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  • Amy Polen
  • December 14, 2017 06:02:55 AM
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A Little About Us

Part personal, part political, part observation. I'm not quite a bleeding heart liberal, but I won't hesitate to call people out if deserved.

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Day 6 of Togetherness

Schools are closed. The spouse is teleworking. The older kid is still working, but has had her social life severely curtailed. I am still working, but I have very limited contact with the public. I’ve been to the grocery a couple of times. We’ve picked up takeout once or twice. That’s the extent of our … Continue reading Day 6...

Schools are closed. The spouse is teleworking. The older kid is still working, but has had her social life severely curtailed. I am still working, but I have very limited contact with the public. I’ve been to the grocery a couple of times. We’ve picked up takeout once or twice. That’s the extent of our public outings.

Online learning for a high school student is, um, challenging. Especially since she has 8 classes, and none of her teachers even seem to use the same online learning platform. It’s new for everyone, and no one seems to have any idea of how grades might work. Frankly, I’m kind of hoping that schools might just throw out this last quarter and pretend it doesn’t exist, just to get all kids on a somewhat even playing field, but they didn’t ask me.

I’ve heard frustration about being forced to stay home. I’m not in a state that has ordered people to shelter at home (yet!), but restaurants are closed for dining in, the beaches are closed to non-residents, and they’re definitely discouraging people from gathering. I get it, it stinks. I myself am tired of reading already. I’m also tired of fighting with a cat over who actually owns the desk chair, but that’s another issue.

Here’s the thing. You’re being asked to stay home to protect people like me. If you’re not worried about getting sick, that’s great. But I have to worry about it. I have an autoimmune condition, and I’m on a medication that suppresses my immune system, to stop my body from attacking itself. I also have seasonal asthma. Two red flags for COVID-19. I’m washing my hands, avoiding the public for the most part, and I have a small supply of hand sanitizer. But people like me need people like you, with no risk factors, for protection. At this point, the chances are decent that you’ve come in contact with someone who’s been exposed to the virus.

You might think there’s no harm in going out to eat. Or going to a movie. Or traveling. And for *you, there’s probably no harm. But for someone else, there could be. You’ll have no idea if you’ve contracted the virus unless you have symptoms. It’s contagious without symptoms. You don’t have to feel sick in order to transmit it to someone else.

If you’re one of the many who has lost a job or been laid off as a result, I’m really sorry. And I hear you. Our tenants are unable to pay their rent, which has left us scrambling. That house isn’t an investment property. The rent goes to pay the mortgage, not line our pockets.

So to hear someone complain that they can’t travel, or that they are stuck at home, and that it only affects old people… it angers me. It’s not about you.


Well, That Was Disappointing

I hate it when you’re really looking forward to something, and then it just doesn’t seem to live up to your expectations. Such was the case with the Lights of Magnolia over the weekend. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens partnered with a Chinese group to display Chinese lanterns on the grounds. It started in November and … Continue reading Well, That...

I hate it when you’re really looking forward to something, and then it just doesn’t seem to live up to your expectations. Such was the case with the Lights of Magnolia over the weekend. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens partnered with a Chinese group to display Chinese lanterns on the grounds. It started in November and ends this month. We had originally planned to go for my birthday in December, but weather and sick people made us push it off, and we finally went Saturday.

It was just, meh. I mean, it was pretty, but it was made out to be much bigger than it actually was. Or maybe that was just me thinking that 9 acres of displays sounded larger than it actually was. To be fair, it was also still daylight when we walked through it, and maybe darkness gave it more of the wow factor. I don’t think $26 per person was worth a 40 minute walk through the displays. Regardless, here are some pictures from it.

And two pictures for fun… who did the peacock better? The display or the real thing? LOL


I Have to Live in South Carolina Forever

I’ve concluded that South Carolina may have to be my forever home, because I don’t think I can ever do this moving stuff again. I’m also pretty sure that my husband still owes me for our last move, when we moved from Connecticut to South Carolina, but during the middle of a bunch of guys … Continue reading I Have to Live in South...

I’ve concluded that South Carolina may have to be my forever home, because I don’t think I can ever do this moving stuff again. I’m also pretty sure that my husband still owes me for our last move, when we moved from Connecticut to South Carolina, but during the middle of a bunch of guys hauling our bed down three flights of stairs didn’t seem like the ideal time to bring up that topic, lol. We all survived, most things are unpacked, and we’re finally free of apartment living.

We’ve been in the house for about 2 weeks now, and during that time I’ve learned and discovered some things.

I no longer have to fight for parking, with neighbors who think they have to park their 53 cars in the parking area right in front of our building.

I don’t come home to what I’m pretty sure was the leftover scent of neighbors smoking pot. I actually don’t have experience to verify that it was pot (really!), but I’m pretty sure that’s what it was. I also don’t hear the neighbor’s music or dog, and I don’t wonder why they’re bowling below us. Yes, they were loud. Very loud.

There’s so much space! For the first time in my life, I think we may need more furniture. It’s still a little echoey downstairs. That’s going to have to wait a little bit, since we’re still in the “hemorrhaging money” part of buying a house. However, that should remedy itself soon, because we’re also just outside of the delivery zone for most food, so we’re eating at home a lot more, lol.

