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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

Spas and Hot Tubs for Weight Loss

August 19th, 2013 by

weight-loss in hot tubs?Use your hot tub to lose weight? There’s been a lot of chatter and controversy surrounding the idea. A lot of hot tub blogs point to a study from 1999, published by the New England Journal of Medicine which showed that Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus patients slept more peacefully, required less insulin injections and lost weight, when they used a hot tub daily.

Was the hot tub a participant in the weight loss? You betcha, but correlation is not causality. Hot water soaking will relax muscles, increase circulation and respiration, and through perspiration, you can lose water weight, unless you are sipping water while in the tub.

Some say that the more restful sleep is the reason that the participants in this hot tub study showed weight loss, while others will discount the weight loss as merely water weight loss. And though I’m not aware of the significance, the reduced need for insulin is also an interesting result.hot-tub-diet

We have to mention the popular book the “Hot Tub Diet“, by Bridget Praytor. The book was written after the author suffered an automobile accident, and she was unable to maintain any exercise regimens, all she could do is climb into her spa for relief. But the real story is that she learned to reevaluate her physical perception and change her diet, while using her hot tub – a lot.

I think that everyone would agree that the secret to weight loss is exercise and good nutrition. Spas and hot tubs can certainly aid in recovery time after you exercise, whether you bike, run, swim or do exercise routines. And in that regard, combined with more restful sleep, allows your exercise to have a greater effect.

However, if you did water exercises in the spa, or hot tub yoga – you will expend calories while you stretch and extend into some yoga poses or pilates moves – you know, modern calisthenics.standing-asanas in the hot tub

So, Can you Lose Weight in a Hot Tub?

Your hot tub can be a factor in helping you to lose weight by improving sleep, exercise recovery, blood flow, breathing and perspiration. But sitting in your spa, and melting away the pounds? No.

However, if you use your spa for even mild stretching, you can easily shed 100 calories during a 20 minute hot tub session.

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

Spas and Hot Tubs in the News

August 1st, 2013 by

SPA-AND-HOT-TUB-NEWSAnyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows that we like to highlight spas and hot tubs in the news. Jerry and I keep our ears to the ground, reading press releases, hot tub blogs, forums and online groups. Here’s a collection of our favorite stories this year, we’ve stumbled onto online. Enjoy.

 

Best of Class Awards

leg-lamp - it's a Major Award!Las Vegas, NV, USA (PRWEB) Just released this morning, is a press release announcing the Best of Class awards for pool and spa builders and manufacturers. I’ve ranted before about the large numbers of awards that are given to various spa manufacturers or spa models. Most of them aren’t real, but instead give top awards to the spa maker that pays the most, or buys the most advertising. So, when you see that this model or that brand of spa has received a Major Award – take it with a grain of salt.

 

Bookkeeper Sentenced to 3 Years

bustedTOMS RIVER, NJ (nj.com) – Gina Harle, 57, of Loveladies, Long Beach Island,  was sentenced today to a three year State prison term on one count of third degree theft and a five year term on one count of second degree computer theft. The court also ordered restitution in the amount of $52,946.09 payable to Hotsprings Spas of N.J LTD. Ms. Harle was found guilty of inappropriately using the Hot Springs Spa credit card, to pay her own credit card bills, and even paid $26,000 on her Volvo automobile with Hot Springs monies. Keep an eye on the accounting office staff!

Jacuzzi Brands Restructures

jacuzzi-logoCHINO HILLS, Calif.–(Businesswire)–Jacuzzi Brands LLC, announced today the closing of a recapitalization transaction that significantly raises liquidity, materially reduces outstanding indebtedness and extends the maturity dates of its loans out to 2018 and beyond. The transaction will position Jacuzzi to capitalize on opportunities from the recovery of the housing industry and the overall economy. They essentially restructured away $124 million in debt. Great move for Jacuzzi.

