Ok -so now we are all caught up with arrival crap... Since Janice was due to take a trip back to visit with her sisters in New Hampshire, she wanted to get in some work time with us before she was gonna be away...the schedule of which meant she had to arrive pretty much right after we did. So, although we were raring to go, we had a lot of 'work/life crap' to attend to before we could actually hitch up the tool belts again.
First and foremost on this agenda was feeding the sale-driven hunger which the Najuch faction of the team had developed for the WREATHS. Remember how I told you we were gonna do the big charity event next year... well since Christmas stuff was now on heavy clearance, the Najuch's started doing what they do best and went into full-throttle nigh-on-black-friday-bargain-hunting frenzy. We hit every Target, Walmart, KMart, Hobby Lobby, Michael's and Jo Anne's Fabrics in a 28,000 mile radius over two days. The Garmin was particularly handy (and terrifying enabling) for this venture because it's little database will TELL YOU every one of those stores in whatever radius you want. So you instantly see a LIST in front of you for every Michael's craft store in the Western Hemisphere and THEN tells you how to get to them. Danger Will Robinson. So - by the end of the two days we were filling up the truck like the Grinch heading back up the mountain after he cleaned out the Whos. Seriously. We left Michael's with three cart loads. Twice. The whole time I am freakin' out about the logistics of this particular fund raising idea - but honestly, by the end of it I kind of bought into it, drank the Kool Aid, and am wearing the matching silver nylon track suit. I am a believer. The stuff we got is really beautiful, Janice has a real knack for making these things look beautiful (you'd think she was a confirmed bachelor) and the wreaths she's putting together are classier and nicer than ones we've seen for four times the price we'll be asking. So I'm calm about it now. While breathing into a paper sack to stop hyperventilating. But - just so you get an idea...I'll show you a couple of them that she's made. And the interesting thing is, it's kind of like trying to design for a clothing line - you want EVERYONE to buy your clothes - so you have to design stuff that isn't necessarily what you would choose. So even though the three of us wouldn't decorate OUR house orange, we will be making orange wreaths...
But here are a couple along the more traditional lines:
Anyway - come December next year you can all prepare for wreath guilt, wreath envy, beyond a wreath-onable doubt.
So after the artificial evergreen madness came to a close we got to work on the lobby. Yes. You heard me. We started WORK on the THEATRE. That part of this place we BOUGHT the building to do something with... isn't that COOOOOOLLLLLL. Honestly, it was pretty awesome to finally be able to start doing something that really was directly related to the theatre itself - rather than the necessary peripherals like the OUR housing, the ACTOR housing etc. First thing we had to do was get some space to WORK in the lobby. Things from Christmas and earlier had been piling up in there. So Rich and Janice (with a little help from yours truly) spent the first day trying to clear out the basement. Which is kind of like a cave. Except the floor is a cave is less cave-like than this floor. It IS a finished basement floor but it's just covered in dirt. And above the dirt there was stuff piled everywhere. So many trips up and down stairs later they have managed to make some major headway. We aren't quite ready to store white fur coats down there... but with another solid day in a week or so, we can start storing things down there. Until then we managed to put a lot of stuff into the manager's office and, yet again, the balcony. Part of this clean up also involved (along with lots of additional crap from previous projects) three trips to the dump. Now all the day before it had been raining. And before that snow, right. Which would indicate that the dump was probably...well squishy. I pointed this out to the pack leader, but it seems we had no choice. He KNEW the dump was going to be squishy - in fact he had planned on it. Which is why Janice brought the truck with her from Ohio rather than the Blazer which she normally drives here on her own. Their truck has four wheel drive, ya see. And Rich knew that if our truck tried to get through the squish... the squish would win. Oh, yes, and it turned out because Rich had a dentists appointment, that the TWEEDLES had to make the first Squishy Dump trip on their OWN.
Well, kids. This was not fun. You know, after all these months I've become accustomed to goo. I was priding myself on the fact that goo no longer phased me. That was before I was standing three inches deep in dump goo. That smelled like we had stuck our heads inside the colon of an elephant with irritable bowel syndrome. This was very, very, very unpleasant. I insisted on tying plastic bags around my shoes (since I only have my sneakers to wear and that's it really), but Janice said she had another pair at home and went for the full plunge. Here are the sneakers on the autopsy table:
This mud was kind of like quick sand. It GRABBED your feet and kind of wanted to suck you in after.
I did two of these delightful dump runs - one with the pack leader - and managed to weasel out of the last. So I'm told on the last trip, Rich - even Rich - was so grossed out by the goo that he crawled out the window onto the truck, into the truck bed to unload in order to prevent being consumed by the ick.
Ah, I love our life. Anyway - after all that, the fun part was we got to work on something I've been dying to do since we arrived. We got to kill the giant, ugly, evil concession stand. Honestly, for a movie theatre it wasn't that bad. Certainly you could sling a lot of popcorn with all that square footage - but it's walls were so high - it was so substantial - that it just ate up half of the entire lobby area. And, honestly, it wasn't all that pretty. So - when we started to go at that thing with a mallet, it was a very satisfying feeling. We actually couldn't quite smash at it with the abandon I had anticipated. The pack leader, wisely (grrr) mandated that we needed to salvage all the counter tops to use in the Scenery Shop (Damn his intelligent, frugal, sensible ways!). So we started unscrewing rather than...well...using TNT. The first counter top was not that bad of a job compared to the walls...
