We make room. Literally.

It's been a busy couple of days. We've gotten on a pretty steady work schedule and we're getting quite a lot accomplished. Of course we have to be on a pretty steady work schedule because otherwise the actors are going to be sleeping in our apartment and we'll be bunking down on the linoleum over at Nicks! In fact I'm betting pretty soon some of you blog fans are going to start side bets as to whether or not Peckerwood (the Residence Formerly Known As Shit Box) is gonna be ready in time. Well darn you IT WILL. (shhh...can someone put me down for fifty bucks against? Don't tell rich.)

BTW Winston has officially voted in favor of "Peckerwood" as the house name. And, being a blog superdelegate, he's clinched the nomination.

Anyway - So you saw in the last blog that Rich and I managed to get the new front bedroom framed. When I say 'I', I mean that loosely :) But - as soon as Bob and Janice arrived (for a whirlwind 24-hour Memorial Day blitz) we got to work sheet rocking. The original plan, actually had been to work in the Ladies' Room installing the bathroom stall doors - but after spending forty five minutes looking for some necessary hardware which had 'gone walkabout' (as they say in most Crocodile Dundee films) we gave up on that. Didn't have time to waste - so we jumped right over to Peckerwood.

Janice and I were on drywall duty. I don't know why I hate drywall - i just do. In reality, it's not gooey, it's not gross, and it's not THAT hard. It's just finicky and I'm not as good at it as I SHOULD be - so it's frustrating. I think the thing I hate about it the most is carrying the crap. It just weighs a ton. Almost like it's a sheet of, um, rock. It also is deceptively dust-creating. After a few hours cutting that stuff, when I sit down in the car this cloud of dust poofs up from my butt like pigpen. But - I'm certainly getting a lot faster than when we started work on our kitchen, so we did pretty well.

TAKE ME OUT TO THE WALL GAME. cutting-sheet-rock.JPG


And, by the end of the day we had almost the whole room covered. We got all of it up except the lower areas that needed to be pieced in - and I was starting to get really tired (lugging it around can wear you out) and started making mistakes and accidentally cracking pieces. So best to call it a night.

Rich and Bob had planned on starting the major work in the downstairs Peckerwood bathroom. And, indeed, they started to work on that. But as soon as they took out the toilet they realized that there wasn't actually a floor UNDER IT. That bathroom had been carpeted in its past life and I guess it had just gotten damp over and over again and the area right under the floor was completely rotted out. The only thing holding it up was a couple of old layers of linoleum. And, since on of our actors could easily be a quarterback - I think things could have gone quite badly the first time nature called.

OUT OUT DAMN ROT evil-floor-hole.JPG

So - rather than getting any of the stuff done that they had anticipated - instead they ended up wasting their time making sure the actors didn't fall to their death. I mean, really... priorities people. They did a super job though - and whenever they fall behind because of a snafoo, it always makes Janice and my progress look way better :)

The next morning before they had to take off and get Bob the airport (Janice was driving back to Ohio), they went back to the ORIGINAL plan for the weekend - the bathroom stalls. Rich had made a quick run to the hardware store and replaced the mysteriously disappearing bolts. They needed three people to balance and work on these things (at least for the first set to go back in) - so I headed back to Peckerwood on my own to finish up those final pieces in the new bedroom. Actually being on my own was kinda useful, cuz while I was working for a couple of hours I managed to listen to all the War songs on the ol' ipod and finally narrow down and make some final selections. And after a few hours of slicing and screwing (which sounds rather unpleasant doesn't it?), the whole room was 'walled'.


