Welcome to the ‘ship

Homeownership, that is.

Five years to the day I started my first job at The Journal, I closed on this cutie pie house in Pendleton. My sunset view is my new favorite — an added perk I knew nothing about. Such a colorful sunset the end a pretty exciting day :)

The 2nd 1st of 2018

[This originally appeared in The Journal, a print publication in Seneca, S.C.]

Apparently 2018 is going to be a year of firsts for me.
Writing this, we’re 25 days into the year and I’ve already had two experiences that I wasn’t counting on taking place any time soon. First, as regular readers will remember, was the great chicken slaughter of 2018. Everything went well, by the way. Our church still has a preacher, so I didn’t contaminate anything.
The second task was honestly a little more terrifying for me, yet it was a necessary evil. It wasn’t as bad as the dentist, but getting an eye exam is a close runner-up to necessary well checks and is allegedly a contingency of being an adult.
As it turns out, avoiding eye exams for a decade doesn’t make them any less worrisome for someone who breaks into a cold sweat at the sight of those little black letters.
But, back in December, my dad had a teensy tiny speck of cancer removed from his eye, so it seemed in my best interest to use my new eye insurance to get the ol’ peepers checked out.
I made a quick call to Seneca Optical to set up my appointment, and then another a few days later to reschedule it —not because I wimped out, but because news happens unpredictably.
Alas, it was time. I made it to the office, filled out my paperwork and let Dr. Prescott begin the torture. Or exam, whichever you want to call it.
Just like in the movies, we did the “which is better, one or two?” thing where she changed lenses in front of my face. I wasn’t very good at picking, but I was doing a great job of nervously picking at my nails.
I embraced the vibrant yellow eye drops and then the dreaded dilation. Having never experienced this before, I didn’t heed her warning too well when she told me I’d lose the ability to see up close for a while.
I grabbed my phone to text my mom and sister and let them know my vision was still good as ever, minus astigmatism in my left eye.
I also took a few selfies so I could see how big my pupils were, but as it turns out, I couldn’t see my phone to view the photo. Or take the picture.
A woman walked in to pick some new frames and her shoes reminded me of a pair my best friend, Jenny, wants for her birthday. I sent Jenny a picture of mostly the floor and attempted a message letting her know I’d found her shoes on a lady who could be our mom.
By the time Jenny replied — presumably that the shoes are cute regardless — I couldn’t read my phone no matter how far away I held it from my face. Is that what people with bad vision live with all the time?
It was like visiting a secret world for a little while, but it seems I’m out of vacation days so my next trip to can’t-see-crap land will have to wait.

Caitlin Herrington is slowly becoming an adult against her will. You can reach her at cherrington@upstatetoday.com.

Pioneer training

[This originally appeared in The Journal, a print publication in Seneca, S.C.]

