First of all, let me tell you that had it been up to me, I would never have spent money on a hot tub. We could have spent those dollars on so many more practical things, or even on some fun things we could both enjoy. Cliff is responsible for the purchase of this totally impractical item. His thinking was something along these lines: Every time he's really wanted or needed something, like his shop, or any of several tractors, or a motorcycle, I've pressed him to get it; my theory is that we'd better enjoy life while we can. Cliff went without a lot of things for many years when our kids were still at home. He deserves anything we can get him now.
While he's the major breadwinner around here, I'm the one in charge of the budget; so I have a lot of power over how the money is spent. Quite literally, I hold the purse-strings. Isn't that how it is in most marriages?
Cliff had noticed how I've enjoyed hot tubs when we were vacationing, and he wanted me to have this one whimsical, totally non-practical thing, something I never asked for. When I tried to talk him out of it, he almost got angry. It was something he wanted to do for me.
After reading and hearing some of the horror stories about used spas, we knew we'd have to buy a new one.
So we invested in a hot tub that cost 1/3 as much as we paid for this mobile home! How redneck is that?
The water stays in it year around. You can never drain a hot tub for any length of time; fittings dry out or something, and it will leak when water is put back in it.
If we were to have an extended power outage (a fairly common occurrence in Missouri), it'll be destroyed, because all those pipes and fittings hidden deep in the foam that insulates the thing will freeze and burst. The man who delivered it and set it up said it probably wouldn't freeze for at least 24 hours, because of the insulation.
Keeping the proper chemical balance is tricky, mainly because of our well water. Softened water is death to the workings of a hot tub, and so is hard water with a calcium content as high as ours. So when we drain and refill it (once every three months or so) we use a mix of the two. Then it takes a week or more of adding PH reducer to get the PH down where it ought to be. Sometimes after awhile, PH increaser has to be added. I have test strips that give me all the information I need, so I know when to add what. Chlorine isn't so tricky; I just add a couple of teaspoons of stuff each time I get out of the spa, and that maintains it where it needs to be.
In weather like we're having now, the hot tub adds at least twenty dollars a month to our electric bill.
To put things in perspective, here's the kicker: Cliff asked me a while back which I'd choose to keep if I had to make a choice: my dishwasher or the hot tub.
"The dishwasher, no question," I told him.
But the important thing is that Cliff wanted to get me something outrageously lavish by our standards, just this once, and he did that. I think it's his way of saying, "I'd do anything for you, no matter how ridiculous."
Consider it my Hope Diamond.
Some of you think I'll catch my death, being out there in a swimsuit when the temperature hovers around zero: Well, the only hard part is getting to the tub and getting in, which takes about three seconds from the time I take my robe off. For those three seconds, it's COLD! Once in, the heat rises enough so that even though my hair ices up, my face stays nice and warm. If there's a north wind, the tops of my ears might get a little cold. Otherwise, I'm comfy.
You would think it would be horrible getting out of the thing; after all, I'm soaking wet and it's zero, right? But fifteen minutes in the hot tub at 102 degrees has me so thoroughly warmed through that getting out is no problem at all. I come inside, dry off, put clothes and shoes on, and then go back out and put the top back on the hot tub.
I hope this answers all the questions my readers have posed about the hot tub. If not, leave a question in the comment section and I'll answer it there.
Oh, Mrs. L wondered how the hot tub was helping my neck (in the previous entry) since my neck wasn't in the water. If you look closely you'll see two very powerfully jetted streams of water above my shoulders that were pounding directly on my neck.