December 23, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I suppose one can take singular pride in that I didn’t venture once this holiday season over to Charlotte’s showpiece mall less than a mile away. You guys made shopping (online) incredibly easy so there was no need to fight the traffic or the shopping zealots. Actually, it likely would have been faster to walk to the mall than drive and try to find a parking space. The traffic was just bonkers over and around the mall and there was absolutely no need to watch the Santa machine churn through a line of whining kids while parents flashed a credit card for photos. I do reserve the right to go over for the post-Christmas sales once the crowds have died down, however.
Some friends have cajoled me to play golf on both Christmas and New Year’s Day and that seems like a pretty good idea.
What seemed like a good idea on paper – play golf on Christmas day – had disaster written all over it. It was 28 degrees at the start. This photo doesn’t begin to show all the shivering.
I don’t mind being down here for the holidays, and I know what kind of pressures are on you guys to go hither and yon. It’s good your mom is in the Twin Cities with both of you. John has invited me over to dinner with his family after he’s done preaching the Christmas Eve service at Caldwell Presbyterian. A mild protest was made to not interfere in his precious family time, but secretly I didn’t mind being asked. It’s good of him and he’s a good guy. I’ll take over some of that breakfast bread they can bake Christmas morning.
Caught a couple of flicks the last couple of Friday nights. The latest Hobbit installment is kind of Continue reading
The one known to life is that it moves on whether you’re ready or not. You are simply along for the ride (bumpy or smooth, uphill-level ground-downhill) although you have some navigational say so. In large part the weekly letters of the last 14 years have served to let the kids know how their dad is faring in the journey. Not bad. Not bad.
November 4, 2013
Ellen/Reid: Well, I’m picking up a fresh head of steam down here, so don’t worry unduly about your old man. Things are fine. Golf and walking and teaching tend to take your mind off things and that is peachy by me. Okay, the golf isn’t so fine, but you catch my drift.
There was yet another reorganization at work. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This one hit a little closer to home in that one of the guys involved in the reshuffling – he’s now with another group altogether – really liked my work and rarely made any edits. It’s hard to replace that kind of trust. It really doesn’t affect me other than the uncertainty of who’s doing what. It’s just the nature of the corporate beast – stir the pot and, after a while, stir it again for good measure. Reid, you’ve seen that as much as I have. Shit happens.
In a few weeks we’ll all be gathering in Savannah and then to Hilton Head.
In the case of the disappearing breakfast smoothie, exhibit A is on the left. The prime suspect is on the right, wearing exhibit B. Charges were later dismissed. Emma is a good tonic for her gramps.
The crib is secured; now it’s on to a rental SUV, hopefully with enough cargo space for Emma and all of her gear, not to mention her parents. In an unusual spate of prior planning, the menu is coming together; real turkey and fixins’ on T-Day, pasta, fish, pizza on other nights. A little breakfast bread and pancakes/bacon/eggs thrown in Continue reading
Yes, I do get my jabs in against my new home state. But the digs are deserved. North Carolina is the new color of red but that doesn’t mean a lot of us have to like it.
October 7, 2013
Ellen/Reid: They say we’re in line for a little moisture from the tropical storm that sort of petered out in the Gulf but is still pushing rain our way. We could use a little bit of precip, at least enough to keep me indoors so I don’t have to take another walk to pick up trash. But really, it would be okay with me if we got a good dousing. As they used to say in the Midwest, it would be “good for the beans.” Or maybe that was the corn. Either way, we’re not living in the Midwest anymore, Toto.
Had a pretty calm weekend as weekends go. We listened to some live music at a bike night on Friday and watched a drunken woman dance or, rather, grind. It passes for cheap entertainment down in these parts. That or we’re just easily amused. Saturday I golfed in gorgeous weather, and the same for Sunday. Ellen, you’ll castigate your dad, but the sinner in me bolted from the church service about halfway through and head to the golf course. I walked on and picked up a game. The course paired me with two lesbians, Sheryl and Tina, visiting the Carolinas from Chicago expressly for golf. It was just an absolute riot. They were fun to play with and pretty good sticks. They weren’t aware of the overtly anti-gay sentiment down here but that didn’t matter on the course. Sheryl runs three little businesses and was wondering about the relocation climate down here, and I told her to forget about it from the social issues standpoint. She said she kind of thought so, too.
