So about a month ago, Matt surprised me by announcing that we were taking a kid-free vacation this year that did not include a ranch rodeo, trailer, or cattle. We called up our travel friends and arranged a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina, because we’ve never been there, we heard it’s humid, and Southern Living is my favorite magazine. About a month ago, all was calm in the Bellah household. Harvest was done, cattle were gaining, kids were healthy, and we were ready for a little break and a last hurrah before New Baby Time. Trip = booked.
Then, as has been a pattern in this season of hard for us, all hell broke loose. A less tactful person would say we’ve been braving quite the shit storm lately, but everyone knows how classy I am, so let’s just call it a poop storm. Things that I’m not going to whine about on a blog have happened, worries that are not fakeprobs have surfaced, and basically, we’ve been under all kinds of attack. After seriously considering canceling the trip to Charleston, we decided it might be better to leave our burdens at home and get away for a few days of rest.
The Plan: My mom would drive up seven hours to come keep the kids, we would fly from Amarillo to Charleston with our friends, have a great time sleeping all night in a nice hotel and eating fancy meals without sippy cups and bibs, and come back with a refreshed outlook on life.
Reality: Trevor came down with Cough-Induced Projectile-Vomiting Disease four days before the trip, I failed the glucose test for gestational diabetes two days before the trip, Matt was diagnosed with Type A flu one day prior to departure, and as of two hours before go-time, we weren’t sure we were headed anywhere except the pharmacy.
The morning we flew out, Matt directed the packing of his suitcase from bed in a Tamiflu and Nyquil-induced stupor. Our reasoning was that it would be better to feel bad on vacation than to feel better in a day or two at home and wish we’d gone. We packed our liquids in quart-size freezer bags, left Trevor feeling much better and Claire prancing around the house with Grammy, and I drove us to the airport, Fluboy in tow.
Matt did his absolute best not to spread flu-germs on two different airplanes, but sorry, people. At least it wasn’t Ebola. We made it to South Carolina on time and ready to party. Party = eat seafood and go to bed, we’re all parents of toddlers here. And honestly, our hotel was so so great, the food was delicious, and Kim and Jered, our ex-neighbors from city life and some of our best friends, are just super. The week leading up to the trip was rough on them, too. Kim had a stomach bug the weekend before, and Jered, a State Trooper, came down with an even worse bug while attending professional development classes in Austin, where he literally left the class repeatedly to puke in the public restroom, then returned to his seat so he would get full credit. Everyone was feeling a little green upon arrival in Charleston, so we just planned to take it easy.
If you’re under stress and need some time away, go to Charleston! Rent a car, visit the plantations, go on a Ghost Walk at night, take a carriage ride, do some shopping, watch for dolphins in the harbor. The touristy scene is not that touristy in the Holy City! No crowds, good food, easy to navigate, beautiful streets, lots of great American history and architecture and landscaping.
Just a normal Charleston street scene.
Kim and Jered using their new umbrella at Middleton Place plantation, where we held a domesticated miniature pig on a leash, enjoyed subfreezing temps, and admired the greenery.
Date night at Circa 1886 Restaurant in the Wentworth Mansion. I feel like the food was good but I was too nauseated to eat it.
Carriage ride between restaurants during our Progressive Dinner. Matt, pictured here with a Crazy Eye in perhaps my favorite photo from the trip, was feeling better by our last night in town. Note: Beer is not allowed on the carriages.
Brunch at a top-rated restaurant, Husk, where we required translation of the [English] menu and which we were too uncultured to fully appreciate. Waitress = not amused. Jered may have asked a few too many questions about the free-range nature of the quail and the specific diet of the chickens before ordering pancakes. Also, pretend like this is my house.
The most interesting men in the world. Ansonborough Inn parlor.
I just like this photo of us, so you can look at it, too.
Other things we learned about Charleston:
- The CVS Minute-Clinic is fast and easy. They treat 8-month pregnant women with possible flu and/or stomach bugs in under thirty minutes. There is a beautiful college campus to explore while you wait.
- It rains in Charleston in December, like, real cold rain, but CVS also sells umbrellas.
- Your 22-month old daughter will likely come down with the flu while you’re in Charleston, but it’s nothing her Grammy, some snuggles, and an entire counter full of children’s meds can’t handle.
- Flights out of Charleston could very well be canceled due to fog in DFW or snow in the Northeast, and you could end your trip in airport purgatory while battling the stomach bug and a lost suitcase* full of pumped breastmilk, but eventually, after a day or so, you will make it home and forget that part.
- *How an airline, ahem, Americantheworstairlineinexistence, loses CARRIED-ON LUGGAGE is beyond me. American Airlines can lose any luggage, any time, guaranteed. Even if you walked it on the plane yourself!
Somehow, we ended up having a really fun trip. Kim aptly summed it up when she said, “What a great trip! No one got sick, the weather was sunny and beautiful, the flights were on time…just what you want in a vacation.” Kim is known for her sarcasm. But honestly! It’s a testament to our quality of friends and the great destination that we truly did have a nice trip, despite the flu, stomach bug, inclement weather, and extended airport stay. You should try it sometime. Tell the doctor at the Minute-clinic we said hello. And if you’re experiencing your own poop storm this season: this too shall pass, I hear.