Tag Archives: Harris Teeter

Post-mortem on a self-induced ‘three alarm fire’ …

The dust has settled on my three day disappearance; one thing for sure, it gives a person something to think about. Notably, this is what friends are for – to keep you on the straight and narrow or, at the least, to stay in touch. And bust you upside the head when necessary.

(On a side note, police officers Bajic and Akers couldn’t escape being on the receiving end of a letter. But more on that next week.)

May 22, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Well, what a helluva week that was. Geez. Saturday and Sunday were spent kicking myself for putting you and others through the wringer. There’s a lesson in there somewhere, the least of which is to not rely on snail mail to let you know where and when I go traipsing about whether it’s to Wilson Creek or Charleston or wherever. It’s interesting how any of us react at the very real possibility of the dire and the unknown and the truly serious; there are elements of panic, finality, danger, loss, and any of some other things. I’m chagrined that so many people rallied to your plea for help; Sondra, Jody, Chiana, Troy, John, Ted, my neighbor Dan and more. It’s interesting, too, how urgency creates an instant community among folks who would not otherwise be in this mode if not for precarious circumstances. People are used to the cordial familiarity of their social bonds, not the ‘what the hell?’ news that comes to bind them even tighter in unexpected emergencies. What that potential bad news does, in the beat of a heart, is reinforce what is valued and held dear. So if there was anything heartening to come of this three alarm fire it’s that it put your belief system to a very quick test. It sorts things out for you in a New York minute. I had a moment of instantaneous panic, too; Tim’s ‘call me as soon as you get this’ text really sent my mind racing about ‘Oh my God, what happened to Ellen or the girls?’ That really put me in a full sweat. I’ve spent some time, but not enough as of yet, to thank people for caring. I’ll do that in the next day or so. There was some dark humor, however, in hearing about the full-court sleuthing you two and Sondra, et al, did when you all went into full CSI mode; calls to Charleston Outdoor Adventures, Harris Teeter, ex-flame Felicia, the police and whoever else you badgered. That was pretty impressive on your part. And a key under a doormat? That’s my idea of security? Holy cow, what a doofus.

But that’s over and done with. As for the hike to Wilson Creek, it was great. But the fishing was a bust. I worked my tail off for a few small fish. That’s the price you pay for an area that sees a relatively high number of trekkers/fly fishers. The water just gets a lot of pressure. The fish get no respite from the volume of baits tossed their way. But it was beautiful and the company was wonderful. I would go unplugged again with certain caveats (see above paragraph) since that’s really the best way to enjoy the wilderness. One thing I wouldn’t do is buy a dehydrated meal that includes a ‘heater’ that negates the use of a stove. All you do is add water to activate the heating element. The package literally chugged steam like an old locomotive as the food got super hot. It was bizarrely wild. Then you have to lug the soggy thing back out again.

The new smoker will be put to the test again this Sunday when Troy and Jill and a few others come over to sample brisket. It’s a 14 hour gig so I’ll have to be up really early to fire that beast up and get to cooking.


The new smoker got a workout – and less than a week after I got grilled by family and friends.

I’d better produce an edible meal or I’ll never hear the end of it. I may throw a pork shoulder on there that can be shredded and put in the freezer once we’re done cannibalizing it. On balance, Tim does a more focused and methodical job with his smoker. He’s the Gold Standard right now for barbecue.


Went to the Y this morning but the exercise center was shut down as staff was set to install a whole new set of Machines of Torture (aka ellipticals) that I’ll need to prime for the Bridger. Played golf on Saturday and got over the post-surgery jitters pretty quick although in hindsight another week of rehab might have been more prudent before swinging the sticks. But this past week wasn’t too much about prudence, was it?

Love, Dad


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A snow event that wasn’t … re-thinking a house sale … and a really sharp knife

 I stopped riding Ellen and Reid some time ago about harsh, harsh winters in the South. They didn’t see the humor in ‘bitter cold’ 40-ish degree temperatures here that passed for a deep freeze since they live up North where the cold is real and bitter and unforgiving. 

But it is funny when people make frenzied runs to grocery stores to stock up on necessities and schools close at the mere hint of snow. 

On the other hand, perhaps this time next year I’ll be the one wishing for the ‘harshness’ of Charlotte’s arctic freezes.

