So I've been trying to get time to blog but things have just been totally wackadoodle around here. And I have JUST NOT had time to blog. You want proof...huh? Ok - we haven't been to Nick's Kitchen in TWO DAYS PEOPLE. Two days without pork. Rich has practically gone kosher. And he's Catholic. That's how busy we've been. We keep thinking we're going to have a full span of time to actually finish the kitchen and the bathroom and then things keep happening... people knocking on our door...trips to Indianapolis... all kinds 'a stuff. And Bob and Janice are coming tomorrow and we really, really wanted most of it done by then so that Bob and Rich could start taking OUT the old bathroom (or the evil pit which we REFER to as a bathroom) and start installing the new laundry room. And pretty much every second we've been IN the apartment awake we've been working (rich might actually have been working while asleep as well...he's very good and multi-tasking), but with all the little obligations, invitations and aggravations which happen to keep popping up - stuff that should have REALLY taken us one day - has spread out over three. And the tricky thing about finish work - which I am learning - is there is only so much you can do at once - because in order to do the next thing, the thing you just did has to 'cure' or dry or set or whatever. And if you can't glue something until the paint is dry...or you can't polyurethane something until the stain is dry...or you can't caulk something until the glue is set... well you start to go a little nutty. It was pretty ridiculous tonight - because just when we finally had been home for a while and were getting something DONE, Rich suggested we might as well go out to Bob Evans for dinner - because we were at a point where every single thing we were working on needed at least an hour before we could do anything else to it. :( So - since it's been a couple days I'll kind of just take you on a whirlwind photographic journey through what we've gotten done - and it's a LOT - in the past few days. But first I'll cover the rest of the goings on as best I can.
We are now in no way shape or form anonymous. Somehow we seem to now be on the map more and more and more. And I can't even blame Jean Anne for this. The pumpkin started it... the pumpkin seemed to begin some sort of snowballing awareness juggernaut.
So the theatre company went out with my name attached to the press release for the pumpkin. That started the madness. Then, we realized, that a number of people must be aware of the YMCA proposal that we handed in...because they had their board meeting or whatever on Monday. The newspaper article is going to appear on Sunday (eep)... and people are starting to know who we are long before we intended on blowing any kind of a bugle.
Example one: Jean Anne gave us her tickets to go see Little Women that was being put on at the Huntington University. Jean Anne couldn't go...we felt like we wanted to start being supportive - and see what was out there for the community in terms of theatre. So she gave us her pair of tickets (she has season seats because she advertised in their programs). So Jean Anne calls to give them our name. They knew who we were. Like whoever answered the phone at the theatre department knew our name. Granted, I think the entire theatre department is pretty small - it's a husband and wife, and I think their cocker spaniel teaches Alexander Technique or something...but anyway...whoever answered knew our names. So much for attending on the down low.
Example two: Rose and Phyllis (who run the Visitors Centre) told us that the Head of the Chamber of Commerce was READING THE BLOG?????? How did he FIND the blog? No...again...I can't blame Jean Anne. Apparently he started doing research to see if we were 'the real deal' (I'm not sure if that meant 'legitimate theatre producers' or 'real-live crazies'...could go either way depending on who he spoke to). Anyway - he must have been doing really good research - cuz he found the blog - which is NOT google searchable. As you all know from the "Pie-O-Near Phestival" type names to protect the innocent. We learned this today at lunch with Phyllis and Rose. Phyllis and Rose are the Laverne and Shirley of the Huntington Visitor's Center. And, since Rose told me today that she is 100% Sicilian, I feel that I should also take this opportunity to point out, on record, that she is voluptuous, intelligent, sexier than Angelina Jolie and has a voice that makes Julie Andrews sound like Fran Drescher. I think they decided they liked us ever since Rich did manual labor for them (remember the glass scraping). If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach...the way to a Visitor Centre's Docent is by relieving her pane. Anyway - they know we're super enthusiastic about getting downtown hopping - and Rich is gonna help revamp their website - and their a hoot. So we're now buds. And, I think they feel bad because they blew up my pumpkin. Yes - that's right - you didn't think terrorism could strike in the heart of the mid-west - but the pumpkin was the victim of dis-gourd-erly conduct.
