Fri: Joel suffers a mortar blow. Sat: Two ding-dongs get Ram-a-lama-d. Oct 12/13

What a weekend, kids. And it ain't even over. Sometimes on weekends you have to forgive me if there is a lack of blog in your life. When Bob and Janice come it means we are working very solidly - and I need to get up early than usual. And since the blog usually takes me until around 2:00am to finish - then the next day I'm totally pooped. So it makes more sense for me to concentrate on the DOING and then when Bob and Janice head off in the sunset, to then concentrate on the TELLING. In fact we are so busy that we aren't even gong to get to see the local community theatre production of Hello Dolly which I had really wanted to catch. It's a show that we have on our roster for the first couple years (were hoping to lure a certain friend of Regis that I've directed before to play Dolly). So it would have been very useful to see how they approached it. But - alas. We'll have to catch their next show :(

We have also been so busy as beaver-like that I wasn't even able to bring everything to a grinding halt to watch the broadcast of Legally Blonde which I have been DYING to see for months now. The tivo was watched like a hawk - and every half hour or so I would double check it hadn't accidentally switched over to record one of the eight zillion Reba episodes it captures for Rich. I have to say - the filming looked AWESOME and the cast looked like they were in top form. I'm so excited. My guess is that MTV is hoping to spin it into a Hight School Musical sort of revenue with all kinds of paraphanalia for kids to buy... and good for them. I can't think of anything better than getting Broadway in the mainstream of youth culture - AND I couldn't be happier about any other show getting that kind of exposure. Love it love it love it. It's still going to be repeat broadcast a couple more times... make SURE you watch it. MTV. Seriously - best time Rich and I had in Broadway theatre in like two years.

So - to business. Well - Friday was not as productive for me as I might have hoped. Rich and Janice went full throttle in the morning - trips to the dump, runs to Big Lots, trips to the hardware store. They accomplish more by the time I get up sometimes than I do in a week. It's tragic, really. Jean Anne took me for a driving lesson (when I SHOULD really have been tiling with Janice - but this drivers' test is in five days - if I'm gonna have a hope in hell of passing (or not chickening out and canceling) then I need to drive more than once every two days.) The good news is, I seem to have recovered from my weird inability to see Stop signs. Jean Anne is convinced I'm gonna be fine on the test - but I haven't parallel parked at all - and I have to do it in a PICK UP. Jean Anne was amazingly kind (and foolhardy :) ) and offered that I could use her car - but her car is the Pork-mobile and does a whole lot of catering transport. So it's no small vehicle. It's more like parking a stretch limo - and the blind spots are wicked tough. Soooo it's a trade off. I think I can learn to park the truck easier - but I have to get time to practice.

We all know I'm totally gonna chicken out and cancel right? I mean - you're probably running bets.

So much has been going on around here that I think i'll let pictures do a lot of the talkin' for me - if'in ya don't mind. BTW Cindy has pictures of her glorious pinatas - which she has promised she will send to me. Or rather, she will have her technologically advanced 13 year old email them to me (maybe that's why people have big families... so that they can keep current with the stuff only kids can understand! That's what my Mom needs... a 13 year old. Can ya rent 'em? No Cindy - you CANNOT send Brent to my Mother. Unless we Fed Ex him.).

One of the first projects Rich tackled this weekend (in the great "Oh crap...Bob's coming and we haven't gotten enough done" rush of the week) was the new flourescent light in the kitchen. You may recall the old one dangling over Adam's head precariously... well look how worthwhile his sacrifice would have been:


MORE OVAL-KEEN PLEASE! light-installed.JPG

Interesting thing about this lighting fixture. Rich and Janice actually saw these at that big Home Depot close-out months ago...but they didn't get them, cuz Rich was afraid I wouldn't like them (which kinda surprises me... because they managed to pick out a bunch of other stuff... so I'm not sure how THIS was the item that really caused a conundrum?). But then Rich and I were wandering through Lowe's trying to pick a kitchen lighting fixture for like the zillionth time... and I pointed out that one. And Rich had a "I could have had a V8" moment. Except it was I "I could have paid a crap-load less for this freakin' lighting fixture" moment. ALSO it happens to be the EXACT same fixture as the ones in Rich's office at Columbia (the Business School...not the country...although that could have been a fun Romancing the Stone adventure twist). So it kind of amazes me that he is ok having them in his kitchen without twitching. BUT - he was the one who picked out the fixtures... so he musta liked them then too. :)

