Ur-ine deep shit. Sept 21, 07.

Well it's a good thing I write the blog - because I'm the only one in the family left who's not down for the count... I'm waiting for somebody to put up a quarantine sign. So - before I get any further - I have to address the issue that I know has been plaguing the whole blog-iverse for the past 24 hours. There ARE more lyrics to Jimmy Crack Corn... According to Wikipedia: One early version went thusly:

When I was young A us'd to wait On Massa and hand him de plate; Pass down the bottle when he git dry, And bresh away de blue tail fly. refrain (repeated each verse): Jim crack corn — I don't care, Jim crack corn — I don't care, Jim crack corn — I don't care, Old Massa gone away.

Two further verses show the singer being told to protect his master's horse from the bite of the blue-tail fly: An' when he ride in de arternoon, I foiler wid a hickory broom; De poney being berry shy, When bitten by de blue tail fly. One day he rode aroun' de farm, De flies so numerous dey did swarm; One chance to bite 'im on the thigh, De debble take dat blu tail fly. The horse bucks and the master is killed. The slave then escapes culpability: De poney run, he jump an' pitch, An' tumble massa in de ditch; He died, an' de jury wonder'd why De verdic was de blue tail fly.

I just can't IMAGINE why the rest of the lyrics weren't on the tip of our tongue. I am now looking greatly forward to the possibility of forty clean scrubbed cute-as-a button toe-tapping caucasian youths in flannel singing: "i used to wait on massa and hand him de plate". This kind of entertainment we just didn't get back home in Bermuda, kids.

I would also like to point out that even though I have read the ENTIRE set of lyrics to the song...I still have no f-ing idea what 'cracking corn' is or how one does it.

So. Rich is down for the count. Po is under the weather. Janice is here without Bob - which means somewhere a band should start playing 'Nearer My God To Thee".

WOMEN AND WIENERS FIRST urine-trouble.JPG

So - the day started with Po's ailment's coming to a head... or rather the other end. She continued to have substantial plumbing issues through the night. The vet called us first thing this morning (yay vet) and they fitted us in at 2:30 - so that got slotted into the agenda. First thing on the day's docket, however, was unfortunately to deal with the living room carpet, which, as much as I hate to admit it, Po's bladder problem has finally sent home to Jesus. We just can't stop her going in a certain area - and it's now bad enough (since she can't seem to hold-it) that we agreed...perhaps... the carpet had to go completely and be replaced with either some kind of wood flooring - laminate or something - or linoleum. A big part of last nights Lowe's trip was examining our options. We found a very cheap parquet that is JUST LIKE the one in our old apartment (so we know it's po accident proof - as long as it's rarely...which it had better be). There were a couple of the snap-together laminates we thought were nice, and inexpensive, - but I worry about them getting damp and buckling if she does have an accident. The linoleum in the living room will just make me feel like I'm living in some sort of assisted living facility. But then Janice had this nifty idea - she took pity, I think, because she knew how attached I was to FINALLY have carpet back in my life. The problem Po location is all in one corner of the room - where we have our breakfast table... so what if we got a really nice linoleum remnant and made it like a breakfast nook. GENIUS.

So we went back to Leemon's (fake spelling on purpose) where the very nice guy who we don't think necessarily plays on our team, but maybe once-or-twice has considered collecting the bubble gum cards... helped us out. He's really very helpful and did a great job before helping us find carpet for our offices. And he was super nice today too. As ever, we picked out the most expensive linoleum in the place by complete coincidence (it's a gift... it's a curse) but since he had a six by seven remnant of it - we got it for half the price. And it's really, really pretty. So tomorrow - that's the first thing we're going to do - and we have our fingers crossed that it will a) fix the po smell... since we've removed the primary trouble area... and b) give her a place where if, god forbid, she has an accident - it will be un-soak-in-able. And I, at least for a day or two, have a reprieve on the carpet's total demise. We also got seduced by a bottle of URINE GONE (catchy title) which was on the counter and promised to basically eradicate all urine from your carpet, your house, your bladder, and the entire musical theatre genre. Twenty bucks. Now - Ladies and Gentleman - you KNOW that if Rich AND Janice simultaneously agree to spend $20 on anything in a spray bottle that is NOT either liquid plutonium OR a very rare perfume Janice likes called 'Red' which can only be found in Guam every fourth lunar eclipse.... well you KNOW that the carpet had wiener wee wee issues.

