Friday, December 5, 2008

Grout v. skin: Grout 1, skin 0

I don't know what the chemicals are that make up sanded grout, but they cannot be good. The skin on my hands is dry and cracked and rough and scuffed and it feels tight and I have already dosed it with super-lotion and it just drank it. Time for another dose, and it's only been an hour or so since the last one. Damn.


Honestly, my greatest strength is my confidence in myself.

Regrettably, my greatest weakness is also my confidence in myself.

Today took much longer and accomplished much less than I had hoped.

But the grout is done. Nearly two full boxes (seven pounds each) of sanded antique white grout have been installed in those nasty little spaces between the tiles. It took me 9. 5 hours to take out those miserable fucking rubber spacers, scrape down the excess adhesive, replace the one tile that tried to make a run for it, and apply grout (and wipe clean) to the space I am calling the phone booth. I spent far too many hours kneeling in the entrance to the shower stall, grout float in one hand, trowel in the other, leaned over in a way that offends both my back and my stomach muscles, trying to convince that loose wet sand to get into the cracks and stay there. Ouch.


Shortly after I arrived this morning, the owner came hustling into the little cabin where I've been working. "I've got a problem" he said. Uh-oh. That's never good.

Seems he was concerned about the pattern I had used on the back wall of the stall. It didn't match the other two walls and he wasn't sure he liked it. He feared that all of the toxic fumes had rendered me mad, that I had taken leave of my senses and just stuck the tiles up willy-nilly. When I explained how it was "an architectural feature" to hide the fact that the stall is wider at the top than the bottom and that it is because the cabin is just a little out of plumb, he was much relieved and decided he liked it after all.

Although, by the time I was done putting grout in those nasty little zig-zag seams, I was about ready to take leave of my senses.

The parts that were over the entrance to the stall were especially tricky. Pushing loose, wet sand into an overhead crack is not as easy as it sounds. And it doesn't sound easy at all. I had grout in my hair before I was done.

I must return on Monday to spray on the sealant and do the drywall and trim work. I'll bring my shop vac and clean up as much as possible as I collect my tools for the next job. We'll hope that day's work doesn't take more than I plan.


Anonymous said...

Wicked nice. homeowners are a pain in the ass. looking forward to seeing it all trimmed out.


Queenie said...

There is lye in grout - a sad lesson I learned doing mosaic art. When you are working this weekend and Monday, cover your hands in vaseline (yes, I know it is yukky) and wear gloves. The cracks will heal and by Tuesday a.m. your hands will be oh, so, soft. Next time, wear latex gloves! This is your mom speaking.

Anonymous said...

Dang. Is this the cabin's main shower? I still can't get over how small it is. Great work, though!

A Spot of T said...

I've looked at this from every angle and still can't see how I would ever get my butt in there for a shower. Or maybe I could get in there but just not turn around. I'm quite fascinated by this shower all of a sudden. How many Joy's can you fit in one small shower the size of a phone booth. This will keep me occupied for days you know.