 Hot Tub Cinema Next Big Thing?

hot-tub-cinema(Hackneycitizen.co.uk) – For £30 a head you should know what you’re letting yourself in for. Sitting in a tub watching classic films is definitely fun, but to pay so much and then to have to buy the themed cocktails and food on top of that seems like a splash in the face. And if there are not six of your friends in the tub then more likely than not you’ll be grazing the leg of a total stranger, and the more you accidentally do it, the weirder the looks you get. Funny article about the popular new London rage, rooftop hot tub cinema, spreading to New Zealand and Australia I hear, maybe near you?

Jacuzzi Acquires Dimension One Spas

dimension-1 spas covers

(PoolandSpanews.com) This is the second acquisition of another hot tub company by the Chino Hills, Calif.-based firm in less than eight months. In June 2012, Jacuzzi brought ThermoSpas Hot Tub Products into its fold. As part of the deal, the business now will be called New Dimension One Spas and will continue to operate as a separate unit from Jacuzzi with most existing operation remaining at the current site in Vista, Calif. Jacuzzi has a lot of cash on the table. I wish them much luck in their ventures.

 

Balboa sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act

balboa(Salon.com) A lawsuit filed by a Californian manufacturer of hot tub electronic control systems claiming that another California company — the apparent Microsoft of the hot tub world — was restricting competition via aggressive litigation. The bulk of the complaint accuses Balboa of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act by using a monopoly (defined by Newport as 75 % of the market for hot tub electronic controls) power to crush Newport’s attempt to get a share of the market. Balboa – the Microsoft of the Spa and Hot Tub world?

‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Sequel Could Happen

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(Huffpost.com) “Hot Tub Time Machine,” the cult 2010 comedy that starred John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke, Craig Robinson, Chevy Chase, Lizzy Caplan and Jessica Pare may be doing a sequel.

This might be the best hot tub news of the year – or maybe not. But, however you feel about the movie, or the concept – it looks like talks are underway between MGM and some of the original cast, to reprise roles for a sequel, or prequel, or something to do with time traveling with a hot tub.

Stolen Jacuzzi Recovered, Thief In Hot Water

he-stole-the-hot-tub-from-here

(khq.com) A spa on a trailer is stolen and recovered within hours. Jeff Hickethier called Crime Check to report that a hot tub had been stolen from his premises (without water). The spa was on trailer display with a For Sale sign; proceeds benefiting the Deer Park High School archery club.

“One of the deputies was just driving by and saw someone unloading a hot tub off a trailer; had I not turned that report in, there’d be no way I’d be driving my trailer back to Deer Park,” Hickethier told KHQ on the scene.

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs for Fibromyalgia Relief

July 25th, 2013 by

image credit to astraldreamer.deviantart.com/The causes of Fibromyalgia are not well understood, but the symptoms are documented in over 5 million Americans, according to the CDC. Stiffness, tingling, numbness, pain – in areas of the body not affected by disease or disorder. It occurs in over 3% of women, and less than 1% in men, and is described as general and persistent pain in various parts of the body.

A study at the University of Maryland found that many of their subjects found some relief in warm water therapy, such as that found in a bubbling hot tub or spa.

And I myself, as I have aged, have found myself victim to aches and pains in my joints, but also sometimes in odd areas, like my heels or mid-thigh. It sometimes starts just as a low numbness, but can tighten itself up into a pinching sharp pain.

Hot water and gentle movements restores blood flow to an area under blood constriction. Blood flow brings oxygen, and by just soaking, breathing and stretching, I can feel the pain slowly give up. A few times a month, my spa sessions are just like that – more therapy than anything else. I always find relief in my tub, and usually for the rest of the night, so I can sleep peacefully, without restless legs, or just feeling achy all over. That’s what it’s like sometimes.

It helps me to imagine that while I am taking deep, slow breaths in the hot tub, that I am directing the breath to the sore areas; that I am actually breathing the air all the way down to the painful area, whether it’s near my nose – in my neck, or down in my feet.

Rheumatologists have different ways of responding to fibromyalgia, and may include treatment in the following

  • Pharmaceuticals for pain management
  • Physical therapy and movement therapy
  • Massage or Hydrotherapy
  • Nutritional and Sleep analysis
  • Acupuncture or Network chiropractic

Some doctors have noticed differences in brain chemical activity during fibromyalgia episodes of pain. The perception of pain in different areas of the body is not felt until the brain responsible for pain acknowledgment in that area is signaled by neurotransmitters. Low serotonin levels in the same area have also been noted.

