An Open Letter to My Landlord

Dear Sahar,

I moved every piece of furniture in your house today.  I'm not sure when a furnished apartment became "leave all your crap," but I would greatly appreciate it if you could pick up all the chatzkes around here and take them with you, as I don't have enough room for my crap, let alone your crap.  I mean the giant jade horses's head is beautiful and all but it would be much prettier if it didn't serve as a bookend for paper towels, since I have no where else to put them.  Today I decided the giant Eiffel tower statue that you left here would look much more authentic if I left it outside - the elements provide that lovely galvanized look.  And what's the deal with all the dead flowers around here?  I get the concept of potpourri, but a dead flower arrangement that still has the plastic fork that holds the card is not potpourri.  Can I please throw it away?  It gives me the creeps.  Also, you have these matching decorative wine and martini glasses and pitcher - they are in my way.  I actually like to use the kitchen to cook, as such, my cooking utensils that thank God I brought since your idea of a furnished kitchen is a ton of pots and pans and nothing else (and I may have gotten the only cutting board stuck in the drawer under the stove) need the home that your wine glasses are currently occupying.  And let's talk about the spice rack.   Did you think that by leaving me this spice set you apparently purchased when you moved in here in 2001 that you were doing me a favor?  I emptied all of the spice jars today, seeing as they had all turned gray or brown, and put them in the dishwasher. 

Additionally, how in the world could you have ever possibly thought that a white couch would be appropriate rental furniture?  I have three dogs and you knew that before you rented to me.  Did you just figure that replacing the couch would cost way less than the deposit that you'll probably keep from us?   I appreciate that you have someone coming tomorrow afternoon to steam-clean it, but I would have really appreciated it much more if you'd had that person come before we moved in.  Nonetheless I will continue to put my bare ass on it, so you may want to have it steam-cleaned again before the next tenants move in.  Speaking of cleaning, let's go back to the I have three dogs thing and you rented me a furnished apartment without a vacuum.  And didn't tell me to bring one.  Thank God I at least brought the little half-assed dust buster on a stick that I did, because if not, no amount of steam-cleaning the carpets is going to make up for not vacuuming nine months of three dogs' hair.  I mean, not that I should be concerned with leaving this place clean - I've never seen so many dust bunnies and cobwebs in my life.  Have you heard of a Swiffer?  Don't worry, though, I took pictures of all the stains on the carpet and paint scratched off the wall just in case you try to screw me out of more than just space.

Finally, the flat screen TV wall mount in my bedroom is really cool.  It would be even cooler if there was a TV attached to the mount.  Can you either take the mount down or add a TV?  I know it seems like a lot to ask but every night I go to sleep that is the last thing I see and frankly its ugly.

Your tenant,


First off I want to thank everybody who reached out to me with their kind emails, texts and messages.  It meant a lot!  After hitting what I'm hoping was my personal nadir here on Thursday night and some pouting for Joey's benefit on Friday, I had a really nice weekend.

Friday night we tried Ethiopian food for the first time.  The whole exper- ience was really cool - you are served a huge platter of different foods with a basket of really spongy bread rolled tightly like a tortilla (but not tasting anywhere like it) and you break off a piece of the bread and use it to pick up the food on the platter.  I have some choice comments about the taste of Ethiopian food but my husband is censoring my right to put them here.

Conversation that just transpired:
Me: "Can I write _________?" Joey "NO."  Me: "What about ______?" Joey "NO NO NO."  Mr. Hotshot Diplomat apparently no longer has a sense of humor.

Saturday it was so hot here it felt like we were in Ethiopia.  For some reason DC was experien- cing a late heat wave and it was in the mid-90s.  Which is no problem, if you're inside.  But we had agreed to go to a Nationals baseball game with some of the people in Joey's class, so instead we sat outside in the sun and baked.  I should take a picture of the incredibly sexy tan line on my thighs from my shorts.   To compensate, we drank several $8 beers and had a great time.

