So last night I just couldn't keep going - and I knew I had to make a relatively early appearance to continue tiling what seems like the entire eastern seaboard. So where was we... hmmm. That's right... PORKAPALOOOOOZA II. (HERE COMES THE RIND)
We had been booked by Jean Anne to help her cater a wedding. So we had to shower the cement off ourselves and get ready to rumble. This meant leaving Bob and Janice alone for the evening... knowing Bob we had high hopes that we would return and he would have built a revolving stage, hydraulic lift, elevator, bat cave (without bats (for Rich)) and swimming pool.
And - for the first time Rich and I were supposed to wear...NICK'S KITCHEN POLOS (moment of silence please). See these are the highest possible rung of Nick's Kitchen apparel. This means we graduated from mere pork-emblazoned T shirt goons... to fully-fledged, reliable, trusted, per-feshional, EMROIDERED pork-emblazoned POLO shirt goons. I, frankly, was pretty psyched. And Jean Anne got them for us in a really nice blue. Basically, in the world of pork, receiving this shirt is like being kissed by the Godfather. We are now in the Nick's Family. And we will never be able to leave. Even if David tries to come rescue us by distracting Jean Anne with his raw animal magnetism.
Now the interesting thing about this wedding... well there were a couple....ok - first - it wasn't really a wedding. It was a post-wedding shin-dig type "you weren't at the wedding - but we'll give you cake anyway" party. They got married a few days ago...or in 1985... I'm not sure. Anyway - they were very nice and very cute. So I give my blessing. I must preface all of my comments with the caveat that I haven't really BEEN to many weddings - Actually I've witnessed the on-stage wedding in Fiddler or the Roof more than any real weddings... so I was a) very upset that no one asked me to sing 'Sunrise Sunset' or "Hava Nagilla" - AND no one gave the happy couple two chickens and a goose feather pillow as as gift. Maybe it was a slow year.
Anyway - the VERY interesting thing about the wedding is that it was the wedding of the kitchen manager of Applebees. I thought it was pretty nifty for Jean Anne that the guy who RUNS THE KITCHEN at Applebees (which frankly, in Huntington, is kind of THE dinner-time establishment of choice....and we 'choice' it often) chose Jean Anne NOT Applebees to cater the wedding. Now - keep in mind how loyal Rich is to Jean Anne - but considering how fond he is of the appetizer plate at Applebees - if HE had a chance to get a MAJOR employee discount on that many chicken fingers...well... I think Rich would turn traitor. So - it's a big compliment that they chose her. Because I'm sure he could have gotten a great deal on his home turf - but he chose The Pork Queen. As he should.
The wedding was at the La Fontaine Center (which, so I understand, is where lots and lots of Huntington folks get hitched). It's also an old-folks home...so I would like tot suggest a new ad campaign: "La Fontaine: Where newleyweds can toast with friends...and then come back to wear Depends".
(I have to make a very upsetting confession - I just came back in the next morning and edited that caption because I had written 'working the room like SPAGO". Spago is Wolfgang Puck's restaurant - not the name of the person. Aaaaa I'm losing touch! What would Joan and Melissa say?)
It's a very nice ballroom actually - with a bunch of rooms branching off of it. Which made the whole thing far more dispersed than I expected. The only drawback all evening was that, because the P.A. system was somewhat muddy, the d.j would announce "The bride and groom are cutting the cake"...but those gathered in the ante-chambers only heard a passable impression of the headmistress in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
The whole evening was a lot of fun. Jean Anne has now identified my talent niche and I am charged with aesthetic arrangement of edibles.