January 9, 2017

Ellen/Reid: Our panic-inducing snow event passed without incident over the weekend. We got, at most, a skiff of snow in my part of Charlotte although in the northern ‘burbs they did get a few inches. Still, the whisper of snow in any amount literally threw the town into a major end-of-the-world food buying tizzy. I went to Harris Teeter last Thursday to get the usual and normal supply of bananas and lettuce, and without exaggeration the checkout lines were 7-10 deep, including the self-service lines. It was utterly bizarre to see carts filled to the gills with staples such as milk, bread and – bottled water? I can understand people wanting beer and wine, but water?


Uh, here’s an unretouched photo of my impassable driveway the morning after Charlotte’s snow event. The city can now stand down.

Schools down here also closed at the drop of a hat. At the mere mention of snow, kids were out of school. It’s hilariously crazy. Can you imagine what an inch or two would do to Minneapolis and Chicago? That’s not even a good start to a storm. It would be business as usual. But not here. Here’s what’s really weird: folks down in these parts drive the same SUVs with the same tires and four wheel drive as you guys motor around in up North. The one thing that isn’t normal are the bone-chilling temps. So I did break out the fleece and such and made a big pot of chili. Perhaps that just got me ready for the weather I’ll face up in Des Moines.

Speaking of that, my listing agreement expired at midnight on Saturday. My Realtor, Laura, sent me several messages about re-upping the agreement. I’ve yet to respond. I’ve been thinking long and hard about what direction to take since the only bids to walk in the door were when I listed the house on Zillow. It doesn’t seem to be a price issue; indeed, the home across the way just went on the market last week at a higher listing price per square foot. No other Realtors have balked at what we were asking so I’ll likely stick to my guns on it. My option is to find another, perhaps hungrier Realtor or stick with the big dog, Allen Tate Realtors, although I’ve honestly been disappointed Continue reading

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Of letters, black drum, shared bounty and the Trump effect …

I like to write letters for a lot of reasons. (If you want a one page note, tell me. I’ll send you one. As for subject matter, that’s TBA.)

There is something to the tensile strength of paper in your hands. It’s tangible and real, not some ethereal thing floating loosely out somewhere in cyber space. 

Letters are also a thought process – even if my missives seem to lack coherent thought many weeks. But, hey, it’s the best that is available at that moment, at that instant even if I yammer on about fish caught/missed, a house that hasn’t sold, a disappointing election, leafs from a tree or any of a number of other minor goings on in daily life. But that’s why there’s a letter this week and another next week and the week after that. There’s always a shot at literary redemption.

November 21, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Our first frost arrived yesterday; the grass was stiff and white as I walked out for the morning newspaper. The upshot of it is it will make the Bermuda grass go dormant in an instant which will make golf that much tougher. Actually, the golf has been somewhat improved as of late so all is not lost.

Since there were no invitations – save one, but it involved golf – to a Thanksgiving meal, Miss Emma and I will make the trek to Charleston on T-Day to see if we can replicate the success we had last week. Reid, I wish you’d of been there. The rods really got a workout on Harris Teeter frozen shrimp and mud minnows. Never had to open the package of finger mullet. It’s as many fish as I’ve caught in a single day but by far the uniformly biggest fish ever. All were in the slot.


Miss Emma and her sometimes inept handler/fisherperson have made weekly forays of late down to Bowens Island, South Carolina while the fishing is good.

Those big black drum can fight like nobody’s business. They set their flat side against you and dare you to pull them in and are just so much fun to haul in. And the two big sea trout – ‘specks’ they call them – hit in an instant. No guessing if they are there or not. You know right away. And the first red in a long while was boated. That felt good. I kept the red, the trout and four black drum. The aim was to give some to the black fisherman who don’t have boats but fish off the dock right by the put-in spot. One guy was lugging his gear back to the his car empty handed, but he was grateful for a drum and a trout. An oysterman I’ve come to know got a black drum, too. It’s appropriate to share the bounty. I caught so many fish so quickly that I was able to leave early to beat, sort of, the Charleston traffic. We pulled into the garage at 7:30 p.m., a full four hours earlier than usual. That felt good for a change.

Here are a couple of leafs plucked from a eucalyptus tree that overhangs the sidewalk along the route of my weekend morning walks. I crumple the leaves in my fingers to release the sweet scent; Ellen, I bet Emma Continue reading


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A triumvirate of good things …

I don’t know if the kids are bored yet (a rhetorical question that does not demand an answer) with yet another story about ‘fishing.’ But at least this tale was about ‘catching,’ a wholesale change from prior fish-less excursions.