The back of his jersey says "Tom"

Saturday night we went out for pasta so I could carb-load for my big 20-mile run yesterday.  I'm not sure though that I hadn't been carb-loading all day, what with the Five Guys burger and fries followed by beer at the game, but just to make sure I ate several pieces of bread, a heaping plate of pasta followed by three scoops of gelato.  Don't worry, I paid my penance yesterday morning.  About mile 17 I hit a wall.  Oh my GOD I was convinced I was going to throw up.  I just kept counting the seconds and telling myself only 3 more miles, 2 more miles, half a mile...  I made it - it took 9 minutes longer than I wanted it to - but I did run the whole time.  I have one more 20-miler before the big marathon and next time there will be no double cheeseburger and fries beforehand, nor any alcohol the day before and I will be prepared and have Gu on hand instead of having Joey make a last minute run to CVS to get some peanut M&Ms.  Speaking of Joey, in true amazing husband fashion, he followed me the whole way on his bike as my water boy, which probably got pretty frustrating to pedal so slow while I was chugging along at the end.  I saw some people with Camelbak water packs which I think I might like to get, but I have to admit, there were a few spots along the trail that gave me the heebie jeebies and I was really glad I had my security behind me.

Today we finally get our 400 lbs of air shipment.  I am so excited for hangers - all of my clothes have been camping out on a chaise lounge in our bedroom and it is impossible to decide what to wear.  I also get my Ugg boots, which is perfect timing because its been quite chilly the last two days - I think fall is actually in the air. We actually could have gotten our shipment Saturday afternoon.  Last Monday Joey got an email from the moving company that our air freight was in DC and we should arrange a time for it to be dropped off.  So Joey emailed the woman to schedule a time and she replied, "How about Saturday?"  Joey wrote back, "Saturday would be great - what time?"  No reply.  This was Monday.  So all week long, he emails them, calls them - no reply.  So Saturday we're at the baseball game and Joey receives a phone call from the moving company: "We're at your house."

Joey replied, "I'm not - no one called me."

Shipping company: "No one called you?"

Joey: "No - I tried emailing you, calling you and never heard back, so I'm at a National's game."

Shipping company: "Well when can you be here?"

Joey: "Two hours"

Shipping company: "How about Monday between 2 and 5?"  So this afternoon it is.  Yay!

We also submitted our bid list last night.  We had to rank each of the 94 posts high, medium or low.  They ask that you submit your bidding strategy along with your bid list; your strategy is basically three preferences.  According to State, if your bid list matches your strategy, they will try to honor your preferences.

For example, say Joey wants to work in management and learn French.  If there were a management job in Paris on the bid list, Joey would bid that high because it fits within his preferences.  Well, say there is also a management job in Guinea, where they also speak French.  If Joey did not bid that post high, the folks at State would say, "Hmm, apparently he doesn't really honor his preferences so why should we?"

So we listed our three preferences as follows:
1) Must be able to take dogs.  Which precluded quite a few posts.  Some countries on the list only allowed two dogs, some had breed restrictions, and some countries have really long quarantines (Australia's is 6 mos.).  So any country where we couldn't bring the boys got ranked low.  Everything else we ranked medium or high to make the point that the dogs are our number one priority.

2) Our second preference was for Joey to learn a world language (French, Spanish, Italian or German).

3) Our third was that the job either be consular or management (his cone is management and so in order to be promoted he must work in his cone, but in order to be tenured you have to have consular experience).  So all the posts where the job is in the management or consular cones and the language is one of the above we ranked high.  Everything else we ranked medium.

We had a meeting last week with his career development officer and she said based on his preliminary bid list his strategy was very clear and since were open to so many places we should be happy where we end up.  We'll see.  Everything is now in the hands of the State Dept.  However, after some research of the different posts, some of the places in Africa actually sounded really cool - I think now that I've come to terms with this "worldwide availability" waiver that Joey signed, I might actually like some of those posts.  One week from Friday and we'll know for sure!


I'm slightly annoyed.  We moved here less than two weeks ago and the State Dept has already sent my husband out of town for the night.  I realize that this was a planned activity that he knew about long before we moved to DC, but I still think its shitty that I'm stuck here alone.  I organized a gathering of the other A-100 spouses and so I'm definitely looking forward to commiserating with some of them (or at least dining), but it still annoys me that I have to sleep alone tonight.  I realize that there are probably literally a million single women that live here in DC and sleep just fine and safe all by themselves at night, and I realize that I also have about 100 lbs of deterrent in the form of a big, scary (unless you know him), barking black dog.  Nonetheless, I am definitely going to need more than one cocktail to fall asleep tonight - not to mention being brave enough to walk the two blocks from the Metro station to my house in the dark.  Okay, seriously though, I live in a very safe neighborhood and the Metro station is located in the convention center so there are always tons of people around and security guards and its not an issue, but I grew up in Iowa, ok?  I mean, we always locked our doors at night but coming from 26 years of suburbian living to downtown DC is an adjustment by itself, not to mention without my big, tough, strong husband to keep me safe (gag me - sad, but true).