Many nutritional and herbal therapies are now being tested for efficacy in treating the symptoms of fibromyalgia, but there is no cure as of yet. Until they figure it out, I know one place that I can find relief – in my hot tub! Leave a comment if you also find that hot water helps!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

July 4th Hot Tub Party

July 1st, 2013 by

july-fourth-spa-partyWant to get some friends and family together, but don’t have a swimming pool? Do what I do – and host a July 4th Hot Tub Party!

Planning a July 4th Hot Tub party is just like any other Independence day party – the only difference is, your guests can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub.

Especially if you can see your local fireworks from your hot tub, it makes a great place to watch the fireworks show!

Here’s some tips on hosting a successful July 4th Hot Tub Party, without it being too complicated.

 

Prepare the Spa

A few days to a week before the party (in fact last night), I checked the water balance, lowered the pH down to 7.3-ish, and gave my spa a healthy shock treatment. On July 3rd, I’ll clean the filter, and vacuum the spa. Before the guests arrive, I’ll add some aromatherapy crystals to the tub – to set the mood.I’m thinking of using the Sweet Pea Apple sample I have, from Spazazz.

Those of you who know me, know that I love signs – so, since my spa is in the back of my house, I put a sign on the front door to lead guests around to the side gate. This keeps me from having to leave the party, go all the way upstairs and back downstairs again. When they reach the gate, I’ll have something patriotic on the gate, so they know they are entering a July 4th party!

Don’t start too early!

My July Fourth party starts at 6pm, so most guests should arrive by 7pm. I’ll be serving alcohol, so a shorter timeframe on the party should mean that my guests should leave the party – after the fireworks show, in a relatively sober state of mind.

patriotic-playlist

 

Pump up the Jams!

Every good party needs good music. For the Fourth of July, I created a play list full of patriotic songs, loaded onto my ipod, which I’ll run through twice during the evening.

When it’s time for the fireworks, even if it’s just sparklers, be sure to have John Philip Souza’s very famous version of “Stars & Stripes Forever” playing for your guests.

 

Turn down the Heat!

If you can get away with it, turn the heat down to around 100 degrees, especially if you have guests that are unaccustomed to hot tubs. This will also allow you to worry less about the guests overheating or staying too long in the hot tub. You may even want to have cooler water – 85 degrees, and use your spa as a cool water dunking station for your Hot guests.

If your hot tub buddies are old pros, they may want it bubblin’ at 104 or less – but remember to limit each guest to 30 minutes max in the tub. This is to allow room for other guests, but also to prevent dehydration and overheating on a warm summer night. With alcohol, a light headed dizzy feeling can come over those who spend too much time in the spa. Because of this, it’s also a good idea to help your guests get out of the spa safely.

Patriotic Food & Decorations

There’s no need to overdo it, so don’t stress out about having a dozen different red, white and blue recipes and elaborate decorations. Focus on just a few recipes and a few decorations.firecracker-centerpiece

For the decorations, I’ll have a patriotic display on the backyard gate, as mentioned earlier, and my food table will have a nice red tablecloth, and bunting hanging off the front. A firecracker centerpiece, made from wood scraps will be fun. I’ll also be proudly flying an American flag, of course.

For the food, I’m planning a Blueberry, Strawberries and White chocolate chip platter, and a big batch of firecracker punch. We’ll also have hot dogs, chips and cole slaw.

So, NBD – No Big Deal – you can pull off your own Hot Tub Party for July 4th. Whether just a few friends, or a block party – have a super-terrific Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday America!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs for Back & Joint Relief

June 27th, 2013 by

hot-tub-spa-therapyI suppose we’re stating the obvious here, I mean, everyone knows that back pain can be relieved by a soak in hot water, right? And, it makes sense that the same hot water therapy can relieve the pain and swelling of arthritic joints.

According to The National Institutes of Health, Spa therapy, or hot-water balneology, appears to be indicated for chronic low back pain, stabilized rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Clinical trial findings suggest that patients with knee and hand osteoarthritis may benefit.

