November 18th Post

November 18, 2009

 

OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Will post photos and more later when we get time.  Welcome back!

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November 13th Post

November 13, 2009

 

Hello hungry folks!  Well, Friday the 13th has come and gone and it was certainly not unlucky for Little Mexico!  We have had a very productive week this week and today we took possession of the keys.  We are drawing ever closer to the goal line!  Below is a synopsis and a few photo highlights of the week just to tease you.  We have been so busy that there are not very many photos this week.  It won’t be long though and you will be able to see for your self!

Monday November 9th

We begin to receive deliveries of supplies for the first time since March 25th.  First items to arrive are the various hardware items like pans and utensils, glasses and plates.  Mrs. Janet Staples begins applying the wall art that will help to decorate the inside of the building.

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Supplies begin arriving and are checked in…..looking good!

Tuesday November 10th

Supplies continue to arrive while finishing touches are applied to almost every nook and cranny of the building.  Brandon’s office in the kitchen is a focal point of activity as the computers and video equipment arrive and are hooked up all while we are trying to assemble his desk. (at one point there are six people in his 8 x 10 office)  Later in the day and, late into the evening, employees are coming by to practice on the computer system.  The washer and dryer are hooked up but, no one seems to know how to operate them!  Mrs. Staples continues to paint in the relative quiet of the waiting area.

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This all looks like “Mission Control”…..Maybe we will launch a taco

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Wednesday November 11th

We are saddened by the fact that this is the first Veteran’s Day that we have missed in many years.  It has been our pleasure to serve vets a free meal  on Veteran’s day for so long and, we really regret that we could not be there for them this year.  We ask that everyone take a moment to reflect on the sacrifice of so many that guard our freedom and our way of life.  At the restaurant, the final building inspection goes off without any problem!

 

Thursday November 12th

We spend the day moving the steel shelving that we salvaged from the fire back to the restaurant and into the storeroom because, more deliveries are on the way for tomorrow morning and, we still have not unpacked and put away the items from earlier in the week.  Mrs. Staples begins painting the mural on the back wall of the dining area.

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Friday November 13th

Well, we have possession of all of the keys!  Brandon spends a long time in class learning how to operate “Mission Control”.  Coke installs brand new shiny coke machines.  Delivery trucks are lined up in a holding pattern reminiscent of DFW airport on the Friday before Christmas and the shelves are filling up, all of the computers are actually communicating with one another, “punch out” and trim work continues all over the building, the phones are all ringing off the wall, and late in the day you see Paul Harris leaning against a table with his hands in his pockets!  Guess he couldn’t find his golf clubs!  All of this means we are getting REALLY REALLY close!  They even re-stripe the parking lot just before dark.

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We have decided NOT to decide on an opening date!  There is a lot of training and practice still to be done before we open to the public.  The best guess is, that we WILL be open within the next ten days.  If you call and, we answer the phone, better pack up the car!  We are so excited that the time is almost here!  We are really looking forward to seeing all of you again and, we are so thankful for your patience and understanding throughout this long dry spell.  We will continue to keep the blog updated through the opening and, as customers arrive, you may even see yourself on here! 

SEE YOU SOON!

November 8th Post

November 8, 2009

 

Hello again!  Well, this has been a busy week!  Equipment has arrived, supplies have been ordered, carpet has been laid, and we have had employee meetings.  We are getting really close to opening day now!

Tuesday November 3rd

After the electricity was turned on yesterday, we spent most of today cleaning furniture and placing it in it’s proper place.  Randy Mannix spent his day making sure that all of the lights worked. (They ALL did!)  What a terrific wiring job he has done!  The convection oven that we use to cook the individual plates of food arrives and is uncrated, the washer and dryer arrive, the ice machines are installed, stainless steel fabrication continues in the kitchen.

Wednesday November 4th

We have the first of our employee meetings.  It is great to see all of our employees back together for the first time since the fire and view their reactions to the rebuilt restaurant.  We believe that we will get most of the employees back that were here before the fire so, if you have a favorite, most likely they will again be available to help you!

