Jeremy Felt

A weekly note

It’s this week, not last week. But I don’t want to miss a week.

Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, their only number one single, was written by Diane Warren.

Diane Warren has written a new song, Gonna Be You, to be performed by Dolly Parton, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Belinda Carlisle, and Debbie Harry.

The song will be used in a movie starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field.

Everything is going great until the punchline.

A will put up with a page or two from Portrait of an Artist, max.

He’s now sat through 4 or 5 entire pages of Our Next President multiple times and just keeps on going back to it.

I didn’t write about this last week because I wanted to surprise the people I have regular video calls with and who read this note—hi you few!

Almost all of the walls on our upper floor are covered with this crazy grasscloth wallpaper from the 70s. Ever since we moved into this house 5 years ago, even while we were renting, we dreamed about tearing it all out.

Even if you ignore the 50 years of dust that has collected in all those woven nooks, it’s a disaster to look at. I’m sure it looked fine with the dark red shag that appears to have once lived here.

We took advantage of the end of the year break and started on the wall behind my desk during A’s nap times. There is so much wall upstairs, there is no way we’d have time to do it all at once.

We first had to rip down all of the grasscloth. Then the wallpaper backing behind it. No matter the trick, it came off leaving very damaged drywall behind. Exciting!

Once we had that clear, we added a coat of primer specifically for damaged drywall. The hope here being a strong enough seal is created that the next few layers don’t soak in.

Next, we learned about skim coating. I mixed up a bag of 40 minute joint compound and made it significantly more liquidy—yogurt texture—so that we could spread it on the entire wall surface with paint rollers before smoothing it out with joint scrapers.

Once we went through a couple coats of that, we added another coat of primer and followed it up with two coats of paint. And now we have a bright new end of the room that just needs a bit of trim and some outlet coverings.

All very exciting and a completely new medium with which to make errors.

For next time:

  • Use a joint compound with a longer setting time. We were just getting the hang of the wall when it started thickening up. It seems like it’s easier to work with thicker joint compound, so on a wall as damaged as ours, I wouldn’t make the skin coat so runny. I may just opt for the 24 hour stuff.
  • Sand with 80 grit after the first layer of joint compound so that a smoother base is ready for the second layer, then finish it with 150 and 220. This should work better than putting on two coats before starting to sand it.
  • Empty the wet/dry-vac before starting so that you don’t have to slug a full 300 pound wet/dry-vac down the stairs to empty it because its suction disappeared all of a sudden.

But really, try not to have such damaged drywall!

It’s great that only two people I have regular video calls with have said anything so far.

I’ve frequently repeated some form of “work will expand to fit the time allocated to it” over the last couple years.

It’s my way of understanding that if we push a deadline out, we’ll likely also continue committing a similar amount of effort to the project during that period, so you better be pushing it for a very good reason.

I thought Beginning, by Lia Purpura, expressed that sentiment well, in a way. It’s also just a nice poem.

In the beginning,
in the list of begats,
one begat
got forgot:
work begets work
(one poem
the next).

Thanks to Heidi Li Feldman for linking to that on the great wide fediverse.

This post won’t make it if I don’t publish it. And next week is right around the corner⸻on Friday.


Happy New Year.

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