The "Hot Tub"

hot tub

My friend Nora, me very demurely turned from the camera, and my little sister Michelle all enjoying a good soak in an outdoor bathtub.

I don't think it's fair to say we were poor growing up because I'm guessing we weren't actually poor, we just thought we were because we never had name brand snacks like the other kids at school did. As an adult, I now suspect that it's more that we had a very frugal mother and an innovative father who would rather make things himself than buy them. Take, for example, this "hot tub" we had in our back yard.

This "hot tub" was essentially a regular bathtub that I'm pretty sure my father kept when they upgraded our bathroom, brought into the backyard, and then built a deck around. Looking back, I can appreciate the genius of the entire thing but at the time I was torn between the embarrassment of having a bathtub masquerading as a jacuzzi in our backyard and the thrill of running back and forth from our pool, which was in a very shady spot and never warm enough to me, to a tub full of hot soapy water. Regardless of my feeling about the whole thing, it was always a hit among the kids at parties. Surprisingly (since many of his parties involved many drunk adults), it wasn't often utilized by the above-ten crowd.

Now, like most of his other innovations, this wasn't perfect. This tub was considerably smaller than a real jacuzzi and the only bubbling action you were going to get was if you farted, and it had the tendency to flood, mostly since we kids were left in charge of the faucets and were quite liberal with their application. But it served its purpose and was pretty awesome, if you didn't count the number of bruises you would acquire every time you fell running up and down the slippery wooden steps to get in and out.

The older I get though, the more fondly I look back at the things my father made, like the miniature balance beam he built for me when I had dreams of being an Olympic gymnast, the honest to goodness dark room he set up in the basement when I started to show interest in photography, and all the times we made salty ice cream in the antique, hand crank ice cream maker he'd found at the dump. These are the things my childhood was made of and as weird as they seemed then, they are the things that, looking back now, I appreciate the most.

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