After the lightning round of linoleum shopping I had to go to do my catering gig with Jean Anne. It was at the Stride Rite factory - so everywhere you looked there were these:

FRIED RITE stride_rite_shoes.jpg

Awwww. I might not be overly fond of children - but they're feet sure are cute.

We had so much fun. Even though this was 140 servings - it was so much easier because it was buffet style - not boxed lunches - so it really was just loading in, setting up, replenishing low tenderloin thresholds, and cleaning up. I think Jean Anne likes me because I do things like, between crowds, stirring the mayonnaise bowl so the miracle whip looks nicely whipped again. She likes that I'm a freak. It's kind of like staging a play...with more cole slaw. We got to chit chat lots as we were setting up, and gab, and laugh. Somehow, I was telling her the story about the cake bakery woman we ran into in Sandusky with the forty cakes in her shopping cart checking out of Walmart. Wearing a big tee shirt that said "Betty's Cakes". And she told us she'd put three kids through college using cake mixes and adding 'seven secret ingredients". To which Bob later said "yeah: water, sugar, eggs, oil, icing..." So - if I ran a CAKE business and I was gonna buy cake mix at Walmart - I would drive AN HOUR away from my business, go shopping for them at 3am, and dress like this:

disguise.jpg

ANYWAY - But anyway - somehow I was telling her that story (I think because I was asking her if there was a 'Nick's kitchen secret recipe book' that got handed down from owner to owner or something. (there kind of is)). Jean Anne then said that she had met a guy who had done a wedding cake using betty crocker cake mix as a 'starting point'. And I said "well did he just tell you that privately because you're in the food business...or was he open about it to the client". And she said the BRIDE was the one who had to get the cake mixes. BUT - it turns out this guy wasn't like a full-time baker... apparently he did it for her as a friend. BECAUSE he was trained to bake and decorate cakes... in the Navy.

Now, kids. If I had known that you serve your country by decorating cakes, I might well be fighting Terrorism one piped rose at a time.

I WANT THAT FONDANT SMOOTH BY OH-FOUR-HUNDRED OR THEY'LL BE HELL TO PAY jim-powers-sailor-jpg.jpg

I also told Jean Anne about my subversive plan to usher in the collapse of fake-Amish-pork-barking-Pie-Oneer Phestival-Bastard by Rich and I wearing our giant pork shirts and just standing quietly next to his booth all weekend during the Phestivities. She thought this was pretty darn great. Rich feels we have more pressing matters to attend to. Y'know... if you can't help thy neighbour....

So - we were done with the Tender-labors in only two hours - include returning to Nicks and unloading. So i came home... where Janice and Rich had EATEN WITHOUT ME :( - but Janice made me my sandwiches - so I felt special anyway :) They also went on a walmart run where they got a bunch of portable space heaters on massive sale. I was very confused why Rich has been so obsessed and staring at these fans longingly every time we pass them, waiting for them to be price-reduced at the end of the season. (Keep in mind - we already have a few fans). He had one of them set up in the new kitchen like a kid at christmas. I said "Well it IS pretty powerful". He said "That's only on low.. put it on high... it'll blow you away". I said "Is that why you bought it". Rich: Silence and thoughtful smile. Eep.

They had started in on the sheetrock extravaganza... and already managed to do the wall which butts up against the Secret Space.

You know about the Secret Space, right? Recap - behind the brick wall which runs between our bedroom and where our new kitchen will be - in front of which is housed the giant air boiler heat air conditioning technical thing I don't understand. Rich made a hole to peek behind (I swear in a former life he was a mole) and found that there was a room just like our offices that was between and just walled up. So - anyway - someday it will be a glamorous guest-room cum excercise nook - but for now... it's a secret space. So they sheetrocked the wall leaving a crawl-cubby.

