A Real Blast

By Linda O’Connell

 As I drove home after a terribly, trying day of teaching preschoolers, I looked forward to a relaxing shower. No, I required a shower. I was desperate to erase the day’s disasters. It wasn’t the blue tempera paint stains smeared on the undersides of my forearms; the dried, red-tinted glue on my left elbow, or even the glitter that I wore on hidden parts of my body. It was the stress sweat that had drenched me when three students simultaneously had explosive incidents. I slipped the trash can under one’s child’s nose and mouth and told her to deposit her upchuck in there. I rushed a little boy to the miniature toilet to finish his business, and when the third kid sneezed and it reverberated from deep inside her, I yelled for Amy, my co-teacher to catch the stream hanging from her nose. Mucous always makes me gag like a toddler refusing broccoli. At snack time a child ingested his juice, and then he snorted it out his nose like a circus clown. I should have been quarantined due to my contamination from slobber, snot and potty accidents.

Exhausted, I was happy to pull into our driveway. My heavy school bag thudded to the floor. My purse landed in the heap. My keys jangled like my nerves. When I kicked off my shoes and walked across the carpet, it looked like my fairy godmother was flying low, scattering glitter dust in my wake. I couldn’t wait to feel hot water pulsating down my back. I envisioned myself standing in my shower. I would pretend I was in the lush tropics, luxuriating under a waterfall. I’d drift away from my own reality on my own imagination.

I entered our pink tiled bathroom and stopped in my tracks. Where was our fancy, white shower curtain with embroidered pink rosettes? Why was there a towel in the bottom of the tub? Taped to the mirror was a sign in my husband’s teeny tiny chicken scratch handwriting. I went in search of my reading glasses. DO NOT USE BATHTUB.

I shouted, “Hey, Tim the Tool Man, where am I supposed to take a shower?”

“Honey, I told you I wanted to replace the wall tile. Just think, you could have had a modern upgrade, but you want to keep this vintage 1950’s look. Do you know how many sink selections there are at the big hardware store? Lighting fixtures? But I decided to grout the tile and honor your wish to keep your pink bathroom. It will only be out of commission for a couple of days. I’ve rigged up a temporary shower in the basement for you. Come on downstairs and see.”

We passed through our beach-themed family room. Bill bragged about his rigged up shower all the way into the laundry room, and continued into the basement area, so proud of his creation and ingenuity. He told me in great detail how he had connected one end of a short piece of green garden hose to an old, plastic, hand-held shower head, then screwed the other end onto the faucet of the slop sink near the washing machine. He had suspended a frame made of PVC pipes from the rafters, and zip tied the shower head to the frame. I couldn’t believe his idea of a shower curtain: a clear plastic, Dollar Store drop cloth as flimsy as Saran Wrap.

I wasn’t as thrilled as he was, but I grinned and knew I had to bear it. I admitted it would work, temporarily. I was getting the willies imagining creepy kid germs crawling all over me. I desperately needed to get wet. I rushed upstairs for my fluffy towel, and headed downstairs with my lavender-scented body wash. Then I remembered I had forgotten my pink scrubby. So, I ran back upstairs. I clomped back downstairs, stripped, and then I scratched an itch on my left leg with my right foot and realized my legs felt like sandpaper. I was overdue for a shave if I planned to wear a skirt to school the next day. I wrapped most of myself in a towel and trudged back upstairs for my lady razor. I stomped back to the basement, hung up my towel. Eww! I looked at the peeling battleship-gray paint on the cement floor and decided I would rather wear rubber shoes than stand barefoot near the sewer drain. Up I hobbled one more time. Breaking a sweat and breathing hard, I flip-flopped back down those stairs a fourth time.

I hung my towel again, loaded my scrubby with calm-inducing fragrant liquid soap and turned on the faucet. The lukewarm, gentle stream didn’t compare to my shower preference of hard, pulsating, scalding water, but I had no choice. The trickle was just enough to wet me and my wad of pink netting. I lathered my face and body with so many soap bubbles I couldn’t see an embarrassing part of me. With my eyes squeezed shut, I reached out and felt around for my pink razor. Not there! I turned the faucet on full blast to rinse my face, but the overhead stream suddenly reduced to only a trickle. At that instant I knew something was terribly wrong. I heard that cheap shower head blow across the laundry room and ricochet across the floor. The foot-long section of garden hose blasted a hard stream of blinding water directly at my eyes. I screamed and backed up into the flimsy, plastic drop cloth. It encased me like shrink wrap on a plucked, plump deli chicken. I twisted this way and turned that, but I was completely trapped. Bill shouted from the top of the stairs, “I forgot to tell you, don’t turn the faucet on full bla…”

“Help me!” I shouted. “I need help! NOW.”

Bill ran downstairs, but he was incapable of helping me. Or himself, because he was bent over laughing so hard.

“You just wait!” I shouted. “This has been a real blast!”

About this writer

  • Linda O’Connell

    Linda O’Connell

    A preschool teacher for almost four decades, is notorious for holding her life together with duct tape and humor. Her greatest loves are family, the beach and dark chocolate.

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12 Responses to “A Real Blast”

  1. Erika Hoffman says:

    Funny. You are a good sport!

  2. Alice Muschany says:

    LOL All husbands must be alike when it comes to their idea of handy-dandy make-shift replicas. What a funny ending to a not-so-fun day!

  3. Linda–I laughed and laughed while reading your story. And then I laughed because Bill is all YOURS and not mine.

  4. Kim says:

    Only a man would rig up such a set-up. I wonder if Bill watched too many episodes of “I Love Lucy”, because it sounds like your life could be a sitcom.

  5. Rose Ann says:

    I see a spa in your future! Funny story!

  6. Val says:

    Whew! For a minute, I was afraid a neighbor had accidentally severed your garden hose, and was peering in the basement window.

  7. Susan says:

    That was a hilarious story. I cracked up right in front of my computer, laughing my head off. Linda, you are a riot. You are a “shrink wrapped plucked, plump deli chicken” alright. Great way to start my day. Susan

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