Monday, July 31, 2006

they're here!

My new countertops are beautiful! Tomorrow the plumber comes to hook up the sink, faucet, etc., so I'll hold off posting a progress picture until those things are in. I am so doggone excited, I can hardly sit still in my seat!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

he's had a long, hard day

... for a dog who usually sleeps all day, that is.

Today we spent the afternoon with four families with lots of little kids. My little guy was game. He kept away from the teensiest ones, went belly-up for the gentle ones, and sniffed around for whatever people food they all might have dropped on the floor or in the yard. What he did not do is sleep. Not one minute.

It was a beautiful day. So beautiful, in fact, that when we got home I immediately donned gardening clothes and went out to spend an hour or two trying to reclaim the perennials from the weeds and neglect they've suffered from all summer long. This is the first week I've had time to spend out there, and I've tried -- not completely successfully, I confess -- to spend an hour or so in the garden every day.

So, of course, Simba came outdoors with me. He chased a turkey, and he wandered around a lot, and mostly he just laid there, head up, eyes closed. On the asphalt driveway. With a gorgeous lush lawn right next to him. No doubt wishing I would take him inside so he could curl up and drop his head on his new pillow.

But even lying there wasn't all that relaxing, because every now and again something caught his attention, so he would have to look.

Tonight, the dog is zonked. Totally. Not even interested in treats. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

[This story is for Gannon and Acadia. Hi, guys!]

Friday, July 28, 2006

no countertops today

We got a call this morning from the granite fabricator. As they were cutting our slab yesterday, the granite cracked. They have to start all over again, and it's a four-hour process, so the soonest they can get the countertops to me will be Monday. Another weekend with a kitchen like this. Boo hoo!

But you know, I was thinking about all this. When I was growing up as the daughter of an Air Force enlisted man, moving from base housing in one state to base housing in another, I would never have dreamed of having such a nice kitchen, even with the old tile countertops. (I would never have dreamed of kitchens, but that's another story!) So to be able to afford nice granite countertops is totally a count-your-blessings kind of a thing. I can wait another few days.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

wordless wednesday

Sunday night, we can expect to see lots more canine hijinks over at Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnick's place. Head on over for head shots, tummy shots, jump shots and what nots!

more changes to the ol' homestead

Our bathroom faucets, 20 years old, have started to drip a little, and they're so fused to the sink that the plumber wasn't sure he could get them off to fix them without destroying them. Well, what the heck, I never liked that one-ball-in-the-middle style anyway. The Huz and I went out & picked out a couple of new Delta faucets, and today the plumber installed them.

Below is the before (in one bathroom) and the after (in another). It's nice to get that done ... now I have to go clean up after the plumber! (Blog first, clean up last, how's that for priorities?)

old faucet

new faucet

ups & downs

UP! Yesterday the granite installers came!

DOWN. The countertops were wrong and had to be sent back.

Here's the back story.

Our kitchen is all about right angles. During the templating, the templater, Roger, mentioned that the corners were going to be cut with a ¾ inch radius. I didn't stop to think about what that meant until after I had signed off on the template. As he was driving away, I had one of those awful BOINGG moments when I realized that such rounded corners would look absolutely out of place in this kitchen. DOWN.

I immediately got on the phone and called the project manager for our project, Leticia. She recommended that I call the fabricator and tell them I wanted a ¼ inch radius for the corners. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized what I wanted was square corners with just a tiny bit shaved off so they wouldn't be painful to run into. In effect, I wanted the same shape for the corners that we had chosen for the horizontal edge of the granite. It's called an eased edge.

So, I tried and tried to call the fabricator but didn't get a call back. DOWN. Meantime, H0m3 D3p0t called to say there was a tiny bit more granite in these countertops than we originally estimated before templating, which I would need to pay for before the granite would be cut. (UP! a pause in the process so I could be sure my message about the corners would be delivered.) So I marched on over to the store, paid the extra amount, and marked up my contract documents with precise instructions: "All vertical corners to be eased edge." Jen said she would fax that document along with instructions to Leticia to start the project. UP!

They were amazingly fast. UP! They scheduled my installation for yesterday, only 8 days after my visit to the store. I scrambled to find a plumber to come unhook the plumbing beforehand and hook it up again afterward. I was a bit nervous about whether the corners would be done correctly. And, as it turns out, for good reason. The corners were wrong. DOWN.