Then it was time for Janice and I to take the weiner to vet...Rich was going to stay behind and try and continue sheet-rocking... but his foot had been really starting to bother him... so he'd do his best. And ice his foot like a good boy.

WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE QUEEENicing-foot.JPG

So they saw us very quickly... and the vet said that sometimes they have a delayed reaction to the vaccine, so she gave her some cherry-flavored medicine for 'the runs'. Which Po gets twice a day and sucks down like it's cheesecake laced with crack. So that's good. We asked her about the peeing issue. She said that it would just take time. She doesn't underSTAND my carpet is on death row... the governor is NOT going to grant a reprieve... i have nooooo timmmmme.

She suggested we put a little baking soda in her water. What does that do, I asked. "Well" she said "... it kinda tastes crappy". Veterinary Science... cutting edge folks. Then - now this is really pretty funny - I asked her, just out of curiosity, where the microchips were that they implanted in her last time.... I actually asked at first because I wondered if she was having an allergic reaction to the microchip - since she's friggin' allergic to EVERYTHING ELSE. The vet said no. And said the chips were up in her back haunches and kind of pointed in that area. I was curious... so I said "can you show us how they work". She said 'sure'. Keep in mind the dog was implanted with TWO chips. Not one. Two. So the vet get the magic wand chip-sensor thing that looks kinda like an airport metal detector and runs it over the dog. Not a thing. She runs it some more. Not a thing. "hmmmm" says the vet. She runs it over some more. "Well" she said (now keep in mind I actually really do LIKE this vet - she is really nice and seems quite smart) "This wand doesn't work a lot of the time - so that might be it." Silence "Can we try another wand" I asked. "Sure" she said. She goes and gets another wand and runs it over the dog. Distinct lack of beeping. She runs it up Po's back, against her butt... under her chin. She's like "I don't understand this.. I put them in myself". I start half-jokingly pointing out that it could be quite the racket 'implanting' microscopic microchips in animals and actually not implanting a darn thing. She promises me it is there...somewhere... and I point out that, although I don't doubt her, if indeed the dog WAS lost, is it likely that the person who found her would spend seven hours searching every orifice with the wand in the hopes that it might beep. Or was it perhaps more likely that if it DIDNT' beep, that they would, naturally figure, she was just one of the EIGHT BILLION DOGS that DOESN'T have a microchip. At this point the vet has tried a THIRD wand. She went out into the other room and came back. "You have to hold down the button on the wand" she said sheepishly. She's never had to scan one herself before. She scanned. Beep. Safe doggy: yay. Malpractice fake-microchip lawsuit out the window: boo.

So - we came back and Rich had started in on the bathroom area... but couldn't install the drywall because his foot was really bothering him. Today was the day his insurance stuff was supposed to arrive in the mail and his mother and i asked him it had come. "I don't know" he said "I've lost the mail"... which.... in his defense... is easy to do in 10,000 square feet.

Turned out he had gotten his days confused and he HADN'T gotten the mail out of the box office yet. It had arrived! Hurray! BUT it said that the policy started on Sept 5 - not Sept 1. Like is was supposed to. No big deal... right? BIG DEAL. His other policy ended on the 1st because this one was supposed to start.... SOOOO.... any prior condition - they don't have to cover if there is a space when you are uninsured. Really. Fun, right? So he called them... got it sorted out. yay. So finally Rich can get his gimpy foot looked at. Janice takes him to the emergency room. Now, later in the evening I learned that this is the FIRST time in his entire life his mother has needed to take him to the emergency room. Which demonstrates A) how hard it is to get Rich to go to the doctor and B) apparently Rich is made of Teflon. But seriously - lets examine what happens if Rich's foot is broken. And I had not truly contemplated this. It means a CAST. That means - Rich can't do anything around the house, the theatre, the shit box. For weeks. That also means Rich can't drive. Which means we are completely totally fucked. And pretty soon either we have to eat Po or she will eat us. And my money is on Po.

