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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

The Orientation Express

A few weeks ago, we headed south for Big’s college orientation.  Two days on campus for him—and for us—to figure out what’s what.  Years ago, when I was looking at colleges, the question was often jokingly asked, “How’s the Clemson graduate?” with the reply, “He’s out--standing in his field!”  This was a joke, of course, because Clemson is South Carolina’s land grant institution, and, although, it was originally a military college, it quickly became a top agriculture school.  It still is, actually, renowned for its agriculture and forestry programs, but there is so much more.IMG_2151Like most parents, we are proud of our son, but, honestly, I wasn’t too worried about his being accepted to Clemson.  It was his first choice because of its engineering college, and I knew Clemson was steadily climbing the ranks of top universities, presently number 22 (US News and World Report Top Colleges).  Still, I wasn’t really worried.  I mean, it’s Clemson, right?  Ignorance is bliss, as they say.   For this year’s freshman class, there were 17,000 applicants—and 3,000 were accepted!  Sixty-five percent are in-state; 35 percent are out-of-state or international students.  Nine hundred of the 3000 plan to be engineers.  The Mister said, “Son, it’s going to be competitive.”  The son said, “Yessir, it is.”
IMG_2143 We started with some seminars about college life and about academic success.   We had some break-out sessions for parents of engineering students.  It was during one of these meetings that I said to the Mister, “I feel as if we are standing on the depot platform of Dumbville watching him steam away from us on the train of knowledge.”  Even my illustrations are antiquated! After his engineering student sessions, Big could not wait to pick up his new laptop!  He was beyond excited.IMG_2134 Clemson’s stadium, known as Death Valley, is, of course, a huge draw for most everyone that visits the campus.  Seating 84,000, and overlooking Lake Hartwell and the Blue Ridge mountains, it is an exciting place to be on a fall afternoon.  It was a hot place to be on a July afternoon, but the parents were invited to lunch in the President’s Box. IMG_2133I am looking forward to watching the Tigers play, but mostly I love the tailgating and visiting with friends and family before and after the games!  Here’s the Mister, taking a call before we resumed our schedule of meetings in the Brooks Center.IMG_2142
Tillman Hall is the keystone building on the campus, dating from 1889, I think.  It is surrounded by other red brick buildings, trees, and gorgeous landscaping.  There is very limited parking on campus, which makes for a beautiful, walkable park-like setting.  Buses shuttle students pretty much around the clock during the regular school year.
As part of its tradition as a great agriculture school, Clemson is known throughout the region for its locally produced blue cheese and its famous ice cream and milk shakes.  The Mister and I enjoyed a cone on the patio while Big met with his academic advisor.IMG_2150Before heading home, we stopped in a couple of the downtown shops to buys a few souvenirs for Little and Middle.  Judge Keller’s is a must stop for all Clemson visitors.   Big picked up a Clemson Mom and a Clemson Dad decal for the Mister and me.
And here we are are with our own college freshman.  Clearly, the Mister is making a statement about tuition with his pose!IMG_2137 Go Tigers!


  1. Congrats to your son. I must be getting old because he look so young to be a college freshman! :)

  2. Big is going to have SO much fun this fall!

    A quick two years has passed since my son's first adventure at UNC. When he came home this summer he looked like a man ~ where does the time go?


  3. clemson is such a great school! congratulations to your
    'big' guy! our oldest attended furman in s.c., and we grew
    very fond of the deep south!

    you seem to be holding up very well!!!

    ice cream helps a lot. :)

  4. Loved this post! Don't you love the look of the college freshman? I bet he is so excited! How does it feel to have one chick ready to fly? Come to me and I'll hold your hand when you need it. :) xoxo


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