Scraping the surface. Sept 08, 07.

Well I can't say we got the best night's sleep. A certain weiner dog was very, very, very excited for some reason to be spending the night downstairs in the lobby and decided she was going to stage a dachshund version of the Indianapolis 500 every hour on the hour pretty much. And when we're on an aero bed it's ADDED incentive for her... because she doesn't have to make the big decision to LEAVE the bed and not be able to get back up. This way she is totally independant of any human elevator assitance... so she's up and down and up and down. It's was also pretty warm down there... so for a while today I was trying to convince Rich to let us sleep in the store front. Of course we'd have to cover up the window... otherwise people would be walking past the storefront on their way to church early in the morning and think a new boutique was offering some very odd merchandise.

Instead of this plan, Rich tinkered with the yet-to-be-tested lobby air-conditioning to see if that might make things a little more comfy. It seems to work very nicely. It does make an ungodly noise in the area between our bedroom and new kitchen that sounds like a jet plane is taking of in a hurricane... but that's the noise it's supposed to make. So we probably won't try and nap upstairs while that's running. :)

Now, before I had even rolled out of bed... (and since i was on the floor on the aero bed... I literally did ROLL out of bed) Cheryl had attacked the popcorn machine. The popcorn machine (which we are hoping to sell on ebay) was GROSSSSS. It had way too many years of popcorn oil/fake butter goo build-up to even fathom. Even Janice - she of the conquered rusty fridge and tarnished doorknobs - was leery of the mystery ooze which was caked inside that monster. It was like Linda Blair had produced a love-child with Orville Redenbacker. Now, Cheryl is a good cleaner. Cheryl's house on bad day looks cleaner than your average operating room. And she DID IT!!!! Just look:

AS SHINY AND GLISTENING AS... WELL... BUTTER COVERED MOVIE POPCORN popcorn2.JPG

Cheryl, modestly, claims that a share of the kudos must go to a nifty cleaning product which she insists is worthy of a.... PRODUCT PLACEMENT!!!! (it's been a while, huh?)

bullet.JPG

This handy stuff is called 'Grease Bullet" and, so I'm told, it worked like a charm. They tried windex, and soft scrub, and CLR and Hydrochloric Acid - they even played Rosanne Barr singing the national anthem... nothing killed it but this. So - the next time YOU have a gigantic vintage popcorn maker sitting in YOUR house that needs to be cleaned... you know what to use kids. So - it's clean and gorgeous... why aren't you on ebay bidding already. All you people with tiny studio new york apartments - what are you waiting for????

Today Rich and Bob started the day by installing the hot water to the utility sink. We originally were just gong to have cold water running to it... but to clean brushes and rollers etc. properly you really need hot water... And Rich wants me to have as few excuses as possible NOT to consider all of my painting materials disposable. Rich apparently spent a good deal of time on his hands and knees in that cramped bathroom (perhaps he's running for Idaho Senate?) which hasn't been cleaned in a very long time - so he got his goo-on very early this morning. The whole operation took quite a while... they had to run a new outlet and all kinds of stuff I can't even hope to describe, never mind understand. All I know is that hot water is coming out of the tap... which also bodes well for the potential success of the soon-to-occur water heater installation upstairs.

After that, they went on the great Leak Safari. They crawled around on the roof and around every wet, grimy, icky area of the building they could find trying to find the source of the problem and where the water was spreading.

BOB AND RICH DECIDE OUR FIRST SHOW WILL HAVE TO BE 'SINGING IN THE RAIN'. leak-look.JPG

This was facilitated today by rain. Lots and lots of rain... so once again Rich was wandering around in the roof like he was posing for the poster of the Shawshank Redemption.

WHY GOD? WHY DON'T YOU WANT US TO HAVE A BATHROOM?? the_shawshank_redemption_1994_tim_robbins_morgan_freeman.jpg

And, once again, he ended up with a drenched heiney :(

SPONGE RICH WET PANTS wet-butt.JPG

Bob did find another seam issue nearby the area where the water was leaking - so that's a good thing. Tomorrow they are going to formulate a repair plan. So - if all goes well - we should be able to address the issue and have the bathroom progressing again soon. This would be nice, since Cheryl pointed out today that the only things the blog can't really communicate effectively are a) how big the place is; and b) just how gross the bathroom TRULY is.

