Zombie Cat Part 2 (“tails of blue balls”)

Saturday morning in Charleston was overcast, but if you’re a really awesome photographer you can get a shot like this:

IMG_0878

We had plans for Saturday, a cupcake testing in Mount Pleasant plus driving around to find things in Mount Pleasant because that’s where my niece will be having her wedding.  Things like hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, bars, taco places, bars and P-nut stands.  OK our actual agenda included hotels, restaurants and driving out to Isle of Palms to look at house and condo rental options.  The above is what we actually found.  We drove over to Mount Pleasant crossing the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge – the really cool cable-stayed bridge you see in lots of pictures of Charleston.  A really awesome photographer did not get a decent picture of the bridge.  B took one for my mom…. And I think Kim has one too, but not me.  From the bridge you can see Patriots Point which is home to the USS Yorktown – which was temporarily re-named the USS Foughtinabattle because nobody could remember what the actual name was.

We arrived at our cupcake tasting and started sampling red velvet, pumpkin, chocolate tuxedo and salted caramel chocolate.  They were incredibly yummy and then our cupcake hostess started quoting prices and options.  My job was to take notes, so I started writing down everything she said.  She decided to show B what cupcakes would look like done in her wedding colors so she got an icing bag and some sprinkles.  My niece has picked a very pretty but unique color of blue for her wedding – almost the color of a blue orchid.  No Worries!!!  Cathy Cupcake Planner had that color of blue sugar sprinkles, she got them down off the shelf and I thought the container said “Blue Balls” but surely I was mistaken – it had to say “Blue Bells”.  Yes the perfectly matched color of my nieces wedding in the cupcake sprinkle world is “Blue Balls.”  So we may be ordering chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, star tip icing with “clear” and “blue balls” sprinkles.  That’s the order I wrote down.  Luckily this occurred before we had our margarita lunch specials – and that Kim and I were separated by a table when Cathy Cupcake Planner kept referring back to the “blue balls” sprinkles.  And that Dawson either a) didn’t understand the joke or b) was too engrossed in soccer videos on his phone to notice.

Next to the cupcake store was a chocolatiers.  We forcibly removed Teagan from inside.  Vowing to get more cupcakes and truffles before we left we went to some of the other stores in the area.  NEVER let my mother inside a kitchen gadget store.  It was like Teagan in the chocolatiers shop – we had to forcibly remove her before she bought everything.  Interesting side note, in the kitchen gadget store they sold Café du Monde coffee (see virtual vacay).  We were looking for “something to munch on” because we wanted seafood for dinner.  We found Rio Grande – your typical strip mall Mexican Food place.  The food was pretty good though AND they had a margarita lunch special!  Across the parking lot was a Pet Smart and they were having an adoption fair.  The last time I had the margarita lunch special next to a pet adoption fair I came home with this:

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This time we came home puppy less!

We drove out to Isle of Palms which is a very beautiful area of Charleston.  On the way to Isle of Palms we passed the Taco Boutique and Taco Mamacitas – these added to our growing list of Taco named restaurants (ok the only other one is Taco Boy – but we had a theme going).  And we found a P-Nut stand – because adding the E and A to the sign was just too much.  You have to cross a draw bridge to get there.  I always speak of Teagan and Dawson’s phobias – well here is mine:  draw bridges.  Just draw bridges, not the road type bridges or even cable suspended, just draw bridges.  This odd phobia started when I was six and visiting Miami with my dad – the whole idea of the road made of grate opening up over water – creepy.  Teagan was finally happy as she got to finally see and run in the ocean.

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We crossed back to Mount Pleasant for dinner and decided to head back to Shem Creek where the wedding will be.  Sure there were nice places to eat but we picked the dive because dives are usually the best.  And in the parking lot we ran into the creepy guy from Wal-Mart with the cane and cast; no doubt spending all his handout cash for a nice seafood platter.  So at Red’s you can take your dog as long as you are in the outdoor seating area – of course it’s hard to determine what exactly is indoor and what is outdoor because it’s a mish mash of tent covered deck and 3 sided buildings.  I passed several dogs on the way to our table and tried to imagine taking Bam out to eat with me.  His table manners are not the best so I’m not sure he’d be welcome back.  Shem Creek is really beautiful at night – oh and I forgot to mention we saw a dolphin in the creek.  Of course Dawson yelled “SHARK” when he saw the dorsal fin – which alerted several of the others on the dock.  He corrected himself with “OR… Dolphin” shortly after he drew a crowd.

Later that night …. Much later that night, like 3 AM (technically the next day but whatever) I heard Teagan get up and go running out of our room then I head this repeated thump-thump-thump.  Teagan was looking for me – she gets confused when she wakes up suddenly.  The thump-thump-thump was identified as one of the grocery carts wheeling across the deck in front of the condo.  The next morning we were discussing the 3 AM grocery cart incident, wondering why the neighbors were up rolling the grocery carts at 3 AM when I offered my explanation:  Maybe the cat was dragging a dead body got tired and threw it in a grocery cart.  I was tired and a little loopy, but that was where “Zombie Cat” was born.

Other highlights from our trip:  Taco Boy on Folly Beach where Dawson took a hot sauce challenge – 4 types of hot sauce on one chip – he won a Taco Boy t-shirt from B.  The misleading BBQ place – it was a green building with “BBQ” painted on the back side which you could see from one road but the front that faced another road said it was a pizzeria.  The giant Buddha bulldog painted on the side of the Zen Dog Daycare and Vet – next to the place B’s getting married.  Two new ideas for my food truck – Taco Ninja and Taco SWAT (inspired by the several Taco named restaurants we found).  The thump-thump-thump grocery cart returned at 3AM again Sunday leading me to believe the ladies next door were vampires or as my mom described them “two anorexics a baby and a dog” – pretty sure that will be on the CBS line-up in January as a sitcom or on TLC as a reality show. Well to be on TLC it would have to be “two anorexic vampires a baby and a dog” – oh yeah and Zombie Cat.  Pretty sure Zombie Cat was theirs too. And last but not least the Colts beat the Broncos!

