I lived in Florida for a time and had a little “Tudor”-style house with a swimming pool in the backyard, which was surrounded by a stone deck. I really didn’t want the swimming pool in the first place as I lost all interest in swimming after almost drowning off the coast of Italy, but my ex-husband whined about wanting one for three solid months and I finally gave in.

That was a mistake.

I ended up being the pool guy – you know, the one who gets to keep the thing clean. Mixing chemicals, adjusting a pool pump, cleaning filters and dragging hoses around was not something I relished doing. However, I did it.

One day I discovered a crack in the deck. It wasn’t a large crack and I decided that I could repair it myself, being that I was the pool guy and all. The only obstacle was that I didn’t know how to do it. No problem. I went to a hardware store and asked the clerk how to repair a crack in a stone deck. He said it was very easy. All I needed to do was this:

Buy a bag of stones matching the colour of the deck. Buy a gallon each of epoxy resin and hardener. Mix the resin and hardener together in equal quantities Crush the stones with a hammer. Mix the crushed stone with the epoxy using a paint stirrer. Heap a mound of this mixture on top of the crack. Spread the mound to a thin layer using the side of the paint stirrer.

So I bought everything I needed, took it home and created a big bucket of crushed stone/epoxy resin gack. Then I hauled it over to the crack (it must have weighed 50 lbs) and tipped the bucket.

That was a mistake.

I thought I could control the amount that came out of the bucket but it sort of got away from me, and the whole lot slid out as I tipped it. No problem – the clerk said it was supposed to be mounded over the crack, and this was just a slightly bigger mound than he had described. I could still spread it out with the paint stirrer to make it uniform with the rest of the deck. I started fanning it this way and that, creating a kind of circle. But it was still too thick, so I spread it a little more…and a little more…and a little more.

By the time it was spread as thin as it possibly could be, there was a circle approximately six feet in diameter covering a crack that measured perhaps eight inches in length. And when I stood back and looked at it, I realized that there was no way it would ever look like anything other than a really ugly patch.

I was very hot and very tired by this time, as it was mid-afternoon. The sun was blazing, baking the deck, the glue was drying rapidly, but I saw no alternative but to remove it. So I began to frantically scrape it up with the paint stirrer. But I’d done such a good job of spreading it out that I couldn’t get enough of it on the paint stirrer to make a difference. So I stood there for a few minutes wondering what to do next. And then it hit me:

The hose has a power nozzle on it! I’ll just blast it!

Now, most people know that epoxy isn’t really water-soluble. But I didn’t. I unwound the hose, turned the faucet on full and proceeded to direct a cutting jet of cold water onto the glue. Which did not dissolve, but instead moved. Well, the glue moved in a gummy film and the glue-coated stones flew into the air.

An hour later, I’d managed to get most of the glue to slide off the edge of the deck and onto the grass. Thousands of glue-covered white stone chips now decorated half the lawn and most of the shrubbery. I’d stuccoed the garden.

The grass became vertical spears that would pierce your foot if you stepped on them.

It was a month before I could cut the lawn and I never did repair the crack. I put a potted plant on top of it when I sold the house.

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