Life is a Caba-net old chum. October 5, 07.

No way. Way. No WAY. Wwwaaayy.Cabinets. Yes, my beautiful readers, we have begun the great install of aught seven. Someday there will be a plaque - or perhaps a tasteful tableaux at the Historical Society re-inacting this glorious moment in Huntington History.

Before i get to all that: A few tangents. First, the Sweeney Todd trailer is on yahoo movies now. I'm kind of totally unsure of what to say about this yet. It's like the best musical ever (academically - most high-falluting academics usually cite Sweeney as the most advanced example of the musical theatre genre). And apart from being a genius piece of writing, I just like it a whole lot. And this movie musical seems very, very, very UN musical. Like almost all the lines in trailer are spoken - and they are lines which are normally included in the show's songs. So I'm not sure what to think. But it LOOKS cool. Helena Bonham Carter seems to be doing something totally in a different universe from the usual 'so adorable how can she be so evil' Angela Lansbury vein (which I LIKEEEEE DARNIT). And visually, it looks like Nightmare Before Christmas gone Ebenezer Scrooge. So I'm not sure. I want it to be good... so fingers crossed. Heck...we all thought Hairspray was gonna suck. And, if people DO like it and it becomes popular, then maybe it's a show we could eventually do here (which i would really like)... as opposed to trying to do it right now, when NO ONE would come to see it.

In friend horn-tooting news - I have to put snaps out to a) David - who is only forgiven for not commenting on the blog as of late (Jean Anne thinks he's left her for another woman (which just MIGHT be a first for David)) because I'm assuming he is going LOONEY learning eight million bars of harmony music since he just got cast opposite Adam in Forever Plaid. Which is like something he's wanted to do forever. So yay for david our guest blogger/diva extraordinaire. b) One of my bestest bestest friends Anita, who despite entering the business very late in the game has now managed to go from being in the RSC, THEN getting cast (despite refusing under any circumstances to do choreography and says she can't sing) in the smash hit stage musical about 'Take That' the British Pop Band, to NOW as of today, being cast as one of the leads in MAMMA MIA. She got the campy blonde role (Tanya - the role Christine Baranski is doing in the movie) in the International Tour. I can attest to that fact that Anita is infinitely qualified to be both blonde and camp. But she is going to be FANTASMAGORIC and I couldn't be more excited. And she wants to do Shirley Valentine here at some point for the Hoosiers. And she'll have made enough money doing Mamma Mia that she'll can afford to come here for payment in pie and pork.

Rich had to do some web work this morning - so we got started later than anticipated... but that meant I got some beauty sleep. And trust me... if you'd seen me lately... I could be in a coma for 10 years and it wouldn't be enough beauty sleep. So then we were up and at 'em. Amazingly - these things are pretty darn easy to install. The scary hard bit is going to be the countertops, so TGBV (thank God Bob's visiting).

First thing was to bring the appliances back into the room and slot them where they were going to live. We even PLUGGED in the fridge...which Rich found quite an exciting moment - as if he was being reunited with a long lost loved-one.

WHAT IS THIS STRANGE AND UNUSUAL DEVICE? rich-fridge.JPG

Honestly, the hard part is getting the cabinets plumb and level - and holding them up while you screw them. It's definitely a whole heap easier as a two person job - I'd hate to see someone try and do it single handed. But basically, you shim them so that they sit level, make sure you've measured the location of the studs and marked the inside of the cabinet accordingly - and then just screw them into the wall. Voila. It's finicky because you want to get them all lined up correctly (because obviously it's a domino effect... if one is crooked they all line up with each other and are crooked.. and if one isn't level then your countertop is gonna be buggered up) but it's not HARD.

We also got pretty good use out of one of my favorite gadgets - that I don't think I've shared with you yet.

PRODUCT PLACEMENT Ye Olde Laser Level So they come in like a zillion different varieties. A lot of them very fancy and very expensive. But we have one that's very reasonably priced (shocked?) that is supposed to be used for tiling floors - but we've managed to manipulate it into a variety of uses. Today I actually got another one at Home Depot that is more specific to running along walls than floors - cuz it's worth having the right one for the right job).

