Georgia Updates: The Hydrangea, The Dead Trees, Look Who’s Still Hanging Around, A Wedding and a First For Me Butterfly.

When was the last time I shared some of my favorite’s from the house in Georgia? I figured after sharing hurricane news and the loss of Callie, it was time to ‘lighten up’ around here.

The Hydrangea

Our front door hydrangea is almost obscene. I’d asked our *landscape guy about moving it away from the house because it is crowded and he claimed that we had the best hydrangea in the ‘hood…probably because the deer can’t get to it. So, there it stays, crowded by the house.

*One of my favorite things about the GA house is that there is very little yard work. We have a service that comes by every other week and blows the driveway, decks and patios to remove leaves/fallen debris. When we need mulch, they will deliver and spread. No grass to mow. No trees to trim. Everything is au’natural.

The Hanging Chad. Still hanging in there.

Dead Trees.

This makes us very sad. There are 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 dead oak trees on our 1 acre property. In this hood, you have to get approval to remove trees as they are worshiped here. (as they should be) Apparently there is some sort of Asian Beetle that is making it’s way through North Georgia and hitting oak trees. One of the trees is at least 120 years old. (little video from our bedroom window of three of the trees marked that will be taken down)

Whoops. That wasn’t very uplifting, now was it?

The Wedding We drove from our place in North GA with Don and Kelly to attend a wedding two weekends ago. We stayed at a nice hotel in Chattanooga, but the wedding venue was located at the top of a mountain at the crux of GA, TN and AL. Talk about views!! The wedding was for two of our Nashville songwriter friends; they are a lovely couple and it was of fun to see their relationship blossom from the beginning to the end.

I mean, to their wedding day!

They are smitten kittens and it’s lovely to see people in love, right? They have a lot of connections and the groom is very close friends with one of my favorite musical talents and I was expecting him to be there and let him meet Coach and I, but apparently he had an event of some sort. I won’t mention his name, but it rhymes with Rarius Ducker.

The Butterfly Whisperer

We spent the afternoon in Chattanooga prior to the wedding. Kelly and I were walking down a busy city street in search of some Retail Therapy when I spotted a butterfly, on the ground, flitting around. I could tell it was having issues and after a few tries I was able to get it to hop onto my finger, then I carried it over to a bushy/flowery area away from the road. I’d realized after I set it down that it was a Viceroy; which almost looks like a Monarch.

Ya’ll, I’d never seen one in real life and here I just had a personal interaction with one! Ok, maybe that is more exciting to me, but this is my blog!!

We’re back home in hot, humid Florida and back to reality.

Has anyone else experienced an obscene hydrangea or rescued a butterfly from a city street?

Post Hurricane Ian Check-In. That Bastard, Ian

**I started this post on 10/6

Thank you to all who reached out to our family. I’m beyond happy to say that personally, we fared well in Hurricane Ian. My people are all upright and unscathed….well aside from Nathan who is on day nine of working and hasn’t slept in his bed yet. Lauren and Nathan’s town (North Port) was ravaged; this is also where Nathan works. He’s been on ‘recovery’ duty which I can’t even imagine how horrible that is. Their house was —-this—close to taking in water. Which would have sucked doubly since they just finished a complete renovation two weeks prior from a ‘surprise broken pipe’ in January that flooded their home. (after that incident, they lived with NO running water for eight weeks. EIGHT. My children are not sissy-lala snowflakes)

Lolo and Nathans waterfront home.

WE ALL THOUGHT IAN WAS GOING NORTH OF US, but that asshat made a last minute right hand turn!

Our home is that red pin

How did Suz do during the hurricane? She was tucked away nicely in the mountains of GA on a pre-planned trip, but also felt stressed and guilty because she was not in the thick of it. *sigh*

Linds, her cats, her BF, his daughter and Lolo’s dogs were all hunkered down at our home with the Coach. Our home lost power for five days which is really not bad in comparison. (working on this post on 10/12 and people are still without power)

Do you remember our sweet, cute little condo on the Bay and across from the Gulf Of Mexico?

Oh how I loved those slipcovered Pottery Barn pieces…

The weather people warned of a storm surge and honestly, NONE of us really knew what to expect. Call us naive. What happened though, was the Bay and Gulf of Mexico met up in our condo as well as many others. Cars were floating in the bay. Jet Ski’s were floating in the roadway.

