Don't blame me - blame ComCast. Aug 27.

All right boys and girls... buckle your seat belts cuz this is gonna be a heck of a long blog entry... So - First things first... thanks for not giving up on me. It was not my fault. Repeat... NO JO JO. We lost our internet so there was no way to post... they just finished fixing it like half an hour ago - and here I am, back where I'm supposed to be, typing my fingers to the bone for all of you wonderful, devoted peeps.

So let's start at the beginning shall we. Friday night we were supposed to be going to Joseph D'Quis - the fancy schmancy restaurant in Roanoke that Natalie has wanted to take us to for ages to celebrate the theatre purchase. WE finally set a date and we were supposed to meet her there at eight - and Rich and I got back from a Home Depot run and were about to get dressed for dinner, when...There was a storm. A big, very big, very wet storm. It all started when Rich told me to grab the camera because it was raining so hard and it 'looked cool'. If he'd only known. All of a sudden... like out of nowhere we got this freak rain storm - and it started like out of nowhere. Anyway... the rain was coming down in buckets and there was like streams of water running down Jefferson street - I ran into the little exterior box office and tried to take some pictures but they weren't that great.

ANY SECOND THEY'LL BE A FLYING COW

crappy-weather.JPG

I actually much prefer this picture of Rich LOOKING at the storm that I accidentally took when the flash reflected back in the glass.

AUNTIE EM, AUNTIE EM! rich-scary-weather.JPG

So. We we got the 'oooh wet outside-ness' out of our system and went back upstairs. I was in my office checking my email and Rich came in and noticed the ceiling in my office was leaking. Then we noticed the ceiling in my office was leaking in two places... four places... five places. NOW - I would like to point out that there was not one SINGLE leak in the area where Janice and I had patched with the "Hydraulic water-stop cement". So apparently - it does, indeed, stop water. I'm all for truth in advertising. The water, however, did find the places where we had not yet patched. About three inches from my Mac. So as I started to grab some small buckets to grab the leaks, Rich realized that if it was coming into my office - it had to be coming FROM somewhere to get TO my office. Which meant the balcony. So he went up to check. About three minutes later he comes back SOAKED. Not damp - soaked.

Water was gushing into the back of the balcony apparently. It wasn't hitting the seats, but the alcove right behind. And it wasn't leaking... or dripping... it was streaming. And, from what Rich said, up on the unfinished third floor - with the hatch that leads to the roof - it was not streaming - it was gushing. We kind of went into "ER Sweeps Week" mode... Rich told me to get buckets to try and contain the water and he would go up to the roof and find out what the heck was going on. I ran downstairs - out into the monsoon - grabbed a bunch of our trash buckets and hauled them up to the balcony. The nightmare was that in this alcove there were two things that had been left there being stored by previous owners. Stacks of ripped old theatre seat cushions... basically giant sponges. And big boxes of flat cardboard gift boxes like you get at a department store to gift wrap. Also - major squishy. Rich wanted me to try and clear out the area to get as much of it out of there - but it was already so water soaked that to dump in into the auditorium part of the balcony would have just made things so much worse. So I started crawling around in there like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Mush and placed like six huge trash barrels and a bunch of empty five gallon trash cans wherever there was a leak. I ran out of receptacles - but managed to get most of them. But they were precariously perched and if the rain kept coming in at this rate they might topple over.

Rich reappeared... it turns out that the wind had SOMEHOW managed to yank out the big HEAVY, HEAVY trap door panel that provides roof access. The wind caught this thing that has to weight like seventy pounds and ripped it down our rubber roof. It could have been a lot worse - but it slid down the roof slope and then landed where the roof levels off - to provide a gutter for drainage. And ripped a six inch hole. Right where ALL the water is heading to get the drainpipe. So allllll the water coming from this whole side of the building collects in like a river and before it can GET to the drainpipe, it gets to this HOLE. Arghghghghgghghghghh!!!!

