Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's Not Sheetrocket Science

Chuck is a drywall guy. Or Sheetrock guy, if you prefer. Potato, po-tahto.

He's been a drywall guy since he got out of the Marine Corps in 1983. He's mostly a drywall hanger (well, that's what he most loves to do anyway), but he's also a drywall finisher.

If you would have asked me before I met him if I thought drywall was interesting, I would have said no. After I yawned 3 or 4 times first.

But I've learned a lot! I can walk into a house that just framed up and wired, and tell what room is what (and if the job is going to be a bitch). I can walk into a room that someone has just hung drywall in, and tell if it was well hung (hehe) or if it was a shitty job.

That term 'swear like a sailor?' Hah! Should have been 'swear like a sheetrocker'. They have some fun terms for things:

You want to get the job done fast with lower quality work? You 'rape it and run'.

You get a bunch of drywall hangers together to get a huge job done faster? You're 'gangbanging it'.

The coolest skill Chuck has acquired through 30 years of experience with drywall work?


Chuck uses stilts for drywall finishing. The ones in that picture raise up to about 42in (or almost 4 ft).

He not only walks around in these things. He climbs stairs in them. He holds a pan of drywall mud in one of his hands, and a spreading knife in the other and isn't even looking at the ground as he's walking in these things, scraping mud on a ceiling.

Like I said, before I met him, I didn't know shit about drywalling. But when I saw him do this for the first time?

Bad. Ass.

You don't even know how badass until you see it done.

I find stiltwalking sexy as hell. Thank goodness I have other options than circus performers!

Anyway, the other night we had our friends Sean and Andie over for beer and chicken wings. Chuck's chicken wings are more world famous than Hooters'! (Well, that's what I tell him anyway, to butter him up.)

After dinner, whilst we were sitting at the table in a chicken wing coma, Chuck walks through the door that leads from the garage to the kitchen wearing his drywall stilts.

Of course Sean and Andie had to try them out. That's why we're friends with these people.

Andie went first.

Andie is the only woman besides me that is allowed to be in this position with Chuck. She's lucky and she knows it. ;)

I think Sean got a little jealous (not really) because he had to come over and help "strap 'er in".

This is probably my favourite pic of the night. Andie with a Fonzie-style thumbs-up, Sean with a "sneaky Shocker", and a great smile on Chuckles' face.

There were (still are) handprints all over my ceiling. And a little nail polish.

Sean's turn next. As you will see, I didn't need a turn. Not only was I the camera operator, but I've been on Chuck's stilts before. No need to go again. Trust me.

This one's just funny. Sean looks like he's exorcising demons out of Chuck.

Then he got cocky. The bastard. He was a natural.

The stilts weren't at their full height. Chuck shamed him into raising them up to the 42 inches. Sean's short, but not that short. We had to go outside for this. Click on the pic, and note the completely unsure look on Sean's face (he almost ripped the gutter off).

Sean and Andie aren't married. They're just shacking up. I think they're perfect for each other, and Sean should totally have proposed from the stilts. Would have made a good story for future grandchildren.

"Yeah, I asked your Grandma to marry me at your Great Uncle Chuck's house. I was on stilts at the time. I'd been drinking. But it wasn't a mistake, thank God. Maybe.'

Had such a fun time that night. Who else has stilts just lying around, waiting to be played with? We're so awesome.

And next time, Chuck will remember to put the beer on top of the ladder before he gets on the stilts.



Zoe said...

I love this post! It is funny and sweet and informative too. Having botched a whole houseful of drywall installation, I appreciate the skill of the professional. And the stilts! Totally awesome.

Liza said...

Haha! Stilts make the world a better place!

Melissa said...

I'm crying, I am laughing so hard. how much fun. The secret 'shocker' was awesome! oh my gosh. And I, too, appreciate the skill. We are diy'ers, and Ryan won't touch the drywall finish. He'll hang, but then relies on someone else to come along and make his shit look good.

Hugh said...

I believe I have fallen off this party. It hurt, but was worth it.

Al said...

A fun night!

Just as a total by the by we call what you call drywall by one of two names 'gyprock' or 'plasterboard'. Down here Chuck would be known as a 'plasterer'.

I have 'gyprocked' my fair share of rooms, no stilts for me. Ladders or scaffolds all the way!

Kyna said...

