Monthly Archives: November 2012

No letter but plenty of Emma…


Traveling to Minnesota for Thanksgiving meant ‘plenty’ of several items: plenty of turkey, Emma, and Ellen and Reid.  No letter was sent last week but there will be lots to write about this morning.

Reid and his niece Emma got along famously over the T-Day weekend. Reid will be a good dad someday – plus, he’ll learn how to willingly change a diaper.

My pumpkin pie may not be state fair quality, but pile on enough whipped cream and anything tastes good. Same for the apple pie – which son-in-law Tim said was the best he’s ever eaten. Good answer, kid.

It wouldn’t be a holiday weekend in Minnesota without a sudden drop in temperatures, an accompanying quick rise in the wind and a dusting of snow. It reminded me about the advantages of North Carolina.

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Holiday decorations in August…


November 13, 2012

Ellen/Reid: This time next week we will all be gathered under one roof, and I will be that much further away from the ice cream aisle at the local market.  Curses to ice cream.  Trying to kick the vile habit but not doing very well.  My waistline is the worse for it.

But, I cannot wait to board the plan and land in the Twin Cities.  Reid, you and I will do virtually all the cooking, and Ellen, consider this not as acknowledgment of your request for me to be a stay-at-home gramps to sit up with Emma on Black Friday.  It will be a race to see who goes to sleep first, her or me.  The odds are that gramps will be the first to wilt by nodding off.  Emma is too young to say ‘stay with me, gramps’ but we will have a good time.  Baby sitting will be a first for me.  Can’t wait although the diaper thing makes me shudder.  You’ll have to leave good instructions or a pictorial revue of how to do it.

The seasonal thing is already out of hand.  How is it that Santa sets up shop in the mall the first week of November?  Whatever happened to waiting for a few days after Thanksgiving?  If merchants have their way and at this rate, they would begin to put out holiday decorations in August.  That would be one way to gauge that gifts have outpaced the truer meanings of ChristmasNordstrom’s is putting out a welcome message that they will not join the commercial crowd and will instead not be adorning the store until after T-Day.  That’s where we should all do our shopping although the store here might be a budget-buster for me.  Speaking of that, you would make things a hell of a lot easier for me if you assembled your wish lists in priority order.  Also, I have no earthly idea what to give Emma other than a kiss on the forehead.  Totally clueless about what babies need or want.  Maybe that is a good thing.  As for me, the list is similar to last year: nothing.  There is nothing I need or want other than to curb my ice cream habit.

This weekend we head to Hilton Head for a couple of days.  The weather will be similar to what we had in Myrtle Beach when Sandy blew through: cool and rainy.  Our cool, however, is not as cold as your cool.  A light fleece and a rain jacket will all that is needed.  It might cause a zip line adventure for Felicia and her daughter to be curtailed.  My plan was to hit the golf course while they slid down the wire.  We also hope to kayak the backwaters which would be an interesting bit of the outdoors that I have never done.  But mostly it will be walking on the beach and finding a decent place to eat.

My Caldwell newsletter is nearly in the can.  By my count, this is about 48 straight months of a church newsletter.  This better buy me some clout when the time comes although I continue to burn the edges, if you know what I mean.

A mouse has taken up residence in the garage.  When I pull in, he is usually illuminated in the headlamp of the car.  This means war.  With peanut butter as bait, there is hope the vile vermin will be exterminated in a few hours, but as of this morning nothing had happened overnight.  Perhaps the rodent prefers smooth over chunky peanut butter.  A web site says when you see one, there are usually others.  But I am in this for the long haul.  Where’s a feral cat when you need one?

Okay, I am set to make pie(s) next weekend, and this time, Ellen, I assure you that sugar will be included in the apple pie.  I will buy all the fixin’s while there.  Rest assured ice cream will not be on the dessert list.  Heaven forbid.

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Big time climate deniers…


November 5, 2012

Ellen/Reid: Was traipsing past the frozen turkey aisle this weekend and at 99¢/lb., the food additive amped-up frozen birds seemed a pretty good deal.  I guess we are coming into that season of gluttony, of which I am only too happy to contribute.  Ellen, Reid and I will do as much of the heavy lifting in the kitchen as you will allow us. 

Reid can bring it in the kitchen. This is a couple of Thanksgivings ago in Hilton Head. He knows his way around pots and pans.

Our one demand is that Emma toddle around the kitchen and look cute-as-can-be in her little self propelled mobility thingy.  The tunes will be cranked up, and the rule is that ‘cooks are allowed to consume wine during the preparation of any and all foods during the duration of such preparation.’  That’s not my rule, but it sounds like a good one.

There is a Carolina blue sky out there this morning but MinnesotaIllinois like temperatures.  Unseasonably cold here but most likely mild by your standards.  The feeders are now stocked with sunflower seed, and the squirrels have resumed their shameless marauding of the bounty.  My pellet gun is at the ready but I seem to have lost a step when it comes to loading/aiming/using the darn thing.  All the fricking rodents need is a couple of seconds to take it on the lam and they seem to be laughing all the way to the cover of trees.  I hope they choke on a seed hull.

