Home Improvement: Drywalling–Keeping it a Hundred Percent
Yesterday, between fits of sneezing, cussing, and feverishly vacuuming and wiping down every piece of furniture, electronics and flat surface in my house, I couldn’t help but wonder how it is that we can send a robot to Mars and peer into deep space, but we can’t come up with something better than drywall to sheath the walls of our happy little homes.
I mean, yes, we evolved from cowering together in cold dark caves, sitting on rocks, to earth and stone dwellings, to wood frame structures with glass windows and doors to let the light in and keep the bears out, but once we made the jump from lath and plaster to drywall, the evolutionary process dropped dead in it’s tracks. If women’s lib had followed the same pattern, we’d all still be wearing aprons and pearls around the house and ironing our husbands clothes all day. Can you imagine?
Have you ever worked with this stuff? I have. More than I care to recall. It sucks. It’s heavy, large, unwieldy to move and hang, and prone to abrasions, dents and crumbling edges, especially when you are too weak to carry it up off the ground and have to drag it from the truck to the front door, in the rain. And that’s the “ulta-light” sheets!
Then you have to measure it and cut it with a utility knife, spewing gritty white chalk all over you and your surroundings in the process, which is impossible not to step into and track all over the house, and which does not vacuum up well and turns to a sticky-doughy coating on everything when you try to damp wipe or mop the shit up. Then you screw it to the walls, being careful not to puncture the paper coating too deeply or your husband will cluck at you disapprovingly and you will want to hit him in the head with the screw gun. And then you have to tape it and mud it, covering all the seams and screw head dimples to a nice smooth finish and you have to apply corner bead to make nice, clean, square corners and spread more mud over that without making lumps, dents and Swiss cheese like textures, (my specialty), everywhere, because if you do, you will have to sand it like crazy, which is like throwing chalk into a hand crank meat grinder with a built in high velocity blower.
The whole time you are choking on the clouds of dust you’ve made just cutting the stuff to size, which is nothing compared to the mess you’re gonna make when you start sanding that shitty mud job you did. That’s when the furniture ends up looking like the after math of a Reagan era coke party during a tornado and you start seriously wondering how long your lungs are going to survive your latest unhealthy home improvement project choice. It coats your hair, (the stuff on your head and in your nose), and every surface in the house, including the dog, and even your teeth, clenched as they are behind your crusty white lips, feel like you ate a five pound bag of flour for breakfast.
And you find yourself cussing out your significant other who blind sided you by insisting the project needs to be dry walled BEFORE you hire dry-wallers to do the rest of the unfinished addition walls, when you had assumed all along the reason you were doing this project now, (a new front door and entry hall closet and book nook in the bedroom), was so someone else would be doing the dirty drywall work you are now unhappily engaged in.
And you find yourself thinking: It makes no sense. I suck at this. I hate doing things I suck at. So then you can’t stop swearing as you work, which gets on the husbands nerves and he starts cussing at you about all your cussing and how annoying it is and of course you can’t not tell him, for the twelfth time, that you did not expect to be dealing with drywall on this project and that you didn’t get the whole reason why WE had to do the drywall when we will have a whole team of dry-wallers here in the near future who actually know what the F@#$ their doing and would certainly do a better job than we are…and then you put down your tools and put on your coat and go for a walk. Which is so refreshing! You can actually breath out there.
And when you get back you start looking at the little area of drywall you’ve been working on for five days, a little corner with a built in book nook, and it’s not looking so bad. You can do a teeny-weeny little bit of smoothing, then prime, spray texture, prime again, and, finally, paint it. And it will look nice. The little book nook will be so cool with the back wall a watery blue-green color which will tie in nicely with the paisley print on the quilt and pillow shams and will be a lovely and functional feature in the tiny room. And you have regained your composure and your focus and you can go sit down in the corner of the living room where all the furniture is piled together in front of the TV, away from the “Work Zone”, and dream about how clean, organized and uncluttered your little love nest will be. Someday. As you rub drywall dust off your teeth with your fingers.