every so often my dad shows up to help tackle our to-do list. some people whisper to horses, my dad is part machine. from family stories it seems he has always been this way- and sometimes he talks to people in languages they don't understand. he communicates with machines in a silent way, squinting at wires, following pipes, tracking connections. they know when he is near- and break down for his attention. once within minutes of fixing the door on the van which always thought it was unlocked and kept trying to lock itself in neurotic fits- it blew a headlight just cuz it was feeling neglected by us. he has taken apart almost all of our appliances at one point or another and fixed what ailed them from clogged coin catch to plugged drainage tube thingy.
on the his latest visit i convinced him to put the vent into the bathroom ceiling. the black dots on the ceiling- while entertaining while bathing and starring up at them- kinda like stargazing, caused me to worry about black mold attacking the lungs of the people i love the most. yes, we had no vent in the bathroom- but we did have a window. in the shower. with a wooden frame. so that was kinda helpful, except that steam doesn't often travel horizontally. maybe it did when they built the house.
in honor of the new vent i painted the ceiling. the walls seem envious now. they are particularly lack-luster.
anyway. i love the vent. it has a special on-switch that is a timer. you can set it for 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes. it sucks the moisture and stale, stinky air out of the watercloset so damn quick you can almost feel your feet being lifted up. sometimes i turn it on even though i don't need it on and it drains electricity from...wherever electricity comes from...and that's not something a green gal is supposed to do. but since i was raised in los angeles county in the 80s i often revert back to wasteful self-indulgent habits. like not recycling the plastic containers i find full of food so old i don't remember ever having bought it because i'll gag if i have to clean them out. well, i probably wouldn't gag because i'm not from the valley but i still don't clean it out and throw it away rather than recycle. just sometimes i do this. don't hate me.
back to the vent. we didn't get a fancy vent. my dad picked it out. it's the basic air sucking system. it has no heat lamp or any lighting, for that matter, so good thing we already have a light in the bathroom. it doesn't have any special rating for efficiency or noise level. it's square and plastic and white. pretty sure in elementary school it ate its lunch quickly and then went to the library because "the sun hurt its eyes" which was a lie creating to get the librarian off of its back.
it's kinda loud for a small, white, square, air-sucking plastic thing. plus our house is kinda small, so i can hear it from anywhere in the house. thank goodness for the timer. there is a way to turn it on without a timer, but no one does this unless they want me to yell at them to turn it off. or unless they forget to hit one of the timer buttons.
i've come to like the loudness though because when overwhelmed i retreat to the shower. it's the closest thing i have to a sensory deprivation chamber. i started doing this when working at the tribal school. especially on thursdays when we had meeting about the details of children's lives that broke my heart and left blood streaming down my chest. metaphorically. so i'd come home and stand in the hot shower. so hot my white skin would red like a lobster and sometimes i'd get faint-feeling and have to lay down afterwards. i've only passed out once in the shower, but that was because i also had a fever and forgot your are supposed to bend over when feeling faint and not stare up at the black dots of mold.
once i became a mom the shower thing got less relaxing. when seren was a baby i'd take a shower while he was napping- only to shut it off numerous times because i thought i heard him crying. nope, no crying. shower back on. wait....was that? nope. forget it. might as well get out.
not so stress-relieving, as you can imagine. cyrus doesn't usually like when i shower. he stands there and screams at me to get out in a slobbery toddler language that would be cute if i wasn't already maxed out and needing a sensory deprivation chamber.
but the vent drowns out all noise from outside of the bathroom. phone, children, dishes breaking, strangers at the door, sesame street songs, the volunteer fire department siren. obviously there' some safety concerns here. don't worry- i don't lock the door. and cyrus can almost get it opened on his own. it also masks the ringing in my ears which helps me to pretend it's gone away for good.
and the timer helps because with that stream of hot water and the rattling drone of the fan i'm like in a one-woman spa all of my own. one without mold or crying babies. and those are the best types of spas, in my opinion.
so here's to loud, cheap fixes with unexpected blessings. may you have one in your life soon.