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Post Card: Charleston, SC

Charleston, SC has become known as one of America’s top tourist destinations as well as a Top destination in the world (sorry Nat). I fell in love with the town 30 years ago. Funny, now that we have moved here, we don’t do all the touristy things anymore. But with the help of Dylan’s cousin Nikki and her family, who came down to visit and see her climb stairs, we had an opportunity to be a tourist this wonderful Saturday afternoon and go for a walk downtown.

Historic Charleston is a peninsula, at least the downtown historic part is. It is bordered by the Cooper River to the north and the Ashley River to the south. Both rivers converge with the Atlantic in Charleston’s Harbor. The tip of the peninsula is called the Battery. Here is where cannons aimed at a Union fort in the harbor, Fort Sumter, fired on it, starting America’s 4 year Civil War. But that is only a smidgen of the history that has took place is this beautiful historic town.

Charleston was home to much of the South’s super wealthy plantation owners, and cotton tycoons in the 1700 and 1800’s. Charleston was often a mecca for these rich families to live or ‘summer in’ where they can meet and socialize with much of the other upper crust in this new nation. Accordingly, the Charleston peninsula, was described to me as “2000 mansions side by side” on my first trip to the Holy City, or Chucktown as it is called locally.

So without further commentary let me take you on a walk from the historic Charleston Battery up East Bay Street on a sunny summer afternoon.

First, the Battery has always been one of my favorite places to run.

the Battery is the home to my favorite running course(s)

the Battery is the home to my favorite running course(s)

White Point Gardens at the Battery

the Battery Gardens and another wedding

the Battery Gardens and another wedding

So let’s go out to the water and take a left up East Bay Street and take a look at some magnificent houses..

Let's take a walk up East Bay Street from the Battery

Let’s take a walk up East Bay Street from the Battery

Virtually all these houses have some historical significance. If you like history you would find this place very interesting..

A nice little number with all the Square footage you could want

A nice little number with all the Square footage you could want

As I said, about 2000 mansions side by side…

..where the mansions are literally side by side

..where the mansions are literally side by side downtown

They range in all types of architectural styles….

Various styles of architecture to appreciate

Various styles of architecture to appreciate

..and colors!

A pink flamingo colored property, reminiscent of the plantation owners in the Caribbean

A pink flamingo colored property, reminiscent of the plantation owners in the Caribbean

The Charleston “Single House” and especially the porches, or Piazza’s. …

The front of the house is actually the side of the house

The front of the house is actually the side of the house

Wealthy homeowners could build massive mansions on narrow lots. But the idea for the Piazza’s is to capture the coastal breeze in the house (no a/c back then) as well as shade on their porches from the hot summer sun.

IMG_20150725_110419597But common tourists really pass by the real beauty of these homes if they simply drive or walk by. The detail each homeowner puts into their house to make it unique is what I love. If you take the time to look down manicured allies, or backyard or front gates (I’m such a nosy tourist) the love for Charleston can really kick in!

IMG_20150725_131648286Whether it is the landscaping…

IMG_20150725_131627733 1Iron gates…

IMG_20150725_131349141or private courtyards…

IMG_20150725_130837398 1Even curious signs warning too curious travelers…

Beware Ye Butt!

Beware Ye Butt!

Each home is really worth taking the time to see individually. It’s quite a nice neighborhood to visit!

Yea, its a nice neighborhood to call home.

Yes, it’s a nice neighborhood to call home.

 Here is a building worth seeing, the old Exchange and Provost Dungeon…all those flags have flown over it.

the Custom House and Provost Dungeon

the Old Exchange Provost Dungeon

It once was a prison (dungeon) holding American prisoners during our Revolutionary War; as well as famous (Blackbeard) and not so famous pirates. George Washington read a copy of the Declaration of Independence to  Charlestonians from it balcony. And it was used as an ammunition stock pile during our Civil War as well as many other uses over its 200+ year life.

We decided to take a side street…

taking a right down a side street to the Waterfront Park

taking a right down a side street to the Waterfront Park

Ahhhh…. shade in the summer afternoon sun!

Lots of shade at the Waterfront Park

Lots of shade at the Waterfront Park

The Waterfront park has been made famous (check these out) through pictures from its two fountains…

 a few water fountains at the Waterfront Park

a few water fountains at the Waterfront Park

Our kids found one that suited them…


The park does face the Cooper River though as it meets the sea, where you can see two forts from our Civil War…

Castle Pinkney and Fort Sumter on the right, start of America's Civil War

Castle Pinkney and Fort Sumter on the right, start of America’s Civil War

More modern attractions can be seen at the port, including Cruise ships, the Cooper river Bridge, home to the very popular Cooper River Bridgerun 10K, and the retired aircraft carrier the USS Yorktown.

