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Billy F’n Joel

I am home, back with the wife and kids.  It was a long two months away, but everything is back to normal(ish).  We have done some family things like buy stuff from Target, eat some food, go to the botanical gardens and watch movies since I’ve been back.  There were a couple posts I published using my phone, but decided to wait until I was back at the computer before publishing the rest.  Over the next few weeks, or months, I’ll be cranking them out to catch up (personal goal).  This little ditty was from about a month in, a couple weekends after my wife came to visit and the world almost ended (previous post). So grab a whiskey, beer or juice box (for you underage types) and enjoy.

I’ve been in my hotel room for a month now. I keep it low key mostly, mainly gym and laundry (no tanning salons within walking distance). I’ll go to the driving range a few times a week to break up the monotony. This past weekend I decided to adventure to Chicago.  I had scheduled an appointment with my stylist at Trunk club for Friday afternoon. I stopped at the farmers market and brewery in Lake bluff, then hopped on the train into the city. Once the train arrived at Ogilvie, I hoofed it to Trunk Club. It had been a couple years since I had visited.

Trunk Club is a service I began using back when I got divorced.  I wanted to upgrade from jeans, t-shirts, and flip-flops. Basically, I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and try something new (tends to be the M.O. of most newly single individuals).  My stylist Brittni has done a great job since I became her client, and it will be a bummer not to be able to continue on with it while in Japan.  Anyway, back to adventure time.

After meeting the front desk associate, he directed me to the bar where I received a complimentary whiskey-ginger. IMG_2855A couple minutes later, Brittni came by. We exchanged pleasantries and made our way to one of the fitting areas (I guess that it what you call them?). I was in the market for some golf shirts and maybe a nice button up. She came back with a cart full of clothes to try on.  After a bit, I narrowed it down to a couple golf shirts (snagged one at a discount) and a sweet, comfortable Vineyard Vines Crosby shirt (I have come to appreciate nice clothing and it lasts a while to boot).  I paid the man and was on way.  It had been a pleasant stop-in at the club.  As I was leaving, my stomach began to make some noise. I decided it was calling for pizza and made my way to the nearest pizza joint, called Pizzeria Ora. I am a huge fan of pizza, but this place wasn’t my jam. I had a small deep dish and it didn’t meet my expectations.

By this point, I had already alerted my cousin I was in the city. She asked if I had any plans and if she could get another ticket, would like to go see Billy Joel. I responded with a resounding “Hell yeah!” (obviously she did get another ticket, otherwise I would just be wasting your time) Regardless if I had gone or not, I still wanted to drop my bag off before any further adventuring happened. I caught an Uber and headed to her house (Uber should pay me for referencing them so much, ha). As soon as I arrived, I ditched my bag and hopped in another Uber with my cousin’s husband (she followed us a few minutes later) and headed to dinner prior to the show (looks like another ticket was scored, high five!).

We arrived at Fahlstroms Fish Market and met one of his friends. Since I had just eaten a less than delicious pizza, I tried the tuna tar-tar, and it hit the spot. After my cousin arrived, we had a couple drinks, exchanged some witty banter and rolled out. Did I mention this concert was at Wrigley field? We walked from the restaurant to Wrigley. It was a madhouse, I had to beat up a family of four just to make it to my destination! We arrived at the outfield entrance gate. After a quick security check and a couple left turns, we walked out onto the field.  While the field was covered with an interlocking plastic floor, it was still an amazing sight and feeling to be standing out there.  The stage was erected in left-center field and our seats were 7 rows back.

The crowd went nuts when the lights went dark. The cheers were deafening. The piano began to ring out a sweet intro. A single light appeared on the piano. It. Was. Him.

The intro finished and he welcomed to the crowd.  He was blown away that he still sells out his concerts since he hasn’t produced anything new since 1992. The fans were a mix of young and old, but mostly older.  There was a younger cat a few seats down who could not contain his excitement. He was sweating by the second song from partying so hard.  Billy Joel wrapped his main set. The crowd of course called for an encore, the stadium lit up with cell phone lights. It was a neat sight from where I was sitting.  IMG_2864Moments later, the crowd was once again jamming out to more of Billy’s sweet music (Check out the clips below).  He played some more hits and we bounced before the main mob left.  After some zig-zagging and skirmishes we arrived at the car. The consensus was we needed a snack. We went to the Wiener Circle, famous for charde-dogs. The ladies who ran the joint were rude, but you could dish it right back.  Soon we were stuffing our faces with fully loaded Chicago dogs. There was some small talk and we headed back to the house.  I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. 

The wrap up for this post has been a struggle. My notes are all over the place and ramble on.  I was in full fly by the seat of my pants mode. It’s been my usual since being here up at Great Lakes for school.  It’s not every day you get to attend a Billy Joel concert at Wrigley Field. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I jumped on board.  It was a simple decision, because I was the only person I had to worry about at that moment.  Now, you’re probably thinking, is this guy going to break-down a fun time, over-analyzing the circumstances, and math and stuff? Yes. Yes, I am. If my circumstances had been different, I may not have jumped at the opportunity. Whenever situations like this arise, I like to ask myself “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Or as my Theresa (my cousin) and I discussed as she gave me a ride back to my hotel, how does this situation nourish one in an emotional or mental way (her way is more hippie)? Just because the opportunity is there, doesn’t mean you have to take it.  You could be acting of pure emotion with zero logic, and that could lead to disaster. But then again, it could be the best decision ever (debatable) and give you a great story.  So, jump at the opportunity. Or don’t. You won’t know until you decide.

If you want to check out Intentional Nourishment, I recommend it.  I have been a repeat customer for the past couple of years and have learned a lot about myself when I take a dive into her programs.  Hell, it was after I did the first cleanse through Intentional Nourishment that I bought the domain name shortsandsweatbands.com and started me on this path I am on today. (Here is the link to a post about it: www.intentionalnourishment.com )

Also, if you feel the need to step up your wardrobe and don’t know where to start, check out Trunk Club. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t like it. If you use this link, you’ll get a $50 credit (I get one too, thanks!).

https://www.trunkclub.com/my/invite/J7WQVJ

Do work, be rad

Mustache

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