Finally, Big Fish and a short walk to the French Broad …

One reason – but far from the only one – that piqued my interest in Brevard is the proximity (next door) to fishable waters in the North Carolina mountains. Without exaggeration, trout can be had within a mile or two of my front door. I like that.

The persistent lousy, cold, wet ‘Spring’ weather here doesn’t phase trout; fish are gonna eat one way or another. And at long last, dreams of sizable fish – big, fat rainbows – finally came true just a hop-skip-and jump from here, courtesy of an excursion engineered by my friend Kurt. We slammed ’em. It sure takes your mind off the more unpleasant issues of clouds and rain while wearing the warmest fleece in the closet.

April 9, 2018

Ellen/Reid: This ‘no sign of spring’ thing is getting really old really fast. My garden seeds have been in for five days and no signs of sprouts. Zilch. A few should be nudging up through the soil by now. 41F and steady rain/drizzle this morning. That stinks. I shouldn’t be whining since St. Paul and Chicago are faring worse than we are in Brevard but c’mon. We can do better than this.

I drive to Florida on Wednesday for tarpon fishing with Dave on Thursday near Naples. We got shut out the last time we tried this since neither of us knew how to make double haul casts with heavy fly rods. It was beyond our skill sets. This time we’ll use conventional gear and lures. I’m excited about tarpon even though our methods won’t be the purity fly fishers might insist upon. Later today my three Penn Battle salt water reels will be lubed up and all the other gear readied for the trip.

Reid, we really got into a mess of gigantic trout last week on a stretch of private river water just south of Sapphire, NC. That was about 25 minutes west of here. My friend Kurt arranged for a guide and there was just no way I was prepared for the volume and sheer size of the fish.


Chunky rainbow trout were the order of the day west of Brevard on a river-to-be-named-later. It was fun to land big fish after big fish for a change. FYI … every fish caught was released. These beauties deserved to be freed. My son-in-law and expert fly fisherman Tim says it’s bad karma to keep a fish – and for once I agree with him.

While our guide rigged gear I walked to the river bank and the fish looked like logs. I mean, 6 – 12 fish stacked up like boxcars in big, deep pools. It was utterly mind boggling. I must’ve landed 20 with an average weight of two-four pounds or so with the largest at 7-8 pounds. Every one was bigger than any I’ve landed before. We have so got to do this the next time you’re down here (make that sooner than later, kid). My Scott 4A rod was ready but the guide semi-laughed when he told me it would in no way be adequate – and he was right. He stuffed a 9 foot, five weight in my hand and the fish doubled that rod over. It was incredible. If you join Tim and Ellen and the girls down here for Thanksgiving we will give it a go. 

Dave H. saw the pics of a couple of the hawgs and he took no time to announce that he’ll drive back with me to Brevard to give the monsters a whirl. The same guide will show us a thing or two on Tuesday, April 17. We may well make it a full day on the river. Honestly, it is just way beyond incredible.

Finally walked to the French Broad yesterday. It’s only 400 yards away. Not a lot of fishing spots due to heavy underbrush but I found a couple of cast-able locations within view of the house. Looked for muskie but saw none although there are 60 inchers reputed to be swimming around. Outfitters say there are plenty of really fun smallmouth bass along with some big browns but it’s so deep you’d have to put something all the way down to the bottom. 

Walked 36 holes on Saturday at a fun little 18 hole, par three mountain course. It was only $20 and it was good to just get out and about and get some honest exercise. I just zipped along, and finished in less than five hours. There was some significant bike race on the adjacent Greenville Highway and there was a steady stream of riders pedaling by the entire time I golfed.

Ellen, I’m in to build your raised bed garden. My assumption is Tim has all the tools so my toolbox will stay home. To keep the black walnut-tainted soil in check, the bottom will be lined with garden cloth to seal the box up. Tim said a sunny spot will have to be found either in the back by the alley or maybe even out front. That’s what some of your neighbors have done and it wouldn’t look half bad. We might even toss in a smaller 4’x4’ box for raspberries. Emma and Georgia shouldn’t be denied those red beauties. We will get it all figured out.