Katie, one of the actors who's coming (and reads the blog regularly) just had to call her mother to say "well at least they are WALLS now". :)

By the time I got back to the house, the Najuch's had finally conquered the evil that is these stall doors. Apparently they are a bitch. And I mean 'if Star Jones had mated with Sigourney Weaver's Alien and had a child with behavioural issues' kind of bitch. Rich says it's one of the top ten worst jobs since we've been here. And let me remind you that on that list is Rich sucking rancid flooding roof water through 50 feet of hose in a midnight monsoon. So I guess it's pretty sucky. From what I understand it's like a giant jigsaw puzzle, except it doesn't come with the picture on the box. And no, we didn't take one before we dismantled them. They thought they'd be able to base the re-assembly on the way the ones in the men's room look...but NOPE. They ain't the same. How d'ya like them crapples? It took them an hour an a half to get the first section installed - but after that it only took forty five for the next set. It sucked. And those stall doors are metal. And very heavy. And very unwieldy. Did I mention heavy?

IN STALL-ATION in-stalling.JPG


And then POOF the Najuch's were off. Rich and I had to run to Fort Wayne for the rest of the afternoon to run errands. He wanted to check in on the Home Depot clearance since things had dropped in price again (remember one of our Home Depots is shutting down?) - but they CHANGED THEIR HOURS and closed an hour early which blew chunks. We also hit Staples cuz we decided that with all the copying we needed to do for the Supper Club sheet music - we probably might as well spend the money on a small copier. I actually love the one we picked up. I wish the feeder could hold an entire script at a time - but that's just way to big of a job for any of those small copiers. It can feed like ten pages at a time though - and it's really pretty fast. And, since I've spent the past two days copying two full reams of paper worth of copies - it's definitely gonna pay for itself.

We grabbed dinner at Olive Garden which was notable simply because both of our favorite waiters were working the same shift, and it caused this ridiculous 'Cheers' moment. One of them is named Joel - so he always remember us and my name.... so I go "Hey Joel" and he says "Hey Joel" and we turn the corner and then the other waiter, a drama student at IPFW is there and we go "Hey Jon"... It was kinda crazy. I love the fact that we now go to Olive Garden and waiters sit down at the table with us. Actually we haven't been there in a pretty long time - so it was good to get my breadstick fix.

While we were working over at Peckerwood on Sunday, Bob and Rich made a start at whacking out a little vestibule thingy we don't need anymore that will open up the other bedroom area. They got most of the sheet rock and stuff off...


And yesterday Rich managed to whack those 2x4's out in no time flat.


Which meant, tragically, the beginning of the demise of the rainbow room. Yup - I'm a disgrace to my people. I think it's kind of a bummer to repaint this room which has some kind of terrifying "Trading Spaces" insane niftyness. But. Most grown ups don't want to sleep in a room that looks like set of a children's touring show. So. Goodbye rainbow. One of the walls in this room was in bad shape - so it needed refaced. It took a couple of hours, and a trip to pick up 10 foot dry wall (which is HEAVIER than 8 foot drywall :( ), but we got the sheetrock installed without any real hiccups. It's just finicky cutting around windows and stuff.


We already made the decision that we're not going to get sucked into the eternal mudding/sanding joint-compound insanity for the house. We're going to cover all the screws, tape the drywall seams and mud those - but then use the light stucco treatment over all the walls. It will save days of joint compounding (remember when David, Rich and Adam and I spent hours and hours doing it?)... and frankly it's still not an art we've mastered. We can make the walls look really great with the custom - and we don't have the time to futz with the normal mudding to fight our learning curve. Today I got most of the first bedroom screws and seams covered. Even doing it just enough to prep for the stucco, it still takes a LONG time.

Poor Pack Leader basically spent the day as a groundhog. Peckerwood doesn't have a basement. Beneath the floor of the house is basically two feet of space and then...100 year old dirt. This still causes me to freak - but I'm told it's perfectly normal. I always thought houses, like, SAT on something. Like rocks, or gravel or concrete or something. Not dirt. Hence foundation. I didn't realize a foundation could just be dirt. If that is the case why do they call it a foudation? Why don't they just call it dirt? Anyway - Rich spent several hours today under the floorboards in the dirt. Jobs like this Rich does not even enquire as to my potential enthusiasm for below-ground participation. But I was a pretty useful gopher to his groundhog - fetching, carrying and throwing him whatever he needed (the odd radisih for lunch, for instance). Actually we had lunch at Subway today at Rich was quite devastated to learn the ROUND subway sandwhich has officially been phased out. It's been repalaced with a four-inch sandwich. Which, he says, doesn't taste as good as the round sandwich. That, plus the fact that the Simpsons is no longer running in syndication on tv has him convinced that there is a conspiracy.

