Hay’s Daze: When it comes to home repairs, leave the chore to someone else

Hay’s Daze: When it comes to home repairs, leave the chore to someone else

I was full of the Christmas spirit the other day. But my hearty Ho Ho Ho would soon turn into a nasty No No No.

I had the house to myself and a fairly agreeable to-do list. Things like: sample Christmas cookies, watch sports on TV, have a nap – and I was just completing the last item on the list (Finish the last of the Better Half’s homemade fudge) when I happened to notice an unfamiliar entry at the very bottom: Fix bathroom counter.

It was in the Better Half’s handwriting.

Our annual Christmas party was just a few days away and the Better Half had the house spic and span and perfectly decorated from tip-to-toe, and apparently, a bathroom counter with old, ragged caulking just wouldn’t do.

You know, caulk – that white waterproof edging around countertops and tubs, etc.

It’s either pronounced like the rooster, or like the kid in the movie Home Alone (Macaulay Culkin). And even though I’d never caulked before, I’d seen it done. How hard can it be?

So I scrape off the old stuff, which takes more time and effort than I’m willing to give, but I’m still humming Joy to the World as I jam a new tube of caulk into the metal gun thingy, cut a small hole in the pointy end, and start squeezing.

I crushed that trigger until my ears were bright red. Nothing.

Then I deduced that, hey, I think you have to poke a hole in the tube first. This did not go well.

I cut a bigger hole in the tip, jammed a meat skewer in there and, boy, silicone can really squirt when it wants to. Also, silicone caulk is way stickier that you would imagine.

By now, the sink, taps, countertops, etc., are covered in a white catastrophe. My fingers are stuck together, and they are glued to the gun, but there’s nothing left to do but go for it.

So I valiantly direct the gushing flow of caulk where the counter meets the tiles. This did not go well.

Soon, there was enough caulk in the crack to float a boat, and I was squirting away like there was no tomorrow. And I wasn’t humming Joy to the World anymore. The caulk was now also on the floor, and possibly, the ceiling.

You’re supposed to wet your finger and run it expertly along the caulk bead, thereby creating a nice, clean seal. This did not go well.

Fingering the caulk only made things worse. Much worse. Did I mention silicone is glue-ier than glue? By, now my hands looked like Mickey Mouse’s big white mitts, and the entire bathroom was an absolute white, sticky caulking disaster.

So I hold my hands up like a freshly scrubbed surgeon and run down to my office computer to find out from the interweb how to get silicone off of, well, everything.

Soon, my keyboard is covered in caulk, and my hands are hardening. I’m typing with a relatively pink baby finger.

“Silicone cleanup is impossible,” the interweb says. “Try putting butter on the silicone, then wipe off with baking soda” – clearly implying: “Good luck with that!”

So, hands in the air, I run upstairs to the kitchen, grab a pound of butter and mush it between my sticky mitts. Now both hands are greasy and sticky, and I’m trying to open cupboards with my elbows and I can’t find any baking soda. I’m not even sure what baking soda is.

Much (much) later, I considered putting yellow police tape across the closed bathroom door before the Better Half got home.

But we came up with a good solution together. Let the Better Half caulk the counter. It turned out great.

But if I don’t shake hands with you, you’ll know why.

Merry Christmas!

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker.

Just Posted

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read