Sorry about yesterday folks... I was having a rough day. Today was catastro-free (so far) so I'm in a much better frame of mind. :) Rich awoke in the wee hours of the morning to meet Keith and Asst. Keith (his brother - I guess they're like the Baldwin's of plumbing) at Maison Merde. As you may recall, as part of our purchase price the bank gave us some money back to put toward plumbing since there was no water currently flowing at the residence. At all. And it turns out Rich was very, very pleased with himself that he and Bob went through the hell of tearing up the kitchen floor on the ground level - because it enabled us to get a whole lot more bang for our buck. Now - you ALSO may recall that I was supposed to show you pictures of what Bob and Rich demolished over the weekend over there... and I'd like to have pictures today to show you neat, fun plumbing stuff as well. However... a certain PACK LEADER left the camera over there. Grrrrrr. So blame him. But honestly, he does have an awful lot to think about at once - so I guess he can be forgiven the odd brain fart. So - those pics will come tomorrow.
Now you would think - since the camera was over THERE that today's blog would tragically be photo free. Well, ladies and gentleman, adversity is the mother of ingenuity. Or something to that effect...
See, when we were at Nicks this morning getting brekkie, Cindy informed us that her 13 year old apparently was NOT able to download into her computer the pictures she took of the volleyballs and the wedding. And therefore she wasn't able to send them to me. However - she wondered if I'd be able to get them off FOR her. So she gave me her camera.
This of course means two things. a) I used Cindy's camera today. b) I ended up dowloading all 97 pictures on her camera onto my computer.
Now ladies and gentleman - c'mon now.... by now... you know the Jo Jo. And if you knew the Jo Jo and you were familiar with the Jo Jo's impish ways would YOU LEAVE 97 pictures on your camera and then hand it over - without assuming that I would feel completely obligated under my journalistic responsibilities to present....
THE WORLD OF CINDY!!!! (a photographic essay not by Ken Burns).
Now - of course - I am totally not a jerk. I am ONLY going to show you the pictures which I found which were PARTICULARLY personal, private or embarrassing.
Now Cindy clearly has a definite photographic eye - let's take the journey together shall we?
First - let's take a look a the picture we were expecting to be there, yes?? :) We knew that Cindy took some fun pictures at the wedding... and since I'm almost always the one behind the camera, it was somewhat surprising to be on the receiving end:
Or like i'm that next door neighbour guy on Home Improvement :)
Also - there was a very nice picture of Jean Anne which I must post for Cindy in honor of Bosses Day:
Now...Here are the AWESOME volleyballs that she made (with a little itsy bit of consultation from moi). I got the report from her today that apparently the girls went nuts for them and couldn't believe she went to all that trouble. If they'd known that she let me spend an hour playing with her panty hose, they'd be even more appreciative of her supreme sacrifice. Also, apparently they were VERY STURDY and had been built so 'Ford Tough' that it took about three good whacks against concrete to get the pinata to break open. So she likes her pinatas just like her: tough on the outside, full of sweetness on the inside. Awwww. (Hopefully that nice comment will prevent my forthcoming murder tomorrow morning when she realizes her folly of loaning me the camera).
I also liked this more avant garde photograph of her handiwork - the first hint that we might have a future Annie Liebowitz here in Huntington... For some reason this seemed very M. Night Shamalan to me:
ATTACK OF THE EVIL PINATA BLOBS Now, my immediate thought that I had discovered a third master photographer on our block ('Dolly Parton Song' and 'Ignorer McNasty' are already in residence) was then put slightly into question with the majority of other offerings.
A sampling - prepare to enter the MIND OF CINDY (oooo-eeee-oooo):
WHOEVER TOOK THIS, HER EYESIGHT MUST BE JUST STOFFLE PERHAPS SHE SHOULD STICK TO MAKING THE WORLD'S BEST PIE? And to clarify - that grey rectangle WAS the photograph. Do not adjust your monitor. OF COURSE IT'S TOUGH TO CONCENTRATE WHEN YOU HAVE A SATANIC ALIEN CAT: And as supportive as we all should be of her blossoming photographic skill...we must remind her: CINDY DON'T TAKE PICTURES WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING
And I must say this one came as quite a surprise:
Anyway - I'm sure tomorrow morning my pancakes will be poisoned.
