by William Needham Finley IV™

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Five Points

Root Student Confused About Third First Day Of School

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A student standing in front of a school.

A Five Points couple rejoiced as Mary Waldorf van der Williamson, a Kindergarten student at Root Elementary, was dropped off for her third first day of school on Wednesday. While the return to the classroom was a relief for parents, many students were confused by yet another first day of school. 

“It’s like there’s a new first day of school every other week. Do you realize how many front porch photo shoots I’ve had to do, how many different bows I’ve had to wear?” said van der Williamson, age 5 and 3/4.

To make matters worse, the mid-February start date left parents ill-equipped to stage a first day of school photo. “Mommy was upset that our smocked back to school clothes weren’t appropriate for 30 degree weather. It took forever to get a picture because Little Davis kept whining about how his knee socks and shorts weren’t warm enough. Then his little fingers were too cold to hold the chalkboard sign. It was a nightmare,” van der Williamson said.

The start and stop nature of the school year has also distorted the perception of time for many students. “Am I still in Kindergarten? I have no concept of time. Seriously, I do not know what months are,” confessed van der Williamson.

The addition of students who have recently moved from out of state has added to van der Williamson’s confusion. “I don’t even recognize the kids in my class. Every time we go back to school there’s a handful of new kids who just moved here from New York or some place called the Bay.” 

Even though van der Williamson was excited to return to school in person, she remains apprehensive. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me….I’m not sure what comes after two because we haven’t learned that in school yet.” 

Due to inclement weather, schools will operate on an asynchronous schedule on Thursday, which means students will get the chance to have another first day of school next week.

Now is a great time to donate to Note In The Pocket a great local organization providing clothing to impoverished schoolchildren in Wake County. With your support, donations, volunteer service, and partnership, they impacted 5,069 children and family members in 2020. You can register here for their upcoming Socks & Undie 5k Rundie on Saturday, April 24- 5k at Dorothea Dix Park. Or you can donate here.

Report: Couples Therapy Sessions Skyrocket During Dry January

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An ITB Insider investigation has uncovered some shocking results related to Dry January, the public health campaign that urges people to abstain from alcohol during the month of January. Dry January participants expect to improve their general health, lose weight, and sleep better as a result of not consuming alcohol. We conducted interviews with one therapist and a Five Points couple during our rigorous month-long investigation. We can now confirm that Dry January is directly responsible for a rise in couples therapy sessions held in Raleigh during January.

For therapists, Dry January is like Black Friday and Cyber Monday had a baby.

Dr. Anna Paige, Therapist

In early January we began receiving reports that lines at the Cameron Village ABC store were non-existent, Sunday Funday sales at Lynnwood had plummeted, and the parking lot at the Cameron Village Harris Teeter was a ghost town.

Dry January was clearly spreading in Raleigh, but could it send our local economy into a hangover from which we would never recover? How would couples handle being around each other, their friends, family, and coworkers, while totally sober?

We spoke with Dr. Anna Paige, a couples therapist specializing in first world problems, to learn more about how this was impacting Raleigh and its residents. “For therapists, Dry January is like Black Friday and Cyber Monday had a baby. It’s our most profitable month of the year. This is the first time many couples have ever had to interact with the world without the aid of alcohol. Our appointments steadily increase over the first few weeks, followed by a spike at the end of January,” said Paige.

ITB Insider spent January embedded with a Five Points couple in their 2-bedroom bungalow off of Whitaker Mill. Mary Anna Fletcher, an influencer, and Hunter Davis Fletcher III, a Senior Vice President at TriCap Properties, were attempting Dry January for the first time. Mary Anna told her husband that they would both be doing Dry January and that she would document their journey on her Instagram account “That Is So Fletch”. 

The last time I had to wait this long to drink was because of a court order.

Hunter Davis Fletcher III

Hunter was not pleased. “I thought this was just one of her influencer things, not something we’d do together. I stood in line for three hours to get this special release triple IPA and now I have to wait a month before I can drink it. The last time I had to wait this long to drink was because of a court order,” said Fletcher III.

Mary Anna began the month by posting “mocktail” recipes to her Instagram account.

Paige explained why Mary Anna felt the need to share the experience publicly on social media. “Similar to being vegan, a major aspect of Dry January is telling others that you are doing Dry January. Many believe that publicly sharing their progress will show the world how close they are as a couple. External validation can help them cope with the fact that they haven’t spoken to each other for three straight days.”

When asked how much his productivity at work had increased, Hunter replied, “I’ve gone to more coffee meetings this month than I have in my entire career. Do you know how hard it is to close a deal when you can’t drink at a client dinner? I legit might lose my job.”

