Gypsum Rose Lee. Sept 16, 07

"Oy, what a day I had today!" Or rather both days.... we are pooped. Wiped. Zonked. We have less energy than Brittney on the VMA'S. So technically you would think (since I blogged night before last) that my update should begin with the next morning. OOooooohhh no. No my friends. I managed to create quite a little moment for your amusement only a few short moments after I shut down my little mac for the evening. Ok... so here's what happened. Janice and I were supposed to start the whole tiling process the next morning... on our own. Solo. Sans men folk. We were going to put measure, cut and install the cement board and then continue along the road to tile completion. So - in the middle of the night I popped out of bed as if I had heard tiny footsteps a clattering on the rooftop... except the clattering was my brain. I became overly concerned that our new improved bathtub had nothing supporting it from the bottom. It was installed against a 2x4 batten on the wall... but the base of the tub was just floating. So the only support was the side rim and the base rim... we had bought some spray foam insulation to fill in the base, but we hadn't done that yet. I had this vision of Janice and I standing in the tub putting up tile and things suddenly coming to a catastrophic porcelain cracking finish. So... I crawled out of bed as the Najuch's slumbered... and thought I'd spray the foam under the tub and it would be dry by the morning. So... I got the foam - which is - and I am not making this up - is called "Great Stuff".

What, you don't believe me?

E.T. FOAM HOME 806638.jpg

Doubting Thomasinas. Anyway - So, I felt pretty confident about this stuff because I had used a SIMILAR (take careful NOTE of the SIMILAR) product a couple years ago on a set to act as an adhesive between sheets of styrofoam). Anyway - I felt pretty confident... and I think we've established that condidence and Joel and this renovation process are not frequent hand-holders... so I must have felt PRETTY confident. So - pitter patter in the night.... foam foam... expand expand... go back to bed.... dry dry... next morning TA DA. Right? Right. Nope. I popped (now...take note of the verb 'popped' because it is going to come back to bite me in the ass a few paragraphs from now) on the attached straw nozzle thing (like a fancier version of the hose thing that you stick in WD40 but with an extra bit of plastic at the base). So I shake the can, pop that on, and start to spray.

Foam foam foam. Foam came out... Foam came out of the can...just like it's supposed to, right? No. It came out of the straw....yes... but it ALSO came out of the base of the straw nozzle thing and all over my hands. So... at this point in our life, we have established, that I have little or no aversion left to goo... so I just keep going. Spray Spray... foam foam... until all under the tub on both sides pretty much looks like the nightmare dream of an ad-exec who has a shaving cream campaign due the next morning. So I finish up, put the can away, and i have this crap all over my hands. Who cares, right.

I care. A lot.


It does not come off. And I don't mean 'hee hee a little icky' doesn't come off. I mean none of this industrial foam adhesive is coming off of my hands AT ALL. I have this film that feels like caramel all over both my hands. I do NOT recall this from my previous experience with the other similar foam product AT ALL. I go down to the paint sink. And I scrub. And I scrub. And I try soap. And I scrub. And I try more soap....and I try scouring with a one of those rough green sponges... and I scrub. I eventually try Goo Gone which we used to get off EVERYTHING around here.... and it takes off maybe five percent of it. I tip toe back up and read the back of the can. Use Gloves. Thanks you son of a bitch can bastard. And, in case of contact with skin, all it says is, 'wait until product wears off'. In 2012. I scrub my hands for like fifteen minutes and they still are incredibly goeey and sticky. The stuff doesn't burn or anything... it's just not coming off. It's like one am. I'm tiptoeing through the house past Aunt Cheryl asleep in the foyer to get to the utility sink...and past Bob and Janice to get to the bathroom... and past Rich to get anywhere. Finally I have to go to sleep... and there's nothing Rich can suggest I do and he's asleep anyway. Basically people I was... FOAM ALONE (stay tuned for the sequel, FOAM ALONE 2: still sticky)... so I cover my hands with baby powder.... so at least i won't wake up with a paddle instead of fingers... and I go to sleep like that. Very, very uncomfy.

Two days later it has MOSTLY flaked off. In the morning my hands looked like they were the hands of a 2 million year old mummy... like they'd been in the bathtub for three days. Again - I wasn't in pain... they were dry - but not like 'oh shit I have to go to the hospital" pain. They just were wrinkled and dry and had this cracking awful crust ALL over them. Did you ever put elmers glue on your hands as a kid and let it dry like an extra skin. It was like that - except it didn't peel off and had none of the fun... and sucked the moisture out of your hands. So I spent the day crusty. By lunch I was luckily starting to 'molt'... so I've spent two days like a locust coming out of its chrysalis.