Ok not really. Before we start pointing fingers at Rose and the Huntington Mafia (and since when were courthouses ever popular with the Mafia?)... Apparently my prize winning pumpkin lost the will to live. And it fell off the window sill. It had the light bulb on inside it for like four days - and it must have just melted away (hopefully saying "what a world...what a world" in the process). It held on through Halloween before it's suicide dive - so that nice. And Rose and Phyllis were pretty gutted about it. More gutted than the pumpkin had been, in fact. When they told me it was like they were the military arriving at the mother's house in Saving Private Ryan. I was like, "girls..it's ok...it's just a vegetable". It wasn't like they could have stage an pumpkin-tervention or anything.
However - in order to make sure I didn't lose the will to live...or at least enter a pumpkin next year (something tells me that once you enter this thing you're not allowed to NOT enter it again), Rose and Phyllis emailed us the following sonnet:
Dear Mr. Froomkin:
"We are sorry your pumpkin took a dumpkin and broke it's tumpkin.
And all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put "Hauntington" back together again.
The whole ordeal made us cry but then we made pie with the guts we cleaned up from your pumpkin that died.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumpkin from the Huntington Visitor Center or sumpthin'"
I'm not saying that Huntington needs more tourists... but I think this is a strong indication that the Visitor's Center is not Grand Central Station on a weekday. Don't worry ladies - give us a year - you'll have red hats coming out yer ears :) And I still think the pumpkin fell because Rose fitted it with cement shoes.
So - anyway - Rose and Phyllis knew that Mr. Bob Brown (the Chairman) had been trying to find out the down low on us. We learned this today when, as we were just about to ZIP over to Nicks for a quick bite, when the we heard someone knocking downstairs. Rose wanted us join her for her big celebratory lunch. Rose and her husband (and presumably every member of the trash-collectors and construction unions) have paid off their house mortgage in full. Rich and I pointed out that sometimes change was bad for a relationship and suggested they start paying OUR mortgage just to keep the status quo, but she didn't go for it. Anyway - congrats Rose - Rich and i look forward to such a glorious day sometime in the distant future - when we're about 108 years old.
So - we went for Mexican. Not pork. Although...and I am not making this up...I ordered pork. It was my attempt at loyalty. (Jean Anne apparently witnessed the entire non-Nicks forced hijacking through her window. She said she didn't notice Rich and I struggling...but I told her that was because Rose was packing heat). Anyway - at lunch we learned that the man himself at the Chamber of Commerce had been trying to determine if we were legit. And, to my great surprise, decided we were. Nice huh. Lunch was super fun...although we weren't able to qualify Rose to wear the giant birthday sombrero for the mortgage-completion.
So that was detour one for the day. But it was a mighty fun one. We get back home and I actually call Jean Anne to APOLOGIZE for our inexcusable two-day absence. She was just around the corner. So she stops by to check out the slow-but-sure progress we've made. We told her about all about Little Women.
So we are about to tell Jean Anne all about Little Women, and catch her up on the two days she's been devoid our adventures (blogless even) and tell her all about the Chamber of Commerce working with Homeland Security to find out about the blog...when the DOORBELL rings. I told you... it's nuts around here. So Rich goes down to get it through the theatre entrance...and like thirty seconds later there is a hefty knock at the apartment door. So, now the dog has lost her marbles barking because she thinks we're being invaded from all sides, so I scoop her up (because for some inexplicable reason she does NOT bark if you're holding her. If she has direct physical contact with you at all times she behaves. Pretty needy. I can't imagine where she got that from.) So I go down, wiener in tow, and Rich is there. With the CHAIRMAN OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.
The Mountain came to Homo-hammad.
Apparently we either WERE the real-deal, or he was sent on a fact finding mission :) No... it was really cool. In fact the coolest thing is Mr. Bob Brown, the Chairman, before he says anything else, looks at Po and says "This must be the famous Po". HYSTERICAL. But - he was incredibly nice, and wanted to welcome us and invite us to join the chamber and told us about it... and asked us if there was anything they could do for us. To which Rich and I kind of stood there like goldfish going...'um....'. Because, in all honesty, there is SOOO much that we NEED done...it's almost impossible to say how someone could help us. Unless they have an unlimited supply of Shit Boxes. In fact, we're suggesting a new campaign for the holidays: This Christmas, say it with a Shit Box. Actually Rich - who TRULY is far more intelligent than any person has a right to be when they are as tired as he is - actually had the noggin to say "Well actually, it would be great to let people at the chamber know I do websites..." I NEVER would have thought of that. You see...that's why in case of emergency - Po is the Vice Pack Leader. And after that I think it's the the Raccoon. I'm very far down the list..like the Post Master General. Anyway - he said they'd like to take us to lunch - and whatever they can do to help - because they think it can be great for the town and it's a wonderful thing. It was really cool.
