Kathleen Norton

Love me, love my grout

Posted on: June 14, 2010

Hello again friends! I’ve been in crazy mode for a bit.

We undertook a major household spruce-up. This was followed by emergency couples therapy, which I believe should be required after any home improvement project.

Think of how many marriages would be saved.

Divorce Court (the second busiest place in America after Tiger Woods’  Las Vegas penthouse) would be empty if people stopped battling over floor tile and paint colors.

“I thought I knew him, your honor, I really did,” women cry to judges. “But look at that hideous color he wants in the kitchen! Would you want to stay married to a man like that?”

I can emphathize. It turns out after 29 years, eight months, one day and two hours of marriage that I did not know my husband was so passionate about grout.

And to be fair, he had no clue that it’s a bad idea to put a paintbrush into my hands and ask for perfect results.

After all the muddling through we’ve done, you would think we would know all there is to know about  each other.

Maybe the muddling got in the way. It is hard to talk about anything substantial at 3 a.m. when you are in the bathroom, teamed up against the stomach flu that’s invaded the kids’ bodies.

You don’t turn to your partner and say: Bucket, please! I’ve got a gagger over here! Oh, and by the way, do you prefer marble tile or laminate for the foyer?

So you tag team those decisions for the most part.

But later on, when the kids move out, you have time to do that “fun” stuff together and this is when the truth shows its ugly face: He is ridiculously fussy about grout. And I am a lousy house painter.

Here’s how it all went down for us:

We were standing in the Unnecessarily Huge Home Store one night, when he turned to me and said: Go to the grout aisle and pick out a color.

I had two questions:  “A. What is grout? B. Why does it come in colors?”

After he was picked up off the floor, he said: “I cannot believe you know and care so little about grout. I suppose you don’t even care if it’s sanded grout or unsanded grout?”

And I said: “You got that right!”

Gasping and falling down again, he moaned: “Say no more! I can’t take it!”

Tensions were mounting, which would account for our face-off in the paint department.

“I want off-white,” I pouted, still upset over the grout episode.

“But yesterday,” he said tensely, “we choose off-off-white.”

“Well, today I want off-white,” I pouted some more.

He tried to negotiate. “How about off-off-off white?” he said.

“Read my lips: O-f-f-w-h-i-t-e!” I snarled.

Sensing defeat, he relented and we went home with off-white, which in reality was almost exactly the same as off-off-white and off-off-off-white. I didn’t care. It was a moral victory.

Back at the house, the real fun was about to begin.

I complained that we should have hired somebody to paint the kitchen. This did not go over well.

“I’ve been painting our houses for 30 years myself and I don’t intend to stop now,” he declared.

“Actually, it’s 29 years, eight months, one day and two hours, but who’s counting?” I retorted.

“Hey! Watch that brush!” he said. “You’re gonna drip all over the place!”

That was the last straw. It’s one thing to take grout insults.

It’s quite another to have my painting style criticized.

“Don’t look now Mr. Perfect Painter but I painted a wall WITHOUT taping up the woodwork first! Go ahead, call the  paint police!” I said and slapped the brush around carelessly.

Finally, we shut out traps so we could get the job done, but later we discussed our differences like the mature, middle-aged adults that we are.

“Let’s review the facts about grout,” he began.

“La-la-la-la-la! I can’t hear you,” I said, sticking my fingers into my ears.

So now we know how it’s going to be if we want to make it through another 29 years, eight months, one day and two hours.

He’s looking for another grout buddy.

And I’m putting the number of a good house painter on speed dial.


14 Responses to "Love me, love my grout"

Hi Kathy: Happy Birthday, celebrate and have fun instead
of fixing the house.

Lots of love,

Betty and Richie


Sink or no sink, I intend to have fun!

Hey Kathy, Happy Birthday! I totally know how you feel about grout…we’re now going through the pains of trying to find a cleaner for grout-UGH! If I’d known this when we picked it our I would have picked black!

Thanks….and now you tell me about grout! I choose “buff” which I’m sure will be filthy in a week.

When you get down the nitty gritty grout color is the last thing anyone notices.

We have an agreement I take care of renovations and just use the stuff she picks out.

Good luck with the therapy.

That sounds like a very safe arrangement.

This is very cute — irony or course because very recently we remodeled the bathroom — new tub, new toilet and all new tile which of course involved purchasing tile and grout. WOW, who would know there were so many choices (ours is some fancy name for gold). It was an intriguing and long lasting (it seemed) project. The painting still needs to be finished — but that is another story.
Enjoyed this one — but I enjoy them all — Happy Birthday tomorrow !!!

Thanks. New countertops today. Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday!!! Ionce did pick black grout for floor tile. Stick with beige or gray. They just get beiger or grayer. Black needs to be hand scrubbed with a toothbrush. Nothing I would be caught doing, so we did the next best thing. We moved!

Kathy: WHAT is grout? And WHY does it have to come in colors.


Thank God SOMEBODY finally asked!

It is sandy stuff, that mixed with water, fills in space between tiles on walls and floors and from what I saw, it comes in 100 shades of white or beige. I picked one that was white-ish beige-ish.

I don’t know why color matters. We’ll have to ask a man. I think it like asking a woman why she needs more than one pair of shoes.

Sandy stuff??? well @#$%^& (ha ha) just had to comment. My latest rondezvous with grout turned out to be “gold” — but it is an interesting topic.
Kathy you rock 🙂 Hope your birthday was grand and your counter tops are wonderful !


Going to Ellis Island today with gal pals for post-birthday fun. The Old Man is home with grout and van-choc-straw.

ceramic floor tiles are the best, i used to have linoleum tiles but they do not last very long ,;;

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