Beyond a Reasonable Grout. Aug 3, 07

Wish I had more thrilling exploits to report. But I'll do my best. I AM happy to report that I have actually done SOMETHING (or a couple somethings) without Rich here - and I shall post evidence to prove it. So at least my fear of just wandering around aimlessly like a Roomba without it's 'suck' have diminished. Main project of the day was my further tabletop experimentation. It was grout day. This should have been relatively simple but thanks to extremely unhelpful directions I got stuck for a bit. The grout CAN be purchased premixed - but it's the kind with sand in (that I'm not fond of for our purposes) and it's a narrow range of colors. If you want black grout (which I think we do - it compliments the decor AND will not show coffee stains etc) then it has to be bought in powder form and mixed with water. Easy, right. It's like a cake mix without the eggs. And you shouldn't lick the bowl, probably. But the problem was the instructions only gave mixing directions for the WHOLE box - which the dude-ette at Home Depot told me would do all 20 tabletops probably. Now since this was my prototype i didn't want to waste ALL of it by mixing the full amount (although after a while of figuring it out - and considering Rich wasn't here to yell at me, I think I should be congratulated for not just mixing a vat 'o grout and calling it a day) - I had to figure out how to divide the requisite amount of stuff to requisite amount of water. But the box only said the contents were '10 pounds'. Not ounces or anything - not a volume measurement - a weight measurement. And I had to use three pints of water to mix the 10 pounds. Smoke started coming out of my ears. Circuits were blowing. I was totally lost. Maybe when I was fourteen and taking physics class I would have a chance in hell... but frankly, probably not then either. I figured I had to divide the stuff up and I would need exact measurements to I walked over to the nearby Dollar Store and got myself a set of measuring cups. (Ours tragically are NOT buried in a box labeled 'measuring cups'). So then I handled the problem all by myself. By calling my parents. Daddddyyyyyy.

So Dad helped me figure out how much water I would need for one tenth of the package and I thought I was set. Hang up. Then I realize i have no idea how to figure out one/tenth of the package because I don't know how to determine one pound of this stuff (scale not in box labeled 'scale' either). Now this was PRETTY SMART. I took the plastic bag containing the black powder OUT of the box and smooshed it into a bucket and measured how far up the bucket it came. THEN I put it back (good jo jo) and I filled the same bucket to the SAME point with the measuring cups. Fourteen cups. So then I was ready. To call my Dad again. And I told him fourteen cups were in the package - so how much did I need for one cup of goo. We eventually figured out that one and a half cups of dust pretty much equalled half a cup of water. So - I gave it a shot. HUZZAH!!! It worked.

So I grouted doing - using the requisite 45 degree angle that EVERYTHING in the world ever printed on grouting says you need to do (it allows you to fill the spaces up really well - but not dip into the groove and yank it out again as you pass over again). Grout grout. Wait wait. Half an hour later you go back and you kind of tidy up - running over with a damp cloth and cleaning off the tile surface as you go. So I did that - but we wanted to try and get the tile grout as high as possible - so that it would be easier to clean - so an hour later I came back and did it all over again.

AND HERE WE ARE dsc_0719.jpg

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So tomorrow I'll seal the grout and we should have a completed prototype stage one. Rich is pretty determined that we find something to kind of cover the whole surface to get it totally smooth - so that it's easier to clean. Finally I found something called a table resin that you use to kind of encase coins and stuff on a table top with a clear surface - up to an inch thick. So - if the pack leader inspects this and thinks it still needs surfaced - that's what we'll use. If we do that I'll only do the first layer of grout - cuz I think it looked even nicer with the thinner lines rather than the slightly thicker ones that it has now to fill in more of the bevel.

So after that I thought I might as well dive into the monumental measuring project I had to do. We need a proper blueprint of the theatre auditorium in order to figure out the grid, where the new stage will be, where to place the false proscenium etc. And the measurements we had before didn't cut it. The auditorium is kind of a nightmare because it's a) old and not exactly square everwhere - but it b) has curved walls - so taking measurements are a bitch. So I spent a long time sticking down little pieces of spike tape and taking measurements off the floor and it worked out pretty well. I'd say I'm about halfway done and I'll finish tomorrow. And just to we proof that I didn't spend all day watching "Super Sweet Sixteen" - here's my progress...

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And now it's around 9 pm and I think I'm going to forage in the woods for some dinner and call it an evening. Because I was concerned about my lack of fun stuff to post - I did take pics of these two things I'd been meaning to share.

First - now normally this would not be out of the ordinary at all. But this is a pick of the window of the local scateboarding shop on our street a few doors down from us.

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE dsc_0722.jpg

A Malcolm X skateboard. Ok. But, here's the rub. According to the Huntington County census, there is not one black person in the entire county. NOT ONE. Zip. Nada. We're talking Wonderbread central. Soooo... who exactly is gonna BUY the Malcolm X skateboard? And if you were only able to display 10 skateboards in the window of a shop in a small town and you were trying to keep your small business afloat - is THAT one your gonna use as bait to lure in the Tony Hawks of Huntington? I was perplexed.

Number two. For you Harry Potter fans, I was a little disturbed to find discover the name of the All State representative right around the corner from us:

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A little too close for comfort, no? Perhaps He Who Must Not Be Named eluded the Order of the Pheonix and will reappear under a thinly veiled pseudonym in the Mid West. I'm working on my Patronus just to be sure. My trusty familiar, Po seems to be unphased.

Bye for now. meeeeeee.