So now it’s off to the local garden store for arugula and spinach seeds. Let’s hope the weather turns and the sun shines so there will be some honest-to-goodness produce down the line.

Love, Dad


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A bike, a party and a few trout (make that a very few trout) …

I’ve been initiated – sort of – into the local social scene. It’s nice to have some new local friends. And for Ellen and Reid it’s a nice breather to get a taste of something other than blah garden news.

Most of these folks are actually transplanted Atlantans or Atlantans ready to move up this way. Brevard isn’t overly far from the Georgia border and for years Transylvania County was a summer landing spot for these Southerners. 

And courtesy of friends Andrea and Kurt, I’ve now got a spiffy bike (alas, not a Harley) that will let me tool around town like a real local.

April 2, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Today was the first day in a few weeks that I hit the wall with the garden. The last square feet of sod had to be carved out, the final few heavy flagstones laid in jigsaw puzzle fashion, and the day lilies planted at last. I dunno, it just seemed a mix between tedious and onerous. Just ready for the damn thing to be done, and, except for a few minor touch ups tomorrow, it will be. Then comes the easy part of planting lettuce and peas and spinach. But it’s fun to look at as I sit out on the back porch to write this. A glass of pinot noir helps to take my sour edge off.

Once the day labor is done the garden tools will be hung up for a while and I can venture out into the Pisgah Forest or trod a few hundred yards to the French Broad. And pedal to downtown Brevard. My friend Kurt Powell delivered my ‘town’ bike today vPyXmJ0%QQWkQFtsHf83Xwand it’s pretty spiffy. He and Andrea are good friends and he brought the bike up with him as they take their kids on spring break to a place called Lake Toxaway, about 40 minutes due west of here. He brought a bike lock and fancy front and rear lights and a rack to hold saddlebags (or panniers as he calls them). 

Tom Bohr and his wife Kitty will drive down from Chicago in two weeks time for a long weekend. Tom and I have some serious planning ahead of our hiking tour of the Alps in July and August. He’s a planner extraordinaire and will no doubt have everything down pat with the i’s dotted and the t’s crossed. Every trek needs a guy like him. My plane ticket is already in hand. Only about $800 but I cashed in some credit card miles to help pay for the trip. And listen you guys, give me your schedules for Thanksgiving stat so I can get your tickets. 

Hosted my first party this past Saturday for 18 folks. It was the birthday of a woman here, Louise, and Robbie and her friend Kathy from Atlanta did all the heavy planning and organization.


A birthday party with 17 guests broke in the new house in the right way. It’s a good spot for gatherings and it sure won’t be the last of these soirees.

The house is ideal for that sort of soiree. I made a muted effort to smoke a pork shoulder on Friday but after 13 hours it wasn’t done so had to tuck my tail between my legs and finish it in the oven overnight. It worked out okay but was clearly disappointing and there’s a lot of learning to be done on the smoker end of things. 

Formed a local Meetup golf group that’s a variant of my group in Charlotte, Golf for One, but there’s been tepid interest at best. Had several sign up for our first outing but no one showed up. I’ll give it another whirl but if there’s no real participation I’ll fold the tent.

Went trout fishing last Tuesday with a new friend Billy and he just knocked the trout out of the park. Me, not so much. I landed three, he netted 24-25, not counting more than a few that got away. He’s got it all; the gear, the stream knowledge, the casting technique, knows all the flies by name, et al. It was a lesson in abject humiliation. It’s as if I’d never fly fished before. But there’s no giving up now with so many streams so close by. Next Wednesday I drive to Florida for another type of fishing, tarpon, with Dave Hemminger. He has secured a guide and, hopefully, we will do better than be skunked, which we have the last couple of times even with professional help. I’m debating toting Miss Emma with me to make a foray at Charleston/Bowens Island on the way back. She’ll probably stay home.

