Friday, September 29, 2006

joy in mudville

I finally finished applying joint compound to the drywall. I actually had completed the third coat the day before, but it had some severe cosmetic issues. I didn’t care for the way it looked at all, until I got busy with a sanding screen. Even though using the screen to knock down all the bumps and ridges made all the difference in the world, I also gave the walls a once over with a wet sponge. The sponge allowed me to really smooth out most areas. After stepping back and inspecting my work, I decided to go back and add more mud to the joints where my drywall met the existing wall at 8 feet above the floor. Although it added a full day to the project (mostly drying time), I decided it was the best approach. Otherwise, every time I sat on the throne in the future, I would have to look at the lousy job I had done.

A quick word to any reader who happens to write or edit “do it yourself” books or websites- the rest of you can skip down to the next paragraph. Please stop suggesting that using a wet sponge will prevent the creation of dust. Sure, it creates less dust than sandpaper or a sanding screen or a sand storm, and perhaps that dust is somewhat damp, but it still creates a mess that will have to be cleaned up pretty much immediately.

While waiting for the final sections of wet joint compound to dry so I could sand them, I decided to begin priming the ceiling. I used the remainder of the stain blocking primer I had left over from the bedroom painting as a first coat. I intend to use the same “new construction” primer that I apply to the drywall as a second coat for consistency. I’m not sure if I will have to add a third coat of primer to the ceiling since I am going from a mottled navy blue and smoker’s white to a plain, “bistro” white. I’m also going from a disgusting semi-gloss ceiling to an eggshell finish so I am prepared for some coverage issues.

Switching gears… tonight I killed the largest black widow I have ever seen. It was outside “hiding” under the faucet that controls the garden hose. I guess she was hunting for gardeners. Over all, I saw significantly fewer black widows this year (a couple dozen) than the previous year (when I was killing up to 15-20 per night). I attribute the lower density to the fact that the house and two garages next door hadn’t just been gutted, and also because I had filled in all the crevasses and voids in the adobe brick garden beds with wet adobe- thereby removing a vast majority of their potential habitat. On the other hand, perhaps they have simply improved their ability to remain undetected.

I’ve also been noticing a higher population of praying mantids. This time of year appears to be their mating season, and they tend to congregate near the floodlights on the side of the house and garage where they can eat moths as long as they want. So far, only one male mantid has ventured into the house- via the open bathroom window. When I asked if he had been reading my blog he quietly cocked his head to one side and stared at me as if I was crazy.

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