Nail Pops, and Doing It Right...


I'm in the midst of a kitchen renovation that's taken more than a year because I decided to see just how easy (or hard) it was to do everything eco-friendly. I'll be writing more about it soon, but right now, I want to address something more pressing:

Nail pops.

For those of you who remember my thrifty neighbor Walter from Little Chapel on the River, you might recall the part where he teaches me how to fix all the little unsightly bulges in my walls where the nails fastening the drywall are pushing out of the studs. (Chapter 21, page 240 for anyone wanting a refresher course...)

That was almost five years ago, and back then Walter pushed me not to cut corners, to make sure I screwed down every nail and put three coats of joint compound on each blemish. "It's the RIGHT way to do it," he said.

I fixed hundreds after his lesson. Time-consuming, yes. But the payoff was super-smooth walls.

Friday, Walter dropped by while I was priming my kitchen walls. He stalked around, prodding at the insulation, staring my work. "Should I mention the nail pops now, or later?" he asked finally.

I was exhausted and not in the mood. "There are only three, and you can barely see them," I snapped. "I'm not fixing them," I added, grumpily.

"Oh, now you've forgotten everything I taught you," he said, shaking his head. "Remember, it's the right thing to do." Then, he added: "I can just circle them with a pencil for you."

"Get out," I told him. I spent the rest of the evening priming, grousing about Walter, and trying desperately to ignore the nail pops which seemed to get bigger by the minute. I told myself they were my walls, I could hang a painting over them, no one would notice, that Walter was annoying, and of course, by the time I went to bed, I knew I'd have to fix the damn nail pops.

The next day I saw my neighbor for dinner. "I'm fixing the nail pops," I said begrudgingly. "But not until the electricians are done because when they do their work, more nail pops will come out. I should fix all at one time."

I stared at him, awaiting his challenge.

He smiled. "Very good," he said.

"That's the RIGHT way after all," I replied.

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