The Charleston Trip, Part 1: Photos From Up High

It’s taken me awhile, but I’m finally going to blog my photos from my trip to Charleston, South Carolina for my friend’s wedding.  Well, not *ALL* of the photos just yet.  There are over a thousand of them after all.  1,004 to be exact.  (The "over 1,100" number from a previous post and includes some blurry shots and some videos I took.)  I’ll post the photos in batches in chronological order with a narrative accounting of the events.

Let’s start with the flight down.  The day before my flight out, the weathermen were talking about a big snowstorm that was to hit us that night and into the next morning (when my fight was).   They were predicting 2-4 inches of snow.  "Great", I thought. "Let’s add bad road conditions and icy plane wings to my takeoff fears."  To be safe, my wife set the alarm for 3:45am.  (My flight was scheduled for 6am.)

We were spending the night at my in-laws’ house since that was where my wife and kids were going to stay over Halloween.  NHL woke up one time during the night and, though sleepy, was surprised to see me come to his bed.  "Daddy?  Why are you still here?" he asked.  I explained that I hadn’t left yet, gave him a kiss, and helped him get back to sleep.

I woke up at 3:45am, tossed on some clothes and got ready to leave.  I had already packed the previous day, so I was ready to go very quickly.  In addition, that predicted 2-4 inches of snow didn’t materialize.  Yes, snow fell from the sky, but nothing stuck.  Not even a dusting.  I tossed my suitcase and backpack (containing snacks, a book, flight/wedding information, and my camera) into my father-in-law’s car, and we were off.

At 4:30am, I arrived at the airport.  I thanked my father-in-law and headed in.  Checking my bags went smoothly.  So did airport security.  By 5am, I was sitting by my terminal waiting for my flight to board.  Reading (Lord of the Rings) helped pass the time and soon we were boarded and in the air.

The flight was pretty uneventful except for a missed photo opportunity.  We were above the clouds and I saw the sun rising in the sky.  There was a beautiful sunrise popping over the fluffy white clouds.  It would have made a beautiful photo.  Except I was on the other side of the plane and would have had to lean over a perfect stranger to take the photo.  Call me crazy, but I felt just too awkward saying "Hey, that’s a great sunrise out there.  Mind if I lean over your lap to snap a few photos?" to him.

My connecting flight brought some drama.  I got off my first flight and saw the gate immediately.  I had an hour to kill, so I decided to wander the airport a bit.  Lucky I did that since I saw on the arrivals/departures board that my flight had changed gates.  Then it got delayed.  And delayed again.  (Mechanical troubles.  How fun!)  Finally, we boarded a "mere" 55 minutes after we were supposed to.

I didn’t have a window seat, but the window seat next to me was untaken so I claimed it as my own.  Once we were in the air, I snapped some pics. 


 We landed with no problems other than a bonked head while standing up.  (Mental note:  Remember to watch out for the overhead luggage bins when standing!)

On the downside, the flight delay meant that I didn’t get to see the property that G & L purchased in South Carolina (that they are turning into a vineyard and Italian community).  On the plus side, I did get to wander the grounds where I was staying alone and take many, many, MANY photos.  But that will have to wait for another post.

Homeless Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Vote?

While in Charleston, the talk amongst the other groomsmen, groom and myself turned political.  Knowing that the other three were McCain supporters (I was the only Obama supporter of the four of us) and that we were deep in "McCain-country", I mostly kept quiet.  I wasn’t going to turn my friend’s wedding into a big political argument.  (It wouldn’t have swayed anyone’s opinions anyway.)  Someone did say something that I objected to, though.

M said that the homeless shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  I disagreed on that point.  It just felt wrong to me, though I didn’t have a good argument prepared as for why.  Now I do.  It’s all too easy to become homeless.  The ongoing subprime mortgage fiasco is pushing many out of their houses.  Some of these people might wind up on the streets.  Should we add insult to injury and take away their right to vote when the bank forecloses on their house?  What about people with medical conditions that leave them broke?  What about people who lose their job and can’t afford their house/apartment while they fruitlessly search for a new job?

