I’m proud to say I spent the evening removing the nasty caulk from my tub. Four and a half years ago my brother did more plumbing work on this two family, two kitchen, one water heater, three bath house than I would have thought possible. Unfortunately the caulk on the third floor bath was jinxed. He did it once and it failed, so he did it again, warning me to let it cure at least two days before using the shower. I did. And it failed again. 

Four and a half years later the tub has been growing mold and the nasty caulk has been getting to me. A couple of months ago when I was doing another house project, painting the newly remodeled first floor bath, I came across instructions for removing and replacing old caulk. It’s a diy project I thought I could master. Several youtubes and online tutorials later I brought my 5 and 1 up from the basement and started to scrape. For a few minutes here and there since then I’d scrape away at the gray and mottled caulk, imagining a day I’d take on the larger job of pulling it all out and replacing it. 

Yesterday was my Monday in Northampton. Richard and I thought we’d be productive. He gathered the compost, trash, and recycling in anticipation of a trip to the transfer station. We got our rakes and started on the driveway where piles of black walnuts had fallen, thinking we’d bag them as yard waste . Part way into it I got the idea we should gather the nuts to eat. After reading  another online tutorial I figured out how to remove the walnut husks, drive over them! Sadly, my keys were missing.  Turns out my purse was at Local Burgy where we’d had our last brisket sandwich of the season the night before. We drove back and forth over the nuts in Richard’s car, drove to the transfer station, retrieved my purse and made a diversion to a new coffee place in Easthampton which just happened to be down the street from a hardware store (and delicious), where we planned to buy rubber gloves to handle the black walnuts so as not to get stained hands, and ended up getting supplies for my caulking job. 

That’s how projects work for me, as you like it style, one lost key, a pile of  black walnuts in the driveway, a new coffee shop across town, a hardware store that keeps the gloves near the caulk remover, and I find myself in the bathroom at 11 pm after driving home from Richard’s, scraping away at the caulk, looking forward to skipping yoga tonight so I can get down to business. 

I’m hoping to find the gap between the tiles and tub nice and dry in the morning and to locate the mineral spirits Richard thinks are in my basement on the painting shelves, which I’ll need to clean up from the silicone caulk I bought in Easthampton, to take out the caulk I used to paint the first floor bathroom a few months ago when I stumbled on directions for this project out of the caulk gun and replace it with the silicone bathroom caulk, tape the lines with painters tape, and if all goes well, caulk the tub before work in day care tomorrow morning. 

I set myself a goal this year while my daughter is in boarding school to use some of my extra time to work on the house. I’ve got lists of projects I’d like to do, including lots of painting and sorting and cleaning, as well as perking up the third floor bathroom. 

Tomorrow night Matt the electrician will visit and help me figure out the bathroom fan, which seems not to be working well, and look at some other projects I can’t do, including replacing the overhead fixture in the day care kitchen with only one working socket. 

It’s a low budget run of projects this time around. Last year’s exterior work and day care bath broke the bank. This round it’s DIY and small projects that need doing to keep the place from going down. Maybe next year or maybe never I’ll get to remodel the kitchens. For now I’m having fun learning new things and tackling places in the house that have been in need of attention, figuring bit by bit I’ll cheer myself up and feel less overwhelmed by being a single mom on a budget living and running a family day care complete with tenant in a big old house in Somerville.