Now begins the arguing. Roger is defending himself from the fabricator, because when he left this house there were going to be ¾ inch radii on every corner in sight. He wants me to decide on the spot whether I'm going to accept these slabs or not, because if not he will load them on his truck post-haste and get to a customer who will cause him to be paid. (I'm guessing he gets little or nothing from The D3p0t if he doesn't actually do an installation.)

I'm refusing to make a decision until I talk with Letitia so I can understand the ramifications. If it's going to be hundreds of dollars (and a big fight over that) and another two weeks before I can have my countertops, would I decide to live with these corners? I need to know the tradeoffs.

Letitita has me on hold while she speaks with the fabricator who, believe it or not, is on the phone with Roger right here in my house. We all performed a telephonic ring-around-a-rosie with these faulty countertops in the middle.

Roger hangs up from his call with the fabricator, who then no doubt begins speaking with Letitia while I continue to hold. I explain to Roger what has transpired since he last left the house. Letitia still isn't coming on the line, so I hang up and dial her again. We talk. She puts me on hold for their Quality Assurance manager. I take pictures and email them to her so she can see the corners.

Roger wants to pack up & leave. I ask him to hold on for just a moment, so he and his helper go sit on the back deck as I stay on hold waiting for the QAM. While I'm holding for QAM, I idly pick up the kitchen sink to hold it up underneath its cutout to see how it looks. And now comes what could be considered an UP or a DOWN: the cutout is wrong! And while on the surface that's a DOWN, in fact it is an UP in disguise. Because now we all realize that this piece of granite has to go back, corners or no corners.

The QAM comes on the line, I explain the situation. Believe it or not, she asks me to ask Roger to stick around yet longer, while she goes and talks to someone else and calls me back. I pass the message to Roger, but he is now packing up. At this point, he's on board with this stone being all wrong and is a bit indignant that they didn't follow his template correctly for the sink cutout. He decides to take the sink with him back to the factory, so we label it, package it, and put it safely back in its box, label the box, mark my documents that he's taken the sink, mark his documents that he's taken the sink. He calls the fabricator and they work out a schedule. He's going to be back in the area Friday, so he'll bring the new slab back then. Not bad! UP! He drives away.

QAM didn't call back for hours. When she did, she confirmed that Friday is the new installation date. I called Jen at the store and asked her to photocopy the paper I marked up there with instructions about the corners. I don't think they're going to give me any problems, but I want it here on hand when the new counter comes on Friday.

UP! Friday isn't so long to wait for correct countertops, and they're not talking about any additional charges to me.

DOWN. I sure would like to have my kitchen back. And I'm still not sure they're going to get those corners right.

Things I learned:
  • I need to to pay very close attention to every detail during the design phase (templating) and ask all questions I can think of then. It would have been so much easier on everyone if Roger had left the house on the first day with a clear understanding of the corners that I wanted.
  • Granite weighs 25 pounds per square foot. The slab they schlepped in and then back out again weighed in the neighborhood of 250 pounds.
  • The cutout for the sink causes the granite to be weak at that spot (duh!) and so they have these cool suction thingies that hold a stabilizing rod the length of the slab to keep it from breaking there. See picture above.
  • Like glass, granite travels best on its side.
  • Staying calm in a tense situation works wonders in terms of gaining others' cooperation (believe me, it wasn't easy!)
  • Being persistent when others want you to make a quick decision also pays off.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

good news

  1. It looks as if the poodle/terrier mix may have found a home!
  2. My countertops will be installed Tuesday! So ...
  3. I can cook again!
  4. Tonight is the final night for the play!
There's much to be happy about.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

looking for a home ...

I've just learned of two very nice dogs who each need a home (separately).

One is a beautiful five-month-old golden collie, with papers, female, not spayed. She needs a place where she can run. Animals to herd would be even better. She's good with kids, has a kennel to stay in when she's home alone. Obviously, at this age, she has a LOT of energy but she's a sweet girl, very trainable. It's a great chance to get a nice purebred pet.

The other is a mix of standard poodle (black) and some sort of terrier. As you can see, he looks more like the terrier than the poodle! He's housebroken, neutered, a few years old, and I'm told he's a very well-behaved dog. I'm guessing he's about 50 pounds. He's good with kids as long as they're a bit older, say 7 and up. Very loyal and affectionate with his owners. He doesn't necessarily need a lot of room to run, although of course that's always good for dogs.

