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Mud Sucks

Posted by admin on Apr 29, 2011 in Misc. Challenges, Monastic Life |

One of the skills I have acquired over the years—and one I am regretting acquiring—is the ability to spackle, or “mud” drywall well. It is one of my least favorite things to do, largely on account of a significant overdose of mudding in my own house several years ago. But some friends have bought a house across the way and it needs a lot of repairs, including a lot of mudding. As they’re short on funds, I said I’d do it for them. I now hate my life.

For starters, the less competent of the two was supposed to wash all the walls, get the paint scraped, and make sure the walls were ready to be mudded, sanded, and painted. After two weeks of this, you could still write your name in the dirt on the walls with a damp cloth. Banishing this ineptitude from the premises, I assumed command of operations this past weekend. FML.

Since then, with the help of some friends and the more competent member of the pair who actually owns the house now, we have managed to finish scraping all the lead paint off the walls and trim, and clean the surfaces from years of grime and soot. Yesterday morning, I finished cleaning the last wall and ceiling, then set to work mudding.

I’m using quick set 20-minute mud, so you’ve got to work quickly and can’t dilly dally. But after the incredibly stupid and mindless work of applying a sponge to a wall, mudding actually seems like a step up. I have tremendous respect for mudders. I once saw a guy named Mike who was a true master at the trade and it was amazing just to watch him work. The skill, the touch he had with the blade, was incredible.

So, all yesterday morning and between teaching classes, I mudded. My last class finished at 9:20, and then I went back over to the house and mudded until close to 1am. The day was pretty much non-stop from 9am til 1am. The mudding is now almost finished, but aside from being exhausted, I am as cuddly as a cactus at the moment. Why? Because the work’s not done. I just got back from Home Depot, where I got the supplies for priming the walls; I have to go over and sand now, then touch up any mud, scuff up the walls that are already painted, then sand any new patches, and finally wipe down the walls and clean up the dust so that they’re ready to prime and paint this weekend. I repeat, FML.

This weekend, we have to prime, then paint the walls, a big task considering it’s a whole house. To top it all off, Sunday is the first Sunday of the month, so there is a 3-hour meditation here from 5am to 8am.

Note to self: Do NOT demonstrate competence in anything you hate doing.


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