So... while I was molting... we got on with the weekeds work.

Rich and Bob disappeared all day up on the roof. Janice and I developed a theory that they were up there with Long Island Ice Teas on a couple of deck chairs. But apparently not. I went up to collect evidence... and indeed... they did a lot.

First they constructed the McGuyver soon to be patented and available on QVC Giant-Rubber-Roof-Stretching-Down-Pipe-Gravel-Filled-Doo Hinkus. Now I did not witness this... but from what I am told, they put a cap on one end of a piece of pipe. Held it up perpendicular in the foyer sticking up to the balcony entrance. Filled it from the top with gravel. Poured water in. Capped it off.... and THEN CARRIED it up two floors... up two ladders... through the attic... through the trap door... on the roof. Where it did not work.

Ok - that's not fair. It didn't work AS WELL as they hoped. But it was kind of funny, right. Anyway - apparently the rubber is less stretchy than they thought... and the pipes weren't as heavy as they hoped (well - I don't think they hoped they were heavier as they carried them up to the roof....but you know what I mean). Anyway - they do help pull down the rubber to create a clearer channel for water drainage... but it might not be the FINAL solution for the problem But here is a pic of the apparatus:


So, that took them a couple hours. Can't IMAGINE why :) After that they got to patchin'. Of which, I have to say, they did a bang up job. They patched, so I'm told, about seven places in the roof. Which might explain why it was LEAKING! They trimmed off pieces from the giant roll of sheet rubber (that looks like some kind of deranged fabric bolt from a fetish shop) - and then they cleaned each area using solvent, applied the rubber cement, patched the hole, and then removed bubbles with a roller. And voila - Patches. Here is a sampling of some their handi-work.





Meanwhile... back at the bathroom-to-be. Janice and I started tackling the tub. This backerboard is HEAVY. It's not like normal drywall sheet rock. This stuff is heavy and course and not fun to pick up and maneuver... and has 'scratch your tub' written all over it. So FIRST I had the sense to line the whole tub with garbage bags and a cut-out carboard bed to stand on. (All the books said to use a cardboard cutout in the base of your tub when you're working... they must have known we had a lot of a cardboard). So we got the stuff and up measured and then back on the floor and you use this weird tool with a carbide blade to score it.



I scored along the backer-board with this nifty tool using the four foot metal t-square that Janice suggested we pick up a while ago. Snaps for Janice. Doing this freehand would have been a disaster. Basically you score and score and score a couple of times until you have a strong groove - then you slide some two by four under and snap it. Then we hauled it back up into the tub and drilled it in.... but WAIT. You can't just sit it on the edge of the tub for balance.... that would be too easy. You are supposed to leave about a 1/4 of an inch gap between the side of the tub and the backer board base so that there is room for expansion and compression (which you then fill with caulk... yup... my life is caulk). So we used our second favorite material (after caulk) - cardboard - to create a little wedge that we sat the backer board on. Then we screwed in drywall screws.

Now the screws were a matter of some contraversy. I had read that you weren't supposed to use drywall screws but something they call 'backer board screws' (go figure). Rich had been told that you COULD use dry wall screws if you covered them with (three guesses) caulk. This turned into one of those conversations that is resolved with Rich offering to throw me out of the window into oncoming traffic or feeding me to rabid bears. Drywall screws it was :)

So we screwed in the drywall screws with the screw gun. But WAIT. We couldn't just screw them in - because it's CONCRETE you dummy. We of course knew this way before we started... drilling in the SECOND screw. So got another drill - with a drill-bit (rather than a phillips bit) and we drilled guide holes. This was a bitch for to start because we had to drill through the concrete board and then into the concrete wall (the other two side walls were wooden studs). So this was a time-consuming, heft-wielding, very hard to screw-in drilling process. But by lunch-time we managed to successfully fit and measure two big pieces against the back of the bath.

And then realize we had done it....


We had installed them running up vertically. And because the walls are so old and uneven - the two pieces of backer-board were not lining-up flush. There was like an eighth of an inch bump along the seam where they met. Now when you are installing tile.... this is quite an issue. Since last time I looked, tile did not bend. Now - there was a REASON why I thought you logically would do it wrong. I thought it was better to have the most substantial seam running vertically not horizontally in a place where water was involved - because I thought it would be better for the water to run down the seam than potentially collect in it. Right? No. Bob and Rich came up and pointed out that the backer board happened to come in five foot lengths. How long is a bathtub? Five feet. Coincidence. No. You're supposed to run it length wise. i handled this realization very well by having a complete mental collapse. Not quite Norma Desmond end of Act Two... but certainly a touch of the wibbly wobblies. After all... on top of this I had Hands by Frito Lay.

