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.)