Catching Up

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
– Mark Twain

Boy, it’s been busy around here.  Let me try to catch you up:

Last Saturday, David and I went out to Loudon Valley Vineyards to “cash in” on David’s Christmas present from Nate and Molly.  Saturdays during the winter (well, November through March), you can go there and have a glass of wine and a bowl of soup for $12.  This past Saturday was the last one of the season, so despite the rainy weather, we decided to go for it.  And boy were we glad we did!  The soup was Beef Burgundy, which I’ve never had before, but it was SO good!  Look:

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I don’t know if it’s traditional to serve Beef Burgudy over egg noodles, but I can tell you I never want to eat it any other way.  And if anyone has a tried and true recipe for this, I would be grateful if you’d share it.

That night, we picked up my mom from the Metro – she was in town last week for conferences – and then met my uncle in Old Town for dinner.  We had planned to go to a French restaurant, but I didn’t think ahead to make a reservation, so we went to the tapas restaurant where David and I had our first date and then my birthday dinner.  Everything was, as always, delicious, and my mom and uncle raved about the food, so I considered it a success.  We took my mom back to her hotel in Georgetown by way of the Tidal Basin so she could see the early cherry blossoms.  I took some pictures, but they aren’t that great, since it was foggy and dark; hopefully I’ll get down there during lunch one day this week and get some better ones.

Sunday was more unpacking.  You would not believe the amount of stuff we have, and we’ve already given tons of it away.  We still have two boxes plus a small vacuum cleaner to take to Goodwill sometime this week.  It’s unbelievable, truly.

Oh, we also went for the first bike ride of the season Sunday.  It was a perfect day for it, and we rode for about an hour or so, on trails neither of us had ever been on and discovered some new places.  It was wonderful.

Yesterday, I got up early and went for a long walk in the park nearby.  I love getting my exercise in early – then I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day.  It was gorgeous, if a little windy and nippy in the morning.

Later, we went to the nursery to pick out tomato plants.  I’m determined to have a crop this year, unlike last year.  David has done quite a bit of research (one reason we’re so compatible is he thinks, I do) and we talked to the guy at the nursery and we picked out two varieties that we hope will do well on our balcony.  Here they are after we transplanted them today:

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They’re not that tall now, but we’ll transplant them again into bigger pots when they grow out of these.  We’re also going to plant cucumbers in early May.  I’m hopeful.  Cross your fingers for us.

I asked the nursery guy about seeds to grow in a window box out on the patio and he said it’s really too late for seeds, that we should go with plants that have already sprouted – I suppose that’s why my Alyssum didn’t flower last year.  At least, I hope it is.  In my zeal, I bought a whole flat of purple Alyssum that had already sprouted and flowered a bit, never once thinking that it would be too much, but it totally is.  So I have 3/4 of a flat of Alyssum if you need it.  Just let me know!

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We headed to Home Depot for potting soil and more plants, but on the way there, we were witness to a pretty serious car accident, so we got waylaid for about 45 minutes.  We were in the right lane and a car was stopped to turn left from the left lane.  David slowed down just in time to see an SUV speed by us on the left and slam into the back of the car waiting to turn left.  David said he’d slowed down because he saw the car waiting to turn and saw the SUV and wanted to give the lady in the SUV space to get over and go around the car.  I don’t know what she was doing – she had kids in the car, maybe they distracted her – but by the time she saw him and slammed on her breaks, she had no chance to stop.

The car waiting to turn had its trunk completely totaled, and its rear windshield ended up in pieces on the hood of the SUV.  There were four teenagers in that car, and they all appeared to be ok.  I don’t know how neither of the two in the back seat were injured, given how far in the trunk got smashed, but what a relief.  I called the police while David directed traffic around the accident.  The police, fire, and ambulance came, we gave a statement, the mother got taken to the hospital on a gurney, probably as a precaution, and the kids’ father came and took them in his car.  So, all in all, everyone was very lucky.

After that, we finally made it to Home Depot and spent an hour choosing flowers and getting potting soil, window boxes, plant food, and cucumber seed.  $100 later, we headed home.  David put the window boxes together, and then we had a good dinner of pulled pork from the crock pot, baked beans, and corn.  Yum.  We also watched Milk, which was excellent, and I highly recommend it.  The bonus features were also very interesting (and subtitled!  Which, thankfully, is becoming more common, but unfortunately, is not yet required).

This morning, I potted all my flowers and put them in their window boxes.  Here are my petunias:

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And here are my geraniums:

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I love them.  I hope I don’t kill them.

I finally got the guest room in usable order today, though all the books are still in boxes, awaiting the arrival another bookshelf, which is coming from my parents, so god knows when I’ll get it.  Everything is coming together, and except for three boxes of David’s stuff in the den, and the books, everything is unpacked.  Thank goodness for that.

We went for another bike ride this afternoon, again on a different trail and again seeing all kinds of new things.  It’s so much fun!  The weather is beautiful again today, so that’s lucky.  Now we’re back, showered, and relaxing.  I’m waiting for 8pm, when my Braves take on the Phillies in the first game of the new baseball season!  In honor of the day, I’ve changed my Facebook profile picture to this one:

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Yay for baseball!