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Thursday November 5th

Lightfoot Carpet One begins to lay the carpeting in the waiting area and host area.  It is starting to look like home again.  The convection oven is put in place and hooked to the gas supply.  The gas was turned on yesterday.  Later today we hope to have the plumbers here to purge and test the gas supply so that we can fire up the oven and begin testing the equipment.  Brandon, Phyllis and Gary are in Tyler completing the programming of the new computers.  We hope to have the system in the building for the employees to practice on by tomorrow.

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Friday November 6th

The oven works!  That means that, when we get food here, we can cook it!  (we plan to place orders later today for the first of the  supplies)  Brandon brings one of the computer terminals back from Tyler and the employees begin to practice entering orders.  We continue cleaning and placing furniture in the newly carpeted areas.  Wow! It really is beginning to LOOK ready to go!  Phyllis and Gary plan to spend the weekend decorating!

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Next week Mrs. Staples begins painting the mural on the back wall, we continue landscaping outside, final touch-up continues inside, the kitchen should be complete, and the employees will continue practicing on the computer system that is scheduled to be installed before week’s end.  We hope to get the first supply deliveries by the end of the week.  We know you are all getting hungry.  Please hold on because it is getting down to a matter of DAYS now, instead of WEEKS! 

 

WE will see you soon!

November 2nd Special Post

November 2, 2009

 

 

On The Two Hundred Twenty Third Day TXU Said:

“LET THERE BE LIGHT”

And there was light!

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Not long after that, the furniture started to come home!

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Yes, it is very dusty but we can clean it up quick enough.  It just looks good to have it in the building again!  We wanted to post this quick update because, it has been a great Monday and, anyone driving by this evening and seeing the lights on might think we were open already.  Shouldn’t be long now!

Thanks for stopping by the blog to check on us.  If your friends missed it you now have one up on them.  See you later in the week!

October 30th Post

October 30, 2009

 

Hello to all our hungry faithful!  This week has been a study in frustration!  As much as possible, without electric service, things have been proceeding well.  Not many pictures to show you this week because we are, unfortunately, at a slowdown waiting on electricity.

Monday October 26th

The concrete restoration people arrive and begin to clean the floors in the dining area.  The crew from East Texas Fire Protection begins to install the fire suppression system above all the cooking areas in the vent-a-hoods.  The fire sprinkler crew continues their never-ending plumbing of their part of the fire suppression system for the entire building.  The plumbers are still connecting gas lines and faucets in all of the kitchen areas.

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Tuesday October 27th

Cleaning in the dining area continues.  Equipment installation and fabrication in the kitchen area is ongoing.  Oncor removes the incorrect pole and sets the CORRECT size pole for our electrical service.  The final tiles are grouted in the customer restrooms.  East Texas Fire Protection continues their work on the hoods, and the roofing above the porch and the back doors is completed.  Lightfoot refrigeration works on finishing the connections to the walk in cooler and freezer so that, if we ever get electric service, they can fill them with refrigerant and test the systems.  The steam jacketed cooking kettles arrive and are put in place.  Randy and Pat Mannix are running wiring to the fire protection systems.

Wednesday October 28th

East Texas Fire Protection completes their installation of fire bottles and piping for the cooking areas, Lightfoot is still working on drain and refrigerant lines, Kirby restaurant supply is still fabricating stainless steel trim and fitment pieces for all of the equipment, Randy and Pat are still running wire to various pieces of equipment and tables, The crew acid etches the floors in the dining area, we are frantically working on restoring the stainless steel tables that we saved after the fire so that they are ready to move back in when the floors are completed.  WHEW! that was a long sentence.  Oh….we are still waiting for electric service!

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Thursday October 29th

The floors have to dry thoroughly, then can be tinted and sealed.  Kirby is still fabricating, and….we are still waiting for electric service!  We take several of the management and wait staff to Tyler to familiarize ourselves and them with the new computerized order entry system.  Maybe we will have electricity tomorrow!

