Last year was a year of big milestones. I turned 50 years old, and the husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage. But it was a rocky year, at best. We had big ideas of what we wanted to do to celebrate, but the BIG move derailed those ideas. By the time January rolled around, we were almost 100% that we were moving to SC. The idea of celebrating by camping (I mean, glamping) again, was a forgotten thought. We decided to spend the special weekend in Charleston. But I had some things I had wanted to do health-wise before this celebratory trip.
First on the list – say goodbye to my reading glasses. I was reluctant to get contacts that corrected your regular eye issues in one eye, and reading issues in the other eye and let your brain figure out which eye to use for each issue. But after 5 years of wearing readers, I was willing to give it a try. I paid for the much more expensive contacts after my annual eye exam and was ready to toss that plastic eyewear in the trash. After a week of wearing the new contacts, I called my eye doctor to say that I could still not see with just my contacts. A long pause from the poor tech who answered that call. Apparently around 20% of people still need readers with the bifocal contacts. I was in that lucky 20%. Go me!
Next, an ortho consult on my left foot. Surgery on the right foot made it so that I could bend my big toe 70 degrees, which meant I could run again. My left foot issues slowly progressed afterwards, and by the summer of 2023 , I could no longer walk barefoot without pain. I was giddy about this consult. I was finally going to be free of my feet issues. The consult was the morning of our anniversary trip to Charleston. The surgeon reviewed my X-rays and did an exam of my foot. The results were devastating. I was not a candidate for surgery for many reasons. And, the surgery I had on my right foot had been discontinued for lack of efficacy. So the dream of walking barefoot again was gone.
Then came the anniversary weekend trip. We knew by this point that we could not afford the Charleston housing market with 2 kids in college, but we decided to look into housing for what we could afford post-college. We had specific housing expectations – no heavy HOA places, at least half an acre of land, and good commutes for the husband’s new job. I was reluctantly willing to look at places.
We rented a VRBO house in downtown Charleston with a rooftop deck. I was excited to celebrate with my husband of 20 years on that rooftop deck. But that did not happen. We arrived in Charleston Friday night and had dinner at a burger place that did not disappoint. Next, we headed to a fancy downtown bar. It was busy, so I pushed forward to the bar to ask for drinks. I asked for a glass of white wine, but when the bartender brought me a glass of red, I decided it was too busy to complain and send back. Next, I struck up a conversation with the guy at the bar next to me. The Murdaugh murders saga was playing out in real time, and it was what everyone was talking about all over the world. But it all happened in the Low Country, so definitely a hot topic locally. The guy at the bar was convinced that Alex would never serve a day in jail, and neither would his financial co-conspirators. He bought me a drink, and I said we should agree to disagree. Shortly after that drink, the husband and I headed home to check out that rooftop deck. About a block from home, I dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes. Totally unconscious. I woke up the next morning as if I had been sedated for a surgical procedure. The husband had tried to wake me up and when he couldn’t, dragged me to the rental. It took some texting with a local friend the next morning to figure out what had happened. And unbeknownst to us, there are two downtown bars known for drugging people’s drinks. We were at one of those bars. The bartenders are in on it. Happens to males and females of all ages. What the actual f–ck. When I shared the story with my daughter, she was dumbfounded that I would accept a drink from someone else, or not send back a drink that I did not order. Big no nos in the bar scene these days. I would say lesson learned, but no need because I will never set foot in a bar at night ever again.
There was little time to process the experience from the night before because we were scheduled to spend Saturday morning with a local realtor. I put a baseball cap on to cover the giant egg forming on my forehead where I hit my head when collapsing and tried to be optimistic about the super expensive housing market. I am not sure if the realtor just forgot what we were interested in, or just decided to show us where most doctors live, but he drove us to mostly houses on Daniel Island, where he casually mentioned we did not have to join the country club, but we would be a social “pariah” if we didn’t. I literally threw up a little in my mouth when he said that. So, we visited house after house, in heavy HOA neighborhoods, with the realtor and the husband asking over and over if I thought I could learn to live in one of these places. I wanted to cry. I hated them all but tried to be good sport.
We did have a nice dinner that night, but the mood was off because the whole weekend was not going the way we wanted. I didn’t want to move, and this trip cemented that fact in many ways. I was hopeful that we would finally get to check out that rooftop deck after dinner, but as if on cue, it started raining as soon as we decided to check it out.
The one positive of the trip was getting brunch Sunday morning with a good friend from undergrad and her husband. She was (and still is) my go-to person for all things Low Country. They offered to show us some areas where there were houses that were actually what we might be interested in, which helped make the whole idea of moving less terrible.
I am determined that year 51 of life and year 21 of marriage will play out very differently than year 50 and 20. My hope is that we revisit the original idea for our 20th wedding anniversary – get another camper, just for us and the pups, and start camping again. We loved our pop up camper and have so many fun camping memories. By the time we sold it so that we had a spot in the driveway for the new teenager car, it had stickers from all the places we had visited covering almost every space on the back end.
We survived the big move, our marriage is in the best place it has been in a while, and we deserve to have something to look forward to doing together on the weekends, especially the weeks we are living apart. Fingers crossed we are exploring the Low Country in 2024!