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.