Is it a sex blog? A mommy blog? A bitch & moan blog? Um, . . . yeah. This is my place to be totally honest. In my real life, I feel like I'm always lying to somebody about something. Here, I am totally honest. Brutally so. However, no matter what bad things I say about my kids, I adore them and would never ever really, say, sell them on Ebay. The husband, often referred to as Spousehole, is another story. Oh yeah - if you are under 18 (or if you are my husband), please leave now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So Bunny, are you ever going to tell us about your trip to Charleston?

Okay, since you asked . . .

Flights down there were uneventful and on-time. Just the way I like it. Plus there was this bird at the airport that was apparently quite pissed about traveling with his human. The bird was in a carrier that fits under the seat and as the human carried it through the ginormous terminal in Detroit, the bird just bitched and bitched and bitched. It was kind of entertaining, so long as I wasn't on the same flight as the bird and his human.

Spousehole met me at baggage claim and I was actually pretty glad to see him. He hugged and kissed me like he may have actually missed me. So far as I know there was no one he knows at the airport for him to try to impress. He took me to lunch at an Irish bar kind of near his office that was really good, except it was a bit smoky. A couple of his co-workers were supposed to meet us there, but didn't show up until we were done eating. I guess they thought it would take a lot longer for him to get me and my checked baggage from the airport. Anyway, at least I got to meet them, although I was all rumpled from traveling and being up since 3:00 a.m. and with no make-up on. I'm sure they were very impressed.

We did some touristy things for a couple days. Saw the Hunley, which is something I really wanted to see (plus it's right by Spousehole's office, yet he still hadn't been there). I loved the movie about the Hunley on TNT a few years back and the documentary about its recovery that I saw. It was super cool to see it and artifacts recovered from it. They had the models used in the movie that were made from the estimates of the Hunley's size after it was found but before it was recovered. The models were tiny - you can hardly believe 8 people fit in there. Spousehole is over 6' tall and so was at least one of the Hunley's sailors. Spousehole looked HUGE fitting through the model hatches and in the body of the model sub. Then we learned that the estimates used for the movie subs were actually a bit off and the real Hunley was EVEN SMALLER. The claustrophobic in me shudders at the very thought of it. Seeing the sub itself was beyond cool. I love how they've opened up the lab where the Hunley is being preserved so people can see it as the preservation process unfolds. The sub itself is in a 90,000 gallon water tank to preserve it. Scientists lower the water level to expose the area they are working on for a given day, then fill it back up at the end of the work day. Too flipping cool. The engineering in the sub is so futuristic for its time.

We also took a ferry out to Fort Sumter, where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. That was really cool for me, since I have spent so much time in two other forts from an earlier era (Fort Mackinac and Fort Michilimackinaw - pre-Revoluntionary War forts). It was cool to compare the advances in fort building and weaponry with the forts with which I'm more familiar. I'm such a history geek. When we get settled there, I'm going to hit a bunch more Civil War battle sites.

We went to the Market downtown and browsed the stalls after having overpriced food and ice cream. We drove around and just looked at stuff, getting a feel for the area.

Getting a feel for the greater Charleston area is difficult, because it's so hit-or-miss. I realize it is a very old city and so "urban planning" was not on the agenda for 200-300 years, but seriously, the planning folks over the last 75 years or so have not earned their keep. Holy crap. Strip mall after strip mall after strip mall. Crappy neighborhood, high-end neighborhood, crappy neighborhood, crappy neighborhood, industrial crap, mid-range neighborhood, crappy neighborhood and so on. You'll find a cul-de-sac or two of nice houses, surrounded by shacks you wouldn't let your worst enemy's dog live in. I realize that sounds awful, but it's the truth. I can't imagine spending $350,000 for a house and having to worry about the crack house and meth lab a block away. The strip mall thing is really bad there too. A good city/township planner will try to limit the number of strip malls and restrict their placement, signage, greenery etc. The area is set up like the planners were taking cash from the strip mall developers. It really looks like there was no master plan in place in any of the cities and townships that make up the greater Charleston area. And certainly no cooperative planning amongst communities that share major roadways. Maybe I should apply to be an urban planner when we move down there. I could certainly do a better job than whoever is doing it now (if anyone).

Don't get me wrong - it's a beautiful area overall. But the proliferation of strip malls and lack of planning really detract from what could be a truly fabulous place.

I got to see a lot of the area looking for possible places to live. Unfortunately, Spousehole and I seem to have a bit of miscommunication on the housing front. I guess I figured since he was living there and claims to be so bored outside work hours without his family to spend time with that he was checking out cities and neighborhoods and school districts - potential places to live. I figured that he would have things narrowed down a bit when I got there. He apparently thought I was taking care of all that from MICHIGAN, where I have so very much free time on my hands, despite trying to fix up/maintain our house to sell it, feeding/clothing/entertaining/wrangling our children, and so on.