Let's put it this way. If the evening was a buffet... I was the 'fey'. (I guess that makes Rich the 'buff' - he'll be delighted). I got to arrange the cheeseplates and the relish plate. Now - I'll be interested to know if my out-of-the-mid-west friends have EVER heard this term. If I was going to a party and you asked me to bring a relish plate - you would have gotten this:
So I'm glad I know. APPARENTLY a relish plate is a tray of crudites. Veggie munchies. Carrots and other vegetables with that obligitory invasive fruit, the tomato... who just CAN'T LEAVE the vegetables alone, can they. So anyway - I get to ARRANGE stuff... and then keep arranging as the night wears on and the cheeseballs need a pick me up. The cheeseballs, BTW were VERY VERY popular. People were VERY panicky when the cheeseballs disappeared for a few minutes to be refreshed. They were apparently procured from... get this... Cindy's sorority. Now, Cindy is a hip chick and all. But I didn't imagine her every night heading back to the Alpha Phi dorms to haze pledges and plan with Bunny and Muffy what to wear to the Kegger.
Nope. Apparently this is something ELSE that I have totally Mid-West wronggggg. IN this part of the country, grown-ups can be in sorority's too. They are kind of a Ladies Auxilliary - Do gooders. Like Zorro, or Robin Hood - with fewer swords and more cheeseballs. I gather the cheese is part of a fund-raising activity. I think Rich asked her something like "so you're like red-hats without Polygrip" or something. She didn't look thrilled :). Anyway - I'm delighted Cindy is doing neat things in the community like working with the poor and mentally challenged. And by them, I mean me.
So Jean Anne had quite the little blue-polo army there.
Me, Rich, Kenny (the Queen of Porks consort, the Lord of Loin), Cindy and Jean Anne. We were like a pork-embroidered militia. I think Kenny really likes these gigs because he gets to graze. I think Jean Anne has worked out a finely tuned algorithm for calculating the amount of cheese which has to land on the serving plate...and the amount Kenny has to 'test' before-hand to make sure it's 'up to standard'. I can't blame him - the food was AWESOME. I felt a particular longing for the giant trays of scalloped potatoes.
HUNTINGTON POTATOES: QUAYLE CANT SPELL GOOD... BUT THESE SURE SMELL GOOD WHERE HAVE YOU BEAN ALL MY LIFE JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT SHE BLEW THE GIG... JEAN ANNE REMEMBERS TO SERVE SOME PIG! FOLKS ATTACK THE RELISH PLATE WITH...RELISH
Yummers, right? So, lets see. There were cheese balls, seven layer nacho dip, the relish plate, and the cheese plate. And then for the main course there was ham or roast beef, green beans (with lots of bacon (tasty AND pork), scalloped potatoes, salad (which I was in charge of keeping constantly flowing... can lettuce flow?) and rolls. She had prepared for 170 and I think we served about 125. However - you will note that there is NO TENDERLOIN. "NOoooooo" I hear you say. It's like hiring Emeril Lagasee and saying 'we'd like this meal without the Bam. It's like hiring Mrs. Fields and saying hold the cookies. It's like hiring Uncle Ben and saying 'I'm laying off starch." Madness, I tell you. Also - brace yourself. No pie. And as I always say - a wedding without pie is... well, pretty normal, I guess. But still.
So Rich had an interesting moment with a possessed ice-tea urn. Rich made a big vat of lemonade in one of those spiggot-giant beverage things. He then turned on the spiggot to test it and out came ice tea. He thought he had suddenly become David Blane. Turns out there was some dried tea in the spiggot which was changing the lemonades color as it poured out. Not so good for the beverage - but a nifty trick to amaze your friends. So - scrub scrub... new batch... lemon-aided.
The whole thing really ran without a hitch. Jean Anne and I cut the FOUR kinds of cake - made by a friend of the family.
And she taught me something nifty and new. How to cut a giant wedding cake. You cut a big hole in the middle. As if were making a man hole inside of the center of the cake. Because a large pan cake is too big of a slice. So you cut about six inches in and make a new circle - and then cut it like two separate cakes. See: GETTING CAUGHT IN A CAKE HOLE
All in all it went very smoothly. I thought it was going to be a whole lot more rowdy of an event before we got there... but it was very low key and nobody even really busted a move on the dance floor (except a gaggle of youngsters who apparently had a sugar rush from cake :) ) And I think the bride and groom were very happy. Except...
