New Year's resolution

Taking a Bath with a One-Eyed Pirate

I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, but I do like the freshness of a new year.  The beginning. We travel to see family over the holidays, and at some point during those trips, usually on the plane flying home, I visualize what I want to accomplish.  Relying on a fresh mind's eye to identify projects that I will sink my teeth into when I get home: Walking right by the red flags begging for attention and taking care of what I've deemed important in the sky.

This listing in the sky is a cleanse.

We arrive home on Saturday leaving Sunday, January 4th, to chill and to get ready for the week.  The new week.  The first week.  The beginning of a new year.  I nearly float through the morning -- so very fresh from this cleansing.  As the boys hunker down to do their own thing, and before I start on those crisp new lists, I grab the opportunity to take a bath.

I drop the plug and reach for the "H" handle.  And I graze the "C" handle, and that handle flies into the tub.  Dang it!  I forgot that the little screws have come out and the handle is only sitting there gingerly clinging to the ridges in the post on the cold water side.

I watch and listen as the handle dances boldly in the tub.  Just as it did before the holidays.  Then, the white enamel piece marked with a bold "C" starts a solo routine.  Finding its freedom away from the handle, the round disc travels like a clean shot on a pool table and violently disappears down the drain.

Stunned, the blood of Grandma Murphy flows through my mouth, and I can only utter: Well, I'll be damned.

I look into the tub rewinding and replaying that scene.  What a crappy way to start off the year.  An omen.  Still... I slide the cold handle onto its post and open the hot water wide, taking the edge off with a dash of cold.  Using the previously marked cold handle cautiously.  Then I think, what the fuck?  Who cares if it drops?  The worst that could happen has now happened.   I sit in the tub and stare at the vacancy.  I try to read.  And my eye shifts to the hole.  The emptiness is small but vast, and it perpetrates what was a beautiful tub-filling system.

Days go by, and I find a weekend morning for a bath.  Oh man... I had forgotten about this incident, but since then I had had an MRI that showed a little something different than before. The "C" in the hole: It was an omen.  Looking at the hole on the right side of the faucet, I think about how to resolve this.  I need to get an enamel "C" ordered.  I relax a bit in the tub and read -- only occasionally throwing an eye over the page at the hole.

Days go by, and I find a weekend morning for a bath.  Damn!  I forgot to call and order that part.  But I did get an MRI-biopsy scheduled.  Irritated, I think about other ideas that never bloom beyond the bathroom bay: Buy deodorant. Buy soap.  Make a dentist appointment. Write down this story line.  Yes, there is paper in the bathroom to jot these ideas down -- but the ideas scatter when my foot hits the bath rug outside the shower, preoccupied with the present, immediate conditions: Get dressed.  Get lunches made.  Get kids to brush their teeth.  Get them to eat something.  Get the kids to school.

Valentine's Day morning.  I'm harried - even though the biopsy has returned showing a benign spot.  It wasn't an omen.  I think a bath might calm me.  I moan only slightly at the missing "C" and think the aroma of the bubble bath and the heat of the water and a good magazine will override this oversight.  I sink into the tub and quickly put the magazine in front of my face.  But I can't help it: I peek over the top.  Then around the side.  Over the top.  Around the side.  Something is different this tub time.  And, I see it so clearly.  I am taking a bath with a one-eyed pirate.

My steady glare does nothing but fully shape the pirate's face: his long trunk nose, his puckered whistling lips, his uniquely plumed tall hat, the wart under his nose, the 1:00 scar between his eyes.  I can't attack him from the tub.  I storm out of the tub repeating "one-eyed pirate" like a mantra.  This must end.  This is my priority today.  I am leaving this bathroom and taking care of this.  From beginning to end.  I'm photographing the pirate, emailing it to the rep at the plumbing store, calling the rep.  It's only 8:00 on a Saturday morning, but come hell or high water, that man will have a message on his machine when he sits down at his desk.  I need grub screws and a "C."

I am a raging bull poked one too many times by the picador.

I am a raging, recovering perfectionist...

..."Hello, my name is Linda, and I'm a perfectionist.  Saturday, I went overboard because the one place I expect perfection has let me down."

"Hello, Linda.  Tell us about it."

"I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions, but I do like the freshness of a new year..."

(The English Laundry Maven had similar personification issues.)