Saturday, February 25, 2012

Of laying rubber and cast iron bathubs

Laying rubber is a minor mystery. Why is it so very satisfying? It starts when we're on bicycles and moves up the vehicular and hormonal food chain. A bath tub actually got me thinking about it. Here's why:

A few days ago, my boss graciously loaned out his appliance dolley to a fellow who wanted to move a refrigerator. The following day, even though the dolley probably had not been out of its cocoon for years, it was suddenly indispensable to the second floor bathroom renovation we had underway. Unfortunately, the fridge moving guy had gone on an apparently spontaneous roadtrip to a museum of medical oddities in Philadelphia.

Not knowing this and looking for the guy at one possible work site, we got the van stuck for the first time in a seemingly perfectly level and firm area. We two shiftless plumber's helpers then set out up the Crabtree Point Road and eventually found Doug, who brought a stout John Deere tractor and made short work of yanking the van onto a more suitable passway.

The next morning, the three of us got started on moving an extremely obstinate and dense cast iron tub. The only notable difference between the new tub and the spotless, pristine cast iron clawfoot tub that came out of the house was that the new unit was as much heavier as it was unattractive. Being a Y chromosome bearer, I can definitely say the clawfoot had it all over the new model in terms of picturing the lines and curves of both bath and bather. Like trading a Mustang for one of those dismal boxy things that tries to be a utility vehicle and station wagon and sedan.

At any rate, the clawfoot had come down the stairs with as much relative elegance as one could expect from any large piece of cast iron, at least when compared to a much clunkier piece going up.

Now we had to get the new one in, and really needed the dolley. Being from Matinicus, I had the practical, but felonious suggestion that we go and see if the door was unlocked where the dolley was most likely to be found and then enter, take the item and exit.

The next morning, my boss realized that a come-along and a block of wood were necessary to ensure victory and tried to leave. The van was not so anxious for a productive morning and allowed as to how she'd stay right there, thank you very much. Rex had had enough of the delay, so after myself and the other helper pushed her to the roadway, Rex proceeded to lay a good hearty fifty or so foot patch of rich black rubber on the road in the otherwise tranquil Pulpit Harbor neighborhood.

I could feel his satisfaction. By 4 PM Friday, the tub was in place. It really did take 3 of us. And Dolley.

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