WELCOME TO THE ZOO

Underneath the deck in the backyard, back in the days when everyone had jobs with incomes, and no one was retired or out of work based on disability — or, as storytellers say, “A long, long time ago” — we bought and installed a large, fancy, hot tub. A five-seat tub. It has all the good stuff in it. Lights, places to lie down or curl up, with various fittings to massage whatever muscle mass you desired.

We took good care of it, too — which is a lot more work than you think it will be, especially if you aren’t overly fond of the smell of hot chlorine. A natural tub takes considerable work to manage.

We got an official electrical engineer to install a separate socket to handle the excessively large amount of electricity it consumed. It used more than $40 per month — all year round because you can’t turn it off. You can lower the heat when you aren’t using it, but you have to turn it up regularly or it grows … well … stuff.

And this was electricity for just the hot tub, not including the rest of the house.

To support it, we had a concrete slab laid. Five-hundred gallons of water is a pretty hefty volume of water. Heavy. It’s one of the main reasons  hot tubs live outdoors. That much weight is a lot for your floors to support. It was heavy enough to cause the concrete to split, but by then there was a hot tub on it which didn’t go anywhere for the next 12 years.

When we were setting the cement, I bought a special tile that read “Welcome to the Zoo.” It had pretty text and pictures of little animals all around it — and I made it part of entryway to the tub.


Welcome to the zoo.


At the time, the dogs were only part of the zoo. My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter also lived here … and who knows who else. I lost track over time. It was a zoo indeed.

Four, maybe five years ago, we got rid of the hot tub. No one used it anymore and the electricity bill was ridiculous. I liked it when I could use it. Soaking in really hot water for five to fifteen minutes does some very good things for tired old bones and muscles and it was particularly amusing if you got to do it while watching the snow falling all around you. But, there came a time when moving the heavy cover off of it was a bit much for me, and the roof that protected the tub had gotten a bit loosey goosey.

Being in the tub and watching the falling snow was fun. Having it falling on your head was less fun. The movable plastic walls we’d built needed redoing, too. Finally, we drained it one winter, since we weren’t using it, but the following spring, it didn’t want to work anymore.

We donated it — and I hope they fixed it up. It was a good tub and we enjoyed it. It was worth repairing.

Meanwhile, the slab under the deck has become difficult to read, covered as it is in leaves and fallen debris from the trees. But, if you clear it and clean it up a little bit, it still says:


You are still welcome to our Zoo!


All those cute little animals are still dancing around it, though most of the zoo has left.

SERENE – MORNING SUN ON A SHORT WINTRY DAY

WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – SERENE


The sun was so bright this morning. Sometimes, the sun is the brightest in the winter. It is such a white sun again a dark blue sky. The trees are bare now, yet somehow, the forsythia bush still has green leaves.

It’s the only green-leafed growing plant out there. Everything else is brown or gray. It’s not terribly cold yet. I could take my pictures  in just my sweater — it wasn’t cold enough to need a coat.The cold will come. It always does, but not quite yet and I’m just fine with that. I love the peacefulness of the dark blue sky and the white sun with its long rays.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

 

THE HAIRDRESSER MYSTIQUE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I don’t go to the hairdresser often. Just once every couple of months to get my hair cut and colored and thus keep myself as a perpetual brunette. I look forward to those trips. I love the feeling of having someone else wash my hair and blow dry it.

I do almost everything for myself. I do my own nails (badly), except when there’s a big event and I actually want them to look good. I always do my hair myself except for the coloring and cutting. My mother went to the hairdresser every week and never washed her own hair. That horrifies me. I can’t imagine being that dependent about something so basic.

Hair Salon in the 1960’s

I usually don’t like being pampered. I like giving gifts more than I like receiving them. I’m usually the caregiver rather than the person being taken care of. I even feel uncomfortable when I’m sick and I have to rely on my husband to bring me food, water and meds.

Yet I love having someone else do my hair. Maybe it’s primal. Maybe it reminds me unconsciously of when I was a baby and my mother washed me and fed me. Maybe it’s like playing ‘doctor’ when you’re a kid. It’s fun to have someone focus totally on you.

There’s also the social element to the hairdresser experience. I’ve known my hairdresser for about 25 years. She cut my kids’ hair when they were young and she cuts my husband’s hair now. It’s a family affair. We’ve shared stories about each other’s marriages (we’re both divorced and remarried after long-term first marriages). We’ve watched each other’s kids grow up – vicariously. We’re actually pretty involved in each other’s lives, even though we don’t socialize outside the beauty parlor. I gather that’s very common.

My mother was very close with her straight male hairdresser, Dante. He was Italian, married and had a daughter. I loved him too. He did my hair for my first wedding. He was a charming and wonderful man.

My mother also became close friends with another one of Dante’s customers, a woman named Rosetta. They eventually scheduled their hair appointments together so they could have lunch and chat every week. When they got together with Dante, it was a party! As a teenager, I joined them when I could. It was a blast hanging out with them. Lots of conversation and lots of laughter.

My Mom and Rosetta, both with perfectly coiffed hair

Ironically, I don’t like the way my hair looks when I leave the hairdresser. It’s too pouffy and looks too ‘done’. I like the more natural look I get when I curl my own hair. So I brush it a lot and try to flatten it out so I look more ‘normal’ until I wash it again myself.

I love my trips to the hairdresser anyway. I’m even beginning to be able to just relax and enjoy being pampered. But I still don’t like getting my nails done and I hate getting a pedicure. Which is why I’ve only done it twice in my life!

I don’t know what I’ll do when my hairdresser retires. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to look forward to my days of pampering and bonding with my friend and hairdresser.

WORDS & PICS – ALMOST DECEMBER

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: PICK A WORD IN DECEMBER Y2


It is time for another “Pick a Word” themed challenge and it is the last one this year. As usual you get five words to choose from: sagacious,  non-human, portrayal. remains, stellar.

One sagacious American — and a fine maker of beer
Non-humans out-number humans around here
Portrayal of my granddaughter
No remains — except the pits
Stellar orb, aka the Sun

jupiter najnajnoviji