Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Will President Obama and the Supremes make us change the names of Texas cities such as Gun Barrel City and Cut and Shoot?

Maybe it's time take all our marbles and secede.

I started on an odious project on Monday night. My apartment has a porcelain bathtub, but it has one of those ghastly acrylic tub surround enclosure type thingies. Now, to begin with, the tub is white, and the acrylic is sort of an ivory. Yuck. Before I moved in I told my maintenance crew to not bother with the cleanup, as I knew I was going to have to rout out the caulk and re-do it, and I knew if I'd instructed them to change it out, they would have simply smeared new caulk over the old muck and oomska. Not good enough. Even if I moved out before the mold ate its way through the new caulk, I'd always know it was there and would never have an enjoyable bath, as a result.

I don't blame the staff for doing things in this way because they've been trained by others over the years to do certain things in the most expeditious way, rather than the most frugal way. The irony is, this spirit of expeditiousness is the result of a wish to do things in the cheapest manner possible, when in fact, if they would do the frugal thing and do it right the first time, this would obviate the need to go back and re-do the slap-dash job multiple times in the future. Fortunately, things of this nature are the exception and not the rule. It's just that when it DOES crop up, it seems particularly senseless and irksome.

Same law of frugality applies when you make a purchase. If you buy a crap $15 pan of lesser materials, you'll probably ruin it and have to replace it every few years, whereas the $60 pan may last you a lifetime and give you more satisfactory cooking results over the course of that lifetime. Yes, it's painful initially, but that quality item never need be replaced. Simple, right?

So, here I am, digging out the old caulk around the tub surround. Whew! That's messy business. Turns out I'm chiseling/digging/razoring out multi layers of caulk laid over previous moldy caulk. Nice. Add to that these manifold caulks are of differing composition, so I may have to chip one layer away to find a layer that must be carefully cut away with a razor. I stopped in the middle and went to Home Depot and got a wet/dry vac for hoovering up the sludgey bits as I went along.

Add to the funky old caulk the supreme annoyance of these hideous wing-shaped wedges at either end of the tub side designed to keep water from splashing out beyond the shower curtain. Well, this wasn't ugly enough: some clever soul took rubber bits of weather-stripping like you'd put under a door and caulked them along the edge of the tub from one wedge to another, just as a little bit extra splash guard. In fact, they didn't even use one contiguous strip-- it was cobbled-together leftover bits, apparently. Did I mention the weatherstripping was gray? Well, it had to be painted a sort of whitish ivory sort of color, didn't it? *much eyerolling here* This had the effect of making the whole bathroom look several orders below the quality and construction of the rest of the apartment, in my humble opinion. Apocalyptic DIY.

This is where being manager serves me well: I'm going to let MY shower dry out a couple days and I'll re-caulk on Wednesday night. I was going to say if the results are not humiliating, I'll post the pictures Thursday, but after talking trash about someone else's craftsmanship and repair principles, it's sort of incumbent upon me to put up or shut up, innit? So, anyway, watch this space in a couple days for images of my adventures in home repair. It should be funny. More importantly, maybe you'll get to see some of my pearly blue turquoise nail polish. It's fabulous. Everyone says so.


Christina RN LMT said...

DIY is NOT in my dictionary!

Therefore I'm awed and humbled by your industry.

And the nail polish doesn't hurt, either.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can't wait to see what you've done to the bathtub.......... most importantly I'm thrilled beyond all reasoning to see the pearly blue turquoise nail polish. I'm on pins and needles ;)

HollyB said...

Being a DIY gal, sometimes, I can understand that feeling of "Job Well Done" as well as feeling disgusted with those who tried the same job before you and just gave it a "lick and a promise" job. That's infuriating when you come along behind them and have to not only tear out the shoddy repairs they did, but do the job they SHOULD have done in the first place IF they'd had the sense Gawd gave a goose.

I, too, look forward to seeing the turquoise polish.

none said...

Sounds suspisciously like work. ;)

I can't imagine digging through the years of gunk and bailing wire used to hold apartments together.

John R said...

V and I are getting ready to commence a couple major re-do's of the previous owners DIY projects. First will be a complete residing of the master bedroom addition. It seems it was cheaper to leave out the insulation, sheathing and vapor barrier during the initial remodel. During the same "vacation" from work, we'll be replacing the fence. Next we get to rip out the master bath shower as it seems that drywall was used as a backer board instead of a proper backer board. Fun stuff. We will just go ahead and remodel the entire master bath, relocating the shower.

Anyone want a Jacuzzi tub?

All this to agree that cheap is rarely frugal.

g bro said...

Don't care what they call Gun Barrel City as long as they still have the "Baptist Liquor Store" over the count line.

Anonymous said...

Hope you remembered to fill the tub before finishing the grouting. Leave the tub filled while the grout sets...so it doesn't pull away with the weight of the water when you use the tub. [Neighbor told me this; quite a handy guy]