Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tiling Tunes

With apologies to Government Cheese and their song Fish Stick Day...

Friday's here
We're excited, we're delighted

Its Grout Tile Day, Grout Tile Day
I can't wait for Grout Tile Day

Run, run, run for the Home Depot. Yay!
Grout Tile Day, Grout Tile Day

Grout Tile Day

An understanding has evolved between my wife and me over the last few years. I make arrangements to go to a couple of NASCAR races annually as frugally as possible. Score free tickets, crash on a friend's couch where possible, ride with someone else to split gas costs, drink cheap beer, etc. In return she gets to buy some expensive purse or urn, or she sets me up with a big home improvement project. Sounds like a fair trade, right? Well it isn't, but that's the price to pay for me to have some fun nonetheless.

Friday, I finally got around to starting a project for one of my 2010 trips. I installed ceramic tile above the shower in our bathroom. In terms of mega-tile, "This Old House"-type jobs, this one ranks pretty low. Still, I wondered if I'd bitten off more than I could chew.

I've installed tile once before - about 10 years ago at our previous house. I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing then, and I'm not sure I was a whole lot better prepared this time. I'll do lawn care, change light bulbs, paint some here and there, and am competent at rudimentary handiwork. But tiling is for keeps. Once you apply a section of thin set and install your first tile, there really isn't any turning back.

But by cracky, I was gonna knock out this job for a few reasons.
  1. I believed I could do it. My previous tiling experience, getting do-it-yourself tips on the web, discussing the project with big box hardware store employees and exchanging ideas (and tools) with co-worker/slum lord/fellow blogger and tweeter Ozzy Nelson convinced me so.
  2. My wife expected it. I went to my race in 2010, had an...ahem...uh...large time, was gone for 4 days and returned pretty wrung out. This project was partly to enhance the bathroom and partly my come-uppance for having such a good time with my buds.
  3. I'm too cheap. Even if I could have bought my way out of the project by hiring someone, I really didn't want to fork over the cash to have someone do a professional version of what this amateur hack could do adequately.
Friday: 90% of tile installed. Cuts of corner pieces await

The one thing an all-day (which morphed into a multi-day) project like this allowed me to do was queue up the iPod through external speakers. As I spread thin-set, back-buttered square tiles and cussed as my corner spacers kept falling out, I enjoyed several playlists leftover from events of the past. From there, I moved on to a few specific artists and bands.

When Friday was over, it dawned on me I could have built my own playlist before the project. Based on what I listened to during the project, I may compile Tiling Tunes for that next big project. (I have three races on deck for 2011, so I know big projects are headed my way.)

Here's some tunes that seem to make sense to add to my playlist.

Time To Start - Blue Man Group

Ain't Skeert - The Anomoanon (stream it here)

100% Pure Fool - The Derailers

If I Were A Carpenter - Allison Krauss & Dwight Yoakum

What Was I Thinking - Dierks Bentley

Courage - The Tragically Hip

Width of a Line - The Rainmakers

Go Faster - Black Crowes

If I Had $1,000,000 - Barenaked Ladies

Saturday: All tile installed. Grout, de-hazing, caulk and sealing yet to go.

Hard on Equipment - Corb Lund & The Hurtin Albertans

Far From Perfect > Mr. Dependability - A Duane Jarvis double

Small Miracles - Blue Rodeo

Maybe I Can Paint Over That - Guy Clark

Going The Distance - Cake

I'm pretty proud of myself. Waste of tile was kept to a minimum. Sharp tools or tile weren't dropped that could have gouged the floor, shower or bathtub. I didn't cuss too much - at least not loudly enough for the rest of the family to hear. And none of our cats ended up with a dollop of grout in their fur.

Sunday: Grouted baby!

All in all, a successful project gets logged in the book. Tiling Tunes certainly played a key role in keying me on point.


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