When my mom and I arrived the next morning, we had a plan: sand the bathroom walls again, put on a coat of primer, take a run to the dump, eat lunch, put on a coat of the paint I had intended for the bathroom walls. The paint was a mistint that I picked up at Sherwin Williams for $1--a pinky brown, not a color I would have chosen, but it was cheap, and according to the salesperson, was originally an expensive gallon that was self-levelling and would dry "as smooth as a sheet of glass." I had my doubts, but thought that a good place to use it would be the damaged bathroom walls. Also, it was a high-gloss paint, which I had been told was good for a bathroom because flat paints are hard to clean and show water damage.
Everything went according to plan: sanding, priming, dump, lunch. We took a look at the newly white walls and were pretty proud of ourselves. They weren't perfectly smooth, but it was such an improvement. We were ready to start painting when Roger, who was working on some framing, asked if we planned to spackle.
After a pause, we chuckled rather ruefully and explained that we thought we had spackled. Roger graciously introduced us to a huge bucket of joint compound and the proper spackling method. He made it look perfect! And so easy! Thus, instead of painting, we spent the afternoon spackling. The bad news is, we will have to prime again. The good news is, the walls do look much better. Also, Roger suggested that we not use the high-gloss paint as it would highlight imperfections, so now I get to choose something besides pinky-brown.
Other good news: frames are going up. The picture below shows the new wall for the office, looking down at the floor. This is significant because now there is a 2x4 anchoring the studs, a step the original builders skipped. Also--and not pictured--where the original builders sawed the top beam in half to allow for electrical wires, leading to a section of the wall completely unanchored and thus--how to describe? bendy? pliable? not-wall-like?--anyway, Roger simply cut a groove in the beam.
In other words, what had been some loosely connected 90-year-old studs has been replaced with a proper wall frame.