We Did This to Ourselves

After spending so much time at home this summer, I’m paying attention more attention to our house. What I really mean is that I’ve spent a fair amount of time being both relieved that I’m not working and incredibly stressed and depressed that I haven’t been chosen for a teaching position at the districts I’ve applied to. When I’m feeling well, I am out on the patio futzing with the plants and lamenting again about the incredible amount of energy it takes to keep pests away from the tomatoes and peppers. (I can’t believe I do this for “fun.”) Just when I think I’ve found a solution to my pest problems, another pest emerges. The latest is rats! I wrote that Biggie killed one a few weeks ago, but there’s never just one rat. The rat is climbing the trellis and stripping off large pieces of the tomato stems, killing great portions of my once thriving cherry tomato vine. If we had to support ourselves, Victory garden – style, we would starve. This is how I spend my happy time.

In my sadness, I stare at the floors. And I notice how disgusting the grout is, which leads me on another tangent of struggle.

We built this house. We hired the labor and oversaw the building without a contractor. We did a fair amount of the labor ourselves. Our house is beautiful and we created what we set out to: a new home that looks old. However, we did not hire decorators or designers, and it shows in some places. Mostly in the tile floors. All of the tile is small black and white hexagons and at first glance it looks great. But the grout is supposed to be white. Why in the world did we choose white grout for a floor? Our tile setter recommended it, and said it’s not difficult to keep clean. He was also very open about his penchant for smoking marijuana, so I think he was just always happy.

For fifteen years we have lived with this bad decision. I have spent hours scrubbing the grout. I have accumulated tools and chemicals. I can get it clean but I can’t keep it that way. After a couple of moppings, it gets grungy again, then eventually turns black. So I’m here now, spending days wandering through the downstairs with my mopey head hanging down, staring at this mistake and lamenting about that poor decision made so many years ago.

I know it’s not a solution, but I think I found a good cleaner, at least. I tried several products: vinegar and an electric toothbrush looking tool – lots of scrubbing. A straight enzyme cleaner with the toothbrush, which worked better but still took a lot of time. And then I found Viper Venom Tile & Grout Cleaner.

THIS is what I needed! I still have to scrub, but I can use a scrub brush and cover a larger area in less time. It takes a bit of rinsing. We invested in a Bisssell CrossWave which makes the clean up less laborious. I have large portions of the floor looking pretty damn good. Cleaning with the CrossWave has eliminated the immediate problem of dirty mop-water drying on the grout, which may keep it looking white longer. We’ll see.

Cleaning dirty tile grout may not cure my depressed moods, but it gives me a sense of accomplishment. In my current season of combating the feelings of failure, I will take this small distraction from the things that really matter.

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