Another adjustment?  Mobility.  Even though I have more mobility at my disposal here than I did in Iowa, I feel totally debilitated.  I swear to God figuring out this bus schedule, metro schedule, parking schedule and matching it to my schedule takes more time than the activity itself.  Monday I got another $25 parking ticket when I drove to yoga.  Apparently I missed the meters.  So Tuesday I decided no more driving, the public transportation is great in this town, I'm taking the bus.  I left early, went to the CVS to get my Smartcard for cheaper fares, and then waited for the bus.  Well the bus stop is on the wrong side of the street.  So when the bus came (early, or so I thought), I got on and thought "this is the wrong way."  After about 5 blocks I decided to ask the bus driver and he told me I needed to get off and go across the street.  What he neglected to tell me was that his was the same bus that would be arriving across the street, after it had made a loop around the Federal Triangle.   So I got off, crossed the street and waited for the next bus (20 minutes), got back on the same bus when it came, and by then had missed my class.  So instead I went to the grocery store and walked home. 

Today I got on the right bus (the website says the stop is at 11th and L - the stop is actually 11th and M) and got to yoga on time.  After class, I caught the first bus, but then decided I could probably walk home faster since I had to wait ten minutes for the second bus that took me 7 blocks.  So I ended up walking home but freaking out the whole time because like I said before, even though my neighborhood is safe, its quite a different demographic than that of Urbandale, Iowa.  It is so frustrating to me that to travel a little over a mile it takes at least half an hour on a bus each way or a very carefully parked car (and now that we are almost $100 into parking tickets I've got nothing but time to ride buses). 

The traffic and parking and public transportation in this town is just downright confusing and frustrating and frankly, I felt more successful at explaining to my 85 year old Italian-American grandmother (whom I love very much), who has lived within a 2-block radius her entire life, why I was excited about Joey's career choice to move around the world and why I am not at home, in Des Moines, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen, than I have at getting around town these last two weeks.  As such, instead of taking in the sights and museums like I should be, I'm hanging out at home with the dogs.  Granted, there has been plenty here to keep me busy, what with unpacking, cleaning (I swear this place hasn't been cleaned in two years), and the dogs, but really, let's face it.  I'm chicken shit to go do anything by myself.  Besides run, of course, because for some reason with my iPod and running shoes I feel like I can do anything - so at least since I run the mall everyday I get to see the museums and monuments that way.

Anyways, like I said above, tonight is dinner with the other spouses and I am going to do it all by myself...

Okay so I decided not to post this earlier because I didn't want to get my parents all worked up...I thought, I'll wait until I get home safe and sound and then post it.  Well, I didn't have to worry about walking home in the dark at all because no one showed up.  No one!  All these people emailed me and said it was a great idea and the ones who couldn't come told me they wanted to do something another night and then there were some people who said they were coming and so I went and waited...and waited...and waited.  Finally about 20 minutes later, practically on the verge of tears, I went back to the hostess, apologized and went home.  I got a phone call about 20 minutes after that and I guess some people eventually showed up but there's only so much standing around by yourself waiting you can do before a breakdown ensues.  Luckily I got home before mine hit.

So dinner tonight for me is a protein bar and amaretto.  I would drink something stronger but all we have is bourbon and I can't drink that shit.  I'm not going to lie, I'm so freaking lonely.  It's one thing to be alone all day, with the exception of your interaction with your trainer, Mansur (not even kidding that's his name, and so by the quality of his name you can probably judge the quality of the interaction), but then to be alone all night too is really hard.  I mean, I didn't have a ton of friends in Des Moines, but I had friends there.  And my sisters.  And a few friends coming through town every once in a while.  Here all I have is Joey and now he's gone its lonely and hard.  I just hope that when we go abroad he doesn't have that many nights away from me because its hard enough to adjust to living in DC and not have him here - its going to be really rough when I'm trying to adjust to living in Africa and my husband is gone. 

Oh well.  At least I've got my boys.  


