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Michael Picarella: Showered with anguish

Picarella Family Report

Posted: January 9, 2009 7:08 p.m.
Updated: January 10, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Michael Picarella

 

"We insist that you stay at our house," said a relative over the phone. "Don't pay for a hotel."

And that's how my wife, 5-year-old son and I got suckered into the hospitality of family during our vacation of leisure in Chicago.

It's not that I don't want to see my relatives during my trip, and it's not that I want to spend money on a hotel room. No, this is an issue of greater measure.

I don't want to shower in my relatives' home.

Showering here is like a military operation. The water fires at you faster than speeding bullets, and it feels like you're being pummeled with a hailstorm of needles.

And because the water hits your body so hard and fast, it ricochets off your skin, off the ceiling, over the shower curtain and off a wall, off the toilet, off another wall and then onto the bathroom floor where it pools up near the sink.

The shower curtain provides yet another opportunity for water to spill onto the bathroom floor. I usually wet the sides of the shower curtain and press it up against the damp shower wall so that it seals the shower closed-so no water escapes.

But water always escapes somehow and ends up on the bathroom floor.

Making matters worse, the water on the floor finds its way through some hidden crack in the floor and into the room downstairs where my relatives house their computer and some other electronic equipment.

To prevent any kind of electrical chaos that might occur if water hits the gear downstairs, I usually try to take really quick showers, jump out, and - before drying my body - dry the floor before it can make it downstairs.

Now, since I can't use the white towels in the bathroom to dry the floor (the towels would look like I tried to clean mud with them if I attempted to use them as sponges), I usually go through about three to six rolls of toilet paper and a box of tissues to sop up the mess, which presents another problem when I have to ask my relatives for more tissue paper. My relatives, you see, keep track of the sheet count on the toilet paper rolls and in the tissue boxes.

But let's get back to the shower. Once I turn on the shower and secure the shower curtain to the wall, the water in the tub is usually up to my knees. That's also about the time the hot water turns to cold.

When I adjust the handle for more hot water, the pipes create a symphony of squeaks that sound like 100 balloons releasing air through narrow openings: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! My relatives have accused me of "stressing their pipes."

So these are the reasons why, at this very moment, I'm thinking about not taking a shower while being held hostage on this vacation in my relatives' home.

I could use body spray to rid the smell on my body.

But I have none.

I could take a bath.

But I find baths to be oxymoronic because you basically wash dirt off your body into the water you're using to wash the dirt off. And baths are for kids and women anyway, not men.

But I have my relatives to think about. They have entire rooms in the house that are off limits -for decoration only. Shoes are not to be worn indoors. Guests must only use the towels supplied for showering, not the towels hanging in the bathroom. To turn lights on and off, guest must never use their dirty fingers to touch the light switches - we're asked to clap our hands to trigger the Clapper system.

So I could take a bath, which is, like I said, oxymoronic and for kids and women ... or I could face the deadly, fire-breathing shower that could make me a hero if I defeat it.

I decided to be a man.

I took a bath.

Real men are humble.

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. To contact Picarella or to read more stories, go to www.michaelpicarellacolumn.blogspot.com. His column reflects his own opinion and not necessarily that of The Signal.

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