Posts Tagged ‘suburbia’

The past few days have really tested our homeownership abilities.

  • Saturday morning, we found that no water was coming out of the hot water tap in the kitchen. Cold water was flowing fine, and there was hot water in the rest of the house, so we were really only surprised, not concerned. (Plus, hot water came back later that afternoon. Crisis averted!)
  • Saturday evening, the baking element in the electric oven caught on fire, right at the tail end of cooking dinner. We turned off the oven, turned off the breakers, and waited for it to die out. And then we saw that the fire had burned right through the coil, so the oven was out of commission until we could replace it (which Husband did very handily on Monday).
  • Monday evening, we discovered that the dishwasher was somehow clogged. There were several inches of standing water in the bottom, and despite Husband taking all the necessary pieces out and suctioning up all the water, there was no obvious blockage.
  • Which leads me to Tuesday morning, when we discovered that the kitchen pipes were both completely frozen – and still are.

We (and by we, I mean Husband again) have insulated the pipes, but the insulation appears to be no match for the frigid temperatures in the area. And friends have suggested that the frozen kitchen pipes are also what’s causing the dishwasher clog.

It’s like a two-for-one deal that you never actually wanted.

But the good news is that we can still cook in the kitchen. The oven is fixed and fine, and there have been no fires since Saturday. (Knock on wood.)

The bad news is that we can’t clean anything, unless we fill up buckets with water from the bathroom sink and cart them in.

And through all of these things, I’m very aware that our issues could be much much worse. But I’m still left thinking, who in the hell let us buy a house?

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As soon as we solidified our plans for going to Nepal, I knew that 2013 would be a big year in terms of adventures.

Traveling halfway around the world to work with kids and live with strangers in a completely different culture and environment? That’s practically the definition of adventure.



Tack on a trip to India (and the headache of getting there), and you’d think we had enough adventure in the first 5 months of 2013 to be set for the rest of the year.


But wait, there’s more.

In June, nearly as soon as we got back, we celebrated two friends getting married (and had two more weddings scheduled for July and August).

In July, we decided it was time to buy a house.


And then we found out we were pregnant.

In September we marveled at all the crap we’d accumulated in the apartment as we hauled it all off to the house, and we settled into our new roles as homeowners.

In October we had our first real taste of suburbia with trick-or-treaters, and in November we dove even deeper into the suburban lifestyle and adopted Manny (and, I should add, bought an SUV, because I’m not sure you’re allowed to live in the suburbs without one).


Now, as December winds down and transitions into the new year, our little family of three is anxiously awaiting its newest member – the baby boy that will be the biggest adventure of 2014.


And I couldn’t be more excited to see what else the upcoming year has in store.

As long as I can enjoy it on minimal sleep.

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Even before we bought the house, we knew that, eventually, we wanted to be a dog family. Husband had a dog in college, and I grew up with a beautiful (huge) husky/shepherd mix.


And we figured that once we had the house, we’d take our time, settle in, and then visit shelters to search for our dog.

The best laid plans, and all that.

We’re mostly settled, but we haven’t visited a single shelter. The search essentially came to us.

As it turned out, a few months ago the cousin of a friend rescued two puppies…and then realized that he couldn’t care for them. So instead of letting her cousin send them to a kill shelter, our friend offered to find them homes. She knew that we’d been thinking about getting a dog, and let us know when the pups would be in town if we wanted to meet them.

We are, of course, suckers, and fell in love as soon as she brought our newest addition by the house for a meet-and-greet.

We ended up taking him permanently the next day.


Meet Manaslu – Manny for short.

Look at that face. Look how sweet he is.


He’s also a stellar guard dog, as you can see. No one’s going to sneak up on Husband while he’s napping (except, of course, me with the camera, because Manny is also a ham).

So here we are in the deep end of suburbia, with our house, dog, and baby on the way.

And I’m loving every minute of it.

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That’s a little what I felt like last night, while filling trick-or-treat bags with handfuls of candy. Back in my day…

Now, I’m not some grumpy curmudgeon. One of the things I was looking forward to about the suburbs was getting trick-or-treaters. Not only do I have an excuse to buy tons of candy (and hope for leftovers), but I also love seeing the kids’ costumes, and just how excited they are.

So last night, we filled our candy bowl, turned on the front porch light, positioned the pumpkin I convinced Husband we needed, and waited for the doorbell to ring (or at least to hear a knock).


But it happened a little differently.

The kids came, in groups of varying size, but nobody rang the doorbell. Very few even knocked. In fact, if our family room weren’t positioned so closely to the front door, we might not have heard them at all, as they came to the door and just stood silently.

