Wednesday, July 30, 2014
From Shell to Sheet-Rock
The fourth time I jammed the drywall bit into my finger, the blood blister burst. So did my patience and frustration at my lack of skill and finesse at construction work. After a few choice curses, I wrapped more tape on my finger and kept setting the screws.
I have to confess that I took some pride in the symmetry of well-placed fasteners, even though they would soon be covered by joint compound.
It has taken a large investment of time, effort, and money to get to this point.
We bought "The Shed" three years ago. It was a frame shell with a Tyvek layer that was degrading. It needed work in order to protect the sheathing and the frame.
This summer, we have added a septic system, roughed in the electrical wiring, the plumbing, trenched and piped the propane, insulated, and now have all but finished the drywall.
The number of decisions, amount of materials, and degree of physical exertion necessary to complete each stage, has, to me, been staggering.
I am struck at what goes into a first-world home, what I feel entitled to, what I take for granted, as the minimum for a liveable structure. Running water, electricity, weather-proof structure, insulation, wood, steel, gypsum, foam, all add up to a huge amount of resources. All of it has to be processed and transported.
A house is like a living thing, with a circulatory, nervous, respiratory, and skeletal system.
It is complex beyond my ability to conceive.
With each screw I try to focus so that I do not drive it too deep and break the paper, or not deep enough, leaving the head above the wall so that it will interfere with smoothing and mudding. The drill, if I lose focus, will jump off the screw and stab my hand again.
The progress is a result of paying attention to each moment of the process. The process uses materials and efforts that are precious, deserving of sacred touch, and, sometimes, blood sacrifice.