Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I am my father's daughter

A few years short of retirement, my dad had a heart attack. He stayed in the hospital for quite a while, and then he had to stay home from work a while more, while he recovered.

He decided it was the perfect time to learn to play guitar, but - alas - he couldn't manage to keep the guitar positioned comfortably on his leg. Clearly a little footstool was in order. We didn't have any, so he decided to build one. He also decided to sand and stain it, a process requiring many trips to the hardware store. You never touched anything so perfectly smooth as the top of that footstool when he was done with it.

When another family member expressed admiration, Dad gladly handed it over and built himself another. He built several, in fact, and by the time he was done he'd lost all interest in the guitar and it was time to go back to work anyway.

Last night after a long rainy miserable day I thought, h'mmmm, wouldn't it be nice to take a nice long bath?

But the tub looked a bit manky, so I decided to clean it first. While I was getting the stuff to do that I tried to remember the last time I'd done the sink or the toilet, always a challenge since I tend to block out any excessive bursts of housecleaning. I decided that whenever it was, it was probably time to do it again.

Once they were looked after, it was back to the tub, where I noticed there was really a lot of dust on the shower curtain rod. I couldn't remember the last time I'd washed the shower curtain, either, and the shower curtain liner always looks so much more cheerful after it's had a baking soda and vinegar bath, so I took them down and put them into the washer.

I wiped down the shower curtain rod and found it's a lot easier to do that without the curtain rings in the way, and after all, they looked like they could use a good soak too. So I took them off. Once that was done it was natural to think I should do the same with the curtain rod over the window, but those rings were older and of the six, five snapped in two when I tried to remove them.

Disaster was averted when I remembered stashing more rings in my storage room, left over from when I replaced the main shower curtain rings about 10 hours before a visit years ago from my friend Susan, who was coming in from Chicago. I used to see Susan a lot at conferences but never for more than a few hours at a time, and apparently I believed that she would deeply regret giving me a whole weekend if I did not replace my dollar store shower curtain rings with something nicer. (As it happened, we had a great time - from the moment I met her at the airport to the moment I took her back three days later, we did Not. Stop. Talking.)

By some miracle, the shower curtain rings were just visible under a pile of other stuff in the storage room, and I threw a few into the soapy water with the others. Then I put the original ones - very, very carefully - back onto the shower curtain rod.

Only to discover that I was one short. I got back down off the stepladder, washed another and slipped it into place, washed the window's curtain rod, and put the Susan rings on that.

And then I cleaned the tub.

And waited for the washer to finish working its magic, and hung up all the wet curtains to dry.

And then it was too late to have a bath.

Dad died of a different heart attack twenty years ago this week: it's nice to know he's still a little bit with me, even if I didn't become an engineer like him.

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