talkin’ dirty

There’s doing superb work. Then there’s pulling off a miracle.

We’ve got apartments that are being totally gutted and are chaotic disaster zones.

And one morning I’m assigned the task of getting the tubs down to their preliminary  clean.

In Unit 102 there’s this tub. I wish I’d taken a picture of it. It was filled with construction crap. And about a foot of standing water, thick, muddy, swampy.

I take one look and think this ain't cleaning, this is construction guy stuff. So I leave it for them to clear out and snake. Which they do.

Leaving this tub:


Thick dirt, mud, grime and a ring encrusted onto the surface created by the standing swamp water containing paint, plaster, some sort of construction material, who knows, I can't tell.

Notice anything missing? There’s no water.


I’m cleaning a tub with no water. Well, that's a first. But it's for the better, I wouldn't want to send all that gunk, muck and mud down the drain.

Soldering onward, I begin with a broom.


It's a start.

Now how to loosen up those thick tough layers of gunk and crud plastered onto the porcelain.

I pull out Krud Kutter, which cuts grease, grime, oil, tar, wax and more.


And 409 degreaser.


And set out scrubbing. They're strong but not strong enough.

So out comes the Painter’s Pal, from the same maker of the illustrious Goo Gone. Painter’s Pal is designed to remove paint, old caulk, tape residue, sealants, grease and oils, adhesives, varnish.

The fumes of the three solvents are overpowering. They get me high and nauseous so I periodically step out of the bathroom for some fresh air.  Really, I've had drugs that are so much more pleasant.

A couple hours of scrubbing later, I get the tub down to its stubborn crusty ring.


Now it's all about the wet rag, spatula and good old-fashioned hardcore elbow grease.

Hair by hair I patiently deconstruct the ring, exercising great care not to scratch the porcelain. This is the work that most people hate and that I love. If I were a doctor, I'd be a heart surgeon working with the finest hair-width arteries and veins the body offers.

I'd asked the boss at the start of the project: Can't you just replace the tub? The educational answer is replacing a tub is a whole lotta fucking work. Not his exact words but he got the information across.

So the tub I sit, squat, kneel for a good part of a day with spatula and sprays until I get it looking like this.


The Tub from Hell:


to this

Sans a drop of H20. Jesus may have walked on water but I pull off miracles without it.

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