Monday, February 11, 2008

Travel the World Without Seeing a Damned Thing

I'm a huge fan of's Ask the Pilot column and have linked to it before. Well, Patrick Smith has come up with another one that I just feel compelled to share:

Ask the Pilot: You call this traveling?

(Non-members, just click through the advert for a site pass to the article.)

Saturday, February 09, 2008


Okay, so over the last month I've been trying to wrap up that tile job in my front hall that I started on way way way back when. (The carpet was pulled out over a year ago!) It took three shifts to get the floor prepped and leveled (alas, still not level enough and I'm ashamed of how crooked things turned out), two shifts of mortaring to get the hall and then the closet tiled, then another shift of gluing to get the baseboard tiles in place, and so finally all that was left was to grout and seal.

So today I started on the grout job... ugh! I thought this would be the easy part after all the rest but it's a fucking nightmare! I was originally going to grout the floor before putting in the baseboard tiles, but the genius at Home Depot told me it would be less work to just grout everything all at once. Okay, maybe for someone who knows what they're doing that would be true; but here's one for you Einstein; I came to Home Depot to ask for your advice because I DON'T FUCKING KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!

Getting grout into the seam between the floor tiles and wall tiles is damned near impossible with merely a grout float and zero skills, and in the corners where three grout lines meet up it's even more fucking difficult. After a half hour of futzing I finally just gave up and started using my finger to push the shit into the crack like caulk, but the sharp edges of the tile snaps and the blood they quickly produced cured me of that stupid notion... Eventually I managed to sort of half-assedly get the grout in there, but I think I'll have to go over it again because the seams are only half filled, and raggedly at that.

Alas, worse was yet to come. To prevent grout haze on your tiles, you have to wipe them down with a damp (not wet) sponge. A lot. Then change the water and repeat. About 10 bazillion fucking times. Well I don't know, I wasn't getting the sponge dry enough or something because the grout just kept washing out of the cracks and hazing the tiles all over again, and I can't for the life of me produce a clean edge or a haze free tile. I finally gave up and pinned my hopes on the final step, waiting a few hours and then buffing with a dry cloth. Well that worked great on the flat floor tile but those fucking corner seams screwed me again. The half-dry grout got dragged out of them and scratched the tile glaze all to hell, leaving permanent dark-assed markings. (Did I mentioned it's charcoal grout with snow white tile? Yeah.)

Oh, and the worst, Mr Home Depot Einstein assured me that one box of grout was more than enough for my small amount of square footage. Well I only mixed half the box because I had a feeling things wouldn't go as easily as described in the pamphlets, and didn't want the mix to start drying out on me while I was still working. Well half a box didn't even finish my closet, and a quick look at the square footage listed on the side of the box reveals that Mr Home Depot Einstein is in fact a stupid fucking moron. After a full days work I've got about three quarters of a closet grouted to show for it. Badly grouted that is.

So the plan now is just to finish the closet where no one can really see the bollocks job I did of it, then hire someone to do the rest of the work that people will actually see. The pamphlets and web sites make it all sound so easy, a one-weekend do it yourself project. Friday night, surface prep; Saturday, tile; Sunday, grout. Yeah right! No matter how much work I've poured into this project it always feels like I still have as much left to go as when I started this whole 'one-weekend' job. I am sick of this shit; and Tammy's "no health questions asked" life insurance policy (hah, the fools!) paid out this week; so fuck it... I'll just throw money at the job until it goes away.

Mercifully, blessedly, away.