Thursday, October 12, 2006

Grout Sucketh

Removing grout sucks with a suckiness that far exceeds previous records set by all things that sucketh.

Are you getting the point? Removing grout SUCKS!

I have written about this before, but I'm writing about it again. After all, It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, whine if I want to, WHINE if I want to........you would whine too if grout happened to you....whoowhoowhooowhoooo (hey, the lady that sang "It's my party" was named Lesley/ie, so I'll steal her song if I "want to").

I took a personal day Monday to paint. Scratch that. I took a personal day on Monday to paint, but MotH decided I should finish removing grout. Let the record show that the following events are all HIS FAULT.

I approached the shower stall (master bath) with a mixture of dread and anticipation. This would be the day of my deliverance! No longer would the dreaded spectre of old grout hang over my head! I would be a liberated woman! I will run my ventilation mask up a flag pole as they did with bras in the 70's! Freedom was mine! I could smell it.....and it smelled like lots of dust!

At 9am on Oct. 9th, I stuck ear plugs in, put on a shower cap, some pregnancy leggings (no matter WHAT you do, you must always be dressed well...lol!!!), an old Cancun t-shirt, my respirator and stepped into the shower to get to work.

It seemed easy enough: use a Dremel and a grout removal bit to devour the grout at about 6000 rpm (which brings me to a side point: exactly how do they know that it rotates 6000 times per minute? Why not say 10,000? Or even 50,000,000? I mean, don't we have to sort of take their word for it? Could anyone actually count the rotations? They're probably yuckin' it up at the ol' Dremel plant that we're buying into the 6000 rpm thing) . And it would have BEEN easy, had the yahoos who built our house bothered to actually SPACE the tiles. Instead, my poor Dremel screamed (I could have recorded it and used it for Halloween) in protest as it fought through the smaller-then-they-should-have-been gaps in the tile. The bit kept getting pulled out, so I had to constantly stop to re-insert it into the Dremel....resulting in a rather sore thumb AND blister. Finally, I reached the bottom on the wall (mind you, I had already invested about four hours in grout removal.....before buying a new Dremel to replace my cordless one, which kept losing it's charge).

This is where things began to get a little dicey. We had caulk.....a LOT of caulk.....at the base of the wall. Dremel grout removal bits don't like caulk. It quickly boa-contrictered itself around my bit and snapped it. Grr.... This means I have to NOW go to Home Depot, dressed like a mid-80's nightmare (the leggings) with dusty hair, no makeup and a bloody spot on my cheek from a zit I lost a battle with.

I get TWO new bits (being proactive) AND some caulk removal gel and head home, grateful I didn't run into anybody I knew. MotH removed the shower door for me and I went back to work. I used the caulk removal gel. Have I mentioned yet that caulk removal gel doesn't actually remove caulk? Rather it turns it into snot-like white goop that is only slightly easier to scrap off then normal caulk.

Finally, a couple of hours later (I sort of lost track of time....I'm blaming it on the enormous quantity of dust I breathed) the caulk was gone. VICTORY WAS MINE!! I had triumphed over the white snot!!! I put my new drill bit in and got back down to business......or I would have, if I hadn't noticed that my bit, which previously spun in a nice, straight line, was now wobbling about as though it had spent a little too much time on the Tilt-a-Whirl.

MotH carried the wounded soldier down into our sterile exam room (a.k.a. The Garage) where he pronounced it a field casualty. I would need to go for a new recruit at Home Depot.

Off I go BACK to Home Depot. I am still as lovely as before, only THIS time I also have the aforementioned white caulk-snot hanging from my rear (a fact I failed to notice until I was leaving the store). This is where my day began to look up. Buried among clearance items was a Dremel kit made for decorating candles. I asked a Home Depot guru (he had the orange vest on, so I was confident this was a schooled professional in all things Dremel) if the Dremel was the same Dremel they had in "Tools". He assured me it was. Snickering quietly to myself at all the fools that purchased a regular Dremel for $59.99, while I scored a VARIABLE SPEED Dremel (VARIABLE SPEED, I TELL YOU!!) for $49.99, I made my way BACK home to finish the job.

