A color worth fawning over. Not fawn. Oct 4, 07

Well - it was quite the productive day kids. I wish we had gotten a SMIDGE further along - but first thing tomorrow morning momentous goings on will be happening in our kitchen. After another couple late night hours wigging out over the driver's test written booklet thing, I said at breakfast with Jean Anne and Rich that I figured I was ready to take a stab at it. Jean Anne not only offered to take me...she reshuffled her day. In fact she left Nick's early - leaving young Mason to fend for himself during the crest of Nick's lunch rush. She was just SO eager to watch me crash and burn. Also at breakfast, she mentioned (having seen the pic on Le Blog) that she didn't understand why we hated that color on the walls so much because it looked quite nice in the photo. An hour later she dropped by to ask if she could borrow our ladder. She looked at the walls and said "Oh yeah. That's ugly". :)

After breakfast we fired up Old Faithful (the paint sprayer - which if you point it in a bucket at the wrong angle, could moonlight at Yosemite) to prime the poop off of our walls. The sprayer did its usual dandy job - but primer is REALLY thick stuff - so the normal 'dusting' you get while spraying (particularly in a small room) was a little more intense. I looked like a cross between the Abominable Snow Queen:

JOEL'S ARM, OR A BALDING MALTESE? arm-hair.JPG

And a bad Taylor Hicks impersonation:

SOUL PATROL GOES JOEL PATROL white-hair.JPG

It was awesome to have Jean Anne with me, because the BMV people, of course, all KNOW her. Because everyone in Huntington KNOWS her. So they were super friendly. The LAST time Rich and I had to venture in there... well if you read back to the blog on our very FIRST day in Huntington... you'll see it wasn't all fun and games. With Jean Anne there, though, things were all very chatty and fun... and the BMV girls seemed to find enormous professional fascination eyeing my Bermuda driver's license. I guess it's like seeing a rare stamp if you work at the Post Office. Or a good movie with Cuba Gooding if you're one of the Academy Voters from 1996. They even didn't seem fussed that I didn't have my Birth Certificate (which seems to be BMV identification of choice... which I think is weird... because it's not like it has a PICTURE of you. I mean - of all the things no one's gonna know if it's YOU or not... But - as Rich points out to me... not everyone HAS to have a passport. See - when you grow up on an island the size of...well...a birth certificate... you pretty much HAVE to travel internationally if you want to leave. So most people have passports. It's kind of a foreign concept for me that people might not travel abroad... because I've always HAD to travel abroad to get ANYWHERE. ('foreign concept' gettit? ha!). Anywayyyyyy.... they took my passport very happily and did not seemed to hold a grudge that I had no documentation whatsoever that had to do with my last personal encounter with placenta.'

So - they gave me the test. Now - having now become a connoisseur of driving tests (I've taken one in Bermuda, Manhattan, and now here) it is always very interesting to me to see what yer gonna get. Bermuda is (or was) a truly tragic video/film sort of thing. New York was random print-out series of questions that get shuffled and each person gets a different set of questions. Here it was fifty questions in a leaflet... way more questions than NY. So they sent me over to a little corner with a student desk as if I had been making flatulent noises in home-room and had to be sent off by myself 'to think about what I'd done'. In New York there is a whole section of the building devoted to the testing - and it's very quiet - and there are like thirty people doing it at a time in constant rotation. Like getting on a continual-motion ride at Disney Land except with a greater possibility of humiliation (unless you were like me and burst into tears during Snow White's Wild Ride when the witch jumped out at you. Then it's the same amount of humiliation). So you sit down with your test... and it's in the same room as the whole rest of all the BMV stuff. So you're trying to concentrate on:

"If your tires blow out during a flash flood and you've just run over a cow (while going under 40mph), you should stop for a blind person whenever you see what shaped sign at a railway crossing?- "

WHILE you simultaneously have fifteen people, in small-town Indiana where everyone knows EVERYONE else, chit chatting away like the pick-a-little-talk-a-little ladies in Music Man.

...AND I HEAR THOSE NEW YORK CITY FANCY BOYS USE BABY POOP AS PAINT! 25-pick-a-little-goodnight-ladies.JPG

I mean - it was LOUD. BTW - can we just take a moment to EXAMINE that particular photograph of The Music Man. The costume designer was CLEARLY not gay - Can you TELL me WHY the woman second to the right is OBVIOUSLY wearing the hat belonging to the woman FARTHEST to the right. C'mon now.