With the raised bed gardens virtually a wrap, it might be time to turn toward design of a deck. Ellen, let Tim know he’ll be my deck advisor. Thinking of a design that has some sort of roof since there’s full sun all the time out back. Maybe even a pergola. Not sure when there will be time to start it, perhaps not before my St. Paul visit. 

Alas, time to go. Give the girls a hug and Reid, keep me post on Oakland.

Love, Dad

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Don’t worry, kids, there’s light at the end of your tunnel …

This whole settling in to the new home thing is beginning to wear on me; I’m ready for it to be done. Ready to get out and about. Ready to wake up and think about fun rather than more heavy treated 2x10s to be lifted or more shovelfuls of dirt or ‘Where should I set this heavy slab of flag stone?’

Also likely ready for it to be done are Ellen and Reid who have to be tired of hearing about it. But before long there will mercifully be some light at the end of their tunnel and their long weekly nightmare of reading about this lengthy transition will be over.

March 26, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Ellen, I have to ask about Georgia’s hair in this morning’s airport photo. My assessment is she got up so early she wouldn’t have anything to do with letting you fix her hair. It was just hilarious. That little goo. You won’t get this until after the Orlando adventure is over but I’m sure it was fun, energy-sapping, go-go-go, and exhausting. Not necessarily in that order.

The garden bed is finally a wrap and it turned out better than I expected. This afternoon while you were frolicking in FLA, I smoothed out the dirt and attached on a narrow ledge to sit upon while I pull weeds and otherwise putter around in the soil. It’s somewhat embarrassing to say for the last few days I’ve culled native rocks from the yard in hopes of fashioning a rock walkway to connect all the beds but it occurred to me that there was no way in hell to collect enough rocks to do so. Plus, what I did find was so disparate in size there’d be no way for the pathway to look decent. So, in keeping with my ‘buy local’ mantra, I ordered a ton of flagstone which will be delivered Wednesday. A ton. Jeez, that will really be the acid test for the hernia.


That the stone company guy could navigate his three wheel lift between unfinished homes to deposit a ton of flagstone at my garden boxes was a Godsend – and a back saver.

But in truth it will be one stone at a time, and my developer said he’d lift the pallet with his front end loader and deposit it at the raised beds. What a guy. It’ll cost me a 12 pack of Deschutes IPA but that’s a small price to pay. I won’t stuff the plants into the dirt until next week when it settles and dries a bit. Don’t ask why I forked over $100 for 14 raspberry plants but I did just that at a funky little down-home nursery near the backwater of Rosman, North Carolina. It was so fun. There’s an old guy, Joe, who runs it and we got to talking and he told me “Let me tell you something about tomatoes …”


The semi-finished product. My new mantra: one stone at a time. Note: I volunteered to build a similar box for Ellen when I visit Minnesota in May.

And he did. It’s just so quaint to frequent, and buy from, locals like that. It was a complete experience – he even sells seeds by the ounce out of Mason jars. I mean, you can’t see that anywhere.

It’s mildly irritating that the bluebirds haven’t settled in. They seem to be having an aerial spat over the nesting box with some swallows that won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. I hope the box doesn’t go begging due to their range war.

Now installed are most of the louvered blinds but, as per usual, your dad is so dense in some ways. I completely overlooked blinds for the guest room. So now it’s another two weeks before the window coverings are done. Such oversight is maddening. What a decor fiasco.

Reid, please get to a dermatologist at some point soon. Your sister’s scare is enough to push both you and me to action. My next appointment is in mid May. It’s in our genes and we need to stay on top of things. I would, however, love to hear about your East and West coast experiences. Hopefully, one or the other will lead to full time work.

I’ll trout fish tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. with a Georgian named Billy. He’s kind of like Tim; he has far more fly gear than a person has a right to own. He has bags of gear. Big bags. By contrast I have a rod and a box of flies and some waxy flotant. We’re supposed to head a couple of hours from here to a big stream, a river really, that is supposed to hold big fish. I’d love to catch something but you never know. I tried to hike my way back to the French Broad River behind the house but could find no direct path.