Zoe: Yeah, I'm lucky that I have my own personal renovation guy, just in case. He's pretty good with other things as well... electrical,plumbing,framing, siding. Now the trick is having money to get the materials...:P

Liza: Stilts are AWESOME. Just not when I'm on them. My balance isn't all that great.

Melissa: Haha, I'm glad you enjoyed it :D Chuck really doesn't enjoy finishing too much, but in this economy, he can't be too choosy. The only thing he tries to avoid is sanding, because of the one lung situation :)

Hugh: Haha! ;P

Al: Yeah, I think a lot of people in Canada call it gyprock too. I actually think scaffolds are more dangerous lol. Chuck almost got thrown off of one once.

He was hanging and finishing a local workout center's swimming pool room (which was huge), and he had to do some work that was over a dip in the floor where the shower was. The scaffolding moved, and tipped, and Chuck almost went flying. Scared the shit out of me, I almost had a heart attack (I was there hanging out with him, I couldn't work at the time). He flung himself over to the other side, and gingerly climbed down. He was really freaked out by that one.

A lot of the beach houses around here have elevators. I don't even want to know if he's hanging in an elevator shaft that day, because I know he's perched on some flimsy looking plank high up in the air. He'll even answer his phone up there. Why would you answer your phone?? lol

Kris said...

ROFL - this is a terrific entry! I'm always amazed when I watch 'real' drywallers work on stilts on HGTV. But Chuck, obviously, is head and shoulders above the rest! (ba-dum-bum) Great pics. And that comment ("I've been on Chuck's stilts...")-- sounded kinda dirty to me... ;-D

Melissa said...

Kyna, I had to comment on your last comment. My dad was a Bridge Inspector for the highway department. He would walk across steel beems spanning roads and rivers 30-80 feet high. yikes. One time we had some branches that needed to be cut out at our house, Daddy came over to help Ryan. Ryan got about 10 feet up in the tree with a chainsaw and stopped.(Ryan has a fears of falling and cutting off his OWN limbs.) He turned to my dad and said, "Rex, we are going to have to call someone and pay for this." Daddy told Ryan to come on down. Then took the chainsaw from Ryan and scurried 25 feet up that tree like a monkey and proceeded to take the branches out, leaving Ryan forlornly gazing up--amazed, but stripped of much of his manhood!

Is the Wiz said...

Brilliant! I'm 5'2" (nearly) and my workplace was set up by by 6' tall guys, so this could be just what I need.

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

OMG, can we borrow Chuck? Only have a smidge of sheetrocking, or was that sh*trocking experience :P After our first house flooded, we did some of the reno ourselves. Damn ceilings, I swear to dog! Sheetrock, mud and tape, almost dang near killed me. Stilts (assuming I could actually stand up in them) would have been SOOOO much easier than scrabbling around on ladders and scaffold. The last photo is hilarious though...I suppose there are downsides to stilts too :P

The Idiot Gardener said...

If I was on stilts, I'd stand in a hole so other people thought I was really standing on the ground.

It's that sort of pointless shit that makes me laugh!!!

Kyna said...

Kris: I've been on Chuck's stilts...and got the whole 42 inches! *wink wink nudge nudge*

Is that dirty enough for ya? :D

Melissa: Wow O_O Your dad rules! My dad was totally afraid of heights. And chainsaws I'm sure.

Is: Do you need to stand on a chair to get into the breakroom coffee cup cupboard? :)

Clare: If you weren't on the opposite side of the country, I'm sure he'd take you up on it. Actually, he's always wanted to go to California, so he might say yes anyway :D

IG: Well you're already an expert at falling in holes. Standing in one should be a piece of cake.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Too Totally FUNNY Kyna girl !
In fact .. there are so many jokes that could "spring-up" from this whole post .. well there just isn't enough time (my life time that is ! haha) to run through them all ;-)
The last one with "hey, make sure you get your beer on the right level first !!" .. well that was just too RIGHT ! hahaha
Joy .. it is -5 C out there this morning, still warm yet! .. do you miss being a true
Canuck ?? hehehe

Bub said...

To reach his beer, did Chuck discover doing the splits on stilts is not a great idea? Or did he discover a new talent and is now thinking of joining the circus!

ChickenFreak said...

You're crazier than we are. This is a good thing. I want to come over to your house.