Tag Archives: home repair

The Whirlwind of Life: This old house, the grief it causes me, and the big news

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.

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Everyone should have a pink flamingo in their garden.

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.  IMG_2292Slowly 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. IMG_2281 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

Mustache

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. 51899952732__BE3AF3CE-4D47-4CF7-900B-9510710BF3FE

The Whirlwind of Life: Hot Rod

This past weekend was a good and productive one.  I had a good friend come over and school me on a house repair I was new to.  There is a chimney that I need to knock down at the rear of my house. It isn’t structural, and I thought it was causing a wall to buckle. We started by tearing into the wall on the inside of the house. It yielded a lot of damage I wasn’t ready for.  There was evidence of termites and water leaking from the top of the chimney (got to love a house from the 40’s!). None of the studs were holding up any weight, they had been destroyed. Once we got rid of all the plaster and termite poop, you could see where the water had been leaking in for who knows how long.

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How this wall was still up, I’ll never know.

We reinforced the wall with some brand-new studs and I can now rip down the chimney and fix the outside wall.  The wife and I also installed a new throne (toilet) upstairs. It’s a Koehler, no big deal.

I have always made the effort to post my ramblings on Fridays. With how my schedule has been of late, I am going to start posting on Tuesday’s.  It is difficult during the week to sit down and compile my thoughts into something you can read and (hopefully) be entertained by. This one is about the day a little man named “Hot Rod” Lincoln came into my life.  My wife swears he is the spitting image of me (when he cries he looks like her).  Watching him grow over the past year has been awesome.  He is definitely a daddy’s boy (so says my wife) and always touches the Texas A&M sign at the bottom of the stairs when I bring him down in the morning (future Aggie?). I am sitting here putting the final touches on this drinking some George Dickel and ginger ale.

 

It was a gloomy Sunday morning on May 22nd.  Krissi and I had decided to take Kash to Comic Con and see the Batmobile from the old Adam West TV show. She is a yuuuge (see what I did there?) fan of Batman, so we figured it would be a neat surprise.  During the ride there, Krissi began to have contractions. “We might be having this baby today, but we are going to Comic Con first so our girl can see the Batmobile” she told me. Kash was dressed to the teeth as Batman. Cape, mask, shirt and some sweet pink chucks. She was ready.  When we arrived, the crowd was fairly small, which made it easy to get around.  We made a b-line towards the Batmobile and took some sweet pictures with her at the wheel. Kash’s face was filled with excitement and awe.  We cruised around for about an hour. Afterword’s, we checked out what Comic Con was, as both Krissi and I had never been before.  We picked up a couple trinkets for Kash and bounced, Krissi had a work meeting later that day to create new drinks.  On the way there, she reiterated to me, “Babe, this baby is coming out today.” It still hadn’t hit me that my son was going to pop out that day.  We hung out at the cantina (Krissi’s work) while she was creating new drinks for the upcoming summer season. Kash began to start her “I’m tired, but not tired” attitude, so we knew it was time to beat feet. As we left, Krissi called her mom and asked her to pick up Kash. We were going to the hospital. It was around 530 (1730 for you military types) when Maw-maw arrived to pick up our girl. Krissi and I then loaded up and headed to Maryview. Now, this hospital has a bad rap with a nickname Murderview, but the maternity ward it awesome and the staff was amazing. It looked newer than the rest of the hospital and the staff was great. It’s where Krissi and Kash were born, and it would now be Lincoln’s place of birth.  We checked in and made our way to a delivery room. Our first nurse was thankful we didn’t bring any family/baby-mama drama with us. She had been dealing with it all day from other patients. Krissi’s contractions had been ramping up all day and were becoming more frequent. We got settled in and the nurse came in to check her out. 2cm dilated. Nothing crazy, but the nurse wanted to check in another hour. An hour later, she was 3 cm dilated. So, we were able to stay for another hour.  At around 8 pm, Krissi was 6 cm. Hot Rod was on his way out.

The staff began to make preps to deliver Hot Rod.  The anesthesiologist asked me to leave the room when it came time for the epidural (I had been warned about this, thought it was silly).  It was about 10 pm, and we hadn’t yet hit critical mass. Maw-maw came up there to be with us after Kash had gone to sleep. It was then just a waiting game. Around 1130 pm, things began to happen.  The doctor made her way in, shit was getting real.  I was tasked with holding a leg while Krissi pushed. It still hadn’t hit me that my son was on his way.  I was preparing myself for a rush of emotions and maybe a little freak out when it came time, but the whole process seemed normal and didn’t faze me in the way I expected it to. I just did what the doc told me to and I was good to go. At 1203 AM on May 23rd, 2016, Lincoln Theodore Clemens was born.

There are not a lot of things that I get emotional about, but the birth of a child (I found out) is one of them.  After, the nurse cleaned him up and weighed him, she handed him to me. He came in at 8lbs and 20in (I think).  He was a little fella then, as opposed to today where he weighs 5lbs less than his 4-year-old sister. Once my wife was done with the nurses and doc, I gave him to her to hold.  Watching her for the first time with our son is something that I will never forget.  It was an amazing visual of love. (Here I am about to get all sappy, ha-ha). I stepped out of the room to call my folks.  They knew we were at the hospital and I imagine they were anxiously awaiting our phone call.  My mom picked up the phone, and I began to ball my eyes out. “Mom, you are a grandmother, again,“ I told her.  A quick conversation followed, I composed myself, and went back into the room with my wife and mother-in-law.  My sister came up for a little bit to see him about an hour later, once everything had died down. After they made sure the wife and son were good to go, they moved us to another room where my wife would be for the next couple days.

The next day, we had some family and friends visit.  It was nice to see them, broke up the monotony of being cooped up in a small hospital room.  On the 24th, we were able to check out.  Maw-maw, who had been watching Kash the past couple days, brought her up so we could go home as a family. Usually after your 2nd child they require the mother to stay for 48 hours. We were able to leave a tad early, which was nice.  That afternoon, Mom, Kash, Hot Rod, and I made our way downstairs and loaded up in the pick-em-up truck (as Kash calls it). We waived goodbye as we drove off and headed home.

The shift from one to two kids wasn’t easy, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything.  As Lincoln grows, he will more than likely be a terror (prerequisite: boy). He is a huge flirt and already giving us a run for our money.  He figured out how to climb up the stairs (while I was spotting him), and just wants to do that all the time now. It’s great for wearing him out.  He finally started sleeping through the night without screaming bloody murder. It’s been pleasant to hearing nothing but the weather outside lately. I look forward to him growing and learning, eager to teach him skills and watch him develop a personality. It’s going to be awesome.

 

Do work, be rad

Ben

 

 

I felt the need to give some background on his nickname Hot Rod. It is purely coincidence that there is a hilarious movie with the same name (which I enjoy watching after the kids are asleep). When it came to naming our son, I had suggested we name him after my father, Theodore. While Krissi liked the name, she wasn’t too thrilled about having him called Ted (my dad’s nickname) or Teddy (what my grandma called him). She liked Theo, but wasn’t 100%.  She came to me a couple weeks later and asked if I liked the name Lincoln Theodore.  It had a nice ring to it and sounded strong. My middle name is my grandfather’s name, so there is a bit of tradition in it as well. Shortly after, we learned about the song Hot Rod Lincoln by Commander Cody. It fits hit perfectly and has been his nickname since before he was born, and he has lived up to it. I can only imagine how he will pay it off in the future.