The Studio Drywall Is Done! (Plus, My Self-Psychoanalysis)

Y’all, I made it over a huge hurdle this weekend. After convincing myself that I wasn’t capable of doing the drywall in the studio myself (you can read more about that here), and then having no success in finding someone else to do the drywall for me, I jumped right in and did it myself. I had planned to start on Friday, but then Matt had a horrible day, so I ended up not being able to start on it until Saturday afternoon.

Here’s what I was working with. I had already moved all of the outlets (I explain here why this was necessary) and filled in the foam that had to be removed with canned spray foam. So as of Saturday, I had to cut away the excess foam, install the drywall, and then tape, mud, and sand the joints.

I am the absolute slowest at installing drywall. It took me an embarrassingly long time just to install the five sheets of drywall on two walls. But I don’t even care, because by the time I went to bed on Saturday night, all of the drywall was installed.

That was a huge hurdle for me. After convincing myself that I wasn’t capable of doing it, it felt very good to end the day with the drywall done, and done pretty well.

No, I’m not nearly as good as a professional who installs drywall every day, but it looked pretty darn good, and the outlets didn’t look like a complete mess. So I was pretty pleased with the work.

And then yesterday evening, I was able to get the taping and mudding done before I went to bed. I’m not good at mudding at all. I’ve seen pros who put the mud on so smoothly that they barely have to do any sanding at all. But I’m not that person. 😀

I mud drywall much in the same way that I use wood filler. I pile it high in order to be able to sand it really smooth. And my drywall mud requires a ton of sanding. Most of my joints look pretty good…

These joints on the long mural wall turned out pretty good, even before they’re sanded.

They do still need quite a bit of sanding, though.

But the ones to the left and right of the window in the “office” area of the room are just ridiculous. 😀 I couldn’t get those smooth to save my life, so I just used my “pile it on” method. I was relieved to go in this morning and see that there were no cracks, so now it can be sanded smoothly.

I spent a few minutes sanding the area on the other side of the window, which started out looked just as rough as the picture above, to be sure I could get it smooth. It looks like it’ll work out just fine.

So I have quite a bit of sanding to do, but that goes pretty fast. I actually love sanding drywall mud. I find it to be a relaxing process since it sands so easily.

Once it’s sanded, I’ll need to give it a coat of primer. And then, barring any unforeseen circumstances, I’m pretty sure I can get the new wallpaper mural up today!! I’m so excited!

This whole drywall project really did go very smoothly, and while it wasn’t exactly a fun project, it wasn’t horrible. I mean, it was a hot, humid day, and I dragged the sheets of drywall out of the van directly onto the floor of the carport to cut each one before bringing it inside. But in hindsight, it was so much easier than what I had built it up to be in my head. The dread leading up to the project was much worse than the project itself.

As I was working, I did a whole lot of self-psychoanalysis. (Just putting my psychology degree to good use. 😀 ) In all seriousness, I wanted to know why, over the last few months, I went from being fearless and daring to self-doubting and fearful. There had to be an explanation for it. Changes like that don’t happen for no reason.

Well, I think I figured it out. At the beginning of this year, I was working on something, and I pulled a muscle on the right side of my back. It wasn’t horrible. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pain was probably about a 5. And while that’s tolerable, it definitely affected me when trying to do the things I need to do to care for Matt.

Matt is 6’1″ tall and weighs 219 pounds. I don’t ever have to pick him up. I mean, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’m not that strong, so we have a Hoyer lift that I use to get him from bed to his wheelchair, or from bed to his recliner. But there are still other things I have to do for him that require a great deal of strength, like move him over on the bed or get him dressed. So if I’m injured, I have a hard time doing those things.

I’ve never been injured to the point where I can’t do the things I absolutely need to do for him. But I have been injured to the point where Matt has to spend way more time in bed than he should. Remember years ago when I had that pinched nerve in my neck and back (around the time I was stenciling the music room walls)? That was a miserable time for both of us.

So when I pulled the muscle in my back at the beginning of this year, while it wasn’t horrible, it definitely affected me and the things I could do. I took it easy for about a week, and then it happened again. And while it still wasn’t horrible, I think something about having that happen twice in such a short period of time triggered a fear in me. (In hindsight, I don’t think I gave it enough time to completely heal, so I just re-aggravated it the second time.)

I mean, if something were to happen to me, and I couldn’t take care of Matt, he wouldn’t be able to stay in our home. He would have to go somewhere where he could receive the full-time care that he needs. So when I pulled that muscle a second time, I think that that, along with the fact that I was approaching my 50th birthday, triggered that “what would happen to Matt?” fear in me, and made me want to stop doing any of the things that could lead to me being injured — carrying heavy things, doing projects that might injure me, and even climbing on ladders.

