For those who are unaware of our genesis story, TD and I met at a Halloween party. I was dressed as a cat. TD was a chicken. And he was dressed as one. We spoke briefly (apparently there was some interference from a guy in a diaper, but I don’t really remember that part) and the next week he asked me out. There’s more to it than that but I’m trying to be brief in my nostalgia waxing.
For those of you who know him, you also know that roughly 75% of what comes out of Tom’s mouth is utter nonsense. For example, on our first date during the “where did you come from and how did you get here” portion, he revealed that he’d gone to, and I quote, “SIU . . . The Harvard of the midwest.” Oooo-kay.
He also showed me a video (yes…an actual VHS tape) of his Klement’s Sausage Race victory. That’s right, he invited me to his place, sat me down and had me watch him run around Milwaukee’s County Stadium dressed as 9-foot tall, lederhosen-clad bratwurst. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you’ll know that we also went through the voting booklet cover to cover. By the end of the first date it was pretty clear to me that he was either really funny…or really…special.
Turns out, he’s both.
(TD Here. We have long disputed what did and didn’t happen on our controversial first date. To wit, I have exactly ZERO recollection of showing the Sausage Race video in this instance – or where that videotape is now in case you want to relive the glory. Not saying it didn’t happen, because it probably did. I mean what better way to show the ladies your bona fides as a genuine American winning machine, am I right?)
In those early days I sometimes had a hard time telling when he was serious and when he was yanking my chain. And while most of the time the joke was on me, occasionally, I’d misread the situation.
Enter New Edition.
So there we were. Heading somewhere in his kickin’ bronzite Oldsmobile bravada. He puts in a tape (yes…a tape) and in a blast of over-synthesized cacophony from the car speakers comes this:
I started laughing. I seriously thought he was joking.
In my defense (though really, I don’t think I need one in this instance), I didn’t know who New Edition was. By the time I was paying attention to music, the band formerly known as New Edition were known better as Bobby Brown the solo artist and Bel Biv Devoe. Poison I got. Mr Telephone Man? Not so much. And yet here was this 6’2″ white dude singing and car dancing to: “Candy Girl, you are my world, you look so sweet, you’re a special treat” way, way before carpool karaoke.
Dude loves him some New Edition. Seventeen years later I’m still waiting for him to admit it’s a joke. I probably wasn’t sensitive enough at the time to read whether I’d offended him. Then again…New Edition…does it really matter? Special indeed.
(TD again. Allow me to say, without a hint of irony or sarcasm that there are two types of people in the world. 1.) Those that like New Edition and 2.) Morons. We will not debate this. If you’re not at least tapping your toes by the time Ralph gets to “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky & Mike, if I love the girl who cares who you like?” you are dead inside. Dead I tell you. Also, be sure to catch a 3-night television event, The New Edition Story Tuesday, January 24th at 9P/8C on BET!)
This was a very long and not very related introduction to Via Corona’s own new edition: the addition. A few months ago, we shared the addition plans in a very general way. But let us refresh your memory.
In the original space, the living and dining rooms were sort of kitty-corner to one-another.
(TD here. The use of certain nonsense words and phrases like “irregardless” and “orientated” has always bothered me. Don’t even get me started on “buck” vs. “butt naked”. I was going to correct Shannon’s use of “kitty corner” in favor of “catty corner”, but I looked it up and it turns out she was right. I guess you should expect a certain command of the language from someone holding a PhD from UCLA, but her correctness in this instance annoys me still.
This expression, meaning “diagonally opposite,” was formed from a misspelling in English of the French word quatre (“four”) prefixed to “corner.” Although the word has nothing to do with cats or kittens, in various dialects all three spellings are acceptable: “catty,” “cater” or “kitty.” Unless you have somebody holding your golf clubs permanently stationed in the corner of your room, you shouldn’t use the spelling “caddy corner.” For the record, I’ve never heard anyone say “cater corner” but would instantly consider that person to be a psychopath. Now, in the words of the estimable Casey Kasem, on with the countdown.)
As you can see from the schematic, a doorway separated the two making for a very undersized living area.
And an over-sized formal dining space.
So we decided to reconfigure the main living space by bumping out the space off of the living and dining rooms to make a kind of continuous L-shaped area. We’ll have new 12-foot french doors off-of the bump-out leading to the deck. What was the living room becomes a dining space (next to the bay-window), the new space becomes the living room and what was the dining room becomes a sitting room off of the kitchen. Got that? There will be a quiz.
Speaking of kitchens. You’ve heard the drama about how long it took to get the permits for this just under 200 square foot edition. So, we were pretty enthusiastic that that two days after we finally got this:
They started in on this:
That’s right folks. As I type, I’m looking out through the Dexter-style plastic at a portion of the house currently secured by plywood and a couple of two-by fours. The floor is open to the crawl space. We’ve got no insulation and any man, woman, child or raccoon can just walk right in. Sensing opportunity for adventure, the cats immediately started looking for gaps in the plastic through which to escape. They found one pretty quick and had some serious cobweb-fueled adventures under the house. They’re now on semi-permanent house arrest in the guest bedroom.
At this point, the foundation has been poured and they are currently working on replacing the old headers with new ones (hence all the scaffolding). Official looking people have come through and inspected things. It’s been very loud. But, stuff is getting done. We think. If not, there are are 4 dudes presumably named Ronaldo, Roberto, Ricardo and Miguel who’ve killed about a week listening to a endless stream of tejano music and smack talking to one another in Spanish while not working on our house.
It should all be done by the end of February. So, you know, May.
Which brings up an important question related to our new addition. If Via Corona were a band, who would she be? Crowded House? House of Pain? Bad Company?
Definitely not New Edition.
(Finally, not that anyone should have to defend an appreciation for the only boy band since the Jackson 5 that didn’t suck out loud, but allow me to point out that this freaking song was on a Now That’s What I Call Terrible Music! CD in Shannon’s car when we met. If you make it through the first :30 without wanting to jam a meat thermometer in your ear, you’re likely someone who would say “cater corner”)
I knew that was coming. It’s what he hangs on to whenever we talk about New Edition. The year was 2000. The Vitamin C song was on the Now That’s What I Call Music 5 compilation. There were 17 other artists on the CD. Vitamin C was joined by Third Eye Blind, Sonique, and Hanson and he chooses to single-out Vitamin C?! She was the misdemeanor of my musical crimes at that point.