The Italian Toolbox

As the end of the semester draws near and I can breathe a little more deeply, I turn my attention to things on the home front that desperately need my attention. You know the sort of thing I speak of: the fence that’s half-installed, half lying in a tidy pile in the side year; the living room walls that need trim paint; and don’t even get me started on my fireplace. So I figure that since my classes are technically over I can start with something small and get a jump on the summer, even though I have to grade some papers for my grad assistantship.

I have caulk. I have knife. I have prior experience, albeit it wasn’t necessarily a GOOD experience. So I settle into my bathtub and take out the old crappy caulk. When I’ve got the bulk of it removed I reach for mineral spirits, acetone, or even rubbing alcohol to remove the skin that’s left and clean up so I can caulk.

Nothing. Nada. I have nothing on hand that will do this. Now, since I need to caulk the tub so I can, oh, I don’t know, shower in the near future, I’m debating a run to Home Depot when I realize that, as a proper Italian, I do have something on hand that’ll get the job done.

I go to my refrigerator and pull out… Yup, you guessed it: booze. See, in my fridge I have raki, a yummy little bottle filled with, as far as I can tell, ethyl alcohol mixed with some anise for flavor. Despite its yummy peppermint taste, I can’t drink the stuff much, like more than a very diluted shot once every few years. I honestly can’t say why this stuff is even in my fridge, but at the moment I don’t care because it’s saving me a trip to the store and a lot of work in cleanup.

So I clean up the caulk in the tub, then wash my hands in raki. Then I notice that I have some caulk on my leg, so I use a little more raki to get that off. Oh, what’s that- a spot on my foot? No problem, I just scrub with a bit of raki and it comes right off. It’s about this time when I realize that the bathroom reeks of liquor, which means I must smell like a wino with an expensive palate. Of course, I just caulked the tub, so I can’t take a shower.

And then I remember: I have a class tonight. Yes, I know I said I was done with classes, and I am – technically. I mean, I’m not a student in a class meeting this evening. No, my class tonight is the one I’m TA’ing. So NOT appropriate to show up smelling like I just, well, bathed in liquor.

But at least the tub looks better.

Published by


I write. I take pictures. I love my dog. I love Florida. My 2016 book, 'Backroads of Paradise' did really well for the publisher and now I feel a ridiculous amount of pressure to finish the second book.