This past weekend the stars aligned and we decided we’d be able to take a quick trip down to Savannah, Georgia to visit some friends. Mike and I had doctor’s appointments Friday morning, so we decided to make a long weekend of it. We picked Penny up at school and headed south!
The ride down was fairly torturous. Due to an accident involving the door hinge and antenna wire, our satellite radio was out of commission. Everyone was sleeping, which was making me quite tired. We didn’t even make it out of Virginia before we stopped for lunch. By South Carolina, I had to pull over at the Welcome Center and take a 15 minute nap. We finally hit Savannah after 10 hours, something of a negative record for me, as I can usually make it in 8, or at least I could pre-toddler! When we arrived, our friends Russell and Amy had run to the grocery store, so we had dinner at McDonald’s and when they got back, we headed over to their house.
Our plan for Saturday was to go to a local restaurant and then head to Tybee Island. When I was (much) younger, my parents took my sister and I to Savannah on our way to Florida. We stopped at the Juliette Low house, since we were heavily involved in Girl Scouts, and then my parents found a restaurant called The Pirate House. I have been several times, but my dreams of Savannah have always included bringing my child(ren) to the Pirate House. My friend had a negative experience there back in the day, so he was hesitant, but I talked him into it and so it was our first stop. Given Penny’s love of Pirates of the Caribbean, I had a sneaking suspicion that it was going to be a hit with her, and I was correct. When the people at the desk gave Leah a pirate hat, Penny nearly died without one till I asked them for another. Penny posed with pirates, pirate statues, took pictures of the menu and food, kept wandering around the restaurant just to look at things, she was a little kid again. For my part, I was just trying not to cry—it brought back a lot of memories, all of them good—and was just a special day for me.
Afterwards, we headed back to Russell and Amy’s place so Leah could have her nap. The next part of our plan was that the girls would head over to Tybee Island while the men stayed home and did whatever it is men do (anyone who tells me that men aren’t prone to sitting around gabbing like, well, a couple of old women are full of it). I had shown Penny some websites of Tybee Island and she promptly declared that we were going to climb the lighthouse. So that was our first stop.
And then we got there, and she had a look at it. And it was much taller than she anticipated. And she suddenly changed her mind. But I had kind of talked myself into doing it. I’d been practicing stairs and really had worked myself up, so I told her, “Forget it, we’re going!” We left Leah with Amy and headed over. Did Penny ever heave a sigh of relief to discover that we were exactly 5 minutes late to buy the last tickets of the day! I was SO disappointed, but since Penny is afraid of heights, she was happy not to be going up there. We returned to the car, told Amy not to pay for parking, took a few pictures on the ground and decided to head for the beach. (PS, did I ever mention what a beautiful country we live in!? I love the East Coast!)
Amy directed us to the Tybee Island pier, and we found a good parking spot there. As we walked down to the beach, a couple of guys, not realizing her mother was behind her, tried hitting on Penny, but she kept her cool, said hello, and walked on by. I put the stink-eye on them immediately.
It was kind of a sketchy day to be on the beach. It was sprinkling rain on and off, and while it was warmish, it wasn’t close to hot. But it was the beach, and for my money, that’s all I gave a darn about!
Leah found a pail and shovel that someone else had obligingly left behind and was promptly busy digging in the sand. I wanted to say I was in the ocean, so I walked in up to my ankles, but darn the Atlantic is cold this time of year! Penny decided it was time to take some jumping pictures, so I turned on the sports setting and she started jumping around like a kangaroo till we got just the right picture.
To me, this photo is the absolute essence of our girl—her joy for life and exuberance when she lets herself relax and have fun and forget about everyone and everything else except being herself and having a good time.
When the rain really kicked up, we headed up to the pier and Penny grabbed a few more photos. She is stereotypically Asian when it comes to taking pictures—if there are pictures to be taken, she will take them, and hilariously she takes pictures of herself constantly. She doesn’t understand why I don’t want more pictures of myself, but I hate pictures! I submit to them for her sake. :)
After walking to the end of the pier and back, the rain was really kicking in, and Penny hates rain as much as she hates the sun, so it was time to roll on back to the car. Our dinner plans were to go to the Crab Shack, “Where the Elite Eat in their Bare Feet”. I’ve been wanting to go there since I saw it on a Food Network show and Amy knew right where it was, so we headed over there and found a big line. They offered anyone who was willing to chance it immediate seating in the outdoor area, so we decided to chance it. We got a great table, right in front of the water and under a big tree.
It was a bit cold, so I ordered myself soup and then Penny and I both decided to try the shrimp salad, which was DIVINE. I have been looking for a good shrimp salad for a zillion years and it was the best I’d ever had, hands down. Leah got a “dog dog” and Amy got a low country boil. It was amazing. They had an alligator pit nearby with little gators, so we had a look at those, and a webcam, so we called the guys and they looked at us waving to them on line, which was fun, too.
