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Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2001
Waterlu nearly scared me to death this morning by blasting away on the guestbook. It was early, I mean really early. As in I couldn't sleep and decided to wax eloquent in Diaryland. So then I go to her diary and find her entry.

About insomnia. Hee hee. Touche, Waterlu.

I don't mind double posting, especially if the previous one was so melancholy. Had to come back and redeem myself.

Stu and I went to work yesterday at a school construction job. The tasks presented sounded pretty simple. Install a big countertop / workstation in the newer, under construction portion in the morning. Wait until school let out and install a couple of cabinets in the existing building.

I say the countertop was big, it was freaking enormous. Picture a desktop height worksurface running around all four walls of a 14' by 30' room. That's a lot of top. But it was routine otherwise and we zipped right through it. Up until it came time to put on the backsplash. Now for those of you in Winnipeg, I'll 'splain. A backsplash is that little upright piece that goes on the wall above the countertop. You have one in your kitchen, I can virtually guarantee it.

Normally, we just cut the backsplash to size and squirt Liquid Nail caulking on the back of it so that it adheres to the wall. Then we squirt some translucent caulk between the splash and the top, to seal it and kinda obscure any slight seams. This is not brain surgery (but you'd think it was, at the rates we charge).

Stu has a phobia about me and a caulking gun. It all stems from an unfortunate incident some years ago when the caulk kind of ran away from me and he wound up with more on him that the product was receiving. Hasn't hardly let me near one since. Danger, Outfoxed is within 10 feet of a caulk gun type of thing. What a wuss. He fired up a Macanudo, and looking decidedly pleased with himself, took caulk gun in hand as an artist would take a fine brush.

So, of course, he's caulking away with the translucent stuff and I'm following right behind him with a rag and - The Finger. The finger is an important element here. You shoot the caulk in a nice controlled bead between the splash and the top and The Finger follows behind with a light smearing touch, evening out the bead and embedding it permanently. Every once in a while you wipe The Finger with a rag and continue on. Nice, right? My college professors would be so proud.

Except that this top was so big I lost track of him. It didn't help that our last tube of translucent caulk had been sitting in a hot truck for a week and was as fluid as lemonade.

Stu got about 20 feet along and started to lose it. "The shit's too thin," he shrieked, "and I can't stop now. Oh God oh God."

Meanwhile I'm just humming along head down and concentrating in that numb sort of way I have with the more mundane of tasks, until I come to the first blotch. Stu the magnificent caulker had left a thumb sized clump in the middle of the top.

"Hey, what the hell are you doing over there, Mr. Caulker? Looks like a buzzard just took a dump on this top!"

Stu yelped as the caulk betrayed him again. "I think the tube's got a split in it. It's going everywhere. Oh God there it goes again!"

"Whassamatter? Having a bit of a problem are we?" I snorted and coughed and did everything I could to keep my laughter from erupting into a full blown fit.

By this time I was of the way around this racetrack of a top and there was caulk everywhere. I wiped and cleaned and Fingered my way along, fussing at the madman who'd made such a mess. Stu cursed and wailed and finally threw the whole works on the floor. It sat there, still oozing spitefully.

With two feet of top uncaulked, I gravely handed the by now nearly dripping rag to him.

"Here ya go Leonardo. Should be plenty of caulk on here to finish the top. Don't hurt yourself."

I'm sure the contractor must have wondered what two grown men in suspendered toolbelts were doing throwing handfuls of caulk at each other as he passed by. But he never did stop to ask. In fact, he seemed to hurry up a little.

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