Their owner has had a life change that has resulted in not having a place to keep these dogs. They are temporarily living with a relative, who cannot keep them much longer. If you would like more information, please email me at pat DOT langille AT gmail DOT com. And please tell all your friends who live in the area. We don't want to have to send these nice dogs to the Humane Society.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

wordless wednesday

Sunday night, we can expect to see lots more canine hijinks over at Weekend Dog Blogging at Sweetnick's place. Head on over for head shots, tummy shots, jump shots and what nots!

Monday, July 17, 2006

sing | tap | move arms | smile

Fellow blogher Marla tells of a sign she once saw in the print shop that said

Good | Cheap | Fast
Pick Two

Ha! When it comes to the big finale number, for me it's

Sing | Tap | Move arms | Smile
Pick 3

In our rehearsals, I've been able to get the tapping (mostly) and arms moving. As we got into the dress rehearsals, I added smiling, face front. But whenever I tried to add the singing, the dancing went all to heck.

Unfortunately, it appears there are others who are in the same boat, and when we all don't sing, the sound drops off considerably. The sound tech added microphones to the leads, who sing in the wings while waiting for their smashing entrance (the crowd goes wild!) in the middle of the finale. But we still were encouraged to really belt out that Singin' In The Rain.

Friday night, I didn't sing, and I did pretty well with the finale. Saturday night I took the exhortations to heart and tried to sing. Big mistake. It totally threw me off during what a fellow cast member calls "the booger measures" because they're a booger to do. And when you get thrown off there, it's pretty noticeable, because there are four leaps in those 32 beats, two to each side, so if you leap at the wrong time or to the wrong side, you stick out like a sore thumb.

Waaaa! Saturday night there were quite a number of folks in the audience who know me, so their eyes were probably on me as I leapt wrong! Waaaaa!

Yesterday I resolved that my one little voice doesn't mean that much to the grand total of the sound. I smiled really hard, sang when I knew I could do it without messing up, and hit all the leaps and steps. So, sorry, music director, I'm gonna have to not sing. The crowd won't notice if I'm not singing, or at least not in any way that's directly attributable to me, but they sure as shootin' will notice if I leap left when everyone else leaps right!

I think there's a good chance of getting some shots of the show so I'll post them if I do. I intended to get a shot of the green room for you last night, but when I pulled out my camera I discovered the batteries were dead, so that'll have to wait till next week. Meantime, I leave you with this somewhat posed shot of me in my clown costume. Check out them fake eyelashes, man!

Now I'm off to H0me Dep0t to see if I can get my countertop order straightened out. Grrr.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

opening night

Opening night was fun! It's nearly time to leave for the theater, and tomorrow between church and the show I'll be pretty much straight out. Thanks for stopping by, and I'll have some comments up on Monday, at the latest!

Friday, July 14, 2006

our first performance

First of all, I want to thank those of you who are adding those wonderful, encouraging comments on my posts. This theater first-timer needs all the encouragement she can get, and you guys are fabulous! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We had probably 300 senior citizens in the audience last night as we ran through our final "dress rehearsal." I guess we call it that to lower expectations for our first night, as well as to have an excuse to do the show for free for these wonderful folks, who probably saw Singin in the Rain when it first came out as a movie. The photo at left is a shot of the interior of the hall; isn't it wonderful? It's a little hard to tell from the picture, but there's a wide center section and then two narrower side sections. It seats 800 if you include the balcony; we don't expect to need it. There really aren't any bad seats in the house. I wouldn't want to be too close to the front because the orchestra could be a bit too loud, but even those seats aren't bad.

No opening night jitters for me, I'm happy to report! It's not surprising, considering how little of the show's success depends on me, but you never know how you're going to respond when you step onto a stage in front of an audience, until you've done it. My little mystery theater experience was very different from this. We had maybe 80 people there, and we were right on the floor in the midst of the tables. In some respects, that made it more difficult. But, obviously, we weren't expected to be professionals in that situation. While this theater is labeled "community" for a reason --- they don't hire professional actors for the productions --- nonetheless that distinction is a fuzzy one in the audience's minds. We're in the Opera House, they're paying $20 per ticket, and we need to make it worth their while.

Bottom line is, we did OK! There were no big glitches. The scenes all came together appropriately except for one rough spot where the wait for a scene change was too long and the audience was left wondering what the heck just happened and why isn't something else happening now. I'm not onstage the whole time, of course, but I didn't see any awkward pauses while people had to think of their lines (of which there were plenty during rehearsals!). I had an autograph-hound scene (where I speak my one assigned line: "Oh, my GOSH! It IS Don Lockwood!") where my pencil was knocked out of my hand as we all pursued Don off the stage, but I ad-libbed "my pencil!" and scurried back for it and the director complimented me afterward. She said there are people (and she's one of them) who will focus on the dropped prop until someone picks it up, wondering if anyone's going to step on it, was it dropped on purpose, etc., so she was glad I got it off the stage.

