Chair apparent. April 8 lead-up. 08.

OK - apologies of the humungousnest kind. I left you on a total cliffhanger - and then, well, left you. As you can imagine as the clock ticked toward Rotary Day the hours became precious, nerves became frayed - it was just not possible to sit down to the blog. So - I'm really sorry. Honest. I'll make it up to you right now... and soon you will see a picture of the lobby el completo... NO NO NO don't you dare skip ahead. Jeesh. Like three year olds, honestly.

Ok - so this is gonna be lengthy - but I don't know how else to handle it. I will split it all up into a couple blogs - cuz otherwise we'll be way out of control. But you do get to see the carpet, so simmer down. Plus, our brains (never mind our bodies) are still so tired AND it feels like the last blog was a year ago - I'm not sure how accurate I can even manage to be. But - I'll be sure to cross check with the pack leader.

When last we spoke we had somewhat lost the epic battle of 'Pack Leader vs. Floor Leveler". I stepped in and did my best - but my best wasn't all the fantastic and we weren't quite sure how things would go in the morning.

Well - at first they didn't go great. The carpet installer arrived - a wirey gentleman who at first struck me as a little prickly. He came in...looked at the floor and said "Was that all you were gonna do?'. So evidently - we DIDNT' do enough. Minor internal panic. Was he just gonna get in his truck and leave? What now? He pointed out all (emphasis on 'all') the areas that we had missed which needed attention (he said the carpet would be like wallpaper and surface changes would show through badly (and we all know now how enthusiastic I am about any wallpaper analogies). We had not more of the dreaded Dependable - so, with a very heavy heart, facing another hours ahead of fighting again with this awful goo, I headed to the hardware store to get some more. I was exhausted, Rich was exhuasted - and this was just ceasing rapidly to be fun. I got back, got the bucket just like before and started mixing as per the instructions.

The dude watched us for a minute.

"Is that how you were doing that before?"

"yup".

"Ah. Bet a lot got wasted in yer bucket, huh?"

Ah, YUP. Like I said in the last blog - the stuff just hardened in the bucket way too fast - then when you tried to mix the next fresh round of goo in the same bucket - it was all filled with cracking hard residue from the last batch.

So the fellow saunters up. Takes the bucket of Dependable. And dumps it on floor. Asks for our water. Pours the water on the floor. Asks for our trowel. Mixes the stuff together. On the floor. And it smoothes like butter. Rich and I are staring at him like two cavemen watching a bic lighter. It was miraculous. The instructions were... and I'll use the technical term here...complete B.S. By mixing it on the floor - he had no residue... could manipulate it wherever he wanted... and was able to just add water to adjust the consistency. Of course, it eventually tranpsired, he had been doing this for over twenty years. Which, if you think about it, gave him twenty years of perspective on exactly how big a pair of idiots we actually seemed. The FANTASTIC thing was, he rapidly realized that when weighing our total incompetence with his sanity and desire to finish the job before Dakota Fanning appears on Broadway starring in Driving Miss Daisy...he did it for us. I loved this man at that moment more than pie.

The nice thing was as the day transpired, and he learned that we had done all the work around here ourselves, we think he decided we were kind of ok. Weird, but ok. Watching him zoom around trowelling this stuff on and perfectly leveling the floor with the exact same product that we had tried to use resulting in 'oatmeal gravel surprise' was astounding.

WHEN IT COMES TO 'DEPENDABLE', WE TWO ARE EXPENDABLE :( last-pic-before-carpet.JPG

He, his wife and his son spent the next two days on the carpet. It was incredible how fast they were. He had the giant rolls of carpet on a wheelbarrow, and he would just lug it around wherever he needed. Seams were PERFECT... not even detectable. They worked so hard, so many hours... It took them about a half a day longer than anticipated because they originally thought (when they did the estimate) that all the stairs were wooden. Nope. Concrete and steel. Which meant you couldn't just staple into them. So each piece had to be cut to fit and then they would put contact cement on the stair and on the carpet, let it set, then install the piece. It took a long time. But the stairs truly, truly look amazing. And I cannot tell you how very, very, very good it was that we did not attempt to do this ourselves. Especially the stairs. We would still be working on them, except for the fact that the only remaining member of the family still living would be Po. And she would probably just try to eat the glue. Now, when you look at these pictures, keep in mind that I have a really hard time getting a good color-accurate picture of the carpet. With the flash it looks lighter and the pattern looks stronger than it should - it really looks fantastic in the space.

