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Published:June 17th, 2011 10:18 EST
Hot Tub Drama

Hot Tub Drama

By Donna Cavanagh

I began my relationship with my hot tub, or as those in the industry call it, my "spa"in 2005.  I fell in love with a simple, five-seat model which fits perfectly into one corner of my covered porch. The salesman originally introduced me to the  upgraded bells and whistles models with the retractable TV and built-in stereo system, but he soon learned these extra amenities were not for me. I just needed the jets and the promise of peace and quiet.

Okay, I did get one upgrade: the light bulb that makes the water change colors. Was it necessary?  Well I, if you talk to my Feng Shui friend, she will tell you it was absolutely necessary. The water color triggers the right response from my mind so that I can have the ultimate hot tub experience.  Did I buy all that?  Well, I bought it more because the upgraded light bulb was only an additional $100. If it had been a $1,000 upgrade, I would have kicked her feng shui ass out of my spa.

Anyway, we do maintenance on the spa just as the owner`s manual says because my husband, the engineer, lives and dies by the words in owner`s manuals.  Every three months, we drain the tub, wipe it down, change the filter and fill it back up again.  It`s a simple routine, and one that my spa appreciates. Last month, my multi-colored light burnt out, and I have not had a chance to order a new one.  I mention the burnt out bulb because I think not replacing it right away may have made my hot tub mad.

Last weekend, we emptied the tub right on schedule.  Everything went perfectly until I tried to turn the power back onto the spa.  I pushed the breaker, and it tripped; pulled it a second and third time and it kept tripping.  My husband shook his head but couldn`t figure it out.  We thought maybe something that should not have gotten wet got wet during the emptying process got wet , so we decided to give it a few hours.  Nothing. The tub would not stay on.

If this had been my washing machine or any other appliance, I would have been annoyed. But my hot tub? I was panicked.  And it was a Sunday, so there was no one to calm me down.  I imagined that my hot tub was toast and I would never soak in it again. I would never have that sense of Nirvana that I have come to expect from soaking in those blissful waters.  I was not a joy to be around.

Monday morning, at 9 AM on the dot, I called Pelican, the wonderful people who brought the hot tub into my life.  Kathy in service came to my rescue.  She diagnosed the problem right away, and set up a service appointment for that Wednesday and then she said,

"You know, I can tell you what to do to fix this yourself."

"Me?  Really?"

So, Kathy told me what tools I needed and talked me through the repair. There was a technical name for the problem, but honestly, I was too flustered at first to hear what she was saying, but she calmed me down, and we began. I felt like I was on one of those cop shows where the bomb squad has to talk the poor schmuck, locked in the room with the bomb, through the deactivation process. I unscrewed the panel and located the right cylinder and the screw to that cylinder, and I then used my wrench to gently turn that screw.  I felt the sweat beading up on my forehead, and then water from the cylinder started to drip out and then it flowed out and then I tightened the screws again and I turned on the breaker and the power stayed on. And they say there are no miracles!

I called my husband at work and, of course, got his voice mail, and so after the tone, I yelled,"I fixed it!  "The hot tub is back."  I called my daughter at work, and she wasn`t as nearly impressed with me as I was. I told my friends; I announced it on Facebook. I had my Nirvana back!

All in all, no one was nearly as impressed with my spa repair job as I was.  They said, "So, it was just a few screws," but none of them knew how to fix it ahead of time. They tried to rain on my hot tub parade, but I would not allow them. No, as I sat in my spa that night appreciating those jets, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment and I thought, "Hm. Maybe I am ready to finally take that auto repair course. How hard can it be?"