Ok. Well I was in Bermuda for a week visiting the FAM - and i got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle and I was totally unable to blog. Ok. Not quite. I chose to sleep. But now I've well rested(ish) and ready blog blog blog. I know I'm behind - which I hate - because I forget all the goofy fun little things that happen daily that make the blog goofy - but I'm gonna do my best. Forgive me for taking a sabbatical...but before my departure things were very tight for time with lots to get done in anticipation of prom and I had a bunch of advertising to whip up etc... Even my fantabulous chiropractor (Dr. Dyer...major snaps) was bitching about a lack of blog. Ok he's pretty All American male...so he wasn't quite bitching. He was...um...haranguing? The first thing on the agenda since last we spoke was getting that ladies room floor level to the height of the lobby. There was this crazy non-standard Step O' Death which we could have replaced with a ramp - but The Pack Leader decided it would be a whole lot safer it we brought the whole room up to the same height as the foyer so there wouldn't be any danger. And - since so many people have asked us about whether or not we have any steps (and I'm proud to say all areas of the theatre (except the balcony) are non-step accessible) - we figured it would be great to have everything at one level. So - The step got ripped out along with five layers of linoleum of varying exotic and dated hues.
Then Rich did a super amazing job getting the floor to the right height. He had to rip down a bunch of 2x4s ('rip' is the tool-dude term for 'cutting smaller') and frame out the entire floor. This took, surprise surprise, longer than anticipated because, as we know nothing in this building is level, flat, square or plumb. So it took a lot of futzing. Once futzed they put insulation down to prevent too much high-heel clatter and to keep things toasty. Or, in relative terms for this building, not Arctic :).
While Rich and Janice were working on this, I was over in the ex-storefront/future-bar area starting to prep the space for the remodel that's gonna have to happen in tandem with the actor's housing. (BTW some of the actors and their parents now read the blog - so I'm envisioning a couple of maternal "they don't have HOUSING?"s coming out. You HAVE housing - we're just BEAUTIFYING it. A lot.) Ok. So. Bar. In between hangin' in the ladies room, Team Najuch also managed to get all those partition walls knocked out so that we could start work AND see what the bar area will really look like. It is soooooo much bigger than I thought, and I'm pretty excited about how nice it can be.
So once all those partition walls were out - I began scraping the original walls down. Which considering that we had remodeled the storefront when we first got here, involved a little bit of deja poo. But - the great thing is that the walls we already scraped and that I've already textured (that are still standing!) are in great shape. I had to scrape down basically the area which we had sealed off before. The walls were not in great shape - but after a couple of hours they were in good enough shape to start patching. The whole thing was helped by the fact that we're going to use panelling on the lower half of the wall - so those areas didn't need much attention. After the peeling paint was gone I used that premixed concrete patch goo and filled all the holes. I also came up with this new trick that I'm pretty pleased with. I basically smoothed the area where there was peeling paint with the concrete stuff - I kind of just smoothed over the line where the peeling paint was so that it evened out the line, and when I go back and dri-lock the texture on top it will be a whole lot more smooth of an overall surface. I wouldn't be able to do it that way if we were trying to make the walls perfectly smooth - but for a textured wall that concrete stuff is great - and hopefully will help prevent future peeling in those trouble spots. Hopefully. My next project in there is to get the dri-lock texture done on those newly exposed walls. Shouldn't be too bad. I wanted to get that done before I took off for Bermuda - but no such luck.
Around this time Jean Anne's Dad, Gene, who had been having a really tough time in the hospital, started having some serious problems and Rich got called in to Nick's to actually cover pork duty. Larry is part of this group called the Quarterback Club which raises money for the school football team. The meet every month (I think?) in the early evening at Nick's, and have their meeting and have tenderloins. But Jean Anne wasn't able to open up for them - so The Pack Leader became...for one magical hour...THE PORK LEADER.
Which gave me the rare opportunity to take a top secret behind the scenes pictures:
Actually, it was all pretty funny - because Jean Anne gave Rich instructions on how long to fry the tenderloins and the fries (which take a lot longer than you'd think to get crispy). Sooo anyway - there's the guys in the restaurant just trying to have their meeting - and in the Kitchen - is Rich dunking pork, Janice LITERALLY with a stop watch clocking how long these things should fry, and me with a camera taking PICTURES of him dunking pork. Not surprisingly... Larry: unphased.
The lobby also got a MAJOR installation before I left town. Margaret finished the custom shades we hired her to make for all eight of the doors. Her sister Claire, who is an insanely amazing upholsterer who lives in North Carolina, was visiting (remember for the hula-hoop-chandelier wedding for which the Eckert's convened?) so she and Margaret toiled on these things like woodland critters at Snow White's crib. NOT that Madge needs help mastering ANYTHING - (please... she's MADGE, people) - but, so I'm told, she's picked up some pretty nifty tricks. Anyway - the shades arrived, and they are so beautiful. They made these awnings for them in matching fabric that look amazing, and these things block out the light brilliantly. So - no more black wrapping paper on the windows. Hooooray. Which, frankly, is a relief cuz double sided sticky tape is a bitch-o-rama to scrape off. Although, it is an excuse to use Goo-Gone which i think Janice might actually enjoy more than chocolate cake. Anyway - the shades are just beautiful, and we're so grateful that so much care went into them. So snaps for the Eckerts (again... jeesh... my fingers are gonna fall off from Eckert snaps).
I did take some pictures of the shades - but, just like the wallpaper, it was really hard to get a great picture that shows the correct color. In person these things match the decor perfectly - picking up the browns, blacks and gold - and they look so luxurious.
