Here’s something I’m good at: using a drill. Here’s something I’m not good at: cleaning. Not even cleaning my tools, which I know is sacrilege… but the truth is I’ve lost many a drywall knife to just sticking it back in the bucket of mud when I’m done and slapping the lid back on until it crusts over or rusts.
Judge me if you will, but the truth is the truth.
But something strange has happened in the last couple of months. Despite almost daily use of my drywall tools, everything has stayed clean. It’s like spic and span have taken up residence in my toolbox, and it’s a little unnerving actually. It’s not because I made a New Years resolution, or because I got a brand new toolset for Christmas, or because I miraculously turned into a responsible adult. No, no, it’s because of this:
That’s right. A bucket full of water. With a brush in it.
I can’t tell you why this is ten times better than a utility sink but it is. Easier to use and easier to keep the tools clean– as evidenced by the pristine mud pans, drywall knives, paint brushes, and thinset towels.
In fact, there’s only one thing I wasn’t able to clean in the wash bucket: the thinset tupperware. And here’s where my brilliant stupid brilliant stupid original idea comes into play.
I still can’t decide if this is the smartest or stupidest thing I’ve ever done. It’s remarkable how often those two traits coincide.”
Yeah. That’s exactly what you think it is. Me in a t-shirt in negative-five degree weather, outside in a snowbank after ten PM, cleaning out the mortar bucket with a handful of snow.
And here’s the thing… if you can get it clean before your fingers go numb, snow is the ultimate mortar bucket cleaner. Everything compacts in to one nice snowball that can be easily removed from the bucket.
Am I all of the sudden dedicated to this cleaning shit or what?
The only downside here is that probably MysteryMan and my dad are going to disown me if they ever read this post.
The amazing and unhappy ending to this story is this; After I’d cleaned all the trowels, snow-cleaned the mortar bucket, made it back to the toasty warm garage and put my pajamas on, I realized I’d left a drywall knife uncleaned in the bottom of the wash bucket. The amazing part is that I put on my boots, trudged back through the snow to the house, and cleaned and dried the knife. The unhappy part is that after cleaning the knife, I exited the house in negative-five temps and used my damp hand to grab the metal doorknob and shut the door…
You’ve seen A Christmas Story, right?
So now I’m missing some skin on three of the fingers on my left hand.