One of my spring break projects was to paint the bathroom ceiling, window, and window frame. And I did. But then, I had a paint brush in my hand, and the trim looked pretty skanky... So I painted the trim. No problem. And then the trim looked so fresh and clean. But the baseboards looked horrendous. So I thought, “I’ll paint them too.”
Now in the spirit of full disclosure, I knew that something might be up with the baseboards. I hadn’t really inspected them, and Matthew is the one who mops the bathroom, but I suspected that the baseboard project might not be the ten minute job that it looked like. I got down on my hands and knees with my paintbrush and discovered that the baseboards were covered with several inches tall of caulk. Kind of odd. But since old caulk needs to be removed, I removed it.
People tend to use caulk to hide something. In this case, dryrot. Behind the layers of caulk was nothing. The caulk was gooped there to hide the fact that the wood was disintegrated. So I got some wood hardener from the basement and soaked what remained of the baseboard. (Wood hardener is amazing stuff. If you buy an old house like ours, invest in wood hardener, Great Stuff, and Bondo—you can fix anything.)
While that was drying, I moved on to baseboards behind the toilet. Inches of caulk here too. I loosened a section and pulled. And up popped about forty octagonal floor tiles. Apparently when the tiles came loose, the previous owners decided to spread caulk all over the floor and shove the tiles into the caulk. Do you know how heinous this is? All the tiles have to be scraped and scrubbed. Then the old grout had to be knocked off with a hammer. (Ariel helped me and claims that she’s lost feeling in her fingers.) Then the tiles all have to be properly set and grouted. And now they look amazing and the baseboard has been painted.
But then the tiles, the ceiling, the window, the trim all looked great. But the tub, well, the caulk on that looked vile (the caulk that the previous owners used—a pox on them—wasn’t mildew resistant). Plus the dry rot was coming from drips from the tub. So I removed the caulk—layers of caulk. They’d just put new caulk over old caulk. Last night, I re-caulked. And the tub looks fantastic, at least comparatively. But now...the cabinet doesn’t look so good. And the knobs are dated. Hmmm. I have more paint and five knobs would be cheap. I think I hear another project calling my name.
P.S. (On a totally different topic) For those of you interested in the progress of my platypus, here’s the latest. My final beta reader gave me a “thumbs up.” Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t send out my novel to several betas at the same time. I dole it out one by one. So my first beta gives me suggested corrections. And I make the changes. Then my second beta reads it, and I make her suggested changes, etc. So by the final beta read, I’m hoping that the book is good to go. Now the only thing that remains is to write a letter of introduction (i.e., a query) for my platypus. I need to convince prospective agents that they don’t want a duck, they want my platypus, which has the nicest bill, the warmest fur, and the coolest venomous spurs.