We get cookin' so we can get cookin'. Aug 17.

Ok, ok. So it's NOT aug 17... you caught me. I'm playing catchup... sue me. Last night we were soooo exhausted that I decided I'd fill you in this morning. Ok... I feel bad now. Happy? We started off the day prepping for the arrival of the 'rents. Bob and Janice were due to get here around six. We had to try and create some order out of the living room where they sleep and get some other stuff tidied too - Bob isn't big on working in the usual Hiroshima we environment we stumble around in. The living room is no easy task since it still has all the washer in it and that kitchenette (and all our food crap) AND now it has the tv and the entertainment center AND Rich's temporary office until his is ready. And he has lots of paperwork strewn everywhere as you can imagine... him being where the buck stops and all. By 'the buck', I don't mean Chuck... Chuck is still hanging in Bob and Janice's bedroom. He didn't come with them. Although... considering how attached Bob is to Chuck... it wouldn't have been a surprise :)

We DID manage to put away all the contents of our suitcases (we were still partially living out of them) and get more stuff in the closet, and put away the twelve tons of laundry Janice brings back and forth for us (since we have no laundry facility yet...). But it still is kind of a disaster. But it's Disaster Light - same great mess - less filling.

We then went to work on the subfloor to finish that off because we wanted to try and get the studs for the kitchen up before Bob got here... so that Rich and he could move on to more technical stuff that Rich doesn't know how to do alone. Subfloor went dandy. Zip zip zip. Jo Jo even used the circular saw. I like the circular saw.. and remember boys and girls - don't fight the blade... let the blade do the work. If you try and push it faster than it wants to go, it rips your edges. :) My edges came out smooth as a baby's butt. I was pretty psyched. Anyway - we laid in the rest of the kitchen subfloor (can't do the bathroom part because the platform risers have to go in AFTER he lays in the plumbing). So - job well done... we went to grab lunch at Nicks.

Jean Anne at Nicks double checked with us (with an ever so slightly desperate look in her eyes) that we weren't going to back out on her for the big catering do next week. Nope, we said... still ready to tender a thousand loins. Ok. That DOES sound rude. So we were about to order when in walks Desiree the plumber's wife that we adore. Remember her? Sprightly, blonde, smart as a whip, does all the estimates and zooms them over personally at a GREAT price... WE LOVE HER. Anyway - she came in with another lady and they sit down. Well, we end up talking across the restaurant and they come and join us. Yay. Company... voices to listen to other than our own. The other lady is her Mom.. Karen. Plumber's wife's Mom - Karen. There will be a test later. She runs the really chi chi looking hair salon on the corner where Rich and I get our hair cut. Karen is AWESOME... and they are both totally excited about the theatre and giving us all these great ideas of people to talk to, and potential donors, and the private school that Desiree went to that has a lot of wealthy students and a great theatre program, and all kinds of stuff. They were really helpful with the real estate stuff too... and Karen said she'll try and help us get the word out with the storefront (and who better than a hairdresser to help get the word out, right? - "Madame, tell your husband to rent that place or I'll tell everyone that's a weave". Well, maybe not that agressive... but still.)

So we loved them... and they are lots of fun and very smart and it was really nice to meet people that kind of 'got us'. So then we brought Plumber's Wife Desiree and Plumber's Wife's Mom Karen back to the theater so Karen could have a little tour and see what we're doing and see what we've done. Then, Plumber Keith shows up because he was due to come and put in the utility sink downstairs off the foyer today. So we have Plumber's Wife Desiree, Plumber's Wife's Mom Karen and Plumber Keith. Keeping up? Well, Keith also comes upstairs and checks out the bathroom layout and says to Rich "Can I come do this tomorrow?". Only a week before we thought he was coming. Rich says yes with a slightly dazed look in his eye - weighing the advantage of having the Bathroom stuff sooner (yay) and having to prep it and get all the walls up for him to lay the stuff into (eep). So we had to go into stud wall overdrive.

DON'T BE SQUARE - USE A TEE SQUARE. rich-measure.JPG

Ok. This was a freakin' nightmare. The walls go up in this truncated triangluar sort of half cathedral ceiling shape. But they aren't symmetrical and they aren't hard lines - they have a little curve to them. So getting the studs measured and putting the wall up was not the easy task that it would be if it was a normal wall. Normally, if you're doing something like this for a play - you would build the framing in a rectangle as high up as you could maintain a horizontal and then build smaller triangles on top. Which would be a lot easier. But we couldn't do this, Rich thought, because it won't be as sturdy and we have to hang cabinets off of these. Bummer. So owe worked at approximately a snails pace.

