And the walls came crumblin' down. Feb 21, 08.

Ok. I haven't written because we've been working our butts off. There's a good reason - which I'll get too... but seriously there was no blogage time. So cut me a little slack. I will try to make brevity my buddy. Bob and Rich managed to actually finish laying the whole base floor in the Shit Box kitchen on Sunday. This was great news, since we want to have actors in there in about three months and constantly losing them down a black hole every time they walk into the kitchen for a Yoo Hoo would be bad. Do you have Yoo Hoo in Midwest? No? Boo Hoo. The floor still needs a subfloor on top of it. And then, you know, a real floor. But it's a step in the right direction. And since the original floor ski jumped more than Nixon's nose, it's a great accomplishment. The spent the rest of the day gearing up for the next weekends project which will probably be taking down the movie screen in the auditorium. It's one of those big projects we are pretty sure we need Bob for, so even though we aren't going to be working in there until the lobby is finished - it's worth jumping ahead a little in the schedule.

Janice and I got up very early on Sunday to finish sanding the third coat in the outer lobby. Gretchen had arranged some volunteers who were supposed to arrive around one pm to prime the outer lobby walls. And the third coat of sanding is NOT quick work. You have to hold a light to the side of the wall (which casts a shadow in the crevices, divots, and blobs) and then sand. Originally we were only doing it by hand - but eventually we just had to switch a combo of both the sanding block and the orbital sander. But still, you have to really look carefully and make double check that you aren't missing places, and these are BIG rooms. But - we made it just in time. Just. And then it turned out that Gretchen WASN'T able to round up a lot of people at the last minute (see if we want HOARD of people we're supposed to go through here student council... and we haven't wanted hoards. So she's been asking her church group who also are supposed to community service. And the church group were all busy on Sunday. Can't think why :)) Anyhoooo.... Gretchen determined not to disappoint us decided to log another couple hours on her already over volunteered dance card (clearly she wants this sweet sixteen party BAD). And she dragged along Kylie. Who frankly, I think, was just hoping to see me do that Superman dance. Didn't happen. I'm still rehearsing :) So, although we only had them for two hours before Gretchen had to go to volleyball practice (my people don't have sports...except ice scating and Greg Louganis...and really both of those cases just want an excuse to wear lycra underwear, no?) - even though their time was limited they managed to get the whole bottom half of the lobby primed. Of COURSE, God forbid, they let us thank them by feeding them... so Margaret insisted on sending a vat of home made chili to feed US. It was extremely yummy.

WHAT A CROCK chili.JPG

PRIME SUSPECT gretchen-roller.JPG

OMG, JO JO IS SO MY BFF kylie-phone.JPG

Bizarrely as we were eating the chili, Jean Anne called and said she wanted to bring over an extra tray of lasagna which she had from a catering gig the night before - so we could have THAT for lunch. We had it for dinner instead... it was actually official business since it's a candidate for one of the meal options for the Supper Club. It got two thumbs up. I don't know what suddenly happened with the world deciding to feed us. I think someone must be dead and I just haven't heard about it yet.

Kylie's parents came to pick her up, with Kylie's younger siblings in tow, in a desperate plea to urge us to ignore their elder daughter's advice... and insist that High School Musical would be a GREAT show to do for the five year olds. Six hundred seats filled with five year olds. Eep.

Margaret then arrived to pitch hit for the girls when they had to take off. She ALSO brought with her the infamous Jello Cake. Remember I told you about this. A cake involving jello. Well she brought one. And I have to say it's one of the scariest looking yummy things I've ever seen. You're supposed to ice it with Cool Whip - but I took a picture pre-icing to allow you to truly appreciate the terror one encounters prior to the first reassuring bite.

J-E-L-L-OOOOOOooooooooooo. jelllo-cake.JPG

I think it looks like a cake that one of those nice people who lived near P and E would make when Erin Brocovich came over to discuss their case. It's kind of addictive really. You taste it and go "hmm. that's weird. I think I need to check again how weird it is. Yup. It's weird. Gosh, I better make SURE it's still weird..." And on it goes till you've eaten the whole cake.

After they had consumed some green cake, Bob and Janice had to leave us. Janice said that when they came back next week she would stay longer and help me paint ONLY if the second lobby was primed. So Rich and I continued to goop (usually a job below Pack Leader status) while Margaret careened around on the scaffolding (she seems to think it's a giant skateboard and she kind of scoots herself around the room) finishing the priming.

And then we hit the wall. Kind of literally. The wall going up the stairs by the women's bathroom. Which had ALREADY had issues. And we'd scraped it. And it had ALREADY successfully taken the first layer of skim coating. We rollered on the goop and disaster ensued. All of the joint compound lifted up. Paint lifted off. It peeled onto the roller just like all the other problem areas which we'd already repaired. And we THOUGHT we'd repaired this. But this was worse. It was just a mess. This was actually about only the third time since we've been here that I officially lost it. I just couldn't take any more wall disasters. Frankly, I think it's a good thing it didn't happen until right after Bob and Janice left because if Janice had been here I think she would have gone out and rented a wrecking ball. Rich managed to talk me off my proverbial ledge and just started scraping. And scraping. Just look at this picture - keep in mind, we thought this wall was almost DONE when we had to start over and go back to this stage:

WALL OF SHAME wall-diaster.JPG

So, that night, and the next day, while Rich scraped, I gooped the rest of the lobby. And, in that gigantasaurous room, we've managed to get a whole second coat on the thing. And the solution to the evil wall seemed to be to avoid the roller all together. I just troweled the stuff on and smoothed it as best I could - and we'll sand it down. But, the good news is, that it seems to be ok now. Amen. And we were chugging along just fine.

