Part personal, part political, part observation. I'm not quite a bleeding heart liberal, but I won't hesitate to call people out if deserved.
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To say that I have an… eclectic playlist would be an understatement. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of rap or heavy metal (it’s me, not them), but most other genres are represented on my playlist. I only recently discovered that having an Amazon Prime account allows me to have Amazon Music, and I appreciate … Continue reading What's on...
To say that I have an… eclectic playlist would be an understatement. Admittedly, I’m not a big fan of rap or heavy metal (it’s me, not them), but most other genres are represented on my playlist. I only recently discovered that having an Amazon Prime account allows me to have Amazon Music, and I appreciate not having to pay $1.29 per song. BTW, scrolling through my iTunes list and realizing just how much that adds up to is kind of horrifying, lol.
Some of my most-often played songs, in no particular order.
One of the things I really love about this area is the huge number of great restaurants here. Charleston has made a name for itself with food. Most of the best restaurants are in Charleston proper, but there are some that have wandered out of the main tourist area. We’ve made a habit of trying … Continue reading My Neverending Quest for...
One of the things I really love about this area is the huge number of great restaurants here. Charleston has made a name for itself with food. Most of the best restaurants are in Charleston proper, but there are some that have wandered out of the main tourist area. We’ve made a habit of trying out new ones on birthdays and anniversaries, and we’re not even close to progressing farther down the list. Since Restaurant Week is approaching, these are the notable restaurants to which we’ve been. With these restaurants, it’s not just about the food. It’s about the whole experience.
This was one of the first restaurants we tried for a special occasion. I think it was an anniversary dinner. Honestly, it’s been a while (we’ve lived here 7 years!), so you’ll have to forgive me not remembering what we actually ordered. However, it was great food and drinks, and it was a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. It’s located on Johns Island, which at the time, was a quiet area away from the bustle of Charleston, but it’s not nearly that quiet anymore.
This restaurant is in downtown Charleston (where a good percentage of the restaurants are, King Street), and while it was perfectly acceptable, it wasn’t particularly memorable. They serve steaks, seafood, and usually some poultry, but there wasn’t anything overly exciting. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t NOT recommend it, either.
We haven’t been back to this one, but that’s only because we’ve been trying other places. I would go again. Small and intimate, but comfortable, and the food was delicious. Classic, upscale Charleston food. Fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, seafood, and grits are some of the common foods found here. Also located in downtown Charleston.
I wanted to love Husk. Consistently one of the top restaurants in the Southeast, this restaurant was one I particularly looked forward to. And it *was tasty and enjoyable. We even met the chef at the time, Sean Brock. But it just didn’t live up to the hype, for whatever reason. However, they did have this amazing butter that they served with bread. I’d give the restaurant another chance. Husk is also in downtown Charleston.
This is the only place on my list that I didn’t particularly enjoy. On paper, it looked good. And don’t get me wrong, it WAS nice. Too nice. We felt very uncomfortable. Maybe that was because we had an early reservation, so the wait staff was devoting more time to us, maybe that’s just the atmosphere for the restaurant, but it just wasn’t enjoyable. It felt awkward. If I’m spending a lot of money on dinner, I want to feel comfortable, you know? We just felt out of place. One of the many restaurants on King Street.
This restaurant is a favorite out of the ones that we’ve tried. It’s situated on the water in downtown Charleston, and it’s a popular seafood restaurant. Fantastic food, nice water views, and it’s not overly expensive. It’s casual, and I don’t suggest you try to get a table without a reservation. We’ve been there a couple of times, and the wait without a reservation was 2+ hours. Pro-tip: don’t plan on parking at the restaurant. The parking lot has one way in and out, and it’s tiny. Leave time to walk from the parking garage.
This restaurant ruined me for steaks at most restaurants. It also set the bar ridiculously high for exceptional service at restaurants. This place was AMAZING. After eating there, I understood the concept of paying for the experience. And you *will pay. It was almost $200 for the two of us, but it was worth it. In fact, it was so worth it that we returned with the two kids for a birthday dinner at the beginning of this year. And it was still wonderful. Steaks, steaks, and more steaks, although you can order a few other things. The wait staff knows what you need or want before you do. Plates disappear, food reappears, drinks are refilled… like magic. It has a prime King Street location.
This is another restaurant that I’m sure we’ll return to at some point. It’s located on Sullivan’s Island, which is a much different setting than downtown Charleston. It’s a beautiful restaurant that fits perfectly with a coastal town. The food was lovely, the service was excellent, and it wasn’t crazy expensive.
This was our anniversary dinner for 2019. Beautiful, charming place. It looks exactly like you’d expect a grand southern house to look inside. Scrumptious food, excellent service. This restaurant is the epitome of lowcountry cuisine. As the name suggests, it’s on Queen Street, one of the popular downtown streets.
I wasn’t sure about this one when the oldest kid picked it for her 21st birthday dinner, because I’m not a huge Italian food fan, but it was a very pleasant surprise. The restaurant felt very open, which was a nice change from some of the more crowded places. Marvelous service, flavorful food. It’s in downtown Charleston, but in a slightly quieter area.