It took me to move to Brevard to discover Sleepy Time tea. Man, that stuff really calms a person down. I take it most nights now. I’ve also gotta find some herbal blood pressure remedies since it’s higher than it ought to be.

All righty, I’m done for the day. Got to get some shuteye before Billy pulls in the driveway. At least I’ll be casting a rod instead of shoving dirt.

Love, Dad

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Enough already with interior design; let’s move on to the garden, shall we? …

The kids knew for years that their dad coveted the idea of a real, honest-to-goodness garden. Container veggies were okay but just didn’t cut it.

Now, however, the garden gods have granted my wish: it’s time for dirty work – literally.

March 19, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Well, my design and subsequent carpentry skills got called into question last week and things came out okay. The 10 ft. by 5 ft. raised bed garden is finally done and ready for dirt. It’s a double decker of sorts; two treated 2x10s stacked atop each other with treated 4x4s at the corners so it weighs just a ton and once the 19 inch deep cavity is filled to the very top it will literally weigh a ton. I dunno, as it is the wood is 300 – 400 lbs. So it’s not going to go anywhere. The reason for being so deep is that the soil here is crappy; red clay.

But the developer of my neighborhood has a gigantic pile of truly black dirt and I toyed with the idea of asking him if I could snatch 10 – 12 wheelbarrows worth of soil. Before I could ask him, however, he met me in the backyard to volunteer his front end loader to cart over several big loads of dirt. That will really be a Godsend and will save me a lot of backache and effort.


True to his word, the developer motored his front end loader to my back yard to dump several big scoops of black earth into the raised beds. Now the real fun begins. As for the bluebird box, the bluebirds and some assertive swallows have tussled over nesting rights.

But the gardening construction isn’t done yet. Dreamed up were two smaller yet separate companion beds, one for red raspberries and the other for blueberries. I’m excited about that. Planted about 25 feet behind the new box was a bluebird box and, amazingly, not five minutes after it was up some bluebirds were flitting about to case the box out. Unfortunately, some swallows have been more aggressive and seemed to pull the rug out from under the bluebirds since the brood pair has not been seen of late.

The developer also gave me the green light, surprisingly so, to build a deck. It won’t be enormous, probably 6 – 8 ft. out from the existing deck and down a short step. But I’ll make it wide enough, 15 ft. or so, to house Miss Emma beneath it. She really needs a place of here home (ed. typo, sic) and that should be plenty of space. The extension will give the grill a landing spot, too, since where it is now, on the driveway, makes me look like a hick.

The local community college, Blue Ridge Community College, has my application to teach continuing education classes on letter and news writing. I’m not sure if they’ll accept me or not but it’s worth throwing my hat into the ring. The classes would be about 25 miles away in Flat Rock, which is close to Hendersonville.

My Des Moines friends, the Daves and Bob and their wives, will be here in early October for  4 – 6 days of fly fishing, visits to Asheville, golf, hiking and just hanging out. I sent each of them a gigantic packet of Brevard/Asheville information to kind of whet their whistles and get them excited. I’m heading to Florida the second week of April to tarpon fish with Dave and will probably make a side visit to Charleston with Miss Emma on the way back. I’ll make a separate trip down there next week for my first kayak fishing in several months.

We need to talk, soon, about tickets for Thanksgiving. My treat. My guess is you could arrive Tuesday or Wednesday. Ellen, you and Tim will likely need to rent a car, which will be on me, too. Reid, I could come and get you if you fly into Greenville, SC or Asheville, NC. Charlotte is the least cost option but is the furthest away at two hours. It’ll be fun to have everyone here. We can hike and fly fish and explore while you’re down here. Maybe the girls can see some white squirrels.