Miscellania

I think housework is the reason most women go to the office.
– Heloise Cruse

Ok, here you go – proof that OxyClean really does work:

If you know where to look when you’re in the bedroom, you can just ever so slightly see that the carpet has a kind of greenish tint where the stain was, but I don’t even notice it anymore. Isn’t that amazing? The stuff I used is called Woolite OxyDeep, and it comes in a blue spray bottle (I just checked and realized it’s not an official OxyClean product, I guess, but who cares?).

I wasted hours and $25 renting a steam cleaner from the grocery store that only marginally made the stain better, even after treating it directly with undiluted carpet cleaner first (which just made it turn green). I don’t know what made me think of OxyClean, but I figured it was worth a shot. Let me tell you, I could have saved $20 and nearly all the hours, because you just spray that stuff on, let it sit for a few minutes and blot it up. It will still be damp and it will still keep working. I left it for a while after I first applied it and blotted it, thinking I’d come back to it and do another round, but when I went back in the bedroom, the stain had practically disappeared! Yay!

Also, two things I forgot about the beach:

1. I spend so much time in the pool, that I always forget that ocean water is salty. It’s kind of a unique surprise.

2. All around Virginia Beach there are dolphin sculptures all decorated differently. See:

I’m sorry, what was that? Oh – of course I had to take pictures of all of them!

Sorry things have been slow around here. The thing that was maybe going to resolve itself last Tuesday is still officially unresolved, which is actually much better for me in the long run, but still kind of hard to deal with at the moment, so I haven’t felt much like writing. Or, I have, but I’m not sure what’s really ok to write about right now, so I’ve been kind of taking a break. Hopefully more regular posting will resume shortly!

Why I Should Never Have Children

“It happens every time – they all become blueberries!”
– Willy Wonka, in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Thursday, I had to be at work by 8, which is 45 minutes earlier than I usually get there. In order to do that, I had to take the 7 o’clock shuttle, which meant I had to get up at 6. That is one hour before my usual waking time, and it is not good.

Anyway, I got up at 6:10 and got out of the shower at 6:30. I needed to eat something, so I whipped up a blueberry smoothie in the kitchen and brought it into my bedroom so I could drink it while I was getting dressed. You see where this is going already, don’t you?

I was standing near my dresser putting lotion on my legs. In between, I was taking sips of the smoothie (from a straw, without picking the cup up off the dresser). I do not know how it happened, but I pumped more lotion out of the bottle and moved my hand towards my body, and the next thing I know, disaster struck:

Yeah, that’s blueberry smoothie all over my beige carpet (in my apartment, which I rent). Awesome. And of course, now it’s 6:45, and I need to be out of the house in about 12 minutes, and my legs are covered in smoothie. I had to hop back in the shower to rinse off, slap lotion back on, do the quickest hair and make-up ever, and get the hell out of house, which meant I had no time to even clean it up, not that I had any idea where to even begin.

And if you know me personally, you know that this causes me, like, actual physical pain to look at. My bedroom is so pretty, and now it’s covered in blueberry smoothie. And it’s not even centered in front of the dresser, so that I could just move the area rug from in front of the closet to cover it up! And this is why I should never have children. Because I am a control freak and they are going to hate me.

I’m exaggerating (a little), of course, and tomorrow I’m going to rent a steam cleaner from the grocery store, but I’m worried that this is not going to come out and then I’ll have to live here for another year (I just renewed my lease) seeing this every single day.  Boo.

Ways I Almost Died Today

“I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it by not dying.”
– Woody Allen

  1. Outside Baltimore, some big linoleum tile-like things flew off the back of a poorly covered flatbed and landed on the hood of my car and skidded off and caused me and others to swerve onto the shoulder at 65 mph. When I stopped to inspect the damage, I was relieved to see that there were no scratches or dents on my hood and that I hadn’t, you know, crashed. It wasn’t until I stopped for lunch later that I realized it popped the emblem off the grill in front. Since I’m ok, I can afford to be pissed about the fact that my pretty car is now imperfect again.
  2. On the Jersey Turnpike, two different 18-wheelers cut me off at 75 mph without using a signal, causing me to swerve into the (luckily empty) left lane.
  3. On the Southern State Parkway on Long Island, a dumbass waiting to merge onto the highway (there are no merging lanes) decided that the best time to do it was when I was 500 feet from him and there was someone tailgating me.

I’m in New York for a long weekend to visit law school friends. I left NoVa this morning around 9:30 and arrived at my hotel around 3, amazingly in one piece. I just woke up from a nap, and I’m about to start getting ready for the annual Law Review banquet, which is the reason I chose this weekend to come up. I never said I wasn’t a nerd.

I’m coming home Sunday, I think, and I have my computer with me, obviously, but I’m not anticipating any more new content before Monday, so have a great weekend!

So That Happened . . .