In case you couldn’t tell, there’s a theme with my favorite restaurants. Good food. Good service. A comfortable atmosphere that makes me enjoy myself and the food. Make me feel welcome. I look forward to trying more of the popular restaurants, although my bank account says it will take a while, lol.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always crazy. It seems more so than usual this year. Scheduling for the younger child’s senior year. Yes, senior. Let me just say that I’m in awe of the classes offered in high school. I know there is no end to the jokes that can be made about … Continue reading It Has Been...
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always crazy. It seems more so than usual this year.
Scheduling for the younger child’s senior year. Yes, senior. Let me just say that I’m in awe of the classes offered in high school. I know there is no end to the jokes that can be made about South Carolina education, but my kids have had SO many opportunities here that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. I would have been thrilled if I had the opportunity to take so many AP classes, or electives like dance and photography.
Closing on the house has been delayed by a month. Which was not unexpected. I would have been more surprised if we had gotten into the house before Christmas, as the builder first said. And honestly, we haven’t even gotten beyond picking a paint color for the downstairs, lol. The house does have walls, cabinets, doors, and trim now. And the outside is done.
Last week was recital week, aka Hell Week. Dress rehearsals, 3 performances. I was exhausted, and I wasn’t even the one dancing. If you didn’t know, high school dance recitals are so much more enjoyable than with younger kids. That’s not a criticism of younger kids. They’re just not all that good. They’ll get there, though.
I had a huge online shopping fail, lol. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Target. I *thought* I used the right address (my own!). However, the last time I ordered from Target, it was baby stuff for my nephew, and I had it shipped directly there. You can see where this is going, right? Yes, I realized two days later that my Target order was on its way to Indiana. And not in just one delivery. No, it was 4-5 separate shipments. BTW, it would be really, really nice if Target allowed for changes to the delivery address when it’s still in the “processing/preparing” stage. I’m pretty sure that I spent more to get those shipped back here than I saved with the 20% off coupon code, lol.
Today was the crowning achievement. Doug, the giant orange tabby, was due for vaccines. While making his appointment, I realized that FiFi, the little one, didn’t get one of the vaccines at her checkup, so I asked if I could bring her in, too. I didn’t think that one through. Two cat carriers, one of which is actually a dog-size carrier to accommodate Doug’s long legs. Three flights of steps down to the car. Then into the vet. Then home and back up the stairs. It wasn’t pretty, lol. I won’t do that again.
For your viewing pleasure, this is what happens each time Doug comes home from the vet. He doesn’t go outside, except to our screened balcony occasionally. But each time we come back from the vet, he wants to go out the front door again. Oh, and Doug can’t meow. He’s perfectly healthy. He just eeks instead of meowing. I think he’s secretly a cheetah.
If you know anything about me, you know that I believe that every person is entitled to access to decent healthcare. Period. No one should die from lack of healthcare. No one should have to choose between paying their electric bill and getting a prescription filled. Period. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’ll move … Continue reading So Many Things Wrong with Our Healthcare System…...
If you know anything about me, you know that I believe that every person is entitled to access to decent healthcare. Period. No one should die from lack of healthcare. No one should have to choose between paying their electric bill and getting a prescription filled. Period. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I’ll move on to some specific issues.
First up… insurance companies. It starts with in-network and out-of-network doctors, and it ends with trying to get out of covering things that are needed. With most insurance, a person pays less out of pocket if they see an in-network provider. Which is all well and fine if you have time to determine whether a doctor or lab is in-network. Not so fine if you have a medical emergency. Most people can’t pause in the middle of a heart attack to ask if the ER doctor is a network provider.
Since insurance companies are for-profit companies, they’re trying to spend as little as possible on medical care. Which is why, even though the Affordable Care Act forced insurance companies to cover certain preventive care things, they’ve found ways to still pawn some of those costs off on patients. For example, the ACA mandated that mammograms be fully covered for women. And in all fairness, my yearly mammogram has been covered. However, my yearly mammogram leads to a diagnostic mammogram for closer views and an ultrasound (Yay for dense breasts!). Those are NOT fully covered. I believe my portion of those was about $350 this year.
Which brings me to the next issue. That $350 that I was charged could have been $150 with a different provider. Same tests. Same technology. Why? And it’s not as if most women are going to switch providers between the original mammogram and the more detailed testing, seeing someone new who may not know their full history, or waiting longer to get in as a new patient. “Oh yes, I’m worried that I may have breast cancer, but I need to shop around for a more reasonable price.” No, we go for the quickest path to get answers, even though it may cost more, and that’s a perfectly normal reaction. It’s even more pronounced with more expensive procedures. My first colonoscopy at one of the hospitals here was billed to my insurance in the amount of $8,000. Then my doctor left the area, so I switched to another one, affiliated with an endoscopy center, rather than doing the procedure at a hospital. My insurance was billed about $2,000 total. Same procedure. Even the same medications used. Same quality of care. And yes, I realize that a hospital has a much higher overhead than an endoscopy center, but I don’t think that justified $6,000 more.
