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« More Important Things Than Blogging, Like Regrouting My Bathroom | Main | Hell Is Other People »

December 05, 2004


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It feels pointless now but you'll have to have no ego at all not to look at it a few months from now without congratulating yourself for doing it on your own.

When I was a kid, my mother, my brother and I put ceramic tile in our huge basement. It would have cost too much to hire professionals so my brother did the tile and I was in charge of the grouting. The tile looked goregeous when he was finished. My mother picked a dark brown grout - also gorgeous - but when we started putting it in, it smeared everywhere. She was sure that we had done something wrong and that her floor would look like an angry child's finger painting for the rest of her life. So she starts to cry. In desperation, I took a heavy towel, soaked it, wrung it out and dragged it over the floor. The smeared grout disappeared and the floor was beautful again. Mom stopped crying and we all made fun of her for being such a namby pamby when she had such brilliant and traumatized children to rely on.

Some of my best memories are from home improvement projects even though at the time I would never have believed that would happen. Remember that when one of you starts to cry.

Of course grout smears everywhere. Crikey, that's how you get it into the tile joints.

Smears, yes. I used the wrong word. She was worried about the film that was left on the tile and wouldn't budge.

Ah. Damp sponge before it cures, then dry terrycloth after it's cured -- your approach also works just fine. I tiled several bathrooms recently. The interim-stage haze is unattractive, though, that's true.

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