So - I am left (with the able assitance of the incontent dachshund) to sheet rock by myself. I didn't do too bad. I didn't do great, but I didn't do too bad. This problem is the corners of this stuff. It's heavy - and whenever you manipulate it on your own, your tempted to try and slide it or rest it on a corner and pivot. DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO DO THIS. It always, no matter how clever you think you are, it always shatters on you. And then it puckers up and then you have a blump on your wall. Whatever a blump is. So I had that frustration... but I did ok. The other challenge we have is that the two different trip-loads of drywall we got on different days are DIFFERENT WIDTHS - by like an eighth of an inch... so every once in a while you go into a zone and you grab a piece of the wrong stuff and spend time measuring and trimming and cutting and screwing and then realize you have a big ski jump in your wall. Nice.

Janice and Rich arrived back with take-out and the happy news that Rich's foot was not broken. It WAS badly sprained. So he has to ice it three times a day AND take ibuprofin. Which, as we have established, is like politely asking a cat to take a shower. He ALSO has to wear this very fashionable footwear:

JIMMY (NO ONE WOULD WILLINGLY) CHOOS foot-one.JPG

SPRAIN! I'M GONNA LIMP FOREVER...BABY REMEMBER MY PAIN...SPRAIN! foot-two.JPG

So for the rest of the evening all progress was left to the firm of Dumb and Dumber. Me and Janice. Ok - you know what - rocked the casbah. And while we had further adventures with templates Po, (since it was less likely that she would have a disaster in our presence) served as shop-foreman.

INSTALLING SHEET-DACHS sheet-dach.JPG

Janice and I did pretty darn well on our own. We got the my wall totally sheetrocked and made a big ol' dent in the bathroom... (ok, and a few dents in the sheetrock)...which is RIFE with angles and things that need notched and very tight spaces that it is easy for two ding-bats to mess up. Rich seemed to take a minor amount of glee in having a total get-out-of-jail-free doctors-excuse-from-gym-class issue and would occasionally snicker from his adjacent office. We bravely ignored him and we worked all evening until around eleven.

And just look: (and I can't show you all the parts of the bathroom, cuz the camera just can't get a good angle in such a small area):

SHEETROCK AROUND THE CLOCK kitchen-dryw.JPG

kitchen-dry2.JPG

AND - Janice even remembered that before we wall up the other side we have to install a support stud for our bathroom towel rack. We used a very finite technical means of marking this for future reference:

BOB VILLA WAS not HERE towelrack.JPG

We rounded out the evening with further bladder-related-whimsy. At wallmart - they had decided to pick up a black light, since the guy at the linoleum store said you could use one to detect urine stains and then use the product everywhere you found a problem spot. Now since this carpet already has some VISIBLE stains that we INHERITED - i felt that this might be an exercise in absolute terror of Fear Factor proportions. But - we we gave it a shot.

C.S.-WHY? star-wars.JPG

What we did not factor-in was that the carpet... has light grey flecks in it. Everywhere. So the blacklight basically turned the whole carpet into snow. Marmaduke and Sea-Biscuit could have taken a Guiness-Book leak in that room and you wouldn't have been able to tell a freaking thing. It did however make the apartment look like a happening Indiana night-spot. And technically since the last bar Rich and I went to in Fort Wayne was completely empty... it COULD be a happening Indiana night spot.

So - as if the day had not provided ENOUGH to blog about... when i took Po out for her final (please god) pee of the night, we encountered this:

THINGS YOU DON'T SEE IN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN biker-dude.JPG

Now think about this is not only a gigantic biker with a Shitzu on our street at 11:00pm. It's a biker with a Shitzu who was just dandy with me going back inside, getting my camera, and taking a picture. Apparently she just sits in her little back-seat happy as a clam while he drives everywhere. I have nothing to add.

Well - that's it. They are all tucked into bed... and they'll never believe the blog took this long to write... so i better catch as many zzz's as the gulag will permit :) I was GOING to go take my CPR class thing tomorrow - BUT - now with Rich out of commission it's not really fair to leave Janice here solo. So - I'll just wait a couple weeks (or maybe we can find another course nearby but not in Huntington).

Ok... sleep. xo jo jo.