My final gripe today is about hospital billing. Hospitals don’t believe in itemized statements. They also don’t believe in waiting for payment. We had an ER visit a few months ago. Literally, we had not even gotten settled into an exam room, when a lady from admissions followed us right in to shake us down for money. She didn’t show us any of her calculations. She didn’t even know what the diagnosis or the result would be. She just tapped around on her laptop, and then said, “That’ll be $280.” I still don’t know how she came up with that number, because I’m pretty sure our ER copay is higher than that. But wait, there’s more! So the ER visit was in early September, I think? It’s now the second half of November. A couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call, saying that if we didn’t pay the balance ($44) immediately, it would go to a collection agency. We didn’t get a statement in the mail. Not one. As it turned out, the hospital emailed the statements. Which went into a spam folder. Neither of us authorized paperless statements. When we finally got to the emailed statement, it said something to the effect of, “We billed your insurance $X. They paid $Y. You owe $Z. Didn’t mention the services provided. Didn’t mention the ultrasound. Didn’t mention the crutches. Just, “Pay this.” And since we’re closing on a house next month, and we don’t want anything messing up our credit, we paid it.
I once said that I think the purpose of insurance and hospitals is just to get you to give up out of frustration and pay them whatever they want. Looks like I was right.
We are a two-cat-pet-family. Yes, that’s a made-up word. Doug and FiFi. We did not name them. They came with names, and they seemed to fit. Both are rescues from animal shelters. Doug is 3 years old, and is usually the most gentle orange tabby you’ll ever see. FiFi is about a year and a … Continue reading I Thought We Adopted Cats. How Did We End Up...
We are a two-cat-pet-family. Yes, that’s a made-up word. Doug and FiFi. We did not name them. They came with names, and they seemed to fit. Both are rescues from animal shelters. Doug is 3 years old, and is usually the most gentle orange tabby you’ll ever see. FiFi is about a year and a half old, and she’s a mixture of tabby and tortoiseshell. We got Doug when he was just over a year old, and we got FiFi as a tiny kitten.
Two cats are better than one, right? They entertain each other, they learn social skills and how to play, and they don’t cause as much trouble for the humans. Ha! That’s what they want you to think. That’s not what actually happens, lol.
I’ve been a little hesitant to share something going on behind the scenes, because I’m still having a little trouble believing that it’s actually happening. We’re under contract to build a house. We’re going to be homeowners again. There are two reasons I didn’t think this would happen – 1) we will have two mortgages, … Continue reading Something as Simple as...
I’ve been a little hesitant to share something going on behind the scenes, because I’m still having a little trouble believing that it’s actually happening. We’re under contract to build a house. We’re going to be homeowners again. There are two reasons I didn’t think this would happen – 1) we will have two mortgages, and 2) I always thought that building a house was something that was out of reach. Buying a previously inhabited house? Sure. But I’ve always viewed building a house as something more exclusive, out of my reach.
Why? A few reasons for that, actually. I didn’t think we could afford it. I have a hard time spending large sums of money. As it is, I can’t think too hard about the selling price of the house, even though, when we did the math, the mortgage payment will be only a little more than our monthly rent. I didn’t expect to spend this much on a house. When we bought our first house, I cringed at that amount, and that was considerably less than the new one.
I grew up poor. Not officially, but we were the definition of the working poor. I didn’t really get it then, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my parents did a pretty good job of making sure we kids didn’t know it. In retrospect, I can see it. We lived in a mobile home. We had cars that were driven until they died. If we went out for dinner, that was a big treat. It’s a credit to my parents that they never really told me, “No, we can’t afford it.” Granted, I didn’t generally ask for something crazy expensive, but they made sure that I could go on field trips, to the movies, etc.
The mobile home part is important. Or trailer. Or manufactured home, if you feel like dressing it up a little. Whatever you want to call it, it looked a lot like this.
I remember that it was 14′ x 70′. That’s 980 square feet. For four people. Three small bedrooms, two even smaller bathrooms, a living room, and a kitchen. That’s not much space. And I swore I would never live in one again after I moved out. That’s not me being judgmental. That’s me being terrified in so many severe thunderstorms, in a home that had no real attachment to the ground. We lived in Kentucky, which is not actually in Tornado Alley, but the state averages 21 tornadoes per year. Now that I look at that map, my current state averages even more, but that’ll be something I’ll have to sort out later, lol.
Anyway, I have so many memories of being ushered out to the car to get out of there before a storm hit. We usually went to a relative’s house (like actual house with a foundation) or to the local church’s basement to wait it out. There were a few times we had to ride out the storm. If you’ve never felt your home shake, be glad. I’d do just about anything to avoid living in a mobile home again.
So the idea of being able to buy a house and actually SEE that foundation being poured, and see the progress as the house is built, it’s very meaningful to me. It may not mean much to others, but to me, it’s a feeling of gratitude. And the idea that I can pick the cabinets, countertops, and floors? That I can live in a brand new house, with the expectation that things won’t begin immediately malfunctioning? That’s icing on the cake.
It’s not just a house to me.
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