Just as we started actually the phone rang and Rich was summoned to help Rose with a Power Point debacle. Leaving, yes, you guessed it, the Tweedles on their own. Well - you know what you doubting Thomases - we did FINE.
We actually managed to get the whole first chunk out ourselves. And, I used the saws-all too. So there. And I still have nine fingers.
So here are some pictures of the whole thing coming down...which was a lot harder than we anticipated. Whoever built this thing built it WELL. And the SOB (sage of building) used those metal studs (so you couldn't just chop through them) and nails (so you couldn't unscrew them) and had attached everything to the walls VERY well. So it took a long time...
This shot shows the whole thing before we started demo. The gap is where the candy counter was which was a separate unit. This whole thing had been built around this glass case thing - which we got out (with some difficulty) the night before we started on the rest of this giant.
So - Janice and I, on our own, with great glee (and total disbelief) managed to get the better part of the first wall down without the rest of the building tumbling down immediately after. Note evil metal framing studs:
Rich had to cap off the old plumbing which ran to the concession sinks... And then gradually the rest of it started a'comin.
Once Rich got back there was only so much three of us could do in the same area - so I started whacking away at the floor tile which we wanted rid of, and had determined anyway that it didn't run underneath the platform where the concession area was. So keeping it wasn't an option anyway unless we wanted a gaping hole in the middle of the foyer. Or so we thought. As the platform started coming out, we kept seeing tile underneath. And I was already pulling the tile up. Now this did not matter too much to Rich and I (except frankly it was just more freakin' tile to pull up) but Janice was not at all convinced about the whole 'concrete stain, take out the tile thing' being an optimal use of the present resources. Rich and I disagreed. And, although I in no way intended my surprising self-starting, 'I'll find my own project and work on it unsupervised for once' tile-pulling to be a means of squelching that discussion... it squelched it. As more and more tile was revealed Janice did start to look a little queasy. But - by the time we got towards the exit doors - there was a big old gap with no tile (apparently the original concession stand must have been tiled around and then the last version was built over top of that tiled area.) We discovered this theory was accurate when we found the mark of the penultimate owners:
Which did induce a pang of guilt when we we realized we were pretty much ripping out their primary contribution to the buildings current appearance. Pang. Then we continued whacking. Sorry kids...maroon and green just don't fit into the confirmed bachelor master plan.
Actually although I have no pictures of me whacking at the tile (no one ever takes pictures of me, have you noticed :( :( - frankly it's because I work at such an astonishing speed that no known photographic equipment can capture my progress). Anyway - the tile is coming up far easier than we anticipated - it's not without elbow grease (or tennis elbow grease in my case) but with a few whacks they pry up just fine. So it'll take a day or two to get all of it out - but we are pretty convinced the floor will clean up really well. Which had been a worry.
One thing that did add extra time was that Rich didn't want to cut through all the pipe and wire running underneath the platform which fed the outlets and sinks and stuff. The power was cut and all, but the water could have gotten pretty darn messy. And, apparently, that wire is very expensive and the more of it you can salvage the better. Rich managed to navigate his way through using the circular saw really well - and he also broke-in one of my very favorite xmas pressies - the electric measuring tape (Black And Decker - go get one NOW). It allowed him to telescope the measuring tape through a really small area all the way under the platform to find exactly how far he could cut into the thing without hitting a pipe. Nifty.
Of course, like I said before the downstairs of the building is just plain COLD. And if we turn the heat on enough to actually get it warm, without a paying audience in there to help offset the cost, well we'll be broke by next Tuesday. So, we keep in on low, and like I mentioned before outside was way warmer than indoors. (Hence Janice and Rich eating outside to the great bewilderment of passers by). Anyway - in order to try and warm the place up, when we are downstairs, he keeps the front doors all propped open. And you know what that means - a barrage of colorful characters, visitors and well wishers. Sadly over the past few days they were all fairly normal. Karen (the plumbers mother in law) brought along Dan, our hairdresser, his gorgeous daughter Noel, and a gaggle of other relatives. Rose apparently through the youtube video lured a nice gentleman from Francis Xavier University over to say hello (who said the dean of their theatre department would LOVE to hear about this, to which I said "He did...I wrote him a letter five months ago" :) ) and one of our favorite folks around, Keith the plumber's wife Desiree (It was a plumber-relative fiesta I guess)... In tow was also Josie their cutie patootie daughter (who is ALMOST old enough to learn to solder.
But, despite the social cotillion - by the end of the day - look how much we accomplished. The room looks HUGE - so we are really excited.
So - as you can see we are back at work. Full throttle. So watch our dust baby. We celebrated our labors with (carb-less :( ) dinner at Applebees - where two foxy ladies sitting at the bar sent Rich over a whip cream and caramel lathered cocktail. Turns out it was Rose and Phyllis - which is really all for the best, cuz Rich is such a heart breaker. We caught up with them and got all the holiday news and, as droopy eyes started to get the best of us, we called it a night. Janice left early in the morning and Rich and I have been doing catchup work all day (like this blog in fact) and tomorrow will probably be the same. But boy oh boy it sure feels good to be writing about and posting pictures on us WORKING again. And, even more so, downstairs... so here we go kids...it's gonna be a crazy couple months until Rotary time.