søndag, februar 18, 2007

Feeling Chuffed on a Weekend

Lucy and John pause during Day 1 of the interior "demolition" at the pub.

I was up at a decent hour today and feeling rather focused. Organized the day in numerous lists over breakfast then set out to mail a card, a bit of flotsam, and two bills. It was all progressing as planned.

And then I popped by the new pub to see if my buddy John was there. It was 2:30 by this point. I'd accomplished much but most of my day had just been the kindling and the afternoon was to be the conflagration of progress.

John was there. He'd just arrived. I helped him unload the van of tools and lumber and in we went. We set up the horses, had a quick chat, then drove over to Lee's to steal some tools from his garage and more from his basement (along with a shop vac). What was he going to do about it? He's in Biloxi.

Lucy wasn't home but her coat was there in the kitchen along with a lovely arrangement of flowers in which the daisies looked dandy on a winter day.

Thoughts of spring.

Hitting the Bricks

The world's most hideously yellowed "brick" tiles. You could get a nicotine fix just putting your hand to this wall.

Back to the pub we went. Quickly quickly my afternoon's plans were evaporating. I didn't try to fight it. There they were. There they went.

Someone pounded on the side door. "Who's there!?" we called through. "The man!" he called back. "Huh?" "The MAN!!" We opened the door. He grinned broadly, his three or four remaining teeth in play. We told him the place was closed. He was incredulous.

"Closed?" he said. "On a Saturday!?"

Away! Away with you! "We'll be open in a month," we said. The door was closing but he had one last thing to say. "A month!?"

John, in his ever-burning Welsh way huffed into the pub to attack the interior. "Jesus bloody Christ!" he said.

Not long after, Gary Owen showed. And then Bill Watkins. And the day began to take form as we took down a couple old televisions, sawed up some boards, busted up the bad tiles behind the bar. We undid some sheetrock and flashing. We used a tiny saw to make sharp cuts in the concrete fill between the tiles, and as John moved the saw forward I ran the vac head before the blade to pull in the powder and sparks, but little good it did for all that hit us in the face.

Still, it was satisfying work. Eventually, we experimented with drilling a couple holes to see what was behind the disgusting plastic "brick" panels on the walls. (They were at one stage of existence white; but 30+ years of being a smoking operation had left them gummy and yellow. Thank god Minneapolis has banned that air.) We found light from an actual window, something the previous bar seemed to have been against. We found warm-toned wood panel that could be sanded and varnished and which would serve as a wonderful backdrop for the British and Celtic images soon to be placed on the wall.

So we went about ripping out the yellow panels along one long wall. A fantastic change.

Alas! We discovered window blocks and warmer wood paneling behind the awful awful awful yellowed brick panels.

My friend Betsy once said that upon moving into a place a person should always change a wall. It was a way of making it your own.

We did, and the change was profound. "Well I'm feeling chuffed now," Bill said, smiling. It had seemed like such a daunting task when we had looked at the place earlier in the day, but after an afternoon (and evening, as I didn't leave until 9:30) we could see that, yes, this joint would come to be.

Big thanks to Lucy for popping down. She brought us dinner from Longfellow Grill and a vase in which she'd bundled some of those flowers from her kitchen. (Are we all connected telepathically? What am I doing with this cell phone!?) Thanks, friend. That was really sweet.

Alright. Must shower and scrape at my finger nails for a spell...though I'll destroy them again in the three hours I'll be working over there tomorrow.

I didn't sweat or cry real tears during today's work, but I did draw blood inside of three minutes of arriving at the pub.
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