Carnival Fantasy, Cooper River Bridge (Arthur Ravenel Bridge), Yorktown battleship

Carnival Fantasy, Cooper River Bridge (Arthur Ravenel Bridge), USS Yorktown across the river

We then decided to get some lunch….

Something is always brewing here...

Something is always brewing here…

At the Southend Brewery and head back to our car. Travelers remember, this is just walking up one street in Charleston. There are many other spectacular views on the other less traveled streets, side streets, and even allies. The town is really easy to fall in love with!

It was a great afternoon with family sightseeing, topping off a great morning when my daughter carted off two great awards from our Stairclimb…

stairclimbShe received the medal for winning her age group (there were only 2 7-year olds there) and the giant Hershey Bar for bringing in $500 to the Lung Association (thank again to all you showing her some love and support for a great cause). All the other $500 fundraisers got a bottle of Champagne.


The Hershey bar promptly turned to soup in the car as we toured East Bay Street.

Today was a good day….

Moving update….

I know some of you may be looking for pictures and updates from our new location. The truth is we are still wading through a few more boxes in most every room. We have moved in! But it is not a Home Sweet Home yet. 

The good news is we have great neighbors all around us. This neighborhood is filled with kids! Dylan’s new best friend is Deidra, a nice 10 year old girl that lies beside us. They are already planning a sleep over on Friday! We still have to install some lights in these rooms…. 

I have to take a moment and point out my friends at Palmetto Movers. This is the company I arranged to move our possessions from one house to the next; keeping them in a truck over night while the houses went through closing.

Not only did they get  started 2 hours late, with 2 employees instead of the scheduled three (one of the two was hung over), they also forgot to bring a truck with them! (!!!) 

The two employees showed up at my house about an hour late then decided to go to the U-Haul center for a moving truck. They drove there in their car and returned with the truck and trailer. Only thing was one of them forgot to drive the car back that took them there, leaving the two without transportation for their ride home. It appears I paid for them to go to that U-Haul depot as they were on the clock. I guess it was a good thing I was only paying for two; to do a one person job that should have been done ahead of time, instead of all three.

I had to keep pumping them full with Mountain Dews and Protein Bars so they could get the job done in a timely manner. They were paid by the hour after all. I tried to set the pace as I became the (missing) third man to pack up our things on the truck. If I slowed down, they slowed down I noticed.

The next day the unloading got put off as it appears the paralegal for the buyer of our home forgot to put in the closing statement where our loan was being paid off by the sale of the house. Yes, 30 minutes before we are to go to close to buy our new house, my mortgage guy says the previous sale of our home was invalid due to this error. A new HUD statement needed to be drawn up and signed by both parties in order to transfer any type of funds in the sale. 

Well, it’s a good thing we were living in our car at the time! We made it to that attorney and signed the forms and made it to the attorney’s office for our new home purchase on time at 2:00pm. The trouble was the buyer of our old home had to work until 4:00pm and could not sign the statement any earlier. 

So we sat on the curb at our new house, our trusty movers by our side, waiting for the word we were allowed to move in. Tick, tick, tick. Finally at 5:00pm we got word “the closing was going to the banks.” It was over. We should be able to move in…. 

And that’s what we did. We didn’t have keys to the house but I did know the combination to the garage door opener. So, pumped full of Mountain Dew, my trusty team kicked it into gear. We had minimal damage, scratches or breakage moving in. I ordered some pizzas as we were getting close.

Our Realtor finally called and asked how we were doing. She’s says, “Oh no, the money didn’t transfer yet. Your house hasn’t cleared the closing yet.” 

“You are kidding, right?”

We went ahead and started filling the house up with our belongings, the entire time waiting for a “Yay” or “Nay” on the move in, wondering if or when the police might show up. We kept going after all, these trusted movers were on the clock! They did OK. They only broke a leg or  two on some chairs and sofas and scratched some end tables and washing machine. I bought them a pizza at the end of the move. Then the head mover handed me a bill for $90.00 more than what we agreed upon….since we got done so late and they couldn’t return the truck that day.  Never mind they showed up 2 hours late the day before, they were a man short day 1, broke some stuff, and I fed and hydrated the them. I was so tired I wrote the check and tried to put the whole experience behind me insted of arguing the point at the end of the day. I just wanted to be done at this point.

Between them and the certain Paralegal it made me wonder how some people survive in the business word. Such mistakes or errors in customer service would not last that long in my company; or that of my wife’s. 

Breaking news….before I get too nasty on some people the blows here keep coming. 

