Bruce the Drywall Guy is an Artist

I have written before about the siren song of drywalling, about how it calls to a man and tempts him.

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.

I have a mud pan made of wax -- or something like that.
"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.

My fancy drywalling work in the kitchen
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.
Bruce the Drywall Guy
So Bruce the Drywall Guy came in with his stilts and fancy tools and made quick work of the ceiling.
Smooth, even, beautiful kitchen ceiling
So after Bruce the Drywall Guy finished working, what was left on our ceiling was smooth, even, and beautiful.
The fixer
This guy. This guy right here. Later this week, he will arrive and get shit done. Stay tuned.