Tag Archives: DIY

Sealant is tricky!

Friday 25 October 2019

I sashay tipsily through the front door, after a fantastic night out, to find that, whilst I have been at a wine event sampling ‘A Taste of Italy’, Prom-dress daughter has spent her evening assembling all the new furniture for her brother’s room. He has a chest of drawers. He has a bedside table. He has a trendy clothing rail. It looks terrific! I stand open-mouthed, in awe of her DIY prowess. I am bowled over with surprise and gratitude and overwhelmed with relief that this is one home improvement job I won’t be involved in. The household is only just recovering from my recent misadventure… with the bathroom sealant!

As it is half term and the teens are away, I earmark the start of the week for the task of repairing the sealant in the bathroom. I ordered the cartridge weeks ago and already, with only a few cuts and minor injuries, I have cleared the old sealant out. There’s a short delay, as I find I have no sealant gun. But the oasis that is ‘Screw Fix‘ is but minutes from my home, and within the hour I am proudly unwrapping my first ever sealant gun. The instructions seem clear and I confidently snip open the correct sections of the cartridge, hook up with YouTube to uncover the secrets of loading the cartridge into the gun and I am ready. I feel euphoric! I feel invincible! I actually pose in front of the mirror, like one of Charlie’s Angels, brandishing my gun.

“You are good!“, I tell my reflection with a cheeky wink, ” Let’s go and seal that sink!”

You’d think at my age, I would have learnt that pride invariably comes before a fall!! For I have indeed successfully snipped open the cartridge seal and the applicator nozzle, but I what I have failed to do, is to secure these two parts back together. As I start to to pump, the sealant seeps gloriously out of both the top and bottom of the applicator and plummets heavily into the sink. I try to remove it, but discover that silicone is sticky. It sticks to everything. My hands, my clothes, my hair, the sink, the floor, the door. In desperation, I manage to re-fasten the device and stem the flow, but I coat my hands, arms, body and bathroom even more completely in the gruesome glue. And I don’t stop here. For some unfathomable reason, I choose to plough on, ineptly firing sealant, sealant and yet more sealant at the gap in my sink. It is one almighty mess. With a face drained of colour and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I survey the carnage… it has taken me less than 10 minutes, to completely ruin the bathroom.

I scrape the silcone from my hands with a towel, head to the kitchen for an emergency cuppa and put in a mildly hysterical call to one of my friends. By the time the rescue squad appears, I have managed to clean the floor and some of the bathroom units. My jumper, however, is in the bin and the sink itself is a horror story of silicone mingled with my blood. I am lead away and placed onto kettle duties.

It takes a good 2 hours for my heroic pal to restore and re-seal the bathroom to it’s former glory. I am still a sticky, sorry specimen of gratitude as I pour us a celebratory glass of fizz. My friend tells me kindly that ‘Sealant is tricky!‘ and I vow to never go near it again…unless perhaps Prom-dress daughter is at home!

Small Boy’s new bed…

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Have I earned my glass of red tonight! Not only have I survived a full day at work and cooked a passable Spaghetti Bolognese … I have also completed my latest DIY project; Small Boy’s new bed.

Yes, Small Boy’s refusal to stop growing has finally taken its toll on the cabin bed he has slept in for the last 7 years. The mattress went to the tip a month ago and the frame is due to be collected by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) at the end of the week. To his utter joy, over the Summer holiday, I have allowed Small Boy to sleep on the sofa- bed downstairs with full and unfettered access to the TV … and the xbox! But, with the return to school fast approaching, I have resolved that enough, of this parental slackness, is quite enough. The new bed has been delivered…my only task now is to build the thing!

Now when I say my task, ‘our’ would be a more honest pronoun. In choosing my building day, I have wisely waited until the return of Prom-dress daughter from a trip, ‘Down South’, to her dad’s house. Did I mention that my girl is a dab-hand with a flat pack? Well tonight she excel’s herself. It is a slightly stumbling start, as we find that we need an allen key I don’t have to dismantle the old frame. However after a quick flit to Screw Fix, I am soon jangling a 10-set of those hexagonal rods, like a triumphant gaoler. Prom dress daughter is impressed by the new tools, which in her deft, little hands soon reduce the old cabin bed to a neat stack of flat sections, ready for the BHF van. Then, like a seasoned pro, she turns her attention to the newly delivered bed, unfolds the plans, casts a quick eye over them, before slotting, sliding and assembling the various sections into Small Boy’s new and infinitely more grown-up bed.

She does need my muscle a little bit, to tighten the odd screw and bang occasional sections into perfect alignment, but I am clearly the brawn and not the brains of this operation. Well ‘play to your strengths’ has always been my motto and we do make a great team. Small Boy still looks a little too long, as he now tries out his new berth but Prom dress daughter cheerily tells him to ‘curl up’ a little , as opposed to ‘sprawling out flat’ and everyone is happy. I celebrate with wine, it’s popcorn for the teens and together it’s been a fine day’s work…

Slam dunk!

Thursday 21 February 2019

One definite advantage of single parenting is that you are always learning new skills. This week it was assembling a basket ball stand…

Small Boy ordered the stand in question with his birthday money, and it is delivered at the start of the week. It’s quite a large parcel to arrive in a house already coping with decorators. By the end of Tuesday, we all bear the scars of at least one encounter with a sticky doorway and Small Boy holds the record, with gloss paint on his feet, his arm and his bum! In addition, we have the daily challenge of rehousing the contents of whichever room the decorators next plan to whip back into shape with their rollers and brushes. In the middle of this interior upheaval, it seems perfectly sensible to ask Small Boy to wait until Friday for his hoop to be built.


Friday is going to be dry‘ I reason, ‘We shall be able to put it all together outside‘ 

Small Boy however is a third child, and he has learned to ignore parental procrastination if he ever wants to get anything done. And so it is that I return home on Tuesday night, from top night out of cocktails and great company, to find not only the entire contents of the lounge in my kitchen but also a semi-assembled basketball stand!

I decide to bow to the inevitable. Next morning, with two of us on the job, we make quick work of the allen keys, nuts and bolts and presently the only job remaining is sand, to weigh down the base. I head out to Wickes on this seemingly simple mission but soon find myself gazing in bewilderment at an unfathomable array of choices for our ballast. Who knew that there were such things as ‘sharp sand’, ‘tarmac sand’,  ‘flagging sand’ , ‘yellow’ and  ‘grey’ and ‘silver’ sand  in this world? Thankfully, a very helpful woman points me towards the ‘Building Sand’ shelf and I am soon staggering back to my car with two 25kg bags clearly up to the task of ensuring that our basket ball stand, once filled, will never move again!

Back home, despite the grey gloom and drizzle, Small Boy and I wheel the stand outside and now face a whole new challenge. How on earth do we get 50kg of heavy wet sand into the tiny aperture available on the plastic base? Small Boy is an inventive child and fashions a few funnels out of paper and card but none of them are a match for the sand and eventually we are just scooping the stuff up with an old kitchen jug and ramming it through the hole. Our hands and clothes are covered in soggy red sand, we see the decorators chortling away from an upstairs window and we thank the Lord that next doors’ builders had finished their tea break before we began. We brave it out, as a team, to the very end. Triumphantly we wheel the completed stand into place and high five with gritty hands and grubby grins. 

Not the prettiest of jobs but we did get the job done and it feels great.  As Small Boy happily heads out for a few slam dunks, I do feel like a half decent mum….