So I have a little backtracking to do. Due to TC Keni, we arrived stateside a day earlier than expected....so it gave us a day with no doctor appointments to go car shopping! Import restrictions into Qatar do not allow cars older than five years old and the Prius was ten....so luckily we were able to sell it in Suva. Off we headed to the dealership, Richard had been talking with Ron at Hudson Nissan in North Charleston for a few weeks now. Since we were hoping to pick up a used car, when we arrived at the dealership Ron had them all lined up for us to check out. Sadly, some of the 'newer used' ones had just sold over the weekend. When we started the number fun, it obviously got less fun. We were looking at cars that were three years old, so if our next post had an age import restriction we would be in the exact same place again in three years. Since there is less wiggle room on price negotiation on used cars, it ended up working out to get a new car for just a little more dough....which should get us through two posts!! Fingers crossed. The next day....we started the doctor appointment marathon!
Eye exams, dental cleanings, dermatology skin checks (we had been in the tropics for 2.5 years.....) and well checks all around (plus a few specialist appointments thrown in here and there). Richard's allergist was pretty wowed by the fact that even though he is allergic to cats (as is my Mother-in-Law), Isa Lei doesn't cause either of their allergies to act up....it must be some sort of lack of dander/oil missing in this little South Pacific cat. Speaking of, even Isa wasn't immune to doctor appointments....lol. Given Fiji is a rabies free country she had never had her rabies vaccination...so getting her that was at the top of our to-do list also! We managed to squeeze in some cousin time after they got out of school at Starbuck's.....Clarissa looks so tiny compared to all her middle school cousins!
I started watching it first and it's funny, then Mason got pulled in, and given how funny it is soon Richard was on board. We love The Goldberg's....with middle school age kids too, it is actually a great "conversation starter" oddly enough. Richard and I get to reminisce about growing up in the 80's as it follows the lead character in his childhood. The lead character is navigating life in middle school (and now high school as the series has been renewed after several seasons) and it does an awesome job about highlighting all the stages of awkward everyone went through. It reminds us of similar situations (which we tell Mason about) and helps kids realize they are totally normally as they awkwardly fumble through this stage of life. The show is loosely based on real life events - which will be shown on old video highlight clips at the end....all in all the show is hilarious!! I highly recommend it to anyone with a tween/teen to watch as a family! Anywho, one of the actors in the show, Hayley Orrantia, was on tour in Charleston several evenings after we arrived. What better way to get over jet lag then go to a concert?!? So Richard and I went (even though we aren't big country music fans).
She performed a number of covers mixed in with several original songs she had written herself. Richard and I had the chance to do a meet and greet with her. We got a poster signed for Mason and his friend....but I also had her sign a picture for me with a 'catch phrase' from the show. She laughed pretty hard when I said it, she said it was a mean thing for her to write but funny.
She also couldn't believe we'd just spent 2 days flying in from Fiji....she said she gets 'cabin fever' on a tour bus. Though, now you know where Mason got the Hayley Orrantia backpack he was happily posing with under The Goldberg's sign at Hollywood Studios on our Disney trip!
Once we had our plane tickets back stateside booked for our departure from Fiji. I turned alerts back on for Groupon....time for discount deals!! There was a deal for carriage tours in downtown Charleston. Mason had gone when he was younger, but Clarissa had never been. Also, we figured it would be a good 'history lesson' during their looooonnnngg summer break!
I also got a groupon for this new fun alternative to the bottles'n'brushes type evening. It is called Plant Nite. I took my mother-in-law for an early Mother's Day evening. Essentially, we met at a restaurant and ordered drinks and food while construction little terrariums. Given we can't take plants with us, my dad was the lucky recipient of my terrarium (I managed to keep mine alive for a month!!).
We hosted a little drop-in get together for friends....with so little time, it seriously wears on you to try and run and around see everyone. We provided some drinks and snacks (can you guess we missed fresh berries and mozzarella cheese in Fiji?!?), we also picked up a giant platter of chick-fil-a nuggets, and my in-laws kindly let us use their house. It was so great to see everyone who came and catch up with everything going on. It was so great I didn't get a single picture!!
I also had a chance to dabble in to my past life!! I did my master's degree on the bottlenose dolphins in Charleston that live out along the coast. One of my former co-workers, who is the executive director of Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network, organized a Dolphin Count event...and it happened to be when I was in town!! I was a station volunteer, meaning I was leading the dolphin survey at our location, answering Q&A from participants, engaging the public, etc. It was a great way to get the public aware of the dolphin population in the area (if they know they care) and it was good for my soul. We lucked out and had a sighting during every time block! I even got a photo of dolphin drive-by between counts! It did make me miss the clear water of Fiji though!!
After returning from our Disney trip, we had a couple days to relax before Richard and I had a week of training in DC. Given we both had to be in training, we opted to let Clarissa remain in Charleston and get some one-on-one time with the Grandparents. We had a great chance to break in our new car as we drove it to DC, then after training I drove back to Charleston, had a couple days to relax, then I drove Clarissa, Isa and myself back up to DC before Mason flew in from Texas....as he's still a minor and needs someone to pick him up at the airport......busy, busy, busy. I think Clarissa thoroughly enjoyed her 'center of attention' time! She went strawberry picking.
She also learned how to deal with daily Starbucks runs! Double chocolatey chip fraps do the trick!
As Richard was already in training, that official concludes the home leave portion of our time in the States.....so that's where I will wrap up this post! I will continue with the fun we had in the DC area while Richard was expanding his knowledge on all things computer related in my next post!!