We cancel dinner. Natalie is devastated and goes into seclusion. Actually she went without us. Way to mourn. But she deserves the good life - so we don't begrudge. And we get to reschedule. Apparently when Rich text messaged her she THOUGHT he meant that we had been hit by a tornado and HALF the roof got blown off... so that took some frantic phone conversation clarification.

Rich has explored the roof, retrieved the hatch and replaced it, and placed a bucket on the third floor under the primary gush -where the rip is. He is now so wet he looks like he's been auditioning for a live Sea World production of Finding Nemo. He was trying to patch the hole with duct tape... but it's still pouring rain... and we have no umbrellas. So he can't get the area around the patch remotely dry to try and get the duct tape to stick. With most of the leaks at least landing in buckets we make a run to Wall Mart for supplies.

Rich has a plan - of which I had no understanding at the time - but it involved three garden hoses and water pump. And more duct tape. And like ten towels. He went all MacGyver on me. He wanted a syphon pump like you use for gas - but they didn't have one - and we had to get this small hand pumping thing that we hoped would do the trick. Whatever the trick was going to be.

By the time we get back one of the trash barrels had tipped over - but it wasn't so bad. But third-floor one where the biggest geyser was draining - was almost overflowing already. OVERFLOWING people. Into our building. Into our theatre - then onto our seats - and then into my office and then onto my weiner dog. The rain had died down considerably - so we thought we'd go up to the roof. Note the pronoun. My middle name is adventure. I had also purchased galoshes - I only really have one pair of shoes - and if my sneakers got soaked i'd be in trouble. So we head up to the roof with the towels, the duct tape, still no umbrella (geniuses, us) and a prayer.

Not a chance. For some reason the only thing in the entire UNIVERSE that duct tape WON'T stick to is rubber roofing. And it wasn't cuz it was wet... we managed to get it really pretty dry - and it was not even sticking a little bit. i would have settled for post-it stickiness. Zip. We tried for like fifteen minutes a bunch of different ways and couldn't get it to take. So then Rich started manipulating the roof rubber - but stepping in certain places in a sequence to try and drain as much of the puddling lake of water (that was awaiting a few more drops before it would further head in a stream down our tear) and sort of, like a series of locks in a canal (i think that's a term...locks, right? Whatever) - so that it would just edge past the hole and go down the drainpipe. So we got a lot of the water drained... and used the hand pump to get rid of some more - and we also used it to get under the tear and suck out some of the water that was sitting under there.

Keep in mind it is Friday night - and any hope of a roofing guy is not going to happen until Monday. Or best hope was to hit Home Depot and Lowes in the morning and see if we could get a patch kit. So until then - we had to try and deal with the overflowing trash can. Now - there is no way to carry this trash can down the stairs - it's filled with water - and weighs more than Sally Struthers benchpressing a Buick. So we had to syphon it. Hence McGyver. Rich's plan was to connect all the garden hoses - and run them from the top of the balcony... down the balcony... down the stairs... through the foyer... and into the utility sink that we (luckily) had just installed. Or rather Keith, the wonder plumber installed. We pointed and said "put sink here".

Now the water had to actually get IN the hose. At first Rich tried from up in the balcony to use the hand pump. No chance. So he came downstairs and started sucking...and sucking and sucking... and then gagging. Apparently water that has been collecting bird poop and roof dirt does not taste like Evian. The poor guy. He really was not having fun. And he still looks like a very dirty drowned rat. The water started flowing - yay - Rich ran upstairs. The water stopped flowing. We tried again and again - but we decided the way the hose had to droop to get to the sink was making it too difficult to maintain the water flow once the suction started. So - in the rain - we took it outside through the exit door at the side of the theatre. We duct taped the hand pump hose to the garden hose and started to pump.

