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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Caulk Blocked

I swear to god, this is not becoming an all-moving, all-the-time, house-hunting get-it-sold harried homeowner site.

I promise. It won’t. There are plenty of other things to talk about besides my wife and I entering our first house-selling-at-the-same-time-as-house-buying circus.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of any of them right now. So it’s another ‘Happy Homeowner post, just for today. On the bright side, this one involves my wife’s caulk.

I said ‘caulk‘, there, sparky. Keep yer mind out of the gutter, for once. This story does involve a bathtub, and eventually a naked person, but it’s not the one you want. Frankly, it’s not the one anyone wants. We’ll get to that in a minute. Back to the caulk.

Way back several weeks ago, when we picked out a broker to help sell our house, she gave us a few pointers. Fresh flowers for the open house. Anything that needs to be repaired, painted, or tossed out, do it now. And, she offered with a sly wink, this would be a super time to recaulk the bathtub.

“Hell hath no fury like a wet flabby man shoehorned out of his bathtub by a team of emergency personnel.”

Evidently, that’s something people look for when they browse a home. Forget whether the place is falling down, on fire, or sitting directly on a commercial airstrip. Are those cracks around the tub sealed properly, is what people want to know. Personally, that sort of thing would be pretty far down my list of items to check — somewhere after structural integrity, foundation sinkholes, roof leakage, badger damage, exploding water heaters, poltergeists, snake nests and whether there are any bodies crammed in the crawlspaces. That’s just me, I guess.

Still, if people want the caulk, I’ll give them the caulk. Or rather, my wife will. Which sounds like it would be awfully embarrassing for everyone involved.

Moving right along, then.

Being the proactive homeowning tiger that she is, the missus decided on Saturday afternoon to take our realtor’s advice and caulk our bathtub. I was working somewhere else in the house at the time — reports that I was napping on a pile of laundry in the basement are grossly overstated, probably — and so missed out on all of the hot girl-on-tub caulking action. I was only, in fact, made aware of my wife’s plans when she later found me — drooling on a pile of towels — and declared:

Well, I recaulked the tub.

I congratulated her on a job that I assumed was well-done — or at least a hell of a lot weller-done than if I’d attempted it — and asked the obvious question for someone who’s unfamiliar in the ways of bathtime caulkage:

So… now what?

Well, now we can’t get it wet for thirty-six hours.

I did a little sleepy math in my head.

You mean, we can’t take a shower until… like, six o’clock Monday morning?

Nope. Afraid not.

That threw me for a loop. Here it was, barely Saturday afternoon, and we’d have to go showerless until Monday morning? But think of the heat, woman — it’s going to be eighty degrees all weekend. There’s a full day of yard work we have planned tomorrow. And we don’t have any air conditioning. Also, I’m pretty sure these towels I’ve been sleeping on haven’t been washed yet, and they’re making me a little itchy. How the hell am I supposed to get clean before Monday?

Guess you’ll just have to take a bath.

She took me to have a closer look at her caulk. I could see then that the new goo was applied around the top of the tub and down the sides, so a shower couldn’t possibly work. But a bath, if one were careful to keep the water from sloshing over the rim of the tub, would work just fine. Lots of people bathe rather than shower, she assured me. No doubt I could handle one weekend bath, too.

I only saw three problems with her logic. First, I haven’t taken a bath for cleaning purposes in close to thirty years. Which brings up the second, who the hell knows where my favorite rubber ducky has gotten off to? I’ve never bathed without ducky before — I’d feel all… naked in there. Third, and most importantly, I’ve grown a couple of feet longer and some indeterminate number of inches wider since my last trip into a tub. So help me, if the fire brigade has to come in and rescue me from that thing, it’s on her head. Hell hath no fury like a wet flabby man shoehorned out of his bathtub by a team of emergency personnel.

(Well, okay, that’s probably not true. Hell probably wouldn’t get so winded and short of breath about it. From what I understand, Hell involves a lot more cardio training than I’ve been getting lately. A couple hours of volleyball a week is one thing. Slogging through a pool of lava while pitchforks are poking at your kidneys is frankly probably better for your heart.

Not your kidneys, of course. But the heart, no question. Advantage, Hell.)

Still. ‘Bathtub clean’ is to ‘no clean’, as ‘bathtub gin’ is to ‘no gin’. Which is to say, an outstanding improvement. So, when I woke on Sunday morning, I stumbled off to the bathroom to make literal use of the place, for once in my adult life. I won’t go into the gory details, you can thank me later, but I do have a couple of observations from the experience to share:

  • Bathtubs are designed for the exclusive use of children and little people, apparently. I’m six-foot-three, and was hoping to get mostly submerged to get wet. I might as well have hoped to crawl inside a Pringles can.
  • I realized that one of the beautiful things about showering is that you really don’t have to look at what you’re doing. You know where all the parts are, and can look straight ahead or close your eyes, barring any sort of Psychoeqsue showery surprise. In the bath, you’re just… right there at eye level, the whole time. Or possibly a little above eye level, which can’t be any good. And you have to watch what you’re doing with the washcloth and pay attention to what’s submerged and what isn’t and… mercy. I said earlier that no one wants to see me in the bath. Well, I found out the hard way, that includes me.
  • You might think that rinsing your hair in the bath is like riding a bike. Even if you haven’t done it in many years, it’s not something you easily forget. The bump on my head, the water I accidentally snurfed up my nose, and the ear I can’t hear out of properly any more would beg to differ. That’s the most awkward and embarrassing thing I’ve done on my knees in a bathtub since… well. Let’s just not bring up the freshman formal back in college. I’m still repressing over here.

In the end, I got marginally cleaner, probably. And I don’t think I caused any permanent damage to myself, the tub, or to the precious newly-squeezed caulk. Thank goodness. Otherwise, my wife would have had to re-apply it, and I’d be going showerless into the work week. I think I’d have to call in a couple of sick days, honestly.

And if I conked myself any harder on the faucet or snorted up more bathwater, I might actually need them. Thank goodness a good caulking only comes ’round once a decade or so. I’d never make it otherwise.

Permalink  |  2 Comments



2 Responses to “Caulk Blocked”

  1. Venom says:

    Doesn’t matter whether you buy first, last or at the same time – it’s always a painful process.

    Loved your story.

  2. petra says:

    Its kind of funny cuz my hubby and I have a running joke about me and caulk and how he thinks that I think that caulk can cure anything that ails you. Kind of like men with duct tape. And for the record, at least I am TRYING to fix the problem….

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