Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mysterious Chemical

It's time for that biannual job -- weather sealant for the deck.  Step 1: clean the deck.  Don't use the power washer. Don't wear myself out with too much elbow grease.  Instead, this time I would use the chemical wood cleaner. 

I realized, when we had cleaned about 1/4 of the deck, that we were halfway through the jug of this blue cleaner-stuff.  Do a little math:   "Gary, while I keep applying this, would you run to the hardware store and buy another gallon?"  He did.  When the first jug was empty, we opened the second.

It was brown. 
And it smelled turpentiny.
And it looked oilier.

But the label was exactly the same.  I pondered whether they had changed to a new formula??  I began to use it.

But something was wrong.  Gary came over from his part of the job (where he was using the hose) to have a look.  He too thought something was wrong.   So we quit for the evening.

A couple of hours later, my hands were burning from the chemical (even though I had been wearing rubber gloves).

Nothing on the website about recalls.

The next day I called the manufacturer.  They had not heard any complaints.  They told me which jug contained the correct cleaner.  (The blue one was real.  The brown one is the Mystery Chemical.)  I took the bottle back to the store to swap it out.  I explained to the store's owner and the manager what had happened.  The guys couldn't believe it.  We checked all the jugs on the shelves; there was another weirdo one. 

Right now, my guess is that the brown liquid was one of the active ingredients in the wood cleaner, unmixed.  I hope that someday I'll find out what it was. 

Moral of the story:  I really ought to trust my gut-level instincts more.  Why do I keep rationalizing possible reasons/excuses for things?  Why do I always assume that I'm being stupid, that I'm not understanding, that the other guy is right?  It seems like I too often end up regretting it.

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