Finally, at six p.m. that night.......some NINE hours after I first donned my shower cap, I stood up and admired my grout-free shower. I could practically hear the "Halleluia" chorus coming from the tiles, having been freed from their bondage of old, decaying grout. I had been their liberator. The grout statue had been tipped!. It was exhilarating.

Or it would have been if my back hadn't felt like I'd spent the day moving pianos, my hair hadn't been matted with 17 tons of grout dust and my eyes full of grit. I'm still waiting to cough up a brick, from all the dust I inhaled (and this was WITH the "safety" gear I had to wear). I drug my pathetic body into the shower, made a fast dinner and crashed on the couch.

But I had done it! I fought the grout and came out a victor! Unsanded grout is no match for me and my trusty Dremel.

The final tally is as follows:

THREE Dremel tools (the first cordless version, which was replaced after when it kept running out of charge only a couple of hours into the job, the second version that died when I snapped the bit and the third, my "score" on the clearance rack at Home Depot)
FIVE Dremel grout removal bits
TWO bottles of Caulk-to-Snot gel
ONE back
ONE blistered thumb (have I mentioned how much it hurt??)
COUNTLESS prayers for patience

We've pretty much decided to put a new shower/tub unit in the hall bath. It has the same tile our master bath had, only a lot more of it.......I suspect the same yahoos installed it, so I don't hold out any hope that it would be easier to remove.

Next up: grout REAPPLICATION. I feel certain that nothing can go wrong with that!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Today I'm having a "bad" waiting-adoptive-mom day, but a good "current" mom day

The most recent batch of "rumors" is disheartening.

As usual, nobody seems to know what is going to happen (most agencies won't even speculate....releasing info ONLY they have it from a definite source directly from the CCAA). Unfortunately, the most recent rumors are that things will speed up, after hitting 18 months.......or that they'll continue to slow down, and eventually get to 24 months.

It seems like the agencies that ARE speculating/leaking info are split about 50/50 on these rumors.

My own number analysis tells me that if they continue to take two months to get through one month of referals, it will be summer of '08 before we have our referral.

While I know we won't get the "wrong" baby, I never imagined we'd wait nearly three years (from the time we started) to bring her home.

My mind tries to wrap itself around the idea of having children eight years apart and frankly, it breaks my heart. Will they ever be close? Even have anything in common? I just don't see how it's possible.

However, the emotional side of this WILL subside......it always does.

Unfortunately, not having ANY idea what will happen makes planning for the future very, very difficult. I don't want an answer from anyone, but I really wish someone could tell me (someone from our agency) what they believe will happen. I mean they've been doing Chinese adoptions forever.....surely they have to have SOME idea what "might" happen. But they are completely closed mouthed.

Meanwhile, we have to try and plan for the future, without really knowing anything about what could happen. Do we go ahead and sell the house? Or wait until we're done with the adoption? Do we plan family vacations? Do I commit to various projects at church?

It sort of feels like we can't make any moves at all, because we have no idea what might happen in the next few months.

I know, I know that this will all work out and that when it's over, we'll look back and understand why God had us wait........but occassionally it causes me to have a "bad" day. I suppose a better word would be "deflated". I feel sort of deflated today, regarding the adoption.

HOWEVER, my "current" motherhood day is going quite well. I had my first parent-teacher conference today and AM is doing so well in school. His teacher said he is a very bright student. He is getting 80% of his vowel sounds identified (consistently) and beginning to put multiple "sounds" together. She said she fully anticipates she'll begin teaching him to read around Christmas........and that he's ahead of most of the other kindergartners in that area. There are two areas of concern: his handwriting (which we knew would be an issue, due to grip strength issues.....but it's improving tremendously) and that he talks to much (can't for the life of me figure out where he would have inherited that, lol).

I hardly know how to handle a meeting like that. To have two people tell me that AM is really bright, when we were told he'd really struggle and have a lower IQ (due to his prematurity)........well, it's just further proof of what a miracle God worked in him!