‘Its December 6th , and the whole neighborhood is getting into the swing of Christmas ! “ This statement may seem very strange- if you are speaking about a French town or Paris. I am not in France – but in my home state of South Carolina !
I am so happy to be back in a normal place – yes !! I feel the south is very normal, because I lived in New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas, a few towns in Connecticut. I love the fact that church life is a normal part of everyone’s routine..its expected that you follow the Bible – we are called the Bible Belt for a reason. So finding some funny signs always brings a smile to my face. There is nothing like church humor to me. Here are a few examples;
To my sadness- I had to drop out of my French school. My reason to come back, started out as a mission – to get a roof on my house. I won the house in the divorce – but lost everything else.. Now that my historic bungalow is mine again- its my responsibility to take care of it. I really enjoy coming back to my small town- within the town ..its a small area, near the water. On this part of the land- there are about – 50 families. So when I had to leave – to try and find my sanity ( yes I am still looking). I told a my neighbor of 5 years, that I had to go to Paris. I asked him, not to spread this around – so if there was any problems, he could call my cousin and best friend – and gave him the phone numbers.
Now ..here., when you ask someone, not to spread your business around ..it really means – please only tell your 5 best friends, about my business. And of course – those 5 people- only tell their best 5 friends ..and the chain goes around. It really is only a matter of time before the whole area to knows your business. This is the bad part of being a close community- ‘ the knife cuts both ways ‘ , as my grandmother use to say to me . So as I was gone – they watched my home, and when I arrived back 3 weeks ago, the neighbor reports came pouring into me about my roommates ..’’they were white trash – I am glad you got rid of them” was the common theme.
So today, when speaking to a local contractor – it shocked me- when he asked me ‘if I am going back to that French city’ ..yes , it only took 24 months for the news to be local now. I told him – I live in the house half the year, and go back and forth..he looked confused at my answer. Its not common for country people to do what I do, so they take double looks at me ..’ does she sell drugs ?? is that why she travels ?? but she looks normal and does not even smoke !!,” I see the wheels turning in their heads, and excuse my self with my paintbrush in hand- saying I must get back to work and I need all contractor quotes in writing.
As I sit here, I think, why is my life – common knowledge ? I am not a model that is 6ft tall , I am not wealthy or unique in any way ..I am very wall flower-ish , if I am to be honest. So the only logical explanation I can come up with is this: its easier to talk about someone else’s life , then their own. Most neighbors – unfortunately saw my marriage fall apart ..they could not miss it. In hushed past whispers I can hear ..”she had a breakdown ..she is running away from the pain” ..all of these theories must have come up at one time or another. But they now see me again, cleaning the house , putting up Christmas bows on the front door – so instead they smile and waive hello.
I am ok with this – its sweet music to my ears, spoken southern drawls – “ moring., or hey u doing? , how u doing? “ The weather has been unusually warm for this time of year- around 70F, or 20C. I have heard on the radio the warnings that the warm weather will be ending soon, so I rushed over to Goodwill, to pick up some simple sweaters. Now using my new French fashion education – I keep to the simple colors greys, ivory and 4 B’s. ( black, blue, brown & beige)- with no designs, or very simple designs. I lucked out and found 3 sweaters,
then I also found 3 long sleeve cotton v –neck tops, plus beautiful stationary from Crains and a silver frame with red glass beading..all for 28.00 !! How I love shopping here ..for any girl that was raised on hand-me- downs, this is heaven !
So – what is my status here in Charleston –sadly I walked into my home to find it abused by the renters and the real estate agent , whom I hired to protect me –and she did not. She thinks, she can manage from sitting on her ass..needless to say – there will be more to this part of the story – the renters and the agent have not heard the last from me – but we will talk about that later.
My main job now, is to clean this house of mine, and prep , prime & paint all walls..in all the rooms .. I really have no choice- these renters put holes in every wall and smoked. I am painting “off white” in every room – except mine – which is painted a warm color from Lowes called “Craft White” ..but its really like a eggshell. Also most of the rooms will also get new flooring – vinyl peel and stick. In my room I was going to put down wood flooring – but the flooring I had is not enough to cover the room- so now I have to figure out a cheap – but nice looking solution.
In my first post from Charleston-all I can say, is I feel good about being back. Maybe – this roof issue, gave me the break I needed. The ability to wake up, and look out the windows and see Red Cardinal birds busy looking for seeds. To see people driving those gas guzzling large pick up trucks. The ability to listen to the radio and understand what they are saying. To understand the reason of why we are buying the electric candles to put in our Christmas windows. To visit my favorite stores: Goodwill, Dollar General, Kmart & Walmart.( I saw you smile)
Keeping busy & trying to stay in a budget in my bungalow