An uncalibrated guidance system … softening a man’s sense of style … and Miss Emma will find a new home


It is no secret that a huge chunk of my heart wants to stay in the South. Have I wavered back and forth – and back and forth? Absolutely. My internal guidance system seems uncalibrated. What was once clear is now muddied and what was once certain is now shaky. (I wonder, aloud sometimes, if it’s a selfish train of thought.)

Ellen and Reid both know that. But there are two little ‘X’ factors, ages 4 and 1, who are the tie breakers.

As for the pending move, one of the worst things a home seller can hear is “It looks like a guy place.” Ouch. Another sign I was late to the design and decor party. It’s as if I never showed up.


January 30, 2017

Ellen/Reid: It’s 31F this morning as this is written and it feels like the cold is seeping right through the brick walls of this place. I guess that’s why they make thick fleece garments. Hot coffee helps, too. Yeah, yeah, nothing like MN (20F) or IL (16F) but it’s all relative. You get the drift.

You need to know I’ve waffled on the move so much in recent weeks that my flip flops have surpassed the total waffles served at the local Waffle House. Some guidance has been sought from friends and the substance of their counsel boils down to ‘what makes you happy.’ Hence, the conflicting thoughts of simply staying put vs. 10 seconds later considering a move to Minneapolis rather than Des Moines since it would cut down on travel and would offer cheaper flights to Chicago, Reid. I’ve tried to balance the Salt Life, weather and friends here against the need to be closer to you guys. The lack of a relationship is a factor as well. There seems to be no going back, however, on the decision. Every time I see a photo of the girls it just solidifies it. Granted, it’s something of an atypical retirement move in reverse; heading North when loads of people up there pull up stakes to make their home base down South. What I’m not afraid of is reinventing the social/activity wheel. As much as it pains me to leave friends, I can always find things to do and people to do them with. I just have to keep looking at photos of The Girls in the weak moments.

The new Realtor takes over this week. He’s very aggressive and optimistic and at the right price point. He’s also pushing me somewhat on ‘staging’ although I have pushed back to encourage him to sell to the intrinsic strengths of the house. His agency sent over some ‘suggestions’ last night but the file has yet to be opened. If they wanted repainted walls and such, they can forget it. I’m not gonna second guess someone else’s sense of decor and style. Years ago, one of my Assoc. Press questions was to what degree do new homeowners repaint or change carpets. It was 80 percent in the former and two-thirds in the latter, so what’s the point? Sell to the basic strengths of the house. One thing I did agree to was a verbal suggestion to swap the leather furniture on the middle floor with the smaller, more fabric covered living room set on the first floor since it was deemed there was too much manly leather in a small space. That point makes sense. Funny that the first bid on Zillow was $345,000. Go figure. The house sale may put a crimp in my plans to drive up to your uncle’s retirement soiree in Grand Island. We’ll see how the first few days of the listing go.

Miss Emma and me will head back down to Bowens Island this Thursday. I am feeling the pinch to get down there with even more frequency since the house sale clock is ticking and the opportunity to fish will vanish entirely when the home sells.

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A fine trio of slot redfish … ideal for my Feb. 17 fish-a-thon. I dearly love the saltwater and will miss everything about it immensely but granddaughters Emma and Georgia are the tie breakers.  

Miss Emma will find an eventual home up at Cass Lake where you guys can put her to good use. The rods will stay in my possession. If/when I return for visits I can always rent a boat at Charleston Outdoor Adventures. They featured us in a video for their web site but I’m not sure it’s been posted yet. If/when it is, I’ll let you know.

There’ve been enough political rants – however well deserved – made in recent days that there’s no need for me to pile on any more other than to say ill-considered executive orders does not a leader make. He bypasses the other branches of government entirely. He’s just not very good.

Okay, I’m off to the Y to get today’s workout in. Ellen, heres to hoping your strep throat is healed by the time you get this. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends. And Reid, keep your mom and me posted on your job prospects. Our fingers and toes are crossed for you. Hi to Liz.

Love, Dad

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