The man who caved in on himself

Five years ago we hired our neighbor to renovate our bathroom — redo the shower, tile the bathtub. It took longer than it should when you try to get a good deal and at the end of it, he said you’ll just need to caulk the bathtub.

Roughly four years passed with the tub uncaulked. I had a caulk gun and got inspired to use it once, but couldn’t get the damn caulk to come out, and so the gun sat there in our closet another year or so, until yesterday.

I had some fresh caulk but couldn’t get the old tube out. I had to break down and do a fucking Internet search because try as I might, it wouldn’t come out of the gun. I even went outside in the grass, had the urge to slap it against the ground but resisted, then realized the tube had caulked itself to the gun and collapsed in on itself.

And after letting the caulk sit that long I learned you just need to break the seal in the top of the tube, which I did with a pair of poultry shears.

The bathtub in the kids’ bathroom is pulling away from the linoleum, inviting all kinds of problems like rot and mold, so I sealed it, did all three bathrooms in about 20 minutes. And since I’m terribly efficient with all my tasks, I took a break.

Dawn and I got into a spat over a box of binders I threatened to throw out if she wouldn’t go through them. So I went through them myself and found some of the shit in there is actually mine: a drawing I made while temping for Air Products and Chemicals, the back of the woman I supported, her bad posture slouched in front of the computer monitor, which was terribly large in the 90s, so large it could swallow you.

When I finished the cigar I threw it on the driveway then thought about fishing it out of the compost later, regretted not saving it. As if cigar smoking isn’t loathsome enough, it makes me spit, makes me drool like a dog when I’m lighting it, so it’s best to do it alone. My body’s like all the older guy bodies that disgusted me when I was young, when I wondered how a guy could let himself go like that, growing boobs, going soft. But I also got the attitude now I don’t care.

I got the caulk everywhere and no matter how hard you try, you can never get it right, even if you use a towel to dab it up and your finger to smear it down the crack, it still forms a tiny lip on either side.

I cut my own hair which is never good, and the bottoms of my feet turned black like they did when we lived at the beach — like the bottoms of our feet weren’t even a part of us, they were rentals.

And my street-fighting Yoga teacher Charlie was right when he said I’d blow the cartilage out of my knees doing virasana like that, you should always use a block.

Everyone’s in an uproar over session beers now: first, beers needed more flavor, then more fresh, more local — now they need all the flavor of a big beer but with half the alcohol, like we can’t be bothered getting drunk drinking beer.

We traded stories about lice removal with our friends in the driveway and my mother-in-law chimed in, when she was growing up her mom just used lye or turpentine until their scalps burned, because that would kill just about anything.

My wife, who rarely touches the volume on the stereo and tolerates me to no end, made the mistake of interfering with T. Rex, forcing me to start it over again at the right level, but the moment was gone.

And I stayed up until after dark admiring the proud sprinkler unit as it spit and sputtered on the dial, the sound of a golf course in the morning or Las Vegas, sucking the water out of someplace unseen, spewing it all over everything, hosing it down.

Coming back from my mother-in-law’s over the hill facing east, the mountains have gone purple and they’re calling for record highs. When you’re moving out, it’s the coffee maker that’s the last to go, the hope dies last.

Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. You’re one of my favorite blogs! Especially like stylistically, I really enjoy reading your writing. Thanks for sharing.


    • Fantastic! That makes me so happy, thanks. The blogging is more meaningful with people like you (and specifically you) so thank you for reading. Enjoy the rest of your day, and the weekend. – Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My body kind of repulses me. I don’t know how my wife can bear to look at it. Not that she really does; I’ve always sort of had to intuit her attraction to me.
    Speaking of caulk.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you are experiencing a heightened reality.


  4. Ha, I love the idea of our feet as rented huaraches… Not a bad concept, once you start thinking about it.


    • Yeah, thanks Kevin — I thought that funny how we just brutalized our feet that way living at the beach, like it was expected you’d burn those first couple layers off, made it easier to get around.


  5. Danish high school graduates have a (strange? troubling? freeing?) tradition of renting a truck and being driven all over the city drinking beer and shouting and singing as they hang precariously over the open sides. I’m amazed no one falls off, quite frankly. They go to each graduate’s family’s house in turn, where they are traditionally provided with…you guessed it…more beer. This goes on all day and into the everlasting Danish night. One such truck went by the other day with a larger than life banner hanging over the side declaring “Rock out with your Cock out”. I hope their young lives don’t collapse in on themselves…just yet. I think you should adopt the homophone and use it for yourself. Rock out with your Caulk Out. It’s got a nice ring to it ;-).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Quite the comments you got going all for the sake of a good caulk ….


  7. Man, you’ve got to do that caulking right after the project is complete. I never attempt that stuff, myself. I’m a home improvement pacifist. Barely a man at all. The only thing I keep in my toolbox is a checkbook.

    20th Century Boy is on my running playlist. What a toe-tapper that one is.


    • Barely a man at all, that’s funny: your line about the checkbook in your toolbox, I never heard that. And good on you for sharing your T. Rex with me, thanks Mark. I’m a fan of The Slider. Kind of gets you up and moving a bit, good at this time of year when it’s so hot you just sit there and weep like the plants.


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