Tying a person’s right to vote to any particular test (shy of being a felon – and I’ve even heard good arguments against this) seems like it is only a way to prevent certain groups from voting.

Sick NHL, Bad Reactions, and Pee (This post not for the faint of tummy)

I’m back from my trip to Charleston, South Carolina.  Everything went well there.  My friend is now married and I have over 1,100 photos of the time I spent there.  More on that later.

On Sunday, NHL woke up and was acting odd.  He didn’t want to eat breakfast and asked to go back to sleep.  Not on the couch watching TV, mind you.  He wanted to go back to bed.  (Sign #1 that something is wrong, a nap with no TV is *ASKED FOR*!!!)  After about an hour’s nap, he woke up and went to Hebrew School.

When we picked him up, he seemed tired.  We went to the grocery story to pick up some food.  He and JSL sat in a car cart next to each other.  NHL complained that he was hungry.  Fair enough, it was lunchtime.  So we tried to get him some food but he kept going between hungry and not hungry.  Finally, we got him some pretzel crisps and went through the aisles quickly.  At the dairy aisle, the second to last aisle we needed to go in, he suddenly gagged and hurled all over himself, the cart and the floor.

Now here is where my bad reaction comes into play.  Ever since NHL has been little, I seem to have this reaction when he vomits.  I instinctively try to catch it to contain the mess.  It never works, always gets me messy, yet the reaction persists.  It’s not a conscious decision either.  It just seems to be something that I do as a split-second reaction to my son vomiting.  I don’t know why I do it

So there I am standing with vomit dripping down my hands in the dairy aisle.  My wife took JSL to get someone to help clean up the mess.  (Luckily, NHL turned away from JSL when he performed the Technicolored Yawn, so JSL was spared the mess.)

When she came back, I cleaned us up the best I could and took NHL to the restroom.  He complained on the way that he was going to hurl again, so we hurried.  Once in the bathroom, though, he tummy must have settled a bit because he didn’t need to.  However, the restroom was equiped with a hot air hand dryer (a "blower" in NHL-speak) and not paper towels.  So I grabbed handfuls of toilet paper, wet them, and tried to use it to clean up the vomit on NHL’s clothes (as well as the specks of toilet paper that started ripping off and sticking to his clothes).  It wasn’t a great job, but it was good enough for the moment.

Back we went to B to find that they had taken the cart away to be hosed off.  They were coming with a new cart and a mop.  Meanwhile, B was guarding the "spill zone" with JSL while watching our groceries.  I took JSL and NHL and headed to the car.  (Along the way, I saw an employee heading back to my wife with another car cart.  He saw me taking the boys away and said he’d get her a regular cart.)  At the car, NHL was clearly distressed.  He wanted to go home *now*.  I calmed him down the best I could until B got back.  Then we headed home.

At home, we saw that NHL was spiking a fever.  Motrin went in and NHL went to nap for a bit.  His fever seemed to pass, but he still wasn’t hungry for dinner.  A juice box and half of a apple juice popsicle was all he had the rest of the day.  Luckily, this morning, his fever appeared to be gone and he actually requested breakfast.  Hopefully, he’s on the mend.

My Gross Day wasn’t over though.  JSL had needed a tub, and a dinner of buttered noodles didn’t help.  Just before his tub, he decided to poop.  I couldn’t change his diaper *AND* clean/fill the tub at the same time, so B agreed to change his diaper.  Unfortunately, she didn’t wait until I was ready and soon a naked JSL was wandering about the house while I waited for the "clean the tub" water to go down the drain.

As the tub drained, B told JSL: "Out of the living room.  I don’t want you peeing on the carpet.  Go to Daddy."  Can you guess what comes next?   I suddenly felt wet on my leg.  I saw that the water was way to low for me to have accidentally splashed myself and I saw JSL turning and walking away.  Yes, JSL did as Mommy asked and went to Daddy to pee.  (Ok, it might not have been what Mommy meant, but apparently JSL is very literal.)