I realized that we’ve been living our whole lives without the benefit of good appliances, lol. We have a gas stove for the first time in many, many years, and it’s amazing. Imagine a world where you put something in the oven, and it actually bakes in the time stated by the directions, without adjusting the recommended time or the temperature! This is also my first time with a tankless water heater, and I’m pretty sure I can never go back to a traditional water heater. Even while a kid is taking an hour-long shower, the dishwasher is going, and a load of clothes is being washed, there’s still hot water.

I’ve found myself hesitant to actually use the garage for my car. I’ve never had a garage before. Logically, I know it’s just as wide as the driveway, but it doesn’t FEEL as wide as the driveway when it comes to putting two cars inside. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. Or maybe the husband will be content to use the driveway for his car, lol.

Electronic locks are fun! We just got that set up yesterday and quickly discovered that it’s fun to lock the door from a phone and watch the cats’ reactions, lol. I have no idea why someone would need 100 different passcodes to give out for the front door, because I don’t even *know 100 people here, but it’s a nice perk.

We’ve had a few bumps along the way, too. The internet was out Monday. Apparently even new fiber cable isn’t immune to trouble. I can’t order a pizza if I come home tired. Well, I *can, but I have to go get it. CBS refuses to cooperate with our TV when it rains. We cut the cable years ago, and never had any problems, but we’re now on our third antenna, in an attempt to be able to watch all the networks as needed. The mail still isn’t being forwarded, for whatever reason. We’ve only actually gotten to enjoy the natural light in the house a few days, because it’s rained a lot.

But we’ll get there.

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What’s on Your Playlist?

To say that I have an… eclectic playlist would be an understatement. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of rap or heavy metal (it’s me, not them), but most other genres are represented on my playlist. I only recently discovered that having an Amazon Prime account allows me to have Amazon Music, and I appreciate … Continue reading What’s on...

To say that I have an… eclectic playlist would be an understatement. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of rap or heavy metal (it’s me, not them), but most other genres are represented on my playlist. I only recently discovered that having an Amazon Prime account allows me to have Amazon Music, and I appreciate not having to pay $1.29 per song. BTW, scrolling through my iTunes list and realizing just how much that adds up to is kind of horrifying, lol.

Some of my most-often played songs, in no particular order.

Always on My Mind – Willie Nelson

Creep – Radiohead, with a disclaimer that the version Brian Justin Crum performed on America’s Got Talent was AMAZING.

Crying – K.D. Lang and Roy Orbison

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me – George Michael and Elton John

Friends in Low Places – Garth Brooks

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Sara Bareilles

The Joke – Brandi Carlile

Who Wants to Live Forever? – Queen

When You Love Someone – Bryan Adams

Tchaikovsky Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies

Walk This Way – Aerosmith and Run DMC

Mother’s Daughter – Miley Cyrus


My Neverending Quest for Delicious Food

One of the things I really love about this area is the huge number of great restaurants here. Charleston has made a name for itself with food. Most of the best restaurants are in Charleston proper, but there are some that have wandered out of the main tourist area. We’ve made a habit of trying … Continue reading My Neverending Quest for...

One of the things I really love about this area is the huge number of great restaurants here. Charleston has made a name for itself with food. Most of the best restaurants are in Charleston proper, but there are some that have wandered out of the main tourist area. We’ve made a habit of trying out new ones on birthdays and anniversaries, and we’re not even close to progressing farther down the list. Since Restaurant Week is approaching, these are the notable restaurants to which we’ve been. With these restaurants, it’s not just about the food. It’s about the whole experience.

The Fat Hen – Johns Island

This was one of the first restaurants we tried for a special occasion. I think it was an anniversary dinner. Honestly, it’s been a while (we’ve lived here 7 years!), so you’ll have to forgive me not remembering what we actually ordered. However, it was great food and drinks, and it was a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. It’s located on Johns Island, which at the time, was a quiet area away from the bustle of Charleston, but it’s not nearly that quiet anymore.

Stars Rooftop & Grill Room

This restaurant is in downtown Charleston (where a good percentage of the restaurants are, King Street), and while it was perfectly acceptable, it wasn’t particularly memorable. They serve steaks, seafood, and usually some poultry, but there wasn’t anything overly exciting. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t NOT recommend it, either.

Magnolias

We haven’t been back to this one, but that’s only because we’ve been trying other places. I would go again. Small and intimate, but comfortable, and the food was delicious. Classic, upscale Charleston food. Fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, seafood, and grits are some of the common foods found here. Also located in downtown Charleston.

Husk

I wanted to love Husk. Consistently one of the top restaurants in the Southeast, this restaurant was one I particularly looked forward to. And it *was tasty and enjoyable. We even met the chef at the time, Sean Brock. But it just didn’t live up to the hype, for whatever reason. However, they did have this amazing butter that they served with bread. I’d give the restaurant another chance. Husk is also in downtown Charleston.