Anyhoo….it’s a total loss. I filed a claim while still in GA and when I got home I read my insurance policy. Cue the Debbie Downer sound effects. WE HAVE NO FLOOD INSURANCE.

See the water line on the island? Hey, that really WAS an island for a time…

Ya think I can wash those white slipcovers?

I’m really NOT complaining. We still have a soft, safe place to lay our heads as this wasn’t our home-home. My renters for this coming winter will have to make other plans and we are already working on redoing everything. (Everything had to be taken down to concrete to mediate any mold, even the tile floors were taken out)

So many people had harrowing experiences and many lost their lives.

I was in contact with a young man who we used to do pressure washing and sealing of our roof/pavers and he had such a terrible experience. He’s lucky to be alive.

I mean, really. These people are survivors.

That was part of a text he sent to me and it made my heart stop for a minute. There’s also an article from the perspective of the guy who rescued him.

Lets Talk About Our East Coast Clean Up Calvary

Hurricane Ian arrived on Wednesday.

Sunday I arrived home from GA and I was greeted by a slew of our friends from the East Coast who had come early that morning and helped the Coach remove anything salvageable from our condo. Talk about good friends; they worked in muck for hours boxing up clothes, linens, pots/pans, etc.. I should’ve taken a photo of it all the stuff, but I did remember to take of photo of them, dirty and exhausted but with the biggest hearts. They removed TV’s, our exhaust hood, ceiling fans, the kitchen sink, mirrors, light fixtures, you name it, anything that wasn’t wet and reusable.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: We are blessed with the very best of friends.

We are away again. October has been a crazy busy month; I hope November will pale in comparison.

I have much to share, but not enough time to do it. Until next time!

XOXO

Good Music, Good people and Getting Back To Doing Good Stuff For Our Veterans; Now With Dogs!

If you’ve been here for a while you’ll recall that the Coach spearheaded Songwriters For Veterans charity events in 2018 and 2019. He’s also hosted a few smoked pork butt cook off’s to raise proceeds for Veterans. These events are so much work, but he loves doing it and never complains. ALL proceeds go directly to vetted Veteran Charities. He does all of the work for free and the past few years we’ve had a handful of our employees that also do a good portion of the work on our dime. (website setups, ticket sales, merchandise ordering, etc)

In early 2020 The Coach decided to expand our Songwriters event to the East Coast where a lot of our friends live. Plans were in place, sponsors wrote checks….and then we all know what happened.

Finally, 2022, the event was going to happen. Can you believe that our amazing sponsors NEVER asked for their money back, they trusted that the event would happen eventually; talk about being gracious.

2022-I’m a VIP, it says so on my lanyard!

Songwriters For Vets

The Coach was able to secure five singer/songwriters for the event, and someone new to the lineup was our wonderful friend Clint who is a bonafide Cowboy and Poet. We’ve been friends for a long time and Fun Fact, we adopted Callie from Clint’s cattle ranch a hundred years ago and the dog is still kicking. It’s a magical ranch!

Anyhoo, Clint read one of his amazing poems before the songwriters took over and I have a video version of it.

Unless you’re a commie bastard, you’ll appreciate it. 😳

There was not a dry eye in the house.

ONTO THE MUSIC

Our songwriters talk/sing in the BlueBird Cafe style and it’s so interesting to hear the stories behind the songs. I’m not gonna go into detail about our songwriters, they are all accomplished and wonderful humans. Our lineup or this event was Kristian Bush (of Sugarland) Patrick Davis, Channing Wilson, Lauren Jenkins and Angie Aparo (my new favorite!)

I took one little clip of Kristian singing…he explained that this “love song” Isn’t really about love at all, it’s about being in a relationship with someone who makes you nuts and each time you try to leave, they do one little thing to bring you back in.

My husband could probably relate.

As you can see even though I’m a VIP, I didn’t have the best seat in the house. We saved those for our gracious sponsors.

AGAIN WITH DOGGIES

I almost forgot the ‘almost’ best part. My girl Kelly is good friends with the people at a dog rescue in Jupiter and they decided to do an adopt & donate TWO-FER. (This particular rescue has a dog training program that helps Veterans with PTSD and they also take in and care for dogs belonging to a service person who is going overseas.) This little rescue girl (from Ukraine) was auctioned off for three thousand dollars with the proceeds going to our charity. The rescue people of course vetted the humans before they let her go with them, but how awesome is that? She got a home and the money went to our Veterans.