Well, we have officially lived here for a week and things are starting to get a bit easier.  We've learned how to navigate the Metro (subway) as well as the streets of DC.  We've tried several restaurants and I found a yoga studio.  We've also visited two churches in town and learned that A) there is a Mass any time that works for you (last Sunday we went at 7:30pm) and B) if we can make it to the 11 AM Mass at the church right by our house, it is well worth it!  Not only is the church beautiful (and on the National Register of Historic Places), the music is incredible.  The cantor this morning had such a powerful and gorgeous voice that after he performed a solo during the offertory, the congregation erupted in applause.  Following Communion, he and another man performed a duet of "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" that gave me goosebumps.  Apparently it gave everyone else goosebumps too because the duo received a standing ovation. 

We've also learned that two cars and one parking spot do not work whatsoever.  The Eos has been on Craigslist since we got here, but with only one low-ball offer so far, its been sitting in our parking spot.  As a result, Joey has been driving the Volvo to and from work every day and then parking it on the street at night.  Well on Friday Joey worked at the Main State building in Foggy Bottom, which does not have parking, which meant I had to watch the car and move it every two hours.  Not a problem in the morning, but that afternoon I was scheduled to meet him at work so I could sit in on one of the sessions about bidding, which precluded me from moving the car.  I would have parked it in the all day lot, but you have to be out of that by 6:30 and since there was a happy hour following the afternoon session, I didn't know if we'd make it back in time to get the car out of the lot.  Ironically, we got home about 7:30 and there was still no ticket on the car, so we didn't move it (even though the sign says til 8:30).  So of course we woke up to a $30 ticket - first noticed at 4:45 and noticed again at 7:45 (which meant we could have moved it and avoided the ticket).  Figures.

Saturday we went to the Eastern Market by the Capitol in the morning for breakfast and farmer's market.  I couldn't believe the selection and the food was so cheap!  You would think coming from a place like Iowa you wouldn't be able to match the selection and the price but it's just amazing here - we bought green beans, snap peas, sweet potatoes, peppers, garlic, lemon, eggplant, and heirloom tomatoes for $20!   We also waited in line for about an hour to get the famous "blue/buck" pancakes, which absolutely were worth the wait. 

A framed article on the wall at the Eastern Market

So since we had some errands to run, we stopped home to drop off the groceries and let the dogs out.  We plugged the meter ($4/hr on Saturday) for an hour and just missed it.  An hour and one minute later we passed the meter maid on our way back to the car and found a $25 ticket waiting for us.  So after $55 in parking tickets in two days we spent the rest of yesterday afternoon at car lots in Virginia trying to sell one or the other.  We put the Volvo on Craigslist this morning and it appears as though it will sell much easier than the EOS and since the cost to sell the EOS is the same as the carrying cost for the next nine months, it looks like I get to hang on to my beloved convertible a little bit longer.

The dogs (and I) saw their first Presidential motorcade last night.  After we got home from a long day at the car lots, we hooked the dogs up for a walk and saw another bevy of police cars at the end of our street (much like two nights before when the First Lady had been there).  So we walked down and there was a little crowd of people waiting.  When we asked what was going on, we were told the President would be speaking at the Congressional Black Caucus and that he was coming this way.  So we waited, dogs and all, with everyone to see his motorcade drive by.  It was pretty neat to see all the motorcycles, limos, SUVs, ambulances and armory drive by but I was a little disappointed you can't even make out a wave from the guy.

We found a mini dog park just around the corner from our house.  It's a vacant lot, but its fenced in and we're told the woman who owns it tried to get it zoned to build a home, couldn't, and since she loves dogs so much decided to leave it open for the neighborhood.  We took the dogs Saturday afternoon which they seemed to enjoy.  We enjoyed sleeping through the night last night.

Tonight we went out for dinner with two other guys from Joey's class.  It was really nice to get to know them in a more personal setting - it turns out one of them is from Iowa!  He grew up in Mason City but much of his family lives in Des Moines now.  The other guy is the grandson of a former FSO - his grandfather's last post was as Ambassador to Rome.  Wow.  And in true Italian fashion, we concluded a lovely dinner with a trip to the gelato shop (actually Argentinian gelato) next door, which was just as good as the gelato in Italy.  I can't think of a better way to end a weekend.


