Now I have fond memories of this neato contraption that my daddy had, with this pretty purple chalk. Of all the mysteries of construction, this one I could understand (even if my daddy would never let me play with it 'cause he said it would make a mess). Pull it tight. Snap it. You had a nice straight line. Didn't seem to take too much savvy to run a chalk line.

A Chalk Line in the Sand

The war of  our kitchen remodeling project carries on with the battle of the new tile. At least my husband Robert and I are on the same side--usually. In this whole process we're acquiring carpentry tools. My garage is beginning to look like father's. One of those many gadgets is a chalk line.

Well, yesterday we finally got to laying out the tile. We fussed and figured, and finally it was time to draw our first line in the sand, so to speak. We pulled the chalk line across the floor for the first time. I felt decidedly disappointed to see that ours was plain white, not some pretty shade of purple or blue or red or pink. How boring.  Oh well, we carried

So, this was one tool I didn't worry too much about using when we bought it. I remember wondering what great color ours would be, but at the time we were purchasing $1000 of tile and tools, and after days of worrying about the color of the tile and the grout, the color of the chalk line seemed unimportant, so I didn't ask.

on. With great precision, Rob snapped the line. Carefully we lifted it off in order not to smear it. To our consternation there was no line! We looked at each other quizzically and laid it out again. Just about the time we got ready to snap it a second time, we both realized that there was no chalk!

Was ours defective? Did you have to fill it? There wasn't any chalk in the packaging, long thrown away. Didn't it come with chalk sealed in and one filling lasted a lifetime?

"Maybe," said Robert, "there's a package of chalk inside." He immediately used a screwdriver and took the thing apart. No, no chalk packet inside.

"Do we have to go buy chalk?" I asked.

"I guess so."

So off we trundled to the hardware store, where, with great fear of looking like a total fool, I asked where I'd find chalk for a chalk line. I really expected the guy behind the counter to look at me strangely and say, "But lady, it comes with chalk." I was much relieved when he answered, "In the front, on the left," in a tone that sounded bored to death.

Robert, of course, chose vibrant orange in the 8 oz plastic bottle. We were most amazed to find it came in 50 lb drums.

At home, Robert filled the gizmo and we quickly yanked it across the kitchen floor. Immediately there were clouds of orange dust everywhere. Somehow we avoided the white walls, but it clung fervently to the cold air return. Every time we run this thing, we have to then use the shop vac (the dust buster gave up the ghost long ago) to clean up the mess. It never gets easier.

Tonight, we mix our first mortar. Oh joy.  If I have any more fun with this project, I don't think I can stand it!  ¨

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