let me say I don’t believe in ghosts, per say, nor in hauntings and things that go bump in the night. But last night almost (but not quite) had me changing my mind.

I was in a dead sleep when a noise and an eerie glow flooded my bedroom. I sat bolt upright, heart pounding. My computer is at the end of my bed, and I had forgotten to turn it off last night. It was in sleep mode and somehow, the mouse got moved and the start screen came on.
original (1).

Too scared to check it out myself, I tried to get hubby to wake up and see what was going on. He just kept sleeping. So, I pulled the covers up around my head and tried to go back to sleep. I didn’t even want to hop out of bed to turn off the computer.

I had drifted off to sleep again when three-year-old started wailing from her bed. Cries from her bed are nothing new since she has night terrors, but my already over active imagination was in high gear. It seemed I was having night terrors of my own, only waking ones. Mommy instinct kicked in, and I ran to her room to check on her. She had quieted before I got there, and nothing seemed out of place.

I jumped back to the safety of my covers and gave myself a stern talking to about how silly I was being. I told myself to grow up and stop imagining the boogie man was out to get me and my family.

This is what I was imagining in my bed...

This is what I was imagining in my bed…

My heart rate finally slowed, and I had closed my eyes once again when I heard a loud bang from my ten-year-old’s room. I sat up, shrieked slightly and let an expletive fly that normally does not issue from my lips.

Again I ran to check on another daughter; all was well but something had fallen from her loft bed.

I know the noise from my ten-year-old’s room has a really good explanation. She probably just rolled over in her sleep and kicked something off the bed. And the crying happens all the time. But the computer? I suppose the cord to the mouse could have been jiggled by something innocently shifting under the desk; I’m going with that. I don’t want to think about or believe in the alternative.

I will definitely be turning my computer off tonight. And I’ll be making sure ten-year-old doesn’t have anything heavier than a stuffed animal on her bed

I’m rather tired today after the night’s exploits. But my hubby’s not. He slept through the whole thing. And probably had dreams a lot more pleasant than mine.

At the End of Our Rope

Boating is great fun, until it isn’t. I love going boating with my family. But we pushed it a bit too far two weeks ago and got ourselves into some real trouble.

The morning started out great. It was just our little family on the boat, and, since it was a Tuesday, we were the only boat on the entire lake. We all surfed behind the boat, had nice long turns and kept an eye on the sky. The forecast called for storms, but we had lucked out with sunshine so far, though the water was pretty choppy.

Then, after eating lunch, the kids begged to inflate the tube and go out. We thought it was only fair since three-year-old isn’t big enough to surf yet, so she needed her turn to go on the tube. The wind was kicking up, but we didn’t think that was too big of a deal since we were just tubing anyway. More bumps equals more fun.

Three-year-old, six-year-old and I were on the tube. Three-year-old thinks she is too big to be held while on the tube, so she had her own seat. When we started, the water was rough but manageable. Hubby took us out against the waves but slowly, so we were bouncing around, giggling. Then the wind kicked up even more and the waves got bigger. So, my husband turned us around. We were facing the other way going with the waves. The problem was, one large wave hit us from behind and the front of the tube went down into the trough of the wave in front. The tube swamped and all three of us found ourselves in the lake, with waves getting higher and harder all around us.


I grabbed three-year-old as the tube swamped. She immediately started screaming and crying. I told six-year-old to swim to me, and I held them both.

But with both of them in my arms, I couldn’t swim. I couldn’t do anything but bob with the waves. My six-year-old’s lifejacket did a pretty good job. It kept her head above the water, mostly. She was scared, and panicking a little. As I kept seeing the boat and tube get farther away, I made a wrenching decision. I pushed my six-year-old as I hard as I could toward the boat and told her to swim. She kicked with all her might and made it to the swimmer’s deck; her brother helped her climb on.

That left three-year-old and I in the water, drifting farther and farther away. She was screaming and crying, and her life jacket did not keep her head out of the water too well. She kept getting her head submerged with every wave that hit over the top of us. And since her mouth was open, she would choke, sputter it out, then start wailing again, only to have the whole cycle repeated.

All I could do was keep her with me, pray, and wait to be rescued. You see, I have a confession to make. I’m not a strong swimmer. I can propel myself with my arms fairly well, but my legs seem to be useless in the water. My arms and all my strength were put into holding my three-year-old as high out of the water as I could. Plus, I don’t really do that well in crisis situations. I was scared, too. Not for myself, but for my daughter. With every choking episode, I worried she’d take in too much water in her lungs and drown. I kept saying, “It’s OK, Mommy’s got you.” But it clearly was not OK, and she knew it. Nothing I did could calm her.

My husband couldn’t get the boat started to pick us up. And did I mention we were the only boat on the lake? No one else could even come to help us. So, hubby hauled in the tube which was now unswamped, jumped on it, and paddled towards us.

I have never been so happy to see someone coming toward me in my life; we were going to be saved.

But then, there was a moment, a moment when we were literally at the end of the rope. The tube’s rope was still hooked to the boat and my husband was still too far away for us to get to him. The rope jerked him back and he could go no farther. He hollered to my son to unhook the rope. My twelve-year-old untethered him and my husband paddled the rest of the way to us.

My hubby hauled three-year-old up onto the tube and I got on, too. Then, he paddled us back to the boat which, thankfully, started up just fine.

