Now, I realize that these are far and away not the highest quality photos I have ever taken. The battery on my Canon is going dead and it is on the list of important random things we have yet to find in boxes. (Also on that list is the turntable for the microwave. All our kitchen boxes have been opened....can't wait to see where that thing ended up.) But seriously, how awesomely pissed is that cat?
So lets talk Charleston, shall we? Nick and I get into town late on the 14th. We have a room reserved at a Sheraton in the northern part of town. Now, while the northern part of Charleston is not generally regarded as a "garden spot," the hotel we are staying at is near the fairly new outlet mall and the airport. So it is one of the nicer pet friendly hotels we have stayed at. We check in, find the closest entrance, park the car and start to unload the overnight items and the pets. As I am scurrying to the door with our dog, Bennet, I am approached by this guy that looks like Jeff Daniels circa "Dumb and Dumber.
"Jeff Daniels": "What kinda dawg is that?"As I hustle through the door I realize he is following me to the elevator. I walk faster hoping against all odds that I could make it to the elevator fast enough that I can call the car and hop in before he can join me. No such luck. As he slips in with me his kids, a pudgy blond boy with glasses and a frizzy haired girl wearing a belly baring tye-dyed tee, join us. They are holding take-out bags. Bennet is sitting at attention in his non judgemental dog-like way hoping someone will notice him and give him a scrap.
Me: "It's a Welsh Corgi."
"Jeff Daniels": "Ah've neever seen a dawg laihk that beefore. Wee've got our dawg heere too. Hee's a peet buul. Man, hee's only seven months old and hee's aready fiftee pounds."
Me: "Wow, umm, have a good night!"
"Jeff Daniels": "Hee's smellin' yer dienner. Eef that were our dawg wee'd just hafta let 'em go tuh town"I suddenly have images of snots the dog from "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" having my little dog for a snack. Thankfully, I got off on the 4th floor and they stayed in the elevator for a longer ride. My first thought was, "Well, shit. We're back."
I will admit, despite a good showing by the local color on the first day, I was still happy to finally be here and get in our apartment. In fact, after we finished with our apartment paperwork and got our keys one of the leasing agents said, "Welcome Home," which is a tactic I am sure is in every playbook for leasing agents everywhere, but I still caught a very small lump in my throat. Under normal circumstances that lump would have been a little bit of vomit, but this time I had been without a place of my own for 3 1/2 months. So I feel the Oprah moment was deserved. And, in case you are wondering, our new place is a 2 bedroomed, lots of cabinets and counter space, tons of closets, kick-ass screened in patio, thing of glory! Of course that also means we have to readjust to living in suburban Charleston. For example, our home in Seattle was two blocks off the main drag in West Seattle. Shopping, coffee shops, bars......well here: See that picture? That is Nick cleaning off mystery spots on our couch. We had no idea they were there until we got our couch back from storage. What are they? I don't know, but I have a few ideas. We will just say some stuff went down in that wonderful little 1 bedroom in Seattle. (And Crystal, in case you are reading, you should know it all went down on our furniture, rugs, and easily cleaned linoleum.) That stuff went down because we were the people with the city apartment and therefore frequently had had overnight guests after we stumbled home. Those days are gone. Nick and I did a timed coffee run yesterday. HALF AN HOUR!!!!!!! It took us half an hour to reach the nearest Starbucks, not even get out of the car but do the drive though, and get home.
To also be filed under readjustment is learning how to get anywhere. Yesterday we went out an bought a Charleston Road map so we could study it. I realize this seems silly but you wouldn't think so if it was you who spent the last 3 days making a turn on a road you thought was the correct state highway but wasn't. To add to this confusion Charleston apparently likes to honor their dead by naming streets after them but then ran out of streets so they just started renaming portions of streets. This has lead to us shaking our fists screaming "WTF, Charleston?" on more than one occasion. For example, hwy 61 is also Ashely Rivers Rd. Off that is Paul Cantrell Blvd which turns into Glen McConnell Pkwy. Intersecting with Paul Cantrell is Tobias Gadson Rd which turns into Orleans St......I think. This is all from memory. And the best part? These streets are all in our part of town, which is fairly underdeveloped, which leads me to believe all these names happened after the rest of the country discovered the ease of use of the grid and numbers system. Thanks, Chucktown!
While on the mention of underdeveloped. There is also a startling lack of highway lights in our neck of the woods resulting in the mini cooper doing a little off-roading last night. A good portion of suburban Charleston commerce is built off a system state highways and frontage roads. So the ability to make a good u-turn in this town is a must. Last night we were trying to hit a grocery store and Nick takes a wrong turn. The speed limit is like 55 mph so all the locals are going like 70 mph. So the combination of the speed and zero lights on the road means we miss the first two turn around points and turn too late for the third putting us squarely in the grass. Which, I guess is still a step up from the first time we got lost in Seattle and Nick ended up driving over a corner of sidewalk.
All those annoyances aside I am really optimistic. We found a great locally owned coffee shop (dirty chai is my new favorite drink), a lounge that looks like it fell out of downtown Seattle (it serves truffled tater tots), and a liquor store with a GREAT selection of imported and micro brews near by.....well a 15 minute drive, but that is our new "nearby." Now all we need to do is find a good bakery (I have high hopes for this place we have been passing called "Rococo") and we will be in business!