I don’t know what prompted my memory of the event, but today I was reminded of my love/hate relationship with clawfoot tubs.
About 11 years ago, I bought the most adorable doll house you have ever seen. The problem was, it wasn’t a dollhouse, but an actual antique house riddled with issues. The turn of the century folk Victorian was a curb appeal looker, but man – it took two years of blood, sweat, tears and cash… lots and lots of cash….to get the little lady back on her feet. She’s a gem now, but the restoration process almost killed me.
One of the things that made me fall so hard for the old gal were her two original claw foot tubs. Dated from the ‘30s, the tubs were in pretty good shape, considering. I spent a few weeks sanding and refinishing them and before it was over, the tubs looked good as new.
The downstairs master tub was really my pride and joy. It had been previously retrofitted with a period shower fixture. The tub really was the show piece of the master bath. I won’t lie – every time I got ready to take a shower, I would pretend I was stepping back into the 1930s…like some debutant bathing before preparing to dress for the big social event of the season. Something about bathing in a clawfoot tub just makes showering special.
And this Tuesday night was going to be extra special. Special enough for me to remember for the rest of my life.
As I was running my shower that evening, things were going as usual. I got undressed, pulled back the curtain and stepped into the tub. I have a “Top to Bottom” bathing system, meaning I wash my hair first. So, I wet my hair, squirted a dollop of shampoo into my hand and commenced to lathering. This is where things took a turn for the worse.
The next thing I know, I am lying, naked, on the floor of my bathroom, sprawled on the tile floor, soap in my eyes, shampoo in my hair. Water is spraying from the shower head in every direction – on the ceiling, the floor, the walls. My shower curtain is lying in a pile on the floor, like a fallen battle flag dropped in defeat. My glorious clawfoot tub lies on her side, like a capsized battleship.
It takes me a full 30 seconds to comprehend what has happened. Much like Jonah and the whale, my clawfoot tub has spat me out into my bathroom floor.
I manage to rub enough soap out of my eyes to see the water damage occurring on my ceiling. The ceiling I had just spent hours scraping and painting. I scramble to shut off the water and begin mopping up what I can, as fast as possible, all the while still wiping drips of shampoo out of my eyes.
Standing in my bathroom, looking at the carnage that once was my magical shower experience, I say aloud, “What the hell just happened?”.
Time for a clawfoot tub anatomy lesson. You see, those dainty feet that are so elegant and graceful? Not welded on. They are friction fit with hex nuts. Those little tiny feet BALANCE all the weight of the tub. So, a bolt gets loose and then a foot starts to wobble and pretty soon – BAM. Your tub goes TANGO UNIFORM. Possibly with you in it. Naked. With shampoo in your eyes.
So, back to that fateful Tuesday when I was bathing for my imaginary ball. My tub is overturned and that shampoo ain’t going to rinse itself out of my hair. Clawfoot tubs weigh every bit of 400 lbs, so it’s not like I am going to just powerlift it with one arm and put the foot back on with my free hand.
Then – genius moment. I dawn my house coat, run to the car and grab my tire jack. I slide my jack under the tub and within minutes – PRESTO! My tub is back up, the foot is on and I am back in the shower rinsing my “now almost dry with shampoo still in it” hair. Just in time for the debutant ball (who am I kidding – I was trying shower in time to catch a rerun of Teen Mom…But in this day and age, same thing, right?).
Moral of the story? Clawfoot tubs – pretty, but watch out for them because they DO have claws.