So - it was hard to concentrate. My favorite part of my test-time was observing the elderly gentleman, who was trying to get his license renewed, struggle with the eye test. The test here is WAY fancier than NY. Here you stick your face into sort of an optometrist style viewing thing and it's all kind of 3D. Very high tech. In NY the eye test has letters on a bulletin that are pretty much this size:

2630168.jpg

Ray Charles could pass the NY eye test. And I mean he could STILL pass it. Anyway - this ellllllderly guy was trying to pass the eye test "Um...2...no...X....no...Llamda...no....48....I just dunno why I can't see that..." (because you're BLIND Wilbur, honey) and the BMV woman said - and I think I heard this correctly:

"Now Wilbur, we need to you get at least two right".

Nice.

So finally I manage to work my way through the fifty questions. And I was slightly off-put because an inordinate number of them were, I thought, "All of the Above". But there IS that test-writer philosophy (if they are softies) that basically goes "well - if they DIDN'T study the book... at least I can make them read the most important facts NOW". So they list all the things they think are most important for you to learn in an 'All of the Above' sequence kind of MASQUERADING as a test. So there were, I thought, a lot of those going on. And then the sign questions WIGGED me out - because (unlike NY) they weren't pictures of the signs at all. They were only pictures of the SHAPES of signs. I think this might be because they don't want to spring for color printed test sheets). But it was like a picture of a pennant shape and you had to say what the sign was from that. Which gave me hives because I memorized all the cute little PICTURES. And you could only get two of the sign questions wrong and then a trap door opens and you're fed to alligators or something. At the LAST minute (ha HA!) on my double-checking round I realized that I had accidentally gotten the Yield triangle and the Warning diamonds shapes swapped wrong. So I fixed that. And I hoped for the best. I was VERY upset that they did not ask a question based on my favorite quote from the manual:

"The first rule of driving in snow is don't". Direct quote.

So anyway. The nice lady checked it. And they line your multiple choice sheet up with an an answer sheet so you can kind of follow along while she is scanning it.

I got 100%. But they have to have TWO people grade each test to make sure they don't make a mistake. So the next woman checked it. And she said "Well this doesn't happen very often at all... you got them all right". Now, the 'please-like-me-please' eight year old trapped in my body was extremely excited by this (and slightly upset that there was not a parade, balloon drop, confetti, or at least a lollypop). But I tried not to jump up and down too much. Because my "butch football victory lap" looks a little less John Madden and more Gwen Verdon. So I tried to call Rich to tell him... and I realized I don't HAVE his new Indiana cell number in my phone (he finally gave up and got a new phone). So I called Jean Anne (also to let her know I was done) who had gone across the street to the interior decorator place to look for linoleum for the big Nicks forthcoming 100 year old makeover. And she didn't answer. So I try her a couple times. Now - it was a POSSIBLITY that she had developed some weird twisted "take people to the bmv and then leave them there forever" fetish... but I figured she'd be back. THEN her son Mason walks in (he survived lunch). And I'm like "um where's your mom?" and he's like "um where's my Mom?". So we briefly thought Jean Anne had been abducted by aliens who wanted her to cook tenderloins on Mars.

MORK FROM ORK SEEKS BREADED PORK mork1.jpg

But she reappeared holding a very nice flooring sample. So it was a productive half an hour for all concerned. Except, maybe Wilbur.

THEN the lady asks me WHEN I want to book my practical test. And I'm like "well... when does this EXPIRE". Wanting the most possible time I can have because I am probably the crappiest driver since Mr. Magoo. So it turns out I have three months. (Which every single employee at the BMV had a different opinion on because my foreign drivers license thing made it special apparently). So Jan 1. But you can't BOOK a test that far in advance. They only book one two weeks ahead max. Then Jean Anne goes 'HE'LL TAKE THAT. I'LL BRING HIM. I'LL BRING HIM." Like it was FUN. I turned to her and said "Do you like driving people to their root canal surgery too???". So, riding on her wave of completely misguided optimism I agreed to the Oct 19th test date. Eeep. But I can cancel it if I'm not ready. Or if Rich has murdered me while trying to teach me to drive on the interstate. I think being dead is a viable cause for cancellation.

So - that was the BMV. And Rich was very proud of me. Except when he found out that I got a hundred percent he did make that "Why the hell can't I just date someone who will take the test the first WEEK they get here and be happy just to PASS IT". But he knows I'm a freak. If worry had been a major in college I would have gotten my PHD.