STAIRWAY OF PARADISE stairs2.JPG

STEPPING UP carpet-details.JPG

While they toiled away at the carpet on day two through into the evening, we began to occupy ourselves with pretty much the only task we could tackle and still not be in their way. Upholstery. We decided to have an 'uphoustery party' to work on all 44 of the chairs seats which had to be recovered. The term 'party' was very loosly termed... Sort of like one might say "Filipino garment manufacturer sweat-shop party". But we DID figure that it was the perfect opportunity to do a dry-run of the Rotary food. The menu, as planned, was individual cup-cake-pan meat-loaves, scalloped potatoes, and the legendary corn-salad which we had at Christmas time at Janice and Bob's friends the Verges. (I had permission to use the recipe). There was also going to be a caesar salad and a rotary cake - neither of which were appearing for the 'dry run'. Jean Anne was making the scalloped potatoes for us on the big day - so she volunteered to whip some up for the practice as well. So, that evening, as carpet was being glued tread by tread, we gathered in the auditorium (for the first time in months, thankfully NOT freezing) and began to work on the seats. At first we were having staple gun issues - since we had all these different staplers and all these different kinds of staples - none of which seemed compatible. Larry, who's first love is NOT uphoustering, decided his best use of time would be to go and find us a kick-butt pneumatic stapler, which once procured, had things zipping along. He and Rich also spent some time working around the carpet-folk drilling the holes which were needed to run the wires for the sconces. These holes needed to be big enough for conduit, and go alllllll the way through the wall into the auditorium... so it required quite the power tool. As you know, Mr. Pegan has an aversion to being photographed, so I'm respecting his wishes and only displaying his large equipment.

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When I first saw this thing I walked back into the auditorium and said to Margaret... "Have you seen the size of Larry's drill?" She says: "Of course I have, we have four children".

It actually turned out that she had NOT seen this particular drill. "I'm a little annoyed he's been hiding that from me all these years" she said.

Meanwhile, here's how the chairs worked. Fist they took the seat pads off the chair frames. Then we laid one on batting and made a pattern. Then we cut 44 squares of batting. I then spray glued the batting to the original vinyl while the ladies started cutting the actual fabric to go on top. The batting, in case your wondering, served two purposes. We thought that the seats could use a little extra squish... but also, we thought the new fabric might slide around on the vinyl. So by gluing the batting to the seat, the fabric (now against the batting) had a little more resistance. It actually worked out really well. The uphoulstery party also welcomed a brand new Pegan into our midst: Margaret's sister Cindy, who runs The Meat Shop (he hallowed emporium which provides Jean Anne with the raw material for her golden pork delights AND our turkey meatballs (not an easy find in Huntington)). Cindy, it turns out is not only a total hoot, equally blessed with the Eckert-Clysdale work ethic...but also a wicked uphousterer. She was stapling chairs faster than Nicole Ritchie heads to the bathroom after Thanksgiving Dinner.

DOUBLE YOUR ECKERT, DOUBLE YOUR FUN chair-apparent.JPG

By the time we were ready to sample the practice dinner it was pretty late. Jean Anne, who hadn't even had lunch at this point was starving. I went upstairs and started putting the food on the plates, trying to practice the careful presentation I wanted for the Rotary - delicately drizzled sauce on top of the meatloaf... Jean Anne grabs a plate from me and grabs a fork. "WAIT - I HAVE TO MAKE IT PRETTY!' I said. "Joel, I've been serving ugly food for eighteen years... I'll survive". Which, now that i think about it - could be very nicely paired with OUR new slogan... The Huntington Theatre: Broadway Shows and Shit with Ugly Food. They'll come in droves.