My apologies to Mr. Trudeau for the unauthorized use, but this was too good to pass up.
Ellen, don’t sweat the half marathon too much. If you can run 3-4-5 miles several times a week from now through the end of October, you’ll jet through the race. That doesn’t mean you can go fast, but if the goal is to run it, you will breeze through the course and live to tell about it. Of course, Emma and I Continue reading
I’m in Charlotte; a lot of my friends are up in Iowa. A few of them broke away from Des Moines long enough to head up to Kohler, Wisconsin for what passes as a mild mannered getaway these days for the middle aged; golf, refreshments and eating. And stories (stories that have grown, been twisted or embellished out of proportion or thankfully become murky due to memory).
It’s good for Ellen and Reid to see how their old man spends his free time. As little as possible was spent of their inheritance.
September 23, 2013
Ellen/Reid: I must say it was nice to be back in the Midwest, if only for a few days, up in Kohler. Fall was just rearing its head and it’s nice to see the horizon to the West for a change. You don’t get much of those sorts of vistas in the Carolinas or at least the part of North Carolina where I live. Great fun to see the King salmon begin their push up the Sheboygan River. Those were some big fish, and I see why Tim is so anxious to go after them. We saw a few anglers but there wasn’t much yelling or whooping it up, a sure signal that something was on the line. But people weren’t catching much. Then again, if you did happen to snag one of those lunkers, you’d have some food in the freezer for a good long while.
One of the three Daves (Dave ‘D2’ Dahlquist) hammers a fairway shot on a par 5 at Whistling Straits. Yes, those are the resident sheep in the background.
Kohler itself was wonderful. Good to see the guys, and we ate ourselves silly with incredible meals (although I tried, mostly with success, to not overdo the wine). It was great just to lounge around with a beer or glass of wine and shoot the shit. There was the usual discussion of kids and wives and other things about Des Moines, including the potential for a return to the Midwest. I really don’t know what the odds are right now. One foot is in North Carolina, the other in Iowa. Yet there is something to be said for being nearer to the two of you, Emma, Tim and Liz. We’ll have to play that one by ear.
We stayed at the American Club, which is pretty much a high end playground for the well heeled, your dad excepted. They really do it up right. But if you’re not into golf or don’t have an innate interest to see how commodes are constructed at the Kohler plant, there’s not much for you to do. The golf is Continue reading
Printers go on the blink at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. So, this note was the first in more than a decade that was attached to an email. For the past two weeks nothing has been sent as I twiddled my thumbs hoping to make the sorry device come back to life. But by this time next week, I’ll have a new ink-jet something-or-other that will spit out paper versions the kids are used to and I can get on supporting the U.S. Postal Service by buying stamps.
September 16, 2013
Ellen/Reid: This printer snafu thing caused the blip in letters. First time in years and years that nothing had been sent. But we’ll get back into the swing of things soon enough. Of course, I noticed that you guys didn’t notice. Probably not altogether a bad break for you (or me).
Reid, when you get time, fill your old man in on the happenings in the new job. You must be up to your eyeballs but there could a lot worse fates out there. You could live in North Carolina. (That’s a joke, but not far off. The ‘big’ job gains here are in the hospitality industry.) I’ve got to figure out a time to get to Chicago, but right now that looks like sometime in ’14 at the earliest. You and Tim need to conspire on whether you want to go fishing in Hilton Head. Ran into some guy in Beaufort, SC a couple weeks ago who looked like a fisher-type, and I asked him how things might be at that time of year. He said it all was dependent on water temperature, and my guess is that Tim will be our final expert on that. If he says ‘go’ I will find some sort of outfitter, but hopefully not like the Curly-Moe-Larry crew we had at Oak Island. What a disaster that was. We would have been better off eating tuna out of a can. A 6 oz. can would’ve weighed more than we caught.
