Back to Work. Nov 18, 07.

Well howdy. So like I said in my mini post - we've haven't had too much to report at all. Rich has had a lot of Columbia work and I got sick.. AGAIN. Grrr. I think to be honest it's been a crummy low grade infection - so after a round of antibiotics - hopefully I'm gonna be back in fighting form in a day or two. I'm already feeling a lot better - but still sleeping way too much. Soooo - Janice arrived and pretty soon thereafter she and Rich headed to Fort Wayne to run some errands... and, so I'm told, do some Christmas shopping. I couldn't go cuz I got a last minute SOS from New York from my old boss needing some extra help with research for a one of Town Hall concerts he does. So - I spent yesterday sifting through the world wide web discovering nifty little tid bits like "Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries" is probably the only song to ever appear in four separate shows on Broadway. And Alan Jay Lerner wrote the lyrics to "If Ever I Would Leave You" the week his wife walked out on him. Who knew? And, probably, who cared. Except freaks like me. But it was a whole lot more challenging doing this stuff that I used to accomplish by pouring through the stacks of Lincoln Centre Library... The tricky thing for this particular concert is they need trivia about SONGS not the SHOWS they come from. Which is a whole, whole lot harder. But I was very grateful to be remembered and to feel needed... and make a little money. :)

Hee hee - btw - I just got an email from Winston saying that he and Dan just ate at the Olive Garden in Chelsea - in our honor. It's only kinda hysterical because never once in our two years of being attached to the hip with those boys in NY did any of us once think about eating there... so the Midwest cross-cultural exchange BEGINS! Wait until Winston starts a Chelsea Pioneer Festival!

I was in touch with Winston BECAUSE I was inquiring as to whether I can crash on his couch during Dec 1-3rd. I'm going back to the city to direct the workshop of a new comedy. The cast is already looking quite nifty - Tony winner Cady Huffman (from the Producers), Alan Tudyk (who you might not know by name - but he was the hysterical german gay guy in 28 Days (the Sandra Bullock rehab flick), Heath Ledgers right hand buddy in "Knights Tale", a lead on the tv series "Firefly", 3:10 to Yuma, and a gaggle of Broadway leading credits including Prelude to a Kiss just recently. So he's pretty darn awesome. The second lead male is Fred Armisan who is on Saturday Night Live. So I'm pretty psyched - particularly since this reading has been on again and off again for a while. So, when I got the ok to book my flight today, it was a good thing :)

Rich and I also got the word that we're officially being invited to produce a show for the 2009 Bermuda Festival... which is a really nice honor since it's Bermudas 400th Anniversary in 09 and they are trying to make the Festival that year really special. We still haven't nailed down the exact show we're doing with them yet - but we've begun to narrow down options.

OMG this sounds like a nauseating xmas letter doesn't it. Well - anyway - I guess when I am sick and have to stay in bed then I'm not around to destroy anything - so we only end up with positive news!

Soooo - anyway - after Janice and Rich got back from Fort Wayne we had to hightail it over to the High School for the big Var-city Singers (name altered for google-ness) Concert. Jean Anne came with us too, and when we started walking through the school halls I was kind of flabergasted. I've never really been inside a big American Highschool... It's HUGE people. My entire Highschool had 350 kids in it. This place is like it's own state! We were going on the opening night - which included a dinner. The beverage of choice was orange drink... which I can only guess was chosen because it color co-odinated so very nicely with the French dressing. Janice was not all that enthusiastic about dinner...and I think Jean Anne might well second the motion. But I, for one (and I'm not being sarcastic when I say this) really LIKE instant mashed potatoes (my Mom actually makes them just for me at Christmas dinner), so i was quite content.