Since Rich had done an emergency internet Mr. fix-it visit to M.J. Yoder (the contractor with-whom Natalie works and for-whom Rich does web design) on Friday, Marlon's daughter (The 'M.J.' is Marlon - not, sadly, Spider Man's girlfriend) emotionally blackmailed him into taking a quick look at the roof while he was in the building today for a meeting with Natalie. So Rich took him up there to have a look... unfortunately he wasn't able to offer much more insight than Bob and Rich had already gleaned... but it was very nice of him to have a look-see.

RICH UP ON THE ROOF WITH YODER yodabackpack.jpg

While the boys were searching for leaks, team Jo Jo (ok - it's way more like team Janice... but it's my BLOG dammit!) got to work on scraping the walls in the lobby. While we were working, someone managed to capture a completely candid, unposed picture of the three of us: BATHROOM FAUCET, FARRAH FAUCET... WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE? angels4.JPG

So we scraped and scraped.. and scraped. It's going to be a big combo of things we've determined. In some areas the paint comes off very easily... so that's getting scraped - and all the areas around that to ensure it doesn't peel further. Then I'm going over it all with the rotary sander to give the remaining paint some bite.

That way, we hope, the skim coat will grip to the paint - rather than just flaking off on top of this old paint. It's a plan at least.

SO MANY RETIRED TEACHERS BARELY SCRAPE BY. cheryl-scrape.JPG

For a brief shining few moments, we even had a special GUEST scraper. Actually - I think she was just courting the paparazzi :)

THE GLAMOUR NEVER ENDS AT 'NATALIE ELLE PEEL ESTATE' natalie-scrape.JPG

Alas, the novelty soon wore off.

THIS WALL DOES NOT HAVE THE WOW FACTOR natalie11.JPG

The remarkable thing is how many HIDEOUS colors were lurking beneath the beige on the surface... We found black, red, this scary smurf blue:

WE SAW BLUE CHUNKS....AND BLEW CHUNKS jo-scrape.JPG

And, the piece de resistance this FABULOUS yellow which made itself known when we took down giant mirrors:

THE OLD PAINT COMES OFF LIKE BUTTER... OR MAYBE IT ACTUALLY IS BUTTTER? scary-yellow.JPG

But if you take a look at he picture you can see we made an awful lot of progress for one day of scraping... it may not look like much... but at least this war is a game of inches. The living room was a game of millimeters.

Towards the end of the day, Rich and Bob came into the lobby and started removing all those extraneous wires, conduit pipe and other things that were just cluttering up the walls and making them look industrial and nasty. There is till a little obligatory conduit - but it looks SO much better than before. We also removed the big 'coming soon' light boxes from the lobby and have moved them to a safe place - since we want to be able to use them elsewhere eventually. They're actually really cool... but they are a little to mid-eighties to have them in the middle of the foyer.

Janice had brought a delicious chicken chili which we devoured for lunch, so for dinner we opted for Pizza. Rich and I journeyed over to Pizza Junction to place an order. It's a renovated train junction station thing - and it's soooo cute - really nicely renovated. The trains go RIGHT past - so it might be the only place that's louder than our bedroom with that air-conditioner running. The pizza was yummy, and for dessert we brought out the belated Bob birthday cake... since we missed his birthday about a week ago. We had really wanted to have the kitchen up and running so i could decorate him a stuffed deer cake.... but it'll have to be next year. In lieu of candles, we placed a large flashlight on top of the plastic cake container and had him 'blow it out'. See, we're already bringing class back to the Huntington Theatre.

Ok - it's not THAT late - but using that scraper and the rotary sander involved a more intense upper body work-out than I've had in a long time. So I'm pooped.

xo jo jo.