Cursed bathrooms, noisy drains and the complexities of pandemic living make this family’s shower schedule complicated. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Cursed bathrooms, noisy drains and the complexities of pandemic living make this family’s shower schedule complicated. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Hop into spring with a refreshing shower — if you plan it right

Coordination is required to avoid disrupting hubby’s work meetings and son’s schoolwork.

Battling over shower schedules is nothing new in the history of American families. Who gets to go first? Will there be enough hot water? Don’t forget the infamous shout: “I need a towel!” But the pandemic has added a few more sudsy layers of complexity in my house.

For the past year, my husband has worked from home in our bedroom. His meeting schedule can last from 6:30 in the morning to late at night. The poor guy spends most of his waking hours sitting next to our dresser, staring at multiple computer screens and trying to ignore the noise of every kid in our neighborhood screaming on their backyard trampolines.

I have a lot of sympathy for him, really I do, except when I need to shower after a sweaty morning workout. No way do I want to photobomb his Zoom meeting, so I slink behind him, army crawling across the floor, until I reach the bathroom. When I stand in front of the sink I’m still visible on his screens. That’s why I bring all of my clothes with me into the shower so that I can emerge fully clothed and not accidentally flash someone.

Notice I clarified “morning” workout. I can only use the master bedroom shower between the hours of 2 and 11:30 a.m. Afterwards, the shower makes my son’s room — and this is a direct quote from my teenager — “completely unusable!” He can’t hear his online school videos over the sound of the water running. During the morning, he’s still asleep and the shower is fair game. But at night he needs to be able to concentrate on his school work.

Luckily, our house has two showers. Unluckily, our hallway bathroom is cursed. Long-time Herald readers might remember that on Christmas Eve 2015, our upstairs toilet overflowed and rained down “level three contamination water” all over our kitchen table. I don’t recall the exact total, but I believe the insurance company spent over $19,000 in repairs. The water had seeped through the heating vents and into the laundry room as well. The linoleum needed a special asbestos abatement professional to rip it out.

Thanks to the poopapocalypse, our hallway bathroom is relatively new. For some reason however, the bathtub/shower combo is slow to drain. My daughter hates using this shower, and I don’t blame her. After two minutes of showering, the water rises ankle deep. The last time I called a plumber, he up-sold me on $1,800 worth of things to have done on the house, plus he talked me into spending an additional $200 on magic blue enzyme liquid that was supposed to clear out drains. Spoiler alert: the blue liquid doesn’t work.

“Why won’t you call the plumber?” my daughter asks when she stomps out of the hallway bathroom.

“Can you keep it down?” begs my son. “I have a test.”

“Ahhhhhhhhh!” scream the kids on the backyard trampolines.

“Don’t worry,” I say, as I lug the container of blue liquid out of the laundry room cabinet. “I can fix this.”

Nope. Actually, I can’t.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as Jennifer Bardsley Author. Email her at

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