Monthly Archives: July 2017

The sister act in St. Paul … now, it’s on to see Reid


I love my two little granddaughters, but holy cow, their energy level is off the charts. That’s as it should be. 

This week it’s on to another sort of trip. Part of the journey involves a chance to see Reid; the other part will be pure effort. If only I could tap into the girl’s energy reserves.


July 10, 2017

Ellen/Reid: The Uber driver just dropped me off at the door, and it is good to be home. Man, Ellen, I just don’t see how you and Tim do it. Those girls don’t slow down, even for a second. Let’s just say that Emma is on top of her game. Smart, active – and demanding. And Georgia is so sweet but she’s got her petulant little ‘I hear you but I’m not listening’ swagger going, too. But that’s probably how you want them to be rather than bending to your will every second. It means they’ve got little minds of their own and that’s a very good thing. That I usurped Emma’s room put another layer of hardship on your bedtime efforts to get those two down. They just play off each other before they finally get to sleep.

Tim is just a workaholic on that deck. It is going to be a work of art and it will be as solid as a rock. He’s saving you guys a ton of dough. There’s no question it will add a lot of value to the house. It will be like a two season room. When the weather is decent you will be living out there. I’m just sorry I wasn’t of more help on the thing but he just had that circular saw and the hand drill moving, moving, moving all the time. Maybe I’ll be able to see the finished product before long. No doubt you’ll post photos sooner than later.

IMG_3310

My son-in-law Tim was getting after it on building a new deck. He was a pure workhorse all weekend up in St. Paul.

It was sure hot when I stepped out of the airport. Just very humid and not at all Minnesota like. The temps were so pleasant and the humidity so low, relatively speaking, of course. Uber is the way to do things. Not sure why I was the last adult over age 30 to use Uber but now I’m hooked.

Adrienne’s wedding was just the icing on cake for the weekend. It was an unusual ceremony but so tasteful and just so much fun all the way around. It wasn’t’ stuffy or pretentious. Wonderful to see old friends from Des Moines. Everyone seems to be getting older and you can lump me in with that crowd. Yikes. It does put aging into a perspective. That location was perfect, although you can burn that video of us dancing, Ellen. Make sure it surfaces no where else.

IMG_3323

The Minnesota wedding of a daughter of a good friend let me catch up with good friends from Des Moines, such as the Dahlquists and Hemmingers.

Geez. As you said, Reid, ‘breaking it down’ was really more like ‘broken down.’ No way your old man has dance moves. No wonder the more senior crowd got off the dance floor and left it to the young set. That’s how it should be. It was great to see Afton there, too, and you guys were a good addition to the final attendance. I should send Bob a small check to offset the damages in additional wine consumption. What is known is a few of us really went after the G&Ts. I sure felt groggy Sunday morning. The lesson is you can’t mix wine, beer and gin.

The intern from Caldwell Presbyterian arrives here next Friday and will stay for a few days, even while I’m gone to the Bridger. That will give her some privacy and she can come and go as she pleases. I hope to get John and his wife over for a dinner sometime while she’s here. It may be that it will be delayed until August when I’m back from the mountains. We’ll see. As for the Airbnb part of things, the first caller went elsewhere, and I had to turn another inquiry away just today since the intern will already have the spare room. That’s too bad. At least there are some inquiries being made. It must mean the room is priced appropriately even if I think it’s a bit on the low side.

There were plans for a big BBQ party here next Sunday but I’m put those on hold until August while I zoom around trying to get ready for the big trip West. Reid, I hope to leave super early Monday morning and zip into Chicago in the late afternoon per usual. It appears I’ll stay with Tom for the night since we plan to get on the road very, very early and drive as far west as we can, maybe even to Laramie although thats a far poke. That would make for a short second day into Jackson. We need to pick up Vince in the early afternoon. Can’t wait to hit the road for the whole shebang. It’s what living is for.

Love, Dad

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

Events gone by … and a record for 728 words


One of the drawbacks to posting letters after the kids receive them (rest assured that receiving a letter is not the same as reading it in a timely fashion) is that certain events will have already fallen by the wayside. This letter is chock full of several such examples. But that’s the price to be paid for giving Ellen and Reid first dibs on the letters.

If you notice more typos than usual, that can be pegged to the headlong rush to write and get last week’s letter in the mail before a dead sprint to the airport. And a record it was: 728 words in seven minutes, start to finish. So much for proofing and editing for errors.


July 5, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Reid, since it’s your birthday we won’t get in to how your mom and I gave you the nickname ‘Razzmatazz’ but trust me, you earned it. It really just seems like yesterday that you guys were running around 104th street and wolfing down the raspberries in the garden. It really does. But since this will find you a few days after the fact, I hope you had a good one, kid. And I’ll see you the week after next. You didn’t tell me what you wanted for your b-day so perhaps we can change something down in Chicago.

Ellen, I’m plopped on the couch waiting for a ride to the airport from my friends Andrea and Kurt. I’d really like both of you to meet them at some point since they are truly great people. Plus, they have fun attitudes and good kids. This letter has to be written faster than usual since they will be at the doorstep in short order. They had me over for a family dinner last night with Andrea’s sister and her family, and her parents. It was an honor to be there. But what a hoot that family is. Oh man, they know how to have fun – and how to poke each other in the ribs.