Don’t wear your favorite dress to pluck a chicken.
That’s not advice I expected to be able to give, but I can now 100 percent assure you that your second-favorite dress is a better choice.
I experienced a first on Tuesday afternoon — slaughtering a chicken. In my dream life, I have three backyard chickens named Ella, Nellie and May. They lay eggs for my gourmet weekend omelets, get along swimmingly with my future dog and cackle like hens at my egg-celent jokes.
But part of that dream life must acknowledge that hens don’t lay eggs forever, and my current life acknowledges that chicken is delicious in chili this time of year.
Knowing this and discussing it with my preacher, he generously offered to let me assist in harvesting one of his girls as his four laying ladies had stopped producing eggs in the last few months.
I, for some reason, eagerly agreed. Maybe I just wanted to prove I’m capable of doing it and maybe I wanted to see what it took.
Two quick disclaimers here, dear readers:
First, this is not some weird church ritual, as I jokingly yelled when I exited to the newsroom announcing I had to go kill a chicken with my preacher.
Second: I am about to walk through killing a chicken. This likely won’t go well with your breakfast and morning coffee.
Step one, for me, was picking a chicken. After a brief chat with the girls, I picked the one who didn’t run away when I said the word “knife.” Simple enough.
The first thing we tried was a homemade harvest cone, which involves placing the chicken upside-down in a funnel. This disorients them and prevents any disagreements they may have with becoming dinner.
As it turns out, this chicken’s head was bigger than the opening of the funnel, so we ditched the idea we saw on YouTube and went old-school.
We held her down, I hummed her a little song and her throat met the knife. She put up a little fight and we contemplated letting go to see if she’d run around, but I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to catch her — or if I wanted to.
This is where the dress lesson kicked in. We soaked the bird in hot water and began plucking.
Feathers. Went. Everywhere.
More soaking and more plucking for the two amateurs took about 20 minutes, and then it was time for the part I most dreaded — butchering.
Since I have smaller hands, my preacher suggested I do the gutting portion, which was his way of avoiding it, I think. Rupturing the gallbladder can be dangerous if you plan to eat the chicken, and it should be noted I never found said gallbladder so there’s no way to know whether or not I punctured it with my delicate, organ-slaying skills.
Well, that’s not true.
If I show up to church on Sunday and we’re short a preacher … I’ll blame it on the flu.

In memoriam

[This originally appeared in The Journal, a print publication in Seneca, S.C.]

The week after Christmas was a little bit traumatic in the Herrington household.
I came home from my holiday visits with my family — broken up, of course, by a quick return to The Journal since the news doesn’t take vacation — only to realize I was missing a fish.
Jay-Z, my beta fish, was nowhere to be found.
Before I left, I was careful to treat the water and leave the school a week-long food supply, despite the fact I was only going to be gone for three days.
After a frantic search of the one-gallon aquarium, I quickly accused my cat of poaching poor Jay-Z from the trap door intended for feeding. Betas are air-breathers and Jay was known to hang out at the top, susceptible to the curious grasp of his slightly overweight feline brother.
Fear quickly settled in. Claws is about as domesticated as it gets. He is more scared of stink bugs than I am and there is no way he would have tolerated a flopping fish. I just knew the carcass was sitting somewhere in my apartment, most likely in a shoe. Claws has a thing for leaving toys in my shoes — this wouldn’t be a far stretch.
A survey of the floor and available footwear yielded no results, so I returned to my tank search and eventually located a dead Jay-Z hiding in my banana plant.
Poor Ivy, Sir and Rumi had been swimming around their dead father figure for who knows how long.
The cat still wasn’t in the clear, but I set up an immediate funeral and flushed the body before cleaning the tank.
Cause of death is unknown, but I suspect it is related to a broken heart. Beyoncé, my first desk fish, passed away shortly before Christmas. Her cause of death may have been the result of her former roommate, Destiny. They didn’t’ get along too well.
The jury is still out, but the fish were separated at the time of death.
The third casualty occurred shortly after I cleaned the tank on New Year’s Day.
Petsmart was closed and I was out of “stress coat” that I normally apply during water changes. I could tell it was taking a toll on my blue tetra, Ivy, so I rushed to the office to grab the beta fix from Beyoncé’s fight with Destiny. It has a bit of stress coat in it and I hoped it would do the trick.
Ivy was looking pretty wimpy prior to the water change, likely due to shock of living with her dead father for a day or two. The chemical seemed to perk her up and I proceeded with the cleaning.
She died shortly after being transferred back into the tank and was promptly laid to rest with her father.
For those of you keeping up and likely making fun of my naming conventions, that’s three fish in roughly one week that bit the dust. Just when I had gotten comfortable with being a fish mom and no longer needed a daily reminder to feed them, they all proved me wrong.
This column is dedicated to the three fish I named and the one I didn’t. May the rest in peace.
No name: Unknown-2 days after I got it
Beyoncé: Unknown – Christmastime
Jay-Z: Unknown – also unknown
Ivy: Unknown – Jan. 1, 2018