After a commercial break, Janice and I took it all down and started again. But i will say that we had learned quite a bit the first time and this went pretty quick. Measure, score, snap, carboard, drill, screw. We had a system - and Bob actually was quite impressed that I had (on my own volition) figured out using a plumb line at the top of the backboard running down to locate where my studs were running. Do you know what a plumb line is? Ok - you get a piece of string and a weight at the bottom... then hang the top from a screw or something and let gravity do the rest - and the string gives you a perfect vertical line... so if your studs ARE vertical you then can find the stud once with the stud-finder or whatever and then just follow the line down. it saves time. Ok - now your asleep. Anyway -

So we worked at a pretty good rate and cut and we even managed to cut the top of the shower (where the wall turns and angle AND has a curve) with no problem. We used pieces of paper taped together along the wall like a jigsaw puzzle to make a template and then just laid it on the backerboard and traced it - and it worked a treat).

NOT EASILY BOARD shwer-top-edge.JPG

We even managed to score out a hole for the pipe and then knock out the inside of the hole by making lots of little 'shatter holes' with a large nail and a hammer (I read how to do that one :) ). The job really isn't that hard - it's that it's unwieldy and the concrete is very course. It's also tricky to drill the screws in sometimes - because they HAVE to be sunk slightly low (or the tile won't sit flat....AND you can't caulk over them) but they can't be too deep because they'll shatter the board. And you can't put a screw about half an inch away from the edges because that will shatter two. We also had to add some mini-studs fitted into the studwall along which to attach the edges of the backer board (the board ends just over the edge of the tub - which isn't on a 16" stud run).

Anyway - it took a LONG time - but we got the darn thing done. After dinner I started filling the gaps with caulk. Bob had brought a bunch of old caulk tubes from Ohio - and since it's just to fill the gaps and then get completely covered with Mastic AND tile AND grout over top... I used all that old stuff. Which is why some of it is clear, and some of it is brown and some of it is white... It's basically the Amazing Technicolor Caulk Line. But the backer board is up and ready to tile. Except we can't tile yet cuz Bob burst our bubble and says that we should wait to do that until all the drywall is up in the bathroom.


While all this was going on, we had tortured poor Aunt Cheryl with the assembly of a zillion flat-packed bookcases for Rich's and my office. If you hear about a deranged woman with a New England accent take out an IKEA with a sawed-off shotgun...that'll be her. She also managed to do a bang-up job of sanding the other side of the store-front door and getting a nice coat of stain and sealer on it too... so that door is DONE. And makes all the difference in the world, if I do say so.

At the end of the day, I also - believe it or not - actually picked up the can of foam again. There are a few gaps around the cement board (from crumbling old wall - not our fault... much) that needed to be filled in with something before there was something for the caulk to even sit against to make the seal between sheets of the cement. But this time I read the directions. And guess what word I found. Twist. One little word. TWIST on the cap. And I look at the nozzle. And it has grooves. Spiral grooves. Not popping on the cap, folks. Twist. And I tried it. Spin spin spin down it goes and locks very nicely. And I (holding it with a zip lock bag as a glove) press the nozzle. And foam comes out. Of the hose. LIke it's supposed to. So... i'm a big dumb dummy dum dum. But - unlike Po - I can be taught new tricks. We all collapsed into bed. Including Po, who, having managed to be in the right place at the right time, managed to be on the receiving end of two dropped pieces of "All the Meats" pizza which Janice dropped on the floor in the foyer when her paper plate malfunctioned. Happy puppy. Happy puppy with pepperoni smelling poop the next day. Pleasant, huh.

On the subject of the next day... after COLLAPSING into bed, we awoke with the cock. The cock that crows, people...not the... oh NEVER MIND.

We got up early.

Basically the day was spent dealing with a lot of mini-projects. Remember the really nice bathroom vanity that we got on clearance for the bathroom at Home Depot because the left side was dented (and it was going to be against a wall in our bathroom so it didn't matter?). Rich and Bob spent the morning reinforcing the vanity (it's now better-than-new) and getting it all ready to be put in place. While they were doing that got a couple layers of skim-coating on the wall that the vanity was going to live against. We also started major prep for the foyer renovation... namely rolling up the entire carpet. This was predicated by a TRIP TO THE SHIT BOX :)

We loaded up a full Mr. Sparkle load of supplies for the Shit Box and headed over for our first explorative surgery :) We hauled all the stuff into the first floor and Janice and Cheryl started taking measurements of all the rooms so we could start thinking about sheetrock, carpet, and linoleum purchases. Now that I've passed the backer-board test I have a feeling I'm going to be sheet-rocking from here to Kingdom Come.