While all THAT was going on, Rich went to Sherwin Williams (at which, by the way, you CANNOT 'Ask Sherwin Williams' anything because, having founded their company in 1866, Messrs. Sherwin and Williams have long since glossed their last semi). There he picked up our NEW non-baby-poop colored kitchen paint. In satin. You may have seen that Janice posted a blog comment yesterday that heartened me enormously...apparently she too had fallen prey to the evils of the 'I show absolutely every flaw in your wall' evilness of the semi-gloss and swore never to do it again. If only we'd mentioned it to her before we bought the paint. But then we just would have had NON SHINY baby poop...which is only moderately better.

So we lumbered back up the stairs with the sprayer and, after ten minutes and both of us walking out looking like Big Bird... the room was a very nice buttercream. And wooooah Nellie does it look BETTER. Huge improvement. Even Wilbur could see it. And after those little extra touches of joint compound....and without the shiny paint...the walls looked like they were in REALLY good shape. We have also learned since a little tip...which I will now share:

LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES: We were told too late, but if you want your walls to be REALLY smooth - DON'T use a paint sprayer. Because unlike a roller which will 'smoosh' down against a raised area (and kind of skim over it) and fill in a deeper area with more paint... the SPRAYER deposits a perfectly even amount of paint on each bump. So the bumps end up being more pronounced. It's like watching the pile of sand build up as the hour glass runs out. So - THAT'S WHY our initial screw holes and tape marks looked so much worse than we thought they were. Voila. We suck. :)

Anyway - we were pretty excited about the yellow.

A YELLOW THAT DEFINITELY MADE RICH MELLOW happy-rich.JPG

Or maybe it was the paint fumes. But since we knew the walls had to get good and dry (because the sprayer lays the paint on in quite a hefty layer), we set up a couple of Rich's tornado fans, and headed downstairs to have a cabinet lay-out pow-wow. In the afternoon, while I was filling in multiple choice circles (ALL CORRECTLY (did I mention that? Huh, huh???)) he had set up the cabinets in their formation downstairs in the lobby just to make sure everything was as it should be. It was as it should be according to his original plan. But not as he wanted it now. Looking at them all lined up, Rich got the heeby jeebies because, since the cabinets were varying widths, the doors were ALSO varying widths. And he thought, all lined up next to each other in order, they looked weird. And it really bugged him. Amazingly, this did not perturb me... but I COULD see his point. I was more perturbed by the fact that the wood grain on the drawer units ran perpendicular to the grain on all the OTHER cabinets. Which just seemed weird. So Rich sat with his drawings and his calculator - and did that kind of disturbing and yet adorable thing where he looks at something like the math freak from that Russel Crowe movie, and smoke comes out of his ears, and then eventually his eyes spin around and cherries line up and bells ring. And he figures it out. And he did. So he managed to shuffle things around... and without losing any cabinet space, OR having to move the stove from being centered between the windows, he figured out a way to make it all work with cabinets of the same size. And get the drawers off together on their own. And because of the weird way they price the cabinets at Lowes, it might even cost us like a hundred bucks less. Except we did not HAVE those cabinets. So - we headed to Lowes. And got the cabinets (and I managed to score by talking him into getting us an extra cabinet that goes above the fridge that's kinda cute). So, after dinner at Steak and Shake (where I narrowly escaped the lure of the Caramel Apple Milkshake), we came home. And were tired. I kept bouncing up and down like a six year old who had to pee, saying "cabinets...cabinets...cabinets..." but Rich thought we should let the paint dry overnight to be sure. Grrrrrrrr. As my CONSOLATION prize he screwed in one outlet face plate for me. Big Spender.

RICH FINDS AN OUTLET FOR HIS CREATIVITY rich-electircal.JPG

Which means - tomorrow - we're gettin' up early (I say, finishing the freakin' blog at 2:51 am!) and we're makin' a kitchen!

Before I go...here's a sneak peak of the kitchen linoleum (hanging out with a cabinet piece and a countertop sample - from our paint swatch choosing session). kitchen-linoleum.JPG

And - since it was in the same stack and the camera was pointed... here's the two carpets we bought for the shit box:

shit-box-carpets.JPG

OHhhh - I almost forgot. After four months of loyal service on this project - with us through every day and every step - we have had to let-go a member of our team.

My sneakers. They were totally worn through the back and were killing my feet. BUT they went out in a final, heroic push, giving their last breath to get me through the paint spraying blitz.

HE WORKED HARD...AND WAS NEVER A LOAFER paint-shoe.JPG

k. gnight. jojo