The dress code was very spread. The bride and groom as you can see looked lovely...
And the wedding party was all pretty formal. Some folks were in tee shirts and jeans, (which was I guess more in keeping with the sort of hoe-down I had foolishly anticipated), and the poor bridesmaids (who had really pretty burnt orange gowns... snaps to the bride for no bows/ruffles/poofs or best-friend-hatred-inducing fashion nightmares), due to the significant recent drop in temperature from the day of the wedding, to the day of the party, seem to have gone with the 'satin gown/sweatshirt combo' yet to make it's mark in the Vera Wang collection.
Jean Anne overpaid us (grrrr) and yelled at us for not eating anything (we did have cake) and I was like "It's not my food... It's YOUR food and THEIR food. Why would I just EAT THE FOOD?". I mean - at the grocery store the clerks don't just wander up and down the aisles munching on the produce, right? She thought I was nuts. :) But she sent Bob and Janice home cake - so we scored a few points.
Someone ELSE who probably would like cake is our new neighbor. On our way walking back home, walking up our alley, we saw something on the fire escape.
He was scratching at the door as if he had arrived early for auditions. Perhaps he thought we were doing Pocahontas?
I, of course, not being from a wilderness part of the world, was like "oooohhhhh he's soooo cute, can I snuggle him". Rich was like NO NO NO. Apparently he thinks my catching rabies would be an inconvenience. Whatever. But - anyway - so now I know I'm not allowed to snuggle our racoon. But he is kinda cute.
When we got back Janice and Bob had been hard at work. Bob had constructed a very nifty box to surround the vent which protrudes into the shower a few inches (we had no choice - that was the only way to route it). And he managed to mount drywall up in the last remaining vestage of the bathroom ceiling where we had not figured out way to patch. And it looks great. So - if we could JUST finish the freaking tile...we'd be able to drilock and then paint. After we gobbled down leftover pizza...
oh - this is kind of funny - I forgot to tell you - when we were in the car ordering the pizza after our disastrous Lowe's run, I had to call Pizza Junction so it would be ready in time for pick up. So I called 411. Well, I was tired and my brain wasn't working and I'm always used to calling places with weird names when I call 411 (like rehearsal studios and stuff) that have to be spelled out. So I just, on auto pilot, say "I need the number for Pizza Junction please..." and start to spell it - but I realize I don't need to. So I end up saying. "I need the number for Pizza Junction, please. That's pizza, as in...um... pizza". Master of communication. Now this story goes in tandem with another I forgot to tell you last night because I was too tired. When Janice was on the phone with the cockney lizard people she had to give them her address. And Janice, as most of you know, has a PRONOUNCED New England accent. So they ask where for her address and she says "Mahhhh-blehead". (Marblehead). And the woman on the phone has NO idea what she just said... so she asks her to SPELL it. Natural, right. So Janice goes (and I anticipate this and start to pee myself) "M, A, AHHHHHHH, B... No... Ahhhhhh as in Ahhhhnuld. (Arnold)...no Aaahhhhnold. Ah, Ah, the letter Ah." This kept me giggling for two days. And every time I would quote it, she would "Pizza, as in PIZZA". Ah, the Tweedles. What will we accomplish next.
Anyway - we had leftovers and then got back to work. Bob and Rich managed to get the whole water heater thingy majiggy doing whatever a water heater did. Rich had to do it all himself too, using the Bob Side-Line In-depth Instructional Program. See, Bob watches Rich and tells him what to do next, and that way the Pack Leader learns stuff. It's neat. And Bob knows exactly how Rich is going to screw up so he can do it with his eyes closed:
Rich did an awesome job - I watched him thread and glue the pipes and connect it all...it was amazing. And then a purple zebra ran through the room. That glue packs a punch, lemme tell ya. So - at the end of the evening, Rich had installed the water heater (and thanks to the glue, thought he was President Garfield...but whatever).