You notice that I went from wanting to paint the studio to being okay with the current color? That’s because painting the room with the 12-foot ceiling would necessitate me climbing on a high ladder, and I had suddenly become fearful of climbing ladders. What if I fell? What would happen to Matt?

So I’m pretty convinced that that’s where all of this came from. That’s what caused this sudden self-doubt and fearfulness. I’ve never been afraid of injuring myself before, and in 30+ years of DIYing, I’ve never had a serious injury. But I let that fear creep in, and it changed me. So I’m going to do my very best to take control of that fear and continue to be the safety-conscious but fearless DIYer I’ve been all of my adult life. Because my worrying and living in fear won’t make me safer. If anything, it could make me more prone to accidents.



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  1. I think you did a great job on the drywall 👍. But I also think you do a FANTASTIC job At everything you do, especially taking care of your husband 🤩

  2. Kristi, you are one of the strongest, confident, talented, capable, creative girls that I’ve ever known! Your vision and efforts are amazing! There is nothing that you can’t do !!! I look forward to your daily posts.

  3. These last few posts have been very personal. It is so helpful to read your process and your thinking to better understand yourself. It is encouraging me to be more thoughtful myself. Thank you. And top of it all, your drywall looks so good! Of course it takes you longer than a pro who does drywall on the daily, but you did it and did it well!

  4. Great job Kristi, knew you could do it. I truly understand your concerns about hurting yourself so you can’t care for Matt. They are justifiable worries. At least you know why you were hesitant about some projects.

  5. It’s so like you to be more concerned about what would happen to Matt if you were injured than worry about what would happen to yourself. I hope figuring out the cause of your drop in self confidence helps you to tackle projects you’ve been hesitant to do while being cautious, of course. The drywall looks great!

  6. Well done, Kristi! “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!” I am fully confident that your drywall job will be as professional as anyone else would have done. And you deserve a big pat on the back for identifying the source of your fear. Now you can address it effectively. Your love for Matt is a powerful incentive. You GEAUX, girl!

  7. To me, I think the most interesting part is the subtle change from “I’ve done it so many times it’s time to hire it out–there is nothing new to learn and it’s tedious” to a sense of dread of having to do it–to the point of being willing to deal with frustrating handy-people–to a sense of fear and self-doubt. Your self-reflection is powerful and instructive. I’m already looking at the tasks I’ve been putting off to see which ones I’ve talked myself out of from fear.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life. It may be one of the most useful skills I will have gleaned from your blog.

  8. Caretakers must also take care of themselves, perhaps if you pull a muscle in the future, you could check with your doctor and get some type of rehab, so it heals quickly? And I’m married to a drywaller. He uses a very THIN coat of mud over the tape, sands, lets it dry, and then applies another very thin coat and sands again. Minimal sanding, compared to putting the mud on so it’s thick.

    1. And use a wider drywall knife with each coat! (I think that’s what they’re called!) Don’t forget to cover the screws too!

  9. Self-reflection can lead to very deep insight, can’t it? Thanks for sharing that; it will help many people, including me. I am proud of you for pushing through in more ways than one.

    The grand material reward for all that frustration will be to see that mural in place. Oh, goody, can’t wait.

    Love to you and Matt.

  10. Kristi — I am glad that you wrote “continue to be safety conscious,” because none of us are getting younger. Our reflexes get slower, and our flexibility, even if one does yoga daily) changes. Stay as brave as the renewed YOU, but remember, safety first.

  11. You have a very legitimate fear. At nearly 67 my worse fear is failing. I don’t do things quickly as I may stumble. Try to pay more attention & would never do anything high since I fell 15 feet when in high school. Never more than a 6 ft step ladder. Glad this is behind you.

  12. Believe me, Kristi, I’ve done the same introspection. I’m 71 and very aware of my limits so I have no trouble saying no to things I know will lead to injury or worse yet having to live with chronic pain. Kudos to you for getting this project done and off your mind. Also for realizing that there are going to be limits to what you do now vs in your 30s. I’m trying to get this through my Fella’s head whenever he tackles jobs I think he should hire out.
    Be careful on that ladder and keep your phone handy🫨😉

  13. The amazing lady strikes again! Took the hubs several weekends to complete two small drywall jobs. Like you, he’s a perfectionist… but he moves much slower. After 50 years with this guy, i just accept it 🙂

  14. You do such a good job of taking care of Matt! I have several friends with MS so I am aware of some of the challenges. I want you to ease your fear a little. If something happened to you then Matt could probably stay in your home. Medicare should pay for you to have helpers throughout the whole day if necessary. They could probably help you now with some things like bathing. I figure you want to do it all yourself now, but in the future if you get arthritis or other old age things then you won’t be alone in this. There is help! Please try not to worry. I see my friends managing for their spouses and although inconvenient sometimes, they are making it just fine. And they have us friends to help also. So take care of yourself, be safe, and don’t stress!!

