Monday, May 28, 2007

I fought the wall and the wall won

There's an insidious white substance that has taken over my (and Ed's) life. I'm not about to divulge some illicit drug habit to you, dear reader. No, the substance is called joint compound and when it comes to patching plaster on our new bedroom walls, we are called idiots. Now let me explain why:

When we moved into our roughly 100-year-old home, the potentially beautiful master bedroom had so many layers of wallpaper over it.

Well, I guess 100 years-worth. Removing it was some kind of archeolgical dig. It involved co-worker George's wall paper steamer that she ordered from QVC, along with a stripping tool given to us by a nice guy named Jeff. It involved scraping and cursing and smelling many layers and years of mold. In the end, we discovered some cryptic writing. Murph partially deciphered one particularly curious tiny heart with even tinier writing inside, "When I grow up I want to be a .. (illegible)" (Even the grafitti in the room finds a way to be frustrating!). There was also a slightly perverted picture of a woman's butt with no torso, only a head. But we got through it, all the way down to the plaster.

Bare, the cracks were even more obvious, but that was OK, because the fabulous Jeremy had plaster patching experience and came over on a snowy April day and gave Ed a lesson. Ed taught me later in the day and we were well on the way. First, you coat some binding tape in joint compound and put it over the cracks. You smooth that onto crack. Then you have to build up some plaster all around the taped crack, so that the crack will eventually blend into the wall. The process was soothing, and since I work well with clay and cement, I took to the plastering process like a champ. We put Ed's IPod on shuffle and got to work. And we smoothed. And we smoothed and we smoothed, smoothed, smoothed.

Then we had to wait for it to dry. The next step would be sanding the edges of the plaster around the sides of each crack down to where we could no longer make out a difference between the new joint compound and the wall. Again, the key word is smooth. And this is the part where we discovered that we were, okay, not idiots, but not the smartest joint compounders on the block. No, we had put on way too much joint compound for the job - a whole big bucket of the stuff. And now we had to sand most of it off, where it flew around freely in the air and then (I'm for certain) implanted itself deeply into our lungs.

Yesterday, instead of those fiber-y paper type masks that people wear for painting, we purchased respirator masks...ones that we can also use when the pandemic hits, or when the terrorists strike. Or when we continue to take up the rug (different post - not yet written).

The powder from the joint compound is an organism. A being of it's own. It coats the floors and the furniture (sloppily covered in plastic) in the room. It's also found a way into the adjoining room, the yoga room, where, with snow drift-like tactics, it overtook the bed we were sleeping on. It forced us into the back bedroom, where we reside today. This white powder is so powerful that it's living in two of the four rooms in our upstairs -- and it pays us no rent. This powder is out to take over the house.

So, the title says "the wall won," but that was just a battle. We will win the war. We will once again sleep in the front bedroom - powder free.

Two walls remain. Root for us.

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