OK, point proven. Hot tubs and spas are great for what ails ya. The combination of the heat and the body’s buoyancy in the water relax the central nervous system and allow blood to flow. Increased blood flow helps to relieve inflammation and swelling, and brings more white blood cells to your painful areas.

And if you have massage jets in your spa, you get the bonus benefit of hydro-massage to specific areas.

Back Pain

Chronic back pain is an extremely disabling condition, affecting millions of Americans. Persistent pain can be managed with pills, but for many, it’s the hot tub that brings steady relief.

back-painBack pain can be caused by vertebrae misalignment, or from compression on the nerves that pass through the spine. Warm water therapy has been shown to be useful (American Journal of Medicine) for those recovering from back or spine trauma. Range of motion exercises in the hot water can increase one’s flexibility in the affected region.

Although hot water soaks are great for backs, experts generally agree that for first aid treatment to back injuries, one should start with ice or cold compresses. After some stabilization of the area, alternating treatments of hot water soaking and cold compresses can be used. Weeks or months after an injury, hot tub therapy can continue to bring back pain relief and speed healing of the area.

 

Arthritis Pain

As early as 1938, the New England Journal of Medicine stated “No therapy has been shown to be more consistently effective at treating chronic arthritis, as is physical medicine, including hydrotherapy”.

arthritis-painArthritis can be of two types, rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is when the body’s defenses are weak, affecting joints and bones. Osteo-Arthritis is a more common type of arthritis, affecting joints and bones that had suffered previous injury. Another very painful type of arthritis is Gout, when crystals develop between and around the joints. The swelling and pain can be excruciating.

Fortunately, there is relief in hot water. The temperature of the water helps to increase blood flow, and reduce swelling, while numbing pain receptors. Constricted muscles slowly expand as the skin absorbs the moisture deep into the body. Toxins are drawn off, and one can finally relax.

Hot tubs aren’t a panacea for pain management, but they do provide real relief, and are an accepted treatment for back pain, arthritis, and many other ailments.

Does your spa bring therapeutic relief to you or your family? What benefits do you see? Which conditions is your spa or hot tub treating effectively?

We’d love to see your comments below!

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

 

Spas and Hot Tubs as Management Tools

June 6th, 2013 by

hot-tub-spa-therapy

Therapy is such a broad term, from aroma therapy to physical therapy. Hot water therapy boils it down a bit more, if you’ll excuse the pun.

Your hot tub or spa can be used to manage all sorts of therapies. I’m not talking about the “stress-reduction therapy” of a relaxing soak, but bonafide physiological benefits to using your hot tub.

Spas and hot tubs can provide specific relief to certain conditions, ailments and discomforts of life. Here’s a break down of 5 ways your spa can become a management tool.

 PAIN MANAGEMENT

For those that live with daily pain, hot water immersion can reduce pressure on joints and nerves by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. For the millions of Americans with Arthritis and other joint problems, hot tubs provide relief by loosening muscles and reducing stiffness. Areas of the body which have suffered stress or trauma also respond well to hot water and massage jets. Spas reduce pain for sore athletes or those injured in accidents. Those with chronic pain from Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome are also finding hot tubs to reduce their symptoms. Migraines, tendonitis, back and neck pain – all can be helped with regular use of your hot tub.

SLEEP MANAGEMENT

Studies have shown that those who have a hot water soak before bedtime fall asleep faster and sleep more restfully. Using a spa raises the body temperature, while massage jets relax the sore spots. Physical tension (stress) is reduced, as one floats buoyant and weightless in the spa. At first exit of the spa, an energy boost is common, followed by a feeling of relaxed tiredness. I’m usually careful not to use my spa before 9 o’clock or so, or I’m out early!

BLOOD PRESSURE MANAGEMENT

Spas will cause your blood pressure to drop, as your veins and arteries open up and allow the heart to pump with less restriction. Studies on spa users show lower blood pressure levels during and after using a hot tub. However, spas are not recommended for individuals advised to avoid vasodilation, due to high blood pressure. Also, avoid alcohol and cigarette use in the hot tub, which cause vasoconstriction, removing the benefit, and possibly being dangerous.

