I am woman, hear me caulk

By Mir
October 5, 2006

I fixed the shower wall that no one broke.

That’s right. You heard me. I. Fixed. It.

I’ve always wanted to be a HANDY person. In reality, I’m just not all that handy. What I am is impatient and lazy. You know how when you put together chocolate and peanut butter, it’s a great combination called a Reese’s cup? When you put together impatient and lazy, it’s a great combination we’ll euphemistically call RESOURCEFUL.

I am ALL KINDS of resourceful. You betcha.

The children have been showering in my bathroom, and it’s been a great reminder for me about why I feel that a master bathroom is my God-given right as a mortgage-paying adult. I would rather live in a house one quarter the size of my current one and still have my own bathroom than in a house twice this size where I have to share one with the children.

For starters, they leave a trail of dirty laundry through my room on their way; then they forget their towels and shout for me to fetch them. Once actually IN the shower, they are incapable of arranging the shower curtain so that water doesn’t get all over the floor, nor can they actually reach any of the cleaning items they need. The end result is that I have to stand there and supervise.

[I pull the curtain closed. I open the curtain and fetch the shampoo from the shelf. I close the curtain. I open the curtain and hand over the soap. I close the curtain. I bang my head on the wall for a while. I open the curtain and give the child a towel. Then I cap it all off with a warm fuzzy “STOP GETTING WATER ALL OVER THE FLOOR! DRY OFF! DRY OFF!!”]

My motivation to repair the shower was running pretty high, is what I’m telling you.

So yesterday, I assessed the damage. I peeled away several layers of ancient caulk and examined the fault lines along the afflicted tiles and I realized something that it pains me to admit.

My kids didn’t break it.

Oh, sure; they pulled on it or something and caused it to come off the wall, yes. But AAAAAAAAAALL that caulk that had been there before? The places where the tiles were cracked? It was a pre-existing injury. I had often wondered why anyone would use half a tube of caulking around a soap dish. Now I know: it’s handy for covering up cracks!

I thought about replacing all of the tiles in the affected area. I thought about going to Home Despot and getting all the necessary supplies, and whether or not they would even have such lovely puke green tiles available to match my extremely modern bathroom (ahem). I thought about all of these things.

And then I grabbed my trusty tube of Liquid Nails (it says RIGHT THERE that it’s recommended for wall tiles!) and I glued my little heart out.

Cracked tiles? Glued along the crack. Tiles off the wall? Glued back onto the wall. Voila!

The problem came when it was time to LET GO and resume the rest of my life. There was no adequate way to clamp the soap dish (clamp it to what?), which still wanted to fall off the wall. After a few failed experiments and a lot of fancy maneuvering on my part (as I was kneeling in the bathtub, pressing the soap dish into the wall), I had a fancy makeshift clamp in place. That would be one bottle of shampoo wedged between the bottom of the soap dish and the lip of the tub, with some assistance from a wadded up washcloth.

I rock.

That was yesterday. Today, I removed the washcloth and shampoo bottle and THE SOAP DISH STAYED ON THE WALL. As did the surrounding tiles. Which made my heart sing a happy little tune along the lines of “You damn kids get out of my bathroom now! Okay, thanks!” But the job was only halfway done.

I took out my trusty caulking gun (what? I totally had a caulking gun on hand, although the last time it was used was three years ago, by Otto, actually, though that’s another story entirely) and proceeded to coat every available surface with caulk. There was a lot of caulk on it BEFORE, true, but really I feel that the previous owners could’ve gone further if they’d been truly committed to EMBRACING the HORROR.

My arms were open, baby. I just kept adding caulk and smoothing it out and removing little globs and putting more on and just accepting that YES, yes this IS a metric buttload of caulking. WHAT OF IT? My caulk is loud and proud and, um, hopefully will keep the soap dish on the wall.

And, you know, I’ve totally got the bonus french manicure look going on now, too, so it’s all good.

One more night, and then my bathroom is MINE again. The children are being returned to their shower with very simple instructions: Don’t. Touch. ANYTHING.


  1. Cele

    Mir I am proud of you. Of course you are still young and nimble. I’m not so good at caulking…actually kind of messy – I caulked the dog once. He survived. My roof looks much better that my caulk job and doesn’t leak.

    But please, what ever you do SAY NO! to tape and mud. then you will live a much happier life

  2. Heather

    I remember being stupendously proud of myself when I help my friend tile his kitchen floor and backsplash. I love DIY feeling of accomplishment!

  3. birchsprite

    I am impressed, that sounds very complicated (I’m a fixing stuff newbie!)

  4. Pendullum

    Liquid nails? Never knew there was such a product…
    And now I know that it can be used on tiles as well…
    That is pretty cool that you thought of it…

  5. Christina

    Sounds like I must venture forth to the home fixer-upper store and get some Liquid Nails! I have a list of projects to fix and a nor-easter on the way so we’ll be stuck inside anyway…. sounds like good timing to me. And I think it’s a necessity for the kids to stay out of my bathroom :)

  6. Bob

    high-fives for Mir. embrace the way of caulk and you will be rewarded. way to go, girl.

    we call it home despot too.

