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November 4th, 2018 


Hello world! Yes, we are still alive. It's a bit mind-boggling that I've not updated the front page since January, but while I've posted a number of pipes since then, they've all been one here and one there, nothing big enough in numbers to constitute a full site update with email notices and all. But, here we are back at last with a pretty huge update, and possibly more pipes now posted to the site than we've ever had available at one time before. There are many Talbert Briars, both unsmokeds and estate, several new Ligne Bretagnes, one pretty spectacular Goblin, and even some estate pipes and rare tobaccos from my own collection on our Pens & Misc page.

A couple of other things have come back to life also, including...

The Talbert Pipes Blog, which has gotten a new post about pipe collectability, and also our rather silly web comic, Giant Radioactive Monsters Eloquently Discuss Collectible Tobacco Pipes, which has gotten several new strips over the past month or two.

So many people asked me about Pumpkins this October that I totally lost track due to overload and hurricane chaos (more on that below), but there IS one single Talbert Halloween Pipe in the works, which is a very large, very sinister Pumpkin... but I didn't even get close to finishing it in time for Halloween. Now I'm debating whether to go ahead and finish it, or just save it till next October. Those of you who follow our Instagram page have already seen it -

Sharp-eyed folks might recognize it as the pipe from that little paper sketch above left.

In other news, circumstances have pushed us into setting up a GoFundMe page because, in short, my wife had cancer AND a split and abscessed tooth, and her medical bills have piled onto us in a not-fun monstrous way. The full story is on the GoFundMe page. If anyone is able, please help out. Donations are simple and easy, and we need every penny we can get, beacuse...

Well, here's the story of our year. Since I wrote that opening post in January, my wife's father's dementia worsened rapidly. We spent the first half of our year struggling to be caregivers while keeping ourselves afloat, barely - thus the dearth of updates and new pipes since then. Eventually he was permanently committed to a home for end-of-life care and for some months, our lives revolved around him and helping and supporting Em's 86 year old mom throughout the whole grueling experience.

Eventually, he passed away, with both his wife and his daughter sitting by his bed holding his hands, which was maybe the only bright spot in all that he went through those final months. Then there was the funeral to handle, and after that, trying to offer Emily's mom as much support as we could. Unfortunately, not long after her father's death, my wife had a jaw ache diagnosed as a split tooth that had begun to abscess and worse, the dentist could not do the needed surgery on her because her blood pressure was high. Like, WAY high...

This prompted more medical tests which found that she had early stage colon cancer.

Sooo... In late summer "getting back to work" flipped immediately over into "hospitals and surgery". Over the course of one week, Emily had her tooth extracted, had a horrible blistering welt skin reaction to the pain medication which prompted an emergency trip for more meds, and then went into the hospital for colon surgery at 4am that Friday.

My September went from the "Working on Halloween Pipes" plan to going back and forth to the hospital, then later looking after Emily as she recovered at home.

One might think that was excitement enough for one year, but then Hurricane Michael hit Greensboro in October. My 86 year old mother-in-law, just recovering from losing her husband a few months before, was sitting in her living room watching as the city power pole by her driveway snapped off and crashed in the street, complete with exploding transformer, and another tree fell across her car and front yard. We got the call in the middle of the howling storm, which took out half the stoplights and power in Greensboro, and by the time we got to her house, it looked like her neighborhood had been bombed. We had to bring her home with us as her house had no power and was draped with hanging electrical and phone lines.

And that was pretty much our October... We realized very quickly that between the lost working time of the past year plus the HUGE hospital and surgery bills capped with even more lost working time due to the storm and helping with the fallout from the storm (car repairs, tree removal, etc) that there was simply no way we'd be able to handle the mountain of crisis expenses without help, thus our reluctant decision to create our GoFundMe -

https://www.gofundme.com/ColontoSemicolon

I do not like these GoFundMe things because my general impression is that it has become a beggar's site overcrowded with people asking for free cash for a new couch or whatever, but we talked about it and concluded that if anything qualifies as a genuinely deserving cause, it would be all of the grief and difficulty we've been through this year. So in closing, if you can send a few pennies our way, it would be MUCH appreciated. Let's hope the year has exhausted its supply of nasty surprises, because we're both very ready to get back to making pipes again!

 

January 10th - Hello and welcome to 2018 at the Talbert Pipes workshop! I hope everyone had a happy and survivable holiday season. I'm a little amazed that we managed to survive 2017, talk about a tumultuous year... But here's hoping for bigger and better things to come. Today I've posted five new pipes to the Ligne Bretagne catalog - Four LBs and one Collector - and you can see them here. There's some excellent news about LB Collectors also, which is explained on the new Collector's catalog page (and I'll probably be adding it to a Pipe Blog post soon also). Those of sharp eye might also notice that my catalog photos have improved a bit. It's somewhat required in this age of Instagram filters to "snazz up" pipe photos but I didn't want to stray too far into the territory of "All FX, minimal pipe", so I hope I've found a good balance that looks a wee bit better while still presenting clear, straightforward pics that tell the buyer what he or she is getting.

There is also, eventually, a full-scale site revamp coming, but that's still off in the future. I plan on greatly simplifying the site layout, offering some new buying options, automating more of my update process, and more, but of course that's a HUGE investment of time and time is the thing I have least of, excepting perhaps for money. It's well past time for a refresh, though - When I built this current site, I wrote it all out in a text editor, which should tell you how many years it's been, now that we're in the age of WordPress and readymade templates driving everything. Onwards and upwards!

 



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