Ack - trying to stay on top of the blog - but too much STUFF is happening for me to be able to get it all down... Grrrr.I'll do my best. I'm gonna try and be speedy so that I can get caught up. Cuz when I'm caught up I can be funny - when I have to cover a whole week, well, I feel pooped not funny :0
Bob and Janice arrived Friday - as we were still recovering from our TV debut. Well - our Indiana TV debut. I've been on TV in Bermuda and Rich has made several appearances on the small screen including as a corpse. He was, so they said on the set, the best corpse they ever had.
Anyway - I'll jump ahead - because I know you're all dying to know. The news segment was GREAT. It was classy, and informed, and didn't make us sound either idiotic or snotty. It wasn't long - about two minutes - but really nicely put together. I really was convinced that I was going to want to go into immediate hiding - but on the contrary, as soon as it was over I made Rich rewind it so we could see it again. So. Thumbs up Mr. Olsen. You rock. And, yes, you can tell that Rich is wearing his NIck's Kitchen t shirt underneath his sweat shirt - so Jean Anne was delighted beyond comprehension. Of course, she asked if we could be EATING tenderloins during the interview - but we felt that was a little much.
And, I am delighted to report, thanks to Winston's clever detective work, I can post a link so you can WATCH IT!!!
Not bad, right?
The weekend was jam packed. I mean as jam packed as the Smuckers shipping department. Janice and I, the Tweedles, were charged with our continuing crusade to smooth the walls in the lobby. By the time they arrived we had the second coat completely on the inner lobby. Part of the second coat sanded, and a small amount of the third coat on. This was, as I said before, because the Pack Leader (after having killed two orbital sanders with his tireless efforts) just collapsed. But, since I had the whole OUTER lobby painted by the time they arrived - Janice felt it wasn't entirely neccessary to kill me (as had been threatened if everything wasn't ready to prime by their arrival.) By the end of the weekend Janice and I had managed to get all of the second coat sanded and complete the third coat. And, in the last two foot stretch, of course some of the wall had to flake off on our roller.
Rich and Bob tackled a monumental task this weekend. As I'd mentioned before, getting down the screen and it's associated hanging apparatus was one of those jobs Rich really hoped to tackle before we lost Bob for a while. So, early Saturday, they started. And here folks is quite the historic photograph - the last image of The Huntington as a movie theatre. Moment of silence. And now, bring on the dancing seals... Or at least the small bladdered wiener dogs...
Getting the screen itself down didn't take that long - but it was really not a simple task to lower it to the floor without it becoming damaged. As you may recall it's REALLY REALLY cold in the auditorium, which means the vinyl screen is more brittle and not as floppy as we'd have liked. But, with Bob and Rich at the top and Janice and I frantically trying to keep the thing from torquing and creasing - we managed to get safely to the floor. In pretty good shape too. For the first time I truly appreciated how tricky the task is for those people who deflate the Macy's Day Balloons.
After the screen was down, of course, we had to do SOMETHING with it. Considering the amount of dust and dirt that's flying around this place while we work, if we wanted to have a hope of selling the screen, we needed to get it in some kind of safe condition. So. We had to roll it. So Rich and Bob concocted this giant length of pipe (connected by another short piece of the same pipe cut up it's length, rolled about an inch around itself so it had a slightly smaller diameter, squeezed in, then covered in glue and slid in between the other two pieces as a bridge...or FLANGE (Janice was very excited that I used this term. Of course I have no idea what it means...I just use it all the time. "Rich, my pasta is a little bland, could you pass the flange?" I say. )
Ok - So this system was pretty good in theory - fairly good in practice, but I'm not rushing out to patent it. But it did work well enough to give us something to roll around. So, we basically created what looked like the worlds largest toilet roll. Which took, believe it or not about an hour to accomplish, and then covered it in some old duvatene drapes for protection and have it happily living along one of the aisles waiting for ebay listing.
I will say that once that screen was down, revealing behind it the existing modest backstage area, we all did at various times in the day just stop and stare at it and say "Holy Crap. It looks like a theatre". Because, really, before it wasn't all that easy to imagine actors up there. But now - well - it's pretty nifty. Nowhere 'ready to open' nifty - but 'someday this could be nifty' nifty.
Now, the word on the street is that the SCAFFOLDING supporting the screen is often worth more than the screen itself. Which meant the men folk were quite determined to get all down as intact as possible. This was, as you can see, quite the task. They spent the next two days clamboring like monkeys all over the thing. The very, very worst of it was apparently the stuff to which the screen was physically tied.
And that seemed to take them hours and hours and hours. It was just nasty to get apart. But, once that was down, they worked at lighting speed.
Of course there was a big part of me that looked at this giant piece of scaffolding and momentarily suggested to Rich we just leave it there and make our first season "Company", "Sweeney Todd", "JC Superstar" and "Les Mis". But, nope.
So - slow but sure - over the weekend it started to come down piece by millionth piece.
So - hurrah for men folk. The scaffolding took so long that rather than lose time on Sunday, Bob woke up early on Monday morning and heading back to work in Ohio from here. Janice has been with us the rest of the week, and though we had the final coat of skim coat applied by the time Bob left, getting to the priming stage has been less than easy. We've been fraught with a number of distractions and mishaps.