If you have a garage you most certainly have to step ‘up’ into your house when you enter your house. This suggests your house sits on a cement slab. Well last week I noticed water seeping out between the top of the cement slab and beneath the floor of the house. Think about that for a second. There is water coming, sitting somewhere beneath our floor and on top of the cement slab it sits on. …in a brand new house!

Can we catch a break?

So the builder’s plumber comes out. He gives me some lame excuse why. Meanwhile the water keeps seeping out. Another higher-up builder comes. He says the water is coming from a shower drain. The problem is we have never used this specific shower.

So they are going to tear out the back wall / sheet rock in my garage to dry the area and try to find the source of the water. AND…open up a hole in our laundry room and probably tear up the marble floors in the master bathroom …and said shower and more than likely the scallop shaped tub..in order to find and fix this drain. 

Should I get a lawyer? My past experience of selling a house says termites like to chow down on wet wood. Should I get the termite people out there? 

Last month I tried to take these setbacks in stride. After all we were selling our clunker and buying a new one. Now, I’m afraid, I feel like I am becoming not such a nice guy. And I am sorry for sounding like such a whiner here  (continuing)). I think I need  a little more break until things improve.

PS..we found another great nanny (in a long line of great nannies) to take care of the our little gems while we are at work. And today Dylan is taking a tour of her new school that she starts next fall. I turn 29 on Saturday…and my parents are travelling down to visit (to spoil the grandkids not really for my birthday)…after I travel up to there section of PA on a business trip this week. And life goes on…




And then I read my friend Mei and life doesn’t seem so bad:


Thanks for dropping by everyone! Have the best week yet….

Walk Like An Egyptian….

So Dylan, Skylar, and Aunt Sue are all playing Princess Castle. The girls have their fav Princesses and are talking about their fav Princes….and marriage! 

Aunt Sue offers in, “Well when you are ready I can marry both of you”, holding the King Triton action figure in her hand. 

Dylan counters, while clearly misunderstanding the meaning of Sue’s offer, “Oh no! We are ONLY allowed to marry one person in this country!” 

Ya gotta love her. 

Reality kicked in a bit yesterday after riding the high of a bid on our house. We put a bid on a house this weekend as well (we need to move now) but our offer was so low, in the owners eyes, they didn’t even acknowledge it.

This house listed for $295K. The current owners bought the house 2 years ago for $265K. We offered $260K, planning on going up to $275K  if we had to. 

That wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t even good enough to make a counter offer.

I want to ask the owners if they know what house prices have done over the past 2 years of foreclosures? It certainly wasn’t double digit growth!

My wife and I have been looking in this neighborhood since last Spring, mainly for the ideal school system it resides in. We have looked at several houses in this very same road stay on the market, with their prices dropping regularly over the last 9 months. Remember that one house with a pool?  

Roma out

This house has been on the market as long as we have been looking. It started at the same $295K price and is now under contract for 255K. Big drop! I guess the realtor of our preferred house is not disclosing this gem, which is right down the same street from the owners. And that house had a pool! 

Another, larger house, that is closer and on that same road as the house we bid on, has been on the market for over a year. We actually looked at it last Spring. It has dropped from over $300K to the current contract price of  $259K.  Amazing. What have the rates been doing since then? They are not going down anymore. So go ahead Donald Trump, watch your house sit for awhile. And sit. You could have been moving while the rates were still low.

So going back to yesterday’s post, reality tells me we actually have not sold our house yet. We just have an offer. There are still a few more thi ngs to cross off before we…have to get out!

OK! I got that outta my system. Sorry for the rant. 


We had a birthday party last night at our house! Among all the chaos and stress of hoops and obstacles in the month(s) ahead it was nice to see some happy smiles on the kids. 

My parents and the Great Aunt Sue were in town for the fun. And it was good fun for everyone. 

My parents aren’t getting any younger either. Dylan was helping them unload their car Saturday when they pulled in. She was slow walking bent over as she carried a bag up the steps of our front porch. Confused on why Dylan wasn’t springing up the steps like she normally does, Mom asks, “Dylan what’s wrong with you? Why are you walking like that?” 

Dylan, in her innocent nature responds, “I was walking like and old lady”, mirroring how my own Mom covered the stairs after an 8  hour ride in the car. No matter how wrong that was you couldn’t help but laugh knowing she didn’t mean anything bad by it.

Dylan, enjoy it now. In a few more years you won’t be able to get away with that remark! Except maybe with your Dad

For a quick look at some of the weekend festivities and gift box destruction check out the video below. 

Thanks to everyone for making this a great birthday weekend!

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