Hop hop hop. (Easter bunnies, and socks).

Hey there peeps.Well - I'm afraid I don't have a heap of photographic fun-ness for you this time round. But I do want to relay the adventure of the giant oven hood reclamation which took place not that long ago. So, you remember that Rich and I went to the auction and purchased those 2 giant oven hoods for the restaurant kitchen. Well, several days later Janice and Rich along with Grant and Margaret headed out at 6am to travel the two and half hours to actually get the thing.

Ok - so the drive is two and half hours. They left at six. Two and a half hours back, and lets sayyyyy...ohhhhh....3 hours to get the thing out and loaded up, right? Well, they weren't back until after MIDNIGHT. Things did not go smoothly. In fact they went about as un-smoothly as Kate Goslin's meringue on Dancing with the Stars.

During the proceedings of the actual auction the auctioneer had said over and over again that the entire area where the hoods etc. were located was going to be ripped out. And therefore, whatever people needed to do to take the materials out - making holes, or ripping out tile or whatever, would be ok. Now - take a look at this little reminder pic and you'll see why being able to y'know, make a hole or two might be handy... So they get there... and apparently as they walk in the door some guys who work at the school say "are you here to get the hoods?" and Rich says "yes", and they say "Good luck". Nice. Cuz the next thing they know they are told that the information at the auction was WRONG and they can't do any damage to the building at all. Which seems perfectly reasonable when removing 600 pounds and 16 feet of stainless steel. Rich tried arguing with them, and pointing out that the terms of sale at an auction are binding, but these guys wouldn't budge and wouldn't even call the guy from the school who had been AT the auction and SAID that. And so began the longest day Rich has ever spent in a kitchen... I can't say the same for Margaret, because when you're making corn flakes for 500 Eckerts it pretty much takes 35 hours.

So they got to work... Now you will remember Rich had poked his head up into the ceiling to determine if the thing could be removed before he bid on it. Well, the pack leader is pretty savvy, but apparently he wasn't able to see that half way down the length of the thing was a brick wall. Blocking any and all access from above. Which, if you are NOT allowed to make any holes in a ceiling, can be a challenge. They apparently wrangled over this for a long time until something like this happened:

MARGARET: (accidentally climbing a ladder by complete accident and swinging a hammer making a completely accidental hole in the ceiling where it was coincidentally needed): "Whooopsy."

In fact they finally agreed to let Rich make one small hole and apparently Grant nearly gave someone the 'volunteer fireman's lift of death' when a dude said "can't you make the hole a little neater". Around this time some other people who were there removing stuff had told Janice and Rich that they had never seen a hood like that removed in less than three days. THREE DAYS! Clearly - they had never met Najuchs and Eckerts.

Ok - so they now were able to get to the gigantinormous bolts which held this thing in place. I will not go into the details of how this thing exactly was attached - cuz I don't knowwwww - but basically it took them about an hour (after all the arguing) to get the first hood in a situation where it could be removed. BUT - they had to wait. And wait. Because the auction guys had also told them that there would be someone there with a forklift that could help them get it out. And the entire removal plan was based around a carefully orchestrated plan involving the forklift and a bunch of pallettes stacked up on it which would enable it to take the weight of the hood... and distribute the stress so it didn't bend.... and get it safely down without killing anyone. Ok, if it had killed the dudes telling them to make 'neat holes' that probably wouldn't have been a terrible loss.

So - Rich and co were not the only people getting stuff out that day. There was also a guy (who, from my recollection at the auction, looked an awful lot like Mr. Jefferson of the "deluxe apartment in the sky" Jeffersons) who was in the scrap business. See, stainless steel is worth a lot in scrap - so this guy had been bidding against Rich on almost everything. Anyway - so this guy was there getting out all kinds of stuff to junk, and dump in his truck. And he had managed to commandeer the guy with the forklift. And so - once they were all in position, and had gotten it all sorted out, and ready to remove the first hood. They had to wait for FOUR HOURS for the guy with the forklift. Now luckily Najuchs and Eckerts are industrious little critters and they didn't just sit on their keesters. They used the time to get all the other stuff disconnected - the big triple sink and the giant hose/spiggot doohinkus, and the bread warmer thing (no doubt the future home of Debbie Dyer's hot moist buns). And THEN they sat on their keesters and waited. And THEN... (it gets fun here, folks)...

That guy from the school that WAS at the auction that nobody would call? Well he shows up. He then tells Rich and company that a) they were taking too long and he had to let his people go for the day; and b) that whoever told them they couldn't make holes etc. was WRONG and they could have done whatever they needed. Rich was not pleased. not. not. not. So apparently he explained to the dude that the reason it was taking so long was BECAUSE none of the school people would allow them to do what he had been promised, prior to purchase, he was allowed to do. AND that they had been waiting four hours for the assistance of the fork lift which they had been promised (before purchase) would be available to assist in getting stuff out. The guy was like "well that's not my problem and I can't keep paying my guys to stand be here and help you". So Rich was like "Fine, what do your guys make an hour?". The man said "40 bucks". Uh-huhhhhh... if you find me a school employee that makes $40 an hour then I'll show you an episode of American Idol when Randy does not say 'What's happenin' dog?'. The fellow clearly said this to deter Rich - but had not factored in that Rich was NOT going to drive five more hours just to go through the same crap again the next day, and the cost of gas, and not having the help of Grant or Margaret. So Rich said "Fine... I'll pay your forklift guy $40 an hour until we're done". To which the forklift guy, of course, said "Hell, yes." And then the merriment continued...