Friday October 30th

Kirby is still working on fabrication, they begin applying tint and sealer to the floors in the dining area, and ONCOR arrives to hook up the electricity!

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OOOPS!  False alarm….the TXU administration sent the linemen the wrong configuration and transformers to hook us up today…maybe next week!

Thank you for reading and, thank you for being so patient.  We really appreciate all of you who take the time to check in on us every week.  Hopefully it won’t be long now.  Have a great weekend and be safe if you are going hunting or just working in the yard.  We want to see all of you when we re-open!  Also, since it is Halloween, watch out for trick or treaters.  Finally, don’t forget to set your clocks back one hour this weekend!  See you next week! 

October 24th Post

October 24, 2009

Hello everyone!  This has been a terrific week at Little Mexico.  Things are rolling along toward completion.  We still have a LOT to get done but, the end is in sight!

Monday October 19th

‘”The chandeliers were hung by Ronny and Randy with care in hopes that our customers soon would be there.”

The concrete crew also arrived and poured the concrete ramp at the kitchen entrance and covered the ditch across the parking lot.  The control panel for the lighting in the customer area is complete except for labeling what all the different buttons do.

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Tuesday October 20th

Paul and Ronny begin installing the partitions in the customer restrooms.  When asked, Paul said he “loves these things”.  We guess that he thoroughly enjoys the installation process.  Randy and Pat Mannix have put light bulbs in every fixture and rechecked all of the outlets and every circuit breaker on the inside and have started installing all of the outdoor light fixtures.  Just before lunch, two trailer loads of kitchen equipment arrive and, it’s just like Christmas morning!

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Wednesday October 21st

The crew from Kirby Restaurant Supply begins unpacking and assembling kitchen equipment.  Paul, Ronny, and Kelly continue installing the partitions in the restrooms, the plumbers are installing the water heaters in the utility room, and another crew from Kirby is finishing the stainless steel fabrication.  While this is going on, the sprinkler system people are installing the connection to the water main.  All of this is happening in the kitchen and storeroom area and, it is getting pretty crowded in there so we walk up front to see Dennis from Lightfoot a/c all by himself in the front half of the building installing thermostats for the a/c units.  He tells us that the peace and quiet are very nice.  Late in the day, another truckload of equipment arrives.  The kitchen is really getting crowded now!

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Thursday October 22nd

The plumbers turn on the water to the water heaters and, water starts coming from under a wall!  This is NOT what we needed!  They diagnose the problem however and, quickly have it repaired!  Whew!  We were thinking “major delay”.  The rest of the day goes smoothly, though, as equipment is put in it’s assigned spots and things begin to look normal again.  Below are views of the dishwashing area where most of the equipment has been fastened down.

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Friday October 23rd

The bustle of activity continues in the kitchen where they are now beginning to connect all of the equipment that has arrived and, been unpacked and assembled.  If we just had some electricity and gas we could start testing this stuff!  Paul tells us that they are going to begin cleaning, etching and color sealing the floors in the front half of the building next week.  When that is finished, we will be ready to bring back the furniture!  The roofing crew begins installing the Spanish clay tiles above the front porch.  This place looks ready to open from the outside!

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Thanks for checking in on us this week.  We hope to have more good news next week!  See you then!

And now for an important announcement!

While we do not yet have an EXACT date,  we WILL be open before Thanksgiving, barring some catastrophic problem!

WhooHoo!

October 17th Post

October 17, 2009

 

Hello there Little Mexico Faithful and, any new readers!  This has been a low key week but, exciting nonetheless.  We do not have any dramatic photos of huge projects.  As we suspected, the progress is measured much more carefully now.  We ARE making progress however!  We hope with the clear and cool weather, that deer hunters on their leases took I-PHONES, BLACKBERRYS, and NETBOOKS with them so they can keep up with developments.  No matter, we are sure their spouses will fill them in!

 

Monday October 12th

The concrete floor restoration crew comes in to begin preparing the kitchen area for cleaning, acid etching, and  color sealing.  We are hoping the rain and high humidity do not slow things down.  Lightfoot Flooring continues the installation of the tile on the walls in the customer bathrooms.

