With no power, no heat or hot water, the conversation around the wood burning stove was about how to take the least painful shower or bath. Safta Ilana — of polish decent and a WW2 veteran had lived thru much worse than Hurricane Sandy — had the answer to the cold shower dilemma. It was simply called “Pyla Rondelek,” or roughly translated: the polish basin bath.
Here is how it works:
- boil a pot of water on a wood burning stove
- place a container in the bath
- pour boiling water in the container – mix w cold to desired temp
- stand naked in the bath and shiver
- take the Rondelek — round dipper — and scoop hot water from container
- pour over body – soap – rinse
- stand in soapy water and reach for a towel
- clean bath for next person
Instead of this lengthy ritual involving boiling water, standing in a bathtub and messy clean up, I decided to jump under a cold shower and get it over with. Oren the other male in the house joined me in this macho ritual and here is the play-by-play:
- light candle if dark
- turn water on… hot or cold setting does not matter. Cold is all that is coming out
- get in shower, stand to the side and prepare mentally
- dip head into cold water stream
- shampoo head
- start to leather rest of body standing on the side
- face the stream. Face your fears. Face reality.
- sing Italian opera laced with curses that include LIPA
- jump in and get numb
- come out and towel off – feel like a man!
- Look for missing male parts
Back around the fire lengthy debates would ensue between the cold shower camp and the Pyla Rondelek crowd. No one gave in and finally the lights came on along with the hot water. All I can say is — despite bold proclamation — not a cold showers was ever taken again or a LIPA opera ever heard ringing throughout the house.