Yeesh - half way through the month already. Aaaaa.Anyway - I haven't blogged this week much (much?) because I haven't been feeling all that up to scratch - a coldy/fluey/plague type thing. I'm still functional (tragically no need for emergency cookies from Margaret) but my energy is way low and I'm having to try pretty hard not to be whiney ("but I don't WAAAANNNT TOOOOO scrape mastic now waaaaaahhhh). I'm succeeding about, oh, 8% of the time I'd say.
First and foremost, it turns out that we were TRUMPED by Pork. Yes, on the front page of the weekend paper - when it came between choosing between 100 years of pummeled pig products, or confirmed bachelors youtubers, they picked the OINK FACTOR. Actually - we knew from the outset that the article on the youtube thing was going to be an editorial - and it was really, really great. It was truly hysterical though to have Jean Anne's on the front and back page (GREAT pictures) of the paper and us on the second page. I feel from now on that all local news should only be Jean Anne or Theatre related - they can rename it the "Pig and Plays" section. Although this link, sadly, doesn't show you all the fun pictures (I'll try and add it to our wantonly behind scan-for-blog list), the article is very fun.
and here's ours (which had a screen capture from the youtube video as the photo)...
The article has a few teeny inaccuracies (we learned about the competition online, and the video was posted TO youtube for the competition), we thought it was really great...and he was a wonderful interviewer - very old school - and very excited about the theatre and really seemed to understand what we were hoping to do, not only for the theatre but for the community. So, having the editor of the paper as a supporter was a great thing to discover.
Although it ain't gonna look all that impressive in terms of photographs, we've made very good progress scraping mortar off the floor. Even though there is a lot less than there should have been if the tile job had been thorough, there is still enough of it to drive us crazy.
So, scraping with a pry bar and whacking with a mason's chisel (except the chisel keeps having to take time off to go these mysterious meetings....sheesh). But - it's definitely getting there and soon we should be at the gooey cleaning solution stage. We ordered this stuff online that is supposed to take up adhesive residue etc. from the concrete and prep it for staining. We tried it last night for the minimum forty five minutes and then decided to leave it overnight.
He's also been taking down and pulling out all the old obsolete wiring etc. as well as removing everything on the walls that we need out of the way in order to begin skim coating the lobby. And it's really encouraging that MOST of it isn't in use any more (old telephone lines etc) so that the walls will now be a whole lot less cluttered with ookey conduit.
The floor doesn't look new - but it certainly looks a lot better than it did. So we'll see how things progress. We DON'T think we'll be able to completely eradicate the subtle grid marks which are remaining from some sort of adhesive tile used long long ago (and since covered up by the tile we just removed). It's subtle but there is definitely a pattern of squares over the floor surface - so we may be reconfiguring the original staining pattern in a shape which utilizes rather than fights it.
Rich has officially been sworn in as the Vice President of the Visitor's Service Bureau. I was quite certain that there would be an elaborate ceremony involving gun salutes, sword tapping on the shoulder and bagpipes... and I'd already been spent many hours shopping for my Princess Diana-style formal occasion-of-state-hat. But alas. Apparently Po and I were not invited. And she all dolled up in her Queen Mother Alice-blue wool winter coat. Ah well. Anyway - congrats to the pack leader.
I am very, very, very upset to report that the elliptical machine is going back. Not being exchanged going back :( We'll have to find another model somewhere else. About a week ago, after only using it four times (and I was being REALLY GOOD people) it froze up. Jammed and wouldn't move forward or backward at all. Now, remembering that this is the third model we've been through (the first one was cracked, the second one they tried to give us at the store was cracked, and this one...well...stuck like peanut butter on cleft palette). Soooo... I tried calling customer support (hoping it would be some kind of reset button thing they could tell me to do) and they said that due to unusually high caller volume they weren't receiving live calls. This does not instill enormous confidence. EITHER everything they make is breaking down and they are getting inundated with Post Xmas-Pressie Disgruntled-ness, OR customer service is like one broad named Shirlene who chain smokes in a basement and gets to the calls when she can. Anyway. They say they'll get back to you in 24 hours. So we leave a message. 24 hours go by. Another message. Another 24. Last night I left a message saying I'd called twice and I was going to take the thing back and never buy another one of their products, which was a shame because I really liked this one before it broke. They called this morning. Don't you hate that? Anyway - the dude was very nice, and said he knew what the problem was - it's a pivot tube and the ballbearings aren't properly greased. Great. But it will take a couple weeks because those parts are on back order. And then they'll send a tech. Well, no big shock on this, the pack leader said "well don't you think the reason they are on back order is because they've run out of them because they aren't WORKING???". So it looks like we're taking it back :( And hopefully we'll be able to find one to replace it in the very near future :(
I made my first batch of birthday cakes for the Nick's Kitchen 100 Year Extravaganza. And by batch - I mean BATCH. See, I decided to do it a day in advance in case of any hiccups. Well, we went to the store and got everything I needed - and I wanted them to taste really great so I scoured the recipe books and was gonna add a bunch of stuff to make them peachy keen. Full speed ahead. Anyway - I make the cake. I make the icing. I ice the cakes. I pipe the top and sides. Done. In the fridge. Whoo hoo. Then I happen to look at the egg carton from which the eggs had been excised. "Sell by December 23rd". Arghghghghggh. Ok. Don't panic. So, stupidly, the first person I consult is the pack leader. Who, in case you didn't know, is the only person I've ever met who actually has HAD salmonella. So, obviously he is a little sensitive about the whole expiration thing. Well the pack leader felt very, very strongly that it would not be good for me to carry the responsibility of murdering the entire clientele of Nick's Kitchen. He had a point. I did make the case that the eggs said "Sell by" not "Use by". I called my Mom and she said she was sure they were fine. I checked the USDA website which said they were good for 10 weeks after. I shared this information with the Pack Leader who gave me.... the face.