Sooo - Today was spent running errands etc. So much so that I didn't even get to have the parallel parking class with Jean Anne that she had even done research on. She apparently ran into someone she knows who is a driving instructor and said... "TAKE HIM PLEASE!!!" No - actually she asked for the low-down on parallel parking, and hopefully tomorrow we'll do a crash course. We shall try not to emphasize the 'crash' part. Honestly, kids, I'm still not 100 percent that I'm gonna take this test on Friday. If I fail, it just means I have to wait sixty days before I take it again (which is actually the period they make kids wait ANYWAY after they take their written). I know I'm not a confident driver - and I'm not gonna go out on my own except to like WalMart (which is three minutes away) for a while. I'd just like to be able to drive at night when the Pack Leader is tired and get to the gym once in a while before i turn into Marlon Brando. But I'm gonna make sure I have a co-pilot for a good long while. Cuz i'm just not instinctive. In fact I'm tenative - which Rich keeps telling me is the worst thing you can be. So - anyway - I COULD take the test on Friday - and I'll probably be fine... but I'm not like READY READY... and failing things is not something I'm very good at taking on the chin. So... stay tuned.
Anyway - so we didn't get to do go out driving together - Rich and I were running late getting back from Fort Wayne (and the replacement tile requisition (I know, I know, I know) - and today was Jean Anne's wedding anniversary with Kenny so they were going out to celebrate like the crazy kids they are :) I know David is seething with jealousy.
So, like I said before, a lot happened over the Byron Street house (Maison Merde) and then later in the day Rich and I started doing finish work in the kitchen/bathroom. I repaired the tile - chiseled out the scratched ones (I actually found two MORE - good thing we got two sheets of the evil tile at Lowes) - used the carbide blade to scrape out the dried mortar (and the good news is THEY ARE TOUGH TO GET OUT - so that means they ARE sticking) and then reset them with fresh thinset.
And for some reason, while I was doing it, it didn't seem nearly the end-of-the-universe event that it seemed last night. Honestly, it wasn't scratching the tiles that made me loose my marbles - it was losing another 48 hours on the project. Lowes was closed... and the tile has to dry for 24 hours before you can grout. And Rich, rightly (darn him), won't let me cheat on the 24 hours because those tiles are RIGHT in the line of the shower stream. So they are gonna get wet. A lot. And if they are weak that would not behoove us. Isn't behoove fun to say. Let's all do it together now, shall we? :)
Oh that reminds me - I have a Lowe's story to tell you. Now - remember how I've said the people at Lowes have consistently been way more knowledgeable and helpful and available than the Home Depot folk. Well, I don't mean this story to counter-act that, but it amused me. I was in the tile section getting my replacement sheets (twitch, twitch, shudder, shudder) and I wanted to get another grout float. In the foolish anticipation that I might be able to convince the pack leader to help me grout. (I've been informed that grouting is not necessarily in the Pack Leader job description.) However - I wanted to get another grout float. And the one I had been using, was the most economic of the grouts on offer. And, I had a hell of a time using it. It worked - quite well - but it was VERY labor intensive and took way more muscle than I ever imagined it would. And I have no muscle left. Except my forearm - which lifts the pie from my fork to my mouth). So i looked at the grouts that had 'pro' written on the label. Now, admittedly the advertising dudes here suck me in... because your brain immediately goes "wait a minute...I don't wanna be some amateur... I wanna BE A PRO. If I get me a PRO float - that must make me a PRO and I'll know EXACTLY what I'm doing. That's all I need in life... is a PRO FLOAT". I'm such a sucker. Anyway - before sticking it in my little basket and completely proving myself a focus-group casualty, I found the guy who mans the tile section. The float I had was basically a foam base - very spongy. And this other 'pro' one had a firmer rubber pad. So I asked him "what's the difference between the way these two work? Does it really make a difference". And he says "I'm not sure". And I, said (having always found Lowe's people really up-on-their-game) "Oh, is this not your section?" And he said "yes it is". And I said..."but your the tile guy...how can you not know which float is better". And he said "I've never tiled. But I know HOW to tile". Having spent my weekend in tiling hell, I thought this was pretty funny. I bought the pro float. My life is complete. I'll let you know later if it's better. Because, kind of the opposite of the guy at Lowes, "I HAVE tiled...but I don't have a freakin' clue HOW to tile". :)
After his incredibly productive morning watching the handiwork of Keith and Co doing their plumbing magic over at Shit Box Central... Rich was unfortunately not having such an easy time of it over here. For some reason he keeps hitting this pesky hurdles with the finishing work installing the faucets on the bathroom vanity. Apparently he's having issues with the valves, the size of the drain pipe and the drain stops. He explained this to me... It registered in my mind just about as clearly as this:
Which makes the fact that he keeps SURMOUNTING the obstacles all the more impressive. One more trip to the local hardware store and I think he'll be ready to play taps, as it were.