But I'm saving the big zinger for the last, for those of you who have stuck with this little monologue this long (thank you!).

The only scene where I'm on stage with just one other person comes in the first scene of the first act of the play. Don Lockwood is being interviewed about his history, and he's telling bald-faced lies about his supposed cultured background and how his parents gave him and his pal Cosmo the finest education at conservatories, etc. Meantime, in the background, the truth is being acted out. First we see them as children, hanging out in taverns and dancing for nickels. Then everyone leaves the stage and we see the young adult Don and Cosmo doing a not-very-good clown act as Flick and Flack. Lastly, the adult Don and Cosmo come onstage and do a silly vaudeville act to "Fit as A Fiddle."

During the clown act, the Don and Cosmo actors run backstage to get into plaid suits for the vaudeville act. The clown act is basically buying them time to do that, and I'm one of the clowns! We're onstage for somewhere between one and two minutes, depending on how quickly the actors can get into their plaid suits. It's probably my favorite scene in the show, speaking as an actor and not as an audience member; I'm sure there are much more memorable scenes for the audience. But for me, not only is the spotlight on me (and my partner, of course), but also I get to indulge my inner ham with way over-large gestures and hee-haw knee slapping and general over-the-topness. It's just plain fun!

Well, just before I left for the theater at 5:15 last night, I got an email from our church prayer chain saying that Doug C had gone into the hospital with chest pains.

Doug C is the other clown.

It's 5:15 before a 7:30 appointment with the audience.


I'm a little embarrassed to tell you that my first reaction wasn't concern for Doug. (By the way, he's apparently OK. I don't have the whole story, but someone spoke with him and he thought he could come perform tonight.) My first thought was, how on earth am I going to get someone else trained in the time we have left? I can't do it alone; it has to be Don (me) & Cosmo (Doug). Doug and I have rehearsed our shtick many, many times, and it includes him doing juggling and me harassing him in a fairly rigorously choreographed act. Were we going to have to chuck that whole thing and come up with something different?

I went straight to the director, Linda, when I arrived, and apparently nobody on the production staff had been notified yet. She was very calm, and began thinking through who could pinch-hit on short notice. "Who can be funny?" she asked. Of course, I haven't a clue! I went around talking to a few folks about the situation, and our hairdresser suggested Dan F, who is locally well-known and has starred in a few of these productions but who chose to take a smaller role this time to reduce his time commitment. Because I was there so early, I spent quite a few anxious minutes waiting for him to arrive so I could ask him if he would be a clown on such short notice. Bless him, he was amenable. And also very calm. (I have a feeling calmness is a hugely important characteristic for folks who want to be in plays!) He could fit into Doug's costume, and was willing to do a bumbling juggle so we could keep the same routine, and very vigorously filled in for Doug and it was, as far as I can tell, great! He even figured out a way to fit a rubber chicken into the act.


Here's hoping for a less eventful evening tonight! One of these days when I have a little more energy and time, I'll share some thoughts about what it's like backstage and in "the green room" where we all hang out between face time onstage.

Meantime, one last note ... what's that I hear? ... beautiful sound ... my dishwasher is running for the first time in weeks! Huzzah!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


.. or, technically, tonight, since it's after midnight as I write this. We had our last dress rehearsal tonight. Tomorrow we open before a houseful of senior citizens who get to help us get the rough edges off our show in exchange for half-price tickets. I'm strangely calm. I do feels as if, with the exception of the doggone tap dancing, I know what I'm doing and it's not as if the show is resting on my narrow shoulders. I think I'll have a ball. I know the leads are looking forward to it all.

Rehearsal went well tonight. Tempers flared a bit, and I got caught in the crossfire of one, but by the end of the evening everyone had acknowledged that we're all tired and some of us are tense and we really, really like each other no matter what. We reached out to help each other with fast costume changes, and one sweet guy brought in beautiful yellow roses tinged with orange for each of the women. And Lindt chocolates. What a sweetie he is.

Stage makeup is a little scary to someone like me who wears lots of makeup for the express purpose of looking as if I don't need much, if you know what I mean ... natural is the look I'm shooting for. So I feel incredibly garish with bright pink cheeks and heavy black eyeliner and dark, dark eyeshadow. The most fun part is the false eyelashes. I have to restrain myself from batting my eyes all the time!