Charleston Grill

This is the only place on my list that I didn’t particularly enjoy. On paper, it looked good. And don’t get me wrong, it WAS nice. Too nice. We felt very uncomfortable. Maybe that was because we had an early reservation, so the wait staff was devoting more time to us, maybe that’s just the atmosphere for the restaurant, but it just wasn’t enjoyable. It felt awkward. If I’m spending a lot of money on dinner, I want to feel comfortable, you know? We just felt out of place. One of the many restaurants on King Street.

Fleet Landing

This restaurant is a favorite out of the ones that we’ve tried. It’s situated on the water in downtown Charleston, and it’s a popular seafood restaurant. Fantastic food, nice water views, and it’s not overly expensive. It’s casual, and I don’t suggest you try to get a table without a reservation. We’ve been there a couple of times, and the wait without a reservation was 2+ hours. Pro-tip: don’t plan on parking at the restaurant. The parking lot has one way in and out, and it’s tiny. Leave time to walk from the parking garage.

Halls Chophouse

This restaurant ruined me for steaks at most restaurants. It also set the bar ridiculously high for exceptional service at restaurants. This place was AMAZING. After eating there, I understood the concept of paying for the experience. And you *will pay. It was almost $200 for the two of us, but it was worth it. In fact, it was so worth it that we returned with the two kids for a birthday dinner at the beginning of this year. And it was still wonderful. Steaks, steaks, and more steaks, although you can order a few other things. The wait staff knows what you need or want before you do. Plates disappear, food reappears, drinks are refilled… like magic. It has a prime King Street location.

The Obstinate Daughter

This is another restaurant that I’m sure we’ll return to at some point. It’s located on Sullivan’s Island, which is a much different setting than downtown Charleston. It’s a beautiful restaurant that fits perfectly with a coastal town. The food was lovely, the service was excellent, and it wasn’t crazy expensive.

82 Queen

This was our anniversary dinner for 2019. Beautiful, charming place. It looks exactly like you’d expect a grand southern house to look inside. Scrumptious food, excellent service. This restaurant is the epitome of lowcountry cuisine. As the name suggests, it’s on Queen Street, one of the popular downtown streets.

Le Farfalle

I wasn’t sure about this one when the oldest kid picked it for her 21st birthday dinner, because I’m not a huge Italian food fan, but it was a very pleasant surprise. The restaurant felt very open, which was a nice change from some of the more crowded places. Marvelous service, flavorful food. It’s in downtown Charleston, but in a slightly quieter area.

In case you couldn’t tell, there’s a theme with my favorite restaurants. Good food. Good service. A comfortable atmosphere that makes me enjoy myself and the food. Make me feel welcome. I look forward to trying more of the popular restaurants, although my bank account says it will take a while, lol.


It Has Been a Week

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always crazy. It seems more so than usual this year. Scheduling for the younger child’s senior year. Yes, senior. Let me just say that I’m in awe of the classes offered in high school. I know there is no end to the jokes that can be made about … Continue reading It Has Been...

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always crazy. It seems more so than usual this year.

Scheduling for the younger child’s senior year. Yes, senior. Let me just say that I’m in awe of the classes offered in high school. I know there is no end to the jokes that can be made about South Carolina education, but my kids have had SO many opportunities here that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. I would have been thrilled if I had the opportunity to take so many AP classes, or electives like dance and photography.

Closing on the house has been delayed by a month. Which was not unexpected. I would have been more surprised if we had gotten into the house before Christmas, as the builder first said. And honestly, we haven’t even gotten beyond picking a paint color for the downstairs, lol. The house does have walls, cabinets, doors, and trim now. And the outside is done.

Last week was recital week, aka Hell Week. Dress rehearsals, 3 performances. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t even the one dancing. If you didn’t know, high school dance recitals are so much more enjoyable than with younger kids. That’s not a criticism of younger kids. They’re just not all that good. They’ll get there, though.

I had a huge online shopping fail, lol. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Target. I *thought* I used the right address (my own!). However, the last time I ordered from Target, it was baby stuff for my nephew, and I had it shipped directly there. You can see where this is going, right? Yes, I realized two days later that my Target order was on its way to Indiana. And not in just one delivery. No, it was 4-5 separate shipments. BTW, it would be really, really nice if Target allowed for changes to the delivery address when it’s still in the “processing/preparing” stage. I’m pretty sure that I spent more to get those shipped back here than I saved with the 20% off coupon code, lol.

Today was the crowning achievement. Doug, the giant orange tabby, was due for vaccines. While making his appointment, I realized that FiFi, the little one, didn’t get one of the vaccines at her checkup, so I asked if I could bring her in, too. I didn’t think that one through. Two cat carriers, one of which is actually a dog-size carrier to accommodate Doug’s long legs. Three flights of steps down to the car. Then into the vet. Then home and back up the stairs. It wasn’t pretty, lol. I won’t do that again.

For your viewing pleasure, this is what happens each time Doug comes home from the vet. He doesn’t go outside, except to our screened balcony occasionally. But each time we come back from the vet, he wants to go out the front door again. Oh, and Doug can’t meow. He’s perfectly healthy. He just eeks instead of meowing. I think he’s secretly a cheetah.

Sad Doug
Why Doug is like a Cheetah


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