The couple began seeing Dr. Paige on January 4th. By the end of the month Hunter questioned the origins of Dry January. “Since when is this even a thing? All of a sudden everyone is talking about Dry January. We’ve spent $6,400 on 36 therapy sessions. I swear Big Therapy is behind this.”

Paige did not deny the accusation. “Oh absolutely. We spend a lot of money on Dry January lobbyists.”

Mary Anna seemed less concerned with the cost. “The tartan lining in this whole thing is that we became closer as a couple and we’re saving money. My skin is so much better that I can go an extra month between botox sessions. That’s money in the bank.”

Despite feeling healthier and making many breakthroughs during couples therapy, Mary Anna and Hunter resumed drinking alcohol on February 1st.

On a totally unrelated note, Seaboard Wine will be hosting a free wine tasting from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 8th.

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Five Points Residents File Fireworks Class Action Suit

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Residents of Five Points are taking matters into their own hands after a disastrous 4th of July. To celebrate the birth of our great nation, many neighborhood residents gathered near the railroad tracks at the end of Bickett Boulevard to view the fireworks display being put on in downtown Raleigh. Then disaster struck. As the fireworks were starting, a Norfolk Southern train showed up and ruined everything.

“The train showed up right as the fireworks started and came to a complete stop. It would pull forward about ten feet then back up again, all while the train crossing signal kept ringing,” said Stahler McKinney, who notified me of this tragedy on Twitter.

Neighbors became more irate as they stared at a large train blocking their view of the fireworks.

“We have rights. It’s in the Declaration of Rights,” said Liza Jane Wambles. “Who the hell is Norfolk Southern? Isn’t that in Brier Creek? I’ve been drinking rosé all day, hashtag rosé allll dayyy!!!!” she slurred, before being cut off by her husband, Banks Wambles.

“Please don’t say “hashtag” in public. We’ve been over this,” he said quietly, pulling the bottle of rosé away. “But yes, this is definitely a problem. Now we’ve got to deal with three kids under 5 asking where the fireworks are. We can only distract them with Pirate’s Booty for so long,” he added.

Children could be heard crying “I can’t see! Moooooom, I can’t see!” while many parents wept silently, knowing there would be no end to the whining.

“This was basically our Vietnam. Explosions going off, the train crossing signal blaring, and little Charlie Jr. here torturing me with constant questions about why the train won’t move. I pushed my kids all the way out here in our UPPAbaby stroller that my wife got on micITBit. We were expecting to see fireworks.” said Charles Jarvis, a Five Points resident.

Emotions ran high as two dads fought over the last craft beer in the YETI Hopper. “My dad and Mr. Caldwell were wrestling in the street. Then Mr. Caldwell took a nap on the ground and the ambulance bagged and tagged him, so we went inside to play Mario Kart 8,” said one child, clearly desensitized to the ITB dad on ITB dad violence.

“now that Mr. Caldwell’s been bagged and tagged you wanna go play Mario Kart?”

“Yeah, the dad on dad crime isn’t a good look, but it happens. If word gets out that we can’t even see the fireworks from our neighborhood, our property values are going to plummet,” said Wambles.

The residents plan to sue Norfolk Southern for negligence, obstruction of independence, obstruction of freedom, potential decrease in property values, and “being annoying AF” as Liza Jane Wambles put it.  While the residents have yet to select a firm to handle the class action suit, they are expected to go with Stacy Miller and Miller Law Group.

Five Points Couple Struggles with Barbour Choices Amidst Record-Breaking Weather

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Five Points resident Vance Craig VI, a 31-year-old Senior Vice Super Duper Executive Broker at a boutique commercial real estate firm, has not been pleased with the current weather. “Do I wear my Classic Barbour jacket, or my quilted Barbour Vest? It’s February, so my body thinks it should be wearing the Classic jacket, but it’s 80 damn degrees out. I’d look like an idiot sitting outside at Nickelpoint drinking a Scotch Wee Heavy wearing a full on jacket when the weather feels like it’s June.”

His wife Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, who runs an Instagram account featuring images of the best Wine and Design paintings in Raleigh, seemed more prepared to deal with the current climate, but still voiced concerns. “I mean, obvi my Barbour vest goes perfect over my chambray button-down but it still pisses me off that I can’t get the full wear of my quilted Barbour jacket this winter. Sometimes I’ll get ready, we’ll go to Churchill’s, and the temperature drops 30 degrees by the time we’ve taken 15 Jell-O shots. The walk from the front door of Churchill’s to the Uber that’s 10 feet away can be unbearable. How do you even dress for that?”