My poor three-year-old was catatonic. She wouldn’t speak or even move once we got her on the boat. But, she slowly started to thaw. I just kept hugging her and six-year-old and wouldn’t let them go. We slowly motored back to the harbor. Inside the harbor, it was gentle and calm.
Under the trees, boats in the harbor at Lake

I learned a few lessons while bobbing wherever the waves wanted to take us. First and foremost, if the weather looks bad, pack it in, especially when kids are involved. Second, I need to take some swimming lessons and get better so I can help my kids as well as myself.

But the other lessons I learned are more spiritual in nature. The first, as a mom, came when I had to decide to let six-year-old go. As parents we all have those moments when we have to let our child sink or swim on their own, only they aren’t usually as literal as mine. But give them the best support you can and trust that what you’ve armed them with is enough. It is; they are strong.

I learned that I love my husband more each day because he is the kind of man who will always come to my, and my children’s, rescue. No matter what.

I also learned a little bit about the Savior. Sometimes, when you’re being tossed on the waves, you can only see help coming in the distance. And sometimes, you have to get to the end of your rope, and then go beyond that point, to get the help you need.

And finally, don’t leave your safe harbors. God’s love encircles us like the land encircled the water of the harbor. If we don’t turn away, if we don’t choose to leave, we’ll be safe. And if we do leave, we can always, always, return.

Boating Adventure

What do you get when you add one old boat, two adults and seven kids age twelve and under? One crazy but fun day!

My now ten-year-old daughter wanted to invite her friends on a birthday boating party about three weeks ago. Luckily, the boat got fixed just in time. I had her call up all her friends and let them know it was a go. We went on our merry way, happy to be in the water.

When we got there, I got my three-year-old in her life jacket so she could play on the beach. She asked, “Where’s my (pool) noodle?” I told her I didn’t bring it. Her reaction surprised me: “If I don’t have my noodle, I will sink under the water and a whale will find me and eat me!” Yeah, the drama runs deep in our family. After assuring her that no whales were in the water and that I would not let her sink under (and neither would the life jacket for that matter), she agreed to play on the beach.

My ten-year-old and her friends had fun surfing. None of her friends had ever tried surfing behind the boat before and each had a good time.

My six-year-old surfed behind the boat, too. She stood up and was so light that she was able to satnd facing front instead of the usual surfer pose. But as soon as she stood up for a moment, her feet slipped right out from under her and she landed back on her bum. Had it been anyone of the rest of us, we would have been in the drink. But her negligible weight kept the board a float.

The only hitch came at lunch time. We had foolishly left our food unattended on shore. No human hands had touched it. But an entire flock of seagulls had pecked through the sealed bags of bread. Slices were everywhere. We found enough bread to make do; I guess all seagulls are like the Finding Nemo variety and think “Mine, Mine.” They certainly thought our lunch belonged to them.

Not this flock of seagulls...

Not this flock of seagulls…

This flock of segulls

This flock of segulls

Everyone loved the tube. My three-year-old kept asking for more speed. I said to her, “Would you like to go a little faster?” She replied, “No, a lot faster, not a little bit!”

The best moment, for me, came at the end of the day. My husband has to back down our boat trailer with the long motor home. It’s the only vehicle we own that can tow a boat. So, he asked me to guide him down the ramp. I am spatially challenged. I can’t tell which way a wheel should turn, or what will happen if a trailer goes a certain way. So, I am not the best choice to guide my hubby down the ramp. But I am the only choice.

The hubs is not overly thrilled with my guiding skills. I was waiting on the dock for my hubby to have his turn to back down. Several others boat were there, so I went outside of my comfort zone and asked the guy next to me if he would guide my husband down the ramp instead of me.

He agreed. He was really great at it and my husband didn’t have any trouble at all. So thank you, anonymous stranger for making my marriage happier and helping our boating party to end on a good note. May someone pay it forward to you some time.

Dead Man’s Float

A while ago my hubby’s company had a party at a local pool with a wave machine. We enjoyed riding the waves on the tubes and just chillin’ in the pool. The six and nine-year-old girls went around making up stories about all the sea creatures in tile on the pool floor. Our three-year-old got a red popscicle which she devoured, but not before she got enough on her face to look like the Joker. I wasn’t the only one who thought it. The lifeguard said to me after my three-year-old had been in the pool a while, “at least she’s been in the water long enough to wash off the Joker smile. That was kind of creepy.” Yes indeed.
Back Camera

The three-year-old also kept going around and around the same exact circle of ramp/pool. It was all entertaining and fun. But the best moment came later.

The wave pool would cycle on and off for fifteen minutes. During one of the last “off” cycles, my hubs took the opportunity to float on his back and just relax. For a long time. Long enough that one of the life guards apparently started to get worried.

deadman's float

I was just completing another lap with my daughter when I saw the lifeguard get up from her chair and start towards my husband. She looked at me and said, “Is he OK? I’ve just seen him floating like that for a really long time now. Is anything wrong?”

I assured her that he was fine, went over to him, and told him all about it. We laughed about his apparent problems in the water.

The evil wife in me wanted to tell her, “No, I don’t think he’s OK. You’d better run over there and start mouth to mouth right now! Help him! Call 911!” I would have loved the look on his face. It would have been highly entertaining. But wrong. So I didn’t.

I still got a laugh that she thought he was in danger. He wasn’t even face down. But kudos to the hyper-vigilant lifeguard. I know our lives were in good hands that night.