25 August 2114
There are some things we can be moved to…tears, action, a new state, a better frame of mind.
But there are other things that we cannot move or be moved to at all. And one of those, as anyone with a hot tub knows, is the hot tub cover…the little vinyl and Styrofoam bauble that keeps the heat in and the pine needles out. New, it’s as light and feathery as whipped cream, folded over by an index finger, and light enough to be cast aside by the infant who once opened a Castro Convertible sofa with ease. But given time to absorb water and heat, then harden and then absorb more water and heat…a constant calcifying process, removing the resulting cover might be an event the knuckle-draggers in the ‘World’s Strongest Man’ contest could pop a forehead vein, trying to do. Who knew that wind-light Styrofoam could, over time, become as heavy as Olympic barbells?
I tried pushing up on the top’s handle like a bench press…it moved not a millimeter. With my back to the top, I, straight-armed, grasped the handle and using my legs, tried prying it up. It wouldn’t be moved.
An idea occurred that this misadventure might make a humorous blog, so I went online to get some heavy-hot-tub-cover anecdotes. For some reason, nobody wanted to tell heavy hot tub cover stories on themselves. ( Forgive me, Father, I’ve got a heavy hot tub cover.) So while there were no anecdotes, I happened on the web site of a manufacturer of hot tub covers that were priced a lot cheaper than the half-a-thou my hot tub dealer wanted. And so, unintended, I got sucked in deeper and deeper into the site…what are the dimensions of your top, what color vinyl, how thick the Styrofoam. Not idle questions, since, quick as IBM’s Watson, it shot back a price. Such clever fellows, how could I deny them a sale. (I assumed there were ‘fellows’ somewhere in the company.)
Two weeks later, a truck dropped off a cardboard box as big as a king-sized mattress. And the driver said ruefully, as he sped away…’good luck to ya.’ I couldn’t move the damn top before, now somehow I had to. Writing a blog at a desk is one thing, working in the hot sun, sweat pouring off me like a rock breaker on a Mississippi chain gang is another. But, hey, I let it happen, I ordered the cover, I’d have to deal with it.
I assembled an elegant array of tools…a boxcutter, a rip saw, a chisel, a hammer…I didn’t need a cattle prod, but it was that kind of delicate process. This was going to be long, tedious and messy…I went war with this top trying to expose, once more, the inside of the hot tub to the sun and air. Two days later, after stripping away an acre of vinyl, I cut the last of 18 squares of Styrofoam, each weighing about 20 pounds. I said it was heavy. But it got removed. The tub got cleaned. I performed the required chemistry. And the new top floated into place. Having done the work, I’ll be moved to use it.
By the way, my new caveat…Be careful what you start…you might have to finish it.