The hassle of being at the mercy of the changing weather is hard enough for the couple, but has proved to be an even bigger problem for another member of their family.


“We’ve had to increase the Xanax prescription for our dog, Mabel, because she has no idea what season it is. One day her Barbour coat is on, the next day it’s off. Her anxiety is through the roof.”

Mabel, net worth of $3.2 million, has no idea what season it is.

“The ice in her LaCroix filled dog bowl melts before she can even take it out and chase it all around the kitchen. Sure it’s less of a mess for the housekeeper to clean up, but that’s Mabel’s favorite part of the day. The ice in dog bowls is melting, y’all. And that’s sad,” lamented Mary Cameron.

Refusing to let the weather control their lives, the couple will spend the next two months island-hopping between the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas.

“We’re going to where we know the weather will be constant and we won’t have to wake up every day faced with these decisions. If I could sue the weather I totally would, and I’d get Stacy Miller at Miller Law Group to handle it,” said Craig VI, unaware that one cannot sue the atmosphere.

“I can see why they call it “climate change” now that I have to change my entire wardrobe multiple times on a daily basis. This is a fashion nightmare,” added Mary Cameron.

Special thanks to Dale Moody at Cornerstone Properties for selling this lovely couple their home in Five Points.

If you’re struggling with what to wear during these difficult times, download the new app from Glenwood South Tailors that we covered previously.

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Hayes Barton Family Camps Out for NOFO Brunch

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The mimosas have been freed and brunch is now better than ever. After the passing of the “Brunch Bill” and the approval from the City Council, Raleigh residents can now enjoy alcoholic beverages in restaurants starting at 10:00 am on Sundays. The law came as a result of many protests in support of freeing mimosas and Bloody Marys. Late last week Raleigh residents celebrated the historic law change and began making grand plans for their first boozy ITBrunch.


The Norris family, who live in Hayes Barton, were determined to be first in line for Sunday brunch at NOFO. Their plan was to spend Saturday night camping out in the NOFO parking lot, sort of. The Hayes Barton family paid roughly $15,000 to have a sherpa construct an igloo out of YETI coolers and place it near the entrance to the restaurant. The igloo itself would be cooled by a portable air conditioning unit. That might sound luxurious, but the family didn’t actually plan on spending the night. “Well, we had church in the morning and our kids hate the outdoors. We figured we could pay the sherpa to spend the night in the YETI igloo and keep our place in line,” said James Norris V.

Families that pay a sherpa to build a YETI igloo to hold their spot in line together, stay together.


His wife, Mary Ann Norris, added, “We thought about just making the sherpa camp out in a tent but it’s so hot that we didn’t want to be responsible if something happened to him.” Unfortunately for the sherpa, the AC unit failed after a few hours causing him to abandon his spot to avoid heat stroke. The family was less than pleased. “We got to brunch and found the YETI coolers strewn across the parking lot and there was no sign of Padrig, or Paulo, or whatever his name was,” Mary Ann said. “It’s hard to find good help these days,” added James.

The family had to wait in line, unlike my friends and I, who were the first to arrive at NOFO on Sunday morning. The red carpet was rolled out, Glowmosas from Humdinger were poured, and French Toast was ordered. I even brought my own ITBlessed glass, which I never leave home without. (Yes, these are available for sale, and my online store should be up in the next week.)

I documented the historic occasion on social media.

This was a great way to kick off my new ITBrunch series, where I’ll be touring Raleigh’s best brunch spots. I don’t even need to do an in-depth review of NOFO, since it’s already one of the top brunch places inside the beltline. Special thanks to NOFO for the wonderful hospitality. The whole experience gets a 5 out of 5 beltline rating.

Five Points Couple Excited About Boylan Skyline Selfies

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A Raleigh couple can breathe a sigh of relief after over 15 months of waiting. The news of the Boylan Bridge Brewpub’s reopening has brought joy to a Five Points power couple who were beginning to give up hope.

Vance Craig VI, a 31-year-old Senior Super Duper Executive Broker at a boutique commercial real estate firm, spoke about how difficult the wait has been, “It’s my right as a Raleigh native to crush 12 beers and enjoy the view on that deck. Do you know how many deals I could have closed out there by now? At least two.”

Craig VI can now crush beers and close deals.

Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, Vance’s stay-at-home-wife, runs multiple Instagram accounts that have been impacted by the closing. During the bar’s hiatus she had no choice but to put her account devoted to images of skyline selfies on hold. “Ugh, you don’t even know how many likes I’ve missed out on with this place being closed. Where am I supposed to go for skyline selfies, Dix Park? You can’t even drink out there.”

