Friday, May 04, 2012

Lightening the Lid

We have a hot tub. A spa, technically, since the old definition of hot tub was just that, a vat full of heated water, and what we have is a little triangular-shaped thingee with motors and pumps and like that. It is the second we have owned, the first being Conan the Hot Tub, paid for by writing a book about the mighty-thewed barbarian.

Conan was roomy enough for six or eight. The current model is a two-seater, three if you are intimate friends.

If you spend any time working out, you probably know that a hot shower or long soak in a tub full of warm water is a blessing for stressed muscles, as well as tired psyches. People with all manner of affliction find relief thus, and this is way beyond sliced bread when it comes to "best things since ..."

There are doctors who will prescribe wet heat, and if you have arthritis or myalgia, it will improve your life dramatically. 

Plus, I get some of my best story ideas sitting in the tub and staring into space. As meditation goes, it beats being whacked with a bamboo stick all to hell and gone.

In order to keep the water warm, there is a heater, and an insulated lid. This lid, being made of foam covered in plastic, keeps the heat in and a lot of the fir needles out. The current tub came with one, which the kids or dogs promptly cracked, so we got a heavier one. Snow? The lid was thick enough so it didn't melt. The grandkids could hop on it without caving it in.

Want to use the tub, fold the lid back and step in. More than one person, fold the lid back, lift it off, lean it against the wall. One-handed. Easy. 

But all things must pass, and the nature of the insulating foam, which is kind of like the stuff ice chests are made from, requires that it be sheathed in waterproof plastic,  else it gets waterlogged. Somewhere along the way, the inner sheath got scratched or torn under the vinyl and the steamy water seeped in.

There's something about open-cell foam and closed-cell, and what we have is the one that sucks up the water. (If given a choice, get the other kind.)

So the lid started to get heavier. And heavier.

The original lid weighed maybe thirty-five pounds, a snap to lift on and off manually, even though they make a metal lifter that will allow you to crane and pivot the whole thing off and on. 

After a couple years of taking on water, the lid moved on up into the heavyweight class, maxing out at what I estimate to be about two hundred pounds.

Which makes lifting it off and on while naked and barefoot on a slippery deck a good way to hurt yourself bad enough to really need the soak even more ...

Technically, I am told, this can be fixed. One removes the vinyl cover and the remains of the moisture barrier, allows the lid to dry out for a couple weeks in the hot sunshine, then re-seals and recovers it. 

Good luck on two weeks of hot sunshine in these parts, and if the seal isn't perfect, you are back to heavy lifting pretty quick. Plus you either have to empty the tub or use a second lid on it while you wait. And as far as I can tell, there's no place that offers rent-a-spa-lid, so you have to buy a new one or leave off using the tub. 

So we broke down and got a new lid, which looks pretty much just like the old one, only a little thinner and a hundred and seventy pounds lighter.

And the beat goes on ...

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