So. We all crowded upstairs in our kitchen and had our taste test. Except Cindy who had already eaten - about which I was very bummed because I wasn't able to even feed her to say thank you, AND as a purveyor of meat, I figured she'd be a fine expect evaluator for loaf made of said product.

NEW TASTING GAME SHOW: MEAL OR NO MEAL? practice-meal.jpg

Now, you may think it was a little crazy for me to be so concerned about meatloaf. Of course, by now you should in no way be surprised at my particular talent for finding reason to be greatly concerned about the transparency of oxygen. But this recipe was actually a brand new experiment in the field of loaf. See, Rich likes MY meat loaf but doesn't LOVE it... I like Rich's mom's meatloaf, but felt it wasn't quite fancy enough for our event. So - I took Rich's mom's recipe and then went online and looked at a bunch of meatloaf recipes and kind of stole spices and ingredients from them. And ended up with this prototype. And, I am VERY happy to say, for the first time ever a culinary experiment of mine came out great. The main other recipe I cobbled from had parmesan cheese in it which gave it a really neat zing, and a great sauce that we all liked. And, despite me saying over and over again: "do you like it? Really? Really, no... is it ok? Are you sure? Is it too bland? Is it too spicy? Is it too loafy?" Everyone still said they liked it. Larry however steered very clear of the scalloped potatoes...apparantly he was attacked by a scallop as a child or something and still bears psychological scars.

And, it was totally worth doing the dry run because we did learn some additional tidbits. We decided the meatloaf portions were a little too big. We figured salad was too much, but rolls would be good. And Jean Anne felt that the baby corn was too big (possibly a first-time criticism for Baby-corn) and I should chop it up a little.

And by the end of the evening's work - the carpet was completely installed...

FLOOR FIT FOR A QUEEN sow-factor.JPG

NO MORE CONCRETE - THE CARPET'S COMPLETE carpet-in.JPG

And, because these crazy wonderful ladies wouldn't call it quits... the seats were all covered:

THE THRILL OF VICTORY AND THE AGONY OF THE SEAT. chairs-uphousteed.JPG

All that was left to do on them was to fold and staple the corners (a particularly tricky little task) which Margaret arrived fresh and chipper the next morning to scratch off the list. Obviously seeing the carpet go in was a major event. Madge nearly cried and we were kind of blown away by suddenly how the whole room came together. The dark in the carpet suddenly transformed it into the kind of sensuous space we'd be hoping for... and, after all the carpet-finding nightmares, I couldn't be happier with the pattern we have. It looks beautiful and it's surprisingly comfy on the tootsies.

About now, I have to say I'm very grateful that iPhoto loads your pictures in the order they were taken - because I'm still so wiped, and it's all such a blur that I'm depending upon the photographs to tell me what happened next! Other than Madge's corner staple-fest (which really requires the skill of an origami master) Thursday had no major event - just lots of smaller bits and pieces - more wiring progress etc. A lot of the day was spent trying to get ready for Janice and Susannah's arrival. Rich's good friend from New York and Catholic University, Susannah, had been recruited to sing a couple songs for the Rotary so that they didn't have to just listen to us speak the entire time. She has been wanting to come visit for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity... and she has the most incredible voice. So, anyway - we were going to have Janice and Susannah staying here at the same time - so we had get a little creative with space. We made space in my office/laundry room and laid one of the mattresses we'd purchased for the actor's house on the floor in there... Which, considering it was floor level, was instantly considered by Po to be some kind of massive doggy bed upgrade.

Janice arrived and we went straight to work on the chairs and a zillion other projects. It was the weekend of the power washer - my first task being to try and give the area in front of the theatre a good cleaning. I'd never used a power washer before - it makes you feel like the world's smallest dental hygienist. But it sure does get rid of all the mud on the sidewalk. And deposit it on Margaret's white car parked right in front of the theatre. Oops. Ok, ok, I TRIED to spray it clean... Larry's working on a car-wash anyway - I'm sure he gets freebies :) Then all the chairs frames got some serious TLC. The second batch we had purchased were clearly older than the first batch - a little more scratched in places - so they particularly needed some refinishing work. So back to Bob's Power Washer. Except the Power Washer seemed to have gone home to meet its maker - (the ridges where the hose attached had worn out). So Margaret and I zoomed to Big Lots and got another one - and we were right back on track. The chairs got all the joint compound dust and goo sprayed away then we all wiped them down and let them dry.

