The downstairs bath at my house is not functional right now, for reasons better left unsaid, so we have to use the upper bath. Walking up the stairs to the spare might sound like a decent solution to having the main bath out of order, but it is not. The upstairs bath is almost big enough to store a couple of brooms and maybe a roll of paper towels.
When a person has use the facilities in a normal bathroom, all that is required afterward is a little flip of the silver handle. But here, if one wants to flush, they must first fill a bucket with water from the shower and pour it into the toilet at the precise moment of the flush. Timing is critical. Too early, and we have a flood. Too late, and we have to repeat the process. We have to use the shower to fill the bucket because it won’t fit under the sink faucet. Let me tell you, filling a bucket from a shower head is not easy. Those suckers get heavy, my arms always get wet and I drip water across the floor. After that, I spill it all over the toilet while trying to maneuver the bucket dump / handle flush combo. At least the bathroom floor is always clean.
Showering in the upper bathroom is no vacation, either. It’s another reason to miss the downstairs bath. Downstairs, we have the Shower of Glory. It’s large and roomy. It has a curved shower curtain bar which makes it even more spacious, and the entire surround is covered in beautiful grey slate tile. Showering downstairs is wonderful. But we can’t use the Shower of Glory, and the upstairs shower is not pleasant. I imagine being hosed off inside a broom closet would be just about the same experience.
Speaking of experiences, shaving in that shower is not for the weak of spirit (or the uncoordinated). There are two choices. I can brace my back against the wall and stand on one leg with the other leg bent and my foot resting on the soap ledge. Alternatively, I can sit on the shower floor with my legs over my head against the wall. Neither are good options. I am considering becoming a Wookie.
Washing my hair upstairs requires a lot of skill and coordination that I do not possess. It is literally impossible to place both hands on my head in that shower unless I poke one elbow out of the shower and into the bathroom. I am not a tall or long-limbed person, but unless I turn sideways, my elbows hit the wall and I reach terminal horizontal possibility just about at the point where I can reach my shoulders. One handed hair washing is something I am learning. I don’t like it.
When I poke that elbow out into the room, the shower curtain falls. I have yet to find a miniature shower curtain rod, so I use a spring-tension window curtain rod. It’s almost sturdy enough to withstand the heft of the 99 cent plastic shower curtain it holds up. When the shower curtain falls, I am left with another dilemma. I do not own a curtain long enough to cover the whole bathroom window. When the shower curtain falls, the neighborhood gets a peep show. I have stopped showering after dark.
The soap ledge/foot rest I mentioned is another marvel of modern design. I imagine it seemed like a good idea on paper several decades ago, but a sloping soap ledge fails to perform in one very important way: It will not hold a bar of soap. I have tried being tricky. I let the soap get wet and sticky on the bottom and then I smoosh it down on the ledge. It usually stays put until just about the time I knock down the shower curtain with my elbow. And then I scramble to catch the curtain, slip on the bar of soap, sail past the exposed window and land in a plastic-wrapped heap front of the sink.
Of course there is no place to set a bottle of shampoo in there either, so everything sits on the 2’ x 2’ square shower floor. On any given day, it holds a soggy bar of soap, assorted bottles of human crud removers and a razor. A razor on the floor of this shower is just about the best thing to happen to my accident prone self since I cut through an electrical wire in my wall. It was still connected to the old fuse box.
I miss the Shower of Glory. Sometimes I dream about it. I think about spreading my arms wide, unable to touch the walls and shower curtain at the same time no matter how I try. I envision shampoo bottles, razors and soap sitting neatly on their own special non-sloping shelves. I fantasize about stepping out of the shower into a room with a fully covered window. It’s becoming an unhealthy obsession.
It’s still downstairs waiting for me, that lovely, 21st century bathroom. It giggles when I pass it on my way to the kitchen. But one day I will return. One day, the plumbing will work and I will never have to use the upstairs bathroom again.
I think it will make a nice broom closet.