Got the ticket to Barcelona, one way, for $624. I paid an extra $40 for trip insurance, although I don’t know why there would be a reason to scrub the trip other than for something catastrophic. To be honest about it, I approach Spain with some trepidation, in part because I’ll be by myself and it’s wholly new ground to me to make such an adventure. But the guidebook guy strongly recommends that people make the trip solo although he approaches it from a more spiritualistic bend than the reasons I’m making the trip. But that could be a majority of the fun; finding out what you’re made of and if you have the gumption to see the mysterious and unknown through to the very end. It’s a great thing that Jane and Dave will join me on the first three critical days from St. Jean to Pamplona. That will get me off and running. Or at least off and walking. I’m not sure how the end of the trip will unfold so there is no return flight booked as of yet from Portugal. It may be that by that point I’ll be emboldened enough to head north into France or even up to England for a continued adventure. We’ll see. Since I pick up Tom in Chicago, Reid, for our trip to the Bridger, it will give me time to talk through the entire Camino scenario.

Spent a couple of fun days in the mountains with my friend Lynn and a new buddy, Bruce. Both are very good golfers and Bruce and I spared no expense in giving Lynn the needle, although our attempts at humor wore off toward the last day.

IMG_3292

Golf in the North Carolina mountains means lush courses – and temperatures 10 – 15 degrees cooler than hot, steamy Charlotte.

But Lynn has an incredible mountain house with a natural stream running alongside – and beneath portions – of the A-frame. It was just so cool to stay in his place. It reminded me that I have totally, completely squandered the North Carolina mountains. It’s been a lost opportunity.

I played golf for eight straight days and that was enough to cure me for a good long while. It’s just mentally exhausting to keep your head on straight on the course. Minnesota, and Wyoming, will be good for me in that regard. In fact, I can’t wait.

Reid, Jody bought an Orvis fly rod package and man, has he got the bug. He really does. He is chomping at the bit to give fly casting a chance, and we went over to a small lagoon where we caught some equally small brim on tiny flies. It was good for him to get that experience of real fish under his belt. He has a cabin in Canada on a river ( I would botch the name if I tried to spell it) where they have big Atlantic salmon. Now that would be a fish to catch (and release).

Okay. This is a record for a letter. Seven minutes from start to finish. Off to the printer, and then it goes into the mail. See you both very, very, very soon.

Love, Dad

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children

Summer in the city: Airbnb and BLTs …


Since neither Ellen nor Reid gave me grief about the idea of their dad as an Airbnb host, I signed on the dotted line – although no one has yet to contact me about the spare bedroom. But the silver lining is it gives me more time to savor tasty BLTs on the front porch. 


June 26, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Well, I bit the bullet this morning and signed up as an Airbnb host. It’s sort of an experiment to see if there will be any takers and if I can end up being a suitable host. If nothing else it’ll make sure the guest room and adjoining bath will be kept clean. There was a little surprise in the pricing arena. Airbnb lets you set the pricing and then, before you take your listing ‘live,’ it weighs in via a price meter as to whether or not what you are asking is realistic. It knocked me down from $79 to $59 per night. And that includes a morning breakfast and coffee. The whole shebang is kind of a slick process that allows you to set dates you want the room to be available or, conversely, not available. I opted to keep quite a few dates open to guests – no kids or pets, however – but can scale that back if need be. We’ll just have to see how it goes. It does mean I’ll have to put in cable TV again since it makes sense to have a small TV in the guest room.

The first sizable tomatoes are coming off the vine so my daily consumption of BLTs is on a rapid upswing. There is nothing like a home-grown tomato. More than half of my production to this point, however, has been given away.

IMG_3289

This is how summer evenings ought to be spent – BLTs and roasted brussels sprouts on the front porch. As for a slice of the fresh baked bread that should be shown in the left hand corner of the plate, well, it was already gone.

That’s how gardens ought to work. In your case, Ellen, to bypass the poison of black walnuts, you and Tim might think about a raised bed that would allow you to steer clear of the toxic soil in your back yard. It’s a thought. I still think your rooftop has container vegetable potential, Reid. At least plant some easy care herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary. You’d enjoy those in your cooking.

Really looking forward to the trip to St. Paul and Minneapolis for the wedding. I’ll still plan on a rental car to share you guys the hassle of toting me around town. Ellen, no biggie that Afton will be in town at the same time. That’s cool. If construction of the deck is in full swing I’ll be glad to pitch in with manual labor and/or at least dispense invaluable advice for Tim.

A friend has invited me to golf in the mountains this weekend and it should be a fun weekend. He’s a good stick and is fun to play with. He has a home up somewhere in the hills. I might even lug along a fly rod if there’s fishable water close by.

The saltwater fishing has been nothing short of abysmal. I have not boated a literal game fish these last few trips and it is really deflating. Of course, the guides have been killing ‘em and that just makes me want to try all the harder. There is a strong chance I’ll head for the day on Wednesday to give it another shot. What’s particularly unpleasant is that I tend to do the same thing over and over; hit the same spots with the same baits. A guy was taking his kayak out of the water last week at the same time I was stowing mine and he had been exploring the flats and tidal grasses – none of which I’ve ever put much time in – and he thought there were great possibilities for tailing redfish. I have never seen a fish tailing. Instead, I sit for hours and hours in one spot in the kayak, catching rays (12 – 15 last week) and little sharks (a half dozen or so) and not much else. Tripp the guide didn’t have time for me this week, and this’ll be my final excursion for six weeks or so owing to Minneapolis and Wyoming. I find the lack of fish depressing.

Still have not secured my ticket for Spain. Got to do that pronto. Very confused by all the promotional fares out there – prices that come with ‘strings’ attached. Looks like $1,000 is the floor for tickets all the way up to $3,000 and more. Since I’m a budget traveler I’ll gravitate toward the cheapest options even if it has a couple of stops. But the planning continues and that’s a good thing. My packing list won’t be all that extensive. Everything has to fit into an 1,800 sq. in. pack. Most everything is already secured except for a few odds and ends. But Wyoming comes first.

Love, Dad

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing to adult children