All Real Estate, All Day

My Mom came back for a big day of us looking at retirement communities. We had two great visits with two more places and the good news is she likes every place. I got copies of everything she was given so I can read all the fine print and be helpful in the ultimate decision making process. Mom asked the last place we visited what most people do about continuing care since these places are just so expensive. The woman said that there is a big hole in the market place. Most people don’t have the same choices my parents do.

As I was looking at places with my mother Carter was looking at apartments in Boston. Tired of living in dorms and having uncertain accommodations next year and the following years Carter negotiated with us to move off campus. I feel Carter’s desire since I moved off campus at the same point in my college career, although I had lived in dorms for three years more than Carter since I started in high school.

The rental market in Boston is nuts. The costs are crazy, but to be able to live alone and not have to move every four months is a great peace of mind. Carter did get a big dose of “adulting” having tried one agent who was not up to snuff and then seeking out a better agent who was able to show her many more properties. Now it’s the legal paperwork and money transfer, all things Carter is learning to handle with some lease review from us.

I used to have nightmare when I rented my first house that after my roommates and I had done a bunch of improvements to the house our landlord would evict us in the middle of the school year. They were the worries of a young person who did not know what rights I had as a lessee. This learning to be an adult is hard, but I am happy for Carter to get a chance to learn how to ease into it before she has to worry about earning her own money to pay her rent.

As for my parents, they are easing my nightmares about who will take care of them as they age. Growing up and old is hard on all of us.


One Name

There are a few people who can go by one name and everyone knows who they are— Cher, Madonna, Elvis, Prince. Of course for most of them, save Elvis, we don’t even know what their last name is. Like, what is Adele’s last name. Sometime we know both their names but only need one, Oprah you know I am talking to you.

Well as of today I have finally reached one name status. An unnamed friend mailed me a check that was made out just to “Dana.” I wonder if that is how Cher gets her money?

Since I most certainly have not reached one name recognition, perhaps it is that we are forgetting how to write checks since we rarely do that anymore. Thankfully my friend allowed me to write in my last name and the automatic phone deposit did not reject it. I didn’t want to chance depositing a one name check, even if it was my name.


Chef’s Feast 2019

Vivian Howard, of A Chef’s Life, fame and her many successful restaurants, anchored by the Chef and the Farmer in Kingston, is back as the headline chef at the Food Bank of CENC, big event. I will be the auctioneer and master of ceremonies again this year, on April 18 at Fearrington.

This is a big fun night for the Food Bank and if you are a fan of Vivian’s this is about as close as you can get to her. If you really want to see her and eat some great food you can buy a Station Chef sponsorship which will get you a table for 8. I only have six of these sponsorships available as everything else has already sold out.

There will also be a small number of individual tickets available at $225 a ticket. They will go on sale in February, but if you want to ensure you get one let me know and I can put you on my special list. It is a fun night with a few special items available for auction. Join me to help feed our North Carolina neighbors.


Chimney Mason Needed

In my ongoing job as “House Doctor” I have discovered that one of my chimneys needs some masonry work. Since this is not something I can do with my sewing machine I am looking for a good local mason who specializes in Chimneys. So if you are local and have had anyone work on your brick chimney can you let me know who did the work and if you were happy with them. I really want to know if you were unhappy also so I can take those people off my list.

I am using the need to get this chimney work done as an excuse why I can’t clean out the attic. Honestly, I don’t want to put this job off. The job I really want to get off my plate is as of House doctor. Once I have a completely rehabilitated house I will be much happier and will gladly go into house declutter.

I can not complain because Russ is in Minneapolis where it is going to be 57 degrees below zero. Now that is a horrible job!


Hello Pete, Goodbye DC

For our final meal in DC Russ and I met up with my sister Margaret and her boyfriend Pete for brunch. Pete and Margaret were supposed to come for Christmas so the whole family could get to meet him, but my Dad was too sick so he canceled their invitation. Turned out it was the right call, since Christmas was totally canceled for all of us. It was probably better for Pete to get to know us more one-on-one than in a huge mass anyway since we can be more than over whelming.

Pete and Margaret were great. We had a fun brunch together. Pete is of Hungarian decent and felt familiar to us since my cousin Leigh is married to a Peter of Hungarian decent. What are the chances of that? After some avocado toast and salad Margaret and Pete departed for Annapolis where Pete lives. I am so glad we had this opportunity for him to ease into getting to know the family.

Russ and I then departed for the airport with a Lyft drive who had never been to the airport. Thankfully he had no problem taking my exacting directions on how to get there since he had not been in this country long.