Her husband added, “We didn’t know what to do. Sure, we could have driven all the way from Five Points and taken a skyline selfie on the bridge that’s 20 feet away from the bar, but that just looks like we’re trying too hard.”

“Exactly. Our skyline selfie needs to appear organic and authentic so we’ll get more likes. No one likes a try-hard,” explained Mary Cameron.

“Plus, if people saw us posing on the bridge for a picture they’d think we were doing engagement photos or headshots for a residential real estate website. Everyone knows we’re married and that I’m in commercial real estate. People would start asking questions,” said Craig VI.

The couple seemed surprised to learn that the bar would now offer a new menu and expanded wine list.

“This place has a full menu? I thought they just served cheese quesadillas, pretzel cheese dip, and whatever that Summer Ale beer is,” said Craig VI.

The couple’s assumption was backed up by a social media analyst with Walk West. “We’ve analyzed thousands of social posts related to this location. We have never seen a single picture of food or beer. Users are taking the same exact picture with the skyline as a backdrop. Typical images contain at least 5 girls wearing Aviator sunglasses, oversized t-shirts, and Jack Rogers sandals. We expect a flood of skyline selfies from this location in the coming weeks,” commented the Walk West representative.

Being at the mercy of the brewpub’s back and forth has been hard on the couple, but has also been an issue for another member of their family, Mabel the dog. “Thank God we can finally take Mabel to a bar where she can sit outside while we social climb by taking skyline selfies with other couples that we envy,” said Mary Cameron.

“It’s finally summer and I’m just ready to get lit on this deck. Now all we have to worry about is which Barbour apparel to wear,” said Craig VI.

Raleigh Approves Five Points Roundabout Apartment Complex

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The Raleigh City Council has approved plans from a Florida developer for a mixed-use roundabout at the Five Points intersection of Glenwood, Fairview, and Whitaker Mill. The project, called Hayes Barton II (HB2), will include a 12-story 300 unit apartment complex located in the center of the roundabout. Keep Reading

ITB Mom Has Public Meltdown on First Day of School

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On Monday morning @ItsJustRaleigh alerted me of some hard hitting news coverage of an accident in Five Points.


As you can see, someone drove their car up an entire flight of steps in front Hayes Barton Baptist Church. At first I assumed a Brier Creek resident was lost and unable to navigate the 8th traffic circle of hell, also known as Five Points. Then I remembered what Facebook had bombarded me with earlier that morning, it was the first day of school. Clearly this was the work of an ITB mom who had taken ten too many Xanax and was sobbing uncontrollably after dropping her kids off at Root or Lacy. The rivers of tears made it impossible to see her phone as she typed a first day of school hashtag on her Facebook and Instagram posts while driving. #theygrowupsofast

To make matters worse, she got a call from her husband who told her they might have to give up their membership at the Club as a result of the Dow dropping 1,000 points. After having the concept of the stock market explained to her, she became even more distraught at the thought of having to get a part time job at a Cameron Village boutique now that her kids were in school and she no longer had a valid reason to stay at home all day. This was all too overwhelming, causing her to miss the turn on to Whitaker Mill and drive up the steps in front of Hayes Barton Baptist.

Some speculated this was an ITB mom who was upset after finding out about her husband’s Ashley Madison account. Others thought there may have been a secret Lilly sale at North Hills that this person was racing towards.

There’s a slight chance this could have been an ITB mom reading about the plane breakup from Sunday night. Twitter user Kelly Keegan live-tweeted the breakup that she was, like, totes #blessed to witness, obvi. Since this happened on a flight leaving the Raleigh airport, we’ll consider it newsworthy. I’m too lazy to put all the tweets here so if you haven’t heard about it just go read the story on Us Weekly. Kelly went from around 1,500 followers when I first looked on Sunday night, to over 19,000 around 24 hours later. She’ll probably be on the Today Show and Good Morning America by the end of the week, and then the Holderni will do a breakup parody video titled “It’s Not Me, It’s You” set to the tune of “It Takes Two” by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. Kelly will get a book deal and an HBO pilot for her reporting. I’ll just sit here and reevaluate my life and try to figure out how to launch a media empire. At least I didn’t drive my car up the steps of Hayes Barton Baptist Church.

Editor’s note: I’m not insinuating that all ITB moms have kids just so they won’t have to get real jobs and that all ITB husbands cheat on their wives. It’s probably more like 60%.

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