Anyway - these things can really, really help. They shoot a laser line where you point it - and very often they self-level with a little bobbing thing inside so that your line is always perpendicular etc. And they very often also shoot two lines - so you get a perfect right angle as well. We've been using them to mark along a stud line once we have drywall in... or while installing that or the backer board. And it works great....Here's a picture of the little fella in action:

RED LIGHT DISTRICT laser-level.JPG

See. In this case - you can mark your stud points on the wall with the stud-finder...but once the cabinet is up - you can't SEE your marks. So they don't do you any good. So if you use the stud finder to find where the stud runs on the drywall - you line up the laser line and even with the cabinets in place, it still then guides where you should put screws in the cabinet to hit a stud. Awesome, right? Ok - and the light is pretty, too :) It reminds me of being at Epcot Center when I was like 10. Actually - it reminds me of Epcot Center when I was 32...because they haven't really updated it. ("In the future people will speak outside on PHONES which have NOOOOO CORDS (dramatic music crescendo)").

Anyway - laser level - they are handy dandy. And you can see how nice and straight these puppies went up:

WELL HUNG first-up2.JPG

We managed to get all the cabinets above and around the fridge installed before Bob and Janice arrived. We have very few long-runs of cabinetry (they tend to be a bunch single units spaced out by appliances in between)...but in this one area near the refrigerator we had two drawer sections that were going side by side. So, rather than have to level the two separately, we used a little trick we learned from the DIY channel (which we no longer GET due to shitty crappy baby-poopy Indiana cable....grrr). We laid one cabinet on it's side, laid the other on top and then lined them up and screwed them TOGETHER. So when we laid it back down - they were basically working as one long unit - rather than two little ones. So - half the shims... and half the hassle. It worked a treat. The only hiccup in that whole kitchen sector is that, because the floor is old and a wee bit wonky, the fridge isn't sitting quite level. But apparently they have feet that screw up and down so you can even them out. Neat. So we'll get to that eventually. The other trick DIY channel imparted that was invaluable was REMOVE THE DOORS before you start to install. Not on your house. On the cabinets. This is A HUGE help - because those things will flap around, and get in your way, and whack you in the face and pinch your fingers. And it's a lot easier to hold up a box - and screw it into a stud quickly, when you aren't maneuvering around two sets of doors. And then you just add them back on after. And it probably saves them getting damaged too. Same thing with the drawers - cuz when you're moving those units around they sure like to come flying out and whacking you in the gut. Now that we both have guts. Little ones. But still. Curse you Jean Anne and your pumpkin pie!!! Yes... you heard me....now they have PUMPKIN, dammit.

So Bob and Janice arrived and we gave them the full 'progress survey'. They hadn't seen any of the finished drywall - the concrete board - the installed vanity - the new non-baby-poop paint - and Bob hadn't even seen the 'breakfast nook'. They seemed pretty pleased with the way things were coming along... and after we unloaded what might ACTUALLY be the last of our remaining belongings still living in their garage...we got back to cabinet-ing.

RICH AND JOEL - A-DOOR-ING OUR NEW CABINETS. rich-doors.JPG

In the process of preparing the cabinets that would run along the wall shared by the bathroom and the kitchen, we realized that we actually could fit a wall unit a lot closer to the window than we had thought. Rich originally was concerned that it would protrude in front of the window in a weird way if they were too close-by. But it turned out when we got them upstairs that they slotted in very nicely. So we figured out how to line up a staggered set up cabinets in a configuration where the doors above and below would still line up with each other, and managed to get a whole extra set of cabinets to fit in. Yay. So - while Bob and Rich continued to install, Janice and I did a Lowe's run. We had a shopping list of some other stuff including faceplates for outlets... and as usual, we spent half an hour agonizing over picking out what we thought was the right thing - and being convinced while we were doing it that NO MATTER WHAT we'd get the wrong thing - and then we got home and it WAS the wrong thing. Well - at least we are consistent. In our defense - the boys wanted some rare outlet plug/dimmer switch cover combo that they DO NOT sell at Lowes. But still. I think Bob and Rich call each other beforehand and plan what cockamamie thing they are going to send us out for. And then I think Rich goes online and MAKES SURE it ALMOST exists but definitely DOES NOT exist, and then all nonchalant they say "oh yeah - go get us a lizard-flange. But not a chameleon flange, or a komodo dragon flange. Only a gecko flange. A sixteen millimeter Gecko flange. And make sure it's blue. Sky blue. Cloudy '60% chance of rain' sky blue. You can't miss them. I've seen them there". Yah. Right :).