IMG_0897 <——-Taco Boy Challenge

Before we left on Monday we did get more cupcakes and truffles and we found actual historic markers and evacuation route signs.  This is just a preview of what is to come in June.  I need to make a new scavenger hunt list.  I’m leaving UFO off the list!!  We found the same damn blimp on the way home at the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky border.

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Zombie Cat (or “tails” from South Carolina)

We have a way to go before we get to zombie cat.  But stick with me we’ll get there.  On the start of any great road trip you need a scavenger hunt list.  Our list for the South Carolina trip had 20 items on it with a 100 point bonus for finding a UFO.  As we were packing the car B called a UFO.  It was disqualified because it was a blimp – why there was a blimp hovering over northern Johnson County at 3pm on a Thursday I can’t explain, but there it was hovering over Red’s Corner.  Packed tightly in my sisters Yukon we started for South Carolina being led by “Susan” – my nieces GPS voice.  She was named after Susan in Monsters vs. Aliens and technically pronounced “Sooooosan.”

By the time we stopped for dinner we had to disqualify at least half of the items that B, Dawson or Teagan were claiming on their scavenger hunt list.  Things like, “no, Wal-Mart does not count as a “historical marker.”  At dinner I was describing to B about one of Dawson’s friends’ mom that I had recently met (largely against my will) and how she felt the need to be involved in everything her child did.  B’s response was, “Oh a helicopter parent?”  I said, “Yes but even more than that.”  B said, “So Lifeline?”  It was at that moment that I realized that Teagan’s sense of humor and straight-faced one liners comes from her cousin(s) and not me.

My sister’s new Yukon has a DVD player in it which is really cool, if you remember to bring movies.  More specifically if you remember to bring the movies in the car where you can access them and not on top of the car in the luggage rack.  After we stopped for dinner B found a few choices she had in her bag that was not on top of the car, we settled on The House Bunny staring Anna Farris.  There is one part where Anna Farris uses this really deep almost inhuman voice as she says several other characters names and explains she uses this technique to remember people’s names.  THAT is the one part of the movie that Teagan remembered for the whole trip and kept using the voice over and over and over again.  Which I guess is probably the best part to mimic when we’re watching a movie starring a Playboy Bunny.

Things on the scavenger hunt list we didn’t find on the way down:  Gas station attendant who looks like Elvis, gas station with more coolers full of beer than other drinks, a historical marker (a real one as Wal-Mart was disqualified) and Hurricane Evacuation route signs (you have to be travelling north or east to find those).  We did find in Somewhereville Tennessee the Wal-Mart where at least 90% of the pictures on the peopleofwalmart.com website come from.  It may have actually been in North Carolina, I can’t remember.  And as is typical of Teagan as we were about 15 minutes away from our condo she has a bathroom emergency.  So we make a quick entrance into a Shell gas station in an exceedingly questionable part of Charleston – the part where the attendant sat was blocked off by bullet proof glass and the houses around it had bars on the windows.  The only reason I got out of the car and took her inside was because there were two Citadel Cadets in the parking lot getting gas and I figured they would possibly stop a gunman from entering the Shell – you know military academy and all.  PS the Citadel is in a really crap neighborhood.

Soooosan mis-estimates addresses by about 500 feet or better as she told us we had arrived at our condo while we were on a bridge.  The bridge with the multiple flashing signs telling us to USE EXTREME CAUTION – but not really explaining why – like is the road going to suddenly implode or are we just watching for wildlife exiting the marsh?  EXTREME caution which B pointed out is more serious than just regular caution.  We did find our condo which was really pretty nice on the inside however the entire complex was being repaired from some pretty significant storm damage.  Although I had talked to Teagan before we left and explained we weren’t staying on the beach she was pouty for at least 24 hours that there wasn’t a beach and the pool for our condo was in the parking lot.

As we were unpacking we met the only other residents of the condo – who happened to be right next door to us – a lady and her small child and dog that was staying there with her sister who owned the condo next to ours.  When we left to go to get groceries we met Zombie Cat.  Mostly just a normal looking white cat with a kind of creepy sounding meow – at that time though he was just known as “kitty.”  There were several grocery store options like Bi-Lo, Harris Teeter (which turns into Harry Feeler after a few beers) and Food Lion but we picked Wal-Mart.  I’ve been to a lot of Wal-Mart’s and for the most part they aren’t too bad, you have a few odd sightings here and there and maybe a questionable character here or there but this Wal-Mart was just downright scary.  It may have been the creepy guy with the cane and arm cast who came charging for us as we got out of the car – I’m sure wanting a handout – but I didn’t stay long enough to find out as I grabbed Teagans hand and fast-walked to the door.

IMG_0873 <—- this is Zombie Cat

We survived the Wal-Mart.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.  It may have just been the timing as we re-visited the Wal-Mart during daylight later in the trip and it wasn’t nearly as bad.  Back at the condo Zombie cat (still known at that time as ‘kitty’) was waiting for us with his creepy meow.  At our condo there weren’t luggage racks to haul suitcases or groceries there were shopping carts.  So we packed up a shopping cart, headed up the elevator to Floor 1 to go to Condo 2A (yeah that caused a problem the first time up) and wheeled our shopping cart into the condo to unload it.  Yes, this becomes important later in the trip.

OHHH look….. 1000+ words

This will have to be a 2 part-er!  Saturday was our fun day anyway so that’s where we will start part 2.