We’ll know the results of the elections well before this arrives.  There was a big article in the paper this morning about the tea party.  Zealotry knows no ends.  On the same page was an equally big article about a major meeting of climate scientists here in Charlotte.  They estimated that by 2100, the sea will have risen 39 inches or so, but they caution that they are erring on the low side.  The low side.  The folks here in North Carolina, particularly a consortium of developers on the coastal side, are still big time climate deniers.  I know I rag on that and your dad will never be confused with a rocket scientist, but holy smokes, the nutcases east of here are a testament to poor public education in these parts.  The environment is enough to vote ‘Blue.’  In short order, housing foundations will form new underwater reefs, and scuba divers will be able to swim out and around the 10”x10” treated lumber posts that homes once rested upon.  Mt. Everest will dip below 29,000 feet in above-sea-level elevation.  We didn’t invent idiocy here, but we are damned well perfecting it.

The porch lights were again off for Halloween.  I don’t know that there are more than 3-4 candy-eligible kids in our development, so they probably exported their bags to other neighborhoods with higher densities of children.  I would have eaten all the candy anyway had any been purchased.

For the first time, I paid property taxes by check rather than have them included in the escrow portion of my mortgage payment.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  That is one big &(*$%# check.  Gag-ola.  But I like this ‘hood and tis’ better than paying interest.  Talk about the acid test of my budgeting powers over the next year.

Reid, I am mystified why the tepid little fleece comforter from the National Wildlife Federation has yet to arrive at your office.  There’s not much to it, probably enough to possibly keep your tootsies warm on a cold night.  But it went for a good cause.

Next Monday is an off day, and a friend at the bank has proposed golf.  I am getting to the point where I think ‘anything but golf.’  Still, it is on the calendar.  It will be another round of abject humiliation.  You should be glad you have other hobbies.

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Political coverage and ads have taken a back seat…


October 29, 2012

Ellen/Reid: We have a little bit of Hurricane Sandy’s tail nipping at us this morning.  The winds are pretty stiff but not bad.  I can only imagine what the folks further east and north are experiencing.  It was fairly calm along the coast at Myrtle Beach over the weekend but the storm was offshore a few hundred miles.  All they had was some mild surf and a little rain.  But they really got tagged along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Just a couple of weeks ago residents there were complaining that insurance companies were about to raise their insurance rates by double digits because they felt the impact of storms was unjustified.  I guess they’ve found out differently the last 48 hours or so.  You live along the coast and this is what you get and you should expect to pay for the privilege.  Why people build homes, even on stilts, so close to the water’s edge is beyond me.  That just tempts fate.  I suppose it’s nice when you’re having a gin and tonic on the ocean-facing deck when the weather’s balmy.  For the first time in a long, long time the TV was on this morning as I tried to keep updated on events and the latest storm news.  They showed a map of compiled reports indicating that every state east of the Mississippi was going to feel the impact of Sandy.  One of the unintended, but welcomed, side effects is that political coverage and ads have taken a back seat.

We had a good time on the beach.  Not quite beach weather but still good enough.  We didn’t do much other than lounge around.  We donned our rain gear and walked the beach on Saturday.  Hardly anyone else out.  Just a handful of people on a beach normally crawling with them.  People pretty much hunkered down. 

Felicia on the beach with Sandy at her back. Minimal waves, some flying sand and a storm parallel to us but several hundred miles offshore.

We stayed at the home of Felicia’s sister.  It’s about 500-600 yards inland and you take a golf cart down to the beach itself.  Myrtle Beach is redneck central but it was just fine.  My guess is the greater Myrtle Beach area must easily stretch up and down at least 35-40 miles of 3-for-$10 t-shirt shops and water parks and every imaginable eatery and store and tourist come-on.  It is overrun with people in the summer and if it’s not South Carolina’s largest tourist destination then I don’t know what would be.  It’s just bizarre in its scope.  For some odd reason, people sometimes refer to South Carolina as ‘South Cackalacky’ although I’m not sure where that came from or why they use it.  You could Google it.

But it’s back to reality this morning.  Bob Hall had one of his hips replaced last week and I’ve been in touch with Betsy so see how he’s doing.  Everything sounds okay.  Mobility had been an issue for him, not that he was in a wheelchair, but you could see over the last year of so that it was just hell for him to get around.  Hopefully most of that pain will subside now that the surgery is done. 

I’ve been summoned for jury duty at the end of November and it will be an interesting process.  One of our citizen obligations it would seem.  No sense trying to duck out or shirk the responsibility.  It just goes with living here.  I don’t recall either one of you having to serve.  Is that right?

Well, not much else to share this morning.  I’m writing during an early morning lull in my preparation of a morning item sent out for employees to see.  Lucky them.  Right.

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