Excerpt from The Italian Thing—Chapter 6


          About ten in the morning the door bell rang.  God it was so loud!  Much to my surprise, and delight it was our luggage, all of it.  We were thrilled.  We took it into the room that we were using and unpacked what ever we could.  Franca had cleared some drawer and closet space for us.  She was so thoughtful.  Everyone was very hospitable, and displayed a genuine love of family.

          I could not wait to take a shower and wash my hair. I would finally be able to put on clean, fresh clothes.  I was actually excited!  Then it hit me.  I said to Mike, “Hey, how are we supposed to take a shower in that tub?  There is no shower curtain.” Mike said “I know but they have another bathroom, maybe there is a shower in there.” “Oh good.” I said. “I will go look.”  Off I went down the hall to take a peek at the other bathroom.  I walked into the bathroom.  It was narrow, but very long, and tiled from floor to ceiling.  To my right there was a sink, right next to the sink was a small washing machine.  I opened the lid to look inside.  It was a very small capacity washer, and I remember thinking, gosh, one pair of Mike’s jeans would take up the whole machine.  I did not see a clothes dryer.  I was hoping it was one of those washer, dryer combinations, if it wasn’t, we were in trouble!  I did see a shower, a toilet, and a tub.  The entire opposite wall was all cabinets.  I knew there was a big problem because the shower was only about three feet by three feet.  It was enclosed with glass.  There was no way I would fit into that shower, let alone Mike.  I looked in the tub. No shower!  Oh my God!  I thought.  What the hell are we going to do now?  Stress and panic reared up.  Deep breaths, I told myself.  Be calm.

          I went back to the bedroom and told Mike the situation.  I asked.  “What are we going to do?”  He said. “How should I know?”  “Well you need to do something.” I said.  “What do you expect me to do?” his voice had a bit of irritation in it.  “I don’t know it’s your family.” I said.  He looked at me and said.  “Do you want to go to a hotel?”  “We can’t do that, go ask Franca if they have a shower curtain.” I said.  His answer was, “Pat get real, there is no shower rod in the bathroom to hang one.”  “Well what are you going to do?  Sit in the tub and shower?”  I asked.  “Yeah right!  Then they would have to get a crane to help me stand up again,” he said.  We started to laugh.  We decided to throw caution to the wind, and just be as careful as we could not to get too much water on the floor, or any where else for that matter.  I said “You can go first.” “Thanks a lot.” he replied.  I smiled and said “You’re welcome.” My voice was dripping with sweet sarcasm.

          While he was in the bathroom, I continued to unpack.  Thank goodness nothing was missing, I thought.  I proceeded to make the bed and tidy up the room as best I could.  Mike had finished taking his shower, he opened the bedroom door.  I looked at him and asked. “How was it?”  “Like a car wash.” was his reply.  “What?” I said.  He answered with,  “Pat, I’m six foot three, over four hundred pounds.  What did you expect?  I wiped everything down as best as I could.  There were only two towels in there. I left one for you.”  I started to laugh just picturing Mike trying to keep the water spray to a minimum.  He started to laugh as well.  It was now my turn.  I had a plan.  I took all of my toiletries and my clothes and said, “Wish me luck.”  “Go for it,” was his reply.  We started laughing again.

          In the bathroom, I put all of my clothes as far from the tub as possible.  I was sorry I did not pack my terrycloth robe.  Too late now, I thought.  The room was still warm from Mike taking a shower, and the floor was still wet.  He had left his towel on the floor in front of the tub, so I would have something to step on.  It was thoughtful, but the towel was soaked.  My plan was to take a shower without making a mess.  I decided to get in the tub, and then turn on the water. I would wash my hair first, rinse it, and then wash the rest of myself keeping the shower head close to my body.  That way the water would not spray all over the place.  Theoretically it made a lot of sense.  The only problem was, when I went to get into the tub I could not get my leg over the side; I didn’t realize it was so high off the floor.  At that moment I thought, how the hell did Franca get in this tub?  Did she have a step stool?  I looked around for one, no step stool. Franca was a few inches shorter than me, and I knew her legs were not longer than mine.  I said to myself, maybe she just dives in like she would a pool.  I laughed to myself. I decided to turn around and swing my legs over the side one at a time. No easy task I might add, and the porcelain was not warm.

What happened next is hilarious. Read “The Italian Thing” you won’t want to put it down.

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