Played golf this weekend. It was the first stab at it after the Feb. 20 surgery but everything felt great. No issues or seeming complications at all. So it was good to go through the dry run and come out none the worse for the wear.

Alrighty, that’s a wrap for today. Have fun in FLA over spring break. Spring is kind of dragging its feet here but maybe dunking my hands in black garden dirt will speed up nice weather.

Love, Dad

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Gentleman farmer, no. Gentleman gardener, yes …

For weeks the moving process was consumed by bringing the home interior up to snuff; in a flash, however, the focus shifted to the exterior, notably the lawn and spectre of a garden. And that included flirting with the very idea of chickens strutting around the backyard.

Spoiler alert: The dalliance with fowl is over. There will be no chickens on Bungalow Way. Ellen and Reid played along with me but secretly must’ve wondered ‘what is our old man thinking?’

March 12, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Don’t ask me why in the hell the idea of raising chickens entered my mind; maybe it’s the latent survivalist in me, living up here now in the mountainous North Carolina boonies. But already the Web has been surfed for ideas and inspirations, and the dual thumbs up you two gave the chicken coop photo yesterday was all prod I needed. The e-literature says to make sure would-be chicken farmers tip off/run-the-idea-by neighbors since chickens generate noise and poop – and eggs, to say nothing of predator management.


For a while there, this fancy store bought coop at the Farm Supply Store had me dreaming of fresh eggs. But the realization that chickens took seven day a week care brought me to my senses.

Ellen, it makes me grin to think of Emma and Georgia helping to gather eggs and pester the hens to no end. That would be good for them – I mean, Emma and Georgia. I got a note this morning from a hiker friend, Vince, who’s a bee guy and he said ‘why not bees?’ and that has me thinking, too. In fact, bee hives might be a more environmentally sensitive route to go. The overall idea of Papa as Gentleman Farmer has kind of stuck with me. But I’ll give the chicken madness a week or so to die down before a final decision is made to plow/not plow ahead. Go ahead, call me a cluck if you must. I get it.

What will happen for sure is a raised bed garden. It will be reality very soon. Traipsed over to the lumber store yesterday and gave the wood the eyeball test, and it seems that a 10 foot by five foot bed has real potential. Lowes will cut treated timbers to size for me. I hope to get the bed started yet this week. An adjacent yet separate four by four bed would be constructed for red raspberries and maybe a blueberry plant. The soil is inherently lousy up here so a lot of black dirt and additives that need to be considered.

But it’s been raining here the past few days – again – so there’s no rush until Wednesday to get started. On Friday Sondra and Jody and Sue, another friend from my old golf group in Charlotte, will join me for a weekend of golf and also to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Asheville. It should be great fun and it’ll be great to have them up in these parts. I have yet to swing a club but the recovery feels pretty good right now and I’ll just have to be smart about it. There’s a driving range less than one mile from here and I’ll lug the clubs over later this week for some test swings. On another golf note, I’ll start a golf MeetUp in the next couple of weeks to give me people to play with.

What was learned the hard way this morning was that all this moving hullabaloo has me woefully out of shape. For a few weeks tighter pants had tipped me off to that misfortune too. The first workout at a gym was complete torture. It’d been since early December since any sort of organized workout. Hopefully there will be a new routine of waking up followed by coffee followed by gym. That’s really what’s been missing here; any semblance of a daily routine.

Reid, can’t wait to hear about your new Chicago situation. It was nice of Kyle to host you for a few nights. Tough to keep up with your comings and goings. But the possibilities for you sound good and enticing. You need to put Thanksgiving here (all travel on me) on your calendar since Ellen and her crew will be here, too. What a reunion that would be.

For the first time in a long, long time, I trudged behind a lawn mower. When I toured the home in November it didn’t quite dawn on me that there would be grass that would need to be maintained. I mean, really, mowing never crossed my mind. I fell in love with the house and views and forgot about everything else. But my neighbor Sonny came to my rescue; he sold me his brand new (used four times) corded $200 electric mower for $50 since our developer split the cost of a gas model so Sonny could mow the common area. The chore took all of 30 – 35 minutes but the mower takes up all of the available space in the attached shed. But maybe my chickens can feed on the clippings.