IN THE BUSINESS WE CALL THESE SEATS 'RESTRICTED VIEW' chairs-resprayed.JPG

At one point when I was upstairs, Two Guys and a Truck (the local scrap metal scavangers) apparently came poking around and Janice had me convinced for a minute that they'd walked off with a couple of the chairs. Way to wind up the hyper stressed ball of a freak-out.

Next any problem areas got a touch up with glossy spray paint (which, by some miracle, was a perfect match to the original paint finish). Any problem areas were easy to repair, and they all looked as good as new. Our only real challenge with them for the Rotary was going to be that we didn't have the rubber feet which would make them easier to maneuver on the carpet. For some bizarro reason the diameter of the legs on the front is different than the diameter of the legs on the BACK!? So Pack Leader found the feet online and they arrived the day after Rotary. It wasn't a problem since, thanks to Madge-gyver, they wrapped the feet with black electrical tape which did the trick for the day.

Since at this point the Pack Leader had an awful lot of jobs that were on his list, I started doing my best to try and tackle a couple of them instead. Although the Supper Club is going to have the small square cafe tables we bought ages ago, for the Rotary we wanted larger round four foot tables seating to seat five. So table tops had to be cut out of ply. if it's one power tool I can deal with, it's a jigsaw - so I gave it a shot. I took a stick slightly longer than four foot - drove a nail into one side, and drilled a hole in the other and shoved a sharpie in. Instant compass. (I know, you didn't think I had it in me). So 2 circles per sheet of 4x8 ply - and away we go. Not bad all, and I still have at least three of my fingers.

In the process of one of those mutual brainstorm sessions, we suddenly realized that we didn't need to, as planned, make the entire tables. If we built a housing frame for the circles, we could simply slot them on top of the square cafe tables - and voila! So - Rich made a prototype set of four cuts of 2x4's and then I reproduced a slew of them.

During the afternoon the rented linens arrived...which for some reason truly heralded an 'OMG this is actually happening' moment for me. And, the rest of the weekend I spent in complete zen state of total calm and contentment. This statement might not be completely factual.

While this was going on we had a major casualty. The super-duper-awesome amazing carving machine which my parents had given me for my birthday - and we'd only started using - died on us. Not our fault. The motor gave out. Not pleased. AT ALL. We had been counting on this thing to take care of a bunch of projects in this final stretch - it was supposed to make our custom exit and bathroom signs...and all the molding for around the wallpaper frames. Rich had even designed this incredible molding pattern that had diamonds in it that was going to be amazing:

diamond-molding.JPG

And then it died. Luckily we had the full-service repair/replacement plan and I called Sears. They're back-ordered until June. ARGHHGGHHG. Curse you Fathers Day (only reason I can figure?). Anyway - suddenly all of that had to be rethought. Although I'm pretty determined to use the diamond molding pattern (if we can get it fixed in time) for the lobby bar. A major disappointment for the molding - although an alternate could be conjured using the router - but a total stall for the restroom signs. The original signs are these metal curved casement light boxes which had cut out letters in front them, back lit. They are super cool - but the letters were thin wood and simply haven't aged well. At first I gave it a shot cutting them out with a jigsaw and thought of using the band saw too - but with so many sharp small curves and internal cut-out areas, it wasn't going to happen. Dilemma to be continued.

Rich and Larry continued working on mirror sconces - starting to get the frames in place.

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Rich designed this AMAZING system for the mirrors using the router and all kinds of Pack Leader brain power. It's kind of a casement which houses each mirror. The mirror sits in the casement and then the finish molding gets nailed to the CASEMENT so that the mirror isn't in danger of cracking from the pressure. They took a lot of time to build and put together - but in the end they really came out beautifully. And Rich now had to design a whole new molding which, rather than being made by a smart little carving computer you can just program and leave for a couple hours, had to be done length by length by hand.

