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15 August, 2021

Brought undone by mould blobs

OH NO! What’s that? Is that mould? These shrill, bordering on hysterical, words poured from the mouth of my normally calm and controlled better half about two years ago. She was looking at the shower recess in the ensuite.



 The thought of having a small spot of mould in the tile grouting looked like producing a heart attack or at least a dramatic fainting spell. Fast forward two years. The renovations are nearly complete. Yes, we progressed from getting a cleaning agent to remove the mould, to a full-scale ensuite renovation. 

I was budgeting about $5 to $10. I have now shelled out millions — well, thousands anyway. Looking down the barrel of financial ruin has been part and parcel of my long married life but I can’t remember a previous occasion when I was undone by a spot of mould.

 But I’m not here to tell you about renovation money munching. It’s a lot more serious than that. It’s been the mental trauma, the psychological torture, and the never-ending mind games that has almost did me in. At the start we transitioned from spot cleaning the grouting to getting in a professional cleaner, then to “let’s think about” retiling the shower recess. When I heard the words “let’s think about”, I knew I was in trouble. 

There was a bigger project in mind. Little did I know it would entail six weeks of construction, disruption, confusion, frustration, and possible destitution. How could grout cleaning morph into the entire ensuite being demolished and everything in it  I mean everything being replaced. Not even light switches escaped the purge. My daily routine also morphed dramatically. It started with, “What type of mould remover will I get?” It is now, “What do you mean I can’t use my regular soap?” Honest.

 I have been told that, because of the type of tiles now installed, only certain types of soap can be used. My favourite brand, which has faithfully kept this Adonis-like body cleansed for decades, has been banished. But that revelation came late in the piece. The lead-up was even more traumatic. Do you have any idea how many magazines include bathroom renovation features which provide the “latest trends” on a monthly basis, with the latest trends changing in each edition?

 Ceiling lights had to be changed because they didn’t match the shower and vanity fittings which were changed because they clashed with the towel rails which were changed to match “changing looks” as depicted in magazines. The vanity had to change because the new fittings clashed with the colour of the shelves which clashed with the new vanity top which had to change to match the new fittings.

 (I think that was the sequence. Whatever it was, it took several months to decide). The mirror had to be replaced because the existing one was “showing signs of age”, meaning it clashed with the “new look” as depicted in at least one magazine. By the way, did you know there are 63, give or take a couple, of shades of grouting colour? 

Selecting the right one takes at least one week of serious thought, phone calls to friends and relatives, and daily visits to the tile supplier. I must stop now. My head hurts. (And it might hurt more if/ when SHE reads this)  


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