Empty chairs and non-existent tables.

I've actually written a great big honkin' blog update - so we're gonna split it into a couple chapters over the next few days :) :)Ok - so we are getting there. Honestly. The restaurant is starting to look really really nifty. And by nifty, I mean a place you could actually look at and say "I could eat in this general region without feeling like i'm in San Quentin". I'm excited to show you guys the progress and tell you some of the adventures of acquiring some our culinary treasures.

It's been so long since I blogged that i haven't had a chance to tell you about the NY auditions. They went extremely well and we've hired three GIRLS! Yup - no boys allowed :) Rich and I and the super-duper Mike Borth (our musical director) decided that we should just go ahead and cast the best candidates who auditioned. And since we already had Elizabeth we didn't want to lose a fantastic performer just because we already had an amazing girl already. These ladies are really really awesome and we're getting to do all kinds of fun girl-stuff we've never had a chance to tackle before. Which means Jordan Stanley may well have to finally step down as an honorary Andrews Sister. The auditions were particularly fun because we had a whole bunch of alumni visits. Over the three days Carl and Angie and Erin and Jordan Griffey came to visit.

One of the nicest treats of our time in New York was that I got to see Katie Reid TWICE. We grabbed a bite to eat, and then she managed to get me in to the final rehearsal room run-through of the new Gershwin musical that she's going on tour with. Here she is right in the middle of the rehearsal. katie-ny.jpg

It's an adorable show and she's one of only a cast of 5... the choreography is just stunning. I'm so proud of her. The show's called "Swonderful"... Here's the promo spot that's running for the show... She's fabulous in it. KATIE'S NATIONAL TOUR

We had time to go see one show while we were there. A good friend who I've done like five shows with named Bill is in the current revival of La Cage. The show was AMAZING and we got to go backstage for a tour. We were with a bunch of other people - and the backstage stairs to the dressing rooms etc. in all these Broadway houses are these steel framed scaffolding like things. It had been raining, and my shoes were wet. And almost the moment we stepped into the stage door area my feet flew out from under me. I went down like a lead balloon - and the back of my head went CLANGGGG against the metal. I was sooo embarrassed. Everybody kept asking me if I was ok and I just kept saying "i'm fine... i'm fine" will I was seeing stars dance in front of my head. It ended up just being a great big giant lump on my head for about a week... and I suppose if I ever had to have a near death experience - backstage on Broadway at La Cage is pretty poetic.

We have slowly and surely been amassing everything we need for the restaurant. They've been back and forth to Indianapolis to a big restaurant auction place like three times. Rich and Janice scour ebay like bargain hunting vultures finding everything under the sun.

"I JUST BOUGHT 23 LONG JOHN SILVERS FOR A DOLLAR." vultures-hooded.jpg

I got to go on my first restaurant auction. Normally Rich and Janice (and sometimes Cindy) go on their own - it's often on days when I'm teaching - but this time they needed a GUARD. Yes. A guard. See - this was a great big all day auction (and when I say all day, i mean allllllllllllllll daaaaaZzzzzzzzzzzzz) and apparently people try and walk out with stuff after you've won it. This happened to them at a previous auction with a bakers rack that Cindy still mourns like a child that fell down a well. She sits in a corner whimpering crying "Bakersssss Rackkkkk". Anyway. This time they were bidding on 300 place settings of silverware (enough for the main auditorium, PLUS the restaurant). This was an auction on a really chi-chi club in Fort Wayne called The Summit Club that was just gorgeous. And silverware was the kind of thing that people might easily think 'ooo souvenir, i'll just take oneeeee'.

So - we won the silverware. It's awesome - it's Oneida - and weighs a ton. Like almost this... giant-fork.jpg

He got it for $5 a place setting - and there's a lot of it.... silverware-for-zillions.jpg

So - i was basically told 'sit... stay' for the rest of the day, guarding silverware. And various other items that they acquired. I, luckily, had 45 papers to grade for my classes, so I just laid down under the table like a somewhat un-imposing guard dog. And people DO try and case your crap! They like walk past and pick up forks are are lookin' at them all like "oooo... what a nice fork." Dude.... it's a fork. You've seen one before, put it down before it becomes a fork in your nostril.

Anyway - so my 'sit, stay' behavior was rewarded. See, Rich goes to an auction and buys things like ladles, and table bases, and pasta cookers. What I wanted at the auction was a bunny suit. In my defense, it's a very very cute bunny suit. So when I heard about the bunny suit (about 2 hours into the auction) I went up to Rich and, like a very very lost puppy said..."Bunny suittttt?????". And he said we could bid on it... so we ran upstairs (replacing Cindy as our guard dog) and JUST as we got to that section of the auction they were starting bidding on the bunny suit. And so...to make a long story short...

