Monday, May 08, 2006

Enter Don Carlos

Physical exhaustion is good, right? This was my annual yardwork initiation weekend. Which requires the use of muscles that don’t exist. I don't get out there often enough. It's all I can do to keep the weeds at bay. Thank heavens for perennials and ground cover. If not for those, our yard would be a composition of mulch and rocks. And more mulch. And rocks. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is…

When it comes to yardwork and home improvements, I believe my purpose is to serve as a warning to others. I am the shining example of what NOT to do. Hence, I feel compelled to share my findings with others.

First, everybody should have one of these. This is the handiest tool ever. I now know what it is called (I found it in my kitchen drawer)…the "Don Carlos Lead Putty Knife." Am I the only one who finds this humorous, naming a painting/glazing tool after an opera? Probably just me. Anyway, should you ever find yourself needing to remove oh, say, indoor grout from an outdoor application of some sort (not that you would, just sayin'), do not attempt to remove the grout with a grout saw, no matter how many pimply faced kids at Home Depot tell you to get the grout saw. A hand held grout saw is extremely time consuming and messy and downright difficult (I have the bruise on my palm and pain in my hands to prove it). With The Tool, I removed the grout cleanly and completely, in about 1/4 the time that the grout saw was taking. So finally, the indoor grout is gone and I am ready to start this project over. This has to be the most time consuming re-do I've ever faced.

In case you missed it, the first lesson here is to read the grout package to make sure the grout is suitable for outdoor use. ;-)

But there is a second, equally valuable, use for The Tool. After spending about an hour pulling weeds by hand, and fighting with resistant dandelions, I went in to get the garden shovel and then thought about The Tool. I grabbed that instead. It worked like a charm on the weeds growing in between the rocks and in the cracks of the sidewalk. I also killed several dozen earthworms in the process…but work had to be done. This was much easier and quicker than a small shovel.

Having the right tool for the job makes all the difference. This may not be the kosher tool for the job (it's not unlike using your shoe to pound nails in the wall), but trust me, it's probably the most effective one.


At 12:13 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger beth said...

I love grout. But I've never removed it - I'm told that's a bear no matter WHAT tool you have. Glad you found something good to use! I stopped asking the teenagers at HD for help when I went in looking for a stud finder and they all started laughing so hard they couldn't help me.

Ok, sure. It's funny. Kind of. But really. It's an honest-to-goodness thing they sell. It's not like they're really called "In wall timber locators" or something.

Plus, it would've been much funnier if I was a guy. :)

At 12:20 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

You know, there probably is a professional service business called Stud Finders, somewhere. I guess better that it was you asking and not Tim. ;-)

Next question, Grout Queen. How quickly do you wipe down the excess grout? Is it easier to do it immediately, or to let it set up a little (or a lot)? Although the indoor grout never dried completely, it did dry just enough to make it a bear to remove. Lesson learned!

At 12:49 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Are you talking about wiping up the the stuff on the tiles from when you shaped your grout lines? Or the actual shaping (with the float)?

Shape immediately (that's part of actually doing the grout, so I'm guessing it's not what you're talking about.)

I wipe up immediately after I'm done with all the grout. I tend to refer to the good ol Hometime folks if I need help with stuff. If you let it dry you're going to be stuck with it to some degree (sometimes you can get it off, sometimes not.)

At 6:51 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Which part of "hire someone else whenever grout is involved?" do you not understand? Oh, right...YBH. ;-)

Anyway, the right tool for the job is the one that works. Even if it is named for an opera (and I'll have to take your word for that, by the way).

At 7:59 PM, May 08, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Oh, right...YBH.

And MBH watched NASCAR while I slaved away, rectifying my mess. He would have never known if I hired someone else to do the dirty work. Oh well, next time. And we can be sure there will be a "next time."

Which brings me to my next point. NASCAR is a complete waste of time from a spectator perspective...MBH prefers to watch the races live (and he watches them from start to finish), as opposed to recorded. But if he has to watch a recorded version, he watches only the last 10 laps. So why sit there for 5 hours if you only care about the last 10 laps?! <*/off my soapbox>

At 4:26 PM, May 09, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

I've never watched a NASCAR race, for precisely the reason you mention. It's like watching NBA games. You know it's going to come down to the last two minutes (and those two minutes will last about an hour) so why bother with the rest of the game?

I think YBH has got something else working. He's not wearing dark glasses while he "watches," is he, and making editorial comments that might resemble snoring if heard in another venue? ;-)

At 5:27 PM, May 09, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

I think you're on to something. He doesn't wear the dark glasses, but I can't see his eyes for the brim of his hat. ;-)


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