But what was REALLLLLLY cool - was they came to us. And don't mean that in like a power-play way AT ALL. I mean it because it's a sign that people have kept their distance...scouted us out... waited to see...and they are starting to decide we mean what we say. Rose even said this... she didn't make the effort to come meet us for the first number of months - because she didn't know if we were even going to be worth trying to make contact WITH. Because this building has had people come and go. And that's one of our biggest hurdles. And THAT'S why we had not INTENDED on making ourself known until we could actually at least open the doors to a fully renovated lobby and say "Look. See. We're in this for keeps and we ain't too bad neither". And we had debated and kinda decided not to even go to a Chamber of Commerce meeting before that. But they got the jump on us. Damn Pumpkin. But - like I said - it seems to be ok so far.
Of course, Rich pointed out, that Mr. Brown did not KNOW that Po would bark her brains out and/or try and bound down the stairs and hurt her back when I came to answer the door. Therefore the impression I gave is that I wander around the building at all times carrying a dachshund. This could explain why renovations are going slightly slower than planned.
Oh - I do have a Jean Anne story from Halloween day that I didn't get a chance to blog about. And I have her permission to tell this story. So first of all, the MidWest seems to have this thing for naming food after places. Whether or not it makes any sense. Maybe they are inspired by French Fries which aren't really French. Who knows. But Jean Anne serves something called Turkey Manhattan. Rich and I lived in New York for like six years each. We lived IN Manhattan. Never have we encountered anything that claimed to be Turkey Manhattan. She also has something called Malibu Blend. Which is a sort of vegetable medley. Apparently from Malibu. Like Ken, Barbie and the Golden Girls. And, even on the day we DIDN'T eat at Nick's because we were at Fort Wayne, Rich ordered a Colorado Omelette. Which had bacon, pork, sausage, ham and beef in it. I don't know why that makes it from Colorado...unless the average life span in Colorado is age 30 from high cholesterol.
Anyway - Malibu Blend. So - it's this vegetable medley. And when Jean Anne put it on with the specials she was quite excited about it... I remember because she said "I think I'm going to start serving Malibu Blend" And I said "Awesome! What the crap is Malibu Blend?". I think it sounds like a way of killing a person. "Don't mess with Rose or her uncle Guido will give you a Malibu Blend". No? Anyway - so the Malibu Blend is now the side-dish which is attached to a couple of the specials which I always order. Like Turkey Manhattan. Or Chicken Schenectady. Or Chile. Anyway - it comes with the stuff I like. But see...the Malibu Blend... is not exactly my personal favorite. Ok. It's very, very far down the list from my personal favorite. It has YELLOW CARROTS PEOPLE. It's unnatural. Ok - I understand that like Cauliflower is like Apartheid Broccolli - and I get that. But it has it's own flavor. A yellow carrot - so I've been told - is supposed to taste the same as a carrot. But it's yellow. So basically the only reason it's there...is to FREAK YOU OUT.
So Jean Anne most of the time sits with us when we eat lunch. And normally, if like everything I order. So I eat it all. And then have pie. But this Blend COMES WITH what I want. But I don't want the blend. LIke a six year old really doesn't want brussel sprouts. Or Tom Cruise really doesn't want to see Katie's happy parts. So the first time I kinda munched it down. Because I knew Jean Anne was ALLLLL EXCITED about the Malibu Blend. And who can blame her, right? I mean - she's owned the restaurant since 1989 and the menu has been fairly intact for ONE HUNDRED YEARS. I don't mean that like funny...I mean - the restaurant is 100 years old. She's been cooking the same thing for a very very long time. Like longer than Geraldo has had a mustache. So getting to make something different has got to be a nice change. So... I much down the Malibu Blend. The first time. But the other day I just wasn't gonna. I thought - you know what - she's my friend - she will forgive me if I don't like Malibu Blend. Maybe. So I eat my entire meal and leave the entire Malibu Blend intact. Towards the end of lunch she says "You didn't eat your Malibu Blend." And I said... "You know, I just don't personally get the whole Malibu Blend craze. I just don't really like it." And I feel really bad. Like five minutes later we're chatting, and Jean Anne takes her fork and takes a bite of my Malibu Blend. Pause. She says:
"That's really not very good is it".