  7. Dee Dee

    Excellent! We need a picture.

  8. tori

    I’m sad I don’t live near you because I actually love to caulk. When we were getting ready to sell our old house, our realtor casually said “you might want to think about caulking around here…” and my new hobby was born. I caulked everywhere that could even have slightly needed it. Since we moved into a brand new house, there isn’t anything that needs to be caulked. Now I need another hobby. And maybe a life…

  9. Juliness

    You’re my new hero, Mir! That caulking deal put you over the top.

  10. chris

    is that how french manicures are done?

    tell thekids the soap dish is decorative, not functional. They may look at it, but don’t even think about putting soap on it ;-)

  11. Heather

    Your pretty and have skillz! Deadly combo! Otto is oh so lucky!

  12. Suebob

    You are my hero. The wind beneath my trips to Home Depot.

  13. Chewie

    I’m so juvenile…all I could think was..*giggle giggle*…Mir is saying CAULK a lot….her “caulk” is loud and proud…*snicker hit neighbor kid and giggle more*

    I’m supposed to be 30 something and have 4 kids…but I”m still just 14 inside.

  14. Woman with Kids

    Great job! There is nothing that caulking, duct tape and liquid nails can’t fix.

  15. David

    I was going to make a tasteless word-play here, but…nope, not gonna do it. ;-) Well done, Mir, oh multi-talented one.

  16. Susan

    Dammit you’re funny. And also handy!

    I hate it when the boys shower in our bathroom; they leave superhero action figures on the floor in the shower (do not ask) and then when I get in to have MY shower (at 5:45 in the morning, BEFORE my coffee) I step on them and say Words That Are Not Conducive To Peaceful Showering.

  17. Steff

    I thinking you should have made a bigger deal of this situation with hopes of prompting a visit from Otto!!! More than likely he would have determined the entire shower needed retiled. I am thinking a shower remodel could take a couple of months! Then you would know if you are ready to exchange vows with him for sure! :-)

    Great job!

  18. EverydaySuperGoddess

    Congratulations! As another “resourceful” mom, I know what a great feeling that is. Well done.

    I dare you to go to Home Depot and tell them you really, really need some good caulk. I double dog dare you.

  19. girlymama

    wow – you rock, girl!!

  20. kim

    All this caulk talk makes me want to go home and seal the driveway (wink wink Mir).

  21. InterstellarLass

    I want to be all handy-dandy too! But Nick won’t let me. He wants to wait. I want to tile! Tile tile tile! And I want to rip out the tile that we have in our shower and tile more! Tile Queen! Here I come!

  22. Kim

    Wow, Liquid Nail, I will have to remember that when I attempt to fix the towel rack that fell off in my bathroom. So glad that you have your own bathroom again.

  23. Jenn2

    Mr. Clairol swears that a “metric buttload” (your words, not his…his were a LOT dirtier) of caulk is the answer to almost every problem. We disagree about which problems caulk will solve. For instance, I will not allow him to experiment with caulk as diaper cream. Such a killjoy am I.

  24. MMM

    Woo hoo! GO YOU!

  25. Janis

    What an inspiring story. I can only hope that my Little Condo with the (formerly) Horrible Smell will someday yield opportunities for caulking. You totally rock. Hope you enjoy a nice, tranquil shower after those kids go back to their own bathroom.

  26. dorothy

    I share a bathroom with a man and a toddler. I envy you your own shower. Oh, how I envy you.

    I love to caulk. Hi, I’m Dorothy, and I love to caulk.

    Hi, Mir!

  27. Michelle

    Nothing impresses me like doing your own home repairs. Now if re-tiled I’d think you were immortal.

  28. Gillian

    All right! When you are lazy, impatient, don’t have the proper tools and don’t know what you are doing but you forge ahead anyway THAT is called Iraq NO,NO I mean THAT is called American Ingenuity. You go Mir.

  29. D

    I need a caulk fairy at my house… we have many uncaulked needs. But I’m holding out – I don’t mow and I don’t use caulk. You really are the best…

  30. rachel

    oooh, how cool. I’ve never caulked. (but my inner 12yr old boy is giggling pretty darn hard right now)

    I’m still fascinated with duct tape. I was in a fender bender and my front license plate fell off. I just duct taped it back on – bonus!

    If I knew how to use duct tape *and* caulk, I could fix anything! yay! That would go with the manual I got from my step dad – “Dare to Repair” – the woman’s guide to fixing stuff.

  31. Kimmie

    I wish I was caulk inclined. My DH caulked last year and completely took our tiny little shower stall apart to do it. I spent a full month showering in the kids bathroom all hunched over waiting for our newly caulked shower to “dry”.

    There must be a better way…..other than my expensive idea of hiring someone to completely re-vamp our bathroom.

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