Someone said to me recently that, in light of all the troubles lately, I should have faith in the universe. Things will work out. It will all come together. Trust in the universe, she said.
Yes, well, the universe has been kind of a dick to me lately, and just the other day, it saw fit to give me Bell’s palsy. Awesome!
Bell’s palsy essentially just ruins your face. Half of it stops working, and you can’t blink or chew right. There might be some drooling. Speech is also messed up — I can’t say P’s or F’s right. Phrases like “I’m a people person” are tough to say. And taking away F-words diminishes my vocabulary by about a half.
A quick Internet search will let you know that George Clooney had Bell’s palsy. And that chick who’s married to Tom Cruise. So that should make me feel quite a bit better, right? Of course it does.
You’d think that with modern medicine being what it is, some fancypants scientist would have figured out some kind of solution to this stupid disorder. But no. You just have to sit there with your stupid drooping face and live with it. Eventually, it goes away (most of the time).
I have a lot in common with George Clooney. Among our many similarities is the dreaded Bell's palsy affliction.
Of course I look like this more than I look like George Clooney. Thanks, Universe. Thanks a lot.
And so it is again that I whipped up some drywall mud, climbed onto a ladder, and tried to work my blue-collar magic. This time, though, I flew too close to the sun.
"His eyes seem so glazed / As he flies on the wings of a dream ... / Fly on your way like an eagle / Fly, touch the sun"
If I had any heroes growing up, it was probably Iron Maiden. They not only taught me how to rock, but also about history, mythology, math. Haha, I’m just kidding about math. Anyway, the story of Icarus, according to Iron Maiden, goes something like this: Dude had some wings made of wax. He flew too close to the sun, which melted his wings, and he plummeted into the ocean and drowned. The moral of the story, of course, is to construct your flying materials out of stronger substances. And also that hubris will be rewarded with failure, humiliation, and possibly drowning.
Back to the drywalling disaster in the kitchen. The ceiling had a lot of problems: A very old light fixture that needed ripping down, some cracks in the plaster, and a huge hole I needed to knock out to work on some electrical “issues.” After sealing everything up and taking everything down, there was only a matter of skimcoating the whole thing and making it nice and smooth.
Well, things didn’t happen like that. What happened instead is that I kept throwing drywall mud up on the ceiling, and it just kept getting lumpier and bumpier. Not the look I was going for. After Day 3, I said to Adrienne: It probably just needs another coat. She pointed at the still-visible seam running across the room and asked how many more coats it might take to hide the obviously uneven taping job I had been working on for three days.
Fine. FINE. We’ll call a professional, though I doubt he’ll have any better luck. This ceiling is just broken. Probably just need to get a new one.
Last year, when we bought the house, back before all our hopes and dreams were shattered, we had Bruce the Drywall Guy come by and knock out a quick project for the bank to approve the loan. He was fast, did excellent work, and was available immediately. Hired.
When Bruce came by and looked up at our ceiling, our lumpy, uneven ceiling, he wasn’t afraid or concerned at all. He was even polite enough to say with a straight face that I was “on the right track” with my efforts. Not only could he fix it, he could fix it today. It would need two coats. He worked a Saturday and a Sunday — clearly, this worker loves money (take this hint, other contractors who can’t be bothered to work on weekends). And when it was finished, that ceiling was glorious: Smooth, even, crack-free. No visible tape lines. Bruce the Drywall Guy is a goddamn artist.
I probably could have done it myself if I’d had more time, like maybe a few more months. But I’m very pleased that we called in Bruce the Drywall Guy to clean up my disaster. Later this week, we’re calling in the big guns to deal with the rest of our dumb house: Adrienne’s brother Brian. He wears overalls.
So after a few days in the kitchen, the ceiling still looked like this. Since it wasn't getting any better, it started to look like I exhausted my expertise.
So Bruce the Drywall Guy came in with his stilts and fancy tools and made quick work of the ceiling.
So after Bruce the Drywall Guy finished working, what was left on our ceiling was smooth, even, and beautiful.
This guy. This guy right here. Later this week, he will arrive and get shit done. Stay tuned.