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Like my brownhouse:
   a drywaller is like a beaver
Wednesday, August 16 2006
There was that incredible heat wave a couple weeks ago, but since then the weather has been ideal. It's actually been a little too cold for comfort at night wearing shorts and a teeshirt beside an open window. Back during the heat wave I'd been entertaining ideas about ways to build a cooling system that somehow taps the 44 degree temperature of the bedrock. Now it seems completely unnecessary. Summers here just aren't that bad, and when the days are hot it's a safe bet that they won't last.
The cool, dry air of this August has made for bright blue skies dotted with occasional puffy white clouds. Thunderstorms have been rare (though lightning from one did recently kill the head of the English department at the community college where Gretchen teaches English), and at this point a drought can be said to have descended. Except for the parts of the lawn regularly watered by my spackle knife cleaning, the grass has all turned brown.

This garage/shop drywalling project has gone on for much longer than I would have ever expected, though (in fairness to my original mental timeline) it has been subject to some serious scope creep. Originally I was only going to crudely drywall the walls and then add shelves. But the I can't bring myself to stop until I've brought surfaces up to the level of perfection most contractors reserve for living rooms. Today I was working in the part of the shop underneath the laboratory and I wasn't happy until all the seams and inside-corners were flawless. At this point, though, I've developed so many skills with drywall that it didn't take long to arrive at this level of perfection. Unlike, say, PHP coding, quality drywalling depends on certain physical skills that are impossible to convey verbally. Your wrists learn what to do from experience and lots of failure. And then, once you have those basic detail-level skills, the rest depends on the nagging of imperfections. A drywaller is like a beaver responding to the sounds of rushing water leaking over his dam. After the crude tasks of hanging the drywall and taping the joints, the end game of drywalling is dictated by the little flaws that cry out for correction. Once their cries have fallen beneath a certain tolerable threshold, the work is done.

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