Getting up before sunrise is nothing new to me any day of the week. But there are pluses, such as being first out on the beach at Tybee Island, GA
We had a clean, good weather ride to Tybee Island, GA. It’s really a smaller version of a lot of the beach towns up and down the Carolinas. It is a straight shot not too many miles east of Savannah. This is where Jimmy Buffet music still lives and drunk people still dance in flip flops to a single acoustic guitarist at seedy bars where ‘good food’ means whatever Continue reading
Yeah, today is something of a mixed bag. To borrow from the New York Times, Ellen and Reid see all the news that’s fit to print.
August 26, 2013
Ellen/Reid: Reid, my head is still abuzz about your good job news. That is incredible. You have persevered and it has paid off in spades. That is just so cool. I wish, though, I could vacation like you: Seattle for a concert, then a couple of weeks later you jet to NYC and the Poconos, etc. Somehow when I was your age a big weekend was lounging around Des Moines trying to figure out which bars had the cheapest beer. But what you did is just so awesome in every sense of the word. Can’t wait to come to Chicago to celebrate, although there is no clue as to when that will be. Sometime, for sure.
There is, however, a trip scheduled next month to Kohler, Wisconsin with Dave Dahlquist, Dave Hemminger and Bob Furstenau for an extended weekend of so-so golf but big-time eating. We’ll be up there
Yours truly, Bob, D2 and D1 one at an undisclosed, but swank, golf location in Florida. This is pretty near a highlight of the year. Watch out, Wisconsin.
Sept. 19-22. My plane goes to Milwaukee and they drive up from Iowa to pick me up and off we go. The courses up there are really nice and although the weather can be iffy, we’ll make do and play as much as we can. Ellen, tell Tim one time up there on Stonehouse business there were gigantic salmon heading up one of the feeder rivers that passed through one of the courses and on into Lake Michigan. The big fish looked like logs moving in the water. This is like our fourth such venture, or is it five? Washington state, Charlotte, Florida, Costa Rica. This will make it five.
There is some melancholy news. Felicia is moving out this weekend after only eight months of cohabitation. We will still be an item she says, but after 20+ years of living by herself she just wanted ‘space’. Don’t ask me what that’s code for. Continue reading
As Ellen and Reid get on with their lives, the chances to really get everyone together are fewer and further between. When we do get that chance, we’d better make the most of it.
July 29, 2013
Ellen/Reid: As is typical, I was procrastinating on the housing for a Thanksgiving family-a-thon. Since February or March I’ve told myself ‘Call RCI to get a place for Thanksgiving’ and was kicking myself as of late because that window was in all likelihood closed. So when I did get off my rump to make the call, my first option was already filled. But the operator said ‘let me check other availability along the coast’ and sure enough she instantly came up with what would have been my real first choice had I thought it was there for the taking, Ocean Palms, on Hilton Head.
Reid on shore patrol a few years ago at Hilton Head. If the weather is good, we’ll spend a lot of time at the water’s edge this T-Day.
An incredible place. Not sure why it was still open but it was and we’ve got it. It’s one of those spots where from the deck Emma might even spy a stray alligator in the adjacent waterway. Reid, if Liz has any 11th hour change in plans, let me know. She is welcome to come down. It will be fun to get Emma poking around on the beach, so let’s hope the weather is halfway decent that weekend. As discussed, you and I, Reid, will do all the cooking. There’s a great semi-sports bar right on the beach a short walk from the unit so we can even hang there. You guys have been there, haven’t you? It overlooks the Westin pool. We can rent bikes, walk, (run, since you guys are working towards a half marathon) or veg. Reid, you and Tim can fish and I might play a round of golf.
I will make air arrangements quickly. The suggestion is for you all to fly into Savannah, GA or maybe even Charleston. Continue reading