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Tuesday October 13th

The concrete floor crew begins scrubbing the kitchen area and using an acid etching compound to prepare the floors for coloring and sealing.  The rain may pose a problem because the floors must be dry before they can apply the sealer or, it will not adhere correctly.  As much as we need the rain, we would like it to stop for a little while.  Randy Mannix has almost finished with the ceiling fans and light fixtures in the ceiling and moves on to re-installing the light fixtures on the walls.  It is really coming together now!

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Wednesday October 14th

The new fireplace screen arrives and Paul Harris wastes no time getting it installed on the fireplace.  It required some major modifications to the stone on the face of the fireplace but, that posed no problem for Paul because “them ain’t golf clubs” in HIS toolbox!

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Paul also discovered that the finish was not adhering properly to the trim on the top of the dividing wall between the cashier area and the waiting room so, he replaced it and had it refinished before the day was done.  The painters were also putting the final stain on the front doors before applying sealer.  Late in the afternoon ONCOR showed up to pull the new wire for the electric service for the building.  That brings us one step closer to having electricity!

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Thursday October 15th

As expected, the humid weather and rain prevented the concrete flooring crew from painting and sealing the floor in the kitchen.  The finish will take a week to cure properly before anyone can go back to work in that area so, every day we are delayed really hurts.  The kitchen area is just about ready for the equipment to be delivered so, we hope that te rain will hold off and the floor can be finished as soon as possible.  Lightfoot Flooring continues to install wall tiles and we hope that they will begin to grout the tile tomorrow because the plumbing fixtures are supposed to go in next week.

Friday October 16th

As the day progresses, the weather cooperates and the floor guys begin to apply the epoxy colorant to the kitchen floor.

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Lightfoot Flooring is applying grout to the bathroom tiles and it looks like we are going to be ready for the plumbers next week.  The next photos are requested by a member of the “FRIENDS OF LITTLE MEXICO” Facebook group (Brooke) who wanted to see what the bathroom tile looked like.  We took these in the dark so, it was the best we could do.  We think everyone will enjoy the new facilities in the customer area.

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Saturday October 17th

The concrete floor refinishing crew worked all day applying the sealer to the kitchen floor and they have made up the day we lost to humidity!

Thanks to all of you for stopping by this week.  We know that it seems like it has been forever that we have been closed because of the fire and this rebuild but, the contractors that have been working on this project have accomplished some really amazing things in a short time!  We appreciate their efforts and YOUR support more than you can imagine!  We are coming closer every day to the re-opening and, we hope to share some really good news in the near future!  PLEASE keep your thoughts and prayers coming as we get ready to serve you again.  See you next week.

October 10th Post

October 10, 2009

 

Hello everyone!  This has been another terrific week in the reconstruction project!  We are several steps closer to electricity in the building, the ceiling is almost in, the painting is almost finished, the tile is being laid, the counter tops are on in the front, and the electrical crew is even hanging ceiling fans!  Read on for the details.

Monday October 5th

The air conditioning and refrigeration units arrive and are promptly put in place.  No more holes in the roof so, let it rain all it wants to.

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Tuesday October 6th

The a/c crew and the electricians work all day connecting the a/c and refrigeration wiring to the new units and close off all remaining openings in the roof.  Meanwhile, the painters are staining and painting the waiting room and the bathroom cabinets. 

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Wednesday October 7th

The roofing crew from Houston arrives to complete the edges of the roof and put the trim caps and gutters on the building.  The ceiling grid is installed in the kitchen and waitress area.  Paul Harris’s crew begins breaking out concrete in the parking lot for the water line to the new tap by the road which will feed the fire sprinklers.  Oncor energy arrives to pull out the old wiring from the pole to the building.  This was a really busy day!

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Thursday October 8th

Brandon and Gary order the last of the plates and dishes, knives, spoons, and containers etc. needed for the kitchen to be ready to cook.  We are really getting close now!  The crew begins to install ceiling grid in the dining area, the countertops for the cashier and the bathrooms arrive, and the crew from Lightfoot floor coverings starts installing tile!  Randy Mannix finishes the wiring inside the circuit breaker panels and is ready for the electrical inspection tomorrow.