So she has three more giant bags of it. "What do I do with it?" she asked. We've decided cheese sauce. Lots and lots of cheese sauce.
Anyway - it's now 4:41 am (I started blogging at like 2:30 out of guilt) - and I haven't shown you any progress pictures. So here we go - and there won't be a whole lot of DIY nifty tidbits - because I gotta get some sleep before Team Najuch arrives.
Rich installed the door to the bathroom (which for some reason actually finally qualified it AS potentially useable bathroom...prior to that it was just some sort of would-be exhibitionist's enclave). At first he thought it was going to be really tough - but once he got the shims in and whacked a couple nails, it was really pretty straight forward.
And I've now got the thing primed and painted - it's off the hinges so that the other side can be stained in the morning:
And once we got it up there, we realized that we really liked the wood door with all the cabinetry. So - we are painting the inside of the door (the bathroom side) and leaving the kitchen side wood (stained to match) with the white trim around. It actually looks really nice. Who'da thunk.
Rich cut and I installed the corner finish molding to cover the corner where the tile met the drywall. It gives it a really nice clean line - and the white trim helps tie everything together too.
In case you noticed - I'm now too sleepy to think of funny picture captions. I'M SORRRRRRYYYYY.
I managed to get the hallway painted... again some joint compound issues. Still learning. But it doesn't look half bad. The wall you see leads into the bedroom (the opposite wall is the the yellow because it turns a rounded corner into the kitchen. The pipes aren't being concealed yet - that's gonna be a day project later down the line.
And while I was working on that part of the hallway Rich managed to master a WHOLE NEW TOOL so that we could install the new ledge running all the way through the end of the kitchen, the hallway, and the bedroom. He got the router together and (with some able assistance from moi) he did a great job giving the ledge a really nice finished edge. It totally looks like real molding - i was so excited by this tool. Because - being able to make molding - is very good news for sets. Von Trapp House....LOTS OF MOLDING. So that's awesome.
And we added the quarter round above and below. See how nice the edges he made came out. Anyway - I still have to caulk the top and bottom...but the center seam got done tonight.
I got the threshold grouted and it's looking good. And seeming sturdy - which is the more important thing. Every time I stand on it I feel like I'm waiting for the San Andreas fault to crack open. But so far, so good. I'm not thrilled with the varying width of line between the threshold and the tile at the top... so I'm gonna run a line of white caulk between to give it a parallel edge. I would have done it tonight but I RAN OUT OF PAINTERS TAPE...grrrrr.
Rich cut quarter round (the unprimed stuff) to run along the sides of the cabinets to cover the linoleum line. I stained and polyurethaned it (don't you love how I invent verbs) anyway - I got that done. All night Rich and I were arguing because one of the pieces was missing and he was like "you must have lost it" and I was like "no I didn't...you didn't cut it"...and he was like "you lost it". At the end of the night he found it. A certain someone had taken the missing piece to her bed. As a snack.
Ok almost done. I saved the best for last - and I DON'T have great pictures of this...but take my word for it - these look awesome. Rich managed to make the custom fit countertop pieces to bridge the area between the countertop and the window sills. Normally you'd never have cabinets running along windows like this (the counter top edge sits above these original window sills) so the counter top backsplash piece kind of sits there in the window in front of the sill. So Rich designed these things and they are SOOOO cool. He did a great job cutting them - and they now give us like another 25 percent of counter top space for spices and knick knacks and stuff. That one little side bit still needs the laminate ironed on to it (tomorrow).
And that's it kids. See how many itsty bitsy freaking bits there are. On top of all THAT we had to take a big field trip today to get something in Indianapolis - but I'll tell you about that anon.