So yesterday I was puked on by one kid and peed on by the other.  I guess that’s the payback I get for being out of town for 3.5 days.

Newlywed Advice

As this post goes live, my friend of 20+ years (G) is getting married to his fiance (possibly by now, his wife).  G and I have been through a lot over the years.  He’s the friend with whom I opened a short lived computer repair service.  Back in High School, when I was getting mercilessly teased, he was my only sounding board to express my frustrations.  When he saw the toll it was taking on me, he risked his own social standing in the school by talking to the bullies (with whom he was friendly) asking them to lay off.  They did and I’m sure it helped preserve my sanity.  We went to the same colleges and even worked in the same company for some time (though in different departments).

If you asked me back in college, I would have placed money on him being the one who would have gotten married first solely on the fact that I was so clueless about dating and G seemed so calm about such things.  I was lucky, though, to meet B.  She made things that previously reduced me to a twitching pile of nerves into a walk in the park.  (Get your minds out of the gutter.  I’m talking about simple things like asking her out, having a dinner with her, and stuff like that.)  G met L after B and I were married.

G has been a great sounding board and advice giver through the years, and I wish him luck in his marriage.  G, if you’re reading this, remember that any time you need marriage advice, just give me a call or e-mail.  And when/if you two have children (as I’m sure your parents will begin asking from the minute you say "I do"), feel free to call/e-mail B and I with questions.  Having two kids gives you some insight into these things (at the very least, it gives you knowledge of where online to look for answers ).

To start you out, here’s some unsolicited advice:

Know when you keep your mouth shut.

You’re sure to have arguments.  All couples do.  I actually think that any couple who doesn’t have any arguments at all has something seriously wrong with their relationship.  Some arguments are bound to become heated.  But know when to stop talking and just walk away.  Yes, talking is important in a relationship, but so is knowing when to stop and cool off before more is said.

Know when and how to compromise.

A marriage is all about compromise.  Two people cannot coexist without finding some middle ground.  You’ll find yourself doing some things that your spouse wants to do that you (by yourself) wouldn’t do.  Meanwhile, your spouse will find herself doing things that she normally wouldn’t do if you weren’t involved.   Finding that middle ground will be easy in some cases and more difficult in others.  Sometimes you will give in 100%, sometimes she will, sometimes it will be 50-50.  The important thing isn’t who compromises more (no keeping score!), but that you both compromise.

Find some "you" time, Find some "us" time.

Many things will go on in your life.  You’ll need to work on your house, pay bills, work, etc.  It will be really easy to go about every day as if you were just two people sharing a habitat.  Make sure you take time out every so often to have "us" time.  Go out to dinner, see a movie, whatever you both enjoy.  As long as you are doing it together (hey, minds out of the gutter!), it counts.

By the same measure, make sure you don’t lose yourself in the relationship also.  The perfect marriage (IMO) is one where both people merge into one unit, yet keep their individuality.  So you might want to have a poker night with your friends.  Meanwhile, she can have girls nights out.

And a warning about your future.  When you have kids, it’ll be harder to schedule "us" and "you" time.  That’s natural (and you might not get any "us/you" time for the first few months),.  Just make sure you keep doing it, even if it is at a reduced frequency.

What advice would you give to a newlywed couple?

Up, up, and away!

Look, up in the sky.

It’s a bird.

It’s a plane.

It’s…. No, not Super Kid.  It’s just a plane.  And I’m on it.  No, I’m not typing this from 30,000 feet.  I’m actually sitting on my couch at home as I type this.  But thanks to WordPress giving me the ability to schedule posts, I’ll be high in the sky when you read this.  I’ll be offline for a few days, as I head to my friend’s wedding, so I’ve scheduled a couple of posts.  I’ll be taking lots of photos and hopefully will be able to share a few when I get back.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to survive offline for four days straight.

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