  15. I totally understand that fear of hurting oneself. I fell and broke the back of a rib this spring which made it extremely painful to do anything and required 2 months to heal. Now that it is healed, I will occasionally feel a twinge and think “uh-oh” which puts me right back into fear mode. Two weeks ago I turned 60 and I am a recent widow, so I now live in constant fear of getting injured and nobody knowing or me not being able to take care of myself. The fear is true and valid, and it’s taking me awhile to try to get back to being me.
    On a separate note, I hate dealing with drywall and mudding too, but you’re doing a great job. Just in case others didn’t mention it already, don’t forget to mud your nail/screw holes! 😉

  16. It seems to happen to us as we age. I think it’s because we know how long it takes to get over things like a minor injury, the flu, etc….there is no way I am as comfortable climbing on a ladder as I was 20 years ago.

  17. My mother has helped my Dad in the ways you described for a long time though he can still stand for a few seconds and transfer himself with help most of the time. So I do get it. But please remind yourself there are a few choices between you and a rest home. Home health and visiting assistance being one of those choices. It’s scary. But you have built your house to make it doable and you will continue to do so as needs arise. My mom is 80 and my Dad is 87. There have been 3-4 times in the last 2 decades where he went to a facility for respite or rehab after he had a set back, but he has always come home. Don’t be to hard on yourself for wanting to stay healthy for him and for you. But also know even if Matt had to go to somewhere for a few days or weeks to allow you or him to heal, it would be ok! PS – I knew you could do that drywall! Great job!

  18. Great job, so glad you bit the bullet and attempted doing drywall again. Pointer if you ever need to drywall again. I have found using a damp sponge to smooth the drywall before all the way cured is a big help to avoid as much sanding and dust.

  19. Question: I know you have the new addition in the future, but is there any reason that the project cannot be started soon? I recall you saying you would be hiring that out, but can that be done while you are doing the studio? For your well being, I would love to see the house be completed inside, so you can get outside when the weather cools, and work on the front – the stonework and landscaping. (get a chain around that blasted bush and hook to the truck, yank it out!) Plant some bushes, get a nice bird bath fountain, plant some perennials! Pretty it up to match inside! Being able to say “I’ve FINALLY completed the inside” will lift your spirits tenfold! And yes, you need to work safely, no shortcuts or quick tricks!

  20. Sounds like you figured out what was going on. And, it makes total sense! My husband can do so many things, but we are older, (he is now 70) and now we worry about getting hurt too. My husband, now finds it necessary to not throw caution to the wind, but instead still do things, but smarter! He moves heavy things all the time…but never without a lot of thought and planning, so his effort is almost nothing! He recently helped a neighbor “lift” a large pergola that they needed 6 inches higher to get a new van under. He plotted, used his jacks, and 4 X 4’s for support and did it effortlessly. They were shocked that it could be done at all…they all thought they would half kill themselves helping. NOT! This of course was after they looked everywhere for someone to do the job and NO one called or showed up. As you get older, you just have to work smarter to not hurt yourself, for you and for Matt. It can be done – just take sometime to think how you can do things without hurting yourself. I am so proud how you took this project to the next level, and didn’t need any of these pathetic workers that are roaming around out there! WHO needs them…not YOU!

  21. That drywall looks great! I’m surprised you didn’t notice all of us standing behind you, yelling “Go, Kristie! Go!” while you were installing it. I hope you have one of those gadgets that is a drywall sander that hooks up to your vacuum and eliminates most of the dust!

  22. Do you use a pole on your paint roller to reach the tall part of the walls? I have used a platform (that we got at Lowe’s) that is just the right height to sit on and use that to reach the top to cut in the ceiling/wall area. The good thing about your drywall is that most of it on the one wall is going to be behind the cabinets. How long were you married when Matt was diagnosed with MS? That is such a terrible disease. I sure hate that you two have to go through all you do with it. My husband has become disabled and I keep thinking about you and Matt every time I think about a pitty party! LOL

  23. Is Matt okay now? You have such a full load that from time to time you are going to get down. Just don’t stay down. You did an amazing job on the drywall, just like I knew you would. Did you get the wallpaper up? Are you finished with the bathroom redo? Are you going to repaint the studio? Are you about ready for the cabinets? Lots of questions and I am so glad you got over your hurdle.
    Being 50 has nothing to do with anything. It is just a milestone. You can now join AARP. I remember when I turned 50 that I was so excited about being a member of AARP. There are many discounts available for us oldies, but goodies. For a laugh, watch 80 for Brady movie. It gives old a new name.