The show was really fun. It was all Richard Rogers music pretty much - which I think is really cool even for the simple fact that it exposes 15-17 year-old kids to the Great American Songbook - in a way that most young people aren't. Unless you were like me and could lip sync the whole of Funny Girl at age 6. But that's another story. The choir was really, really impressive. I mean, cmon people, they had a hydraulic lift and FOG. Fog. And not like bad amateur dramatics 'fire extinguisher from off stage left' fog...real, low lying, fog-juice fog. So snaps. Our young Brent was front and center the whole time - so we were very proud of him. One soloist in particular I thought was really impressive for her age - and I hope she'll continue to train, because she might end up with a powerhouse set of pipes. Anyway, having spent a good deal of my career trying to get large numbers of people to do things in perfect unison - it's truly astounding that these kids are drilled to such a level of precision. I think it probably has to entail at least a minor amount of electroshock and tazers. The most delicious thing about them is the sheer exuberance which is required for the competitions. I'm quite convinced they could manage to turn Carmina Burana into toe-tapping fun if they put their minds to it. We had a blast... and afterwards since Jean Anne and Janice were still a tad hungry (there was great discussion as to where exactly Janice felt dinner compared on the 'Malibu Blend' scale) we had a blizzard. Yes, the Queen of Pork went to the Queen of Dairy for dessert. You have no idea the number of secret service required for that kind of a dignitary summit.

So today was all about puttering. We got our nose back to the grindstone (I got to sleep in a little because a) I'm still getting better and b) my nose has already been grindstoned, so I was ahead of the game :). Rich and Janice put together a to-do list which began in the kitchen, worked it's way through the hall, to the bedroom, and then into the living room and my office. Basically all the finishing touches of things. First up they got a mirror installed in the bathroom - Hoorrraayyy. Cuz if any of you have seen me lately - I've been shaving my face and ended up looking kinda like this:

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I forgot to take a picture of it - I'll show ya one tomorrow. And, of truly epic significance...

RICH FIXED THE VANITY!! He and Janice decided to just bite the bullet and take the toilet top off - they flushed it out and then sopped up the rest with paper towels... of course if I had attempted to do this it would have ended up a little more like this:

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But - somehow - they managed it, and now the toilet side of the vanity is fully drawered.

NOW WE CAN CANCEL THE BONFIRE OF THE VANITY vanity-with-drawers.JPG

Granted - the other drawer which Janice...um...dissected sort of like a cadaver in Gross Anatomy class, still needs a LITTTTLLLEEE TLC - but that's do-able. Glue and a faith healer should take care of it. But now no more drawers NEED to be taken apart to get them inside the vanity - which is incredible news. And, frankly, I think Janice wore out her chain saw on the first one.

i continued to do some work for the NYC thing - but afterwards I did my bathroom chore which was getting the molding cut around the newly installed baseboard heater. Rich got the thermostat all hooked up for that room and the kitchen - so now we've got a couple of the heaters up and running and fightin' the not-insignificant chill. The thermostat is actually pretty darn fancy - digital and everything. Those Pack Leaders - they just kick butt, don't they :). Anyway - I measured and cut the molding, glued it down and caulked... and now all of the finishing work in the bathroom is, I think, actually finished.

TAKE ME TO YOUR HEATER baseboard.JPG

Work then moved into the kitchen where, while Janice installed our spice ricks inside the cupboard doors (Tweedle One steppin' out freelance, apparently), Rich cut down the giant piece of wipe off board we bought at Menards so that it would fit the door. See, apparently (and I knew not these things before I became ensconced with the Najuchs) wipe-off board is really pretty pricey if you buy it at staples or whatever in a large size - like a hundred bucks or something wacky. BUT at hardware stores they sell 4x8 sheets of white paneling which is exactly the same stuff. So you can buy it in sheets and just custom cut it to size. So Rich made us a door-sized wipe off board that is super nifty and will enable him to write gigantic reminders to do things that even i can't miss.

TONS OF SPACE TO DRY ERASE wipe-off-board.JPG

Rich also started work on the utility closet - and now that all the lights are up in the hall and stuff he's able to start planning the shelves and hooks and stuff that will go in there. Rumor has it tomorrow we're gonna try and attach the louvered doors.

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And then it was pretty much time for din-dins. Which marked the momentous occasion of the first Janice meal prepared in the real kitchen. Prior to this Janice has spent six months trying to keep the troops fed and watered while making-do with the concession stand as her kitchen. So it was pretty nice this evening when things were going in and out of the fridge and going to the the stove top and heading to the microwave which were all IN THE SAME ROOM. And, the timing couldn't be better, since it's gotten so brisk downstairs that I don't think we could honestly get through another meal sitting down there without our teeth chattering.

