Monday, February 29, 2016

Sucking Caulk

When my husband goes away on business trips, I usually try to take on some household project I have no business doing, in an effort to surprise him when he gets home. Now I'm a cheap bastard, and I won't pay people to do jobs I think I can do myself. The operative word here is "think." Sometimes my skill level doesn't match my confidence level. So while my husband was making plans for his business trip this last week, I was making plans for my next home project...the shower.  We have some weird combo of tile, glass, brass, and whatever that stuff is that they use for tubs and showers. Because there are so many junctions, our shower needs a butt load of caulk (which I pronounce "caulllllllk" around the hubby, since that perv is always trying to get me to say the "C" word for weenie).

The last time it needed to be replaced, my husband did it, so when it started to crack and mold again, I figured it was my turn. How hard can it be? I watch people do it on television all the time. First, I needed to gather my materials. I went to Lowe's and found white silicone that had a lifetime guarantee, a promise of 10 years with no mold, and a 30 minute drying time. Perfect, so I picked up a tube. Then I started much would I need? So I picked up two...then three...then four. You know, just to be safe.

I already had some odd plastic hooky grabber thing used to remove old caulk, another tool to smooth it out, and the squeezy thing you put the tubes of silicone in to squish it out, so I was set.

First off, removing the old silicone was a lot harder than I thought, but I was persistent. After that, came the "more toxic that mold" mold remover, and then I was ready for the silicone. Since the shower really needed to be completely dry, I put off the caulking until the next day. I didn't figure it would take very long.

I woke up rejuvenated and ready to caulk. I cut the top off the first tube, and put it in the squeezy thing. I pushed like a freak, but nothing came out. So I stuck one of my scissor blades down the opening, and voila! I pushed again, and big blob spooged out. Unfortunately, it landed on my finger, so I grabbed the first piece of paper I saw and scraped it off. That gave me pause. It was kind of hard to get off, but since I planned on being neat and efficient, I wouldn't need gloves. After all, I had tools, but I grabbed the last paper towel I had in the bathroom, just in case I accidentally got some overgoo on the brass or tile.

The first line of silicone was perfect, even and beautiful. Since it was supposed to dry quickly, I opted to use the smoothing tool as I went along. So I put the squeezy thing down and picked up the little piece of edging plastic. I spun it around, trying to decide what would be the best side to use. I quickly realized that none of the sizes were going to work. I looked around and saw that the silicone remover tool had a curved edge that might  fit. It was exactly the right size. Disaster averted. Now, I just needed to smooth out that line and repeat as I went around the shower.

As I began to drag the curved edge of the remover tool along the line of silicone, a wad of excess caulk started to grow like a rolling snow ball barreling downhill. The increasing mass of goo started to overflow onto the tile and brass. I realized that I wasn't going to make it to the end of the line without cleaning off the tool, so I used my one paper towel to remove the blob and continued on.

Here's where things started to unravel. I wanted to clean up the excess that had spilled over onto the brass and tile, but the huge goo ball on my one paper towel wasn't going to cut it. I didn't have time to go downstairs, so I grabbed the closest thing...a roll of toilet paper.

I started trying to wipe off the excess caulk, but the toilet paper wasn't working well. I had to keep using more and more, but I was fighting a losing battle. It was drying faster than I thought. I didn't want to panic, so I told myself I would go ahead and finish the rest, and then come back with the scraper tool and scratch it off.

I picked up the squeezy thing, but I saw the giant caulk ball on the paper towel and thought, "What a waste." I paid a lot for this stuff, and it wasn't right to leave all that good caulk on a paper towel. So, I decided to use the excess before starting a new line. Unfortunately, I made the colossal error of using my finger. I figured I would just use one finger. No biggie. I went back and forth between the squeezy thing, the curved tool, and spreading the extra caulk with my finger. Before I knew it, I had silicone everywhere. It's like it started to reproduce. My lines looked like a nausea inducing roller coaster.

Eventually, I got it all done, and started with my master clean-up plan. I took the scraper and started with the first line I did because of the short drying time. It was no use. I scraped and scraped, but the silicone wouldn't budge. Then, I accidentally hit the line I had smoothed, and cut a groove it. It's ok. I can repair it. So I started to run the smoothing edge back over it, but it was already drying and my "repair" caused enough dimpling to rival my thighs. The brass edges were now opaque, and the tile looked like it had been hit with crippling snow storm. At this point, I realized that anything I did was just going to make it worse. I was going to have to let it go.

I decided to focus on the clean up instead. My one finger had turned into ten, and it looked like I was wearing white gloves. I turned on the faucet in the sink and quickly realized that I was screwed. Water rolled off my hands like a duck's back. I got the soap and started to scrub like a freak, trying not to panic. I didn't even make a dent, so I started scratching at it. That only made more caulk balls under my nails. That's when I had the bright idea to use one of my face towels. No one uses those anyway. I dug one out of the closet and scraped off the silicone. Sweet! It mostly worked. I had to get a pin to dig that crap out of my wedding ring. No one can cuss me like I can cuss me.

Afterwards, I was looking at the three left over tubes in the Lowe's bag, thinking. "Well, at least I can get some money back." I just needed the receipt. That's when I realized that piece of paper I grabbed to wipe off that first glop of silicone was my Lowe's receipt. Oddly enough, it had dried on everything but the receipt.  

Now I'm waiting for hubby to come home. I have prepared myself for the inevitable teasing I'm going to get. Of course, he's going to want to score since he's been out of town, so he'll give me lots of praise tonight. Hell will come with his morning shower. At least, I can comfort myself with the fact that the shower is completely waterproof...and so are my hands, my rings, a paper towel, one half of my scissors, some of my hair, a roll of toilet paper, the bathroom garbage can, the squeezy caulk thing, both silicone tools, my t-shirt, a chuck of my upper left thigh...

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