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Archive for March, 2012

My mother said her mother once gave her a valuable piece of advice, “Don’t ever learn to milk a cow or clean fish and you will never have to do it.”
Mother didn’t learn and she never had to do either even though she was married to a man who hunted until fishing season came in and fished until hunting season came back in.
She never cleaned a fish and didn’t fry too many. Daddy always fried them outside.
I didn’t listen and learn from my grandmother’s piece of advice. I was eager to learn how to milk a cow when I stayed with her. She hadn’t listened to the advice herself and milked many cows during her 73 years.
Being the oldest in a family of no boys, I often helped Daddy with a project if there were no boys or men around.
Therefore, I know a little about various workings around the house and also a car.
Wayne and I have lived in the house we now call home for 17 years. We have painted walls, built a deck and laid hardwood floors, just to name a few projects.
So when I was in the main bathroom one day and noticed how bad of a caulking job someone did around the tub, I thought I could replace that caulk and make an instant difference to the looks of the tub.
My goal is to replace the sinks and tub surround before I die and put an end to my trying to make mauve an acceptable color in the bathroom that every friend and guest use.
I knew I could make it look so much better.
I don’t even remember how long it took me to get to Lowe’s and buy a tube of caulk and get in there to get-r-done.
Caulk Day finally arrived. I entered that bathroom with that trusty tube of caulk, a putty knife, a window scraper, a rag to wipe the excess, a wallpaper brush to sweep the area clean, and a small garbage can to keep my work space tidy.
I began by scraping the old clumpy mildewed caulk. The area had to be clean, dry, and free of any of the old caulk. Whew! This was going to take some time. You could scrape some off, but it was rubbery and often sprung back into place.
Nevertheless, I was determined. I would scrape, pull and deposit in the garbage can until my neck and shoulders yelled “Stop.” Then I would take a break often until the next day, and start again.
The sides looked good so I was going to leave them alone, but there was this one place … then I had to do each side.
When it was clean and dry, I started to caulk.
Rule #1 Make a tiny hole in the tube. This helps with the amount of caulk that comes out at a time.
It was easy, according to the tube directions and what I had seen done before while looking over a shoulder.
You just keep even pressure on the tube and move along at a steady consistent pace.
Trust me, not as easy as it sounded.
I always thought caulk was used to seal cracks so water wouldn’t get in behind the walls and eventually rot them. Not! There were huge-to-me gaps that the caulk was hiding.
Then came the wiping to smooth with a wet finger part. This also worked in the beginning until I had more on my finger than on the wall. I had caulk all over my hands, on my clothes and in my hair.
Thank God I had a wet towel. A wash cloth wouldn’t do.
So I worked, squirted, smoothed, and wiped for two weeks. It is not perfect, but it is better than it was.
Whoever did this job before me, I apologize for every negative thought I had about you being lazy and just in a hurry to get the job done.
I thought about my grandmother’s advice. Maybe I should have taken it to heart. Maybe I should have kept my delicate southern hands with a perfect manicure and out of this small project.
The way I see it, I would have missed some valuable lessons of life.

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