For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on the new dining room ceiling. On one side of the room, mice had eaten away a pretty big chunk of the old acoustic tile. There was another hole left for access to plumbing and covered with a plywood patch. Even though such things give a place a certain nuanced charm, I suppose, we decided those quaint qualities had to go. Now, there’s a new drywall ceiling that does not as yet have any mouse holes or utility access.
It also doesn’t as yet have any paint but it moved a big step closer yesterday. After a half-dozen or so steps and layers of finishing, we finally got to the sanding phase. Of course, when it comes to sanding Sheetrock ™ at our house, “we” means “me and the mouse in my shirt pocket.” Even he shirked work yesterday.
Mouse is apparently averse to drywall dust, which is admittedly rather pernicious. About the consistency and color of talcum powder, it has a way of drifting into and onto every crevice and surface in the house. Having learned the hard way about the less than complete effectiveness of just closing doors, I took the extra measure yesterday of also sealing the doorways with plastic.
Randa helped me cover the double doorway into the living room, the kitchen doorway and the large built-in china cabinet. After she helped me start covering the final doorway into the den, she then abandoned me as prescribed by ancient rules of remodeling and local ordinance. I sealed the final doorway and began sanding.
An hour-and-a-half later, with arms aching and neck sore, I emerged, looking like a cross between Fuzzy Noller and the Abominable Snowman. Fused by sweat, layers of gypsum had built up into a cocoon on my arms. Puffs of dust rose from my shoes with each step. There was so much white dust in my beard and hair that I looked nearly three years older. But there wasn’t a speck of drywall dust anywhere else in the house.
There are jobs that by necessity involve some measure of mess. The best we can do is to get through them without making the mess more work for those around us. I believe the old adage says, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Sometimes, it’s also worth more than that in preserving marital relations.