Knackered Najuchs.

Ok - for those of you wee little people that don't know what knackered means, it's a Scottish colloquialism meaning exhausted. For an example: "Och aye, I've been a'wailing on me bagpipes all day, an' hoots man my lips are knackered". Don't say I never taught you anything. Bob and Rich basically spent the past two days lifting, hauling, and yanking giant pieces of scrap out of the cardboard room of death to clear it out for our future set building shop. You saw the picture yesterday of Bob looking like he was about to sing "Ol Man River"... today was actually worse... So much heavy lifting in fact that they actually enlisted me too. In the final inning I was brought in as a relief pitcher for their worn out biceps. In no time I looked like Pig Pen. They got an insanely huge amount done though... and just as the poor fellas were gonna call it quits, a pipe at the back of the room started to gush water. Turns out the cardboard was someone's bizarre plan to absorb moisture from a rain drainage pipe that no one ever actually finished draining to the OUTSIDE. So we happened to be in there when it started to downpour... and we learned why the whole place smells kinda swampy. Cuz when it's raining... water just drains into the room. This would explain why the cardboard was kind a damp in places. The boys managed to patch the thing with duct tape lickity split and we'll address in a more permanent solution when the weather is a little more dry. Hey - this place keeps us on our toes. On our toes, becuase, if not, our feet will get wet apparently.

Janice and I decided to play with my new cement product for patching the holes in my office. If you recall a while ago I tried a pre mixed concrete joint compound type stuff... that did an ok job on the little holes - but the places where it's like an inch deep by two inches wide - it just gooed out of the ceiling and back onto my head. Well - THIS stuff is not premixed. So i signed on Janice as mix master while I was gonna patch. This stuff is called hydraulic cement - it's used for patching water leaks - and it's supposed to expand into the gaps. Well, once we got the hang of this stuff it was amazing. No more pesky gravity problems - this stuff really stuck. At first we had real trouble with it - cuz the instructions were not that great for the mixing. The ratio of water to powder they suggested ended up like barely damp sand.. and crumbled into pebbles... as opposed to the putty consistency the described. So once we got brave enough to experiment - it went great guns. Janice would mix... I would paint on the concrete glue (they gave it to me at Lowes... I do what I'm told - I think the dampness helps the bond) and then you just kind push this stuff into the hole and then smooth. Now, ya do all this with your hands... that's what it SAYS on the instructions. And it works great. BUT the funny thing is... and this is CONCRETE, mind... the instructions say "the use of rubber gloves is recommended". Just RECOMMENDED? No shit, Sherlock. Take a look at my gloves... can you imagine if I hadn't used them? I would have been like the Thing from Fantastic Four.

THE 'SUGGESTED' GLOVE concrete-glove.JPG

I think the reason no one has ever called to tell them the gloves are obligatory is because they've never been able to move their fingers to dial.

So - although we ran out of the stuff... and I'll need to get another container to finish up... it looks sooo much better. That ceiling is never going to be perfectly smooth - but when I'm done I'll be able to get a nice even coat of paint on it - and I won't feel like I'm working in the bat cave.

So here's a before and after demo - the stuff is still wet here - it dries a lot lighter and with some primer will be dandy.

BEFORE GOO holes-before.JPG

AFTER GOO concrete.JPG

After Rich and Bob had spent two days doing heavy lifting... they decided to do some... heavy lifting. We needed to get the new water heater for the NEW BATHROOM (ta ra) upstairs for the electrician (who comes tomorrow - yay). Did I tell you about the electrician - I never actually met him... I only heard he and Rich talking from another room - Rich says he's really nice - but his VOICE sounds EXACTLY like Buffalo Bill, the serial killer from Silence of the Lambs. So any second while I was listening I was expecting him to say "It puts the lotion on it's skin or else it gets the hose again". Anyway - we got this thing on the dolly - and got it up the stairs. WHY are water heaters so heavy? I mean - it doesn't have any water in it yet? The thing is like it's filled with rocks. I digress... so we got it upstairs and then realized it will NOT fit through the door of Rich's office where it's supposed to live (to connect through to the bathroom). BUT - thanks to the new linen closet plan - we can just yank out a stud and get it through the space where that closet will be. Lucky thing, too. :) Cuz after having a washing machine in my living room for two months - it would have been a bummer to have a giant water heater in our kitchen for the rest of our lives to boot.

After the water heater, since Bob wasn't going to be back until late September, Rich reluctantly said we should probably get our living room TV upstairs into the apartment. It's been hanging out in the lobby, just chillin' the past few weeks. This TV is like lead. No kidding. We were given it by Rich's part-time boss, ira, when he moved to Boston. And it's this big screen awesome TV... but it weighs more than... well more than the water heater. So we rolled it out of the building and to the front door of the apartment. Rich and I lifted from the bottom and Bob insisted on taking the top solo. Which, of course, is where most of the weight is. Ok. So Bob is like STRONG. Really strong. And this thing nearly bested him. I thought a couple times his head was actually going to pop off of his neck. But he did it. I dunno how.

PROOF THAT TOO MUCH TV ISN'T GOOD FOR YOU tv-lift.JPG

So the TV is now in our living room. Waiting for Lou Ferregno to show up to lift it ON to the TV stand. Actually, Rich and I can manage that - we just want to reinforce a shelf in the entertainment unit before we get it up.

Finally, with about three functioning brain cells left among the very tired and testy crew, we all tried to figure out the best way to frame the 2x4's along the brick wall where most of our kitchen cabinets and appliances will run - so that the electrician could run his wires and mount the outlets. The big challenge is that we really don't know what these windows are going to be like when they're installed. We don't know how they are going to be framed or what the sills will be etc... so it's tough to figure out exactly how to frame around and beneath them. It took a while - but we got there.

So, with that... Bob, now covered in SO much dirt that he looked like he was ready to do an Al Jolsen imitation and sing "Mammy"... got in the shower (which poor Janice had just cleaned earlier this weekend) and they drove away. For a whole month. Aaaaaaa.

I guess now would be a good time to officially thank them for everything they've done for us so far. That doesn't mean they're allowed to quit, by the way. But seriously... without their help, their muscle, their four billion miles racked up on their pickup, their new job as UHaul's primary Mid-West competition, and bringing us warm food and good humor. Well... Rich would have probably buried me in the room of cardboard, donated the theatre to that persnickity projectionist and run for the hills.

Oh yah.. and Po peed on their carpet and they didn't barbecue her. So thanks in-laws... Na zdrowie! (That means something in Polish... with my luck, I probably just called them hunchbacks or something).

Sleeptight campers.

PS - my good friend Paul, back home in Bermuda, pointed out that the AVERAGE cost of a house now on the island is 1.3 million. So I think $8,900 bucks for a duplex ain't bad... even if it needs a little pick up me up here and there. :)

JO JO.