Living in Durham for the last 25 years I forgot what it’s like to be in DC where more people are from someplace other than DC and often other than America. When we were in the Amazon store yesterday a sales associate was showing an Asian woman an Alexa controlled outdoor light.

“It’s a flood light,” he said to her.

“So it tells you if there is a flood?” She asked inquisitively.

The Amazon guy, also from a non-American country did not understand her question, so of course I butt in and explained to her that it was a bright outdoor light that flooded the area with light, that was why it was called a flood light. She laughed and then told the guy, “I don’t even have an outdoors.” Needless to say he did not make the sale.

So it’s off to home to collect Shay Shay from her adventure weekend staying with Lynn and Logan Toms and their dog, Chuck and cat, Boots. I am sure Shay had as much as if not more fun than we did and we had a blast.


DC Part Duex

The friend reunion meals continue and nothing else. It seems completely decadent to do nothing more than sleep in, walk to meet someone for a meal, walk back and hang until you do it again. No visiting museums, no shopping, no sight seeing, just friends. I could call this weekend the wedding revisited tour since the only people we are seeing are people who were at our wedding.

The morning started with a lovely walk to Georgetown to meet up with my ground zero D.C. friend David MacKay. He has a regular weekend brunch spot the Peacock Cafe and we monopolized the prime table for a good four hours. Besides being the friend who practically introduced me to all my other friends in D.C. he is my most Forest Gump like friend in one sense, he has had a brush with more famous people than anyone I know. More than a brush, more like an experience. Today we talked about when he was Alec Baldwin’s roommate at GW. I will never be bored when I am with David.

At the four hour point Russ really needed to stand up and stretch his legs so we walked with David back to his neighborhood grocery store, making one stop at the Amazon store on the way. David had never been in an Amazon store so we showed him how it worked, with scanning the barcode with your Amazon app to find out what price you pay personally. It was only then that David said,”Oh, today I saw Jeff Bezos going into the West End equinox.” That doesn’t count as one of his meet ups with famous people, but he just recognizes them faster than the rest of us.

After a little rest, Russ and I went to meet our friend Tricia Reilly Koch for dinner. The last time I had seen her was shortly after she had lost her husband Danny. She is doing amazingly well and kept us enthralled with stories of her sweet kids and what she is doing with her work on wellness. Russ was particularly interested in her work as he is doing a lot of health consulting. She introduced us to her podcast called Health Gig. She and she sister-in-law Doro Bush Koch interview a wide ranging group of people involved in the the mind, body and spirit world. You can find it where you find podcasts.

Time is always too short with these life long friends, even four hour meals where we drink endless amounts of tea to keep them going. Once you know and love someone you almost always will love them and I am thankful that Russ brings me back to DC often enough so I can see these dear friends.


A Friend at Every Meal

I’m not as good at taking advantage of our empty nest as I thought I would be. When Russ goes on a trip and asks if I want to go I usually say no because I have found that being alone in a strange city is not that fun. When he took me to Nashville I found I really didn’t like it, certainly not half as much as being at home. But when Russ asked me if I wanted to join him in Washington, DC this weekend I jumped at the chance to “go home.” Since I lived here for my first ten years out of college I have lots of friends still here.

When a Durham friend asked me what we were going to do in DC since the government was shut down, I told her, “I’m not going to do anything except have meals with friends, and I don’t have enough meals to see that many friends.” (So if you are in DC right now and I don’t already have plans with you, I’m sorry. I will see you next trip.)

Given the government shut down I think I was lucky to have my flight actually get to D.C. today. My dear friend Dorothy picked me up at the airport and we went to a dumpling place for lunch. We had a lot of catching up to do and a lunch hardly scratched the surface. As we were the only customers who stayed for over two hours we decided to move to a bar across the parking lot for another few hours. During our time there it came over the news that Trump was going to sign the end of the shut down for three weeks. Dorothy said, “Dana comes back to DC and the government shut down ends.”

From lunch and post lunch I moved onto drinks with Russ and his co-worker Sumeyya and then dinner with my dear friends John and David. Since I have known John since 1981 and David since 1984 we always have a lot of old stories to tell. Russ is an excellent sport about listening to us tell ancient history, which always devolves into huge fits of laughter. The only bad thing now is we are too old to stay out late despite the desire to spend more time together.

No matter how long it has been between visits you can pick right up with old friends. The hard thing is parting from them. David did ask me to plan a return to trip to DC in three weeks just in case some a-hole national leader try’s to close the government again. He said the mere threat of my return should keep it open.

Two all day meals and three friends and it still wasn’t enough time. Two meals tomorrow and two friends. There just aren’t enough meals in the day. Yeah, maybe this wasn’t the best time to do Intermittent fasting, then I could have three meals and see more friends.