Oh, they talked with each other on the way up the walk, so sometimes we had a clue that they were on their way. But more often than not I would glance over at the front door and there would be a small child or children standing just outside of it, holding out their bags of candy, waiting to be noticed.

And when we DID come over with the candy bowl, there was no, “Trick-or-treat!” There was very little excitement about what I remember being one of the most fun holidays as a kid.

Instead, there were quiet, costumed (some more than others) children begging silently for candy and then running off without a peep after their bags were filled.

The mission of Halloween has clearly become less costume-based, and far more about the candy. I used to think it was at least 50/50.

But the kicker of the night really came toward the end, when the older kids started trick-or-treating. Once again, we heard voices and scuffling, no knocking, and I got up to hand out candy. There were three boys outside (none really dressed up), but only two were facing me.

The third one seemed to have decided to save time by standing with his back toward me, so I could toss the candy directly into his open backpack. No muss, no fuss, no interaction.

And I could tell I wasn’t doing it fast enough because he kept glancing over his shoulder to see what the holdup was.

(The holdup was that I was laughing to myself at his audacity.)

Don’t get me wrong. I still had a blast giving out candy. The costumes were great, the kids were excited (before and after they got to the door), and it was a great way to feel like a part of the neighborhood.

But it also made me promise myself that our kids will learn to say “trick-or-treat” when they go out begging, and they will be dressed up.

Even if I have to get my mom to make their costumes.


Little Ladybug, circa 1989

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During our grocery shopping yesterday, I tried to convince Husband that we should really decorate our home for fall, starting with a pumpkin out front. He looked skeptical at the prospect of, what he called, “putting rotting fruit on our front porch,” but I started looking at the selection anyway.

You know, it seems like you’re really not into having a pumpkin at all.

No, I like pumpkins. It’s just with so many kids running around the neighborhood you really have to be on your gourd.

Like I said, I’m a sucker.

But so is he, because we bought the pumpkin anyway.

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Whenever we told someone that we’d bought a house in the suburbs, one of the first follow-up questions was, “Oh, are you pregnant?

And it was frustrating.

1) If we were pregnant, do you really think that’s how we’d tell you?

And 2) one does not necessarily have anything to do with the other.

So we would calmly explain that no, we weren’t pregnant. Yes, of course, we were planning for the future, but we were taking one step at a time. It was a good time to buy a house and we just happened to fall in love with our little colonial rather quickly. In a market like this you have to act fast.

And it was just pure coincidence that we found out we were pregnant the day after our house bid was accepted and the contract was signed.

I wouldn’t have even tested (because I “knew” I wasn’t pregnant) except for the fact that we were going to a wedding that weekend and I wanted to drink with a clear conscience.

Two pee sticks later and that plan went right out the window.

So I pretended all weekend with sparkling water and lime wedges, and prayed that no one would question why Husband was drinking all my wine at dinner (drinking for three, as he says). And then I spent the week at God camp, where I found myself even more tired and emotional than I usually am during that stretch of 17-hour non-stop days.

By the time I finally got home and was able to get to the doctor for the conclusive blood test, I wasn’t at all surprised to hear the nurse call back with the results: “You are very, very pregnant.” (Funny, I thought there was just pregnant and not pregnant.)

I wasn’t surprised, but that didn’t make me any less thrilled to have it confirmed.

So, come next spring – possibly even opening day – there will be a new little Phillies fan in our house. Because, in my world, baseball allegiances are like Judaism – passed down through the mother.

I just hope our little one has better luck than I do, and doesn’t have to wait 23 years to see them win another World Series.

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After one week of my new hour-plus commute, I can safely say that it’s not as terrible as I thought it’d be.

It’s long, yes, but seamless. Everything runs on time, and everyone is used to their routine.

Also, there’s order, and it’s wonderful.

I know that sounds like a weird thing to praise, but let me explain.

If you’ve ever taken a bus in DC, especially during prime commuting hours, you know that it’s pretty much chaos.

People mill around the stop until the bus pulls up, and then everyone crowds around the door, ready to push other commuters out of the way. And it’s nearly impossible for riders to exit the bus (even though it’s in the best interest of those trying to claw their way on), with everyone hemmed in around the open door.

Basically, it’s not a fun way to start your morning. Or end your day.

At my new bus stop, though, things are different. There is no chaos. There is no pushing. There is no trampling.

There is just a beautiful, calm line of people, waiting patiently to board the bus.

You read that right. I’m excited about a line. A simple queue. Simple, and yet so welcome after years of fighting to get one foot on the steps of the bus before the driver can close the doors.

It might take me over an hour to get to work now, but my day no long starts with shoving, cutting people off, or chaos.

And it’s totally worth it.

Thanks, suburbia.

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