I tried to clean it with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. I let the mixture react, did an initial wipe, and then hit the grout lines with a drill-attached scrub brush. It worked alright but the remnants of baking soda splashed on everything—the shower, the toilet, the walls. Throughout the next week or so I got to wipe splotches of baking soda off of the fixtures. Then I consulted the Google for a solution that would allow me to complete the job with much less effort.

I picked it up at Home Depot. It’s a highly acid solution that brightens the grout on contact. I scrub it in with a brush and then wipe it up with rubber gloves to protect my skin from chemical burns. Once the bottle is empty I should probably be careful about where I rinse it out; the pipes in this house are old.

If I was disposing of this bottle at work I wouldn’t be allowed to just throw it away. The EPA and DEQ have special waste handling requirements for all production facilities. So does DOT if you need to drive your waste offsite. I get it. I took DOT classes to become certified to authorize shipments of hazardous materials.

The code addresses every type of pollutant imaginable. If I were to guess, I’d say that the active ingredient in this grout chemical is a marine pollutant with some degree of reactivity with other stuff. But I’m a homeowner and exempt from federal and state disposal requirements; I could toss the open bottle into a nearby lake and that wouldn’t be illegal.

There are measurable amounts of micro-plastics in rainwater. Plastic rain. And outside it’s hot. Five standard deviations of the expected value hot. A one-in-5,000 year event hot. Buckling, cracking, melting infrastructure hot. The high pressure will be around for awhile; I guess that’s what happens when we break the jet stream.

The ocean conveyor wants to stop. I’m sure the fire in the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t help with that. Temperature gradients are kind of causal. The country is controlled by insane people who think they need large, beautifully-preserved piles of money more than they need their grandchildren to not boil to death in the ocean. Priorities.


I call her up after a hot day and tell her that it’s hard to escape the heat but it’s even harder to escape my feelings about the climate emergency that none of us can really do anything about. Says tells me to be calm and save my worries for something else. We recycle and vote and preserve and reduce the impact where we can. Otherwise it’s out of our hands.

I tell her I’m not fearful. I feel guilty. Humans are the locusts who invade and destroy the habitat. Superpredators. I’m sad for the animals.

She, a vet nurse, says “Don’t be sad for the animals. The animals aren’t sad for themselves. This is all they know. The planet will survive. The humans won’t. I’m okay with that.”

I’m okay with that. <3

6 thoughts on “Grout”

  1. Yes, we are the locusts. We consume, consume, consume and destroy everything in our paths.
    The Earth will survive. Our race will not. I would LOVE to see what lifeforms come after us. Let’s face it – some of us will survive – clinging onto the edges and we will evolve. Hopefully, with the knowledge that money and power are a fucked up and crass version of what life on earth could have been.
    I feel sorry for our descendants – they never asked for it but they will perpetuate it. The 1% also have stupid, wasteful children, you know?
    Also, as a baking soda and vinegar user – over time, it will make your tiles literally fall off your walls as your grout is eaten away.
    Just know – there are a lot of us out there who feel the same as you and we also feel just as impotent in the face of the colossal, seismic wave barrelling down upon us. Go well.

    1. Oh I’m quite sure that the product I used is much more acidic than vinegar and will happily eat away at the grout for weeks to come. But god damn does it look great.

  2. Wow what a pathetic pile of self loathing shit. Get over your self grandiose level of intellect and either start the car in the garage or live your life a-hole. “I’m good with that “ ?
    Your the reason for Portland burning and these con artists of BLM becoming wealthy, oooh evil white privileged people oooooooh. Whining, neck beard, flannel shirt wearing, gender confused, thinking that government should control everything asshole. That’s why we’re in the current mess you tool, green new deal is a pile of crap, it has absolutely no chance of providing the necessary power to run your green world. That I-phone your typing on was constructed by Chinese slave trade handling toxic materials 16-18 hours daily. They dump more toxins into Mother Earth than any other country in the world and you support them gladly. LOST GENERATION

    1. And by the way
      1.Global cooling
      2. Global warming
      3.Climate change
      Maybe you can send Al Gore a check and you’ll feel better about your life

    2. Wow, such angry. I feel sorry for anyone whose choice of news media has convinced them that acknowledging scientific fact is a political stance. But I will admit that some days I am quite okay with the fact that covid is thinning out that herd.

      Anyway, you enjoy that little coronary you’re working on over there.

    3. Is that you love the juicy, veiny taste of Donald Trump’s cock in your mouth. Mmmmmmmmm, that’s it, slurp it down, Q-boy!

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