Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Adventures with Fig & Toots

It was so wonderful to see my younger sister, Vanessa. She drove down, once again from Indiana.. this time with her roomie/good friend - Sarah. My sweet sister has managed to come visit me here in SC more than anyone else.. 3 times, including her drive down this past December. Obviously it's a tad closer for her than all of my other friends and family, but it was nice to be visited, as we are often the visitors. Our plan for her time here was to hit the beach and relax as much as possible. They made the now familiar drive from Indie in under 11 hours (with stops, etc.) and we relaxed and shopped before heading to Charleston for the weekend. Of course my life is never lacking in department of "are you kidding me right now??", so I really did my best to get things in order before the trip, to avoid any unnecessary ugh-moments.

Last time I saw Ness was in February for MUSE with my Mom and Lanae!
Rockin' Romeo, desperate for a haircut!
Romeo has been desperate for a haircut. Justin and I have (of course) been putting it off with the idea that we were saving money. And for the record, Justin and I HAVE tried cutting his hair ourselves, and it was a far from successful task. Why in the world is a dog's haircut the same price as a human haircut? Just a thought. His hair was truly getting shabby to the point where he had literally begun to grow mini, puppy dreadlocks. We have tried to keep him pretty groomed & brushed, and the tangles often come out when we give him a bath. But whew, it was nappy.. and it was time. I finally caved and made the appointment at Petsmart with his favorite lady, Jude, who happens to look just like a current version of Kathleen Turner. We arrived at Petsmart, for Jude to give bad news: Romeo had to be shaved. What?! I thought I'd collapse crying. Aside from a buzz, the haircut was miraculously $20.00 more (Typical.). How is it more expensive to shave a dog, versus a time-consuming cut? I don't get it. Thank goodness my sister was there for comfort.. We had a "girl's day" running errands and shopping.. Of course, we had to make a stop in Dollar Tree to see what we could find, and we all nearly pee'd our pants (a common near-occurrence with my sisters & mom) while we were browsing. Over the loud speaker, a fumbly woman clicks on and slurs, "Biff to the front.. Biff to the front.." At that second, Vanessa, Sarah and I all went, "PAHHHH!!!!!!" Not sure if it was the fact she was calling for "Biff" or if it was the slurrish way she did it. Oh my gosh, I had to pretend we were laughing at something else, before embarassing ourselves.. Biff can't help his name! Romeo's hair turned out not so bad.. We call it his "summer cut". To be honest, I doubt we will go back to Petsmart for grooming. Sorry, Jude. Can anyone suggest a good groomer?

We had to drop lil Romeo off at our friend's place that night for the weekend, since we were getting up early to leave for the beach. I had to book the hotel, which was stressful and exhausting (what task of mine isn't??). I booked through, which I will most likely never do again. Since Justin and I were going with V and Sarah (better known as Fig & Toots), we decided to save a little $, and split a room with 2 queen beds. Apparently it is IMPOSSIBLE to reserve a hotel room, guaranteed with 2 queens in it. Some guy swindled me into purchasing the room via phone, as a phonecall would secure a for-sure-guarantee on a room with 2 queen beds. Liar. Once I booked it, I called the hotel, to make sure everything was set, and nothing was guaranteed. In fact, the guy who picked up the phone was kindof a weenie audit man, telling me we would be lucky to get 2 queen beds, since they were super-booked. Can't anything just go smooth? No. never. I made phone calls back and forth to the hotel and people, in which were basically screwed. The only chance of actually getting a room with 2 queens, would be to get to the hotel the second we could check-in (3pm).. which was dead in the middle of our beachtime. Augh. Of course, the girls found a fabulous hotel - the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina for $99 for Sunday night (regularly $299-499).. and of course there were some issues getting checked in, but it all worked out.. as it always somehow does.