So I threw them out.
And started again. All was going swimmingly. Put them in the oven. But then... See we have this weird indention in our top rack that looks like someone took the middle out of the front center - but it came like that. We can't figure out why it's like this. So anyway - there's this indentation - and it turns out the rack was in upside down. So between those two factors, when the buzzer went off to check the white cake, I slid out the rack, the cake slid forward and went careening off the rack like a raft on Niagra Falls. I caught it and instantly the whole center of the cake went "splud poof" and imploded. So the sides of the cake were a healthy puffy two inches and the whole center was, well, about two eights of an inch. Great.
Finally got them done and iced. And it turns out they were edible. Apparently the icing was a HUGE hit, and the cake still needs to be a little more moist. Which, frankly I think is a product of me trying to get fancy with the darn things, and I'm going to go back to 'keep it simple stupid" and take out all the extra butter and oil and stuff that I added according to those recipes to take it up a notch. Especially since that white cake I made my Mom for her birthday came out so well and I did that the simple way. Apparently Linda, Jean Anne's sister, and blog reader, was distressed to hear that the cake was not ready to crush all Huntington opposition and began an immediate crusade to find out trade secrets from Oregoneans (Organots?). So apparently there is a 'take it right out of the oven, cover with wax paper, and stick in the freezer' trick which I am going to attempt. And of course I'll let you know if it works. Then, I will have to use the blog mailing list to track you all down and kill you, since you'll know my secrets. Oooo hooo haa ha ha ha.
Dan and Winston arrive from New York. We are VERY, VERY excited. Dan is a gentle soul who likes his works in order, and apparently Winston has taken it upon his wicked self to convince Dan that, due to some reason or another, they are going to have to spend the entire weekend working AND sleeping at the shit box. This is terribly cruel and we would have insisted on telling Dan the truth...if it wasn't so funny it made us pee. :) We've been trying to figure out what to do with the boys... We were going to try and drywall the apartment to try and get it ready for that potential tenant we'd spoken to - but we just got word that she got a place already, so that's not quite so pressing. So, hopefully we'll be able to get some further headway in the lobby. Who knows.
Also this week I bit the bullet, and did what my Mom had been insisting on for months. Since she hasn't been able to come and see anything first hand, the blog is her only window into our little world - and the camera lens I have is not wide angle, and although it takes wicked great pictures, it isn't able to get a whole room in the frame at a time (which i think is one reason why, when people come visit who read the blog, they are all so surprised everything is so big). So we went to this awesome used and new Nikon camera store in Fort Wayne and I spoke to the guys for like half an hour - and of course they're all talking in millimeters and F stops and stuff I only have the most miniscule knowledge of. But - I ended up with a nifty new lens which I really like. And, after taking some pictures with it, you can already see that it does give you a much clearer vista of certain projects. Which, for the sake of preserving the renovation journey (and, yes, for your entertainment purposes) is well worth the investment.
So now you can see exactly how cleared out the lobby is:
Jean Anne had to evict the Tattoo parlor that was renting from one of her storefronts around the corner from Nick's. It's actually a pretty funny story. They were quite behind on the rent, and Jean Anne had told them that they needed to pay her by Monday or move out. And that night, apparently, a friend of Kenny's was at a bar - and the guy who owns the tattoo parlor was burying his sorrows in his beverage of choice and complaining about his situation and saying that it was all because KENNY was being an asshole. Well - of course this guy WORKS with Kenny... so he told Kenny what the guy said. Kenny couldn't believe that HE was the one being called a hard ass when he hadn't even had any dealings with the guy. So he relayed this story to Jean Anne. Who goes to the guy on Monday and asks for the back rent. The guys does a big sob story and says he doesn't have any money to give her. "Well, then" Jean Anne says "if you don't have any money to give me then you shouldn't have been out spending money drinking and bitchin' about me at the BAR." Point, set, match. He moved out later that day. Don't mess with the Pork Queen boys and girls... there's room for a whole person in that fryer I'm telling ya.
And on a final note... While we were working on the lobby floor the other night my 10 dollar walmart jeans decided to go home to Jesus. Now, it was a particularly cold day and we had spent several hours at the Fecal Residence prepping to hang drywall in the near future. And it was freezing. Freeeeeeezing. We were inside and we could seriously see our breath. I was prepared for this excursion by wearing long underwear. So when my jeans exploded I was ok. However. Normally, and I'm sure this is too much information, but normally I am not always layered to such a degree with undergarments. So, I just have to say that if had been, say, at Walmart on a NORMAL AVERAGE DAY and this had happened:
I think we'd be moving.