Last night was our third wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with dinner at a darling little restaurant just around the corner from our house, Corduroy.  Though the name implies a warm, cozy surrounding, aside from the corduroy-backed menus, the restaurant was far more chic than comfortable, but somehow still managed to be intimate.  We sat in a corner booth set for two and had a fabulous dinner of goat cheese and beet salad, followed by grilled pork and raspberry tart for me, and crab blintzes, grilled lamb, and finished with a chocolate sabayon for Joey.  When I made the reservations through OpenTable.com I mentioned it was our anniversary and the chef even wrote “Happy Anniversary” in chocolate on the dessert plates.   According to one of Joey’s classmates, Corduroy is something of a DC establishment; after our romantic dinner there last night I can see why.  Joey also brought home some beautiful flowers to make for a wonderful evening.  Its hard to believe its been three years already – time goes by so fast and things have changed so much – its hard to imagine what the future will bring!

Speaking of the future, we received a glimpse into it today with our receipt of the hallowed bid list.  The 300 or so possible posts worldwide were narrowed down today to 94, and from that 94 we could narrow down even further based on wanting to leave DC (about 15 posts there) and not speaking the language for those posts with immediate needs (another 10 or so).  According to State Department security regulations, I can’t tell you specifically what countries are on the list.   Not a single one of them.  Apparently it is considered sensitive information not for public dissemination.  I’m not sure why my little blog directed toward my family and friends constitutes a security risk, but those are the rules and like them or not, I signed up for this crap.  I can say that the countries are very heavily concentrated in a continent south of Europe and west of Asia.  There are a few other posts available, one of which is my dream post, which I wish wasn’t even on the list because knowing its an option, though not really a viable option, just makes it that much harder to seriously consider the other posts because all I can think about is that dream post.   There are a few posts available in South America, actually more like Latin America, but it really looks like unless we get that s-f-Joey luck to come through, we are going to Africa.  Therefore I am in a really bad mood.  I know I shouldn’t be and I guess I’m not in a bad mood, just more sour and broody.  Its not that I wasn’t expecting that we’d be going there, but I guess I just hoped we wouldn’t be going there so soon.  Like maybe we could get broken into living internationally (aka away from Target) by moving to South America before we moved to the bushwood.  But nothing is for sure yet and we still have a lot of research to do to prepare our list (gotta make sure the dogs can get in and live there safely).   So the priority for the next week or so is research to rank our list and then we wait.  But every day it gets a little closer.

I had an orientation today for Foreign Service Spouses.  The morning session was really informative but the afternoon session got a little redundant.  It was nice to learn about all the different people around the Foreign Service whose job is to make our lives easier as we make these huge changes.  The Foreign Service Institute is a really pretty campus and I’m glad I got the chance to see where Joey will be spending much of his time in DC.  

After making our way home this evening from Arlington, we had a really hard time finding a parking space.  There were tons of police cars, secret service agents and other security around the convention center right by our house.  We stepped into the wine shop  around the corner and asked what was going on and he said the First Lady had just been in tasting wine!  You can still hear a helicopter circling the block and according to Joey, when he just took Moe out, all of the streets are now totally blocked off.  Cool!  I just looked up online what's going on over there and its the Congressional Black Caucus.  LOL.


Our apartment

Our building, the Haley House.  Aren't the steps pretty?  We are the second row of windows.
Joey taking a break after emptying the cars himself.
I thought since yester- day's blog was so long I'd just put a little bit about our apart- ment today.  We live in a historic row house, which, according to the bronze plaque on the front of the building, was built around 1871.  It is named the Haley House (also according to the plaque in case anyone thought I had begun randomly naming things).   

The kitchen/dining area
The place itself is nice.  It has beautiful crown molding, granite counter- tops in the kitchen and bath- rooms, top of the line stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, berber carpet and a huge tiled shower in the master.   

Our back porch - the door to the bedroom is right behind the post.
Unfortunately, it is without storage.  Whoever renovated this place apparently decided two small walk-in closets in each bedroom would be sufficient for everything.  There is no broom closet, no pantry, no coat closet – just the closets in the bedroom.  Joey keeps saying “if we can fit it all in the car, we can fit it in here” but fitting it and accessing it are different.  I’ve turned the curio cabinet (can someone please explain why people think furnished has to mean decorated – keep your chatzke crap out of my space – I don’t want to look at it and I don’t have room) into storage for paper towels and first aid items.
A view from the other side of the post (back door).  The butterflies love the bushes.