BLOOD SUGAR MANAGEMENT

People with high blood sugar, did you know that regular use of your hot tub can lower your levels, restoring balance to the blood? It’s true, subjects with Type 2 Diabetes showed reduced levels of blood sugar when they used their spa daily. For this reason, some people unable to exercise are using their spa as a way to control weight gain. The decrease in blood sugar is linked to reduced hunger and faster digestion. There’s even been a book written about it, the Hot Tub Diet.

RECUPERATION & RECOVERY

If you have been in an accident, or had a recent surgery, recovery time can be improved in a spa. Soaking and floating, using the buoyancy to practice mobility exercises and stretching of the affected areas, will increase blood flow and oxygen, and speed healing. A lower water temperature may be used for recuperative therapy, around 88 degrees, or whatever is most comfortable. Professional athletes know the benefit of a hot tub after a game or match, and so do many recreational athletes. I have one friend who comes over to use my spa after every marathon or half-marathon, or 10K that she runs.

So, what therapy is your spa bringing you? Spa owners also report general well being after using a spa – so at the very least, you can enjoy the Mood Therapy benefits of your spa or hot tub!

 

Carolyn Mosby
Hot Tub Works

 

12 Spectacular Spas & Hot Tubs

June 3rd, 2013 by

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs

 

I have always admired unique designs in spas and hot tubs. There are so many creative ways to enjoy hot water – indoors or out! With much respect to these hot tub designers, who unfortunately will have to remain nameless, as I don’t  know who they are!

Maybe these spa designs will spark some ideas about your own backyard hot springs. For most of us, (myself included), we have these boxy, aboveground spas. Functional, practical, every bit as soothing – but these spas below, they have something special.

 

Here’s a few images of some of the world’s top hot tubs – the most luxurious, alluring and peaceful places of hot water heaven. These are some of my favorite hot tub designs, and I’m glad to share them. You can share these, too!

Round cedar hot tub flanked by large outdoor wood deck.

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Another traditional wood hot tub with steps and lighted surround wall.

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Natural rock spa quarried from behind the house? Built from concrete and stone!

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Vinyl swim spa with auto cover, surrounded by wood deck & bamboo.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-10

 

This stone spa is fantastic! Love the unique fence, too.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-11

 

Another great use of wood decking to surround a hot tub. This one floats over the lake!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-12

 

And this spa floats over the ocean, with hues of blue to match!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-13

 

Tranquil, serene oasis overlooking the woods. Very zen.

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For a touch of elegance, the winner of the tile category, with classic roman ends.

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-15

 

This combination swim spa and hot tub has built in music, tv and bar! Party spa!

luxurious-spas-hot-tubs-16

 

California design? Would love this in my Californian backyard!

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I don’t see this in my backyard, but this resort sure has it going on!

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Thanks for checking out my gallery of spectacular spas and jaw dropping hot tubs! If you know where these tubs are, or were involved in the design of these fantastic hot tubs, we’d love to give you credit – leave a comment below!

 

- Jack

 

10 Fabulous Celebrity Hot Tubs

April 12th, 2013 by

luxe-hot-tub

If you’re like me, you enjoy the occasional voyeuristic and vicarious view into celebrity lifestyle. Here in Southern California, music, film and technology celebs are quite common, and also here in the O.C., everyone has a pool and spa.

What’s also common about celebrities is that they buy and sell houses in L.A. – all the time! My pics below were easily found by looking through the MLS realty listings for the area. I hope that doesn’t qualify me as a stalker! :-)

 

So, here’s a list of my top ten Celebrity Hot Tubs in Southern California. Which one is your favorite?

 

Top Ten Coolest Celebrity Hot Tubs

Britney Spears    

britney-spears

Matthew Perry   

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America Ferrera   

america-ferrera

Jim Carrey   

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Nick Lachey    

nick-lachey

Pink    

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Hulk Hogan    

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Jennifer Love Hewitt    

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Joey Fatone    

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Ashton Kutcher    

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What’s the one thing that is missing in all of these celebrity spa photos? That’s right Hot Tub Covers! I’m sure they just took it off for the picture, right? Most of these would be custom size and shape spa covers – but that’s our specialty! I was hoping I’d find more portable, aboveground spas and hot tub photos, but only Jim Carrey!

