powdered donut.

13Feb09

There is drywall dust in my eyebrows. And in that funny fold that makes up my upper ear flap. There’s drywall dust under my cuticles and stuck in the dry wrinkles of my elbows. Let’s face it, I look like a powdered donut. I neglected to take any pictures because I forgot my camera… plus I dislike pictures of myself, even in more flattering circumstances that don’t involve my entire body being covered with white dust.

I spent the day sanding drywall. I had intended to just quickly knock off the worst of the ridges before we moved on to priming the walls of our little apartment. But things got a little out of control. Unfortunately, I have a nearly infinite ability to obsess over repetitive tasks. You can call this a love of meditative tasks, or you can call it latent Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I prefer to think of it as a love of meditative tasks, because if my health insurance company knew about my tendencies, I’d be likely to lose my coverage. I also like to knit, and have discovered recently that taping & mudding drywall is a task fairly well suited to my obsessive / meditative personality, along with weeding gardens.

The unfortunate part of spending the day sanding drywall (besides the powdered donut thing) is that it may take weeks for me to recover all the range of motion in my right arm. I’ve recently discovered muscles that I didn’t even know I owned, because they are not-s0-politely requesting that I never sand drywall again.

I really should never have started down the path of heavily sanding the drywall. The drywall looked fine even before I spent 5 obsessive hours exercising my shoulder muscles. Our friend Curt did the drywall texture, and he did a really nice job– so the obsessive sanding was really overkill. But. But I have many many fears about drywall. I have too many years of architectural education, too many friends who are architects, and have had too many nightmares about suburban drywall splatter patterns. I associate poorly-finished drywall with cheap developer houses and dentists’ offices. And I would really prefer not to live in either one of those places.

Thinking about drywall may seem like the biggest waste of time in the world– akin to contemplating one’s navel — but because of our little drywall project, I find myself studying the wide world of drywall finishes everywhere I go. The bathroom in the taco place has a chintzy-looking splatter pattern (designed to cover all sins of poor construction and be finished in less than 30 seconds per square foot). The drywall in the insurance agent’s office has heavily textured mud with intentional trowel marks (designed to cover all sins of poor construction and accept a mottled paint pattern in order to look faux-ritzy). The drywall in my brother-in-law’s rented house has an extremely light splatter pattern (designed to provide a fairly smooth look without actually requiring much sanding, but in actuality providing a finish that doesn’t hide all the seams and other flaws of a quickie drywall job).

Our drywall? Pretty smooth, hopefully pretty clean & contemporary-looking. Hopefully it will be worth the effort, and hopefully it won’t result in any permanent nerve damage to my aching arm.

Tomorrow, we paint.

P.S. sorry for the lack of picture of the progress currently being made @ home is a process. I know that I’ve made promises.. and I’ve failed to deliver. This seems to be the way my life is going these days. But I promise this: the before and after comparison will be fabulous!

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One Response to “powdered donut.”

  1. 1 buzzardroost

    You did not heed my dire warning. Beware the wall of dry! It is always difficult. Some do enjoy it and are good at it. Let them (if you can find them) do it. . . all of it. With the right artistic hand, texture can look very good.

    Drywall is a short career path, ending with silicosis, joint replacement, severe back pain and concurrent drug addiction. As a material, not sure if there is a better green interior wall material. A recycled paper cover would be good.


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