She wanted a Jacuzzi—bad—like a 10-year-old wants a BB gun.
She not only deserves, but needs the Jacuzzi, as 10 years of lifting the elderly as a CENA left her lower back in a nearly constant state of excruciating throb.
Being a good sport, I agreed to shop around.
She fell in love with the six-seater model. It had a green marble pattern, dozens of jets, super heater, lights, music and more.
“A mere $5,000,” the salesman said.
Once I recovered from my mini stroke I reminded the wife that, while we are like the Clampetts in so many ways, we do not possess their fundage.
Hopes dashed, the idea quickly disappeared and we went on with our lives.
Then one day, on my way home from work—I know, this is beginning to sound dangerously like a Grimm Fairy Tale—I spotted a sheet of plywood at the end of a driveway with the words “Hot Tub $200” spray-painted across it.
What could possibly go wrong?
The tub was missing a few parts … which I later learned are no longer in production.
Instead of green marble it was gray two-by-four.
This wasn’t one of your frail fiberglass jobbies, neither. The thing was immense. It stood five feet tall and at least six feet across.
The shell was made of two-by-six lumber with heavy iron rods wrapped around it. Constructed thusly to withstand the weight of, say, Paul Bunyan, or Aunt Mildred.
Through a mouthful of chaw, Hot Tub Guy assured me I could find the parts “on the line.” I assumed by “on the line” he meant the internet. Looking back, he did not.
When I balked at the notion of searching for parts he knocked a hundred bucks off the price tag and disappeared into his tenement only to return with a motherboard, a computer tower and gobs and gobs of wires and tubes.
Was this Bill Gates’s first hot tub?
The computer was necessary to operate the air puffer system that was used to both heat the tub and control the jets.
The fact that the master control mechanism was built in roughly the same year they discovered silicon didn’t seem to phase Hot Tub Guy as he assured me all I was missing was a power cord.
Wooed by the smell of spearmint Skoal and excited at the prospect of saving $4,900 while simultaneously making the wife happy—but mostly out of fear of getting tobaccy juice spat at me—I said OK.
Hot Tub Guy spit at me anyway and hit the speed dial on his CB and in two minutes there was a crew of my people (white trash) hoisting the great wooden monstrosity onto a car hauler hooked via bungee cords and prayers to a pickup truck.
Five minutes later we arrived at Gohs Manner—the wife pretended she was thrilled.
Upon closer inspection, the hot tub needed more than a power cord. It needed new PVC pipe, paint, a lid with locks, heater … exorcism.
ONE YEAR LATER…
The following year, we decided to get rid of the hot tub. But first we had to drain it. The wife and daughter spent the better part of a Sunday morning bailing gallons of rainwater.
I, foolishly attempting to work on the car, was beckoned to the tub by said wife and daughter—they got into the tub all right, but now their feet were wet and the step slippery and apparently I make a dandy railing.
Then the wife “And while you’re back here, why don’t you and your brother Jacob move the 400-pound tub closer to the house,” the wife said.
Why not, it was only 90 degrees in the shade.
From her swing, Pharaoh graciously guided us, verbally, along the 20-foot move.
“A little more to the left.” “Yes, dear.” “No, a little more to the right.” “Whatever you say, dear.” “Ignore that lumbar swelling and drop the tub on your bad foot.” “Aieeeeee!” “Perfect.”
Hunched, I waddled to the picnic table for sanctuary and to nurse a hot lemonade.
What they don’t tell you at the hot tub adoption agency is that their hollow bottoms make great habitat for wildlife and insects, especially the big, hairy stabby kind.
I may have been seated nearly a minute before the bee landed on my shoulder.
Notice I didn’t say “a” bee.
No, it was “the” bee.
A few of them flew out from a hole in the bottom of the hot tub but, judging by his lapels, this one must have been the leader.
Now, I have a tendency to exaggerate for effect, but I have been known to jump from a slow-moving car to escape a honeybee in the backseat.
So, when the kiwi-sized bumblebee, with what looked like an ice pick on his butt, crawled up my neck and began dry-humping my carotid artery, I became a little unhinged.
Still hunched from my strained back, and looking slightly like a frog on steroids, I sprang from the picnic table, flailing my arms and skipping in herky-jerky half-circles.
I battered my neck repeatedly but the buzzing death machine held tight.
I charged the wife, still on her swing, my high-pitched screams drowned out only by my nonsensical swears—oh the swears.
“Gah! Is it gone? Blaggit! Is there anything on my back?”
I screamed at the wife, who just sat there on the swing, eyes closed, head down.
“Look at me! For god’s sake, why won’t you look at me?!”
She was laughing. Laughing so hard, in fact, that she couldn’t breathe or move or look at me.
“It’s still there!!!” Jacob shrieked as he swatted at it just as it stung me.
The bee, possessed by Satan or possibly Ozzy Osbourne, flew around Jacob’s hand and into his mouth—for god’s sake, his mouth!
Unconvinced the bee was gone, I continued jumping and screaming and shaking the wife.
For having been so completely paralyzed by terror I was moving around quite bit.
The wife just continued convulsing, trying desperately not to pee her pants.
Suddenly Jacob ran by, spitting. He did a lap around the house before performing a respectable front flip, throwing himself down and rolling on the ground.
“I thought bumblebeeth could only thting you wunth,” Jacob said through an engorged tongue.
“Stop it!” the wife yelled through snorts and cackles—apparently our suffering was dangerously hilarious.
But still I kept jumping and screaming, Jacob kept rolling, the wife kept peeing and my neighbor, who I could see over my wife’s shoulder, just stood in his yard shaking his head in disgust.
Between snorts and squirts, the wife pointed to the ground behind me.
It was the bee, well, it was the bee’s upper half. I watched him belly crawl Hamburger Hill-style until Jacob stomped the assassin out of existence.
Finally convinced that the bee was off me, I ran into the house to spend my final moments in anaphylactic shock.
The excitement came to an abrupt halt when the wife came in to get a change of pants and reminded me that I was not actually allergic to bees.
The years have come and gone but the hot tub is still sitting in the same spot.
It’s never been used and, judging by the amount of air traffic around it at any given time, the bumblebee colony’s population has exploded. One of these years I’ll get around to putting a “For Sale” sign at the end of the driveway.
I think $200 seems like a good price.