On the way home, we stopped by WalMart to grab a few items, and on our way out, Amy told us that Paula Deen’s husband was parked nearby. It was the closest we’d gotten to celebrity in Penny’s stay, so we took a picture of the car and hilariously pondered gently rear-ending him, although we ultimately decided my insurance company didn’t need more money.
We headed home and broke out a game of SkipBo, which we taught Russell, while Amy made us all cupcakes—chocolate with peanut butter icing. YUM!!!!! There was a Back to the Future marathon on TV and it was a nice and relaxing evening.
Until about 11:30, when Leah woke up and all heck broke loose… Penny tried to convince her to sleep with her on the couch. No dice. We tried putting her in her crib and ignoring her. Nope. Finally, I wound up taking her for a drive all over Savannah till 1AM, hoping it would put her out, but nope, nothing. At 1:15AM, I rolled back to the house, poked Mike, told him to deal with it, and curled up in a recliner. When she finally went to sleep, I climbed back into bed and passed out till 9:00. Which put us behind schedule for going and hopping on a trolley tour.
Poor Amy! I told her we’d be up and ready by 8:00 to head back to town for the tour, and she slept through Leah’s episode, so she was up and dressed, and we all slept in! We finally roused ourselves and were ready to roll by 11:00. We had planned to go to Love’s Seafood for lunch, so we didn’t want a lot to eat, but we were all hungry nonetheless, so we girls stopped off at Sonic (the men decided to stay behind at the house instead of going on the trolley) and grabbed sandwiches and headed to town.
We took the Old Town Trolley Tour of Savannah. Penny is not much on history, and the guy was a little bit difficult to understand anyway, so I think she mainly tuned out, enjoying the ride in the sun and fresh air, and taking pictures and just looking around. Towards the end she actually got out her iPod and put that on, but there were only about 30 seconds of the tour left, so I didn’t have to kill her.
Afterwards, Leah had pretty much exhausted herself by running up and down the aisles of the trolley screaming and waving to passersby (thankfully the tour wasn’t too busy, because I was just way too tired to deal with her and everyone was extremely nice about it). We headed back to Russell and Amy’s and broke out a deck of cards for some fierce Skip Bo competition while Leah took a nap. A severe storm system moved into the area with huge thunderstorms and high winds, tornado warnings, hail, the works. When it finally calmed down, we decided to head over to dinner at Love’s, and of course, disaster struck.
As we were driving, I went through a puddle and the car decided to give up on accelerating and we had to pull over. I turned it on and off twice until it was willing to at least go, but the check engine light came on, and anyone who knows anything about me knows that the car is the second thing I am most neurotic about (going to the dentist is the first). So I started panicking. Russell and Amy hadn’t noticed we weren’t behind them any more, so they were long gone, but fortunately it was a straight line and we found them pretty quickly. The dinner talk was dominated by car talk and my panic. But it was still a lovely restaurant—apparently some of Forrest Gump was filmed there—and Leah made friends with all the other patrons who had braved the rainy night to come out.
When we got back, I called my dad and had a good cry and then somehow the topic of Steel Magnolias came up and soon Amy and I were practically weeping over what an awesome movie it was. So since Amy had the DVD, we decided to get it out and show it to Penny, and I was crying in the first 30 minutes. By the end, Amy and I were both teary messes and Penny was gamely trying not to cry. It was pretty great. Hilariously, Amy’s DVD had Thai subtitles, so we put them on for Penny, but she said they were very confusing and not very good. But now we all know what “eat shit and die” looks like in Thai!
The next morning, we were up and out by 9:00. My dad convinced me I’d be fine to drive the car back home, and so we set out, even though the check engine light was still on. My goal was to hit South of the Border in time for lunch, and we made it by 12:30. Hooray! South of the Border is one of those things all tourists on the roads of the East Coast MUST see. Penny was not leaving the United States without a trip there. I’m sad that it’s become so rundown—I was actually a little bit frightened when I used the bathroom as there were some shady looking characters hanging out in there. But we enjoyed our lunch, and I got Penny a pressed penny souvenir and we got some fun pictures of Penny and Leah with Pedro.
Then it was officially time to go home. And don’t you think I was the only one who stayed awake!? Everyone was out cold before we hit the highway, which made it easier to roll without having to stop for potty breaks and the like.
We made it to just south of Richmond before we stopped for a quick potty break and gas, and then we were home!!!!
It was a wonderful trip, a beautiful part of the country to show Penny, and she has now been to every single state on the east coast from New York south. In April with our New England trip, she’ll make it to the rest except for Maine and New Hampshire, and I’m pondering hitting those so she can say she went to all the states on the East Coast except for Vermont. We’ll have to see what we have time for! Because time is the one thing we are running out of!!!! Yikes!!!