This little hand pump SUCKED. It was really, really stiff and it was so hard on your arms. I scraped my knuckles pushing so hard that it flew out of my hand and i rammed into the sidewalk. Rich and I would take turns passing the thing off to each other desperately trying to get the thing to suck the water down the eight miles from the balcony. Finally we got it to start running out for about a minute. And then it stopped. And we tried and again and the pump broke. Rich started sucking again like a hoover - and tried so many times he was wretching on the sidewalk. Considering there are three bars in our neighbourhood - it's not that unusual of a site, I suppose... but at least they had a better time getting to that point. He couldn't take it any more.... so I said... I'm not going to do that. Yup. There are limits. In fact he didn't even ask me to try... which officially makes him better than McGyver - and he doesn't have a mullet. So we had to give up until morning. We had actually managed to get a lot of the water out of the bucket - so we thought we might make it through the night.

At around 12:30 we were toast. This is Rich's second set of clothes through the process. The first ones were drenched.

RICH, DECIDES HE'S IN NEED OF FURTHER HYDRATION: ALCOHOL. wet-rich.JPG

And my sexy size six WallMart galoshes: wet-jojo.JPG

And knees: jojo-knees.JPG

NEXT MORNING Rich wakes up it had rained again. The trash can is overflowing all over again. He ran somewhere and got a sump pump and installed that in the trash can. What's a sump pump you might ask. Well, I'll tell you: I'm not really sure. I'm not sure what a sump is, or how you pump sump, exactly. I think it's a little known book by Dr. Seuss. And I'm fairly sure if you go up to someone and ask them to "sump your pump" that it's illegal in about seven states.

LET'S GIVE THEM SUMP-ING TO TALK ABOUT. 12884jpg.jpg

Anyway - the way this thing works - I am told - is that when water reaches a certain level in a receptacle, or your basement, or your giant trash can... it senses this and then turns itself on and starts pumping. So - Rich hooked it up so that when the trash can gets close to overflowing, the sump pump, will start sumping the water down the fifteen garden hoses, through the theatre, down the foyer, and into the utility sink. Where the hose is now attached with one of our dumbells. Again... gym equipment at least getting used SOMEHOW.

Here's the hose journey... It will soon be published as a children's book... Sump Pump and the Magic Hose.

WAITING TO SPRING INTO ACTION sump-2.JPG

ABOVE THE BALCONY - THIRD FLOOR sump1.JPG

INTO THE BALCONY sump-3.JPG

HEADING DOWN TO THE FOYER sump-4.JPG

INTO THE UTILITY SINK hose-stretch.JPG

Can you now see why it sucked for Rich to have to suck so much sucking? Right. Pretty sucky.

So - with the building relatively secured against completely submerge-ment... we headed out on the great patch-kit adventure. Rich looked around online and couldn't find the stuff anywhere. So we headed to Fort Wayne on a wing and prayer. And stopped at the Steak and Shake Drive through so I could get a strawberry low-fat shake :) Home Depot - nope. Lowes - nope. We decided to take Natalie a piece of Nick's pie to say we're sorry - (where we learned she had TOTALLY partied without us) - but we still gave her pie - and she suggested we tried Minards. Which is this giant chain that they have in the midwest that is kind of like a Home Depot, hunting and camping store rolled into one. For some reason. So we went there. They had it! I did not find this out for a half an hour however because Minards is huge and I got lost. After fifteen solid minutes of not being able to find Rich I decided to do what your Mommy always tells you do when you're lost and stay still in one place. I have now learned this only works if the other person is TRYING TO FIND YOU. So I stood stock still in the center aisle for another fifteen minutes assuming Rich would eventually pass by looking for me. No. I did not relish the idea of having the intercom person announce "would mr. najuch please come and collect his boyfriend"... largely because if I did that Rich would DRIVE AWAY without me. So I started looking again. And found him. Yay. He, of course, was in no way perturbed by my long absence. Except to point out that I had "wandered off". Yeesh. Anyway - he had the roof patching kit - which - was not that expensive - and definitely cheaper than Roof Dude.

