Tag Archives: Asheville NC

We were all Irish for one day in Asheville … and the hunt is on for a PT job


An old saying has it that we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

That was true in Asheville, a town that didn’t invent fun but has perfected it. What went on in Asheville will stay in Asheville except to say Jamison and Irish Car Bombs were the order of the day. Mercifully, it was an early night.

And, like Reid, I’m prowling around for a part time job, if nothing else than to fill 6 – 8  idle hours each week.

One final note: next week’s 697 word letter to Ellen and Reid was written in 9 minutes. That is likely a personal record, but who’s keeping track?


March 20, 2017

Ellen/Reid: It’s really been colder than it ought to be down here. Our morning lows (20s and low 30s) and yours aren’t that far apart. Maybe it’s the higher humidity in these parts, but it’s just bone chilling. Windier than normal, too. I made a new platform for my container garden alongside the driveway and fully intended to sow the first seeds of romaine and spinach over the weekend but shelved that to stay inside. I won’t wimp out today and will get it done. The planting is at least two weeks overdue. This time last year the seeds had sprouted.

Had an extraordinarily fun St. Patrick’s weekend with my friends Sondra and Jody and Sue in Asheville. It’s just one helluva town. Lots going on and lots of fun people. Sondra and Jody wanted authentic corned beef and cabbage (the boiled variety, mind you) so we started with that and then wandered over to a jam-packed Irish Bar where Jody somehow snagged four primo corner seats at the bar. We proceeded to idle the next five or so hours there listening to locals play Irish music

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It’s not often Irish music gets jam session treatment, but that’s how they do it in Asheville. And these folks did a pretty damn good job at Jack of the Wood.

until we finally called it a night although it wasn’t that late. It was great fun. We left my car downtown overnight and wisely Ubered it back to the motel. The next morning Sondra and I were up around 6:30 to go retrieve my car. I made a side trip to Starbucks and camped there for an hour or so to read the local paper and enjoy the strong black eye-opener. We played golf at the posh Grove Park Inn. It’s a mountain course, tight and really a challenge for being a so-called short course. Jody shot lights out while the rest of us kind of muddled around on a nice day. We pledged to do the ‘Celtic Open’ again next year. St. Patrick’s Day will be on a Saturday. Yikes.

The Medicare thing is getting really old really fast. Just cannot get any straight answers no matter how many people I talk to on the phone. I mean, it’s been hours of conversation and questions. Very frustrating. In fact, one of the Social Security people said it could be up to another 60 days before a resolution is determined. Fortunately, the hernia isn’t worsening as of this writing but you never know. But if it drags on much longer it’s going to make a mess of my Wyoming plans and perhaps the Spain trek in the fall. There’s been a physical toll taken, too, in that I haven’t visited the Y in a month and walking 4 – 8 miles per day just doesn’t cut it. I can feel my conditioning slip away. The scales don’t lie, either. This predicament is all consuming for me right now.

Applied for a couple of part time editing jobs on LinkedIn. We’ll see if anyone bites. Reid, have you plied those online waters very much? I was surprised Continue reading

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A spiffy space for my girls … and the specter of the knife


One week it’s St. Paul, the next week it’s Florida. By my standards, this is a fairly active travel schedule. Ellen has a completely made-over home and my granddaughters are enamored with it – as is their grandfather.

But the travel is about to grind to a halt, at least temporarily. What’s a month on the shelf?


February 27, 2017

Ellen/Reid: It was great to be up in St. Paul to assist – at least partially – with your move, Ellen. You and Tim did a ‘wow’ of a total makeover to that house. Don’t sweat the stone-topped coffee table. Of all the things that are wonderful about the home, that is a blip on the design radar.

The girls sure seem to love it. What a pair of total goofs; Emma ever the Drama Queen and showperson, Georgia and her angelic little presence. There’s more space for them to roam (and spread toys) but they each get their own rooms.

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Bedhead or not, sweet little Georgia loves her room with a view.

The upstairs windows are to die for; such light is magnificent. It seems highly unusual that an older home would have such spacious wraparound windows but that is a real plus for you guys. And you seem to have a nice amount of storage vs. the other house.

The kitchen is the real star of the show. It is a real cook’s kitchen. I could’ve been content to spend all my time in there to whip things up. You’ll love cooking and baking with gas. There is absolutely no comparison to that hard-to-clean glass cooktop that was tough to control temperature-wise. Gas is so much more efficient and manageable. And again, all that storage. Then again, you might jettison some things that aren’t needed; i.e. tupperware up the wazoo. That is hilarious. A whole drawer devoted to the stuff. On a more serious note, I’m already shaking from the DTs after going without Tim’s smoked pork shoulder. To call it incredible is to sell it short. It was unbelievable. 11 hours on a smoker will do that to hunk of meat.

The move didn’t really bother the hernia thing. But it was a mild downer to find out today the March 16 surgery would be a double hernia affair. The doctor said 4-6 weeks of recovery before full activity. There can be very limited movement after a couple of weeks. But I suppose the good news is it’s not very invasive in the sense of not being sliced open. Three small holes on each side of the abdomen. A week of feeling pain and then it should subside. The operation has caused me to cancel a golf/St. Patrick’s day trip to Asheville but it will be a good tradeoff to be able to do my floor exercise and full daily YMCA regimen. I miss the pilates and other floor exercises. Already, I’ve added a few pounds and can feel the lack of hard work in the gym. But he said there were no restrictions on the trip to Florida which will begin early tomorrow morning. That’s a relief. With me will go four rods, associated fishing gear and my golf clubs. We plan to fish offshore a couple of times and golf a couple of times. My guess is I’ll see significant kitchen duty which is okay with me. If I’m feeling up to it, I’ll probably make a stopover in Charleston to fish. If I’m up to it. In some ways I’m anxious for the surgery to be over and done with. Still have a few Medicare issues to work out and if those don’t pan out I’ll dip into my own pocket. It’s gotta be done.

Pretty good response to the non-move. People here are accepting of it although there’s been almost no contact with friends in Des Moines. One thing that was noticeable in St. Paul was how cold the wind can really be. It was bitingly cold on the walks to the hardware store and around the block with Henry. Those temperatures are something that won’t be missed by any stretch.

Reid, I do want to plot a trip to Chicago. Let me know what dates in April or May work for you. I’ll be totally on the mend by then. I’ll drive as far as southern Indiana then head due north up your way. Probably a Thursday – Sunday excursion if that’s okay with you.

The next big decision is do I keep the house on the market and find smaller digs in most likely an outlying part of Charlotte. My tilt right now is to take it off the market and stay put since it’s an incredible location and one I like – a lot. Not as nice as your spiffy new space, Ellen, but good enough for me.

Love, Dad

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