Concrete Defeat... Feb 29. 08.

First of all, I forgot to show you a picture of the inner lobby swept, cleared and skimmed. There are a few trouble areas we're still patching - but you can't see those in the picture - so let's pretend it's perfect, shall we? :) MISSION SKIM-POSSIBLE finally-skimmed.JPG

So - as part of my catchup duties, I am proud to report that Jean Anne successfully addressed the Rotary on Tuesday without having a panic attack, hyperventilating, or being struck dumb like a deer in headlights. She'd been asked to speak to them (before US!!! I know... madness) about her 100th anniversary. Now you may recall that briefly she had tried to convince me to do this WITH her and kind of interview her. Like "Inside the Actors Studio" with pork. We eventually convinced her that this was not a good idea. Largely because I could not be trusted to not ask questions like "So Jean Anne, how many Malibu Blend related deaths have been documented?". So she went it alone. Jean Anne is actually really afraid of speaking in person...and of course Rich and I were BARRED from attendance - but Margaret (who was on hand to help serve tenderloins) says she knocked it out of the park. And even got a couple laughs. So - yay Pork Queen. Apparently people were not all that surprised to learn that the original Nick's brother got drunk one night, got frostbite, had to have both his hands cut off, and then was in charge of tenderizing the pork with his stumps. Seriously. I guess they knew it already. Her big laugh was, apparently "They may say what happens at Vegas stays in Vegas...well what happens at Nick's Kitchen does NOT stay at Nick's Kitchen." Which, I can attest to as fact, since ever since Cindy and I got caught necking in the back hallway, tongues have not ceased wagging.

Amongst the rest of the nonsense this week we have been having ridiculous cable issues. First of all. Our cable blows. I never knew cable could suck. I thought cable was cable. Nope. Our channel line up is crummy - the reception is terrible, the remote is annoying, even the onscreen TV GUIDE is for the crapper. Bad. Bad. It even bothers the Pack Leader. A lot. AND we don't get the DIY Network which was sooo helpful before we left New York. Anyway. Now our Tivo went home to Jesus. It still records but it doesn't CHANGE channels. No that isn't true. It ONLY changes channels if the couch is folded out as a bed. I'm not making this up. During the day and evening - no channels. But when Janice goes to sleep - it works. yeesh. So - basically you can decide ONE channel you want it to record something on, set the channel on the cable box - and it will - and anything else you're screwed. Right now that's American Idol.

Now, kids... I'm not saying that after living in London, Los Angeles and New York that Huntington is NOT the most exciting cosmopolitan city in the world. I'm not saying that living in a downtown where everything closes at 4:00 isn't a gas. I'm not saying that not having a restaurant open past 9:30 isn't a pleasant change of pace. But what I am saying is IF YOU LIVE HERE YOU NEEEEED TV. Seriously. It's the only thing we have to wind down after sucking 9 pounds of joint compound into our lungs before we collapse into bed. Rich needs his Simpsons. We both need our Little People Big World, and EVENTUALLY they are going to start making new Desperate Housewives... FOR GOODNESS SAKES... is there no Mercy???? So. Finally we gave up. And we decided to give up on the Tivo (our box only recorded one show at a time, which creates quite the tension with your mother in law when you want Survivor and she wants Biggest Loser. Seriously) and get The Dish. Which, it turns out has a lot more channels we like and hopefully reception that DOESN'T look as pixelated as a prototype Intellivision circa 1981. So the cable dude came. And apparently we don't have an easy roof. For the rubber roof buildings you need a special tray that you line with cinder blocks and some other special doo dahs. So they had to send another guy the next day. Well, Rich goes up on the roof with this other guys and says he can rig it up for him that day if he wants. Rich says "well, wait, they said this would cost extra and they said you'd be able to give me an exact estimate". The dude says "um". And then hums and hahs and says that he figgers he'll have to run about 3 cable lines from the roof to our living room which should be 30 feet of cable which will cost 'about' 200 bucks. Now a) 200 bucks for a cable install does not thrill the Pack Leader. B) if it only takes 30 feet of cable to run 3 lines to our living room from the roof, then I am Laura Bush. So, the Pack Leader asked if HE could run the cable and then they would do the hook up. And they said yes. So, this week we also went on the 'great cable wire' crusade. And finally found it at Lowes. Ta da. But, since the Pack Leader is busy being a Pack Leader, it may be a while before we have tv. :(

Margaret informed us that bizarre cable installation experiences are quite de rigeur in Huntington. Apparently one day their cable went out and Margaret called the repair man. He arrived and she explained the problem. He, so I am told, looked up at her roof and said...and i am NOT making this up... "I can fix this right now. Do you have a shotgun".

Now, amazingly, Margaret did NOT immediately had a complete stranger a firearm. It just shows how untrusting these Eckert's can be. Apparently the trained professional assertained that there were some leaf problems with a nearby tree in the vicinity of the wiring, and he felt that buckshot would clear the offending area. Margaret, and may I remind you she is NOT a trained professional, disagreed with this expert opinion and told him to come back the next day - and here you see how truly amateur she is in these matters - with a tree trimmer.