December 1, 2014

Ellen/Reid: As weeks go, this past one was pretty good; it was holiday shortened, the Thanksgiving meal was passable (grade B), and red fish were caught aplenty. That’s a fair triumvirate of good things in the stretch of a few days.

The meal for seven was fine. Amazing what following directions can do for

It's amazing what some sugar will do for the taste of pumpkin pies - as Ellen and Reid have discovered the hard way with their dad's baking.

It’s amazing what some sugar will do for the taste of pumpkin pies – as Ellen and Reid have discovered the hard way with their dad’s baking.

pumpkin pies (yes, I did add sugar this time). Most of the prep work (pies and stuffing) was wrapped up on Wednesday. That removed some of, but not all, the angst on Thursday morning. The only near-snag was I was hell bent to post my early morning walk on my trash blog and lost complete track of time about how long it would take to make bread. It was to be a three rise affair and I cut a couple of corners in order to get the loaves finished and the bird in the oven about noon. Things worked out okay but I nearly screwed the pooch right there. Reid, I recalled a photo of you slathering the turkey with butter a few years ago at Hilton Head and I repeated that performance. My friends got here about 3:45 – 4 p.m. and wine was liberally served so they might overlook any food faux pas. Everything turned out just fine and on time. The gravy was a bit thick and lumpy but that might be because the cook tipped back his share of wine. It still tasted good. We sat around retelling the old stories, eating pie and creme brulee and it was a lot of fun.

On Friday I hatched a plan to head back to Folly Beach for some fishing since only three of us were to play Saturday golf. I pulled the plug on that, which freed up the day. The beach forecast was favorable (60s) and the drive doable (a shade over 3 hours door to dock). The loading of the kayak atop the car and stowage of gear is becoming somewhat simpler.

The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 may have looked rigged and ready, but self-induced fouled lines cost me an hour of fishing. I was pissed.

The Ocean Kayak Trident 13 may have looked rigged and ready, but self-induced fouled lines cost me an hour of fishing. I was pissed.

I took bagful of frozen shrimp from the freezer and let it thaw on the counter. I woke up about 3 a.m., made sufficient coffee for a carafe and headed down the highway a shade after 4:00. It’s a pleasant enough ride down I-77 through Columbia to I-26 and on down to Charleston, which you skirt to the West and then finagle your way along Rte. 171 to an off the beaten path little road. I arrived in the parking lot (the bed of which is oyster shells), paid $2 to use put-in spot, and shoved off. But your dad makes so many, many stupid mistakes. I mis-handled the line on a reel and spent the next hour trying to undo the thing, cursing the whole time. It just cost so much precious time that could be better spent fishing. With no bites at the first stop (the pilings of a pier) I paddled a half mile away to another pier only to ram my kayak into the posts because I was unable to navigate through the strong tide. The mishap bent the eye guides on one rod and nearly broke the other rod. Two other fishermen watching me and must’ve thought ‘That guy is an idiot’ and they wouldn’t be far from right. The only catch there was a very, very small sea bass of some kind, so it was on to a sunken barge about 400 yards away. There was a pleasure boat anchored in the prime spot and they were catching all kinds of fish when I pulled up. But the bite for them stopped as soon as I anchored about 50 yards away and they left after an hour of catching nothing. I hopped over to their spot and all hell broke loose on my Harris Teeter shrimp.

This beauty was 23 inches - well inside the slot. But it was a day to catch and release.

This beauty was 23 inches – well inside the slot. But it was a day to catch and release.

I caught 17 -18 red fish in the space of 90 minutes and lost a few more. The smallest was 14 inches and the biggest 23 inches. If I hadn’t made some other poor mistakes (bad knots, fouled line, etc.) no doubt the total would’ve been more. It was so exciting. I was yelling and laughing at the same time. All those other frustrating trips were old news. Ellen, tell Tim his advice on the guide was the best money I’ve spent on this. Tim’s comments that it’s ‘bad karma’ to keep a fish came to mind, so I let all the beautiful beasts swim away and free. Reid, you’ve got to get your sorry carcass down here because we can rent a kayak and rods. It’s time you and I headed to The Barge. Let’s do this – soon.

Love, Dad

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…a deer had been hit…

No letter was sent to the kids last week.  This letter appeared about this time in their mailboxes in December, 2006.