We need to wait until the roof is REALLY dry - and luckily for us, and for Po's bladder, it's been rain free for a full day now... so we'll probably climb up there tomorrow. Yes, I'll take the camera. Yes, I'll break my neck.

So - that concludes the Great Roof Disaster.

Further catchup... i got the sweetest nicest surprise in the mail... "Almost, Maine" the off-broadway show I was the assistant director on, got published. And John Cariani, the writer - and most adorable, sweet and loveable creature on the planet, sent me a copy with a gorgeous note inside - hoping that I'll get to direct the show at MY theatre soon. Anyway - I love John, and I love the show... so it was a great pick me up after drowning days.

john-script.JPG

So that's like the third show I've worked on that's been printed. The first was "Fastest Woman Alive" and then "Life Science" is coming out really soon. And both of those have my name as the original director. So that's fun. And the first Broadway by the Year I did is now out on CD and the one i directed will be released next year. Soon I can be a whole boutique!

Rich and I went tile shopping for the foyer. We need new tile for the table tops for the coffee shop (since the old colors were for the old wallpaper - and they don't have anything we liked at Home Depot or Lowe's that works), and we also need tile for the new OVAL bar and the bathrooms mens and women's bathroom. Tile tile tile. We need a mile of tile, in fact. So - Natalie - fount of all knowledge (If you ask me, Eve bit Natalie, not an apple) suggested a tile place in Fort Wayne. So after the great Roof Patch Treasure Hunt - we went there.

Well - it's insane. It's like tile heaven. It is about the fanciest showroom you ever saw. This place could be on Rodeo Drive - the stuff is INSANE. So of course we figured it was also very expensive. And a lot of it was. But this really nice floor manager spent like an hour with us going through things and showing us options. I think the poor guy couldn't decide if we were yahoo's or not - because he knew we had enough money to buy the theatre... but we didn't exactly scream "major investor" and we kept saying - "do you have anything in a more modest price bracket?" The tricky thing was they didn't have ANY normal tile... like the kind of plain, ceramic, plain solid color, glazed tile you normally see in a bathroom... which is what we really were looking for to do the bathroom and the table tops. And we'd keep saying "do you have any plain ceramic tile" and he would say "follow me" and then show us something (not solid-colored, or ceramic) and say "this is Peruvian Granite forged by blind Dwarfs in the rain forests of Peru and polished by corn-fed yaks". And it would be very pretty - but not what we wanted. Eventually I just said "I'm afraid for several of our projects we may require a product that is below the standards which you stock". And he said "you might be right".

BUT we did find some AMAAAZZZING tile that we love for the bar. Rich, of course, is going to try and find the same stuff at a cheaper price - but the guy did quote us a pretty decent price for the quality of the stuff... so we'll see. He let us take some samples with us (as long as we PROMISED to bring them back).. so here they are. It's a glass tile which will be the accent running in groups of four squares in a pinwheel pattern around this metallic copper tile. And on the top it's this amazing black black granite which has little specks of copper and bronze color in it. It's pretty darn fancy. I wish the pictures did them justice - but the problem with any of this stuff is that it plays in the light - and i can't show the dimension it has in a photo. The wallpaper is in the picture - just to remind you of the color scheme.

bar-tile.JPG

So - if we can swing that stuff Rich and I would be pretty darn happy - because we both loved it. A certain someone wants glass tile in our kitchen now... so i've said if he's a good boy we can do it along the counter top back splash. After all, he did swallow mud water for me.

What else - we've been doing even more house hunting. Cuz we're nuts... but we're not gonna purchase another piece of property until we can rent the storefront - because that will make us both feel more secure when that extra income is coming in to cover a big chunk of the theatre payment.