Saturday morning, we packed everything up the next morning and left an hour later than we wanted to. We drove to the beach, laughed our butts off while playing travel Taboo and coming up with funny ideas for Vanessa and Sarah's new blog based on their nicknames Fig & Toots. We rocked out to Dead Man's Bones, Surfer Blood, MUSE, Santigold, Jack Johnson and Elvis, and rolled into Folly Beach around 1pm. We decided to grab some Subway and take it to the beach before having to turn around and rush to our hotel.. All this in hopes that Chris, the midnight-audit-man, wrote the special note he promise to give to the morning manager, and we wouldn't have to push some innocent souls out of their room so we could have the decent night sleep we fought all night for. As we were waiting in line for our subs, I began digging in my bag for my wallet. Whattyaknow? No wallet. No wallet, meant no hotel confirmation. No wallet meant no ID. No debit. Nothing. I kept calm, right? Hmm. Luckily my calm-under-control husband didn't fail to forget his wallet, so it was OK. But no ID and no hotel info? After all that I went through, begging for the 2 queen beds?! All I wanted was a smooth, problem-free weekend with my sister. No "did that just happen" moments, no issues. I guess all these crappy details make for great stories, and add some "spice".

Regarding extra spice, I'll take it. But I MUST quote my nail lady, Tina, in one of the most bizarre things she has said to me in a while: "You marrie? I marrie! You got kee thing spice up! You need to keep in tout wit all you ex-boyfriiiend! They add spie to you steak! Spie kee tings intestiiing!" ..Thanks Tina, I'm perfectly happy with my husband's spice.. Thanks for the tip though!

In order to make my next move with my missing ID and the need to check in, I had to go through the process of calling the hotel, calling and switching the reservation under Justin's name, so he could check us in. I finally straightened everything out, in time for us to slam into some disgusting traffic just 1 mile outside of the coast. WHY???? We sat in traffic, legs out windows for a halfway decent tan, eating our soggy subs for neearly 2 hours, but continued to enjoy some more music.
Sarah getting on her "Traffic Tan"

Once we made it to the beach, we huffed through roads and roads of traffic for a parking spot, 'til we finally found one. We came all this way, we couldn't just go to the hotel now.. we had to lay on the beach for just a little while. So, we haul all of our towels, blankets, mini-cooler, magazines, cameras, beachbags, tanning oil.. everything. We layed on the sand for a while, before getting sick of the wind, literally had us covered with sand within seconds of sitting on the blanket. Not so much the ideal beach trip, so far.

Our blanket after about 5 minutes.
Despite it being the windiest, sandiest and probably most uncomfortable beach trips ever, it was really nice to get away with Justin and remember where we were married just a year and a half ago. I love him so much.

Isn't he cute?
We finally packed up and headed for the hotel. Check-in was surprising simple, almost had me paranoid that something still had to go wrong.. but it didn't. Well.. it did, but nothing major. I didn't realize until we started showering and changing for dinner, but I left my favorite belt at home (which I planned to wear that night), and Justin and I completely forgot our toothbrushes at home. Duh. The hotel should have some, right? Nope. We decided not to worry about it until on our way back from downtown. We cleaned up and decided to do some shopping in Charleston and look for a good seafood restaurant. We headed over to the Charleston Crab House - which happened to be the first seafood restaurant Justin and I ate at during our first trip to Charleston together, right after I first moved. We have eaten there a few times, and the food is fab.

Fig and Toots
Loving the Rooftop!

This time, we were able to be seated on the rooftop, which was simply wonderful as the sun was setting and we treated the girls to some fruity drinks to celebrate their little vacation from lives/jobs as nurses. Dinner was yummm. We spent forever in Black Market Minerals, which Vaness & Sarah hit the motherload of beads! The rest of the night, we walked around downtown before heading back to the hotel.