December 18, 2006

‘Cakes/Reid: Well, it happened again. I know most shopping carts look alike but yeesh, for the second time in nearly as many trips, someone took off with my loaded cart at the local Harris Teeter grocery store where I shop.  My back wasn’t turned for a moment to price the yogurt and cheese, and off it goes.  I can’t figure out what someone wants from a cart loaded to the gills with cereal and apples and lettuce, but for crying out loud don’t you recognize that the stuff wasn’t yours?  I had to get another cart and start all over.  Continue reading

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14F in St. Paul…

Henry sits - momentarily - before our first walk on 11/23. He's a good dog.

I’m camped this morning in a funky coffee shop across from Macalester College in St. Paul, Mn.  If you wonder how far my stake is in the ground in Charlotte, look no further than the thermometer this morning.  The low was a frosty 14F.  On top of that I walked a frigid mile to find coffee (a six on the one-to-10 scale). The walk and the low temp both hammered the stake a bit further into the ground.  I am surrounded by winter-hardy Minnesotans who think nothing of venturing out in such weather. 

Since I’m near to a strong outpost of academia, here is a bit of revisionist history: an older letter to Ellen and Reid (FYI…both are still snoozing this morning, but good for them).  Henry insisted on a walk at 6:00 a.m.  Who was I not to oblige?


Nov. 20, 2006

EB/Reid: You know, lots of odd things have happened to me in life; breaking a collarbone, eating dog food (just once), having two children, etc.  But yesterday was about the weirdest thing that has happened to me in a long time, and certainly the weirdest since I became a Southerner.  Someone took off with my loaded, filled-to-the-rim shopping cart.  The local grocery store here is Harris Teeter, very nice, chic, see-and-be-seen type of Yuppie/Gen Xer place.  So yesterday morning, I take my list to H-T and, starting in the produce section, go aisle by aisle, always looking for the deal.  You know, 2-for-1 cans of soup, that sort of thing.

So now, I am virtually all the way through the store, roughly the same size as Hy-Vee but much higher class.  Sort of a cross between Dahl’s and Hy-Vee, with a little Palmer’s Deli feel.  One of the final items on the list is bagels, so I momentarily park my cart and begin comparison shopping among shelves of wheat, plain and foo-foo options.  When I find the half dozen on sale, I turn to my cart – it can’t be 10 feet away – and voom, it’s gone.  The store is packed, and I know I let out some sort of expletive – “screw this” – or something equally foul because a little old lady squints at me and kind of turns her nose up although I don’t consciously remember saying “screw this” out loud.  Who knows, maybe it came out worse.  But my cart is gone and 45 minutes worth of analyzing a 12 oz. package of pasta on sale vs. the 16 oz package that is roughly the same price but not on sale has gone to waste.  I’m not angry, just miffed, so off I go in search of the stolen cart.  I go next door to the deli section, then wines, then foo-foo organic stuff.  No cart.  I mean, here it is loaded to the gills with stuff no one else could possibly want but me; cereal, apples, chicken, fresh basil, a fresh copy of Martha Stewart (no, wait, a copy of Martha Stewart Living will never touch any of my possessions), etc.  So I head to the check out lines, hoping to bust the culprit when there it is, sitting there alone.  Some poor schmuck had inadvertently taken it, tossed in a head of lettuce and some Miller Lite (I did replace those back on the shelves) and thought “What the hell did I just do.”  So they abandoned it.  I know I was muttering to myself the entire time, and that’s why people gave me a wide berth.  Maybe some people find salty language offensive but not me.  So the check out guy says ‘did you find everything all right?’  Oh yeah, pal, I sure found everything all right.

Baked some of those round Italian loaves yesterday and went for a short ride in the 50F temps to deliver the goods to my boss (he just adopted twin girls from Guatemala) and my best friends Betsy and Bob.  Of course, neither were home at the time so that ruined the effect of hauling in on the Harley.  There aren’t a lot of bikers down here, just a few people who ride Harleys if you catch my drift.  It’s odd not seeing more bikers tooling around.  You can spot the faux Harley guys from a mile away – they all wear lace up boots.  There’s no lace up boots in motorcycling.  Sissies.

Looking forward to T-Day.  The paper said this morning 38 million people will travel this weekend, and 36 million of them will all try to board my particular plane at the same time.  But I am looking forward to the Big Red routing the hapless Buffs.  Big Corn beats Big Buffalo.  Be good.

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