There are only a few things one needs for a garden. Some plants, lawn gnome, and a pink flamingo. When the wife and I got married, we bought this at our local big box store. While our garden was mostly dirt and weeds, the flamingo really brought it all together. It distracted from the ugly yucca plant and my wife’s lack of a green thumb (I still love you babe). It has survived hurricanes, punk ass kids, and relocation during flower bed renovations. It will be the one yard decoration we will carry through life until we settle at our forever home. This one is for you Pink Flamingo.
I took the wife shooting a couple of weekends ago. It was her first time shooting a gun. While she was a little hesitant, she took instruction well and I was pleased with how she handled herself. She didn’t particularly like my gun, it isn’t sandwich size. I think when we get back into the U.S. we will get her one that’s easier to handle. I also worked my first shift as a waiter/bus boy at the 619 Cantina with my wife. I had a good time with all the hustle and bustle. In High School, I worked as a pizza delivery boy at Romano’s Pizza, but waiting was a different animal. The whole weekend was a rough one. It started off with a surprise (see below) and ended with the loss of the Bearded Lady. She was our king hen for a while, until she was dethroned by one of the black ones (they don’t have call signs). I was doing a count today and noticed she wasn’t around. I had left the coop open this past week, to let the ladies stretch their wings. Don’t know what happened to her exactly, but I didn’t find a body. She either ran off with Juan from down the street or was the victim of a hawk. The hard part will be telling Kash about it when she gets back from her dad’s house. It was probably her favorite chicken to wrangle up and carry around. Either way, the chickens will have a new home in a couple of months because of some big news that I am sharing with you today.
It’s official, the Clemens Clan is headed to Japan. The man has decided it’s in his best interest to send us there. We found out in January, but it wasn’t until now that we were sure of the move. It should be a fun one. I’ll mostly be working, but the wife and kids should have a blast exploring the area. This will be the first time in 11 years I have moved. I have been in the Hampton Roads area since 2006 and have about a month left. The Sandwich Maker and kiddos were born and raised here. We have already begun the prep to make the trip, like getting passports, coordinating what we want to get rid of, and making preps to get the house rented out. The house has been the biggest hurdle. While most of the work is simple, there have been a couple “oh shit” moments when diving into the work. This past Friday provided the biggest one yet.
The wife was prepping the back bedroom for paint. For a little history, the back bedroom was the room we always talked about renovating, but it always seemed to invite storage stuff instead. It doesn’t have carpet but does have a hole in the wall. Wasn’t going to be a big deal, the wife enjoyed using the joint compound to fill holes. She came to one hole that needed a patch kit. The kit she bought wasn’t working so she asked me to look at it. I felt the wall and was able to push it in with my fingers. I decided to make the hole bigger and clear away the suspect drywall (or plaster). I was going to use a piece of drywall I had left over to make a patch. I began to tear away at the wall, following the weak spots. I removed a good chunk of the drywall and thought I was good to go. I then looked above the window and noticed a bubble in the paint and began to investigate. Slowly I began to tear into the wall and noticed that I was meeting the hole I had started at the bottom. It was apparent at this point that I had some serious water damage. I continued to dismantle the drywall until I had found zero signs of damage. I had busted up about a third of the back wall, including the window (the window is an old cast iron counter weight system and had rotted a little bit). We were both in shock. It was apparent that this had been going on for some time. We called our siding guy (who also does windows) to come and check the size for a new window. He swung by and grabbed the measurements. He has been a big help for us knocking out some of the “to-dos” on our list.
Since the wall wasn’t going to get fixed this weekend, we emptied the room closed the door. There was another pressing another job to tackle, knocking down a useless chimney that had caused its own water damage in the laundry room. It had been in the work queue for a few weeks. The weather had not been cooperating. Finally, I had about 5 sunny days in a row, which was plenty of time to knock out the chimney and repair the wall. I had already reinforced the indie with some help from a buddy. Framing is new to me, so I needed some guidance. I tend to learn better by watching, then doing (that’s when I really learn how to do it). The chimney came down fairly easily. There was a point when I had to kick the shit out of it on the roof because the flashing (which is where the water seemed to be getting in) wasn’t playing nice. I finished in the late afternoon/early evening. There is now a huge mess of bricks behind the house that I am hoping someone wants to come pick up.
I still have plenty of projects to knock out and limited time. Most of them are small “after work gigs”, but the walls will take a little more thought and effort. Even with all the grief this house has caused me (I’ll tell the story of how the bathroom remodel started another day), I am going to miss this place. I am comfortable here. But it’s time for a new adventure, and the family and I are looking forward to it.
Do work, be rad
Note: Since I wrote this post and sent it to my new editor who works for weekly calls and Factiming (Is this a real word yet?) with her grandkids; I have finish tearing down the rest of the wall where the chimney was. A friend came by and we spent yesterday (Monday) ripping it down, inhaling soot from the chimney rubble and installing some plywood.