RICH HAS TO FORK OUT FOR THE FORK LIFT. hood-fork-lift-small.jpg

That there is a photograph of the forklift, piled high with pallettes and wooden planks, about to take the weight of the entire hood as it is released from the ceiling. And now, ladies and gentleman, you can see why I was not a part of this process. Because Rich knew if I had been there, the level to which I would have had a complete total nervous breakdown over such activity, would have made things much worse. In fact, apparently Margaret kept saying "Thank god joel isn't here." They would have had to lock ME in the bun warmer.

So - once things got going it apparently took about an hour and a half to get the thing out and down. By this point Rich had realized that the trailor hitch thing that they had brought was NOT going to be large enough to accomodate this critter. So Janice and Margaret apparently were now sent on a reconnaissance mission to rent a Uhaul box truck. Thank GOODNESS they were able to rent one that they could then return in Huntington...otherwise it would have been 2 1/2 back here - dump giant steel somewhere - then 5 hours back in two vehicles to return the box truck!

So - they got the truck. But even WITH the boxtruck AND the trailor AND Mr. Sparkle AND Grant's truck they realized that they were going to have issues with the fitting all the other stuff AND the 2nd hood that Rich had purchased. They also had by this point calculated that there was no mathematical way to get the hood OUT of the kitchen area without destroying walls. And even then - it wouldn't probably fit. Luckily Rich had gotten these hoods for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what they should cost... so to take a hit on losing one of them still had us miles ahead financially in terms of it being a great bargain. However. Najuch's are not the kind to let a penny roll down a drain without putting on their scuba suit to go back and get it. So... Remember the Mr. Jefferson guy? Well - Rich tells Janice to go FLIRT (yes...flirt) with Mr. Jefferson and see if he'll buy the 2nd hood for scrap for 150 bucks. Janice apparently says, "pshaw... I'll get more than that." And does. She manages to get this guy to buy it from us for $270 leaving us with a loss of like only 50 bucks. Ta da!

And as far as I understand it - that - was the end of the adventure. THEN they realized that the hood is too big to get it INSIDE the new building. So Rich is installing a double door in the back (which will be good anyway). And so, at the moment, Larry's barn is happily housing a whole gaggle of stainless steel.

In OTHER news... I'm workin' hard on the scripts. I've finally got a handle (thanks to some nifty imput from the Pack Leader) on how to structure the Lincoln show. I've got about 10 pages drafted, which ain't bad. I've got about a month left to finish the drafts of those two. I'm THRILLED that Gordon, who designed the Tempest, is crazy enough to wanna work with me again, and he's gonna design the sets for the children's tour... which is a HUGE load of my mind, and will make things a lot more feesible. Because Rich and I sat down with the calendar and literally there was like about fouteen seconds between when the summer kids would leave and when I had to start rehearsing the children's shows..and then about 2 seconds before the christmas show people arrived. So this makes things a lot more do-able for the Jo Jo. My Treasure Island costume should be here in a few days - so I'm super excited about that.

The main thing thing I want to remind you all about is the Sock Hop which is April 16th. A lot of folks have mentioned that they don't know if they'll come cuz they don't dance... well you don't HAVE to dance. The band is a great - and they're gonna play fifities and sixties music all night - there will plenty of places to sit and socialize and enjoy the music. Plus my mother's world famous chilli-dogs will be on offer along with rootbeef floats and other yumminess. We've got an awesome 'what's in the box' prize, PLUS we're gonna do super-cute competitions all night - like a hula hoop contest, and wackiest socks, and biggest bubble gum. If that's not enough for you... well - Janice will be wearing a PINK POODLE SKIRT!!!!!

ALSO Miranda Rae (Grant's adorable talented girlfriend) who is starting a new wedding photography studio in town, is going to be taking pictures of people all night in their costumes... and for only a teeny tiny price you can get your picture taken with the OFFICIAL sock hop head-stick-through thingy!!!

LOOK AT ME I'M SANDRA DEE... joel-and-rich-cutout.jpg

So - please hijack Rich or Debbie or Ann by calling 454 0449 or going to www.thehuntingtonartsinitiative.org to get tickets. It's a really great cause (after all the wine-tasting helped us raise enough money to put the ROOF on the Opera House - so it's amazing how much good you can do WHILE eating chilli dogs!)... and everybody is working super hard to make sure it's a really fun, really memorable night. See ya there. Probably not in a pink poodle skirt - no matter how hard I campaign for Janice to make me one. :(

Jo Jo.