RICH GETS 'CHOP SAW-Y' SO WE'LL HAVE ROOM TO MAKE 'CHOP SUEY'. holding-wood.JPG

It was very very frustrating. We thought it would take like two hours. No chance. By the time Bob and Janice arrived (a little early - AAaaaaa!) We had only the side support braces attached on one side to the brick, and on the other side attached to the two thousand year old petrified two by fours that you need a jack hammer to drive a nail into. Things were not going well and we needed to get this thing done by seven am when Keith arrived to start. Thank God for Bob.

We unloaded the stuff they brought in the truck (yup, another hundred trips up and down the stairs to the balcony) and then the boys went back to work putting it together.

STUDS WITH STUDS tricep.JPG

OK. I used that picture because it makes my triceps look big. I admit it. Anyway, Janice and I were then entrusted with the highly imaginative and creative task of putting eight million screws into the subfloor. But seriously, apparently you have to put a ton of screws in so that the wood doesn't ever warp and it prevents squeaking too. So Bob said a screw EVERY SEVEN INCHES. That's a LOT of screws kids.

JOEL HAS A SCREW LOOSE. BIG SURPRISE. scerw-looose.JPG

I think he was pleasantly surprised with my screwing technique because when they needed studs screwed together he summoned me. I was psyched. So - Janice and I screwed. (get your minds out of the gutter, people). Janice had a hard time at first getting her drill to behave... she couldn't get the screws to drive in.. it turned out that her drill doesn't quit spin at center. So even if you were holding your drill right over the center of the screw, when it started to spin it would move it side to side a little, so you would push down and torque and push it off it's mark. I took pity on her... and considering my superior screwing ability... I was happy to take a handicap. We swapped. Chivalry is not dead. I was sad to lose my trusty Ryovek though... which leads me to:

PRODUCT PLACEMENT

So when Rich wanted to buy these I got all pissy about it. WRONG. I had never heard of the brand name and they are a really really good bargain... so I thought they would be shitty tools. NOPE. It turns out that this "Ryobi" brand is the Home Depot brand. And they are great. The drill is powerful and has great speed control - and when you buy one of the tool bundles, like we did, they come with two batteries that are interchangeable to each tool. Which is handy. Here they are. Buy 'em :)

TOOLS THAT RULEtools4f71-a06f-8d502f270732_400.jpg

So we continued through the evening. Eventually Janice and I had to stop cuz we were in the boy's way. Things picked up a lot when Bob arrived to help with the wall...but it was good to know we weren't boobs... because it was still pretty slow going. The boys worked until really late... ten pm. And considering Bob usually is in bed by eight thirty - that was LATE. But the wall got up - I'll have a picture later today... and everything was ready for Keith. Bravos all round.

During the long working day, one of the more amusing diversions was Janice's new obsession with a little tool that the boys created to make the wall. They cut a length of 2x4 exactly 14 1/2 inches and labelled it STUD SPACER. So when you are laying out where the studs go in a wall, which are supposed to be on sixteen inch centers - you can just lay this thing down next to the last installed stud, make a mark, run it up to the top, and make another mark - and you have a perpendicular and perfectly spaced marking for the next stud. Janice loves this tool She has even invented a jingle for it. She has written the GhostBusters theme and enjoys, every twenty minutes or so going "Who ya gonna call? STUD SPACER". Some might say she needs more stimulus in Ohio, but I say she's just an entrepreneur. They want to market them on ebay for 19.99 with 10 bucks shipping and handling. We can offer them in a whole line of colors and even add an ergonomic handle. Ooooo. Well be rich, I tell you, RICH.

JANICE DOES HER BEST 'PRICE IS RIGHT' POSE TO DISPLAY THE STUD SPACER. stud-spacer.JPG

In real estate news... we weren't gonna get into this yet.. but Rich said to go ahead. We found another little property who's asking price was $10,000 on foreclosure. We went and looked at it with Natalie - and it needs a lot of TLC... but it sold for 40,000 four years ago... so it's a great price. We put in a low-ball offer of 4,000 and they came back with 8,900. It would house about 12 people and we think we'd end up putting no more than 10 grand into it go get it fixed up really nice. It's a duplex - which means we could also rent out the top and the bottom separately in the off season as corporate housing. And it's exactly a three minute walk to the theatre in a nice area - which is less distance than from our NY place to the subway. And meanwhile, before we get to do the work on it, we can rent it as is...since it had a tenant already... that would cover our mortgage and tax costs. I actually think the place is cute - but we still need to decide whether to accept their price or counter (their real estate agent advised us that this bank never negotiates, so he was very surprised that they came back with a lower price at all.) They've had another offer - but since this isn't a bidding war, we get first crack. So - we want to take Bob and Janice to see the place and then we'll decide what to do. We planned on going after finishing the stud wall - but we didn't get to dinner until 10 - and Bob was wiped.

So - that's it for a marathon day... Jo Jo Out.