While he was in his subterranean lair, (writing contrapuntal operas stolen from Puccinni I suppose) he managed to get a bunch of the new electrical wire run and fed into the joists for the new bedroom. He's so impressive working with all of this stuff - he has conversations with them at the hardware store about heating ducts that make my eyes cross. Duct work was giving him quite the challenge today... There are these heat vent floor things which need to be installed and it's just a lot o work and it's frustrating because they'll be here for the summer, when they don't need a heat vent BUT by then we'll have put the floor down and it won't be possible to easily get back down there and attend to it in the fall. But, actually he thinks he managed to pick up some time on the other end by taking care of some things that would have been more complicated later on. I have no idea what that means - but hooray. HIs finest moment was having me drag in a ten foot piece of removed molding and then he had me place a screw into the board like a fishing hook. So he could use this plank across the chasm of the evil dirt - to rtry and nab hold of the wire snake which we'd fed through across the other side of the room. And he actualy managed to stantch it - i mean it was liike playiing on ef those stuipd supermarket claw games with the stuffed animals that are ALLL rigged - but this time he caught it. I was quite surprisd. And expeceted to receive a very large stuffed orangutantg. But no such luck.

Rich has literally spent about three hours a day dealing with ticket sales for the Supper Club. It's pretty Looney Tunes. The phone usually starts ringing at around eight thirty am and doesn't give up until about ten thrity at night. Seriously. it's a great problem to have - but it's a lot of phone tag. The real problem is that our online ticketing software is great for individual ticket sales. But we've had 70% of people buy season tickets. And you can't choose your season ticket dates with this software OR your food choices. So Rich spends about sixty hours a week making phone calls about chicken pot pie :) He's trying to find a better software package. A dude spent an hour on the phone with him yesterday only to tell him that their product didn't do the thing Rich asked if it DID do in the first minute of the conversation. Yeesh.

Like I said, I've been spending a lot of time narrowing down music. It was particularly tough for the War show. It has to be this fine balance of stuff people already know - and interesting stuff you think they'll like. And, there just isn't room for everything. A lot of the British music has more resonance for me because of where I grew up - so it was really tough for me to cut that stuff out... but let's face it - "Theyr'e always be an England" may be a great tune, but Hoosiers ain't gonna care :) It's also an interesting adjustment because a New York audience really likes being introduced to 'forgotten gems' - whereas here I think people will have more of a response to what they already know. So - I've peppered in some nifty gems - but most of the stuff is pretty familiar. For the war music I did litmus test when I was in Bermuda - my Dad and Peter (who's like my grandfather and served in WWII) sat on the couch and I went through all the titles one by one. If they started in singing as soon as I said the first three words of the title... it was a pretty good sign. They hysterical thing is, for some reason, they both had fogotten the same sections of lyrics. So it kind of went: "We'll meet again... don't know how...don't know when...but we'll la la la LOVELY DAYYYYYY... LA LA DUM DUM."

Anyway - I've just finished all the copying of cds and photocopying - so we're about to mail these gigantic packets of stuff out to the actors. Whoo hoo.

We got a nifty plug in a really sexy regional magazine called 'Great Lakes'. In their 'best of the best' issue we were listed as the 'best use of an old theatre'. I suppose that's like being the 'best of the best' "people named Jemima who live in Roanoke and have waffles on Tuesday" - it ain't a huge category. But heck - I'M PROUD. :)

Jo Jo.