When we were at my in-law’s home a few weeks ago, I had a horrible experience. I need to preface this with some back story. You need to know that my in-laws built a beautiful new home just a few years ago. You should also know that shortly after they laid the gorgeous Brazilian cherry flooring, a tiny, tiny rock got caught by the wheel on Gabe’s high chair, and when I went to take the chair out to our car I inadvertently scratched a HUGE scratch in the floor in a very visible place. I felt terrible. I cried. In fact, I still die just a little bit inside every time I see that scratch, and that was two years ago.
This trip was a little exciting because my in-laws had just finished the basement. There was now a bathroom and two guest bedrooms, all designed to make someone staying in their home feel very comfortable. It was finished literally days before we arrived, and it was beautiful. The bathroom has lovely tile flooring and a very striking glass and tile walk in shower in natural, neutral tones.
So one morning Chris and his parents went to the temple and I stayed behind to watch the kids. I had all the time in the world, and I enjoyed a long shower and some extra primping in that beautiful new bathroom. After I got dressed, I decided that I would paint my toenails. It should be noted here that I have never, ever in my whole life made a nail polish mess. EVER. So when I put my foot up on the lid of the toilet and set the polish down next to it and began to apply the bright red polish, I wasn’t worried at all.
I got two thirds of the way done with my toes when the unthinkable happened. Somehow that little bottle slipped and fell to the tile below breaking off half the neck of the bottle. It then proceeded to bounce, flipping back and forth, back and forth on the floor no less than seven times, wildly spraying streams of very bright red all over the floor. In slow motion I watched this bottle bouncing as though possessed, and all I could think was “the devil is in the details.”
Now, I am not one to use the excuse “the devil made me do it”, but for the first time in my life, I honestly felt sure that there just had to be a pack of demons in that bathroom, plotting my demise. I had already wrecked one new floor in this house, and I was sure that some evil being had a plan that my in-laws would just never, ever like me, no matter what I did. Since things had been going relatively well, Satan just had to intervene and make sure I stayed firmly planted on my mother in law’s bad side forever. I was going straight to hell, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
I was in a state of total panic. Nail polish clean up usually involves attending to the spot as quickly as possible, but when there are streaks of polish across at least fourteen ten inch tiles and up the side of the shower, it is impossible to even know where to start. I grabbed a roll of toilet paper, got on my hands and knees and started dabbing up the thickest splotches. This, of course, smeared the red lines into hot pink blotches, but I had to get the excess off before I could do anything else.
Once I had the bulk of the goo removed, I poured nail polish remover all over the floor and began to scrub like crazy. I wasn’t getting very far. I bolted up the stairs and found a magic eraser sponge. That, combined with the acetone, started getting most of the polish up. I put good old fashioned elbow grease into this for at least twenty minutes before I just knew I wasn’t going to get any more up this way. I reached up to the sink, grabbed my own toothbrush, and started working on the tiny divots in the tile that were still stained. After about ten minutes, I had almost all of it up. I stood up to survey my work, took a few steps back and screamed.
I had forgotten that my toenails were wet. During the entire time I had been erasing the evidence from one half of the floor, my wet toes had been leaving a second set of streaks behind me. I had to start the whole process over on the other half of the floor. Maggie had heard the scream and walked in and asked what I was doing. I explained and then swore her to secrecy.
By the time the worst of all of it was up, I had spent almost an hour on my hands and knees. I was certifiably high off the acetone fumes, and still in a state of panic because though the tile was back to normal, the grout was still hot pink in at least twenty places. I called my mother in desperation and explained my situation.
She laughed at me. Then she told me that I should have visited her, and that if I had, I would be eating a Dairy Queen blizzard and taking a blissful nap on the big white swing in the backyard. But no. I had gone to my in-law’s home, where things never seemed to go right, and look where that had gotten me. There is nothing so bad that a little extra guilt can’t make worse.
I asked her what she would do to remove nail polish from grout, and she quickly ran through the remedy list of everything I had already tried. She googled it, and came up with the same answers. I tried soaking the grout in even more nail polish remover, but NOTHING was going to get the pink out. She put me on hold and asked a co worker who had recently grouted a bathroom what she would do. Her answer was that she would stop trying to remove it, go to Lowe’s, buy matching grout and cover it.
BRILLIANT. Except I was in teeny tiny Manti, Utah and I had no idea where one might buy grout, (the closest Lowe’s was about two hours north) and I had no idea what this particular shade of grout was called. I decided to go look through the garage to see if there happened to be any left overs. This house has two garages. One is a two car and the other is a one car garage. Both have shelves and stuff lining every single wall, and it is packed with everything from motor oil to Christmas decorations. Holy cow, how would I ever find anything in this place? I started in one corner and methodically worked my way through the shelves. At three fourths of the way around, I found a bag of left over grout. YEA!
Now I just had to deal with the totally insignificant fact that I had never in my life had occasion to mix or apply grout, and had no idea what I was doing. It was also getting to that point where people should be coming back home. I was nearly hysterical. Reason and common sense were completely taken over by wild eyed insanity.
I lugged the grout into the kitchen, and read the side of the bag. The directions were for people who wanted to mix up gallons of grout at a time. I only needed a cup. I put a few spoonfuls of dry grout into a large dixie cup, put the cup under the faucet and proceeded to add way too much water. Aaaagh! In a mad hurry, I thought to myself, “I’ll just dump most of it down the drain and it will even out.”
I can only imagine the pack of demons that must have been rolling around on the floor, sides splitting from laughter when they realized what I was about to do. “Oh this is TOO good- better than we imagined,” I’m sure they said.
Thankfully, my guardian angels yelled loud enough to access even my shorted out, acetone riddled brain cells, and seconds before I tipped the cup into the sink I heard them yell, “YOU DO NOT EVER POUR CEMENT DOWN THE DRAIN!!!!!!!!!” Oh yeah. I knew that. Whew. I shudder imagining what explaining that would have been like. I stirred a few more spoonfuls of dry grout into my cup and thickened the mixture up to what I hoped would be appropriate.
I ran downstairs with my cup o’ grout, knelt down on the floor and prayed that it would work. I carefully dabbed the wet grout over the hot pink streaks. It was covering it! Except it was all smudgy and didn’t have that nice clean, linear, professionally applied look any more. This was more like what a finger painting preschooler would do. I ran my fingers down the sides of the tile, pushing all the grout into the right grooves and finishing it off with a knife like swipe of my thumb nail. It looked perfect. I did this about twenty more times, until I had no fingernails left, and stood up and inspected. The grout I was using was darker than the grout already there. I willed that stuff to lighten as it dried.
It had been just over two hours since the start of this debacle, and I was still shaking from adrenalin when Chris walked in the door a few minutes later.
There is no evidence whatsoever left in that bathroom.