Monthly Archives: November 2014

A Guinness at my expense – gladly …


Now that I finally ended months of frustration and caught real fish, maybe it’s time Ellen and Reid saw their dad move on to some other sort of adventure.

Nah.

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November 17, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Well, all it took was one day to atone for my lack of fish from a kayak. We killed them yesterday morning in Folly Beach, South Carolina. All it took was a guide and some live and cut bait. Tim was right; I’d learn more in a half-day with a guide than I learned in all those disappointing fishless trips by myself. I reeled in five red fish and a dozen or so speckled trout. My friend Jody and his girlfriend Sondra from my golf group came along with me (she wisely stayed indoors) and Jody won both the first fish and largest fish bets (a Guinness at my expense). He caught a black drum about 6 pounds.

All it took for my friend Jody and me to finally catch fish on a raw day was some good guidance from Cap'n Tripp.

All it took for my friend Jody and me to finally catch fish on a raw day was some good guidance from Cap’n Tripp.

We persevered through a tough day of temps in the 40s and cold wind and steady rain the first three hours before sunshine broke out. We only kayaked about 1/2 mile and fished the ‘structure’ that Cap’n Tripp (of a fun group called Charleston Outdoor Adventures) pointed out; dock pilings and a sunken barge. He also espoused letting the bait sit. It was pretty much the opposite of what I’d been doing which was to slowly reel in the plastic bait along the grassy shorelines. We also let the reds set themselves on the hook since they ingest the bait and crush it in their throats. The speckled trout nibble and then you can set the hook. My biggest red was a couple pounds and the biggest trout was in that range, too. Jody and I kept several for a hoped-for feast later. The toughest part was filleting the catch once I got home. I muddled through it, wasting I don’t know how much precious meat and slicing a finger, but at last the fish are in the freezer until we can sauté it. I can’t wait to go again. Reid, we need to do this since I’ve got a somewhat better feel about what to do. We really need to get on the water. It’s so much fun.

The cold, wintry weather persists this morning. It’s raining now and feels just completely raw. The week looks bleary but in view of the white stuff you’ve had in the last few days, perhaps your old man shouldn’t bitch and moan so much. It’s all relative.

My diet went to hell in the space of a week. Why that is is beyond me. A bit of ice cream, a bag of chips, a steak, overeating and other food felonies played havoc with me this morning at the Y. The workout was just a slog, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I don’t like falling off the wagon. They say the mind is strong but the flesh is weak. That certainly applies here.

The will is set to be notarized and signed tomorrow. It really is a relief to have it finished since it has been on the front burner for a while. Your uncle has reminded me of it from time to time. He didn’t want me to use an online service like legalzoom.com. He thought those didn’t offer all the options a neophyte like me would never know about. It turns out he was right. You’ll get copies soon.

Elle, I haven’t told many people about your and Tim’s good fortune. I’ll keep it under my hat for a while longer until it can be broadcast a little wider. Hope you’re feeling better. Hard for men to identify with what you’re going through.

Reid, I wouldn’t mind getting up to Chicago soon. Just toss out a few Friday – Sunday dates that fit for you and Liz. I promise to be good guest.

Consider this another plea to send ole’ Santa your Christmas lists. Emma and Tim’s, too. I can’t be trusted to buy stuff you’ll want without your guidance.

My guest list for Thanksgiving has grown to 9. I’m excited about it. The 13 lb. bird is in the freezer and most of the other trimmings have been bought. I arranged a couple of morning tee times so they could all play golf before coming over, weather permitting of course. But if it’s a day like the one we have right now, there won’t be much golf involved.

Love, Dad

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Cork the Whine …


I dunno, for some reason there was a lot for me to whine about last week. You’ve seen those ‘Cork the Whine’ placards in kitchens? How true. I’ll get over things soon enough.

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November 10, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Our weather has zig-zagged the last few days. Warm one day, not so warm on others. What I really don’t’ care for is the early darkness. For some reason this year, it bugs me. Give me some light. But enough whining.

