April 19, 2024 — A Kick in the Butt

Jeff Powell
6 min readApr 19, 2024

Hey there!

So, the initiative faery whacked me with her wand last Sunday. Pretty hard, too. I still have the bruise to show for it, but it’s not in a place I can photograph and share.

Still, she got her point across. I moved everything out of the entryway, dug out the drywall tools and the remaining drywall mud, and got started on flattening out areas that are within easy ladder reach. There wasn’t a lot of mud left, and what was there had some crusty bits that weren’t fun to work around, but I put mud on the obviously damaged and ugly bits, as you may be able to see here:

In general, I was covering the places where the original drywall work was grossly substandard. The mud on those joints was already too thick and rough. Nothing was smooth and it cast obvious shadows. My work smoothed things out and made them a bit better, but it was only a start.

The mud I put down was thick enough that it took two full days to dry, so Monday included a trip to Home Despot to get more mud, a drywall mud mixing blade, some specialized sanding gear, and a few odds and ends.

On Tuesday, I got out my long level and went looking for the low spots after my previous work. As expected, there were dips on either side of the joints, so I marked them:

The pencil marks are hard to see, but they generally appear above and below the mud I’d applied two days before. Once that was done, I mixed up the mud and applied another coat.

That was a bigger job. It went on thicker than the first time, and spread out farther. In general the old high spots didn’t get any mud added to them. When that was done, it looked like this:

Of course, nothing goes perfectly, and I am far from a master at this process. The surface isn’t all that even (yet) and there were bubbles in the mud:

I’ve heard the bubbles are called “fish eyes” but that may be a local term. In any case, what remains is to scrape the high spots off, sand things smooth, and recheck the surfaces to see if there are still low spots. If there are, those get another fill pass. If not, I start filling in the bubbles and correcting any other issues that remain.

But I didn’t get there yet. Partly that’s because that second coat needed at least two days to dry, but in addition I lost nearly a full day to dog induced sleep deprivation. (Don’t ask… living with elderly dogs can be a challenge.)

Oh, and since someone will wonder, the green tape seen in the photos covers the mounting holes for the hooks that we have. They will go back up right where they were before once this is all done, and I didn’t want to lose the mounting location.

But that wasn’t the entire week. I also attended another DNV council meeting, and a meeting about the local housing densification rules that are coming into force. The information I gained went back into the community association website in a few ways, as well as into the next monthly email.

And I had to research a leaking bathroom faucet (a Grohe, as it turns out, though the printing that marks it as such is almost gone) and order a replacement cartridge to fix the leak. That’ll be a job for next week if it arrives.

Finally, given the state of the world I spent a fair amount of time consuming news, and then consuming mind numbing content as a result of said news. Can we please avoid WWIII? Even better, can we possibly stop killing each other? That’d be nice. Really. And I’m not even going to touch on US politics at this point, because if I do I might lose my lunch.

All in all, it was a fairly busy week.

I should mention that my mother recently told me (again) that I need to get back to making art. Apparently my art school posts were interesting, while more recent ones (even those where I wasn’t sick) are boring. And she has a point, but I’ve been thinking about this and I am slowly coming to grips with something new (to me).

I will probably get back to making art eventually, but I am spending a lot of time writing these days: writing for the website, for the monthly email, and these posts. And there are other opportunities as well. I probably write more in a given month than most people do in quite a while. And if that is what I find myself doing — and enjoying — I think maybe I should keep that up.

I won’t claim to be a good writer — far from, in fact — but I enjoy it, particularly when it helps others. (That “being useful” thing… that’s a crippling design flaw in my personality. Not sure where that came from, but it’s there. Mom? Any ideas?)

So while I will try to get back to making art at some point — and I have ideas for that when I get there — I know I am never going to be a recognized artist. And I’ve spent enough time reflecting on my art school experience that I am certain I do not need (or want) to go back to get a BFA or an MFA. Art — when I get back to it — will be for me, and not for anyone else. But writing… that can be something more. At least for now.

What that means in the long term is anyone’s guess. The monthly community email and the website take up a fair bit of time. And these posts aren’t too bad, consuming an hour or two on Fridays. What else might happen? Dunno. I could see some stories fall out of my genealogy research at some point. And fiction is a possibility as well, though I often suffer from blank page syndrome when I contemplate that. But there is hope even there, given time and practice.

Anyway, enough blather. I am trying to give myself permission to write as a hobby, and to enjoy it. I think that is a worthy goal.

And that was my week. Productive? Yes. Challenging? Somewhat. Useful, definitely. Seems like a good balance.

May your weeks be as good or better!



Jeff Powell

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.