About this time we also began the serious realization that vacuuming a space this big was going to suck. Rich had spent 45 minutes the night before giving it a once over... Jean Anne had declared our vaccuum super crappy...and even though the carpet wasn't always going to get this kind of working traffic:

carapet-mess.JPG

We needed something better than what we had. I actually really like this picture - but Margaret has a 'no full body shot' rule about her appearances on the blog... so yet again, I had to do another Pegan coverup. It's a good thing we're not a reality series - this whole family would have spent all season as a blur :)

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Jean Anne took pity on us and leant us her Dyson for the weekend - but still - it takes a long time to vaccuum 1700 square feet. So - the word Roomba started being thrown around as a viable solution in the future. In the process of errands over the weekend I picked one up for us to try out... we'll see if it's up to the task. Could be a big Product Placement for the future kids, stay tuned.

As I'm sure you are aware there have been some interesting airline issues going on lately. Well - they landed square on poor Susannah's head. She got delayed and bounced and delayed and bounced. Rich ended up leaving at like 11pm to go pick her up from what SHOULD have been South Bend - but ended up being Chicago. But her luggage ended up in South Bend... so the poor girl not only ended up flying and waiting for almost 24 hours - but driving for ages as well. Rich and she were so exhausted that they decided to stay the night at a hotel and head back the next morning... Leaving the tweedles under the capable charge of Madge.

When poor Susannah did arrive she leapt right into the fray... I'm really bummed about the fact that her arrival coincided with things getting so nutty that I didn't have time to take many pictures - but I got a couple. For the whole first day she worked with Margaret getting the chairs together - which for a while there also involved Jean Anne and Janice. Screwing the bases onto the chairs was trickier than you imagine - and it required a whole lot of Pegan Elbow Power. But they looked incredible.

CHAIRS WITH FLAIR chairs.JPG

You may remember that we had to choose a new complimentary fabric for some of the chairs - since when we originally purchased the uphoustery material for the chairs we didn't know we were doing the Supper Club, and didn't know we'd ever need fifty chairs. The alternate fabric Janice and found at Hobby Lobby, as you can see, works so well with the other fabric that, in a cluster, your eye hardly notices that they aren't all the same. Yay! And - four bottles of Scotch Guard later - hopefully they'll stand up to any little spills.

Next Susannah and Margaret started to assemble the frames for the table rounds. These were not easy.

NEW RECRUIT susana-and-madge.JPG

They required these long like four inch screws, and because it was a 2x4 box - it wasn't really easy to butt it up against anything or get leverage. But the girls put Rosie the Riveter to shame...

BOX IT UP TO EXPERIENCE table-bases.JPG

Even Energizer PeGan started to wear out in the process of this task prompting perhaps the most infamous Huntington quote to date. I was just standing there minding my own business when Madge says: "I'm so tired of screwing that if Larry gets any ideas tonight he's shit out of luck". Seven years later I managed to blink and walk away.

TMI: TRAUMATIZING MADGE INFORMATION the3monkeys.jpg

Once the boxes were screwed together (see now the word just gives me hives)... we had to figure out a way to get them attached perfectly center on the round table tops. The problem is that in order to prevent the table top from just tipping off, the 2x4s were boxed the tall way - not flat. Which meant you couldn't use short screws and just shoot through into a little bit of the ply without peeking through. You had to screw from the top of the table into the 2x4 beneath. Which meant you wouldn't be able to SEE where the 2x4 was - without an xray machine. Which, I am very disappointed to say, Larry does not have in the barn. We all had various ideas of how we might make this procedure work - none of which were viable and then finally - Eureka. Somehow combining elements of each or our hair-brained schemes we managed to make this work. I'm gonna lay it out for you in case you ever have to do anything this kooky.

Margaret ran and stapled diagonal pieces of string from the corners of one of the boxes to use as a template. The diagonals gave us a perfect center of the box - which we were able to lay on the round ply and line up with the nail hole I used from the compass point. So - now we had the box perfectly lined up center, and could trace around it. We traced the inside and outside edge of the box onto the ply with a Sharpie. NOW came the clever bit...

