Rainy Day Writing

Writing, Reading, Inspirations and Aspirations

DIY Tales: When the Dust Settles

DSC_0613 (2)


I spent the afternoon in a DIY haze…of drywall dust. If you read my last post on DIYitis, you know how much I love the task. NOT. But it was the last session of applying mud, drying, and sanding to perfection for our little New Years Eve project. Yes, I know it’s February 13th. It’s been forty four days since we started our entryway remodel. I’m sure my husband believed it would be a four or five day project. He’s always wildly over optimistic about the length and cost of every home improvement project we’ve ever started. Which is why he usually ends up bleary eyed and depressed by week three, sitting on the couch playing with his hair, doing his best to ignore the mess surrounding him and my stares, glares and snarkey comments about our lack of progress, until he can muster up the enthusiasm to get back at it, or not, which is when he goes out into the shop and stares at his project 55 Chevy until he gets cold and then comes back in and pours a cup of coffee and sits back down on the couch in a cloud of dust and plays with his hair–again.

Generally speaking we get along really well. We don’t fight much. We’ve been married since 1978 and still even like each other. A lot. The only thing that is guaranteed to spark a disagreement between us is home remodeling. Which, if we were smart, we would avoid for the sake of our marriage and our mental health. But we don’t, because we always smugly believe that this time, things will be different. He won’t cut any corners on time or materials, and I won’t nag him about cutting corners and not doing it right like they did on the DIY network or This Old House and he won’t ignore my suggestions and treat me like a DIY buffoon and make me feel insignificant and I won’t try to tell him how to do anything, actually, because, by now, we both know better. But of course we don’t, because  I always believe that this time, this time, he will not leave mounds of filthy tools in our living area and construction debris will not be piled in every inside and outside corner of the house. There will be no drywall scraps thrown out into the pouring rain turning into white, gluey globs in all the bark mulch around my flower beds, that will be impossible to clean up now and will mean I have to pick it out, all the loose little crumbles, with my fingers, or eventually just cover it up with fresh mulch sometime this summer when I could be sitting around drinking a mojito zenning out with the bumble bees, which will have me mumbling obscenities as I work outside this summer, which might scare the neighbors if we had any nearby, but we don’t, so that’s a relief. No, things haven’t changed. And never will. And neither will we. So today while the old man was out in the shop ignoring the mess after having spent the morning watching Nascar, ignoring the mess, I got to work.

I mudded and scraped and sponged and sanded. And sanded. And sanded. There were piles of drywall dust at the base of every wall, like pretty white snow drifts, which reminded me of the little snowy Christmas village table scapes crafty people are fond of creating for the holidays. If I were one of those most crafty people, I might have scooped the powder up, and squirreled it away until December. But honestly, I’m not and I couldn’t wait to get that shit off the floor. The good news was, the walls looked decent.

And boy, it felt good today to get the drywall sanding done, although I was a little stressed that the whole house was clouding up with thick dust, in spite of the plastic drop cloth wall we stapled to the ceiling to contain the dust, which always rips and tears and sags, and blows in the wind like autumn wheat every time the forced air heat kicks on, releasing little drywall dust particulates to float around the atmosphere like evil dirt fairies whose sole purpose for being is to ensure that the house will never, ever, be a clean and healthy environment, safe for human habitation, ever again.

And there was a lot of dust in the air, but not as much as I thought, turns out, which I realized when I took off my glasses and things looked so much clearer and brighter. Which made me sigh with relief and I didn’t even cough!

It was cathartic to take his big pile of chalky, dust encrusted tools and put them into the giant bucket that once held drywall mud and is now clean and empty because it is all on the new, (fairly),  pristine walls–at least what’s not in our hair, furniture and respiratory systems. It’s amazing how much of that stuff we used for this little remodel! And I was actually happy to pick up the pile of tools and tangles of extension cords and debris that littered the floor in the work area, which is why the old man was always swearing and banging around behind the dusty curtain as he danced around the obstacle course of crap he created for himself by not putting any tools away once in the last forty four days, the silly man. I was somewhat elated as I vacuumed and furtively wiped off  most of the dust on all the flotsam and jetsom we accumulated during the last forty four days of our life together. And while there is still a lot of work to do, I feel like the worst is over. So I took a shower.

And then the old man comes in from the shop where he was staring at his car for the last couple of hours and reminds me that we still have to demo the old drywall off the rest of the old walls so we can stud them out to meet the new addition walls before we can actually hire someone to do the BIG drywall work we need to finish the addition we started FIVE HUNDRED AND TWENTY ONE DAYS AGO, and I feel so good, I just shrug and laugh out loud and pour a cup of coffee and sit down on the couch and play with my hair.

Me and Cosmo

When Mom stops working, Cos is always there to play!

©Ilona Elliott,  2016




  1. Out of curiosity, what kind of music (which I know you love) if any are you listening to as you’re doing all that sanding? I’ve plugged my way through a few marathon DIY projects sampling lots of new songs and albums, it always made the time go by infinitely faster and I had the cool feeling later on of having done two very productive things at the same time. I guess the only caveat is to be careful and not ruin anything for later. Sometimes I’d go for ambient or classical stuff that I don’t listen to a ton outside of my normal listening-parameters but that I wanted to get familiar with.

    At any rate, good job hitting it so hard. I hope you can still lift your arms, this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well being an old rock a billy fan I was listening to Greg Allman’s Live Back to Macon GA, but mostly because that was what we had in the CD player, which I didn’t even want to open to load anything. It has already swallowed more dust than probably recommended–as have I. I like to listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter when I’m working because she really carries me into an imaginative realm like no other song writer. I CAN lift my arms this A.M., I just can’t breath all that well–No dusk mask, something I nag my husband about constantly. I’m such a hypocrite.


  2. It does feel good to accomplish something, doesn’t it? Although you have now convinced me to not even start dry walling our front closet. My husband was supposed to start it five years ago 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for following http://fonzandcancer.wordpress.com I really do appreciate it – Fonz


    • No problem. I like your message! Best Wishes.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ditto 😊


      • Dana Pistey

        Oh my goodness, you paint such a vivid and accurate picture with words. Well done sis.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dana Pistey

    Hey SIs, Glad you got that part done. You create a picture with words as well as you do with paint. See ya soon

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could come down and replaster your arm if you need me to?


  5. Nice job Sis….in both the writing and the physical work you completed! You have become quite the writer!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s getting there, on both accounts. Thanks JuJuBee.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: