With a capital “S”…

St. Patricks Day. Thursday 3/17/16. The wife and I have snuck off on a low-budget road trip to New Orleans to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. This day we happen to be perusing the Audubon Zoo.

9:23 am. I’m watching the otters play when my phone goes off. It’s the alarm company for the monitored alarm on the Old Vic.

Ominous hum.....

Ominous hum…..

“We have an alarm at your address.”
“What zone?”
A pause, which is unusual. They usually know.
“Uh…it looks like…all of ’em.”
I blink. Huh. That’s not really possible with any event that wouldn’t already involve fire-trucks, professionals, and quite possibly…mushroom clouds.
“Obviously a malfunction. Disregard. I’ll check on it.”
Passwords and code phrases are exchanged and life is good.

Except I want to check.

As I’m scrolling down the list for my Mom’s number…she lives a block or so away and can see what’s up…a text comes in from her.
“Horrible storm here. Sirens blaring, power out, heavy…” [/endtrans]

“Well, that can’t be good.”

I tried to call but it wouldn’t connect. I decided to give it a few minutes. Finally the rest of the text came through and I was able to text back and make sure she was okay. That message contained a picture of a yard covered solid with hail and vegetation debris on her porch.

Shortly thereafter my friend Laura at the Chamber of Commerce called to let me know we had widespread damage around town, on the square, and also at Cupola Art.

I heard, “A waterfall inside.” and not much else.

I thanked her and we continued our zoo tour. We are, at best, 8 hours away and it would be dark before we got there. We may as well enjoy the zoo. There’s nothing else to be done. I sent my Mom a picture of an elephant sculpture fountain and told her when we’d be home.

(These photos were emailed to me, I believe they are credited to David Tommy Rogers.)


We arrive at the Old Vic at midnight. The power is still out in the entire city. That’s a good indicator of the severity of the storm. I didn’t even drive by Cupola Art…it’s dark and there’s nothing constructive to be accomplished.

At home it takes us an annoyingly long time to find just ONE of the 247 flashlights we *know* are scattered about the Old Vic.

There is a pile of hail still on the porch…eleven hours after the storm on a balmy spring day…and paint chips. Lots of paint chips. That’s another indicator of the severity of this thing. The hail took paint off the house!

A pile of hail some 11 hours after the storm...and paint. Lots of paint.

A pile of hail some 11 hours after the storm…and paint. Lots of paint.

“Would it help?”

Sleep would be good. It’s dark, and I already know…tomorrow’s gonna be busy.

My head hit the pillow and I dreamed of indoor waterfalls…for a moment. Then I had to pee. Stupid brain.


Friday dawned cool and threatening. I entered the building, looked upstairs at the carnage and light coming through the ceiling/roof, and shook my head a bit. The damage is extensive. Windows smashed. Frames pushed out of the walls. Glass and roofing debris from other buildings everywhere.

Overwhelming…and heartbreaking.

But what do you do?

Yah figure out what you’ve got and do what you can with it.

Went by the lumber yard and bought some tarps and asked them to deliver some OSB and 2×4’s. I’ll mention it again…but Allens Lumber in Clarksville absolutely rocks it.

Mmmm. Tarps. Plywood. Lumber. Screws. Nails. Tools. Donuts. Coffee.

Yeah, I can work with this.

I DID have to detour for the doughnuts. The building materials were waiting for me on my sidewalk before I got back to the shop.


Damage is widespread and severe around the city. Many roofs damaged. Trees and power lines down. Debris driven through masonry walls. Windows and doors destroyed. The roof off the jail is gone. The path of the worst damage goes right through downtown. My damage is serious…but not anywhere as bad as some.

One historic house is broken and pushed off it’s foundation.

My friend Mike came to help and we found my neighbor already on the roof checking out his damage, and beginning to tarp mine (they didn’t know when we’d get to town). Good neighbors here.

Roof peeled and hatch gone.

Roof peeled and hatch gone.

Rear damage...torn all the way across.

Rear damage…torn all the way across.

We got the front damage tarped and sealed pretty well. The back part was more difficult as the water from the front of the roof would just flow under a tarp and into the building. I wanted to seal down the tarp with roofing tar, but before we had a chance, the next storm blew in, complete with lightning, rain, and small hail. Time to abandon the roof.

As the deluge began adding a couple hundred more gallons of water to what was already downstairs, we hung a tarp in the second floor room below the rear roof damage and directed (most of) the water to a kiddie pool.

I would empty that twice more from that storm.

A cool, refreshing dip anybody?

A cool, refreshing dip anybody?

The rest of the afternoon was spent sweeping and vacuuming water (thank heavens for Shop Vac!) out of the downstairs, moving furniture out of the waterfall area, and cleaning up fallen ceiling tiles and insulation.

My friend James saw my facebook post and calls. “I’ll be there.” Mike and James. Good friends.

I needed a truck. One of mine was dead and the other was in another city since we’d taken the car for the road trip. We decided after dark I’d take the wife to the Suburban Blah House and grab my truck.

We made it 17 miles.

Well, ain't that just the icing on the cake?

Well, ain’t that just the icing on the cake?

Fun to the pouring rain with 80mph trucks.

Fun to change…in the pouring rain with 80mph trucks.

Debris from the carnage about town no doubt. Must have thrown it…it went down fast. TPMS warned me at 22…it dropped to 20 while I was grocking that…and 18…and 16…and 12…and was 4 before I got stopped.

I put on the doughnut spare and we limped back to the Old Vic. Too late to get it fixed and a doughnut spare isn’t up to a 150 mile trek…especially in the rain.

Annnd…next week I’ll order a FRIGGEN ACTUAL RIM for the car with a real tire on it for a spare so we don’t have to LIMP anywhere. I hate these things with a passion and frankly think I should be able to toss them through the front window of any dealer that equips their cars with them (all of ’em).

Well crap.


Saturday dawned cool, breezy, and clear. I was at the Walmart when they opened (closest tire store open early). Of course it couldn’t be fixed (too close to the sidewall). A new tire was required. Par for the course this weekend.

Back to the Old Vic. Breakfast. Coffee. Bacon. Mike and I decide the best action is to patch the rear part of the roof as best as we can to keep the majority of the water out since the tarp is so ineffective.

When ya need major surgery to stop the bleeding but all you have is a box of bandaids…well…you apply the shit out of the bandaids.

Flip stuff into place, add tar, fabric, more tar. This takes a fair portion of the day.

Goop and gauze.

Goop and gauze.

Next we tackle the worst window. The frames are bashed in, some free of the masonry.

West window pushed in.

West window pushed in.

These windows are nearly 10 feet tall and almost 4 feet wide. Removing the frame was not an easy task.

Window frame. Mike for scale!

Window frame. Mike for scale!

West windows.

West windows.

Tower Windows destroyed.

Tower Windows destroyed.

Solid hits to the north side.

Solid hits to the north side.

When it got dark I piled the wife and such in Da’ Altima and drove her to the Suburban Blah house so we could refill some critical supplies and I could get a truck.

Six hours round trip. I’m thinkin’ I could have used the sleep.


Sunday James, Mike, and I tackled boarding the rest of the windows and some cleanup. It went remarkably well and I owe a lot to these guys. Mostly we cleaned glass from the areas we were working…by no means did we get it all. Glass from the front windows is as far as 40 feet down the hall.




Monday I spent cleaning up ceiling tiles and insulation downstairs while waiting on the roofing guys to come take a look. They were also coming to inspect the roof on the Old Vic. Yeah. That one. The one I put on at great stress and expense juuuusssst about this time last year.

Yep. Totaled. No structural damage or leaks, but will need re-shingled (sob). More on that as it develops.

The damage tally at Cupola Art is painful.
–The roof is a loss. 400-600 square feet pulled loose. It will have to be stripped and recovered. Fortunately there appears to be no structural damage there.
–Eight blown out/smashed windows for a total of just around 300 square feet. Add this to a couple that were boarded up last spring and I’ve got a major mess here. Every remaining window has trim/sash damage or cracked wood and needs attention.
None of windows…not ONE…can just have the glass replaced and go on. New parts and complete regluing at the least is required for the sashes…and there is a lot of trim shattered on the frames.
–Only one window remains in the front of the building upstairs. All the tower windows were destroyed.
–Three complete frames smashed loose from the building, one we had to pull completely out…the other two may be able to be re-set and re-attached without the complete removal.
–At least 12 sashes are destroyed and will need major rebuild.
The sashes are a bit light duty for the square footage and weight of the glass required…so I’m unsure at this moment how to proceed. We are fairly certain the windows failed first and that resulted in the lifting of the roof covering free of the decking and the resulting damage there…so upgrading the glass at the least is required here.
–Hundreds of gallons of water downstairs took out a lot of ceiling tiles and insulation but we seem to have little other damage there.

My "not for wet environments" LED tubes working in wet environments.

My “not for wet environments” LED tubes working in wet environments.

VERY large sash weights.

VERY large sash weights.

A lot depends on the getting the roof repaired. There is never a good time but this is financially devastating and there may be no resources to tackle the windows (or anything else) for some time.
The recent sheetrock work for the bathrooms survived mostly unscathed so at least there’s that…otherwise *everything* I’ve accomplished there in the last THREE years was undone.

All in all I cleaned and bagged up several hundred pounds of debris and got it out of the building (wet=mold so this was important to get out of the building).

It was enough that I had to make two trips in my little truck. More to do, but the critical stuff is done…the roof is the important bit now.

Note…MUST get more contractor trash bags! (you can hide bodies in those…well…ur…not that I have any bodies I need to hide or anything).

Thanks to the help of my friends and neighbors, I’ve downgraded from “completely overwhelmed” to just an “Awww shit” level.

Dreams on hold. More as it develops.

UPDATE: And then it got worse… (link)

And then even worse…(link)

And then there’s this… (link)

Daniel Meyer

Deposing the Throne…part the next.

So…this showed up.

A butt-load of heavy...

A butt-load of heavy…

That’s 20 sheets of mold/moisture resistant sheet-rock (commonly known as “greenboard”).

So…what to do with it?

Well…nail it up!

Nail it up

Nail it up

Throw some mud on it!

Throw some mud on it!

Throw some mud on it!

Put up the back-splash for the sink-bay.

Back-splash installed.

Back-splash installed.

And get a little wiring pulled…

Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

…next time…button up the wiring…install the wainscoting in the bathrooms (same material as the sink bay but only 4′ high) and attack the entire area with a spray gun…

Lots done…but lots more to do.

Daniel Meyer

Deposing the Throne…part the first…

An issue with the Cupola Art building is (big booming echo)THE THRONE(/end big booming echo).

The Throne is the name that anybody that’s ever seen it immediately and universally dubbed the bathroom in the building. Essentially, due to various alterations and problems over its history, by the time we owned the building the bathroom consisted of a toilet…on a platform, basically overlooking the entire mezzanine, and with a straight-line view of the top of the stairs. No walls. No sink. Not even a curtain. You are, no question, truly the king of all you survey when you sit on this thing.

The Throne

The Throne

I should mention that us male types (pointers vs setters) also have difficulty with the approach here. An understanding of ballistics and diaphragm control of an extraordinary sort are required since we can’t actually stand in front of this thing. Headroom is an issue as well.

Anyway, there is a definite need for a decent bathroom in the place. Since there never was one on the ground floor, some substantial work is required to add one.

Ah well. What’s a little work?

After pondering for some time, I decided that pretty much whatever use the building was put to, a pair of ADA compliant bathrooms would make it a nicer place. This is not actually required due to the age and history of the building, but, I really felt bathrooms on the ground floor are a necessity in any public building, and if I’m installing them, it’s a simple matter to make them complaint.

After lots of measuring, some thoughts about various configurations, and a few anxious glances at the moths flying out of my wallet, I came up with a layout that maximizes space, solves all the problems, and provides a good setup for pretty much whatever use the building gets put to in the future.

This weekend we framed it up. You DO know though…that no project like this can be pondered without several more becoming obviously necessary, right?

The bathrooms are to be framed under the mezzanine, with the doors into them forming a “hall” to the interior door that leads upstairs. After careful measurement, I determined the mezzanine had sagged in the middle. A little poking around immediately showed me why.

The cut/missing support.

The cut/missing support. Note the high-strength 1×4 nailed across the joist joint to do…something…I guess…

There used to be a support beam across the middle. You can see in the pic above that it was cut out. It also acts as a header for the mezzanine stairs. All the joists under the mezzanine are two parters…and the beam supported the joint.

The result of it missing is the sag and bounce. I’m unsure what’s holding the stairs up there at all.

The new bathroom walls will take the load and provide support most of the way across the center of the mez…there is a double wall for the plumbing chase, and I’ll cut that stairway header out and add a new beam from there to cover the rest.

That meant careful jacking of the mezzanine deck, and building walls precisely the right measurement to stand up and sledge into place.

Anyway, framing is done. I’ve two 8×7 bathrooms (one with a shower stall) laid out. 70 2×4’s, and 10 treated (sill plates) to get this done. I still have to add the stairway header.

Nailguns, sledge hammers, jackposts, and a saw with a fricken laser on it. Life is good!

Many thanks to my step-dad and nephew for the assistance this weekend!

The view from the sales floor. That is a 15″ thick I-beam inside that top wall to hold the front of the mezzanine. A 11-foot prep sink will nestle against that side wall and shower enclosure.

The view from the sales floor.

The view from the sales floor.

Looking down the hall…at the doors to the bathrooms. The door at the end of the hall leads to the main stairs (they also have an exterior door for access)
The view down the hall.

The view down the hall.

This view is looking back toward the sales floor from the door to the main stairs.
Looking up the hall toward the sales floor.

Looking up the hall toward the sales floor.

The hall is 4′ wide, and the doors to the bathrooms are 36″. Swing room and fixture type/location will all meet ADA requirements.

Up for next week: Stair header install and the start on wiring/plumbing. A load of green-board (bathroom sheet-rock that is water and mold resistant) is also in the cards.


-Larry Algaier

This torso study is a unique piece by my good friend Larry Algaier (deceased). It is fired/glazed ceramic and presented several challenges to the artist to produce, not the least of which is correctly supporting it in a large enough kiln for firing.

It took several tries to be successful, and there are (were) two similar pieces produced, though they may be lost with the dissolution of his gallery after his passing.

I always enjoy watching people in a gallery or other settings, responding to art. Art is SO subjective…completely different reactions from people viewing the same piece are the norm…and can tell you a lot about the person viewing the piece.

Reaction to the nudes I find particularly telling.

Men enjoy them, but tend to view them in quick, surreptitious glances…taken on several different circuits of the floor.

Women tend to stop, take their time, and openly view, admire, critique, and discuss them. My first three sales of my work were all nudes…and two of those were to women. The third was to a man that was buying it for his wife. She’d been in several times and admired it…

The more graphic the work, the more likely the women were to stop and observe it, and the shorter the time men would spend on it. I find that interesting as their preferences tend to be the other way around (the men prefer more graphic, the women more subtle).

This work is interesting in that folks seemed to either not notice it at all, or would spend time discussing it.

We had this work on the wall for some time. Women, in particular, liked to speculate on this piece.

“Who do you think he molded this on?”
“How did he get it off?”
“Must have been cold…”
“Not very well endowed, was she?”
“Why are there no nipples?”
“Did he do one of the rest of her?”

…were all frequent topics (I know the answer to these…not telling except for whoever ends up with this piece).

Organic, -Larry Algaier

The understanding or appreciation of art is subjective. That’s what makes it art.

What do you think?

Daniel Meyer

A present for me…

I made a rather significant furniture purchase for my lover…a piece she particularly liked and wanted for The Old Vic…as a present for no particular event. (here)

I saved a little money by spending a bunch more…and giving myself a gift as well.

This is an old postal sorting table.

An art cubby!

An art cubby!

It’s right at 6 feet long, very old, and heavily built.

It’s a wonderful addition to my art studio/workshop. Goes well with my 1800’s drafting table.

Lots of nooks and crannies!

Lots of nooks and crannies!

I’m really looking forward to setting up my studio and organizing my supplies. If I can just finish that pesky porch over at The Old Vic I’ll get right to it…

Now I just need to do some art…

Daniel Meyer