I just think it's very good that Larry wasn't home. Because I think the shotgun might have gotten good use that day. But not on the tree.

What else. Well, Rich has installed the door which leads up the stairs to our apartment. There was quite a bit of debate about this door. See, right behind the door (in the picture) on the left is the door which Natalie had installed (right before we bought the building) to connect her office to the auditorium. Rich felt that this new door made the installation of the original door within the same 'swing area' for want of a better term, difficult. I kind of stood in quick sand and really insisted that we needed to be able to close off the public area from the private area with a solid door. I didn't feel that a curtain or anything else was going to cut it - or make me feel like our home was particularly secure. And I just didn't think it looked very nice. So. He was very very very very nice and worked it out and installed the door. And, once it's painted, it will be gee-orgeous.

EGRESS SUCCESS door-installed.JPG

So - the other big catchup news has to do with the floor in the lobby. So you know how we've been planning on doing this concrete stain. Well... it's just not working out so well. See, we got the concrete all scraped and cleaned. Rich managed to successfully use that eco-goo on it to lift off all the dirt and mastic. But we still had those grid lines remaining from where original tiles had lain from yonks ago. BUT we thought we could deal with that by adjusting that pattern into a square design which would kind of incorporate those lines rather than fight them. It could have looked fine - but it still might have looked kinda icky. Also we had all those areas where the concrete had been patched with a much lighter colored concrete that was going to be a real problem to make the colors match when stained. AND we had all those areas where there was no concrete at all (along all the entrance doors and under the archways) where it was wooden strips. So we had determined that if we wanted to do a concrete stained floor and have it look as sexy as we'd hoped - we had to do a skim coat of new surface. So we did the research. And found a product. And bought a test kit of the stuff. And, in the area leading to the basement (away from future public eye) we tested it. And, again, I think the cold, cold, coldy coldness defeated us. The stuff just didn't take. It hardened, but kind of flaked up and never really got a good grip on the floor. Which made us nervous. Rich tried to find some other products which might skim the floor - but nothing seemed within our range of expertise that would then also take a stain. On top of all of that, we had no idea if the skim coat would be possible to score lines into, as we wanted, in order to delineate a pattern and have different colors against each other (you then grout the scored lines once the stain has been sealed). So, finally, we faced the music. We just realized that even if we FOUND a solution - the floor was never going to be able to look as cool as we had hoped with this particular method. And it was a huge amount of time to invest, blindly, with no real guarantee we'd be at all happy with the results. We KNOW that the stain will be ideal for the auditorium because we intend on doing a much more undulating, marble like soft general treatment in there - not a geometric pattern. And, with seats everywhere and carpet running down the aisles, perfect uniformity is not as neccessary.

So. Plan B. We've spent the week scouting out carpets. Which is kind of a bummer - but kind of not. We also realized that with no carpet in there the accoustiics in that room are VERY echoey - which is bad news for the Supper Club. So, it's a good thing to have carpet from that standpoint. Also, it means we can recarpet the green stairs at the same time to match - which will be VERY VERY nice to have. We had talked about dying the green carpet a very dark brown - but again - it was kind of an unknown result - so this is a whole lot more reassuring. Finding a pattern that works with our design scheme wasn't easy - and obviously, our price range is not unlimited. And, looking for carpet for a theatre lobby (or hotel lobby, or movie theatre, or restaurant or whatever) is very different than looking for carpet for, say, your living room. You know those gigantic patterned bizarre combination of color carepts you see when you walk into a Best Western...well where do those COME FROM?

So, we walked into carpet stores and said...not making this up... "We're looking for reasonably priced ugly carpet". Janice was somewhat disheartened to learn that we wouldn't be able to find a 2,000 square foot remnant. At the end of the day we actually found a couple of candidates. A few of them would have involved running a dachshund puppy farm for the next twenty years AND winning the lottery...which was unfortunate. But, we found a couple of options that were in our price range. Got them home...and voila. At Lowes we happened to find a pattern which is a commercial grade carpet with a fifteen year warrantee. Great. It's dark chocolate brown. Great. And it has a large gold diamond pattern in it. Even greater. So - it really ties in beautifully with the brown colors in the ceiling AND because of the diamond pattern, it looks like the carpet was part of our grand master plan from day one. So, even though I'm still disappointed about the concrete - i really do think this is going to look gorgeous. AND Lowe's installs it. AND we can do the stairs. So I'm a happy camper. I've tried to take a picture of the sample here - it's not easy... the flash distorts the color - so I'll try again during the day. But, the body of the carpet is a nice rich brown, and the stripe is a goldy beige which really picks up the colors of the walls nicely.

carpet-sample.JPG

So. That's all I got. Sleepy Jo Jo go zzzzzzzzz.