Tuesday, February 25, 2014


This past weekend was beautiful.  The sunny skies, budding trees, singing birds and mid-70's temperatures made it feel like spring had sprung just one short week after Atlanta's second snow storm of the year.  It was great to get out in the yard to pull ivy off the fence, trim trees and mow down last year's growth of Mondo Grass in the moss garden.

In year's past this would have been the weekend I'd have run to Home Depot and started buying vegetable plants and flowers for the empty pots scattered around the perimeter of the house, but I've learned that lesson.  Atlanta is sure to tease you with a beautiful spell of weather and then come around from the left with a below-freezing snap that will kill anything you tried to get an early jump on.  Like clockwork it's happening again...down in the 20's for the next several nights.

Nice try, Atlanta, but not this year.  I know your game.  It was nice while it lasted, though.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Coming home from the gym yesterday, I heard an interview with a gentleman on NPR who had given a TED talk about what he called "Life Editing".  He argued that we clutter our lives with things and activities that don't increase our happiness and that we would be happier if we "edited" those things from our surroundings and schedules.  Although I had never thought of it in those terms, I have to agree.

After the Palm Springs closing, of course JD and I went on a buying spree to get the essentials required to make the condo habitable including a couple beds and a sectional.  Then we stopped.  Once we had a place to sleep and sit we both realized how relaxing it was to be in this space with wide open views and  barely a thing on the walls or floors.  It was simple and uncomplicated and so we made a conscious decision to not muck that up.

I live with an artist so of course we now have art on the walls but we've tried to be choosy and not hang something just because there's a few inches of blank space.  There are also a couple furniture pieces we'd like to find.  A small table and chairs to be used as a breakfast area in the dining space, cool (and comfortable) chairs for the office so that space can double as a TV room, a vintage swag lamp for the living room and a low-slung 1970's bar to go beneath the Keith Haring.  They key to these acquisitions is that they need to be exactly what we're looking for.  We have resolved not to get anything just to "fill the space" and until we find the perfect pieces we'll be happy to look at the emptiness while watching TV on the floor and storing our liquor in the pantry.

When we returned to Atlanta after the holidays, back to a home we've been filling with stuff for the past 9 years, the sheer amount of it hit us in the face like a wall.  The next day we dismantled the office and threw out bags of papers, books and stuff that served no purpose other than to be on hand  "just in case".  We're by no means done and the frantic exorcism has slowed to something closer to a purging chant but our own editing continues nonetheless.

Friday, February 7, 2014

This Is How They Get You

What's a married gay to do on an Atlanta Friday night when his husband is in NYC?  If Kai Lin Gallery is having an opening, of course you go there!  Art, stylish people, vodka...wait.  That's where they get you.  Vodka.

You think you're going out to just see some art and get out of the house, but no.  They get you feeling good with an erudite party atmosphere and exotic vodka, lemonade, mint cocktails and suddenly your credit card is flying out of your pocket and a red dot is going on the wall.

Well, no complaints.  Jason Kofke was one of the featured artists in tonight's show and he's fantastic.  We have his drawing of Christa McAuliffe that he framed behind an antique metal oven door (to give the feel of a rocket ship window).   We saw it at a Kai Lin show in 2012 and John loved it, so I got it for him for our anniversary.  This one is for me and it's going in the Palm Springs office.  It's called "Communication Age", but I'm calling it "Girl, I'm on the phone!"

Retirement Get-Away

My folks joined JD and I in Palm Springs on Christmas Day and when we left they stayed on to escape the winter in North Dakota...their first winter out of the state.

Most winters since their retirement they've passed their days going to morning gym classes and the rest of the time spent by my dad shoveling their driveway (and the driveway of at least a couple neighbors) and by my mom cooking.  They'd take a long weekend each year in Laughlin, NV.  A charter plane would take them directly from Fargo to Laughlin where they would be expected to spend the weekend in the casinos.  That's not really their thing, so at least one day of the trip they would spend in a rental car driving around and "looking at stuff".  One of those day trips included going to open houses after which they started talking about getting a place...in Laughlin, NV.

I have no reason to poo-poo Laughlin, since I've never been there.  But from the stories I heard upon their return it sounds like a relatively small town with not much to do other than to go to the casino and gamble, eat, see a show and whatever else it is that casinos have to offer.  If that would make them happy, then I would be happy, but I couldn't help but feel their admiration of Laughlin was because it was one of the few places they've been that was somewhat "south".

