Monday, February 15, 2021

Schmegma face, by J.C. Kavanagh


The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends
Book 2 of the Award-winning Twisted Climb series

We've all been through this scenario: You're chatting with someone, face to face, and you notice they have salad-schmegma lodged between their two front teeth... do you tell them right away? Or do you overtly begin to slide your tongue over your own front teeth in the hope they mirror your actions? 

Of course, the proper thing to do is to tell them, right?

How about when your partner is cutting porcelain tile with a wet saw and over the course of the afternoon, begins to look like a cement monster - a man with cement-schmegma on his face. (How do you like my new word - schmegma (pronounced shmeg-ma). Definition: detritus of any variety, usually found on the human anatomy.) So, do I tell him right away? Well, I didn't.

Ian (my partner) and I have been renovating our basement. We're good at designing and we're never allergic to learning a new skill. So we've cut out walls, built support structures, installed windows, a new exterior door (that was a hard one), and bifold closet door. The new exterior door required a foyer-type of entrance so we decided to lay some porcelain tile. Have we ever done it? No. Can we do it? Yes. Isn't that what YouTube and Google are for? 

Ian goofing off after cutting drywall for the soon-to-be coat closet.

Me goofing around.

So, we spend time doing our Internet research and holy cow, everyone has an opinion and every do-it-yourselfer has a different variation than the one before. Who to believe? We start with reading the instructions accompanying the materials. Usually a good start and yup, details are on the box of tiles and on the bag of cement mortar.

Cement floor prepped and tiles dry-fitted and cut.

Like many jobs done for the first time, it's HARD! Each tile has to be squared, level and perfectly straight. If your first row is crooked - even a little bit crooked - your last row will look awful. So we spent a total of four days, that's right, FOUR days prepping the floor, dry-fitting the tiles, cutting them and then carefully laying them on the thick coat of mortar cement. I completed four thousand squats in four days. Seriously. 

But watching Ian cut the tiles with the wet-saw and seeing the resulting cement schmegma on his face... well, that just made my weekend. I didn't tell him what he looked like until after I took these pictures. Oh, did we laugh!

Ian is such a character - great cement face :)

Tile laid and cleaned up (Ian, that is).
Grout saved for another day...

Laying tile is like writing a story. It's one piece at a time, one episode at a time, one character at a time. You bring them all together and if you've done a good job, the story, like the tile, is a perfect fit. It took me almost a year to write The Twisted Climb and about nine months to write the sequel, Darkness Descends. The characters, the plot and their adventures combined to make an award-winning series. If you haven't checked them out, you really should. You can find them here:

And I have to be honest. I'd really rather write than lay tile. True story.

Be safe everyone!

J.C. Kavanagh, author of 
The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends (Book 2)
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2018, Critters Readers Poll and Best YA Book FINALIST at The Word Guild, Canada
The Twisted Climb,
voted BEST Young Adult Book 2016, P&E Readers Poll
Novels for teens, young adults and adults young at heart
Twitter @JCKavanagh1 (Author J.C. Kavanagh)


  1. Reminds me of the day I laid slate on my foyer floor. 40 years later, still looks good and there was no way to learn than to do it, Keep writing

  2. Thanks Janet. I agree - do it once - do it right!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Blog Archive