On the plus side, I did get laid and it was better than it has been in years. Still not earth-shattering or anything, but quite nice nonetheless. The fact that one his housemates, in the room right next to his, stays up until all hours of the night put a bit of a crimp in things. After all, it's one thing to have sex when the guy in the next room is fast asleep, but quite another when you know he's wide awake and listening (and he was totally the type of guy who would be listening). We spent one night at a hotel just to be assured of some privacy. And to be in a place that doesn't reek of stale cat pee and cigarette smoke. The house in which Spousehole is renting a room is probably ok for a guy, but you could pay me to live there. No one smoked when Spousehole moved in, but one guy moved out in June to go back to school at the Citadel. The guy who replaced him smokes and does so inside the house. It's been so long since I even knew anyone who allowed smoking in their home (my dad and sister both smoke but wouldn't even consider doing so in their houses, same with the few friends I have that smoke) that it was a bit of a shock for me. The stench was so nasty that I didn't want to spend one more second there than necessary (that cat pee smell is old and won't go away until the owner tears out the carpet and treats the concrete slab underneath). Yuck, yuck, yuck. And the cat litter box was right next to the kitchen table. Who wants to eat next to a litter box? OMG. It was a dark, smelly little house decorated with (framed) horror movie posters. I think mine was the first estrogen in that house in many, many months. Not the first boobs, however, since the smoking housemate has man-boobs that put my little C cups to shame. (Owner-housemate had nice pierced nipples though, so that made up for the horror of the man-boobs on the other dude.)

The potential residences we checked out ranged from "Wow, I'd love this if it weren't in such a crappy school district or so bleeping expensive" to "OMFG honey, don't even slow the car down. I wouldn't live here on a bet." (The last one came from SPOUSEHOLE, when I was driving. Yeah, the neighborhood was THAT bad.)

Someone answer me this, please: Why are houses in the South generally built without basements? I can understand if you are in an area with a high water table that make a basement impractical. But inland, what's up with that? It was the same where I lived in N.C. as a kid. Our house had a basement, but it was custom-built and was the only house for several blocks in any direction that had one. That city was in north central N.C., near the Va border. No where near the ocean. But still, no basements. Is it just that builders are too cheap to dig basements? I don't get it.

Also, why do people in Charleston just cross the street where ever they damn please and expect traffic to stop for them? I don't mean in the crowded downtown area, I mean out in the outer areas on very busy roads. People would just meander across the streets, not even at an intersection, taking their time about it and expecting 50 mph traffic to just stop for them. I wanted to just run them down, but I guess that wouldn't have been polite and the South is all about polite. Though how is it polite to cross the road not at an intersection and when traffic isn't clear? Hmm?

I'm going to have a tough time with the polite thing when I move down there. I mean I know HOW to be polite and I generally am polite, but I can see there will be times when I just lose it and start bitching people out. I can only take so much. I guess the trick is learning to be polite without being a total doormat. It will be a steep learning curve for me.

To blog is a self-invasion of privacy


Old Knudsen said...

Fort Sumter the place where that war monger Lincoln started the war, for one who didn't want the slaves freed he sure grew famous for it.

No basements due to hurricanes I guess as they would flood and besides the heat and humidity would grow mold.

ATLLG said...

Where to start....hmmm.. strip malls... $$$$ for someone... then crap within 10 years... no planning gotta make the money and then move out FARTHER with it....crappy housing... more common in "coastal" areas..but still no F'ing real planning ...again gotta make my money now ...remember I AM A TRUE SOUTHERNER... walking across the street ANY PLACE... that is why I still drive a BIG ASS and Now Beat Up Pick Up .... they usually don't get anywhere near me.... Polite? yeah whatever... deep South.. sure... ATL Hell most of ATL is a bunch of transplants... that's why nobody knows how to drive and everything is all build it and they (more) will come.... can't answer the basement thing... history I suppose ever see any plantations with basements? Uhhh nope. Just build it BIGGER.

Trueself said...

About the smoking thing, that is something that down there in tobacco country is just standard. They are going to smoke, and they are going to smoke wherever they want whenever they want. That's probably the biggest thing that would prevent me from moving there. I can't stand the cigarette smoke. It's bad enough here and was damned near impossible to get used to after having spent so many years in the non-smoking section of the country (California).

Desmond Jones said...

It is slowly coming home to me that you're soon to be moving more than an hour's drive from me. . . :'(

Just don't forget the Frozen North, OK?

And just for the sake of being all anal - 'cuz that's the kind of guy I am - I don't think Fort Mackinac (the one on the island) is quite 'pre-Revolutionary'. 1790s, maybe; of course, it was 'in-play' during the War of 1812. . .

And the humidity/mold thing makes as much sense to me as anything else re the no-basements thing. . .

Bunny said...

Fort Mackinac as we know it was built by the British in the Revolutionary War to control shipping in the straits. Fort Michilimackinac was built by the French in 1763 and has flown the French, British, and American flags over the years. Before the revolutionary war an outpost was established on Mackinac Island in the 1770s and it was built up and reinforced by the British eventually becoming Fort Mackinac during the war.

sandy shoes said...