When JD and I started talking about getting a place in Palm Springs, we mentioned that it would be great for them to spend some time there in the winter to get a break from the cold.  After we closed and they visited with their Jeep full of housewares I was thrilled that they seemed open to the idea and astonished when they took us up on the offer of being there in January and February, since the place would be empty during that time.

They seem to have really enjoyed it.  If it's above 70 degrees (which is has been almost every day) they spend part of the afternoon in the pool.  They've made friends with our neighbors, which is more than we've had the opportunity to do.  They've visited the casino down the street a couple times and made a killing on both trips.  They went to a country club for lunch with one of our neighbors and went to a music club to see a 60's band.  (I can't remember the last time they've mentioned going out to anything close to a club, other than the VFW for a wedding of a shirt-tail relative.)

I'm genuinely thrilled that they've enjoyed it so much and secretly (or maybe not so) hope they're considering getting a place of their own in Palm Springs.  Having them close to us in at least one part of country would be great.  I guess that kind of stuff is becoming more important as they age and honestly there's probably some guilt because I've moved around the country for the past 15 years visiting them once or maybe twice a year, while my two brothers are in town or within driving distance. In my defense, I NEVER miss a Sunday phone call.

So, this is their last week.  One week from now they'll be packing their bags and getting ready for their flight the next morning back to Fargo.  I've told them that for $75 each they could change their return date and wait until JD is due back at the end of the month, but it sounds like they've resolved themselves to the fact that it's time to go back.

Having them there and that they've enjoyed it so much has been the best part of owning the condo in Palm Springs so far.  Thank you Palm Springs.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Winter Haze

This morning's heavy fog was not just a literal one.  I've hit my annual Winter Haze.  So many days of gloom, wet and even ice that I start to wonder if it will end and I'm walking around like some kind of zombie-mole who hasn't seen the sun in years.  A headline this morning lead me to believe that today is not only Super Bowl Sunday, but also Groundhog Day.  I don't make a point of following the weather predictions of an overgrown rat, but it appears he's forecasting another six weeks of winter.  Damn rodent.

Since I was in Palm Springs, I missed the onslaught of December rain and I was out of town during Snow Jam 2014 so I really shouldn't complain.  Whatever.

I hit a new milestone on the bathroom scale last night, and not in a good weigh (get it?!).  In a fit of sheer panic I spent $99 to join the Biggest Loser Club weight loss program.  This is the first structured diet I've ever been on and I chose it because I love Jillian.  Now that I'm in it, I don't see Jillian anywhere on the website.  I will not be deterred!

I must really want to test myself with this diet, because like an idiot I started the program today...a day dedicated to football, chicken wings, chili, chips, beer and couch laying.   Not that I give two rips about football, but there is something to be said about male bonding over a herd of men in tight pants jumping on each other.  Now I'll just stay home instead of being the guy in the bar sipping on a bottle of water...even I wouldn't hit on me.

Six more weeks until Palm Springs....Six more weeks until Palm Springs....Six more weeks until Palm Springs.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Atlanta Snow-Jam 2014

Behind the ridiculousness of Tuesday's storm is the disturbing ineptitude of local government to have any kind of foresight to looming disaster.

At 10:30pm Monday, my phone rang with a Delta Airlines robo-call telling me that my Tuesday afternoon flight to Orlando was being cancelled to due weather.  The next morning a quick check of the weather informed me that there was a winter storm warning starting at 9am.

JD had an early flight to NYC that morning and it was on time, so I dropped him at the airport at 7:30am and started driving to Orlando to get ahead of the storm and still be able to make my meetings on Wednesday morning.  It all worked perfectly.  JD's was one of the last flights out of Atlanta, and other than a heavy mist at the GA/FL border, the drive to Orlando was uneventful.

I'm glad we both missed this one and I felt awful for my coworkers back here in Atlanta who spent 12 hours trying to get home, or just gave up and slept at the office.  I can't help wonder how it is that I (not any smarter than the average bear) could figure out that a storm was coming and was able to avoid it, but yet government couldn't as much as cancel school that day.  A lot of other folks are now asking the same question.  Hopefully it gets a real look and some real solutions.

This Politico Magazine article gives a great recap of the situation and how we got where we are.  Georgia government might want to start here.