While she was measuring I became somewhat intrigued with a nifty device she was using that Bob had brought along. In fact... it's worthy of a....


This is the Black and Decker Automatic Tape Measure 51dr1738evl-1_ss400_.jpg

Now - this is a picture I actually pulled off of Is it just me, or does this guy look like he's measuring something.... that well... you would normally measure privately?

Anyway. The funny thing is that I saw this thing at Home Depot in the box and I looked at it and was like "what kind of a lazy-ass loser needs an automatic tape measure". Apparently, I do. See you press this button and a little motor rolls it out so, for instance, you can stand at one end of a room and, without someone holding the other end, the thing will zoom out all the way across the room and then stop when it hits the wall. And then you take the measurement and zoom it back. It's pretty darn fun. And I want one. Not that I would EVER do a product placement on this blog KNOWING that my Mother reads it. Not that I'd EVER suggest that I would be a PERFECT STOCKING STUFFER. Not me.

So they measured the room. Rich and Bob went to work changing the locks. Apparently it some sort of real-estate credo that when you take over a foreclosure you are supposed to change the locks straight away in case the old owners ever try and come back. And murder you in your sleep I presume. Something tells me that in it's current state, no one would ever WILLINGLY return to this location... but we had to change the locks. Now, I was quite shocked to realize how easy it is to change a lock (also how cheap locks actually are to buy, considering they are supposed to keep all your worldly possessions safe. Rich was like "$20?!? Where are all the TEN dollar complete home security guaranteed theft-prevention locks?"). I suppose it's only easy to take the lock out from the INSIDE (which is the point, of course) but it's like NOTHING to remove a lock... four screws and your done. Installing the new one took some finagling, only because they weren't the exact same fit... but they succeeded in swapping them out. And, of course, we kept the OLD door knobs and locks to use somewhere else... so the old homeowners can use their old keys and access all the stuff we REALLY care about - not the crappy shit-box stuff :) :) Ha.

I actually think they should come back for these curtains:

STATUTORY DRAPE weird-curtains.JPG

Now - here's a picture of Rich installing the door. And you know how I've been saying we're exhausted and look like zombies. Well... it may be worse than I'd feared....


"Yes, here in Huntington we're bringing live theatre and brain-eating to the Heat Land."

Then we went back to the theatre and started getting the foyer ready for renovation. Now, campers. Let's put two and two together.... we were in the Shit-box measuring for... what? And what has to come out of the foyer? Yup. You guessed it. We are going to try and RECYCLE the carpet from the foyer in the Shit Box. It's like "Make Do and Mend" during World War Two... just with green carpet. I'm horrified to admit it... but it's actually a smart idea. It's only four years old - we just don't want it in our foyer. It's in fine shape... and there is a huge 12' wide length of it that we can use to replace out all of the old carpet in the shit box that looks like... well... Shit Boxy. It's stained and torn and ragged and stained. And stained. And stained. And THIS is not. So. We rather than just dumping it... we rolled up this big green Loch Ness Monster of a carpet and man-handled it into the back of the auditorium for future use. And yes, Janice is even making us save the carpet padding. Just in case you wondered - rolling up a fifty foot length of twelve foot carpet is not a cake walk. It took four people, two dollies and a whole lot of grunting. And one of those people was Bob. So that's like 49 normal people.


So now there is a giant blank canvas of dirty, gooey, grimy concrete waiting for us attack. Or rather, waiting for us to watch the 'decorative concrete how-to instructional video' we have just ordered and THEN attack :)

GROUND ZERO carpet-gone3.JPG

Janice and I took a stab at starting to drywall the bathroom... and we were going great guns until we realized that we were using two different batches of sheet rock (two separate manufacturers) so YET AGAIN our handiwork was not lining up flush. It's some kind of flush-gremlin, I tell you. But even though our first two installs may need to come down again (after Rich adn I get a batch of matching stuff from the building supply) I've learned how to DO IT... and it's way lighter than the cement board and a lot easier to score and cut. So - that's another skill I have kinda sorta learned. And there's a neat little trick I'll teach you when I write more about drywall later this week. Cuz something tells me there's gonna be a lot of it THIS WEEK. :( Then Bob and Rich hauled the vanity upstairs, and slotted (and I MEAN slotted - it was a tight fit) the vanity against the freshly skim coated wall. And the weekend was pronounced...


And so am I.

Get some rest... You'll need it after reading this monster. xo jo jo.