All Caulked Up

Disclaimer: The following tells the true story of a home improvement project while offering a satirical look at my love life. Not all details in the analogy translate to reality. I’ll leave it to you to guess which are true and which are just funny.

I have had a caulk problem for a while now. The old stuff stopped doing its job a long time ago and I hadn’t had the attention or the energy to look for a solution.

Finally, late last year, I asked for help. I put in a request with property management. What I got was a mess. Literally. After he came by, I found caulk smeared everywhere. On the shower curtain, ground into my bath mat, even on the trash can! It was a sloppy rush job. What’s worse is that the caulk didn’t even what it was supposed to. He hadn’t bothered to fully clean and prep the area. There were holes where it didn’t completely fill the gap. Other areas, it filled initially but later shrank and left empty.

I tried to ignore it because the whole thing was such a hassle. But after a while I got sick of staring at it.

Magic Caulk

So one day I finally headed out to Lowe’s to find a solution. My shopping list was caulk & bulbs. The bulbs were for my Himalayan salt lamp. The old bulb had burnt out after several years of giving me perfect sleepy-selfie lighting. They were a little hard to find because there were so many similar varieties, but I managed to grab the right ones to flatter my face. Wandering through the aisles, I found the caulk solution I’d been considering – Magic Caulk. It was a hard plastic caulk that was supposed to replace real caulk in a no hassle way. Simply figure out the desired length, clean the application area and push the caulk into place. Aside from a somewhat picky cleaning protocol, the only downside was having to wait 8 hours for it to bond before you could use it.

A package of peel & stick caulk

Given the long wait time, I put it off for a while until I couldn’t stand it any longer. I took out the packaging, gave the instructions a good long look, and went to work. Getting the right angles wasn’t easy in certain spots and it was hard to get it straight in the gap sometimes. The end result wasn’t the prettiest thing but it looked like we were in business. I waited until it was ready to go.

When I was ready to test it out, much to my dismay, I found the caulk was already drooping. Some places it’d come off altogether while other spots were sadly sagging. Clearly this hard plastic caulk wasn’t as magical as it claimed. I was frustrated and so over dealing with the problem. One long piece was entirely in place & the others would go back in with some pushing. A partial solution was better than nothing.

Peel & stick caulk
Drooping disappointment

Real Caulk

My next trip to Lowe’s, my shopping list was caulk & blocks. The blocks were to repair my bed after 2 out of 3 middle support legs had failed. I needed my bed to stop caving in the middle when I used it. The caulk itself wasn’t hard to find – I knew I needed it to be white, non-shrinking, and have a shorter turn around time than the Magic Caulk. I found a decent looking tube rather quickly.

I needed a way to use it, so I set off in search for a caulk gun. (Oddly enough, they aren’t kept with the plumbing caulk.) Searching down the aisle, every caulk gun was just completely unreasonable in size. The type of caulk gun you see people using professionally. Thankfully when I mentioned my situation to a friend, he was able to hook me up with a gun that was the right size for the job.

Doing It

Once again, I procrastinated getting a handle on it. It felt like a lot of work. Then I saw a friend on FB post that he’d just taken care of his caulk and it inspired me to tackle mine. I was going for a blended method because the plastic caulk on the long side of the tub was holding up.

Quickly, I stripped and prepped the areas. I made sure the cut was thick enough and got to work. Trying not to waste it, playing with positioning to hit the right angles. I tried not to make a mess. My hands got sticky but I managed not to get any in my hair. I kept a supply of towels nearby for clean up. In the end, it wasn’t perfect but I didn’t think perfect caulk was worth the effort. I thought I’d done a pretty good job for someone with limited experience caulking.

The entire thing start to finish was faster than I expected, but not in a bad way. It claimed to be ready to work in 30 minutes but I decided to give it longer. (Those estimates are always optimistic.) I checked it out during my shower an hour or so later. I touched a few spots, looked from a few angles and everything seemed to check out. Now to see if it holds up over time!

PS: If you enjoyed this tongue in cheek silliness, check out Realtor.com is Tinder for Houses from back when I first re-entered the dating scene. (Spoiler alert : I have still found neither house nor spouse. I’m waiting until the right opportunities comes along, ones worth investing in.)

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