Love, Dad

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A lawn. I forgot, ignored, dismissed the idea of a lawn …

My last slog around a lawn sweating behind a push mower was in 2005? 2006? Whenever. It’s just that when my base shifted south of the Mason-Dixon Line, there was never a moment’s thought given to cutting grass – and edging and weeding and fertilizing. I fell in love with Brevard but forgot about the bigger home maintenance picture. Now I’m living it. And to think I’m thinking about chickens, too. More on that foolishness next week.

March 5, 2018

Ellen/Reid: Well, it’s another Monday morning up in the hills and for a change there’s nothing falling from the skies. Until Wednesday according to the forecast. That means that, for the first time in all these years (12), there is a lawn to be mowed while relative dryness exists. Cutting grass was not in the vernacular; I thought mowing was sworn off forever. The neighbor across the street, Sonny, says it takes him 15 minutes to mow his small patch of green but he doesn’t have a back yard quite the size of mine so you can


This is why I moved to Brevard. To walk a couple of blocks to the Brevard College campus and another couple of blocks to the downtown.


Of course, this too is why I moved. There just happens to be a small lawn that comes with it.

tack on another 10 minutes to the chore. Still, this is about one-third the size of the acreage on South Shore Drive. My commitment is to an emissions-free electric mower (which I have yet to buy) so I’m borrowing one to see how it works. Last week the developer volunteered to fertilize (with an organic mixture) and the fescue grass (a derivative of blue grass) has just exploded with growth.

Next up is a raised bed garden. Several weeks ago I walked by a nice example of a well thought out bed that I hope to replicate. I’m really looking forward to small plot to tend to. Probably something in the six by 10 foot range. Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, garlic, sugar snap peas, that sort of thing. Maybe some red raspberries and blueberries. Perhaps the size should be upped to eight by 12. The local extension service publishes a gardening how-to guide so that’s a must read. It’ll be fun to get my hands dirty in the good earth for once. That feeling has been missed since moving to the South and was a real drawback to the townhome in Charlotte.

Feeling good two weeks after the surgery. Feeling very good, actually. The doc called me the anomaly among his patients and after less than two minutes in the examination room he gave me the green light (short of doing something super stupid like heavy lifting). I was already performing contortions and gyrations while installing the shelves and came out none the worse for wear. Walked most of nine holes with Sondra and Jody over the weekend and came through that, too. So there’s full anticipation of being able to golf (50 percent swing effort) in roughly two weeks time. I have steered clear of lifting most things. It’s a hard sneeze that’s the killer. That rattles your timbers from top to bottom. You know precisely where the incision is, that’s for certain.

Reid, when is a good time to visit you? You’ve got some deciding to do in terms of Chicago, Oakland or New York. Nice to have some options, although personally Chicago would present the least amount of upheaval if you can parlay your Oakland experience to their Chicago base of operations. Your friends are there and you know the town. Take that for what it’s worth. But it all seems on the upswing for you.

Perhaps I could double dip with a one-trip visit to Chicago while en route up to St. Paul in May. Ellen, let me know when and where and what you want me to do in terms of assistance.

Got a full slate of friends penciled in for visits. That’s how it should be. Hopefully there can be a jaunt to Charleston with Miss Emma squeezed in sometime in the next three to four weeks. I’m very anxious to fish. It could also be that I’ll rent a kayak rather than tote her down as a way to avoid the lifting. We’ll see how the recovery goes. My shelving had to account for all the rods and gear but there’s still some stowage space that needs to be resolved. I’m not ready by any means to ditch the saltwater gear just yet. I will visit Dave H. in early April to pursue tarpon. If we hook into anything of appreciable size that’ll really test the scar.

Well, enough for today. Be good, please, please, please contact me every so often. Hope to see you all in short order. Give the girls a squeeze.