    1. I got part of the wallpaper up. Haven’t made any more progress on the bathroom. I am going to repaint the studio, and after I do that, I’ll install the cabinets.

  24. You go GIRL…! The hardest happening in one’s life is self doubt…. And then we just stop trying…. The most valuable working organ in our lives is our brain… it gives us the permission and confidence we need to at least to ‘’give it a try’’… when my Husband decided that he was “too old” & “couldn’t” mow the lawn any more… I said to him… of course you can…. But you just don’t want to any more..and that Kristi is a perfectly honest & acceptable reason…..not an excuse. If you never put up another piece of drywall in your life… you are confident now and know …”YESSSS I can!!!!” “But ….I just don’t want to…!” Which is a perfectly honest with yourself answer… Much ♥️ and …..”BRAVO”…

  25. I’m so impressed. What are your thoughts about texture. Is it necessary or not? I’m working on drywall but I did hire someone to help me. 🙄. Can you paint with no texture?

  26. You’re amazing, well done on all!
    Pacing yourself, self care is a good thing….. it will keep you on this journey happily, capably for a long time. I would bet your beloved husband wishes the same for you.
    Just a thought. Wondering if your insurance plan, local organizations that work with disabilities or even your church provide respite care/relief? Most people want folks to remain joyfully, comfortably in their homes with their family doing the same. Even a wee bit of support could benefit both of you.
    I once was a caregiver while also working. I wore myself out without even realizing I was doing so. With a bit of tweaking I could have made it a touch more balanced. You two have a lovely relationship and will navigate this wonderfully.

    Look forward to the cabinet work and a finished studio.

  27. No decorating advice. Just life. We had family friend that needed same care as Matt. They had in-home care. For years. Don’t just assume. There are a lot of ways matt can get care in today’s world. Especially now that your bathroom is done!!! Yeahhhh!! So please don’t be scared. Just be you.

  28. It might help you to feel more secure if you guys had a emergency plan.
    I’m not sure what that would look like in your case but having friends & family that can pitch in & know how to help when you need it would be reassuring. I know you’re very independent but I also know you have people that care for you & Matt & would be there for you if something happened.
    My partner & I have an emergency plan because he is the breadwinner & pays the bills. If he were to end up in the hospital for an extended time I’d need to know what to do, what family to contact, insurance info, bill info, etc.
    We also have an emergency plan with his mother.
    It may be due to the fact that I live in the land of tornados but I always feel better if I have a plan.

  29. Great insight Kristi! To figure that all out shows that you are truly in tune with your body and spirit as a whole. Your fear coming from Matt’s needs not being met are really and warranted since you are his 24 hour caregiver.
    I am glad through the self searching for answers you got your MOJO back! You are an anazing woman, caregiver, DIYer and a wife, too. That is a large load to carry without an injury sneaking in.
    By the way, you did a great job with sheetrock and mudding. The more often you do it the better you get and it shows you knew what to do once you put your mind to it. Keep up the good work!

  30. I think you do an amazing job on the drywall! I’ve seen professionals do much worse…so a huge pat on the back to you.
    Is there any Home Care & Support programs where you live? We have it here. They are privately owned companies..but worth having the extra help once or twice a week. Just a thought…
    Can’t wait to see your room as it progresses!!

  31. It looks brilliant and saved you a lot of money you lost faith in your ability to do the drywall but you got your head together again and realised that yes worrying about having an injury could more than likely lead to you having one, because you lose your confidence that you need to actually do the work, therefore resulting in accidents, well done can`t wait to see the Mural go up,

  32. Your talk about self determination got to me so this morning I got up early and pruned 2 bushes that needed help. Was able to get it done before it got too hot. I’m 80.

  33. That drywall looks good! Also, I’m proud of you for facing your fear and being brave. You are awesome.

  34. Aww, I loved this post Kristi! It really helped me too with my own fear. Awesome self-analysis. And btw, I think you did a fantastic job with the mudding. Please don’t ever call it “ridiculous” or not professional. It looks fantastic.

  35. We all know you can do anything you set your mind to! You are a terribly capable woman! You sucked it up and did it anyway! And looks great, too. You self analisis is probably right on. Fear of any kind is crippling. You’ve overcome it, so you go girl!
    One other thing might contribute, tho. Check your hormone levels. Mine were all over the place at that age, and now my daughter is having trouble too.