SPEAKING OF WHICH... That leads me to today's insanity. Over the weekend - as you know from the lack of blogging, the internet died. We oddly still had cable - but we lost internet. At first Rich lost his - and I had it - and then mine went too. Now, for us... this is bad. Not just blog bad (which I was kind of freaking out about - because I know you people just sit around calling me lazy and phoning each other across continents and bad-mouthing me)... but at this point all of Rich's income and clients are based through the internet. He now has like 12 hours of backed up work to catch up on - and he was fighting and fighting with it himself, and on the phone to Dell, and on the phone to ComCast... and finally they said they would send someone today.

So they arrived... at the SAME time as the WINDOW guys arrived. Yes - you heard me right - WINDOW GUYS!!!! Hurrah, hurray. We practically staged a parade for them. They are whacking and hammering as I speak. They've only got two more to take out... It's hard work - but they are doing an amazing job. We thought there would be like debris everywhere and the walls would be all cracked and the exterior tile might get damaged. But it's amazing.

So - here's one last look at the nasty old, leaky rusty, unlatch-able windows:

WHAT A PANE IN THE GLASS old-window.JPG

window-out.JPG

And look how clean they got them out: frame-out.JPG

And of course - it means another trip to the dump - which is always fun for the whole family. The guys now think it may take them two days - so that means they'll need to be here tomorrow. So it's a good thing Rich bought a lock-box for the keys... because they will have to be here while we are at PORK-A-PALOOZA. The catering thing. While the cable people (there were two of them - boy and girl - they travel in packs apparently) and the window people were buzzing around, Rich and i ran to Nick's to check in with Jean Anne and grab some food because we were starving. We ordered the Monday special - Turkey Manhattan. Which I have never heard of or seen in Manhattan - but it was very very yummy. And she showed us our TEE SHIRTS. All I have to say people, is, just you wait. These shirts are pretty darn spectacular. It might be the finest moment of blog photo-journalism yet to come.

Anyway - the cable guy had a hell of a time getting the modem and the router and who-zi-whatsits to work... he said it was all really screwed up - probably from the storm. But it now works - and he's gonna come back as well to do something with the outside lines to make sure they are hung better (if you recall they were strung up by the installation guy kind of like he was toilet papering a house on a drunken spree). So - internet... ta da.

While all this is going on someone knocks on our front door. I go down this guy says "you've got a praying mantis on your building". Perhaps it's a door to door service he offers. INSECT-O-GRAMS or something. Anyway - there was. A giant praying mantis. i went out to look at it and it flew into the building. "RRRRIIIIIIICCCCCHHHHH!!!!!". He came and got it. I had never seen one before. They are very big. And very cool. And very creepy... and I didn't know they FLY. Aaaaaaaaaa.

OUR FIRST SHOW: THE MUSIC MANTIS mantis1.JPG

THEN - while we have cable folk and window folk Natalie knocks on our door and tells us there is a lady who wants to see the store front. Rich and I look at each other and race down the stairs like stampeding buffallo. This lady saw the ad in the paper and thought it might be too small - but she decided to stop by anyway. She couldn't find us - so she popped into Natalie's office - who went into major sell-mode. Which is awesome. This lady is a wedding planner and wants to open a store for her business - to show some of her rental items and dresses and stuff. She's really friendly... and thought our asking price was good... and said she hadn't seen anywhere in town that was nearly as nice as ours. So we talked to her for like a half an hour - and we told her we would do her window sign - AND told her Rich could do her website... we practically offered to get married... to girls. So our fingers are crossed. It would be a lovely store to have in the building - and she seems like a very nice lady. She's gonna go home and talk to her husband... So all of you out there light a candle or something. Cause we want this thing rented already. Especially since the wind blew off two of the letters on the marquee and it said "REMODELED STORE FRO T FOR RE T". And I don't even know anyone named Ret". Rich was very excited though - we were able to rescue the letters during the monsoon... cuz those letters ain't cheap people.

Anyway - windows... cable... storefront...religious bugs... pork. It's all go, go, go.

So - i'm gonna go. I'll give you a window update tonight.

Jo Jo.