Love, Dad


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‘Operator error’ – again (and again)

Long ago when patriots were patriots in the truest sense, Thomas Paine wrote “These are the times that try men’s souls.” True then and true now. 

Especially when it comes to basic carpentry for basic shelves. Attaching planks to brackets sounds simple enough but someone has to make a ham-handed mess of things and that might as well be me. Thanks to near-continual operator error, Mr. Paine, my soul has been tried enough. Measure twice, cut once? Never heard of it.

Since they’d seen such skill-less, expletive-laced home task bludgery before, Ellen and Reid had to know this was coming.

February 28, 2018

Ellen/Reid: My base of writing operations has shifted from the already cluttered desk to the less cluttered (but it’s getting there) kitchen counter. All the better to sit with my cup of coffee and watch it rain, again, outside. I’ll hand it to Brevard; it gets it’s share of moisture of which there has been a lot of as of late. But when it’s nice, it’s beautiful here.

Reid, Oakland sounds like one helluva tech gig, and your mom tells me they have a Chicago situation that you might be involved with, too? That would be really a great thing to slide right into that. You wouldn’t need to give up your Chicago life and friends. Of course, I could always use a little more first-hand information so keep me up to speed. What you’re doing in California is beyond my comprehension and you’ll need to to take any explanation slow and basic with me. But it all sounds good. Aren’t you excited?

I’m up to my eyeballs in shelving. Damn, that feels like all I’ve done is install tier after tier of shelving in each closet and, now, the attached shed at the back of the house. The 10’ x 5’ spare room was a catch-all/dumping spot for virtually everything that wasn’t allowed in the house or otherwise had no place to be put. Literally, the space was packed. You couldn’t walk into it.


Yeah, I suffer my share of goof ups around the house but I can always retreat to the back deck for scenes like this.

It’s really the last storage frontier. But yesterday the first inroads were made (my carpentry skills are sorely lacking and several boards had to be recut because of operator calculation errors) and even though it’s raining now I’ll be back at it as soon as this letter and the morning coffee are finished. It does feel good to get at least some things up off the concrete floor and into some semblance of storage and organization.

A shelving breaking point was reached about 5:30 last night and I honestly said, aloud, ‘The hell with this’ and drove off to a never-before-visited spot, Ecusta Brewing. It’s on the main drag on the east end of town and a scant few feet from the Davidson River. You could tell right off that it was frequented by locals. It’s a small scale brewer that does a really nice job with their darker beers and they’re not quite so IPA driven as the local big boys such as Oskar Blues and Sierra Nevada. But after one glass I hit the short road home. Everything is on the short road in Brevard. My Camry is still operating on the quarter tank of gas that was in it last weekend. It’s one mile to the store, one mile to downtown, 1.5 miles to the far side of town. That close proximity has taken a bit of getting used to. Now that there’s finally some free time, there’s finally time to explore.

My follow up appointment with the surgeon is Friday morning. Since there is no pain and no apparent complications (knock on wood), the full expectation is that he’ll give me my walking papers after just a couple of minutes of face-to-face time. He told me at the initial consultation that this operation would be a snap and that the recovery shouldn’t be as extended as the procedure last April. Of real interest is when I can hike and kayak and golf and work out again. I’m very anxious to get back down to Charleston since it’s been three months since Miss Emma has hit the water. I did fashion a custom spot for rods and fishing gear in the shed. A new friend up here, Billy, is prodding me to hit the trout streams. He’s quite the accomplished fly fisher and it’ll be good to be under his tutelage. Of course, right behind me is the French Broad River although walking access to it from the house is kind of sketchy.

Alright, that’s a wrap. Reid, please keep me posted. I’m so happy and anxious for you. Ellen, give the girls a squeeze – and Tim a pat on the back for putting up with you three. And let me know the dates in May that will require me in St. Paul. It’s a good human quality for you to host immigrants.

Love, Dad

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