I love my wife and daughter. A lot. But, what’s a guy to do when they leave town? For one full week I’m free of typical family responsibilities. I am left completely to my own devices.
When afforded this opportunity before it hasn’t gone as well as one might think — each time I end up sitting on my couch, eating Chinese take-out, binge watching Netflix, and generally just missing them. I become the worst, most boring, least interesting version of myself. Not this time though. This time I had a plan.
Here’s what I, a normal married father of one, did to explore the city of Charlotte.
Charlotte Hornets. I’m a long-time fan and a quasi NBA junkie. This was perfect. I rounded up three college pals, logged into SeatGeek (the get in the door price was only $9!), and made arrangements for us to meet at 7th Street Public Market for a pre-game NoDa beer and Pure Pizza. Four dads of seven kids and the prevailing question from the group was, “Why don’t we do this more?” The game was awesome – Kemba Walker scored 30, I high-fived a lady behind us after an amazing dunk and the Bugs won. Monday Night – easily a success.
There seems to be more and more options when it comes to spin class. My preferred indoor cycling workout/voluntary torture is FlyWheel. The location is convenient and instructors are fantastic, plus they’ve recently upgraded some of their tech. If you’re wondering I would be The Business Guy.
To reward myself I decided to check out Seoul Food Meat Company.
And I’m glad I did – this place is fantastic. The drink menu is extensive and their menu is certainly interesting. I opted for the Garlic Soy Wings and the Sriracha Cracklins. Maybe the most distinctive part of Seoul, however, is the K-Pop music videos that play on a loop on the numerous TV screens. I don’t know why but it’s weirdly fantastic.
All along I knew I wanted to dedicate some time to explore one neighborhood in detail. To me, NoDa was the obvious choice. It’s vibrant and hip and a part of the city I want to know better. I started at the recently opened NoDa Company Store. Which is quaint and easy and on an early spring evening is just a perfect place to grab a drink and relax.
One thing you can do when you’re single is really explore your passions and let your geek flag fly. And one thing I’m really passionate about is public art, murals etc. I love it. So I snapped a pic of the art there and since I had nowhere to be I decided to explore NoDa using graffiti as my compass. It was awesome. While I’m at it: Charlotte, we need a cool Kemba Walker mural. It’s time. Let’s get on this.
A pal at work, after checking Charlotte Offline, suggested I go to Heist Brewery for their $5 Whiskey Specials & Trivia Night. The bartender Ramsey was outstanding. He put the Hornets game on the tube and suggested a bourbon to sip on. Honestly a home run.
Charlotte Checkers game. After some work friends came over to my place for a pre-game drink. We grabbed an Uber and made our way to their $1 beer night. Fun tip: Their $1 is actual Bud Light and Budweiser cans, not a tiny plastic cup & draft beer of indeterminate origin. That’s crazy great value.
As minor league hockey games are wont to do, there was a fight literally as we walked in. I ate a giant soft pretzel and marveled at the guys who were REALLY into an air-guitar contest. Lastly, I spent some time walking around the renovated Bojangles’ Coliseum and reminisced about the times my folks too me to see the Barnum and Bailey’s Circus and Harlem Globetrotters there as a kid. The thought of taking my daughter to that same building to see those same things was not lost on me.
With the wife and child mere hours away from home I spent time doing the most traditional of husband-like things: franticly cleaning up and checking off as many Honey Do-List items as possible.
But that was fine with me. I was more than ready to see them again and I felt like I had accomplished my mission. I explored the city. I was neither lazy nor boring. I had a lot of fun, I meet new people, and I feel way more in tune to the city’s culture. And yeah, a Kemba mural, that would be awesome.