Thursday, February 26

I'll scrub your back, if you scrub mine

J Money over at Budgets are Sexy wrote a hilarious lil piece about whether showering together saves money.

As funny as his piece is, I have to disagree. Tim and I save a ton of water showering together. In fact, I now schedule my showers to coincide with Tim's, so as to better save that precious agua.

Of course, our water-saving superpower is made more possible by Tim's two daily showers. He takes a lot of showers to numb his itchy skin. It used to be three or four a day, so clearly I'm rubbing off on him. (In a non-dirty way, J Money, so get your mind out of the gutter! Eh, actually, leave it in there. Probably more fun.)

But it's also made possible by my own superpower: I am Split-Second Shower Girl!

It all began in my youth in Anchorage, AK. My frugal-minded parents turned the heat all the way down at night. After all, they reasoned in their evil-genius way, you don't need heat if you're tucked under the blankets.

Alas, starting in junior high and high school, I was the first one up. And so I would trudge, shivering, down the hallway to lift the thermostat to something approaching life-sustaining temperatures. But of course, it takes time for the place to heat up -- and the hot water tank was a tad sluggish, too.

So I would stand, slightly huddled for warmth, cursing both our hot water tank and our heating system. Once the water was non-hypothermia-inducing, I would jump in -- only to remember that we had terrible water pressure.

So showers weren't really the core-temperature-raising experiences other people seemed to enjoy.

Hence, I became Split-Second Shower Girl. Easily done showering in 3-5 minutes! Bewildered by people who could enjoy a long, hot shower or bath!

Yeah, this particular superpower really didn't come with any cool abilities, like invisibility or x-ray vision. Or flying. I'd kill to get flying. But it did come in handy when I started living with Tim, who has been known to drain entire hot water tanks.

And so, since he's using all that water anyway, it's more efficient if I simply jump on in with him.

Here's the average shower run-down. (If you're the prone-to-mental-images-yet-still-prudish sort, just picture lil censored signs in the appropriate locales.) :

  • Tim turns on the shower and gets in.
  • While I'm taking my meds, he finds a comfortable median between his desired water temp (approximately akin to molten lava) and what I can stand.
  • He gives the word and I climb in.
  • He stands out of the water spray long enough for me to dampen my skin to lather-appropriate levels.
  • He then stands back in the spray while I soap up.
  • He ducks back again for the half-minute it takes me to, for lack of a better term, hose down.
  • We do each others' backs (the absolute best reason to shower together -- forget the environment, I want a nice, exfoliated/non-itchy back!)
  • He gets out of the way while I wet my hair.
  • I shampoo away, while he enjoys some more of that hot water.
  • I rinse, and he inevitably tells me I've missed a spot (another perk to showering together -- but nothing compared to a nice clean back)
  • I jump out, and Tim is free to take things back to inside-an-active-volcano conditions

My time in the shower? About 3 to 4 minutes. A clean back and non-soapy hair? Priceless.

But even more water is saved the two or three times a week that I have to shave. (Or, as I like to think of it: When my legs start looking alarmingly like cacti.)

Okay, okay, it's not a palatable topic for you men out there, I know. But you know what? Women have hair. And longer-lasting solutions are ridiculously expensive. (Unless you don't mind torturing yourself at home with hot wax. Not my scene.) So just deal with it. And be glad we care enough to bother with hair removal at all.

Point is, I shave my legs in the shower. Even working quickly, shaving about doubles the time I'm in the shower. I do use this time to also put conditioner in my hair -- since I'll be out of the water anyway, might as well kill two birds with the one stone. Still, I always hate how much water gets wasted while I'm assiduously depilating.

With Tim around, he is more than happy to use the water. Plus, when I need to clear the razor of foam, he scoots just a little to the left and the water instantly washes it away. It's practically magical!

And as a bonus, apartment/condo dwellers should take note here, leaving the bathroom door open during shower-time heats up the place nicely. (Obviously, if you have kids or pets to keep out, this isn't a method you can practice.) In fact, we've barely used the thermostat at all this winter -- and it's been a relatively cold one for the Seattle region.

Of course, it should be noted that all these water/heat savings are only true if one of the two of you is already inclined to linger in the shower. While these days Tim keeps his showers down to around 10 minutes, compared to my quickie showers, that's practically a Homerian epic.

It should also be noted that we are lucky enough to live in a building where we don't pay water/sewer/garbage. And I sacrifice a utility bill on a little pyre each week, to keep the gods appeased.

So while we may, yet again, have a slightly unique thing going, what with Tim's shower-love, I feel certain that there are folks out there who save water by dual showering. Let's hear some of your ideas/stories.

We can prove the raunchy-minded J. Money wrong! (Clearly, he's never tried to "talk" in the shower. Even assuming some non-slip shower decals, that could lead to hospital bills more quickly than babies.)

Quick note: While I welcome feedback, I will state here and now that I refuse to publish any ideas with the words "yellow" and "mellow" in it, thankyouverymuch. There's nothing wrong with it, as suggestions go. But we all know it and a gal's gotta draw the line somewhere!


Blogger Meg said...

When we lived in China, there wasn't enough hot water for a decent shower, so I would get in, get wet, turn off the water, soap up and lather my hair, turn the water back on to rinse, and then, as I was just rinsing the last bubbles from my hair, jump out of the frigid water! Haha!

I still do the "Watersaver Shower" sometimes from force of habit, but now that we have a big hot water tank, and water is included, I also take long, burning hot showers. Aaaah.

February 27, 2009 at 7:01 AM

Blogger Fabulously Broke said...

When I was a kid, we warmed up a big bucket of warm water and threw it over our body with a scoop.

So we'd wet our hair, soap it, then wash it off with a big bucket of water.

I am the Queen of short showers. We're talking 2-3 minutes (I've timed it) and that's with everything in (face, shaving etc)...

February 27, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Blogger Abby said...


If I had had that little hot water, I would probably luxuriate in longer showers now too!

Fabulously Broke,

Argh! Now I have a new record to shoot for! I am VERY impressed. Actually, given how klutsy I am, I don't think I *should* try for that kind of record with shaving involved. It might lead to death -- or at least a lot of cleaning of blood drops. Plus, there's the cost of bandaids....

February 27, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Blogger J. Money said...

oh man, you guys have perfected this! i'd ask you to come over and show us how you do it in person, but something tells me that would be inappropriate ;)

February 28, 2009 at 4:29 PM


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