Enjoy your Hot Tubs, Celebrities and you regular folks, too!

 

XOXO;

Gina Galvin
Hot Tub Works

Bullfrog Spas Thaws out Frozen Polar Plungers

February 19th, 2013 by

bullfrog spas helps a charity event Polar Plunge

Bullfrog Spas sponsored a Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 9, a benefit for the Special Olympics.

In the frozen north, on Utah Lake near Saratoga Springs, Utah they placed a large eight person spa to allow participants to shake off the cold of the 35 degree lake water.

Polar Bear Plunges, if you are not familiar, are fund raising events, held during the coldest winter months. Participants pay a fee, and can raise pledge money from friends and family. Polar Bear Plunges, as they are sometimes called have become strong annual traditions in many northern towns.

This plunge has adopted the phrase “We’re Freezin’ for a Reason” as participants leap into icy waters. The ice is so thick that chain saws are used to open up the ice sheet and form a pool large enough to fit everyone.

And of course, the smart people at Bullfrog came up with the idea of sponsoring some of these events – what do people need the most after taking the plunge in cold water – Hot Water, of course! According to a participant who slipped into the 100 degree spa, “Your hot tub pretty much saved my life.”

Polar plungers frequently don outrageous costumes, or plan funny group plunges. Hot food and drinks are brought in by local restaurants. There are corporate teams, couples, families and individuals taking the icy plunge. Polar plunges are always a festive event, full of smiles of shrieks.

I suppose that we could do a “Grizzly Bear Plunge” here in Orange County – brrrr! 65 degree water! I wonder if Bullfrog spas would bring by their large 8-person spa? We can supply the spa cover and spa chemicals, heck, if we break it, we can even fix it with parts for a Bullfrog spa!

 

Bruce Springsteen, Me, And a Hot Tub

October 19th, 2012 by

bruuuuuce

It was a hot summer day on July 26, 1984 when I drove down Highway 401 to see a Bruce Springsteen concert at the CNE in Toronto. I had been hooked on The Boss ever since seeing him deliver a marathon show in January 1981 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

In 1984, Springsteen’s album Born in the U.S.A. was mammoth, delivering hit after hit — Dancing in the Dark, Glory Days, No Surrender, Darlington County, and the title track, Born in the U.S.A.

Certain albums can freeze time. And no matter how many years go by, the minute you hear that album, you are transported back to that period of your life. In the summer of 1984, Songs from Born in the U.S.A. blasted from car radios at red lights. You could hear the Boss everywhere, at a party, at the beach, the unmistakable voice singing I’m on Fire, volume reaching across Vincent Massey Park from a boom box that required 8 “D” cell batteries.

In those days, I wrote radio commercials for CFRA/CFMO (now BOB FM) and I was lucky enough to have my own office. An office that had a tiny cassette player with surprisingly loud volume ­— which I put to maximum use for hours on end, playing nothing but Bruce Springsteen music. It’s a wonder that none of my co-workers punched a hole through the wall.

Since my first Bruce concert, I was determined to own every album he ever made, and I knew all the words to all the songs.

I spent most of the summer of ’84 hanging out with two guys: Jeff Cohen (now the owner of the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto), and Barry Kaplan (now an Ottawa real estate agent). We had one thing in common: the ability to talk about Bruce Springsteen for hours and hours. Jeff even started dressing like “Born in the U.S.A.” Bruce Springsteen, right down to the bandana tied around his head. I tried that look too, but I could never get the bandana tight enough and it would slide down and cover my eyes.

Not only did Jeff have the look, he had all the connections. And it was through Jeff that I learned a couple of things on July 26th, 1984. Number one: Bruce Springsteen enjoys a hearty swim at his hotel on the day of a performance. And number two: In Toronto, that hotel was the Harbour Castle.

It was early afternoon when I arrived in Toronto, almost six hours before I was meeting a friend at the CNE to see Bruce Springsteen. I had left Ottawa ridiculously early because I had visions of Highway 401 construction containing me and my Acadian for an entire day and missing the show.