And, pretty much by the time Bob arrived, "Team Tweedle" (since we learned that TWO CERTAIN pack-leaders have been referring to their spouses as Tweedle Dee and Teedle Dum (I guess Po is Tweedle Pee). It transpires that while Bob and Rich are in a nearby room they listen to Janice and I conversing trying to work our way through our UNDERSTANDABLE AND NOT-AT-ALL-AMUSING INEXPERIENCE in the FACE OF ADVERSITY as if they are listening to Hee-Haw. We have become DIY Laugh In. Great. Anyway "Team Tweedle" had managed to get this much tiling accomplished in the shower. Not bad.


We would have gotten MORE accomplshed - but we ran out of Thin Set. BTW I know I keep referring to the same thing multiple ways - bascially - from what I have gleaned in my many seconds of experience - is that the glop that cements the tile is referred to as Thinset, Mortar, and Mastic. I have no real understanding of why they are different - and I'm sure one day I'll find out when it bites me in the ass. But - till then - they all mean the same thing. Goop. So we ran out of goop. Which mean that Janice and I had to take a trip to Lowes. And you know what that means.

They give us a list.

And that always just turns out PERFECT. Janice and I might as well play pin the tail on the donkey - put on a blindfold - spin each other around and pick out the first thing we see... because we spend hours trying our best and always come back with the WRONG thing. This time we were sent to get a drawer pull/cabinet handle template. Got the wrong thing. We were sent for metal L brackets. Wrong thing. NOW THIS WAS NOT OUR FAULT. See - there are TWO kinds:

We were told to get a 1 inch long L shaped mending plate. We called Rich. Twice. It is VERY hard to describe the difference between the two of these ON THE PHONE. Try it - call up a friend and see if you can get them to understand the difference. And after about forty five seconds you will start losing your marbles.

L-SHAPED ANGLE DOOHINKUS angle-plates-2631.jpg

L SHAPED ANGLE DOOHINKUS corner-boores-2625.jpg

I rest my case.

Now - thing that made this particular trip to Lowe's a "Very Special Episode of the Joel and Janice F-Up Show" was that we not only screwed up the BOYS order. We screwed up the stuff we went to get FOR OURESELVES. I bought the wrong Thinset. See, the stuff is made by this company called Latricrete - and it comes in a white bag with turquoise and black writing. And it's very identifiable. Except they are apparently THREE DIFFERENT kinds that are identifiable the SAME way. I got the stuff home. I cut it open. I started mixing with my little cup and my bottle of water. And immediately it felt different. This was granier. I looked at the bag - it looked EXACTLY the one that I'd had before. I was pretty darn sure. I just decided I was nuts. So I tried to stick up a patch of tile. It just DIDN'T feel the same. I waited a few minutes - I peeled it off way too easily. Rich at this point thinks i have Terettes because I'm talking to myself like a loon and getting really quite flumoxed. I decided to compare the two bags - but the other bag got thrown out while Janice and I were on our convoy. So I start going through the trash. Now - you know how I said I've gotten used to goo. I have. I have NOT gotten used to trash. I just don't like going through trash. I don't like the dump. I don't like the trash. Sue me. But I dig around like Po looking for filet mignon in a haystack and can't find it. Finally, after opening and tearing through six bags of ickyness I look to my side and there it is. The empty bag was sitting all on it's ownsome leaning against the wall with the other trash. Not hidden. Not in a bin. Not in a bag. Just sitting there waving hello.

