WE MAKE IT BY MONDAY (australia time) :( Sept 30

Well - we tried...we really really really really tried. But there's no way we're gonna get cabinets in by then. Darn that fatty lump. And by 'fatty lump' I should clarify that I mean Po's medical issue - not the pack leader. :) We worked solidly all day. The biggest problem in terms of getting things done in a timely fashion is that joint compound has to DRY. You can't sand one layer before it's totally dry - and if you've been using sizeable thicknesses of it (and, as you'll see, we're not ONLY using large amounts to cover our minor miscalculations) it can take like four hours or more for a section to be ready for the next step. The good part is that since there were so many areas to be get finishing work - I was able to sort of bounce from area to area like a demented pollinating joint compound bumble bee.

Sadly I didn't get to wear the optional Bumble Bee Joint Compound Man costume:


A huge part of my day was dealing with our new and improved (yet to be completely confirmed) method of doing corners. So the original walls all have these rounded corners - and Rich was keen to keep the new parts of the apartment flowing in the same consistent aesthetic (I, agree it is very nice, but would also like to plug in a toaster before I die. :) ). No, no... he's right. Damn him. So - we had been doing them by leaving a corner gap between the two pieces of drywall and plugging in a piece of quarter round. Remember - we did that in the storefront? Anyway - you joint compound both sides and after some layers you get a nice smooth corner. BUT in my nifty Drywall book that I bought at Lowes, I found this stuff that you're SUPPOSED to use to do this. They make drywall corner pieces. They make sharp corner ones... and they also make ones that turn your corner into a rounded edge. They are plastic so they help your corners withstand get a lot of traffic... and bumping... and whacking (from all the demolition derbys we're going to be holding in the apt) without the drywall getting dented etc. So the experts say. So we were at Carters (the local building supply people...who hysterically have granted us a 'contractor discount'. Yes I am a contractor. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. As Janice says - the only contract I'm related to is the one Rich frequently puts out on my life.

We had been having some issues with the other corner too - finishing them so they were perfectly smooth and that's how we started experimenting with the corner 'beads' as they are known. Amongst us contractors. Anyway our first instinct was to get a corner trowel. So we went to the hardware store to get one to try. Now, get this. There is an OUTSIDE edge trowel and an INSIDE edge trowel. And as you can see - they are COMPLETELY 100% DIFFERENT.



No way you could ever get those guys confused, right? Whatever. So I'm trying to figure out which one to get to TRY - because to get both and fail would be a waste of money. Except Rich could beat me with one in each hand. And I am NOT convinced you need both of these. So i go ask the guy in the store whether you need both of them. And he says they don't work. Sooo. Back to the corner beads. BUT what I LOVE is that they DON'T WORK but they have two kinds of trowel for you to FAIL at different areas. Fun, right?

So - anyway I'm at Carters and I look for the rounded bead stuff yesterday and - bummer - I can't find it. I found the sharp corner pieces (and we got a couple to try them) but no rounded edges. Darn. Here's what the normal corner stuff looks like.


Next day Rich comes in from a Carter's trip carrying a stack of them. They were standing right next to the others apparently. Eagle Eye Jo Jo.

And here's what the rounded stuff (officially called 'bullnose bead') looks like:


It's kind of ingenious cause if you look at the picture you'll see how the 'real' drywall corners can just continue and meet at an apex BENEATH this new manufactured curve. So IT gets support and YOU get your rounded edge. That's the theory. Let's see if we can make it work without making it look like our apartment is made of lego.

So the deal is – you nail this stuff into the corner. This was it’s own drama because we learned that UNLIKE putting up drywall or something more stiff – (where you start by putting a nail at the top and a nail at the bottom) – this you haven’t to work your way down. Because OTHERWISE it gets little dimples in it (like trying to put contact paper in a drawer and smooshing it smooth from the both ends to the center… not gonna work). So once we realized this it went a lot better. So – nail nail nail – then you spread joint compound down between the raised area (where the curve st arts) and the actual wall. So you fill a kind of trough covering (hopefully) all those little nail holes. Then you let that dry. Then sand… and you can imagine the continuing saga. But that ‘trough’ actually requires quite a lot of joint compound. Not you’re filling in like an 1/8 of an inch at least of goo. Which takes a LONG TIME to dry. When you are just skimming the stuff to cover a screw head or something… it takes a few minutes. This was taking all day. We put Rich’s high powered tornado inducing fan on it… and that helped a little. But by the end of the day too many areas were still wet that we had to do the sanding and repeat compound in the morning. Which means there was no way we were going to be painting by the end of the night.

So – Rich went along nailing up corners and I went around with my joint compound and ‘mudded’ as we fellas say down at the Contractors Club (which I think is actually just a Hooters…but never mind). This required a lot of joint compound. So we had to go back to Carters because we had run out. We had some 5 gallon buckets that were in the theatre when we arrived… and we thought we could use those But I opened one up – and lets just say – not good. I didn’t think joint compound could go bad. But it can. Like 5 gallons of rotten eggs with a little spoiled milk and baby vomit thrown in for extra kick.

So we went back to Carters. When we go back to ‘the yard’ where they give you the stuff you ordered, the guy looks at me in my paint clothes, looks at the drywall bucket and says

“ya gonna get any on the wall, bub”.



