Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mrs. Fix It

Here in S. Calif we have argentinian ants. Persistant buggers. If it's too hot outside, they come inside for water (and assumedly eats as well). If it's raining outside, they come inside too.

We've had rain, a lot of rain and the ants find us a convenient port in a storm.

In our bathroom we have a sort of facing on the bottom portion of the wall. It's glued to the wall and at the top of it there is a very small 1/4 inch cap on it. Small sections of it are no longer glued tight to the wall. Apparently ants can see the doorway to the port and they enter the house that way. For the last week there is a line of ants going from one section of the facing, down the wall, over the counter, swarming some spot that to the naked eyes has nothing on it but apparently there is a fabulous ant novelty right there.

I dammed up the little facing with silicone caulking. Now the ones who are left alive (I was ruthlessly killing them with soapy water) are meandering all over trying to find a way back to the nest.

The kitchen is another favorite spot for them. And it's our own fault. You see, we are not DIY'ers. Far from it. We are also not: "Hey, lets call a construction guy or plumber or electrician guy" people. We just don't really do anything til it falls over or something.

So back to the kitchen. The sink is old, ancient. The tiles around it are just as old. Badly chipped yellow tiles with black bullnose tiles. From 1939. The grout is just as old. And shrunken and crumbly.

Now Iknow if I try to pry out the grout I am likely to break some of the tiles. Much of it is pretty crumbly but about 1/2 of it is still adhered to the sink and tile.

What I can do is use the silicone to grout around the sink. It'll fill the holes and put a light veneer over the portions that are still ok. Basically exactly the same as grouting tiles which I've done. With passable results.

The hub, who has many talents but fix-it stuff is not high on the list, looked at me as I was scrubbing/cleaning the sink to prepare for my silicone grouting. He said to me: "You know you have to pull out all that old stuff because otherwise it won't work. I know what I am talking about."

I chose not to comment. I left to allow the sink and the comment to dry.

Later I went in and grouted it with the silicone. Worked fine, just like grouting with grout. Wiped up easily with a paper towel and best of all there is no gap between the sink and the tiles. Which means no ants can enter nirvana from that opening anymore.

I do realize the ants WILL find another way in. The path of least resistance and all that. But I feel victorious that for now they'll have to put forth some effort to find a new way inside.

Thus ends a chapter of This Old House and The Old Woman Who Does What She Can With What She Has.


Billy Canary said...

I wish I had a picture of the stinkeye face you gave me when I said that.

VO said...

I'll bet there will be more opportunities in the future.