It has been a serious hot minute since I last wrote a blog post. Granted, I feel as if it was always legit, my family that made up my readership by 99%. Regardless, hoping this is a therapeutic and somewhat entertaining take on my life the last 8 months or so. 2020 has been a year for the books and not in great way. In February 2020, I lost my Mom. She had been battling her condition and her body could not fight the fight any longer. I’m still dealing with that loss, as I am sure I will be for quite some time. Quick recap of how amazing a Mom she was and how I would like to choose to remember her and honor her.
Jacki Boyd (my Momma) was an infinite source of knowledge about the most random information you never knew you needed to know. In 1982 she and her business partner decided it was time to finally take their home/Charleston’s open air market business out of their living rooms and open a store front. Their goal was to bring all things kitchen, food, gourmet foods, wines, cheeses, coffee’s to Charleston. In Good Taste was born at Orange Grove Shopping Center in West Ashley. I say that they wildly succeeded in this mission. This was long before the foodie culture of Charleston was as wide known as it is today. Mom eventually bought out her business partner and took on the operations of running In Good Taste. Hurricane Hugo ultimately forced a new location, and Ashley River Road was the location where it stood until Mom closed the doors in 2014. She employed so many amazing staff members, taught so many interesting Wine Classes and brought together so many wonderful people from across the board.
A very long story compressed into a short version. Mom had always struggled with stomach issues for as long as I could remember. In 2015, she had to be rushed into emergency surgery where an amazing doctor saved her life. He discovered that 80% or more of her intestines had died and they had to be removed for her to survive. This was a VERY long battle and uphill climb that Mom fought. She had to learn the balance of getting the nutrition that she needed. It was many years of struggling with a new normal, many options were explored, as well as a potential small bowel transplant. Ultimately, Mom’s body had one too many infections. The first surgeon explained to me that ultimately an infection would probably take her life. Infections (blood, etc) were a part of her new normal with the compromised immune system and her IV nutrition. It was explained to me that your body is like a suit of armor, every infection puts a ding in that armor. I still have moments when I want to call her to ask her opinion on something or to tell her something funny that Addison did, I am at peace that she is no longer suffering. That doesn’t mean that we don’t miss her every day. Addison (my seven year old) is just now grieving and having really sad moments where we both cry, and then we both laugh… Laughing, that was something that my Momma did very well. If anyone wants to chat about Short Gut Syndrome, feel free to reach out. It was a huge learning curve for all of our family as we all had to learn how to best care for and be an advocate for Mom. My therapist told me that one day, I just need to write it all down and maybe a book will be part of my healing process. Alas, not looking great seeing as it has taken me a solid 6 months of starting this post to actually complete it.
Needless to say, February 2020 kind of a numb blur for me. Then we have March…. I’m not going to say that March was a lot better, as honestly I don’t recall much of it. This was the month that the world stopped or at least all came home to our 1800 SF town home. I believe Fairfax County was one of the first school districts to shut down, and I’m honestly grateful. The unknown is scary for me. I have always been more of an introvert, and slight “germ-aphobe” (especially hotel rooms) so the idea of a virus that we know very little about downright put me into panic, hurricane preparedness level 10. My husband can attest, when he was still “going into the office” he would have to change clothes, take a shower and decontaminate himself upon his arrival. The biggest change was trying to manage a 2nd grader at home, my husband working from home, and me working from home. This is not me complaining just a statement that it was a challenge. I am very blessed, I made a choice to leave my super secure Federal Civilian position 3 years ago to take a chance/come to the dark side of Residential Interior Design, with Shotgun Double. This job was remote and I could work from home. To say it was a game changer is an understatement. I am very very blessed to do something that I love, that I have a passion for, and that I am good at, all the while being able to make all the field trips, dance days, and things for my family without feeling guilt. Fast forward back to Feb, it was tough guys. I know we were all in the same boat, some even tougher boats. I can say with confidence that WE ALL MADE IT THROUGH, and we are stronger for it. I watched as an already amazing teaching staff at my daughter’s school, evolved, shifted, and adjusted on a daily basis to keep my girl learning and on a schedule. Thank you to all our educators, assistants, admin and basically everyone doing everything within their abilities, skill sets, talents, passions to be the best for our kids! They are resilient! This year will most certainly be a thing they will FOREVER talk about. I would like to think and hope that it will be filled with amazing and funny stories.
We move onto April 2020. I really don’t have much to say other than…. Netflix, and binge watching…. things that I would never normally watch… ahem,
No matter what your opinion of the show it had/s many learning points/moods. Just say NO to DRUGS… a little sardine oil will always do the trick…. those poor animals…. is this really real?… oh snap this just got real… I swear Myrtle Beach has always the arm pit of South Carolina (yes, my Charlestonian snobbery is coming out)…. Regardless, it took your mind off the absolute insanity that was happening, or is still happening…
Ok, but in all seriousness, March and April was when people really started spending lots of time at home, and that is when we got super busy at Shotgun Double. We continued to do the fine art of balancing online learning schedules, virtual client meetings, trying to move projects started before COVID forward. The struggle was/is real. The more time everyone is spending time at home, the more you notice a.) your house needs change b.) your house needs full renovation c.) you have outgrown your house d.)I NEED some HELP… Whatever the case, just grateful that we are able to keep the ship sailing so to say.
