Thursday, April 26, 2018

A thin layer of drywall dust

There is a thin layer of drywall dust in this house. There is a thin layer of drywall dust on the kitchen counters even though the kitchen is a full floor away from where the drywall is happening. There is a thin layer of drywall dust in our linen closet even with a tightly closed door. There is probably a thin layer of drywall dust up on the roof of the house. There is a thin layer of drywall dust on my soul.

Most impossibly, there is a thin layer of drywall dust in the TV room even though Natani, the crazy desert dog, is always running around in there like a goddamn maniac so makes the settling of dust very difficult. She excels at constant breeze-making.

I think my dog broke.

She sleeps like this sometimes.
She is one crazy goddamn dog.

If it sounds like I'm complaining about the drywall dust, rest assured it is the opposite. This is my happiest of places, fixing up spaces very much in need of fixing up. If I had all the money in the world, I would buy all the houses and fix up all the rooms. I would live with a perpetual thin layer of drywall dust on my clothing and in between my teeth but I would happily show it off by twirling in circles to watch it fly and smiling with a wide open mouth.

Banister Abbey is a labor of love and six years in, we are still laboring. Most of the big decisions have been made for the master bath project and it's going to be a beauty. I am happy with the direction it is taking -- even happier I found a general contractor who doesn't mind I'm sitting on a stool next to him munching popcorn in anticipation while watching the spreading of mortar and the installation of waterproof membranes. It's a vision coming to life before my eyes, with perhaps a few unplanned popcorn kernels embedded in the grout.

I'm going to call my contractor "Peter Gabriel" because I'm listening to one of my favorite Peter Gabriel songs on KEXP right now. He's a keeper, that Peter Gabriel contractor. I've worked with many and he's the only one I would invite to Christmas dinner with my family -- and he would probably get most of the presents under the tree. He is a gentle soul with a keen eye for detail and an impeccable ability to keep it all moving along cheerfully no matter how complicated the project.

The only issue I have with Peter Gabriel is he smiles all the time. He may be delivering bad news but he's smiling and cheerful so at first I'm not sure what's going on. Wait... the electrical inspector won't approve the light fixture I love so much, the one I based the entire bathroom design around, because it's not 500 miles away from the nearest water source? That's bad news, right? But you're smiling so widely, is that actually happy news? I never know when he approaches me smiling if he's about to make my day, break my heart, or just ask me the time.

I am now fixating on the third floor bathroom. We're adding one for guests who stay up there so they don't have to walk through the kids' rooms to access a toilet in the middle of the night. It used to be that, at whatever time, guests had to walk down these steep stairs where my favorite print hangs, the dapper dudes dueling with Nintendo guns --

-- and choose which kid to wake up to use the jack-n-jill bathroom between their rooms --

Choose your door wisely.
Choosing the door means means choosing the kid
who scowls at you the next morning over breakfast
and loves you slightly less.

Third floor needed at least a toilet and a sink. The only option was the long skinny closet that houses the furnace. We can't move the furnace and can't block or cover it for air circulation purposes. We're putting a toilet in there anyway.

That's the furnace lurking
inside the bathroom/closet.

I'm considering embracing the industrial aspect of the space and making it a furnace themed bathroom. Everything gray and white, toilet made out of pipes, super hot at all times. Peter Gabriel Contractor joked he'll bring old sections of pipe and we can suspend them from the ceiling with fishing wire. Anything goes in a furnace bathroom.

I'll finish this post with some Bobo. Bobo the bearded dragon is slowing down. He's lived a happy 12 years, 4 of them with us (still Lucien's favorite birthday present ever and a happy memory, especially the escaped crickets) and that's getting close to all you can expect from a pet beardie. He doesn't move very fast anymore, and sometimes misses the dinner crickets hopping around his tank. He can't climb all the way up his log anymore either, instead sleeps like this, with his little dangly arms down at his sides --

We often assume he's died during the night when we wake up and he looks like this. We approach his tank reverently, holding hands and speaking in hushed voices. As we all cluster around, staring down at him with affection and beginning our eulogies, he wakes with a start and his eyes get super wide and he's like, "GAH!"

And then we're like, "GAH!"
And he's like "OMG!"

And we're like, "YOU'RE ALIVE!"
And he's like, "OF COURSE I AM."

Then we feel happy and walk away as Bobo's eyes go back to normal size and his body relaxes a bit. You can tell he's thinking, "Jesus, there's something wrong with these people."

Sorry, dude. Live on, majestic lizard. 

Insult to injury,
there is also a thin layer of drywall dust on Bobo.


  1. Heehee snort...Bravo! See, you're hitting your stride. (bows deeply)

    1. Why thank you beaucoup, madame/monsieur. ❤️

  2. Love these short posts, thanks, MJ!

  3. lol! The bearded dragon photos are amazing!I have a serious question- is it common to have a furnace on the third floor in Seattle? Forgive my ignorance, I've always lived in the northeast and we keep our scary furnaces in the basement.

    1. Not common! Banister Abbey is a complex beast of a house so we have two furnaces — one in the basement heats the main floor, the one up top heats the top two. It’s handy because we can keep the heat reasonable on the main floor and freeze the hell out of everyone upstairs — just get in bed and pull the covers up and stop complaining, kids. 💰💰💰👍

  4. Thanks for the new post! I remember dry wall dust...I think it took us six months to finally get the last speck.