Monday, September 19, 2011

Ann and Donna's Excellent Adventure.....

It's been a while since I've written, but grass hasn't been growing beneath my feet!  Ann arrived late on Wednesday the 7th and we hit the ground running.  Since she arrived late at night, I thought a nice walk on the beach and lunch at the Westin might be an easy way to start her stay.  It was a perfect day for a long walk, and lunch gave us lots of time to sit and catch up.  We had enough energy to stop at one of the Tanger outlets on the way home and browse around a little.

I had suggested going to Charleston, which appealed to Ann, so we got on the computer and found the visitor's center and made hotel reservations.  Once things were finalized, we realized they were beside each other!  So, the next morning, we plugged in the Tom Tom and off we go.  The drive up was leisurely and we found our hotel (Hampton Inn) to be well situated.  After checking in, we headed to King Street for lunch and found a wonderful Thai restaurant, Basil.  We ate outside and had a great waitress......she was so good that we asked her where we should have dinner.  We then went to the visitor's center and took a tour of "the peninsula", which contains many of the big, old homes.  After the tour, we took off on foot to cover much of it again.  It was a nice afternoon all the way around......and Charleston is such a pretty city.

For dinner, we took our waitress' advice and went to Pane E Vino, a charming little Italian place.  It was such a nice evening that everyone was dining outside.  One end of the patio had greenery with lights.  The other end had weathered fencing decorated with sheer drapes tied together and decorative ornaments hanging between them - simple but very creative.  Again, we had a pleasant waiter, who provided our laugh for the evening.  We had a glass of wine with dinner...and a few refills.  On one refill he told Ann that he had "heard about those European women!"  At another passing he asked how we were doing.  When we affirmed that "we're fine", he said, "I'll  bet you are!"  We had to laugh!!  As Ann said, "He obviously didn't know who he was dealing with!"

On Saturday we checked out some of the shops on King Street before heading home.  I really did enjoy seeing Charleston again.  I always think Savannah has some nice old homes, but nothing compared to Charleston.  And everything from the hotel to the restaurants worked out perfectly, with very little planning. 

Our only detour was to see if we could find the Charleston Tea Plantation, which we did with no problem thanks to Tom Tom.  It's a small operation but is the only tea plantation in North America.  They have a short video tour, a driving tour around the plantation, and a gift shop.  It didn't take long and was interesting to see, but it made us late for the wine tasting at my local shop.  We walked in at about 5:05 (which surprised me because I thought they closed at 5PM.  They actually stay open on Saturday until 7PM.  The wine tasting ends at 5.), just as he was putting the wine back in the cooler.  Being the gracious guy (and good businessman) that he is, they assured us it would be no problem for us to have a taste of the offerings for that day. So, from the selection, we chose our libation for the evening.  It was then home and a glass of wine out on the patio.

On Sunday I'd already committed to a 9/11 Memorial Concert with Elaine and had gotten a ticket for Ann.  We were to pick Elaine up in her parking lot and were there in ample time.  We waited a few minutes, but no Elaine, which was not like her.  We waited a bit more and then I went to the gate to ask the guard if she might have left a pass for us, thinking she misunderstood our plan and expected me to pick her up at home.  No pass. He called her home three times and her cell twice - no answer.  Finally, I told him we were going to the concert and asked him to let her know if she came home or called.  At that point, I was expecting to see her standing outside waiting for us.....hoping she was waiting for us because she had my ticket!  Again, no Elaine.  By this time I knew something is wrong and told Ann that on our way home we'd stop by the gate again and let them know that if they couldn't call her, they should go to her house to see that all is well.  Finally, in the middle of the concert, I see Elaine come in and sit down.  After it's over (and people stream out four doors) we finally hook up.  As it turns out, she was shopping in the morning and suddenly had a sharp pain in her eye.  She had been in the emergency room all afternoon, until arriving at the concert.  After getting the scoop of the story, the three of us headed to the Boathouse for dinner.  Again, it was a perfect evening to sit outside, catch up and enjoy the evening. After a somewhat harrowing day for Elaine, a good time was had by all.

On Monday, Ann's last full day, we did a bit more shopping before heading to Palmetto Bluff for lunch.  It's such a scenic little spot on the May River and a tranquil place to walk around.  We asked in the Inn about walking paths, of which there are many.  They provided us with a map of trails, which really didn't seem to coincide with anything we could find.  But, we got on a path and walked as much as we wanted.  It was very nice and something I'll pursue on my next visit there.

It was so good to see Ann and catch up in person.  As always, we had lots of laughs, good memories to recount and news to share since our last meeting.  I'll be happy if she enjoyed it even half as much as I did.  One of the nice things was that it was very impromptu, but things could not have worked better if we'd spent months planning it. 

While she was here, my mother was not well with either a bug of some kind or something she had eaten that didn't settle well with her.  By the time Ann left, my mother was feeling better, but upset that her cats were not well (which they aren't - one has an arthritic spine and the other has Irritable Bowel Disease).  So, the second day after Ann departed, off I went to NC again.  I think she is slowly realizing that things are becoming unmanageable for her.....and everything seems overwhelming. We did have a good (rational, unemotional, civil) talk about it on the phone. She said she couldn't "just walk away", and I said that sometimes you did have to walk away.........and that it isn't as bad as it could be, she can come live with me.  If I live to be her age, my only option will be "the home"!  It has to be difficult for her to accept, but I hope she can come to terms with it.....and find something good left in life.  She's agreed to come back with my when I go up again in two weeks for our family reunion.  So, I'm going to try to enjoy these next two weeks of peace, quiet and solitude - Inshallah!