We have lived in our well loved town home for the last seven years. We have made it work, it is just the three of us and two crazy, rambunctious, hair shedding, Springer Spaniels (who have their own Instragram following). We love our community, our neighbors, our street but we are ready for a single family home with a real yard (for the dogs and maybe really nice quarantine pool and just space to spread out). While that maybe in the one to two year plan for us, I felt the desire to tackle our immediate needs. Work spaces for all members of the family. Thankfully, I had decided after working from home for two years that I needed to claim a spot in our basement for my official office. I designed and ordered everything pre-covid and that was tackled early and thankfully so.
Don’t worry I went through all the quarantine phases that you did, and I’m still going through all the home improvements… My husband and I decided that we could totally tackle the basement stairs (removing the carpet and replacing the treads with wood). We got lucky, under the carpet were pine treads. With a LOT of sanding, a minor panic attack on my part, when the “sanding” dust got EVERYWHERE, pause so I could make a Dexter approved anti-space to minimize said sanding dust, a couple of marital spats, I’m proud to say we have new stairs… We thought it was a weekend project, it was a few weekends. 😉 Hubby wants to tackle the basement floor next….
So, I didn’t stop there… I have had the same furniture in our master bedroom since well pre-marriage and I was never a big fan. Let’s face it. As a designer, we are generally much better at making decisions, choices, and let’s face it, spending other peoples money….. My husband and I will celebrate our 10th Anniversary this year and I decided there was no time like the present. It was time for a full master bedroom refresh… After all, I had just helped with an amazing master bedroom renovation for a client at Shotgun Double. It seems to happen that way as well… Right after you spend hours upon hours of sourcing materials and products for clients you have your own personal favorites. Just imagine this has been going on for years and you finally decide there is no time like the present to put it all together and present it to your husband (who see’s no reason to fix something that “isn’t broken”). Whatever the response I got, I wasn’t taking no for an answer. It was happening, is still happening. The largest challenge that we have faced as Designers with COVID was when the whole world shut down, this obviously included manufacturer’s. This has created a crazy supply chain delay. I will share our progress thus far… on 10 year Anniversary Master Bedroom refresh….
Everything has been ordered with a few small exceptions… and thus far I have… new side tables and new bedding. The bed will arrive in two weeks and I will give a full update then(maybe). I have to say it already makes me so happy to have this change to my space. It really has improved my mood and general willingness to make this house work for us in the immediate.
Fast forward to August 2020 and the latest and greatest changes we are making in our home. Our school district originally gave parents the choice to choose, virtual instruction or a hybrid in person model. I chose virtual for many reasons, mainly because I could. Eventually, our whole district went to a virtual model so we knew that we needed a more permanent solution for a space dedicated to learning. My husband actually came up with the idea of taking our only space left AKA, guest room, extra closet, laundry folding area and making it an office/home school room. I laughed at the idea when he mentioned turning it into my office when I was exploring my space last year. Now come to think of it.. she will have it so much better than my corner of the basement. I took on my toughest client of all times, my seven year old. This is saying something considering my husband has previously held that title. Ms. Addie P is fierce in her choices and opinion. She is not shy on providing you with said opinion and what she likes and what matches and what does not. It took a few presentations, but she finally gave me client approval….
So with the design presentation approved, we set off on the execution. Cue the supply problems. All my usual suspects for inexpensive sources were out of stock with crazy back order dates, so we had to get a bit creative. Thankfully all items have been ordered, and will be arriving within the next few weeks. We have been cleaning and purging like crazy to take this tiny catch all room into a fun space that will be where all the learning happens next year. I decided to tackle the painting solo but then decided this was a good learning experience. I rolled on my Calming CBD Oil and invited Ms Addie P to help paint… Those who know me, know I have great anxiety with my kid making a mess…. I have to say it was nice to have the help. Granted she will not be doing any professional jobs anytime soon. It was a great start and she gained some ownership of the space.
Shout out to my Sherwin Williams rep Amanda and the great CEU presentation she did a few weeks ago on Emerald Designer Edition paints. Not a paid recommendation, just very pleased with the product. The original color of the room was Alexandria Beige, and now, we are light and bright, with Lotus Petal. It took 1.5 coats to fully cover the previous color, but the finish is amazing and zero odor. Up next we wait for the removable wall covering to be delivered and I will try my hand at installing that on a sloped wall… not looking forward to that.
Maybe in six months when all the projects are complete, I may have another blog post. HA! Moms, Dad’s, Parents, Teachers, healthcare workers, police officers all the people doing all the things, THANK YOU! Be kind to one another. Live your life, do you, but also show human compassion. We are not all going to agree and that is our thankfully our right as American’s. Compassion and kindness aren’t traits that only fall to the left or to the right…. In the meantime, I am going to continue to explore new tasty cocktail, dessert recipes, so if you have a favorite, post below! I swear to goodness gracious though, let’s not let the damn Gremlin’s get wet….
2 thoughts on “LIFE UPDATE, DEALING WITH LOSS, QUARANTINE, AND LIFE in 2020…”
I’m so sorry for the loss of your mom after such a long struggle. I love your line she taught your things you never know you needed to know… What a special bond and love you shared.
Wow, you are very creative with your home endevours. Good luck with staying sane with your 7 year home. Visit me sometime. 🙏
I so enjoyed your post Emily. I do remember your very special Momma and it is so evident in your post how much you loved her and still do! I have enjoyed seeing the redo’s of your spaces and look forward to the finals!
Thank you for your positive post!