The no-basement thing is about humidity/mold, and also possibly to deter pests. I know termites eat wood not concrete, but it could be about preventing paths of entry? They have different pest problems in southern climes...

Sounds like Spousehole's housemates are pest problems, themselves. Ugh.

Yeah, sprawl is so freakin' ugly, and cities and towns all over the country have just let it happen. Frustrating.

Glad you had smooth travels. And got laid! Hm. I remember what that's like. I think.

The Troll said...

I warned you about the bad-hood right next to good-hood thing in Charleston proper. Buy in Folly Beach. Different there. Newer. Some sense of a plan.

Desmond Jones said...

OK, Bunny. . . You win. . . ;)

(*waving hands in surrender*)

No mas. . . no mas. . .

Gringo said...

hmmm, basements...well you have to ask yourself what basements are for in the first place. Originally, all the plumbing needed to be so deep underground b/c of the winter freezing temperatures and yet homeowners still needed access to the plumbing, so big ass holes were built underneath houses. Down in the promised land, er South, we don't have those kinds of freezing temps so its unnecessary to bury the pipes so deeply and its much cheaper to build on a slab or pier/beam than to build a basement.
Ok, I'm taking my tool belt off now!

Glad to hear about you getting laid! Have been following your blog for a few months now, enjoy reading it.

The Troll said...

Gringo gave the best answer on the basement question. But it's not just plumbing. Yankee houses (even those without basements) have to have foundations that are under the Frost line or else they will contract in very cold weather.

Go visit a Michigan Construction Site for a Commercial building that doesn't have a basement and you'll see what I mean. The foundation will be darned near as deep as a basement anyway. Or should be.

The Troll said...

Here be an example where it's actually part of the building code. As you can see, in Minnesota builders HAVE TO go down 5 feet. Michigan might be less.

Building codes
Building codes sometimes take frost depth into account because of frost heaving which can damage buildings by moving its foundation. Foundations are normally built below the frost depth for this reason.

There are many ways to predict frost depth including n-Factors which relate air temperature to soil temperature.

[edit] Sample frost lines for various locations
Minnesota, USA (2007):
Northern counties: 5 feet (1.5 m)[2][3]
Southern counties: 3.5 feet (1.1 m)[2][3]

garbonzo said...

Well, at least you got laid...right? Sorry the rest of the trip sucked ass. Glad to have you back. you were missed.

Slick said...

Daaaang Bunny...I got tired just from reading about all the stuff ya'll did.

I would've died just submerging in that Hunley. Very interesting.... but I'm claustrophobic as hell!

Vixen said...

You were busy!!! Happy you god laid. Sorry your trip was filled with house hunting....that can go both ways. Be very fun and exciting or very depressing.


Polt said...

You like civil war battlefields? Stop by for a visit here, I'm a half hour from Gettysburg AND the Antietam battle field.


G-Man said...

Southern Belle Bunny?
Have a Great Week-End...G

aphron said...

First of all, I'm jealous of you getting to see all of that Civil War (or as us Southerners call it: War of Secession). That is very cool. Coming from Michigan, you WILL have culture shock. Charleston may be more cosmopolitan than others areas of the South, but it is still the South.

Just a word of advice: Southerners don't like someone from the North telling them how to do things. We don't care how you did it up north. Some areas are still a little prickly over the whole Reconstruction thing.

Overall, I think you'll like living there. Especially the winters. Yes, we can't drive in the snow.

Weekends Off said...

Hi Bunny! There are no/very few basements here in Texas too. I am still not used to that, growing up in Illinios where everyone had basements. I'm not sure of all the reasons, but I've been told they are too expensive to build out here because of the type of ground, I'm told it's a lot of sand. I don't know how true that is, but my boss told me and he knows everything LOL.

Sheen V said...

There weren't many basements in Indiana either when I lived there. I just couldn't bring myself to buy a house without one, so I moved to Philly (not just for that reason). Lots of basements around here. Hope things get better.

Anonymous said...

There has been a lot going on while I was away!

Project Christopher said...

Bunny Bunny Bunny.... I realize I'm not going to ever get you to love or appreciate Charleston the way I do, but I'm from there.
I have always found it easier, when you ask "Why do they...?", to just give in, realize you'll never know and move on.
1. No basements. Oddly enough many houses do, they're just built differently. I'm from the upstate and in my neighborhood 11 houses didn't have one and 6 did. No rhyme or reason.
2. crossing the street. Even in downtown areas in the south, walking is not the primary purpose. People use sidewalks when they're going from one store to the other. it's not like here in Chicago where I'm walking from my front door all the way to work (with a bus/train in the middle) Walking isn't primary so walking etiquette (or sanity) isn't ingrained in them. Plus, some of them are just plain dumb as fuck too..
3. The polite thing... don't be fooled missy... behind all that politeness 50% or more of it is rudeness... we just master making it sound pretty so we know how to tell you to go to hell and make you look forward to the trip! :)

I did love reading your adventures, it brought back memories! I got laid on Fort Sumter!