And Man created the plastic bag and the tin and aluminum can and the cellophane wrapper and the paper plate, and this was good because Man could then take his automobile and buy all his food in one place and He could save that which was good to eat in the refrigerator and throw away that which had no further use. And soon the earth was covered with plastic bags and aluminum cans and paper plates and disposable bottles and there was nowhere to sit down or walk, and Man shook his head and cried: “Look at this Godawful mess.”
– Art Buchwald

Here’s the setup: My apartment complex runs a shuttle service to the Metro station every morning on the half hour between six and nine. At 7:00, 7:30, and 8:00, there are so many people waiting that often one bus can’t take them all. In the past, this meant that if you couldn’t get a seat on the shuttle, you had to make a run for the local bus, but you never knew for sure whether you’d be able to get a seat on the shuttle. After many complaints from residents, the complex apparently worked out a deal with the shuttle bus company that for those three times in the morning, the route would be serviced by two of the larger shuttle buses (which probably seat about 25-30 people each), one behind the other. The first bus would pick up until it was full and then head for the Metro; the second would catch the stragglers at the early stops and, usually, all the people at the last shuttle stop. This system has worked well for more than a month, and I thought everything was settled and going smoothly.

Then today, the first bus arrived in the form of a HUGE charter bus. I’m talking easily a 60-seater. This happened once before, prior to the 2-bus system. I assumed it would be the only bus today, as when all of the people at my stop (the second or third one on the route) got on, it was less than one-third full. But, instead of making the rest of the route (2 more stops), the driver made the first turn off to head to the Metro, which made no sense. Turns out there was the regular second bus behind him. I, who tend to be extra-conscious of the environmental impact of my actions, was quite distraught over this. I was sitting in the first seat of the bus, right behind the driver, and at the first stoplight, I inquired politely why we had such a big bus if we weren’t going to make the full route. Here’s what happened next:

Driver: Oh, well, y’all are usually all crowded together on the smaller bus. I thought I’d take the big bus today and let you have your space. [This is true, but only in the sense that all the seats are filled; it’s not like we’re packed in like sardines or anything]

Me: Ok, but this is such a waste –

Driver: No it’s not.

Me: Yes, it is. It’s a waste to drive this whole big bus that’s less than half-full when there are still other people to be picked up –

Driver: What do you care? Do you pay for it? Do you?

Me (stunned, not as quick on my feet as I would like): No, but –

Driver: Then what difference does it make? You don’t pay for it, it’s not a waste.

Me: Why are you jumping down my throat?

Driver: You people, somebody says something you don’t like, they’re jumping down your throat.

Me: No, when you interrupt me and don’t let me finish, then you’re jumping down my throat. I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t just bring the regular bus.

Driver: What do you care?

Me: I live in the world; I care because this is a waste of gas to take two buses.

Driver: No, it’s not, don’t worry about it.

[By this time, the light has turned green, and the driver has started moving forward through the intersection]

Me: But it is; there’s no reason to take two buses when this one’s not anywhere close to full. We could pick up all those people and still be only half-full.

Driver: [STOPS THE BUS, LIKE HE’S MY MOTHER OR SOMETHING] Do you want to get off? If you don’t like it, you don’t have to ride. You can get off the bus. Do you want to get off the bus?

Me (shocked into silence for a moment, then): Are you kidding me? Are you serious with this? No, I don’t want to get off. Like I want you take an even less full bus to the Metro.

Driver: Alright then. It’s not a waste. I just take the bus they tell me to take. If you got a problem with it, take it up with the company.

Me: I will, you can be sure of that, and I will also take your attitude up with them.

Driver: I don’t know what you’re talking about, attitude, but you do what you got to do.

[Someone else chimes in, I think in my defense, but I can’t be sure]

Driver: We take two buses every day, and we’re taking two buses today, what’s the difference?

Me: At least one bus is full on the other days when you take two normal-sized buses.

Driver: Whatever. I take the bus they tell me to take. You don’t like it, you call them.

Me: I will.

[We head down the road, the Driver, as usual not obeying basic laws and rules of traffic; towards the end of the ride, he nearly rearends the car in front of us and lays on the horn]

Me (who admittedly should have kept my mouth shut at this point, but didn’t): What good will that do?

Driver: You got something you want to say to me?

Me: Yes I do, but I will talk to you about it at the station.

Driver: I’m not interested in talking you at the station. You got any talking to do, you call the company.

Me: Well, tell me: first you say you picked the big bus so we could have more room, then you say you just take the bus they give you – which is it? [I’m not a lawyer for nothing!]

Driver: I’m done talking to you. You don’t pay for this so what do you care?

Me: I do pay for this, because I pay rent. I asked you a simple question, and I think I’m entitled to an answer.

Driver: You want an answer, call the apartment people, call my company. I take the bus they tell me to take.

Me: Fine. I’ll call them, don’t worry.

[We arrive at the station. He stops the bus, we line up, me first, waiting for him to open the door. He does. I take one step and my foot slips. I land on my ass – hard – on the bottom step.]

Me (out loud, but to myself): That’s just perfect. [I gather my things, get off the bus, and don’t look back]

S’posed to be some kinda irony, or something.