THE FIRST SUPPER first-dinner.JPG

By the way - that's ham with mustard sauce. It looks a little odd in the picture if you don't know that :) And it's yummy. So - dinner. New kitchen. Yay. After that we tackled the wreaths. Janice has been wreath scouting for us for like two months... We wanted to find really nice wreaths - hopefully that didn't cost a zillion bucks - that we could hang from all the windows and doors. And there are quite a few. And she came up trumps. She got a bunch of matching ones that are really great looking. So - now we have nine matching wreaths. Now what. She picked up three different lots of ribbon (like 100 yards of each choice) and brought it for us to pick - and we'd just return whichever ones we didn't choose. Picking a ribbon color was tricky - since the building exterior tile is red - and you don't want it to be some hideous clash of reds. So we went with a really deep burgundy - and since they will hang up where the tile is beige - we think it will be a really nice match. Now the assumption was that I would be on bow duty. See last year my Mom got us this gadget called:

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Called the bowdabra. The 'dabra' part pronounced like abracadabra. Except Janice read it wrong the first time and ever since then the Najuch's have called it the 'bow-du-BRA'. Seriously. So anyway - I got very into the bowdabra last year and made more bows than a philipino clip-on bowtie factory. So - Janice brought HER bowdabra from Ohio with her (since she knew we wouldn't have a hope of finding which box ours was still packed away in) for me to get to work. This ribbon is actually really tricky to work with (no, no I'm not whining - Janice said so too) because it's OUTDOOR flocked ribbon - and really nice - but quite dense. So it's not easy to manipulate or 'squish'. And squishing is a major factor of bow making. Anyway - so last night Janice served as wreath fluffer, and after dinner tonight we sat down and the assumption was I would whip out nine giant bows with the bowdabra. So i made one. And it's quite nice... BUT we then had a lengthy discussion about the 'bow message' we wanted to convey. See the bows I make with the bowdabra - are quite - well - flamboyant. They fluffy and flouncy and... ok - they're gay bows. I mean they would like awesome at like a wedding in the Hamptons. But they aren't your traditional Norman Rockwell/Currier and Ives Bow. And that's, probably, what we want. So Janice (who apparently in her past had been given some secret masonic-like bow-making apprenticeship with a friend who was a florist) gave it a shot. And then we sat comparing the two. For like twenty minutes. Figuring out what kind of bows we wanted - weighing the pros and cons of bow-age. And you want to know why we need an year and half to finish the theater? And of course, everyone voted... everyone.

KNICK NACK PADDY-WACK - GIVE A DOG A BOW bow-wow.JPG

So eventually we went with Janice's bows. We were all very happy with this decision - except for Janice - who had to now make the bows. She uses no external apparatus - but twists and turns the ribbon with her wrist and then wires it all. And (and I think my life could be in danger by telling trade secrets) the key to a good bow smooshing is using needle nose pliers to get the wire tight enough. Cuz the tighter you get the wire - the puffier you can get your bows. And, please note...straight bows are puffy...gay bows are poofy. World of difference.

NO BUSINESS LIKE BOW BUSINESS janice-bows.JPG

It turned out, in the end, that the bow creation was actually a crossover. A bi-curious bow if you will. See Janice constructed the bow - and then I flounced it. And, as anyone knows, you really need a confirmed bachelor when it comes to flouncing. I also crimped the bows - but that's a personal problem. it's hard work on your hands...but by around ten pm this picture seems to indicate the spirit of the season was beginning to fizzle.

HELL NO, WE WON'T BOW bow-sad.JPG

So... eight down. One more bow tomorrow. There is still some debate as to whether or not the wreaths will get white lights. I am very much in favor - so hopefully I'll win them over.

One last thing we discovered while bowing. Janice keeps her phone in her back pocket, and apparently the way the buttons sit on the side of her phone, she constantly accidentally turns on the camera feature. So, it turns out, looking at the photo album on her phone...she has taken exactly 208 pictures of her own butt.

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So - that's the update kids. They'll be more adventures tomorrow. xo jo jo.