The Coach would have doubled the donation for her if we had room for another pup.

OLD OLD FRIENDS

Since the Coach and I were in our old stomping grounds (we were both raised on the East Coast of FL) we had a lot of our old friends in attendance.

The Coach and four of his childhood friends; they’ve been in each others lives for nearly fifty years.


It was such a fun, busy and proud weekend for all of us.

I hardly took any photos of the night as I was enjoying every minute. The night was a huge success; the event profited just under $40,000 for the night.

I KNOW!

Are you a live music fan? It’s always good time in our books.

How about long friendships? Do you have any that are that long?

XOXO

Traveling Again, No Lack Of Southern Food & Not Appreciating My Lack Of Stars

This past weekend the Coach and I had a fun trip with our two good friends, Steve and Amy. In my last post we (mostly me) were talking about our Colorado/Wyoming trip; exactly four days after arriving home from that adventure, we headed to the East Coast for a long weekend charity event spearheaded by the Coach (I’m working on that amazing post) and then less than two weeks later we were off to Charleston, SC.

Needless to say it’s been a whirlwind.

The Coach is a planner and loves to travel…I’m just trying to keep up.

In our family, we call this A Path Of Ankle Snapping.

I Had Dreams Of Being A Big Star

Since we were flying to SC, the Coach looked into renting a car; it was over $1700 for the weekend. We opted to uber everywhere, which was perfectly fine.

I’ve been using uber since 2016 and while in Charleston I was surprised to see that MY uber rating was a 4.88 out of five stars.

WTH? I’m a great ride, I swear!

This perplexed me to no end. I went through all my past trips and I had five stars across the board EXCEPT for a few rides where the driver didn’t give ANY rating and most of those were in New Zealand; thanks Kiwis! I’m thinking of traveling back to New Zealand, hunting down the lackey Uber drivers and shanking them. Anyhoo, my 4.88 self was trying my best to up my rating by calling all the Ubers when we needed them, but then also scolding my friends so they’d act right and not screw up my rating further. Amy and Steve, they had perfect Fives. This irritated me to no end…

Nine rides later and I’m still a 4.88

All the food, all the time.

I feel like all we did was eat because mostly we just ate. {in air conditioned establishments} It was really hot and I’m from Florida, so you can believe it when I say it was hawwwt. We did a self walking tour via an app one day and I quit after a mile and half, and found solace in Bitty And Beaus where I sucked down an iced tea and enjoyed the A/C as if my life depended on it. If you ever get a chance to visit one of their (24!) locations, you should.

I made reservations for both lunch and dinner each day because everything fills up quickly and when on vacation, you don’t want to scramble or have to wait for feedings. Surprisingly, I only had Shrimp And Grits once whereas the last few times I visited I had it several times.

In case you are planning a trip to Charleston here are the places we ate:

82 Queen Dinner-Very good low country offerings, great service.

Slightly North Of Broad (SNOB)Lunch-Amazing low country food.

The Establishment Dinner—it was hands down the favorite for the four of us. Amazing low country food, service and atmosphere.

Anson Dinner. Again, low country food and service.

Are you sensing a pattern?

Tempest Lunch. Good food, a bit overpriced for what you get.

I found this adorable butterfly dining chair…now I just need nine more.

For my Bravo loving, Southern Charm friends: We saw Patricia’s historic mansion, but I didn’t spot Patricia, her butler or her caftans.


You Can Stay Here

Looking into hotel rooms while planning this trip was also a bit scary: THEY BE ‘SPENSIVE. So we opted for a VRBO and I found a really cute place that had two bedrooms with king beds; lawd forbid we slum down to a Queen size for a weekend.

This was in a great location and I think the cost was appropriate and more reasonable than two hotel rooms and we were able to prepare our own breakfasts. Plus, it was really cute with all the exposed brick and ancient wood floors. Bonus: even though it was a really old building that was completely remodeled, I didn’t sense ONE GHOST while I was there and you know, I know about The Spirits.

It was Amy and Steve’s 23rd anniversary; they’re practically newlyweds.

Have you been to Charleston before?

Do you know what your Uber rating is and do you feel differently about me knowing I’m less than perfect?

XOXO

Signed, your forever 4.88 friend Suz.