TRIX ARE FOR JANICE bunny-costume.jpg

They've now got ovens, and sinks and prep tables and dishwashers and ice machines and beer coolers and pasta cookers and griddles and burners and chairs. The chairs are awesome...

AUCTION CHAIRS chairs.jpg

You can't really tell how cute they are from this picture - but there are over 70 of them and they are super comfy and black wrought iron kind of. They need re-uphoulstered, which Janice is going to do in black vinyl. The exact same chairs new are like 56 bucks a piece - The pack leader got them for 10 dollars each. Goooooo Pack Leader

We ALSO have all of the dinner ware. The mural colors gave Rich the thought to use Fiestaware - which is also great because if, over the years, things get broken or lost, you can replace them out without ever worrying that your entire set won't match. Rich and I scouted all the available colors that were on sale at the moment and then started zipping all over Indiana for them. See - they carry Fiesta ware at Kohls. And Rich had a re-useable 30% off coupon for Kohls that was only good for like four days. So in four days we had to find all the crockery we wanted. We were originally looking for black as well - but none of them were carrying it - so we got this really dark blue that looks great as well. So the place settings will be a mixture of all the different colors and be really eclectic and fun...and the colors look great in the room. Here are the various colors - sunshine yellow, red, peacock blue, dark blue and brown. (Sorry mom - no beige).

RICH GETS MUGGED. rich-and-mugs.jpg

So I think we ended up at three different Kohl's in Indiana and Janice hit 2 in Ohio. 75 sets.

So. We have everything we need, right. Wait... what's that you said? Tables. TABLES. Aaaaaaaaaaaaa. Rich has nightmares about tables. He has been searching for 36" round tables for months at a price we could afford. At first he was going to make wood table top ones using pre-made butcher-block 36" inch rounds available at Lowes. But those didn't prove strong enough - they kind of warped if you applied much weight to them. Then he was going to try and make them out of concrete... now this is not as insane as it sounds. Ok, don't tell him, but it sounds REALLY insane....but people have actually done this. They come out looking like granite...

concrete-table-top23.jpg

They are really beautiful. But making a ROUND table is a lot more advanced than a square table. And we need round tables. And making ONE pretty concrete table is probably less fraught with peril than trying to make 20 identical concrete table tops. And..everytime I had lunch I would worry that it was gonna crack like the San Andreas fault and drop on my like an accident at Fred Flinstones quarry. So then he was gonna buy some wooden square ones at an auction and cut them down. But Janice got some kind of Medium/Carnac the Magnificent psychic flash that it was a bad idea. Then he started to price out laminate. And we finally found some black laminate tables with an aluminum edging that are beautiful and not forty million dollars out of our budget. We have also considered various themed options - Japanese food...sitting on the floor. Calling the restaurant "Picnic" and having a bunch of blankets. We'll see what happens.

So there are two random stories that I have for you. A few weeks back Rich and I had dinner with my boss from IPFW and his boyfriend. We arrive at their house and are having nibbles when my boss's boyfriend says to John (my boss), "So can I ask you about a rumor". And John looks at him with slightly buggy eyes and says "I cannot believe you are asking him this". At this point I'm intrigued and a little afraid. So the boyfriend says "Is it true that you're Bahamanian royalty". Whatttttt????? And then John says "we weren't going to ask you, but we had been told by a friend that you were some kind of prince or something." Rich at this point has snorted pepsi out of his nose. So, first, I was assuming that they were asking if I was Bermudian royalty. And second of all, how do RUMORS LIKE THIS happen. Seriously - somebody in FORT WAYNE - not Huntington - FORTY FIVE MINTUES from where we live has been telling people that I'm royalty. And, yes I can be a big queen - but I don't think that qualifies me for diplomatic immunity.

And so - ever since then, royalty jokes about Joel have been running pretty thick. And by the way... it's not true. Very very sadly. And let's face it, if I WAS royalty, I'm probably not the kind of person that would keep it under wraps. I'd be going to Walmart in a tiara.

Amusing item number two: Rich and I have apparently become the 'go-to' solution for any and all forms of entertainment. Sane or otherwise. I've been getting over a flu - and I was sitting in the doctors office when I got a call (from our dentist's office) asking I would be willing to perform as a stripper. Apparently they wanted a some kind of comedic stripper as a joke. Now... a) is it a compliment to be asked to be a joke stripper... I mean... I think it's much more complimentary to be asked to be a REAL stripper. Which, in itself, is disturbing logic. Anyhow... because I was sick, I had to turn them down. So any chance of getting to say "Welcome to downtown Hung-tington" is gone. Althoughhh I did later on have the idea that we could have told him a playboy bunny was coming and then arrived in the bunny costume. And you thought it was FOOLISH PURCHASE!!!!

Ok - the next chapter of this missive has TONS AND TONS of progress pictures. You peeps are gonna be impressed! xo Jo Jo.