If at first you don't succeed...pry, pry again. Jan 10, 08

Hey - this is a quicky. Yesterday was more catchup for the pack leader - so I used the time to do my best Willie Nelson and git 'on the road again'. Had a driving lesson with Gary (who I think must take substantial amounts of morphine to stay so calm while I'm behind the wheel), and then later on I went with Jean Anne. Y'know the breaks on our truck are SO sensitive. I don't have this problem in the driving instrucitonal vehicle or in Jean Anne's car - but when we're driving in our truck every time I need to stop I jolt the passenger halfway into the next state. I'm getting the hang of them - but even Rich says they are tough to get used to.

Have to confess - I bailed on the Atkins. Just couldn't take it any more. If I saw one more piece of bacon I was going heave. So instead I made a vow that I would just do lots of cardio and stop eating crap and try and keep my meals really healthy. Jean Anne took me shopping during our driving stint whereupon I left with a cart filled with every carb in Christendom. Ok not THAT bad...but we did have pasta for dinner. And man was it GOOD. Or starchy - which frankly MADE it good. But, particularly if I make the effort to cook as often as possible (which is supposed to be one of my jobs 'round these parts anyway) then I can make sure we're both at least eating healthier through part of the day. So pasta once a day and Special K for breakfast, lunch, snack, tea, snack... y'know...

The whole cardio thing was actually going SPLENDIDLY until last night when, at about minute 32 of my elliptical/Survivor China itunes catch-up... (hey, a confirmed bachelor won the thing, I HAD to go back and watch it)... the elliptical machine jammed. Stuck. No forward. No backward. No awful crunchy noise or gear scream or pieces flying or sparks... just jammed. And, I have to give myself props for not immediately shaking the pack leader out of his slumber at 1:00 am in a panic. So - he took a look at it today and, so far, no luck. It's stuck. So there's some customer service tech support number on the instructions which is only open Mon-Friday, so we'll try that on Monday. But we are honestly kind of pissed. Because the one we GOT in the first place was cracked when it came out of the box... then we took it back (which was a pain in the keester since it was already partially assembled, then at the store they tried to give us a floor model that was ALSO damaged... and now this one breaks down on us. So we are getting a little leery of this machinery. Cuz it was NOT a cheap piece of trash people...this thing was expensive. And it shouldn't be breaking down on day three. I'm really upset - because if we end up having to return this one we're not sure if it's smart to replace it with another of the same type since it's not seeming reliable... but I loved the the thing and was using it every day. And if we just take it back and not exchange it, then we'll have to start a big search for another one of a similar price - and then gosh knows how long that will take. I know, I know - children are starving in Africa and I'm whining about an elliptical machine. But really, is there THAT much fun and games in my life right now people, I mean really? What's a little hamster-wheel like interactive experience between friends?

Anyway - last night we had a gig catering for Jean Anne. It was yet again at the Masons Lodge (I'm beginning to wonder if the Mason is actually a secret organization created to worship scalloped potatoes. They seem to like their scalloped potatoes.) Anyway - this time it was only a gig for thirty so we were in and out lickity split. Which was perfect BECAUSE the yesterday ALSO happened to be the day that my adorable and favorite stage manager, Suzanne, happened to be whizzing through town for one night with 'The Producers". She is the Production Stage Manager on the final national tour of 'The Producers', which, kind of amazingly, happened to be stopping for a one-night only stop at the Honeywell Center in Wabash (which Suzanne hysterically pronounces wa-BASH). What are the chances? She got the gig while we were working together (poor Suzanne has been shackled to my side on at least three shows... I'm like a directorial fungus she just can't get rid of). And when she got the gig we were so excited for her cuz it was that 'next-step' career boost she'd deserved for a long time.

So we were already booked to do catering - and even though Jean Anne kept saying she'd let us off the hook - we didn't want to let her down, and we wanted the pocket-money for more drywall :). But it worked out perfectly. I hadn't really wanted to see the show - I love it, but I've seen it like three times in NY and one nifty invited run-through in a rehearsal room when the first tour was being assembled. Rich has seen it too - and the important thing was to see Suzanne. So, we got there by intermission, she got a ticket for Rich and had me come and stand with her while she ran the whole show. Every time scenery came on or a light changed or whatever, it's Suzanne's job to tell them when to do that. And let me tell you during "Springtime for Hitler" she barely gets to breathe. It's awesome to watch. And what's truly amazing is to see a show of that size move in and out with a whole set, whole lighting package, full cast, costumes etc...arrive, set up, perform, and pack up and leave all in one day. Mind boggling.

Anyway - it's really funny because Suzanne's been doing this now for months - and when we theatre folk have jobs usually we aren't doing a show for that long of a period. So after six months she can now do this thing in her sleep. So talking with her backstage was kind of like this... (in a New Jersey accent) Oh my God, you won't believe what a moron that... Lights 93 Go...girl is. Do you like my hair? I decided to go blonde like... Nazi Drop Go... last month.