"I want them ALL!"
Took this picture right as a ghost tour walked past.. Their faces were priceless.
We finally makde it back to the hotel parking lot, before realizing we forgot to stop and find toothbrushes. The girls went up to the room, while Justin and I ventured back out to track down these simple necessities. Of course no one had any. No gas stations.. No pharmacies in sight.. Nothing. Finally at the last shabby gas station we checked, I waitied in the car listening to reggae radio station and Justin marched out, proud with toothbrushes and we got the flip outta there. Later, he told me that he saw some really wierd things in that gas long chunks of hair scattered on the floor and a hybrid crab-shrimp looking animal on the floor by the checkout counter. What country is this!? Who knows what would have happened if I had gone in there with him..

Sunday morning we checked out our of our 2-queen bed room, thankyouverymuch. The beds were SleepNumber, too.. which was good/bad for those of us who didn't really find our "correct number", ended up waking up somewhat stiff. We headed back to Folly, after the girls picked up some boogie boards. It was overcast, gloomy and extremely windy. No trouble with traffic and the beach was nice and quiet. We parked it on our blanket/sheet for about 2 minutes before being covered in sand just like the day before. I could NOT recall a time where it was so windy and miserable.

Ohh what a day!



No tan today!
Calling it a day.
We decided to pack up and as walked past some beach bums, they laughed at us, saying we "gave up easily". I just gave them a shifty look and said, "Hey dudes, we'll be back!" The girls wanted to look around the Folly shops, and grab lunch, hoping for better weather. We ate at Rita's - same burger place we went to on our 1st Anniversary - and prayed for better service than we had last time. The food was SO good, we had to go back. Finally the sun came out, and our waitress came to our table. No.. Oh nooo. It was her. Tania. The whispering, awful, disappearing, waitress that doesn't wait on you. On our anniversary, she left halfway through and never came back. We had to flag down a bartender to pay. Kindof ridiculous. This time, we relaxed and ordered.. enjoyed the sun and hoped she was having a better day. Nope. She's really that bad. We waited patiently, befor tracking down some other waiter for refills and the bill, etc. We decided that if we EVER go back to Rita's we will request to be moved out of her awful section. Good luck if you get stuck in there!
Amazing food! Horrible service.
Finally headed back to the beach for some real beach weather, and we layed down the blanket once again. Same windy problems, but we continued to just fight it. Eventually, Justin and I went up to the pier for a while to read. was was nice and sandy-free. The girls heard from some lady that the other side of the pier was somehow noticeably less windy, so they decided to move everything. When we went down to the new spot, we saw people laughing and playing, living it up, and enjoying the beach the way it should be enjoyed. How were we in beach-hell for the last several hours and never imagined it would be a world of a difference on just the other side?? It was literally like out of a movie. We all got nice and burned and joked about Adventures with Fig & Toots. Late afternoon, we packed up and headed to our next hotel (the girls booked) for our next adventure. Once we pulled in, it was pretty much amazing. A four-star resort, marina, with it's own beach. We laughed that the resort entrance was covered in construction, just for Justin and my luck. If we hadn't been there, it would have been flourishing with rare plumerias and flamingos and imported palm trees. Whatever.

After the girls checked in, we trooped up to our room, with all of our luggage, covered in tanning oil. Within seconds of being in our room, the girls inform us that the front desk checked us into a dirty room. BAH! Did that just happen? Yes. Oh yes. Justin and I stood there in the hallway, with a half-ripping brown bag, suitcases, beachbags, and our bodies covered in oil and sand while the girls went back down to find a new room. Meanwhile, Justin was desperate for a bathroom, so I was left to man the luggage and touristy bags and swimsuit attire. I wanted to shrink and die right there in that luxy hotel hall. Some houskeeping guy walked by and asked if I was OK. I told him we were put in a dirty room and my sister was sorting it out. He asked if I wanted to sit in a room while I was waiting, and all I could think was 'that would be great and all, sir, since I am dying to use a bathroom myself, I'm covered in oil and I would love to sit on something other than the hallway floor with this halfway-ripping garbage bag, but I should probably wait for everyone else... They would never find me, let alone in a dirty hotel room that hasn't been cleaned yet.' I seriously felt like flippin' John Candy in Summer Rental. Instead, I just looked at the man and said, "No..thanks." Finally Justin came back with a key, saying he found the girls, and were upgraded to a room with better view. The sweetest words I'd heard all day.