The street is also part of a historic neighborhood, called Shaw.  A home only a few down from us is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Blanche K Bruce House.  He was apparently the first African-American to serve a full term in the US Senate.  If you're interested in reading more about our neighborhood (the history is actually fairly interesting), here's a link: http://www.shawmainstreets.com/shawhistory.htm
This is the view to the right of our apartment - the picture above is the view to the left (facing the building).
The view from our front door - luxury condominiums.

Post from Yesterday

I wrote this yesterday.  Unfortunately the internet was down all day so here it is now.

Wow! What a morning it’s been and its not yet 8 am.  I just got back from taking Joey to his first day of work.  This morning he’s at “Main State” which is in Foggy Bottom, apparently somewhat of a trek from the nearest Metro (or so I’m told – methinks its akin to not wanting to ride the school bus the first day).  Starting tomorrow, and for the majority of his time here, Joey’ll be at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Arlington, which is accessible by a Metro.  However, as we currently are juggling two cars and one parking space, Joey may be driving himself to work tomorrow since FSI has a parking lot. 

The drive to get Joey to work was easy – straight down 9th, take a right on Constitution (at the Smithsonian), go down Constitution to 23rd, take a right and he’s right there.  Unfortunately, the drive back was not so simple.  I couldn’t really turn around since there were 2 lanes of traffic in between me and the other side, and so I headed up 23rd.  DC is on a grid, with the numbers going one way (East/West or North/South – I don’t know which) and the letters going the other.  Diagonally are the state roads (i.e. Pennsylvania, etc.).  Well somewhere between 23rd and M and 9th are a lot of one-way roads, none of which seemed to be going the way I needed to go.  Though I got quite a scenic tour of the city (including Chinatown where the frigging street signs are in Chinese – a lot of good that does me – which resulted in a turn onto a one-way street and oncoming traffic (don’t worry I backed up, almost into several pedestrians crossing the street), I really would have preferred it on foot.  

Upon finally finding our address and attempting to parallel park the Volvo and a 7 or 8 point turn later, I was driving around the block back to the all day parking lot.  Now I don’t have to move the car every 2 hours and find a spot and parallel park.  The guy had me back into the back corner (since I told him I’d be back at closing time) and I thought apparently he didn’t see me driving around DC like a chicken with its head cut off.  Then, even though they take your keys, he made me pay now, which of course I don’t have cash.  So luckily there’s a little market across the street so I just had to walk pass the vagrants (I don’t know if they really were vagrants) to go inside and find an ATM – thank God there was one.  So $9 and a block later, here I am, relieved that when I opened the door the dogs weren’t barking up a storm in their kennels. 

The dogs seem to have adjusted pretty quickly.  George made friends this morning with 3 other dogs while out for his morning constitutional.  Joey, while taking Max out yesterday, met a woman who told him the neighborhood was not only very friendly but very dog friendly and told him about a dog park nearby so when we have a minute to breathe we’ll check that out.  Joey also met the neighbors below us yesterday when he fell down the stairs in front of our house while taking Moe out (it was raining) because he made such a thud they came out to check on him.  Apparently they were very nice too and offered help with anything we needed.  I’m happy to know Joey has interacted with some nice neighbors because the first neighbor I met was a royal asshole. 

Like I said above, we have one parking spot.  It’s in the back alley, where there are 4 other parking spots.  Ours is in the top right corner, parallel to a fence.  Someone parks behind us and three cars park perpendicular to us with a large space between.  Well, since we were unloading the cars, we moved both into our spot (parallel to the fence).  We’d been there about ½ an hour when Joey went to the corner cafe, The First Cup, to get us some sandwiches.  Soon I heard some knocking on the back door.  Smiling, I walked to the door, assuming a neighbor had come to say hello.  Facing me was a short, bleach-blond, ruddy-faced queen with his hand on his hip.  “Is that your car?” he blurted.  “I can’t get my car out you need to move it IMMEDIATELY.”  

In the meantime I’m trying to get out the door without the dogs getting out and Moe gets through.  Thank God he didn’t jump on this prick because clearly he already had his panties in a bunch – the guy goes “GET that dog away from me.”  Well no problem, asshole, Moe has run away. 

I said “Is that gate open?” 