Then out of nowhere Rich got a call from a chap name Eric Olsen who is the weekend anchor for the ABC local news in Fort Wayne. He does these features on the news called "Your Country" where he "scours" (according to the ABC website) the country for interesting people and stories. Apparently he'd seen the youtube video. And wanted to do a story on us. Now. Thursday. I asked Rich if we could put it off...just until the lobby was done so that we could SHOW them something pretty. Nope. Thursday.

Arghgghghgghgh.

Now, despite the fact that I was starting to have panic attacks about getting the lobby done for the rotary... we now had a NEW deadline. The Pack Leader felt, and this is not all that insane of an analysis, that 'paint' is more interesting than smooth walls on camera. And Mr. Olsen said he wanted 'action shots' (perhaps this was a good time for us to wear lycra underwear?)... "GI Jo Jo"... Don't Ask, Don't Kvell. (kvel is yiddish for make a fuss... c'mon kids. By the time I'm through you'll be regular New Yorkers).

So - the pack leader decided we needed to have paint on the walls by Thursday. This meant FINISHING the sanding of the second coat. Gooping the third coat. Sanding the third coat. And priming. Can you hear me whimpering from there? So for two days we kinda killed ourselves. I gooped until eleven at night and he scraped and sanded from early in the morning... and then finally yesterday afternoon he looked up at me in the midst of his eight hundredth hour with the orbital sander:

sanding-misery.JPG

And said "I just can't". Really it's the sanding. The rollering of the joint compound is heavy and tiring - but you can get through it. Especially if you're doing it as a team. But the sanding just sucks. And since we were each trying to do individual things (me goop, he sand), it was twice as tiring. And he just couldn't take any more. :( It takes a lot to defeat a Pack Leader kids, trust me.

So - Rich decided upon a new plan. We'd hitch up plastic insulating sheeting (which we originally purchased to try and deal with the roof leak fiasco while we were waiting for a repair person to call us back. PS still waiting for them to call us back) along the arches and use that to control the dust. Hopefully it would keep the dust in the room which still was being sanded and would protect the room that was primed and ready to paint. So that we could, in fact, start painting.

Margaret, aware of our impending television debut, had offered to bail us out and come help me paint. The plastic sheeting actually works really well - the only drawback being that all the heat vents are in the room which is primed - meaning while I paint I'm toasty warm, but while Rich sands it's significantly more chilly.

So Margaret and I actually started to PAINT THE LOBBY. Wow. Everyone involved in the first stage of the paint job was warned ahead of time that the first stage of the process might appear a little disturbing. The metallic top coat is translucent so you need a base coat which reflects the tones you want to show through. And we discovered when I did the tests (remember all those months ago, when we bought paint during Winston's first visit) that a single flat color wasn't all that great. So, we the final choice was a combination of brown and maroon. Rollered together. It actually took us a while to get a system going. Ideally you would just roller them together wet - but the problem then is your roller ends up getting compromised with the opposite color and you end up with one icky pink color. So we tried laying one color on and then the next...but that wasn't all that successful either. So finally we kind of did two passes at it - the first coat just getting it on the wall with rollers (one at a time) and then I went back with two brushes and blended it softly together. And, after a few hours and Margaret pushing me around (yet again...she's so PUSHY that Pegan woman)... we had this BEAUTIFUL result.

QUEER EYE FOR THE BLIND GUY undercoat2.JPG

During the afternoon Jean Anne came over and I REALLY wanted to try and convince her that this was the actual final color - but frankly my ego wouldn't allow me. So every time the doorbell rang for the next couple hours I would scream 'IT'S NOT DONE IT'S NOT DONE!". Margaret was fantastic (and I think much relieved to see that I had recovered from my previous wall related breakdown) and after a few hours the whole outer lobby had the first stage complete. So - we let it dry.

While all this other stuff had been going on Rich has managed to go to planning meetings for this thing called Heritage Days - which apparently is Big Doin's in these parts; and he's gone to Chamber of Commerce meetings and managed to whip up a couple new web clients. Ever since the youtube video Rich is constantly getting into conversations with new folks who now know about us. One of the hot topics is often "how do we save downtown?" Which is quite a question when it's your first meeting. My answer: A monorail.

simpsons-monorail.gif

So - now of course with the TV people arriving the next day we were faced with our lobby appearing on television painted to look like a cattle slaughter house pre hose-down. Actually the proper word for cattle slaughter house is 'abattoir' which is one of my very favorite sounding words...but hardly ANYONE knows that darn word. Except you. Now you know it. So we can rewind I can say: "painted to look like an abattoir" and you laugh hysterically. Or not. Bite me.

So - we had to let it dry. So we went to dinner and used the time to crunch through the final budget numbers for The Tempest submission.... and then....last night, while Rich worked on tax stuff, I painted. And painted and painted. And I actually managed to get a pretty large area of the lobby done. And continued this morning. But - this blog is getting long. And I don't want you to get tired of reading... so there. You'll just have to wait and see how pretty it came out. And about the TV. Wow - what a blog teaser, huh.

G'night campers. JO JO.