Every so often I get the brilliant idea to do a household project. These home projects start out much the same as my spring planting projects – with a trip to Home Depot. In all honesty, I have never understood why Home Depot isn’t built with an attached trauma center. I mean, have you ever really wondered how many of those happy Home Depot customers are going to wind up as guests of the closest ER before the day is over? Many. Stitches, a visit to a burn unit and a years supply of Band-Aids should be included in the price of all home improvement projects.
Years ago, we replaced the floor in our house with tile. And as all home improvement projects tend to go, we had a moment of insanity when we chose the grout. By all things holy we chose white grout. White. In Arizona. Now, granted the grout likely had some charming non-white name – like “ivory” or “candlelight” or “shimmering yak vomit”. But alas, it was white. And white grout by any other name is still the devil. You see, though white grout is amazing in pictures – we have dogs, feet, and the audacity to actually go outside occasionally. Other parts of the country/world might be able to get away with white grout but it should be illegal in Arizona simply because we have red dirt. Yes, our dirt is red. Like fire. Which is what Arizona feels like in the summertime.
Since we were now planning on selling the house, it was time to tackle the grout. I tried regular floor cleaners. The grout chuckled. I tried commercial strength floor cleaning products. The grout snorted. I tried industrial floor cleaning stuff. The grout giggled and asked me to stop tickling it. I was desperate. And desperation always calls for a visit to Home Depot.
Home Depot sales associates wear these bright orange aprons with their name written in a Sharpie marker. I think this is to identify their remains should a home improvement disaster befall them in the store. I know that in my home improvement projects, I wear a name tag just in case. One of these kind aproned souls took me under his wing and nodded sagely when I told him my tale of grout woe. He suggested pool acid. I naively agreed. I mean, the Home Depot guy wouldn’t steer me wrong, would he? Never. I bought the acid and set out for a day of exorcising the grout demon.
Now, while I have the ability to read, I simply feel that instructions are a waste of precious cleaning time. I don’t need to read things like “use in a well ventilated space” or “hazard – this product may kill you and then eat the flesh off your bones rendering you into an anatomy class decor item”. Instructions are for home improvement sissies. I am a home improvement Goddess. No instructions for me.
So the cleaning process begins. I get down on the ground and begin scrubbing the floor with my amazing new product. It is working. The grout is slowly morphing from chocolate brown despair into beigey goodness. I am stoked. I scoot along the floor pouring acid and watching as my dreams of a white floor slowly turn into reality. And that’s when I realize that I am alone in the room. Normally, I am surrounded by animals. We have dogs and cats that believe I am their actual mother and that I need their presence at all times. Never in my life have I been on the floor alone. This is unusual. But the floor is starting to get clean so I go back to my joyful scrubbing.
Then I realize that not only am I alone, but I am crying. Crying? Of joy perhaps? Or have I begun to feel sorry for the dirt I am exterminating? Neither really. Just tears dripping off my chin as I continue cleaning. That’s when I realize I am sitting in a cloud. The sunlight is streaming through one of my CLOSED windows and as I look around I notice that there is actually a cloud on the floor. Inside my house. And I am the epicenter of that cloud. That’s when I realize that maybe this was a bad idea. I am sitting in a cloud of acid. And because I believe in the adage – go big or go home – there is a sea of flesh eating goodness between me and my chair.
Let’s just say that by the time I made it back to my chair, having crab crawled all the across the vast ocean of muriatic acid, my shorts had succumbed to the acid. Yes, the acid ate my clothes off my body. Yes, I am serious. We never did finish cleaning the grout. We wound up coloring it with non-toxic grout paint instead. That seemed like a better plan than death by acid would have been.
I may start another home improvement project soon. I think all my life insurance is paid up.