Oh - speaking of Gecko's. I haven't driven yet because the pack leader forgot to call and find out if I'm covered by the insurance on the car as a learner if I'm listed as one of the OWNERS. Like, if it was JUST Rich's car then we'd be ok - cuz he'd be covered. But if I'm an owner too we're not sure how it works. Because I'm kind of driving on a foreign driver's license. With no insurance. In my own car. Tricky, right? So he forgot to call the cockney lizard people :( So if I fail my test... blame him. I mean - what ELSE does he have to do all day, right? Oh yeah... make sure I don't nail myself in the eye. :) :) Jean Anne tried to get me to drive her car AGAIN today. I was like "Jean Anne - I will only total your car after I've totaled mine FIRST". She kept saying "it's just property" which is very sweet - but it's not what Dolley Madison said while she was yanking crap of the walls of the White House while it burned down around her. And as ever, I wake up every morning and ask 'What Would Dolley Do". But I'm thinking that if I DO get to drive Jean Anne's car... and if I haven't reduced it to the appearance of a sardine can by the time I take my test... it might be good for me to take the test IN her car. Because something tells me it's not easy to parallel park a pickup truck. Right?

Oh, in other Nick's Kitchen related news. Cindy (the fourteen-year tenured waitress/goddess who works there - Helen Hunt in 'As Good as it Gets" - totally stole Cindy's gig) was trying to figure out how to make volley ball pinatas today for a sort of party-favor for her daughters volleyball team shindig-to-do. And of course I got VERY sucked into this whole thing. Because, people, it's something I KNOW HOW TO DO. Do you have any idea HOW LONG it's been since I actually was doing something i didn't SUCK at around here. I'm used to ONLY doing things I think I'm pretty good at. I mean - I have no self-esteem whatsoever - but I think I'm a pretty good director... and a pretty darn good dialect coach... and a pretty damn good Maggie Smith impersonator. And I don't get to do ANY OF THAT SHIT around here. So after spending like that past eight years of my life pretty much in a comfort zone... this construction crap ain't a walk in the park.

So I hear PAPER MACHE and I salivate. I can DOOOO that. Rich had to practically attach a choke chain to my neck. I was ALL ABOUT it. I soooo badly wanted to go over to Cindy's house and make paper mache volleyballs you have no idea. And, ladies and gentleman, I think we all know... they would have started off as pinatas... and by the time I was done going completely OCD they would be more like this:

HOORAY FOR MACHE! volleyball_game.jpg

I wanted to go to the dollar store and get supplies DURING lunch. I wanted to make volley ball sugar cookies and decorate them. I wanted to stage an entire volley ball parade.

Nope. I had to go back and do stuff I suck at :(

But at least I'll have a kitchen. And it's looking pretty great. I'm actually really excited.

Bob and Rich have made major progress... and tomorrow the last of them will get installed and you'll see a lot more drawers and doors and stuff attached. But for now - here's where things stand -

MOST IMPORTANT KITCHEN INSTALL: DIET PEPSI kitchen-half-two.JPG

NO MORE BITCHIN' - IT'S ALMOST A KITCHEN! kitchen-half.JPG

So - in the picture above - in addition to the obvious things (like the missing drawers and cabinets) there will also be another set of identical wall cabinets attached to the left of the one that's already hung. And there will be another set of floor cabinets on the other side of the stove too. The sink will (we hope) get installed tomorrow too - and that goes where that yellow level is sitting. And to the left of that will live our dish washer. Which means... dishes. You may not realize this - but we have been using paper plates and plastic utensils for FOUR MONTHS. It's been like one long picnic...except it ain't been no picnic. :)

So - tomorrow - Janice and I are hydraulic cementing the cracks in the ceiling above the shower - on a wing and a prayer. And then we are going to start the big tile-off. Bob and Rich are gonna cabinet their brains out - and then try and get the counter tops in and maybe the sink too. It's gonna be a reallllly cool day. Almost as cool as paper mache volleyballs. :(

xo jo jo.