The most colorful of which happened on late Monday morning. Ok. So we had lunch at Nicks (surprise) and ran into Margaret (surprise) who we dragged back to the theatre to see the newly revealed stage. Janice zipped into the area leading to the basement where all the breakers are to flip the lights for the auditorium when she came out and said she heard dripping coming from the basement. Quite a substantial bit of dripping. Rich went in to check it out and it was not good. A huge area of the basement floor was pretty drenched and water was raining in from the floor above. Which is the rented storefront. So we ran over to the storefront and were greeted with water spraying from the top of the toilet pipes (not the bowl - ick) like partially unscrewed shaken soda bottle. All across the bathroom down the walls, onto linoleum, down into the basement, across the linoleum flooding the storefront carpet. Luckily, luckily, luckily this must have only been happening for about an hour because even though it was all soaked, it wasn't like submerged. Anyway. Rich managed to get the water turned off, discovering in the process that the cap on the pipe had frozen. At first we thought the water had gotten into the fuse box and blown the electricity - but there was just no power. Margaret sprang into action and called the electric company to find out if someone had either not paid the bill and/or what the heck happened. Well, it turned out that our tenant had decided, due to lack of business, to turn the power off and save some money during what had turned out to be a slow (like "narcoleptic tortoise" slow) season. And the pipes froze. Pipes freeze = flood. Lovely. We were extremely peeved. Something similar had happened a few weeks earlier (causing the toilet in the storefront to run for days on end) giving us a water bill that was insanely astronomical to absorb (water/absorb gettit?). And now this. We were particularly peeved since the power was on WHEN we rented the storefront and it had just been transferred over. They didn't have to have it turned ON, so wouldn't you think they would let us know they were turning it OFF? And, wouldn't you think people would realize pipes would freeze. I mean, I'm a moron and I know this. Anyway. So - after running numerous extension cords from the auditorium outside into the storefront in order to power work lights, and wet vacs, can fans... and a lot of frantic mopping and sucking and sopping. And after Rich drilling a tiny hole into the basement so that we could get a heater running up there so that the damp carpet didn't get stinky... we were ok. Thank GOODNESS we happened to need to turn the lights on the auditorium within that hour - because, honestly, another forty minutes and the place would have just been trashed.
So, long story short, Rich and Janice went to discuss the matter with said tenant at their other place of business. And, even though language is a significant barrier they were able to communicate 'lots of water very bad'. The tenant, who had paid in advance up until April (in return for a reduced rental rate which would then be renegotiated) informed Rich that their intention was to not renew until the summer when business would be better, but to leave there stuff there in the meanwhile. And not pay rent. Rich decided that such an arrangement was not exactly mutually beneficial and said no. We think they are moving out this weekend, but who knows. Anyway - in a couple months we'll definitely have the storefront available again. We're considering actually keeping it for ourselves and using the area to advertise Rich's web business and be able to incorporate the back area into the handicapped bathroom earlier than we had planned. But who knows. Maybe someone nifty will want to rent it.
So - that delightful event screwed up a good chunk of Monday. We've continued to battle against the walls for the rest of the week. Sanding the inner lobby takes about three times as long as the outer lobby because of all the doors and pesky curves surrounding them. On top of that we keep having coverage issues. We discovered in about five isolated areas these little small cracks that were kind of slightly puckered up from the wall (this is after three coats of skim coating). And, when you tapped at them it was clear that the joint compound just hadn't adhered - so we pried up a little and it just spread like a crack in ice. The paint beneath just lifted up all over again in these trouble spots. So we got these areas down to the concrete walls - but then even after that it wasn't possible to get coverage on them. We tried trowelling on the joint compound, and then Dri Lok and a couple other solutions - and each time it would either not take or/and the perimeter would start bubbling up. We're somewhat convinced that the cold temperature is a big contributing factor. So we jacked the heat up (by jacked I mean 5 degrees above zero versus 10 degrees below zero) with the hope that it would help. Then this morning Team Najuch went to the hardware store and asked for advice. They came back with this cleaning solution and special sealer. Before we went for that though, we figured it best to get all the rest of the sanding done so that we wouldn't keep getting dust all over the troubled areas and making it harder for anything to cling. So we finished sanding this morning. Spent several hours clearing up that whole half of the lobby and then used the AMAZING Kleen Sweep stuff again.
I never witnessed this stuff actually in action last time - really kids - it's like a miracle product. It just grabs hold of the dust so as you continue sweeping it stops billowing into the air. It's like dust velcro kitty litter. Incredible. Soooo. Now the lobby is pretty dust free and the evil wall areas have been scrubbed with this magic cleaning stuff. So - fingers crossed.
We also lost a bunch of time this week with various business things the Pack Leader had to attend. We have officially been invited to speak to the Kiwanis. They wanted us before the Rotary thing but Rich managed to delay it - cuz if we had to do that before the lobby has to be ready we'd just keel over. I've also been booked to do another cake - wheee. This one is pretty cool, too. It's for a farewell party for a marine going out on his FOURTH tour of Iraq. From what his Mom has told me about this kid, he's pretty incredible - so I'm excited to be making it for him. I won't tell you what the cake is, so i don't spoil the surprise. Seriously - it's an issue - the blog is proving to be the most insanely effect means of spreading useless news in Indiana. Jean Anne apparently was in a Real Estate office the other day and someone who she hardly knows, who we haven't even met, said to her "So, have you bought the pig barbeque yet?". Insanity.
Ok. So I have more newsy niftiness to tell you - but I don't want this to get extra long - and I'll try and blog tomorrow and then we'll be all squared away. Hopefully, if all is well, by the end of the day I'll have pictures of primed walls on the inner lobby.
Here's hoping... Jo Jo.