Rupaul replied “The gate is always left open” then he goes into this diatribe about how I need to move my car and I’m like hey princess, my dog is in the alley I’ve got better things to worry about (I wish I’d said that but I only thought it and was really worked up at this point).  Thank God Moe is terrified of DC because he came running back immediately so first I get Max inside (who has also come out to see what is going on) then Moe inside, shut the door and now face my friendly neighbor and say, “Ok, I will move the car.” 

So I go inside and realize that Joey has the keys with him.  I get Joey on the phone and told him he needed to come back and he said it’d be about 15 minutes.  In the meantime (this is about 1 minute), dickhead is back and he is banging on the back door.  I mean just pounding.  The dogs, of course go nuts and so I just stay in the other room where he can’t see me.  When the pounding stops I go to the back door to close the curtain when he comes back again and as I’m closing the curtain the frigging curtain rod comes crashing to the floor.  I’m like great, this guy is being an asshole and here I am pulling curtains on the floor.  Meanwhile Joey and I have arranged that he’ll come back and deal with Princess and I’ll go to the deli and wait for our lunch.  So Joey arrives (through the front door) and I leave, shaken and totally annoyed.  Joey goes to the back and tells the guy in Joey’s oh-so-annoying-when-you’re-mad-at-him-but-awesome-when-you’re-on-his-team-supreme-calm way to calm down, “no need to throw a temper-tantrum,” we’ll move the car. 

Apparently Princess then said, “I called the police.” 

Joey replied, “Oh good, I’ll wait for them.” 

This sent Princess to a whole new level of rage who said , who began yelling “F you” (he said the whole word) repeatedly as well as “Move your f-ing car.”  Joey told Princess that since he had called the police he didn’t want to move the car and be charged with fleeing the scene.  Princess is still yelling the F word – now mind you, there was room this entire time for Princess to get his car out.  He just wanted to pick a fight.  So anyway, Princess and Joey go back and forth and Princess admits he didn’t call the police.  Joey acquiesces to move the car and Princess says “I got a picture of your tags.” 

Joey asked him what he planned to do with them, to which Princess replied his refrain (“F you, you f-ing asshole”).  Finally Joey moved the car but I’m glad he put Princess in his place.  Next time I see him I am going to woman up and thank him, as warmly as possible, for such a warm welcome to the neighborhood.  I’m still thinking about putting a sappy thank you note on his car but this dude is the epitome of a righteous, flaming gay man and I’m pretty sure it would only incite him to call the ACLU.  Because he’s the type of guy who would say we picked his car to block because he’s gay.  (Which now after my diatribe I feel like I should insert that I really like gay people and I am all for gay marriage and rights but this guy is the type who gives gays a bad name).

After that lovely incident, we parked the Eos, emptied the Volvo and went to Target (because what else will make you feel better more than a trip to Target?).  The Target here is really cool – it’s situated in a mini-mall with Bed Bath and Beyond and Best Buy and you can take your cart from the parking garage below up into all of the stores and the Target even has a cart escalator.  So two hours and $200 later, we found the Whole Foods, parked in its free garage (I love you Whole Foods), and walked across the street to get some food and much needed alcohol.  After a pitcher of strawberry-mint sangria, we walked back to Whole Foods, bought our groceries and drove home, exhausted. 

More unpacking yesterday was broken up by a run to the Capitol, past some of the Smithsonians, to the Washington monument (where there was a triathlon and Tea Party rally – seriously I wish the Tea Partiers would realize their message would carry so much farther without the camo gear), then by the White House.  We also had a gathering last night in Falls Church (only a few miles outside DC but it took us 45 minutes to find the place because A) the traffic, even at 4:30 on Sunday afternoon, is freaking nuts and B) the town of Seven Corners has seven different ways to turn off the highway and Google Maps doesn’t really cut it.   It was nice to meet some of the people we’ll be spending the next several years with – I also thought it was really funny when some of them told me they had read my blog. 

After the gathering we went to church, where the Archbishop of Washington said mass (random), and then out for beer with a few of Joey’s friends from Principal who were in town for the triathlon.   

Today my goal is to unpack some more, find a yoga studio, gym and map.  I really need a map.



It's official - we're Tennessee residents!  Shortly after I finished my earlier post, Joey finally appeared.  Apparently I had given him the wrong directions (I got them from the website, which I suppose I shouldn't have trusted after the documentation issue) so he drove around for an hour and a half before actually finding the station.  Then it was just a matter of waiting while the middle-of-nowhere, Tennessee-tri-state-area folks took their time processing everyone.  After he got back it was my turn.  Two hours later, we were on the road again.