So after the show was over we got to see the bus she's been living on for six months. I wish I brought my camera because this thing is crazy. The actors are put in hotels and then they travel on the buses during the day. But because the head production crew like Suzanne have to be at the venues ahead of time to set up - they have to live ON the buses. So on this bus thing - about the size of a school bus - they have a little sitting area in the front and back, and then in the center there are these tiny little compartment bunks. Like the size of a three seater restaurant booth with a ceiling right where the backrest would end. Three on top of each other. And twelve of them sleep on the bus. There luggage goes below cuz there is no where else to put it - and they shower when they get to the new theatre every morning.

I could not do this for six months. Or six days. Or six minutes really. It's amazing. But then again she's very tiny.

And they pay her very, very, very well. So being a sardine has its privileges. But snaps for her for staying fairly sane. Or as sane as she was when she started the gig.

She wanted to see Po and the theatre, so we drove back after the show to Huntington and she got he full tour. And, considering she has been spending six months playing like six different theaters a week, the fact that she thought our theatre was awesome was very cool. She was, however, far more excited about seeing Po, for whom she had babysat back in the big NYC.


And then, after a great catch up session and promise that if she'll work for us at a substantial pay cut that she can hire the burly heterosexual crew-boss of her choice... we took her back home. Or back bus.

Today I have to say we made GREAT progress in the Lobby. Believe it or not 90% of all that tile is out. Most of the plumbing and other stuff is all cleared away and the obsolete conduit is mostly removed. Rich managed to remove every last vestige of the concession stand and the platform. It's now pretty much a blank slate. We actually salvaged the tile that the previous owners had written on during their renovation. We thought it might be nice to get it framed and display it somewhere in the building - becuase, after all, we might not have loved their tile, but they certainly cared about the building - and without them it might be a parking lot by now. So, attention must be paid. Tomorrow I'm gonna scrape mastic off the floor and get it as clear as I can in preparation for the big concrete stain process part one, and Rich is gonna start poking around trying to figure out where we are gonna install the recessed speakers.

Rich feels like we are now about a week and a half ahead of schedule. I'd like for us to be able to take credit for this - but you already know enough about how this whole process has gone to know that such a statement would be total hogwash. It's just that he calculated the tile being one of the hardest jobs we were going to tackle in the entire renovation. I mean we had to take up a huge amount of it. And it came up like butter. Which, is bad news under any other circumstance because really, whoever installed this stuff, didn't do the most thorough job. But if you're trying to rip the stuff out - it's GREAT NEWS. The amazing thing was, on like about three quarters of the tile the only thing holding them in place was the grout. There was hardly any mortar on any of the tiles or floor surface. it was like the spread it over a two foot area every ten feet - it was weird. Some of them were so loose we were able to just tap them on the top with a hammer and they shattered (because there was air under them - if there was mortar binding them to the floor they wouldn't crack like that).

See - here... Here's an area where there IS mortar like there should be... and this was tough stuff to get the tile up from: mastic.JPG

Now here's a shot of an entire area where we have lifted off tile and NOT cleaned up the concrete: concrete-unetched.JPG

See - no mastic. You wouldn't believe the number of tiles that I was able to lift out whole or in groups of two or three just stuck to each other with the grout. It was soooooo great. The fact that we got that done in really two days is amazing.


But it means we'll be able to get some good headway. Or rather maybe actually not be a month behind schedule after the first day of a project, like normal :). It also means, hopefully, that we'll be able to spend some time over at the Fecal Residence, since we had someone approach us about renting it. Which will be tough for us to do in it's current state. Unless your a cat.

OH MY GOSH - I forgot to tell you...

The other day we took a trip over to the Byron Street house to drop off all the paint for there (in order to get it out of the lobby). Well Rich, as usually, had some sort of pack-leader poking around logistical spelunking to do upstairs. Janice and were just downstairs hanging for a few seconds. Rich is upstairs and we here a little small thud and then suddenly right down the stairs and past Janice flies the jet black big cat. Janice went white. She actually said it was extremely fortuitous that we had not stopped for lunch BEFORE we made this pit stop, because she probably would have lost at least part of it on the carpet.

So - there's a kitty in the Shit Box. So maybe we should call it the Litter Box. Actually we think he/she was probably just temporarily hanging out there to get away from the chilly weather - which is ok. it's certainly not living there cuz we would have been terrified by it on the previous occasion before this. He zoomed out into the downstairs kitchen where the whole floor us removed and disappeared. And Rich is pretty sure there are places from downstairs where something that size could get in and outside. So kitty - you better not take any of our tools. We won't stand for no cat burglar.

xo jojo.