We didn't try to screw anything yet. We drilled holes inside the lines where we wanted screws to be. Then flipped the whole thing over on a table and looked underneath and lined our box up inside the sharpie lines. Now we could just stick screws where the holes were drilled and we knew they would go down right into the 2x4s. TA DA.

table-tops.JPG

Really - this was about the most ingenious accomplishment since the invention of the wheel. Ok, Ok - since Tivo. And speaking of Tivo - we are still without any kind of a recording device and I have TOTALLY missed Project Runway and every other highly intelligent and stimulating reality series to which I am devoted. Like Big Red Neck Wedding for instance. Soon, the Pack Leader says, soon.

Ok - tabletops were now assembled. Susannah, somehow got roped into being mess cook for the weekend and managed to feed the troops every evening that she was here. While she was whipping up vittles, Margaret and I started gluing (doesn't that spelling just FEEL wrong?) the table lining down. We figured that we needed to have something smooth between the ply and the linens - and after shopping around looking at plastic tablecloths we finally found stuff by the yard at Walmart that was exactly what we needed - that plastic table-cover stuff with fuzzy backing. So we spray glued the tables, smoothed the plastic on, flipped over and Margaret stapled the stuff all down... This was the final nail in the coffin of her manicure which, for some completely incomprehensible reason, she decided to have done on Friday. I mean - that's all well and good if you're like, NOT an Eckert and you can say: "Oh I just couldn't touch that...I just had my nails done". But I think we all know Madge ain't gonna.

DEBRIS PRESS ONS icky-glue.JPG

Rich meanwhile had been crafting his new molding solution. At first it was going to be something which required four runs through the router - but, it turned out that the design was actually too wide of a molding for the mirrors (it just looked a little too heavy)... So it ended up being three passes not four. He's actually become very skilled with this thing really quickly - the lines he makes are really clean and smooth - and it's not easy when you're starting out to not have a little bit of a shaky edge. So - for about a day and half the poor guy routered and experimented and adjusted and routered. Larry, meanwhile helped out for hours drilling all those sconce holes, and getting all that wire run, ready for the lights. The Pegans, incredibly, and yet hardly surprisingly continued to stay each night through till 11pm. Margaret at one point said her neck was a little stiff - which at least proves she is actually human.

Sunday was the beginning of my big cook-off. Susannah and I were sent out in Mr. Sparkle to get as many of the supplies (like the ground beef, eggs etc) at Sams Club, plus we had lists of stuff to pick up at Lowes, craft stores and various other quick stops. At the craft stores we had to find candles for the centerpieces, and we wanted some kind of fun stuff to spread around the centerpieces to give them a little extra umph. Janice was dead set, wisely against glitter (since both we and the Rotary members would have it stuck to us for the next decade). Suzanna managed to find some fun confetti gold stars - which would catch the candlelight very nicely, and we made the executive decision that confetti was not a glitter product. Janice did not agree - but we used it anyway. We also were looking for something we could line the windows with to block out the light.

This was a very, very, very big debate. See - I see everything from a theatrical perspective. We had paid all this money for all this architectural lighting and Rich and Larry had installed all these dimmers to be able to really sculpt the space with light. Since the Rotary was in the afternoon, those eight windows in the front doors had light streaming through them, washing out any artificial lighting. You couldn't control the atmosphere. We had worked really hard to make it feel elegant, and sexy and rich - and daylight just doesn't let you create that mood. Everybody thought I was crazy - but I really, really wanted to block out the windows... and even thought it was daylight - just like they do in Vegas Casinos, or upscale restaurants - control the lighting in the environment. After we had this debate the next debate was what to cover them with. Margaret and I for a couple days, while on our errands, had been scouting options. We looked for some kind of contact/shelf paper - but it was not only cost prohibitive but also not the right width or length. For months we had used gold wrapping paper on the reverse side of the windows - but we couldn't find any in long enough lengths out of the Christmas season. Margaret found brown butcher paper - which I actually thought was a dandy idea - it was simple, and plain - which made it very clear that it was not a permanent architectural choice, but a temporary choice until we had our custom window shades d' Pegan. Also, since the walls were all these various colors of brown - the brown seemed like it would be a simple coordinating solution.

