High on Grout Fumes

I was dirty, sore and exhausted but I couldn’t wait to get up the next day and do it all over again. This weekend, I tiled three floors in the 1947 rambler I’m renovating and I was high on grout fumes and progress. The project began in April and making headway has been slower than I’d like. So when the tile was delivered I couldn’t help myself. The builder guffawed when I told him I was going to start the tile, and the designer wanted to forbid me from even touching the delivery, but I persisted. Do I know anything about tiling? No. Do I own a wet saw? No. Can I even lift the backer board to lay it down under the tile? No, it’s super heavy. Do I have friends who can answer yes to all of these questions? Yes. (I also watched dozens of YouTube videos from the Tile Shop to help me figure it out.) So I gathered my three handiest (and most willing) friends and got to tiling. It was messier, heavier, more artful, and required more math than I imagined. It was also more rewarding.


I don’t know anything about building a house, but I did want to contribute in whatever way I could to rebuild this one. I’m about to move out of the only home I’ve ever owned, the one I bought with my ex-husband. That was the house I brought my babies home to from the hospital and raised them in for 12 years. That house has many memories, ghosts and much love. I will miss it. The house I’m currently remodeling isn’t new, but it’s getting a fresh start. I’m not starting from scratch; I’m building on the foundation that was already there, kind of like my life. I can relate to this house and I wanted a hand in contributing to its new beginning.


The tile looks great. Like life, there are a few imperfections but nothing anyone (except maybe the installers) would notice. I am grateful to my friends who taught me and were patient with me as I learned to cut, lay and grout. Thank you Andy, Miranda and Ryan! Every time I walk into the mudroom, powder room or laundry room I’ll know that I helped lay that floor and do a little dance over the one crooked grout line.


This week I wish you only minor imperfections that no one but you notice, and a helping hand in building the foundation for your next new beginning.

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