Done and done.

So – corner after corner went up. And I managed to get a pretty good system going. With my new found skim coating expertise, I learned that you can water down joint compound, and when it comes from the store it’s kind of like the consistency of play-doh. It’s good for filling holes – but it doesn’t smooth very easily. So I added a little water and that helped a whole heap.

By the end of the day I was having bucket issues though. My joint compound 5 gallon bucket (I was using the one I had emptied and refilling it up with a little at time – because carrying a full 5 gallon bucket around the room is like lugging a Volkswagen five feet every ten minutes) was, because it was no longer filled up, beginning to dry up around the edges. And these dry crusty bits were flaking off and snowing into my nice smooth joint compound below. And then it would get on my trowel and it would create long crevices in my trowel run. And after eight hours of joint compounding you are ALREADY starting to feel like you are less lucid than the combined sanity found onstage at a production of Three Sisterst starring Betty Buckley, Vanessa Redgrave, and Margot Kidder.

So we got me a new bucket. And I've done what BOB SAYS :) and we left the old one to dry out... then you whack it with a hammer and crack out all the old compound - dump it out - and then you have a brand new shiny bucket waiting. It's like christmas. For very poor people with nothing left to live for.

By the afternoon Rich had made a start on THE FINAL WALL in the kitchen. I was flattered to be called upon for my cardboard template making expertise. So you remember how this goes, right, you line up pieces of cardboard in smallish strips - run them along the angles in the ceiling, tape them together (making SURE you gave yourself a vertical strip at the beginning and end on each side (otherwise you'll cut it all skewed and the top will be perfect but it won't fit INTO the gap) and then you take it down and you have a perfect template for cutting a weird shaped drywall ceiling plug.

Now while this was happening, Jean Anne had decided to come by for a visit (spectators are always welcome because they prevent Rich and I from killing each other as the afternoon wears on)... But Jean Anne has never witnessed the template making ritual. So she's just sitting there and she sees me on a footstool lining up pieces of cardboard against the studs...and rich handing me duct tape, and then Rich putting in a few screws to keep it all place.

And she thinks THAT'S how we're surfacing the wall. Cardboard. Hee hee.

Once it was explained she was all game and became very involved in the duct tape tearing process. Which is kind of like being an operating room nurse and handing the scalpel. It's stressful, people. Sadly she couldn't stay too long... but Po got in her requisite number of 'hello licking' - so she was satisfied.

So Rich cut the top piece of the drywall - and, after two MINOR (and I mean minor - we're learning SOMETHING here, kids) adjustments - it slotted right in.


Something funny I forgot to tell you about Jean Anne's visit. On the subject of rounding the corners. Apparently after her first tour of the apartment, Jean Anne went home to Kenny and gave him a full report.

Kenny apparently said something like: "They're ROUNDING the corners?? Why would they go to all that trouble to round the corners.???!".

Jean Anne looked at me for a moment and I just said, "Gay, Jean Anne. We're just gay".

So - twilight was approaching and we had to stop because hunger kicked in bigtime. We hadn't had a mean since breakfast. However the breakfast had been AWESOME. We went to Bob Evans - and I got their pumpkin bread french toast. It's a seasonal thing.

Fly to a Bob Evans, people. Charter a plane. You won't regret it.

Sorry - I got sucked into cinnamon batter happiness for a moment. Back to the topic... we hit applebees for dinner. During which a father and two grown sons sitting behind us left the mother alone at the booth. All went into the bathroom and didn't come back for fifteen minutes. And then just the father came back. I felt kind of bad for her - but "Hey, looks like your men folk ran out on ya" isn't a good conversation starter, really.

We came home. Rich had to get some Columbia stuff done... so I finished off the last wall - managing to cut some pretty well placed holes for the water supply to the sink. Very impressive. I did manage to neglect making a hole for the sink DRAIN (well I didn't SEEE it, ok... it's tucked down there all shy-like). So we managed to spot that before everything got screwed in. So - I deftly cut the drain hole with the hand dandy drywall knife - and it was a perfect fit. After I made the hole bigger. Then - screw screw. I covered all the screws with joint compound. I ran the fibreglass tape along the seams. I joint compounded the fibreglass tape. I was very proud of me. So I call Rich out of his office to fawn on my handiwork.

"Where's the cord for the dishwasher?".

"The dishwasher has a cord?".

Why doesn't he TELL ME THESE THINGS.

So - after a carefully cut hole with the nifty hole-making-drill-bit-thingy (we only use that term in the most ELITE echelons of the Contractor's Club) Rich managed to yank (literally) the cord down and all was well.

And he thinks the wall looks very nice. So - even though it's not DONE YET. It's pretty darn close. In the morning - hopefully after a few final finishing runs of the joint compound - everything will dry and we can be priming by the time night falls.

So take a look:

START OF DAY stud-kitch5.JPG

END OF DAY kitch-wall-up.JPG

OH NO... THERE'S MORE!! kitch-wall21.JPG

little known Steven Schwartz alternate lyric: GOTTA FIND MY CORNER TO MAKE PIE new-mold.JPG



So - tomorrow - the prime of our lives.