Dave Hemminger is just wrapping up an oceanic race on a sailboat. They are sailing from Virginia to the British Virgin Islands. It takes about 10 days to go that distance and you can follow the race on the web which is kind of an interesting facet. Out of 40 or so boats they were in the top 10 for a long time. The longer boats tend to go faster from what I see, but what an adventure that must be. He likes boating and the salt water.

After my abysmal effort, if I were Ruth, I'd find another golfer to pick up the slack. Hard to play much worse.

After my abysmal effort, if I were Ruth, I’d find another golfer to pick up the slack. Hard to play much worse.

Played like a dog yesterday in our couples event. The woman I was paired with, Ruth, deserves better than me. It was just awful. We shot in the upper 80s which is about 15 strokes out of the running. I’d like to be more competitive, but my game is just unraveling at the seams. I’ll try again tomorrow, Veterans Day, which is a bank holiday.

Still trying to get my arms around the election. What boggles me is that stocks are way up, the economy is improving, jobs are growing and we’re winding down the GOP-initiated Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. How does the average person vote for the GOP? They’ve increased taxes for the little guys (you and me) and drone on and on about social issues and gut public education and don’t give a hoot about the environment. I don’t get it. They’re just lackeys and stooges of the Koch Brothers, the ultra-right wing and big business. The average person gets hosed. The Democrats have made some errors, sure, but the mean spiritedness (see Ted Cruz), lack of any sense of bipartisanship and utter incalcitrant stance they take on anything is just plain stupid. The electorate gets what they deserve. No wonder my English and German friends laugh at us.

The WFAE-FM interview went pretty well (http://wfae.org/post/charlotte-man-clears-his-path-one-step-time). As is always the case, you forget what you really want to say until after the interview is over and done with. My page views went through the roof but only a few more people subscribed and that’s fine. Not exactly a topic anyone wants to keep up with every day; ‘Oh, let me look at more pictures of trash.’ The station archived the 4 minute thing at wfae.org. That’s a couple more minutes than the topic deserved.

I’m going to host Thanksgiving dinner for a bunch of my golf friends who’ve got no family to hang with for the holiday. I’ll probably have 5-6 people. They’ll play golf first then head over here afterward. It will be fun to be stuck in the kitchen. The pumpkin pies cannot turn out any worse than they did last year when the results were abominable.

Tried to get an appointment with Social Security but the local SS office has no listed phone number. Great. Government run amuck. I need to apply for Medicare pretty shortly to get it in place by February. Still need to make final financial arrangements with John. It’s a relief to get the will moving. I’d stalled long enough. I’ll get copies of it to both of you. I’ve asked for no special efforts toward the end of days, so you can pull the plug at your discretion. In no surprise, I’ve requested no formal burial but rather would ask you to put on your backpacks, hike up high and toss me to the winds in the Bridger. Just be sure to be upwind when you do that.

Okay, enough moroseness. Be good, play straight and fair, and see you soon enough.

Love, Dad

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Steady as she goes …


It was steady as she goes in the last letter. Welcome to the world of the plain and ordinary.

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November 3, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Our weather went to hell over the weekend. Temps dropped like a stone and the winds were gusty, maybe not by Midwestern standards, but anything around 40F is darn cold for these parts. Ellen, Emma looked so adorable in her little piggy outfit for Halloween. It did remind me of looting your trick-or-treat bags for chocolate. Guilty as charged.

It rained the first half of the day on Saturday, causing me to scrub my golf group outing for 16.  Like a knucklehead – someone has to be stupid – I went ahead and played anyway in a stocking cap and gloves, and the course let me push my cart for free. Once I got motoring, it really wasn’t half bad. The walk that is, not the golf.

Yours truly trudged in the rain, wind and cold with my friend Alice from Golf for One. We didn't stop very often - only long enough for this shot of me holding the stick on the 5th hole.

Yours truly trudged in the rain, wind and cold with my friend Alice from Golf for One. We didn’t stop very often – only long enough for this shot of me holding the stick on the 5th hole.