I thought about killing time by going straight to the CNE, eating some pogos and standing in line for the Twister ride, but then I had a better idea: I decided to try to get Bruce Springsteen’s autograph.

The concierge at the Harbour Castle Hotel didn’t flinch when I marched right up and asked, “Hi, where’s your swimming pool?”

I grabbed an elevator, and up I went. I arrived at the indoor pool area, where three kids were having a great time splashing about. Besides the kids and a hotel towel guy, there was no one else, which neither surprised nor disappointed me, as I had little faith that my hotel side trip would actually lead to anything interesting. I started to walk away from the pool area when a sound made me turn around. In hindsight, my about-face was likely due to a rather loud gasp from the towel guy. Which was quickly followed by a gasp of my own.

Bruce Springsteen had just slipped through a back door and entered the pool area. He wore a navy T-shirt, camouflage pants, and a baseball cap, all of which were being peeled off and tossed onto a patio chair. Now clad only in his regular-guy swim trunks, the Boss dove into the swimming pool and swam right by me. I froze. I knew that getting Bruce’s autograph would be tough, considering the fact that he was now wet.

The kids had climbed out of the pool and disappeared. Even the towel guy was nowhere in sight. That left just two people in the pool area: Bruce Springsteen. And me. I did my best to blend in, sitting casually in a patio chair next to the hot tub, stealing only the occasional glance at the Boss, who, as it turned out, was a Spitz-like super swimmer. Ten laps of the pool. Twelve. Fifteen. I kept my head down and waited for that amazing moment, when Bruce Springsteen would be dry enough to sign an autograph. Bruce finally climbed out of the pool, toweled himself off, and just as I summoned the courage to ask for his signature, walked straight past me and jumped into the hot tub. Yet again, the Boss was wet.

“It’s really nice in here,” I heard the words but didn’t think they were being directed at me. “Yes, I’m talking to you.” A gruff but friendly voice from the hot tub. “Why don’t you come on in?”

The fact that I was wearing street clothes was a minor detail. I wanted more than anything to be super cool, to say the right thing, even be a bit aloof. “I guess I could come in for a minute or two.” So, in the hot tub I went, shorts, T-shirt, sandals and all. Bruce was kind enough to ignore the fact that both of my sandals quickly floated to the surface of the hot tub and one of them was sucked onto a filter.

I couldn’t bring myself to admit why I was in the pool area in the first place: for the slight possibility that he would be there. I was nervous but I couldn’t look nervous because that would give away the fact that I knew who he was, which I did, but I didn’t want him to know that I knew who he was, and that made me even more nervous. I abandoned any hope for an autograph, because that would give everything away. Bruce Springsteen was my rock and roll hero, he was in amazing shape, he was sitting across from me in a hot tub.

Then a funny thing happened. We had a lovely conversation. We talked about things that anyone would talk about … weather, movies, the Toronto Blue Jays. Why it’s a good idea to swim every day. Which carnival ride is the scariest. Bruce was engaging, he was funny, he made me laugh. The time flew by and about an hour later Bruce finally said “I gotta go … it’s sound check time.” I responded with, “I know. I have tickets to your show tonight.” He looked a bit surprised. But nothing prepared me for what he said next. “Would you like to join me for sound check?”

I often wonder how many people in my shoes (or, waterlogged sandals) would have jumped at the chance to join Bruce Springsteen for a pre-show sound check. Probably all of them. But, in that Toronto hotel hot tub, I turned down the invitation from the Boss. I felt it was more important that I earned his respect. I didn’t want him to think I was a “groupie.” Do I regret my decision? Sometimes. But at least I had my pride. As much pride as someone can have while trying to pull her sandal out of a hot tub filter.

Moments before Bruce Springsteen disappeared through the back door, I took advantage of the fact that he was finally dry, and asked for an autograph.

Friday night at Scotiabank Place was my 31st Springsteen show. But I will never forget one show in particular, where it was impossible to wipe the smile off my face, after a sweet afternoon with the Boss. Just don’t call me a groupie.

Sandy Sharkey is a radio personality with 93.9 BOB

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