This was not met with resounding support. At all. So - after more debates than 12 primaries combined... Susannah and I were on a mission for an alternative. Luckily at Michael's we found a black craft wrapping paper which had a little bit of a texture and was double sided (so there wasn't an icky plain white side like most gift wrap). It passed muster. Amen. Our other great mission was the acquisition of accent lamps to go in the gold alcoves. Janice had seen some up-lit lamps a few day before at Lowes, so we went to check those out. They were really nice and we grabbed them, but while we were walking down the aisle, Susannah noticed another option which she really liked. It wasn't something I even would have picked on my own - but as soon as i considered them I thought they were pretty darn peachy. So - we grabbed both, thought we'd try 'em and return the rejected candidate. The one's Susannah picked won. They have beaded glass - which catches the light beautifully and casts a gorgeous pattern across the alcove making it really shimmer. I also picked up some of those little pot lights you use to up-light behind plants and stuff and snuck them behind the lamps as well for extra glow. Larry trimmed the wires on them so they're inconspicuous - and every one agreed they look just faboo.

GLOW HOLE alcove-lamp.JPG

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When we got home I got the sheet cake baked and in the freezer, ready for decoration the next day.

Finally, after days of a futzing, Rich managed to get the wallpaper panels framed. And it was worth the wait - these things were a nightmare for him to figure out - but they really finish off the space beautifully. Originally the frames were going to be dark stained wood - which I had only picked because I know the Najuch's are wood-fans. Then they asked if they could be painted gloss black, which I actually would have liked all along. A stress-free decision. One out of a zillion. Rich I think has developed a particular fondness for the pneumatic brad stapler. Why are these things called Brads? Who is Brad - why does he live in a stapler? Anyway - the thing worked like gangbusters - and Rich's trim work was gorgeous. These things are very high on my list of favorite so-far acheivements...he did great. And - when you consider these things are housing mirrors - it's a testament to the combined Pack Leader/Larry genius that the framing NOR the installation of the scones damaged the mirrors.

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT wallpaper-panels.JPG

I think I mentioned this - but these panels had to get a late-in-the-game redesign. Because the square mirrors we found were smaller than my original plans, AND because Rich realized that in order for there to be no seam in the wallpaper we had to make them out of one sheet of wood... so the original three diamond layout had to become a truncated diamond shape that could be cut from a piece 4x8 luan... And, just the way I need to learn most things work out in the end, I actually like this even better. All praise Pack Leader.

He also cut and installed the molding running around the outer lobby. This, apparently, was not at all fun to do... the stuff was hard to cut - and the curves made it a real challenge to get everything to line up correctly - especially with out ever fun challenge of 'old building, no perfect measurements'. At first I was not at all convinced the luan was a viable solution - since the grain is pretty strong. After a look 'o death I was informed it was going to be fine once it had enough coats of paint. And, indeed, a couple coats later, it was great. I have to confess I didn't get time to run a line of black caulk along the top to help it match the look of the original molding in the other room - but it's one of those things that no one cares about and will just quietly drive me crazy... So i'll get to it. See I admit I obsess about nit picky things... my life is finishing touches. I've always said I direct with a laser, not with a chainsaw - which, at the eleventh hour can drive the Pack Leader and the rest of world to crazy town. Tragically I cannot be budged from my wholehearted agreement with Ludwig Miles Van der Rohe's thoery that "God is in the details". Ok, I totally admit I had no idea who said that until three minutes ago - but it's a great phrase. He also said "Less is more", which I suppose if you think about it could actually justify removing ALL details all together - making everyone happy :)

So - while the rest of the crew was planning to bury me alive somewhere in Roanoke ("Detail THIS Jo Jo!"), I was trying to be Julia Child with the able assistance of Suzanna. And since this blog is getting mega long - and there is still so much to cover - we'll end this chapter now.

But finished pictures are a'coming - and they're COOOOOOLLLL xo jojo.