[Just so you know how comical my luck is, as I have been typing this extensive post, Romeo has managed to throw up, my laptop battery has died twice and I have broken a nail. Now I type this whilst listening to Justin and Romeo snoring in a soft sync. I will literally JUST LAUGH to myself and continue on..]

We hauled all of the luggage to to the floor where Justin said we should be, but then he hesitated which room the girls said to go to. Great. We made a guess, and luckily.. oh so luckily it was the one. A nice, 2-queen bedroom overlooking the pool and beach and downtown Charleston.

View from our room
(Other view from our room)

Ready for more Charleston!
We showered, aloe'd up, and got ready for downtown Charleston take 2. We hit the Market again, where we found some better deals than the night before.. Justin bought me some really cute Turquoise earrings, which I love and can't wait to wear. I helped Sarah bargain with my asian lady friend for some designer earrings, in which she took us to the side of her van for the transaction and mumbled the whole thing.. Gosh. I miss New York. We walked along King Street, had delish pizza for dinner and some fun trivia at Mellow Mushroom, and headed back to Market for dessert and coffee at Kaminski's. Oh what a wonderful night.

Charming King Street

We're not lost (though he looks like it)

Dinner @ Mellow Mushroom, Trivia for Team Fig & Toots!
Back at the hotel, the girls went for the hottub, and Justin and I enjoyed watching some "Buried Alive" show on TLC where people were the most insane hording, packrats we had ever seen.. Like, literally burying themselves alive in their own crap. It was unreal. We enjoyed some delicious Oliver wine, Vanessa brought all the way from Indie and went to bed.

Monday morning, Vanessa had a phone interview with Mayo Clinic (THEE Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN) - a job she interned with a while back and a job that she was given last year. The job fell through thanks to the crummy economy and she was royally crushed. She was given another chance with this phone interview, which just so happened to take place this very Monday. Justin, Sarah and I scurried out to get breakfast and came back to wait down at the resort beach. When Vanessa finished, she hollered from the balcony, giving us a 'thumbs up'.. What an exciting moment. She came down to celebrate for a minute, before finding that Sarah, too, had also been hired at Mayo, and they had both been given their original jobs back. How exciting for both of them!! We quickly checked out and headed back to Folly for one last day at the beach. We celebrated with early pina coladas and Justin and I had a nice walk on the beach. Lunch at The Drop In (another one of Justin and my favorite spots from our Anniversary). While there, I received a the call from my client's forgetting I was off work for 2 weeks. Apparently she had been waiting in my clinic's waiting room for about 45 minutes before calling me.. Felt bad, but there was nothing I could do (post).

Exhausted and covered in sun, we headed back home. We rocked out to old music from the 90's and High School days..."I Could Never Be Your Woman" by WhiteTown, "I Wanna Know" by Joe, a little Enrique, Nelly, some Ace of Base, Dr. Dre and the list went on.

Jr. High/High School Memories!

Romeo was so excited to see us when we picked the little dude up! We devoured some homemade crunchwraps and watched The Office and Vanessa and I looked at our Mom's Mother's Day present that's been in the works for some time now (wink-wink)!

Bring on the crunchwraps, baby!
The next day it rained so we did some more shopping, and I searched high and low for a dang dress for Tiffany's wedding. No luck. The girls had luck though, so that was good. They left the next day after a gigantic lunch and a billion hugs. It was a great trip overall.. So many laughs, so many pictures, so much sun. So many ridiculous moments that only happen because you're with me. Sorry, sister.. That's how it goes. I'll miss you 'til next time..
[See photos from the whole trip!]


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