While Rich spent the entire evening camped out underneath the sink, I tried to do my best to keep moving forward in ways that did not involve grout. Waaaaahhhhhh. Can you tell I was whiney about this. I was pretty much Oscar the Grout. Anyhoo... Rich had installed 90% of the drywall connecting the old wing to the new wing (the corridor leading from our bedroom into the kitchen) and he also chiseled away the line where the old wall used to end the apartment before we broke through into the new area. So that meant I could start the finish work to try and blend the two rooms together. So - you betcha - out came the trusty joint compound. This actually involved quite the decision-making process. Rich assumed I would be using drilock to cover all the uneven areas where the old wall line was visible - and cracks and gaps etc. But the problem was that when I used the drilock BEFORE in the storefront and the living room, I covered those ENTIRE wall. The drilock provided a really good BRAND NEW texture that smoothed out and hid all the imperfections. But because the wall in the bedroom is already finished... and because the kitchen is already finished... The drilock, done simply in patches, would look pretty crappy. The wall has that sort of light orange peel knockdown texture in it (they make it by putting that weird mixture into the paint, right? - Rich tried it on the ceiling in the storefront and HATED working with it). So I have to try and match THAT texture. So my plan, as it stands, is to joint compound the trouble area smooth (covering all the cracks/holes/seams). That alone won't do, obviously, because I'll have smooth spots surrounded by texture. I CAN'T use the joint compound to create a texture... it will DO that - but it looks totally different from the knockdown walls (we learned this the hard way on the ceiling in the kitchen where I attempted this... it kinda sticks out like sore thumb if you're looking carefully). So - I bought a can of that acoustic spray that kind of flecks out small gobs of texture - and once I sand down my joint compound areas in the morning - I'll try and blend the areas into the original wall areas with that. I'll letcha know how it works out.
Anyway - these pictures aren't that exciting - but it's proof I DID something today :)
Then I joint compounded those new drywall patches which Bob put up in the bathroom ceiling and I also filled in all the seams blending them into the existing walls. It wasn't that important to get the coverage smooth and perfect because that WILL get drilocked - because we need a whole new smooth surface above the shower area to cover over that delightful crack I put in the ceiling that we patched with hydraulic cement. I also installed those nifty bull-nose corner pieces on each side of the bathroom header between the shower and the vanity area... and joint compounded the heck out of those puppies.
And, as you can see, I also ran painters tape along the top edge of the tile and the walls - so tomorrow morning, when the joint compound is dry, I can drilock without making too much of a mess on all the tile etc. And then, by the afternoon, I should be able to grout. At last.
I am currently engaged in the world's longest game of phone tag with the Chair of Theatre over at IPFW (the Fort Wayne branch of Purdue). I was so excited to get his call - and the two of us keep leaving messages and never reaching each other. So - when I found out what's going on with that - I'll letcha know.
Before I end this installment of blog-ness, I really wanna thank the super-wonderful Huntingtonians who left comments regarding the post-before-last. Rich and I were so excited to hear from you... and your support and warmth was really a wonderful surprise.
I've quoted them here - in case some of you haven't figured out how to see the comments (you just click up at the top where it says 'so-many-number of comments' and it will open them up for you.)
Margaret, October 15, 2007: Joel and Rich, I can’t tell you how thrilled my family and friends are that you are here in our community! Your blog is upbeat, informative, and quite frankly very entertaining. I wish I had kept a daily diary while we were restoring our 1800s brick farm home. I know how hard you two are working,and I know how hard the work is. It is amazing to me that you have the energy and the wit to write almost every night.Thanks for your blog,and welcome to Huntington!
Christi, October 15, 2007: Thank you for the wonderful entertainment! I look forward to reading your blog everyday. Our family has very fond memories of the theater and we love to see the progress you have made. Keep up the good work on the theater and the blog! It’s a very sad day when you don’t write something!
So thanks. And the fact that I give you a couple smiles in the process of your day is the best compliment I could get.
Anyway - tomorrow - it's all about the grout.