So I get the back upstairs. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I was right. Now - I will say that there was a certain satisfaction in knowing that I had not lost my mind. But I was very very very bummed. The stuff I got was for flooring. Which doesn't have to fight gravity - hence it had nowhere near the grip. The stuff that we HAD been using - which they had chosen for us at Lowes, was called Spectraset. According to the description "latrictrete Spectraset Multipurpose Thin-Set Mortar is a superior polymer modified bagged cementious thin-set powder to be used with ceramic tile" (makes you want to curtsey, don't it?). And all I knew was that it was gooey-er. And Janice and I had no way of getting back to Lowe's before it closed (someone has to open a 24 hour hardware store, right? Because the same people that do pop and get the munchies at 2am MIGHT get the urge to install Pergot, no?). So - Janice and I were screwed. Mastic-us interruptus.

I think there was only one thing we didn't screw up while getting stuff at Lowes. While we were there we realized that if we were going to use black grout in the shower - it created a caulking conundrum. White caulk would look all right along the top and tub edge - but anywhere else it would look AWFUL. We found a caulk that was manufactured to match the floor grout exactly ('silver shadow' - didn't Ben Affleck play him in a movie?)... but that didn't help the shower any. Janice turned and said... "Well, can you get black caulk". "Yes", I said - "it just comes in much bigger tubes".

And that's why they don't let us out in public.

Meanwhile - the boys had managed to do all kinds of stuff including install the dishwasher. washer-install.JPG We inherited this dishwasher from a super-nice neighbor of Janice's in Marblehead. It was in fantastic shape and we were soooo grateful. It had the teeniest dent in the face plate... Rich switched it round to the white side (which matches the other appliances better anyway) - and voila. It looks... faboo. Not that desiree looks like a dishwasher.

Also, Keith, the Abercrombie Plumber came to install the flange. (The MEDIUM flange. It matters, so they say). While he was here, he apparently claimed to have been MISQUOTED on the blog. (I'll address the Huntington Blog Fans later in this installment). So - in order to uphold the integrity of the Blog (or as they call it in press-circles - "The Old Pink Lady"... Here's what I said: And, in his professional opinion, when I asked him, he said it ‘would probably not explode’. Now - I supposed I could have worded this better. But I said TO Keith: "So, you don't think it will explode". He said "Probably not". So - I'm not sure if I can be sued for liable or not. By Keith. The rest of you... go right ahead. The only thing I got you can take is THIS giant pile of joint compound - and then YOU'LL be the one tiling it at 11pm. Anyhoo - sorry Keith. Desiree, (Mrs. Keith) was concerned that I had described her as 'faboo'. She was concerned it might be an acronym for something undesirable. Or even un-desiree-able. Faboo is a British slang. Fab, in England, is short of fabulous. Faboo (rhyming with shamuu - but with no otherwise association) is something which has SURPASSED being fabulous and moved in a higher stratum of awesomeness. For instance:

BRAD PITT VOLUNTEERS TO TILE OUR KITCHEN - FAB: _celebs_photos22_brad-pitt1.jpg


So - anyway - it was decided that we would get up early. No, really, early - like real people early - not Joel early. And get the stuff we screwed up for the boys too. So we went. They did NOT have the tile spacers we were running low on (and had been pathetically recycling as if we were under rations in WWII) - they had 1/4 and 3/8, but they were out of 1/8. Lowes out of tile's a conspiracy. Janice found the CORRECT drawer pull placer thingy... and I got the spectraset. Put it in the cart... paid... and got it to the truck. Whereupon a giant cloud of grey dust exploded into our faces. The bag had a hole in it. Not our fault. In fact... you could follow an amusing trail of grey dust in a line from the exit doors all the way to our parking space. And when we went inside to get a new bag - there was a cute pile of grey dust, like the bottom of an hour glass, by the cash register. I'm glad it didn't rain - cuz there might still be a couple people thin-set to the parking lot.

And then we headed home. And we were in a car crash.


