A couple of months back, Jess said the six words that I was hoping never to hear.
“The bathtub needs to be recaulked.”
Each project that she gives me is another sterling opportunity to showcase my ineptitude.
Take, for instance, the new toilet paper dispenser that she wanted me to assemble. I looked at the directions. They seemed straightforward enough. The project, according to the instruction leaflet, should be completed in twelve minutes.
Two and a half hours later, there were so many drill holes in the wall that it resembled an aerial photograph of a golf course.
On the plus side, the dispenser has been mounted — albeit lopsided. And wobbly.
But, not all of my home improvement efforts take ten times longer than expected to finish. No, no…. some take much longer.
Putting up a curtain rod across a bay window should take twelve hours only if you’re a pre-kindergarten student with head trauma. Sadly, it took me even longer than that. During that period, I broke three drill bits– and had a fourth fully intact drill bit hideously protruding from the wall akin to a tranquilizer dart in an unruly bronco’s hide. Removing that from the wall was time consuming… but an absolute fucking joy.
Caulking was not just another optional beautification project hellbent on stealing countless weekend hours away, however. There were visible patches of black mold showing through the clear silicone below the tiles in our shower. Everyone knows that if left untreated, those patches of mold would form a gang and conspire to snatch our wallets.
I wasn’t about to let us fall prey to mildew criminal activity. It was time to take action.
That all important first step came when Jess and I were in a Boscov’s department store looking for sunglasses to replace the pair that our dim bulb of a puppy had chewed the lenses out of. Mere seconds after entering the store, we stumbled across a table that was laden with a stack o’ these:
A complete caulking kit? For a perfect finish? Sold!
A week passed. Then another. On the third weekend, Jess had plans for the evening. I figured I’d surprise her with a professional-looking seal around the tub. After all, I had the complete caulking kit.
The contents of this complete kit were a caulk removal tool, a tube of Kwik Seal Plus about the size of a travel toothpaste, and several blue applicators.
The removal tool resembled a shoehorn — but wasn’t nearly as well designed. The tip broke off as soon as it touched the old grout. I realized with horror that I had thrown away all of the broken drill bits from the curtain rod fiasco. They would have been perfect for the task. Oh, well. I ended up using a wire coat hanger to scrape away the funk nasty sealant.
And the tiny tube of caulk? It was comparable to The Complete Vampire Slaying Kit including a sharpened toothpick. Sure, it was nice of the fine folks at National Express, Inc. to throw it in, but for caulking something as gigantic as an entire bathtub, their caulk offering was nowhere near adequate.
Luckily, I had a caulk gun and a big old tube of caulk left over from when I had housemates who knew how to use contraptions like caulk guns.
The complete caulk kit was shaping up to be a complete failure. All that remained in the box were two flimsy blue rubber applicators. I mentally braced myself for a tedious and unfruitful evening.
Long story short, I had reserved a three hour block of time to finish working in the bathroom, since it takes a normal person about twenty minutes.
Not only did the protective bead around the tub look astonishingly…. fair – good, even… I was able to make it out of the W.C. in time for the first pitch of the Phillies game (Okay, so this was a game that Ryan Madson blew in the ninth inning, but if given the choice between watching the home team lose or spending the same three hours fumbling through a DIY, America’s pastime always wins).
I completed a household task that’s supposed to take twenty minutes within twenty minutes — and didn’t totally screw anything up! Obviously, those blue Pro Caulk edgers are little miracle workers.
All in all, I was pleased with the Pro Caulk kit — though future reissues should come with a wire coat hanger.
Where to Buy: Pro Caulk Caulking Kit at Asseenontvandmore.com
Number of times the word caulk appears in this review: 15 or so.