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Friday October 9th

The electricians are installing light fixtures and the Kirby restaurant supply crew arrives to install the heat lamp hood above the pass window between the kitchen and waitress area. The ceiling grid is finished in the dining area, Jim Thornell arrives to hook up the phone system wiring, the city inspector passes the electrical wiring so we are ready for TXU, and the Rudd fire sprinkler crew finishes their water line from the street and covers it up.  A load of ceiling fans arrives and Pat Mannix quickly begins installing them!  Later in the day Duane Lightfoot HIMSELF arrives to install wall tile in the front bath areas!  I guess he doesn’t have golf clubs in his toolbox either!  By day’s end, the waitress area is almost complete except for equipment and a few ceiling tiles!

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Next week they are going to start cleaning, sealing and epoxy painting the floor in the kitchen.  That means that equipment will be arriving soon!  We MIGHT have electricity next week!  Things are moving along really well.  We sincerely appreciate the time that all of you take every week to read this account and we hope you continue to enjoy it.  We are looking forward to next week and we hope you are as well.  See you then!   

 

 

October 2nd Post

October 2, 2009

 

Hello again.  Yet another week has gone by.  We are inching ever closer to the re-opening day.  This has been a week of terrific progress without being gigantic events.  Let us explain:

Monday September 28th

The stucco crew is hard at work…looks like they might finish this week if the rain holds off!  The painters arrive and begin hanging plastic everywhere to be ready to start staining and painting the dining area.  The carpenters are building shelving in the bathroom closet and framing doorways in the kitchen.  Randy Mannix and Pat Mannix are still pulling wire through the conduit.  We don’t know how many miles they are up to by now!  The good news is that they will be finished in the ceilings before the end of the week and will be ready to start working on getting power to the building.

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Tuesday September 29th

The installation crew is putting on the plastic paneling in the kitchen and waitress area.  It looks great but goes up very slowly.  This will probably take several days to complete.  The painters have begun staining the dining room walls.  Boy it is really starting to look like Little Mexico again!  The new counter for the cashier arrives and is put in place.  Things are starting to come together really well.

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Wednesday September 30th

The stucco crew has been working since daybreak frantically trying to get as much of the final coat done as possible because the weather forecast calls for rain on Thursday afternoon.  The acoustic ceiling grid arrives.  We think that is scheduled to go in next week!  The painters begin applying lacquer sealer to the stained areas of the dining room and everyone clears out because the fumes are INTENSE.  The electricians have finished pulling wire in the ceiling.  Late in the day, when the painters have finished spraying, the paneling crew continues their laborious task of installing plastic.

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Thursday October 1st

Again the stucco crew is the first to arrive.  By the end of the day they have finished the front of the building and part of the east wall where the fireplace is.  Randy the electrician enlists the aid of a few good men to put the 400 pound service panel in place on the outside wall.  He tells us that there is a chance that there may be electric service to the building by the end of next week!  The stainless steel crew from Kirby Restaurant Supply begins installing  wall panels in the kitchen.  The painters are finished with the final coat on the wood in the dining area and mask the wood for the wall paint.

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Friday October 2nd

We lucked out and did not get the rain and storms predicted for last night and this morning so, by lunchtime, the stucco crew has finished the stucco and removed the scaffolding!  If one were to drive by now, it looks like we are ready to open!  The stainless steel crew comes back to continue installing stainless and the duct people are installing ductwork to the vent-a-hoods.  The painters are working on the walls now and the latex paint is a relief.   Early in the afternoon the new doors arrive and Paul and the carpenters set to work installing them.  Things are really moving!

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Next week the air conditioners are supposed to be installed, they are scheduled to start the ceiling grid and, now that the scaffolding is out of the way, we may see the fire sprinkler people back to run the water line to the building.  We might even have electric service sometime next week!  Opening day is getting closer and closer!  Brandon did another interview this morning with youreasttexas.com so be sure to check that out.  Also don’t forget to check out blogsurfer.us.  Thanks for reading and we hope you have a GREAT weekend!

