in Checking In, Parks and Rec, Politics, Raleigh

Weekend update

It’s been a busy weekend. Friday morning was the press conference and the official kickoff of the Parks bond campaign. NFL stars Torrence and Terry Holt joined other city officials to urge passage of the bond. As the marketing co-chair of the bond committee, I helped plan the press conference and some of the talking points used. The location of the Chavis carousel was perfect, the weather was perfect, the messaging was perfect, and it all just came together. What’s more, I was able to collect the photographs of many attendees, all to add to our “I Flip 4 Parks” social media campaign. Oh, and the official website,, was unveiled as well. Marketing has been a group effort, with the Raleigh Chamber pitching in as well as committee members Jeff Tippett (committee chair), myself, and Patrick Buffkin (speakers chair). The website was designed by Scott Reston with video provided by Napoleon Wright. Everyone did a super job!

Friday afternoon was the visitation for Thomas Crowder, held in the lobby of Meymandi auditorium. There was a huge turnout of people paying their respects. I was glad to meet many of Thomas’s family and say hello to those I’ve already met.

We left Friday afternoon for the North Carolina State Fair. Normally I would rather get a root canal than go to the fair, but it turned out to be a pleasant experience – far less crowded than we expected. We did a lot of walking around before the kids settled on riding a roller coaster. We then grabbed some pizza, watched a few tractor pulls take place, and then wandered over to ride the front Ferris wheel. The Ferris wheel is still my favorite ride at the fair, where you can spend lots of time sitting comfortably and enjoying the view. Soon afterward, with some of us starting to drag, we headed home.

Hallie’s soccer game was canceled as she was playing at a field at Heritage High School and it was the only field in the whole system that was closed for wet conditions. The season-end party and kid-parent scrimmage still took place, though, with the parents winning. The coach was angry with his girls, though, as they played much more aggressively against the parents than they did during their real opponents!

I had to bow out of the soccer festivities, though, in order to attend Thomas’s funeral. A large crowd filled West Raleigh Presbyterian Church for the service, which was scripted by Thomas ahead of time. In addition to the remembrances and hymns the songs “What a Wonderful World” and “Spirit in the Sky” were played, with the crowd clapping along as they exited.

I walked out of the funeral with misty eyes and feeling sad. There were lots of friends there but I didn’t really feel like talking. I spoke with a few friends for a few minutes and then headed over to the after-service celebration at the Player’s Retreat, a favorite haunt of Thomas’s. A beer, some snacks, a few old and new friends, and several engaging conversations later and I was feeling upbeat again. It was clear that the folks who cared for Thomas and his work were not in any mood to slack off now that he’s gone.

I got back home about the time Kelly and the kids returned from the soccer party. Then we all cleaned the house before Travis’s friends came over for a night at the Railhawks game and a sleepover. I got mad when I reached the gate of the Railhawks stadium and was turned away because of my “detachable lens” camera. I steamed about this for a half-hour before I started to enjoy the game. What a stupid rule! It was Travis’s birthday party, he got to spend some time on the field as a “player escort” before the game, and I couldn’t even take a decent goddamn picture of him because my telephoto camera had to stay in the car. Travis enjoyed the game, though, and the boys stayed up late watching a movie.

We made pancakes and smoothies for our young guests before handing them back off to their parents. Travis spent time on his computer while I did more bond-related stuff. Then around 2:45, Kelly, Travis, and I hopped on our bikes to ride the new greenway connector from Milburnie Road to Anderson Point Park. It is awesome, exceeding all my expectations! I thought it would be just a ho-hum connector trail, getting greenway users to the beautiful Neuse River Trail. Instead, it is a gem in itself, surrounded by woods, following Crabtree Creek, and with a nice, wide path.

Before we knew we were at Anderson Point, but not before Travis began to feel ill. We turned around and headed back but Travis bonked before we were off the new part of the trail. Kelly sent me back to fetch the car which I did. Soon we were all back home, where Travis soon got sick and spend the rest of the afternoon on the couch. Poor guy. This is not a good way to celebrate one’s tenth birthday.

I spent the evening creating a design for a Time-Of-Use magnet reminder. As a solar PV owner, we’re on a Time-Of-Use schedule with Duke Energy Progress, meaning our electricity costs differently during different parts of the day. My magnet will serve as a convenient reminder for when the rates change so that we can maximize our electric bill savings.

It was a long weekend but a rewarding one.