(Sidenote: A shameless blog plug has been requested by Madge - the annual PeGan yard sale is being held this weekend Friday and Saturday out at the PeGan homestead on SR 9. If you visit you are sure to find lots o neat stuff to purchase - maybe even an old movie theater popcorn machine :) There's sure to be "blog celebrity" sightings - maybe even the elusive Larry!)
I was super happy to have the shades in time for the prom - because it meant that, even though the meal was at 6:00 pm we'd be able to keep things cozy and romantic for the whipper snappers.
Jean Anne's restaurant also getting quite the makeover. It's still in progress - and I haven't managed to get pictures yet...but I did grab a snap before I left town of the FAB new countertops which went in. They are super snazzy.
Janice, almost up until the last minute of the prom dinner, has been battling the cubicle doors. I got the first layer of some of them stripped, as you may recall - but she went at them with a vengeance. We originally wanted to get them down to their metal finish and we were gonna use the metal wire bit for the drill (that strips paint) to add a brushed metal finish to them...but it just was NOT gonna happen. The doors just weren't in great enough shape - and the original paint finish (a black enamel) wasn't completely cooperating (despite scraping and powerwashing etc.). But she wouldn't give up on these things, and plan B was to get them really cleaned up with a smooth finish so that they could then be repainted.
What else???? We had our first real ad in the paper. The Herald Press was running a Mothers Day supplement, so we bought some space in that. The supplement was being printed in an appropriately themed Mother's Day color. And thus our first ad was Pink. Feel free to giggle at the irony. Or lack thereof. Anyway - I t actually was to be pink black and white (the newsprint being white, and the inks being pink and black). I was quite fearful of how bad our logo could end up black and pink - so I did my best to come up with an ad that didn't look like a Pepto campaign. It came out fine... I wasn't entirely thrilled because for some reason they changed the smaller print from the white I had chosen to pink, which made it quite hard to read. I also was just worried about an ad that we submitted being changed at all - since in the future I want to be sure that what we design and send them is what gets printed. But - it's our first ad - so it's pretty neat anyway...
So as the time ticked down to my departure we also were really trying to get the word out for the Prom dinner. The Herald Press did a special page on preparations for the Huntington North prom and they came and talked to Rich about what we were doing - which was fantastic. While they were there a certain Pegan exclaimed "they're having an open house so the kids can come check it out!". To which Rich first went... um... we are? And then he went...um YES we ARE! So - we had to prep for the open house. But - the article in the Herald Press was awesome - they used a color photograph of the lobby and covered what we were doing in really nice detail. The headline for the article was, and I quote: "Prom: It is one of the most memorable events is high school." But, I've always felt that journalism was a grammatically fluid art-form, haven't you? :)
We also had a nice little article in the High School paper. I of coure, am still leaning my journalistic self-censorship rules, and the young lady interviewing us said "I hear a lot of the kids are going to Applebees." To which I said... "well it's going to be nicer than APPLEBEES!". Which I then attempted to say..."um...I mean... I feel that it would be nicer for the seniors to come somewhere special that's just for them - rather than spending their evening somewhere they might eat every week anyway - so it's not as unique or memorable and experience. Also from that particular article I learned the importance of formatting, since the last line of the thing quotes me as saying: "The food will be good." Which I think makes me sound like a gorilla learning to talk. Or a Dick and Jane book. What I actually said in person was, as a final add on comment... "and the food will be GOOD". Alas, without italics, I instantly become a character from Of Mice and Men. Food. Good. Bunnies. Soft. Whatever.
The open house wasn't a huge deal to prepare for - the usual dusting and vacuuming (made even more annoying by pesky bathroom construction dust). We decided to set up one table the way it would be for the dinner so that they could see a sample setting - and then have ice cream and Texas Sheet Cake. So Margaret was kind enough to share her world famous Texas Sheet Cake and help me make it. For seventy people. Which was a whole lot of sheet cake. I LEARNED what goes in Texas Sheet cake. Which, my friends, is truly truly terrifying. Basically take eighteen pound of butter and mix in a vat of confectioners sugar with butter and then add butter. And sprinkle chocolate on top. Well, who cares - they're only young once. :) But seriously this stuff is AMAZING. I know it's amazing, because seventy people did NOT attend the open house. Which means there was a whole lot of sheet cake whispering "eeeeaaattttt meeeeeee" in the middle of the night. And who am I to deny talking baked goods? I was away from Bermuda for a week... there's STILL sheet cake left. And I would like to point out that sheet cake is MORE deadly than pie. And my neck is fat. Seriously - never mind the fact that I can't wear my old pants... my NECK doesn't fit my dress shirts. I have NECK FAT PEOPLE.
The article in the paper and the Open House definitely did help us pick up ticket sales for the prom. Rich and Janice decided we should also make a subsversive blitzkrieg to the school parking lot and flyer all the cars. So - like marauding bandits we zoomed around the car park putting flyers under the windshields. Janice, on her first attempt managed to REMOVE some poor kids wiper entirely. Which Rich luckily managed to re-attach. So - we got about 3/4 of the cars flyered. And frankly, it wasn't that subversive because our website, address and phone number are on the flyer. Smooth.
Ok. Gear shift. Sadness. Although this happened while I was in Bermuda - which I'll cover in another chapter... I wanted to send our deepest blog condolences to Jean Anne and Linda, and the rest of their family. Their Dad Gene, who ran Nick's Kitchen for many many years passed on last week. Without Gene there would be no Jean Anne. And no Nicks. And no pork. Which, we all know would have sent the entire planet swirling into nothing but Neanderthal choas. Not only did he raise some pretty nifty kids, he was also extremely warm and welcoming whenever we saw him. So - we'll miss him very much.