I did end up having layers cut into my hair today. I put some intense curls in with my hot curlers, hoping that they could be transformed into finger waves. Instead the stylist piled it on my head in a style that looked vaguely Mickey Mouse-ish to my eye. By the end of night things had shifted around enough that it wasn't so pronounced. She promised me that tomorrow she would try to come up with something that would allow my curls to hang down if at all possible.

I hope I don't regret all these layers when this play is over ... I haven't had great luck with them in the past.

Many people have told me to break a leg. The ironic thing is, I nearly did today, walking around a construction worksite without watching where I was putting my feet!

Well, off to bed for now ... zzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

two days till a live audience!

Yikes! Tonight will be our first full dress rehearsal. There will be one more, tomorrow, and then a dress rehearsal before a live audience of senior citizens who get to see the show for half price. They're typically a VERY encouraging crowd, I hear, so it should be fun even if I flub stuff.

Last night we did a "costume rehearsal", which means we tried to run through the play including doing our costume changes. It's a great idea, because we discovered lots of places where it's not possible to change costumes without holding up the progress of the show. So now, I will be a character who apparently goes to a party one night and shows up for an interview the next day in the same dress. Hopefully nobody will assume I had an illicit assignation that night!

I also discovered that I'm probably going to have to duck out of that interview early if I'm to make my next costume change.

Flexibility is key! We'll probably still be changing things even after the first live performance, as we discover/think of better ways to do things.

I didn't dance too badly last night. I still made mistakes in both my dances, but they were relatively small ones. One of them I can easily remedy. The other is what one of the cast calls "the booger measures." Four measures where the steps are just plain hard. I can't be sure I won't continue to flub those, but I sure as heck intend to smile so hard that they'll look at my face and nothing else!!

Just because I made few mistakes doesn't mean I look like a pro, of course, but at this point I'm ready to settle for not embarrassing myself!

Now I'm off to a meeting with the hair & makeup gal. I may decide after this that I have to shorten my hair dramatically (a little theater word, you know ), but I'm hoping she has better ideas than that! I'll keep you posted.

more happy pictures

Water, blessed water! No more clinking my glasses and china against our very small bathroom sink as they're washed, wondering when one is going to break. (None did, thank goodness.) No more draining half-empty soda cans into the toilet ... two steps to the kitchen sinks and down the drain they go! No more trying to fill pitchers from the bathtub without splashing myself. No more hauling large houseplants to the bathroom to be watered in the tub (although I think they did appreciate being watered in the shower; I might keep doing that occasionally!) No more abstaining from cooking! You should see the pile of pizza boxes in our basement!

WATER running in my kitchen SINK! Bliss!

I post this picture to show that not all plumbers provide unwanted glimpses of too-large posterior body parts. Look at these nice trim young men! They are a credit to their industry, and not just because of their physique. Sorry to keep raving about Peachtree Builders, but really, they're so great to work with. Cheerful, competent, prompt, courteous, thorough, honest, and to top it all off, good explainers. From a customer perspective, these guys are keepers!

Full disclosure: Rich, the owner of PB, is a long-time friend. But I'm not getting any special deals, and I'm confident that other customers get the same treatment I'm getting. It's just in his DNA. Thanks, Rich! It's so great to work with a builder you trust.
"In my house there is a three-year-old wearing only underpants, swim fins, and a backwards baseball hat, cradling a lump of concrete like it was the world's cutest baby doll, and talking about "humans" as if she were other than. Sometimes I wonder."

The woman cracks me up.

Monday, July 10, 2006

kitchen update: happy camper!

Finally! The templater was here today to create a template for the granite countertops to be cut from. So our wonderful contractor, Rich from PeachTree Builders, came back this afternoon and installed a portion of my old countertop and my SINK! My glorious SINK! Who knew how happy I would be just to have my old sink back?!

And the installer told me I can put the stuff back in my cabinets; the countertop can be installed with the cabinets full of stuff. What a relief, to be able to see my dining room table top again!

And apparently we're on a two-week countdown to the new countertops. Woo hoo!

I should also receive the fixture for the undercounter lights tomorrow, so we'll be able to schedule the electrician back to get that all wired up with its own switch as soon as he's available!

There are lots of exclamation points in this post, but can you blame me?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

first performance in four days!

We rehearsed for 8 hours today. Too tired to blog it. More tomorrow. G'night! Zzzzzzz.