No. I was NOT driving... THANK GOD...because if I had been we all know that I'd probably give up all together. Janice was driving (Mr. Sparkle - our car) and she was heading towards the ramp, and there was another car passing so she had to give way. So she stopped. And a sixteen year old girl rear ended us. Pretty hard. Janice's water bottle flew across the car. Actually - I'm kind of surprised the airbags didn't go off. We didn't fly into the middle of the freeway or anything - nobody was in front of us - so that was all good. She just really WHACKED our butts. Janice just turned and said a word my Father would not like on the blog. Hint: It rhymed with Fuck. We got out. As soon as we got out the kid said "I'm sorry... I thought you weren't going to stop". Well guess not Einstein. Janice and I looked at the truck - which appeared on the surface to be unscathed. And her car seemed fine too. But Janice - smart cookie she - said that because she didn't know enough about cars to tell - we should get her info. So we got her license number and registration and all that stuff. And headed home a little shaken. Now, I do have to give snaps to Janice, because she is not a woman I enjoy getting peeved... and she easily could have eaten this girlie for breakfast. But she was very gentle. But got everything we needed. Snap snap snap.

We got home... Rich was relieved that I wasn't driving. Because a) it wouldn't be an insurance problem b) he wouldn't have to kill me and get blood on the tile before it was sealed. The boys went down and looked at the truck and discovered that it did indeed have a dent. And, to be honest, the jolt was a pretty hefty one and my back wasn't feeling 100%. I mean - I wasn't paralyzed or anything - but I have a bad back and I can't do anything at all like jumping jacks even that's high impact or I suffer it for long time. And this was like one GIANT jumping jack. So it was sore. And Janice was sore too. So they figured we needed to report it to the insurance in CASE we have a problem and need to go see a doctor or anything - and because of the dent. So - we all - Janice, Rich and I spent a good hour on the phone with the cockney lizard people. Who seemed very efficient and nice and are taking care of stuff. Now - on our policy - APPARENTLY we have two options: We can take the $500 deductable and pursue the matter OURSELVES, or we can take the $500 deductable and have THEM pursue it. Um... lemme think. Gigantic corporation with millions of dollars of resources and legal power in the palm of their finger. Or the Tweedles. Rich went with option B.

The most tragic part of the exchange (and I knew it was coming) was when they needed to take a recorded report from me. Because a) I don't drive enough yet to know my ass from my elbow...ESPECIALLY on a freeway/insterstate-whatever-ya-call-em that I haven't been even ALLOWED on yet. And b) I have no sense of direction at all. So - it all was totally fine - they say their name... and they are recording etc... and they ask your name etc. They ask the type of the vehicle. I do not know this. Cars mean nothing to me. I don't get car-stuff. I drive it... it's nice. That's it. To me the car is "Mr. Sparkle my pretty red truck that glitters". APPARENTLY this does not HELP the insurance agent. So in the background on the tape you hear ".... Chevrolet Colorado 2007". And I say "Chevrolet Coloardo 2007". Keep in mind I am on the insurance as one of the OWNERS of this vehicle. Then we get to the good stuff. "Can you describe the accident". "Ok... we were getting onto on ramp..." ( the off were getting onto the off ramp". "We were getting on to the off ramp. On highway 29..." "26" "Um.. 26... going onto um... route 14". "route 25." "uh...route 25".

So basically - the woman thinks the other passenger was a ventriloquist dummy. I was kind of mortified - but I did say (all by myself) the important stuff about the girl saying it was her fault, and Janice simultaneously using her cell phone, playing with the radio, and mixing a daiquiri. Kidding.

So - crisis averted. And we're in one piece. And so is Mr. Sparkle.

After all that there wasn't too much time for a lot of tiling. The guys were already very hard at work installing the water heater for kitchen and bathroom which was going to be housed in Rich's office. Bob, in the very early morning had already constructed a super-cool box frame for it to sit on - above the plumbing running below into the bathroom.


And he and Rich spent the rest of the day, while Janice and I continued our relationship with goo, working out the plumbing connections for said water heater. But before you knew it... it was time for:


Which, I started blogging about an hour ago - and it's now 3:44am. And Janice is going to wake me at like nine to tile. So - I am going to leave you hanging. I will tell you ALLLLLL about it tomorrow (and I have great pictures) - and you'll see how nicely the tile is coming along. There was just way too much with the car crash and all for me to fit into one blog - as I discovered half way through. So - I'm putting a half-way point here... and we'll reconvene tomorrow afternoon after Bob and Janice head back home.

Deal? Deal.