Meanwhile... Janice and I managed to get all of the complete pieces of tile installed. There was still a pile of cutting to do in the morning - but this was definitely a sizeable hurdle to leap. And, as you can see, we also secured Bob's box up so that liquid nails would set and i could tile it in the morning.
So - TODAY...
I honestly cannot give you much of a report on the men-folk. They took off to the Shit Box before I even gurgled out of bed. Today they had decided they were tearing up the whole floor in the kitchen in the downstairs apartment. The reasons for this were two fold. A) it would make things a whole lot easier for Keith (plumber) to give us a lot more bang for our buck if he could get a really good look at the problem. (the problem being... there is no running water. Minor... but along with the stale bread we'll throw them, the actors need water :) and B) the floor in the kitchen slanted so much that if you put a marble on one end of the room it would break the land speed record rolling to the other end. It's pretty bad.
So their plan was to pull up all the floor boards. Keep the old joists in place but install new ones that will level out the whole room. Yay. So I'll have pictures of that tomorrow.
Janice and I continued... you guessed it. You know that stage where you work on something and you just WANT IT DONE. Like the inanimate object becomes invested in your mind with some kind of demonic personality as if it is CONSPIRING to drive you insane. That's where I reached with the tile today. Today was all about cutting. I set up the tile saw and basically was at it all day. Janice was a huge help - because I could take a slew of measurements and then start to cut - and rather than getting up to check every single one, she was able to check them as I went. She saved me HOURS. And the last vestiges of my sanity. So I just went and counted and I individually cut 114 tiles today. Each one measured, cut, checked, screwed up, checked and cut again. On top of that we also added a corner return around the edge of the wall which Janice and i decided would look nice, and received Pack Leader approval. Anyway - that's a LOT of tiles to cut people. And it's cold here. And it's a wet saw - so you've got water running on you and spraying in your face all day. It's delightful. But, after working through the whole day with Janice...and another three hours after they departed... the thing is TILED. Now, it still looks pretty grungy - but there's no point in getting them too clean until I grout the thing. Which, hopefully, will happen tomorrow. I DO still have the tiles around the faucets to deal with...but Rich had crashed and I didn't know where they were to check their size.
And with the last vestiges of adrenaline left in me - I decided to install the soap dish and the shampoo shelf. Install, perhaps, is the wrong term - but according to the directions this is pretty much what you do. Liquid nails the thing and tape it up. Fingers crossed. Heck, I guess soap isn't THAT heavy :).
So that's the progress. In addition, Po has also embarked upon a new frontier. Somehow, and I have no idea HOW, Rich has folded and decided to allow the dog to wander around downstairs - foyer and auditorium. Apparently he and Bob made the area Po-safe by blocking off anywhere she could get that she could hurt herself. They only let her down there when someone is downstairs in the area... but Po apparently thinks the auditorium is some kind of Coney Island Pleasure Palace... because now the minute the upstairs door to the lobby is opened, and no one is watching, she zooms down at six million miles a minute. Luckily, we have a secret weapon. If we can't locate her and we're concerned she's gone AWOL we use the Lays Method. This involves rustling a bag of Lays potato chips. Po hears the rustle and then stampedes through the aisles to land at your feet. However (and I told them this would happen) she did poop in auditorium already once. I hope it wasn't our first review.
