De-Grout Attack

I share this brief story as a semi-invalid.  It is as a result of a de-grout attack.  For those unfamiliar with this physical condition, it comes as a result of working in the first stages of a grouting. 

The Oxford dictionary refers to grouting (v) as “to provide or fill with grout” and grout (n) as “thin fluid mortar”.  Sounds quite straightforward doesn’t it.  What it doesn’t tell you is that before the thin fluid mortar can be applied the old grout has to be removed.

Old Grout.  One could liken the removal of old grout to the clearing of the Canadian Shield in order to make a highway.  Old grout has a very complex structure, similar to the layers of the earth’s crust which have been laid down over millions of years.  In a home that is 30 plus years grout has been applied and reapplied a number of times in order to ensure the slate floor is stable.  I can report that the chemical composition of grout has changed over the years.  Newer grout has a nasty polymer consistency whereas old grout has the properties of tempered steel plate.

New Technology.  There is a tool ‘specially designed for the removal of old grout.  It’s a sonic blaster thinkyjig.  I’ve always thought of a sonic blaster, thanks to Superman comics, as a tool of ultimate destruction.  Not so.  Faced with the kryptonite like material known as grout the unit labours to score and cut this unforgiving material.  Old grout puts up one hell of a battle.  Lesson:  allow lots of time for the sonic blaster to screech and scream its way through the job and be prepared to work hard.

The Position.  In order to de-grout effectively one must assume the correct position and posture.  Kneel, slouch and hold that position for six hours.  I can best describe it as the position that condemmed prisoners take just before they are beheaded.  I saw it in a movie … I think it was Lawrence of Arabia.  The correct position reminds me of a wonderful piece of art in the Haliburton Sculpture Forest

This is a picture I took for the Haliburton Sculpture Forest of "Curled Figures" by Susan Low Beer. The position on the right is similar to the de-grouting, whereas the figure on the left accurately depicts the post-spasm position.

Your Reward.  At the end of the work day you are now ready for the steps leading to the infusion of new grout.  It is at this point of the day that  your knees remind you that this was not a natural position.  With slow and deliberate effort you stand.  I did this with all the agility of a septuagenarian.  But the best was yet to come.  Spasm.  Marvellous word.  It coils off your tongue with the sound of  viper’s breath.  It attacks the same way.  Without warning, in a cold viscious manner.  Done properly a really good 8 (on the richter scale) spasm can return you to the orignal de-grouting position.

Fast Forward.  Today my body, through the mulititude of aches and stiffness, is trying to suggest we had some sort of victory yesterday.   It is trying to encourage me to sally forth on the field of battle, to infuse new grout and claim victory over this gnarly opponent.  Yeh, right.  Take it from me, this was not my finest hour – make that hours.

And to think it all started when my wife said, “I have this idea””.

Author: Mike Jaycock

Living life at Eagle Lake, Ontario, Canada.

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