Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cross Training Home Repair

There are certain things that you do in the course of the day in the kitchen that have some applications in unexpected ways.

I bake, rather a lot.  I'm taking a breather the last few months since all that baking in the holidays was adding weight that hasn't quite all gone away.   It is now, I've lost 8 pounds in two months.  Minor adjustments and limiting myself to a normal diet instead of my usual training diet was what did the trick.

All that baking of cakes and cupcakes, sweets and tarts resulted in my getting passable at cake decoration.  Some of my cakes ended up looking like a wreck, others were surprisingly professional looking.  I would be better at it if I tried a Fondant icing or something similarly easy to decorate, but I don't.  I bake for a small audience and that audience likes a specific fluffy icing.

The problem is like any baker at home will tell you, it never comes out quite perfect.  Every cake I bake, whether from mix or scratch will be a little uneven.  Frustrating to a baker trying to do something nice for a friend, and usually that friend either will not notice it or notice it and take it as the mark of a fine home made treat.

I usually look for those slightly uneven cakes and think "Mark Of Quality".

When I get those slightly taller in the middle cakes, I could slice them even or just live with it by cheating.  Pack the divots in the cake with a little extra icing, and let it chill, then ice and try for a nice even look.

The end result is being able to spackle walls like a pro.  I've managed to get apartment walls so even that they were better than when I moved in. 

The trick is to spackle the walls, then come back about an hour or two later with a wet finger or a damp cloth and "sand" it even.  It can even dry to a shiny texture if all is right.

Results like that are what you expect on walls.  Lately the nemesis of the bathtub caulk has raised it's ugly head.

When Caulking a tub, the tube instructs that the best results are where there is no dirt left over, no water drops, and it is best to remove the old caulk.

Great.  But it's a tub.  Its purpose is to hold water.  That means you're in for a challenge of timing. 

Shower in the morning, then late at night after dinner, do your caulking.  Oh and don't forget that stuff you did yesterday has dried so you have to even that all out first.

Pretending it is a cake, Squirt out a reasonable amount of the caulk along the joint but not too much.  How do you know how much if you don't do this every day?  Simple, yesterday's caulk hasn't dried.

The last time I caulked the tub was last week.  There are spots that were just skinned over and when poked, they poured white latex out over my hand and into the tub.  Heavy handed?  Perhaps, but there's a gap behind that tub - there's some serious hole going on.

I did look in to that gap and it goes on forever.  I thought I saw a sparkle back there, and I believe that it's because I have a small black hole in the wall.  How do I know it's a black hole?  Simple, I can't see it and it's sucking all the caulk into it.

The Singularity of Caulk.  The Black Hole of Tub-Caulkutta.

After trimming the stuff, there's this crack that formed as the surface tension was relieved.  The first places caulk will dry is where it is thinnest.  No matter how good you are, there will be small differences in the thickness... trim and clean it all back with a knife or blade and you end up with a crack.

Go back at it with another bead and repeat as necessary.

A 1 hour home improvement DIY turns into a mulitple week project. 

That's what I get for thinking I can ice a cake!

Looking at the walls, there's this one spot that needs spackle.  Much easier.  Ahhhhh!

No comments:

Post a Comment