Monday, March 2, 2009

What is she caulking about now?

This weekend I decided to pick up where I left off a year ago and recommit to the project of caulking around our windows. You know you're wasting energy when you see the curtains flutter as the winter winds howl outside.

There's something very satisfying about the heft of a fully-loaded caulk gun, the sound of the click/click/click as you ease the plunger into the base and prepare to squeeeeze.

First on the agenda was a tube or two of new caulk. I like the kind that goes on white then dries clear, acrylic latex for easy clean up with a 35-year durability guarantee. Hell's bells, I won't have to re-caulk until I celebrate my 88th birthday!

Since I was in the area, I stopped at Lowes. Yeah, it's a big-box store but I like it more than the competitor, an orangier big-box store. Expecting a half-mile hike once inside, I was delighted to find caulk in the second aisle right near the check-out registers. Only $1.98 per tube- an incredible bargain- so I bought three. If I don't use them all now, it will save me a trip to the store in 2044 when not having to drive to Lowes for caulk will probably be the highlight of my day.

There was only one other customer in the lane with an actual cashier. As much as I want to embrace technology, those automated checkout stations never work right for me and I always require the aid of that employee standing at the ready to assist the incapables. Without fail, I can make the machine say one of two thing Robocop style: "Please scan item. Please try again. Please try again. Please try again..." or "Item placed in bag has not been scanned. Item placed in ba.."

SHUT UP, I did too scan it, you lying hunk of metal.

Anyway. I paid the cashier $6.46 and she put my stuff in a plastic bag. Before I reached the parking lot, all three tubes had attempted an escape, ripping through the bag with unimaginable ease. Sure, they have long pointy things at the end, but with the girth and sharpness of a kindergarten crayon, for cryin' out loud!

This same type of bag has found its way, wound its way into the branches of every tree on our property, withstanding the winds and storms of a proper Western New York winter without yielding. For months I have stood at our caulkless windows staring up into the treetops marveling at the tencacity of these bags, thinking surely people smarter than me can find a way to harness this strength and use it for the good of all mankind.

Or perhaps I'm just underestimating the fugitive skills of silicone caulk.


  1. I must say, I'm not keen on how marketers try to make DIY sound more exciting by putting things in "guns". Nail guns, caulk guns, paint guns - okay, slightly different perhaps. But give me a hammer and a trowel and a roller, any time.

    Presumably the bags are carried up there on the wind before clinging on. You've started me wondering, now, whether there's some way to generate electricity from them.

  2. There's something very satisfying about mastering a perfectly placed bead of caulk, and yeah, I'm all about lovin' the gun. Click/click/click...

    See, that's what I'm talking about, people smarter than me taking on the elusive treebag.

  3. I'm so glad I'm not the only one with a seemingly irrational fear of automated checkout stations. Apparently the ability to calculate intricate chess variations is useless when it comes to following simple "scan; place in bag" directions.

  4. When you try to get money out to pay and inadvertently set your purse down anywhere near a sensor, the stupid machine tries to make you pay for it by insisting you didn't scan the item...

  5. Ah the Self-Scanners. Having gone several rounds with these machines, I finally determined they do it by weight. You must never place anything (like your purse) on or near the work area as I assume there are scales underneath the countertop thingies that make sure the "out" side weighs as much as the "in" side. Awkward for the likes of me who usually brings my own bags, but doable.

    Mmmmmmm. Caulking. I have never caulked but I have always wanted to do so. Some of my best life memories ever are working on set construction crew as a theatre major (briefly) and using all those guns vet mentioned, plus table saws, band saws, belt sanders, jigsaws, hammers...sigh...good times.

  6. Saws that are powered by anything other than my arm are way too scary for me. But if I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the mor-or-ning...

  7. NDR, Despite your difficulties in transporting caulk, I reckon you made a better job of it than I ever could. Thank you for commenting on the oul blog, I am somewhat remiss in writing. It would appear from your work and some of these here comments, that we have all been infected with some kind of improvement bug that requires a lot of physical howdy doody. I am giving up on it for a while. anniex