DIY Tales: When the Dust Settles
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.
©Ilona Elliott, 2016