September 26th Post

September 26, 2009

 

Happy Saturday to you, our faithful readers!  This has been an excellent week at Little Mexico.  The crews have gotten a lot done even though everything that was scheduled to happen did not go as planned.  We are learning as we go that, when it comes to the massive amount of work necessary, the schedule sometimes varies with material availability etc.  Read on for the play by play.

Monday September 21st

Carpentry work continues in the dining area, and Mark Amaral the city inspector arrives to check out the work and approves all of the plumbing and gas piping so that we can proceed to seal up the kitchen walls preparatory to sheetrock and plastic paneling.  It is still rainy however so, probably no stucco work today.

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Tuesday September 22nd

The insulation crew sprays the foam on the remaining kitchen walls and stretches a polyester cloth fabric on the walls between the kitchen and the waitress area and also between the dining room and waitress area and blows a fiberglass material between the fabric covered walls as an acoustic insulation that will help prevent sound transfer.  By the end of the day we are ready for sheetrock!  The floor in the dining area receives a test cleaning to see what needs to be done to restore it to the red color that it had before the fire.  Phyllis and Gary inspect this closely to determine what needs to be done.  Meanwhile Randy Mannix the electrician continues to pull miles of wire through the conduit and to the panels in the equipment room.

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Wednesday September 23rd

The people from East Texas Brick in Tyler come down to evaluate what we need to repair or replace the fireplace screen in the waiting area.  Carpentry work continues in the main dining room.  All of the windows need to be individually framed and it is also discovered that some of the window sills need to be replaced.  Paul Harris begins construction of the woodwork that will cover the “master lighting control panel”.  By early afternoon the sheetrock for the back half of the building has arrived.  Of course it is another rainy day so there is no stucco work!

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Thursday September 24th

The sheetrock crew arrives early and, like a swarm of bees, they begin to sheetrock the kitchen and waitress area.  There are so many of them and the sheetrock is flying around everywhere!  We and almost everyone else just get out of the way while they work.

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The Man from East Texas Brick removed the damaged fireplace screen so we decide this would be a good opportunity to clean out and re-mortar the inside of the fireplace.  We are satisfyingly sooty and dirty by the time that project is done!  In the meantime, while the sheetrock is being applied, the vent-a-hoods and the associated air handling equipment arrive!  They immediately start installing the units on the roof!  Wow, this is something we did NOT expect this week!  Paul finishes the shutters covering the control panel but, it does not look like the rest of the woodwork will be ready for paint and stain until next week.

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Friday September 25th

Finally, a pretty day and the stucco crews are working like crazy!  Everyone has been commenting about our obsession with the stucco.  It is not the stucco, but the scaffolding, that prevents other projects like hooking up the water supply and the electricity as well as the wood trim for the exterior of the building which is sitting in the floor of the waiting area ready to go!  The quicker they finish and get the scaffolds out of the way, the quicker we can move on to the rest.  The plaster crew shows up this morning and makes quick work of taping and bedding the sheetrock.  The plastic paneling is here and they will probably install it first thing next week.  Just before lunch, the installation crew arrives to hang the vent-a-hoods and says they will be finished TODAY!  We take a quick trip to the roof to see what they accomplished yesterday.

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True to their word, the crew finished installing the hoods by days end and Paul’s crew applied polyurethane caulk and a layer of rubber sealant to the sheetrock around the dishwashing area to prevent any water infiltration.  With the hoods in place, it is really starting to look like a kitchen again!  HMMM, if we just had some stoves.  Maybe soon!

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Well, That’s it for this week.  The stucco crew is supposed to work this weekend.  Next week we hope to see the painters begin staining the woodwork and painting the walls.  Maybe we will get some other cool surprises like the hoods were this week.  In the meantime we are scrubbing pots and pans to be ready.  You never know when the stoves might arrive!  Thanks for taking the time to check in with us and, we will see you next week!