Anyway... that gigantic missive was all I have to say tonight, folks. And, speaking of all of you folks out there. You seem to be growing. A LOT. I kept forgetting to tell you this - but when Rich and I were out with Lee, our lovely lawyer, and his confirmed-bachelor live-in-buddy Ray; we went to the local Mexican restaurant and this effervescent woman suddenly bursts out from the doors and points and says 'there you are'. We of course thought she was talking to Lee and Ray (they, having grown up here since birth). Nope. It was us. Someone, who shall remain nameless, but has a very close personal relationship with pork, has started spreading the word of the blog. And apparently THEY started spreading the word... because two minutes later ANOTHER person we had never met started talking to us. And, you see, they recognize us from the PICTURES... especially Rich (because no one loves me enough to take lots of unflattering picture of MY butt crack :( :( ). And since then it has started to multiply. The first lady to appear from the Mexican restaurant (accompanied by a lovely brood of younguns) is named Margaret. She came by the theatre for a tour (which was totally awesome... and she had an awesome tip about upholstery fabric wholesalers). And SHE brought her SISTER and kids. And she's our first officially recorded pre-personal-contact blog fan in Hungington. On her heels followed another fan siting, from Cindy Z, Jean Anne's good friend. And it seems she's not the last. People in Nick's have asked Cindy how she likes being a celebrity. Desiree (the adorable Mrs Plumber) apparently heard from HER mother who found out from someone ELSE. So - anonymity is fleeting. Which is cool, I guess. Because the people who seem to be telling people are people who LIKE the blog - and I think they are only telling other people they think will find if FUN. And if villagers show up with torches on our doorstep... i'll be sure to post pictures of it :)
My Mother, I predict, is now TOTALLY freaking out that people in Huntington are reading this. And I guess I should try and calm her nerves with an official 'Huntington Peeps' address:
DEAR FELLOW HUNTINGTONIANS: Thank you for discovering, reading, and sharing our blog. We are insanely flattered that you seem to find our foibles, failures and fruitiness somewhat fascinating. That means a very great deal to us. And thank you for telling your friends. Let me explain WHY we started the blog so that you understand that this isn't simply a bizarre exercise in ego inflation, carpel tunnel acquisition, or an attempt to become the next Bridget Jones (although - wouldn't that be peachy?). We started this because both Rich and I have spent our lives in many different places. Between us we have friends and loved ones in Bermuda, London, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Washington, New York, Los Angeles and places we probably can't even remember. So many of those people know that this is something we've dreamed of doing and talked about being crazy enough to try long before this year - and long before we even met each other (ah, how Janice curses that day :) ). And most of those wonderful people who have SHARED that dream with us will probably never have the chance to come here to see it. It's a long way from London to sleep in an apt with no bathroom and have dinner at Applebees. As glamorous as that is. So this was our way of keeping them with us. Another reason was professional. We knew that this journey was going to take a year and a half to two years - and in theatre circles people come and go. And relationships fade. And we both have spent many years developing bonds with people we hope to bring to Huntington. And this was a way to keep them in touch with us... 'Hey - we're still alive'. And - to get them emotionally attached to the theatre, and the community and the project... so that they'll WANT to come work here. And eat pork. And, you know what, in some cases, they've already come. (fools they!). And eaten pork. And - in my opinion - the best way to keep people interested... and to make them care... is to make them laugh. And I hope we manage that sometimes. And frankly - as fish out of water go - Rich and I are pretty much about as Green Acres as it gets. So - please know - that I try to be very careful not to hurt anyone's feelings. Also, not to say anything I learn from friends that they would NOT want on the blog (hint: Cindy is actually a former vegas show girl and was married to Wayne Newton). So - if you're feelings are ever hurt by anything we NEVER meant to be hurtful - you send me a note and it'll be taken off here lickity split. Or knock on our door like the praying mantis dude. But, the person I make fun of way more than anyone else is myself so I think that makes things pretty fair :) We know that there are going to be some people that don't like this blog when they find it.... but I think those are also the very, very small minority of people who have also decided they don't like US before they've even met us. And sadly, we know they exist too. But - if you want to know who Rich and I are - how much we love Huntington and each other - how much we want to give to this community and how honored we are that so many of you have taken us already into your hearts... I believe you will find that in all 106 of the past entries I've made. And cute pictures of a weiner dog.
Now lets eat pie!