During the round I thought I’d made my first hole in one on a par 3. From the tee box I could hear the ball clank off the stick but wasn’t anywhere to be found on the green. My assumption was it’s in the hole and that no one would be there to validate or see it (or celebrate it). It wasn’t in the cup either, and had ricocheted 25 yards back and into a green side bunker. What a bummer.

The tree canopy behind the house is shedding very quickly. Soon enough the apartment complex behind me will be in full view.

I’ve settled on some new fixtures for the guest bath. Kohler products will be the new commode and bath/sink hardware. The countertop needs a good spiffing up, too, but it’s not anything I could fashion by myself. There’s some sort of engineered product in place and it is totally bland and lame. Perhaps the worst aspect is the utterly passé and stupid lighting. That’s what perhaps drives me the most nuts. It’s just plain ugly with these gigantic, round and clear bulbs. It is so ‘90s. I’ll venture over to the same spot where the lighting was secured for the master bath.

So send me some Christmas gift ideas. If things are available online, those will be shipped straight to you. Reid, I hesitate to ship to your home address so will send packages to your office.

Was driving home last night when my tire went flat at about 60 mph. Luckily it didn’t go kablam! which would have made for quite a ride. Instead, the car just thump-thump-thumped to a stop. There wasn’t a ton of traffic on the four lane which made the change pretty quick. One guy even stopped to offer help. That was nice of him.

The bank is doing away with the concept of people working from home. Not completely sure why that is since studies show people work harder/longer from home. No doubt it is a cost issue – most things boil down to money – since the bank has very nice satellite offices around town. They’d save on that type of leased space. Given that my remaining time is relatively short, I’ll likely get a pass and continue slaving away from the third floor office. It would be awful to have to put on a suit and head toward Uptown for a remaining few months. It wouldn’t hurt me to do that, but I like things the way they are around here.

Ellen, tell Tim thanks for trying on those 3M light bulbs. He actually jogged my memory to go out and buy some this weekend. Got some winter weatherizing material, too.

The grading for the new 60 unit development next to me appears to be finished. The traffic along the road is only going to get that much worse which is a downer. They’re paving the streets/sidewalks this week and last. I suppose that’s just the price of admission for living in SouthPark. It doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Okay, time to buckle down and get to it. Send me those Christmas lists, stat.

Love, Dad

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A most precious stockpile …


Empathy is a life lesson. There are people far worse off than the three of us. Ellen and Reid have their share of this most precious stockpile – caring about others – but a ‘reminder’ now and then from their parents doesn’t hurt.

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October 27, 2014

Ellen/Reid: You should have the flight itinerary for the weekend of Dec. 19. It might not be the actual Christmas weekend but it will be a lot of fun. Gifts will be shipped ahead of time except for the few doodads I’ll tote along for Emma. I get in about 5:15 so no need to make any special plans to pick me up or jet away from work on my account. Speaking of gifts, give me a few ideas of what it is you guys want and I’ll make the arrangements. That goes for Emma, too. A girl can’t subsist on train sets all the time, so a few hints will be welcome.

Ellen, I haven’t told people about your good news. Here’s to hoping you feel better in the next few weeks.

Not entirely sure if or when the local NPR thing is going to run. I’ve heard conflicting reports about it already having been run and it doesn’t show on their Website. If it runs, it runs and if not, that’s okay. It really had to be a slow news day anyway.

The local NPR affiliate, WFAQ-FM, may yet run an interview about my exploits with litter chronicled at pickupyourpath.com.

The local NPR affiliate, WFAE-FM, may yet run an interview about my exploits with litter chronicled at pickupyourpath.com.

Any story about trash/litter makes for a slow news day. It wouldn’t bother me a whole lot. We did get together with some of the other regular Saturday morning walkers this past Sunday. My friend Fritz the Judge hosted about 20 people in his townhome a stone’s throw from me and it was a fun hodgepodge of people. It included the 1%ers as well as some former hippies. That’s what made it a hoot.

I was out early yesterday morning when I saw, as I do on most weekend mornings, an older black woman in her maroon scrubs trying her best to get down Sharon Road. She literally shuffles down the street from Fairview down to an upscale retirement/care facility about a half-mile down the street called Sharon Towers. It hurts me Continue reading

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