Our drive today was pretty easy.  We're staying in Harrisonburg, VA tonight, which is about 2 hours east of DC.
We stopped along the way at the "Natural Bridge" and were going to take the dogs on the trail (it was allowed) but it cost $18 a person and we decided that you should have to pay $36 to see a natural rock formation and that if we were going to pay that much we'd rather do so when we didn't have to worry about the dogs.  So we climbed back in the car and here we are at our hotel for the night. 

Add this to the weird category.  See the person?  Up close it looks like he's hanging himself.  Joey and I both stood there, dumbfounded, until we realized that we had really been found dumb - he was made of wax.
Joey's out picking up pizza - I figured since it was the last night of our trip and eating like crap (I had a Hardee's Little Thickburger and curly fries for lunch and Gobstoppers for dessert), we might as well cap it off with pizza.  Tomorrow after getting everything out of the cars, I'm heading to Whole Foods and cooking dinner.  I can't wait!


Joey left over 2 1/2 hours ago to go to the TN DMV...they opened at 7 and our hotel is only about 10 miles away so I'm dying to know what is going on.  Especially since he left his cell phone in the room. 

In the meantime, I've showered, blown my hair dry (a first in several weeks), and applied makeup (a first this week) - hey, drivers license pictures are inherently bad - I might as well do my best to mitigate that.  The boys and I had a nice surprise during my shower when the fire alarm started screeching.  I called the front desk who sent up a repair man - as I stood there in my towel I thought how the hell am I going to keep the dogs off him and my towel on me - and the alarm stopped - thank God!

Since I've had some downtime, I got to really read my friend Lauren's blog - on it she has an amazing quote that I think describes how I feel today, only one day from finally moving into DC:

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain



Day 2

As I sit down to write it takes me a little while to think back to this morning - it's been a long day.  We got up this morning to the smell of cinnamon rolls.  Turns out our hotel in Indy was directly across the street from a bakery factory and OMG did it smell good.  Talk about torture - it's been hard enough to eat even sort of well and then every time you take the dogs out for 12 hours you smell that. 

After hitting the road (no cinnamon rolls in tow), we made about an hour and a half to Louiseville and the drive just turned gorgeous.  The hills and pines and farms throughout Kentucky just got more pituresque as we drove and by the end of the day I was trying to take pictures and drive at the same time (safe, I know). 

Yes, taken from the sunroof.  I was just so excited we were going inside the mountain!
We stopped for lunch in Corbin, Kentucky.  For those of you not familiar with Kentucky history, Corbin is the home to probably the most famous Kentuckian ever: Colonel Sanders.  Yes, you read right, we stopped at the original Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch.  Half the building was the quaint, original restaurant but the other half was the modern, ubiquitous KFC you'd find anywhere else.  For this reason I stuck with the grilled chicken.  We filled up with gas (and somewhere along the way Joey managed to lose his gas cap - which some very helpful Kentuckian woman searched under cars with us to find) and hit the road. 

Enjoying his lunch away from prying noses as I returned from my shift inside the restaurant.

We made it as far as the "Natural Tunnel State Park" when we had to stop - Moe and George were itching to use the restroom and I was itching to take pictures.  We ran the dogs around the park for about half an hour (we knew it was time to hit the road again when Moe plopped down in the shade and refused to move any further), drove the mile back to the main highway and then turned around when I saw the sign that said "You can go inside the tunnel!"  Obviously I could not leave without going inside the tunnel.  So after calling Joey, who was very patient as usual, we headed the mile back to the park to find the tunnel.  Unfortunately, it required a hike to get in the tunnel, which as anybody who's ever tried to walk our dogs knows, a hike is pretty much out of the question.  So back on the road we went, and here in our hotel in Bristol, VA, just over the Tennessee border, we are.

Tomorrow morning it's up bright and early to the Tennessee DMV.  Today was our last long drive (another 8 hour day) - tomorrow we only have to go 4 hours so hopefully we'll be able to find something to do with the dogs other than sit in a hotel room and watch TV.  But then again, after a long day, its kind of nice to be held captive and relax (if by relaxing you mean every time the dog needs to go to the bathroom undertaking a miliary operation to get him down the hallway, into the elevator, down four floors, and out the hotel door without bothering other people).