Detail, The Agony in the Garden, Giovanni Bellini, 1465 (National Gallery, London)
Yes, it's been another physically and spiritually rigorous Lent, and here's Holy Week to remind me that it's just about over. Catholics are so blessed; just as we slough off our New Year's resolutions to the dustbin of memory, along comes Lent to add a frisson of real moral turpitude to our failings. Prayer, fasting, almsgiving, acts of mortification: let's see. Mostly forgot to pray. Mostly forgot to fast (and thus goeth another "I'll lose weight by Easter" scenario). Freecycled one bag of Child's clothing, but otherwise slim pickings on the almsgiving front. As for mortification, I was planning on paint stripping; but the CrazyStable demanded tub re-grouting and re-caulking first, and I'm just barely done with that.
The caulk, sadly, dried clear instead of white; it's "PhenoSeal," and my plumbing guru Vinnie says "use PhenoSeal," so I do. If you knew Vinnie and his talents, so would you. But apparently the stuff dries clear (well, sort of snot-translucent), so you can still see the nasty discolorations around the joint. However, PhenoSeal will adhere to itself, so I squirted on another layer today--damned if that water will get in this time! Then I tried spraying "Tile Guard One Step Grout Sealer"--the only product billed as "grout sealer" to be found anywhere, despite assurances of tile-forum wonks that grout sealing is as necessary as vaccine. It's supposed to be handy-dandy; spray it like mad and the extra "evaporates" off the tiles, no need for wiping. Well, of course it evaporates--it's the most pungently volatile witches' brew I've ever had the misfortune to inhale. This stuff is weapons-quality; I could feel the ozone layer (and my alveoli) dissolving into scum under its assault. It contains hydrocarbon solvent, propane, isobutane, organic acetate ester, sealant polymer, and--get this--fragrance. After trying it out on one patch, I am not using any more. I'd like to take it back to Lowe's, but what do I tell them--"The label says this stuff is lethal if inhaled, but man, I didn't know it was this bad"?
Ah, well. An imperfect tub surround and an imperfect season of repentence. Too much time spent sleeping and moping, as always. That's why I love the story of the disciples, especially the hapless Peter, in the garden of Gethsemane. If they couldn't hold it together for a few hours while Christ prayed in agony a few feet away, how are the rest of us supposed to manage for 40 days? I especially love the fact that Christ is so obviously peeved with them (I picture him poking their recumbent forms with his foot), but never holds it against them after the Resurrection; he comes back to them anyway.
Going back again he began to pray in the same words. Once again he found them asleep on his return. They could not keep their eyes open, nor did they know what to say to him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Still sleeping? Still taking your ease? It will have to do. The hour is on us. You will see that the Son of Man is to be handed over to the clutches of evil men.” --Mark 14: 39-41