Posts Tagged ‘virginia’

To the thief/thieves at the Herndon dog park on Sunday:

I hope it was worth it.


I hope the whopping $20 in my wallet and the $10 in coins (meant for our son’s first piggy bank, by the way) completely made your day and changed your life.

And while you were at it – rifling through my bag, and likely tossing everything you couldn’t spend immediately (hopefully you didn’t overlook the Home Depot and Crate and Barrel gift cards) – I hope you took a minute to appreciate the things that you acquired in your crime of opportunity.

  • I hope you appreciated all my old school IDs and licenses, that I kept as a little trip down memory lane. And good luck trying to pronounce my name if you decide to try to use it for anything.
  • I hope you appreciated the family photos in my wallet. I had senior portraits of my parents and my brother, and one family photo of the four of us. Not to mention Husband’s baseball card.
  • I hope you appreciated the sonogram photos of our first baby. You now have his very first picture – the one that I cried happy tears over when I found out I was really, truly pregnant.
  • I hope you enjoyed the magazine article I kept tucked in my wallet: “10 Reasons You Still Need Your Mother.” And I’m sure you’ve noted that breaking someone’s car window is not on that list.

And I hope you enjoy the other odds and ends that you found – the sunglasses that I’ve had for seven years without sitting on, losing, or breaking them in any way (a record!); the purse itself, that I got while studying abroad in 2005; the planner that took me forever to buy, because I’m just that picky; and the Kong that I was going to give Manny on the way home from the park. Congratulations – you stole from a puppy, too.

I hope all of that is useful to you, because none of it is worth anything at this point to anyone but me (and Manny).

I know you won’t read this. I know you won’t give me a second thought. But I will think of it every time I drive to the dog park and there are no other cars there – I’ll turn right around so that I’m not a sitting duck.

I will sink into myself a little bit more whenever someone sidles too close.

I will lock the front door when I take the dog for a walk, even though it’s only 15 minutes.

And I will startle easily if I hear a strange sound outside, when before I would have attributed it to nature or the neighborhood.

I will remember that these are not the suburbs I grew up in, and that might be the most upsetting part.

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Taking public transportation while pregnant has often felt like one giant social experiment.

The biggest observation, of course, is that people rarely look up while riding the bus or metro when others are boarding. It’s a head-down mentality, and the cynic in me has interpreted it as: if I don’t look, then I won’t see someone who needs my seat, and then I won’t have to get up.

It’s not personal, it just is.

Of course, there are the rare gems who either a) offer seats immediately or b) (and even more rare) make eye contact from across the car to give up their seat. (To the woman who did that, you might actually be one in a million.)

Overall, though, women have offered more seats than men have, and older women have offered more often than younger women.

But, naturally, I’d still rather go for an already empty seat, rather than take one from someone else. Which is what I tried to do yesterday on the commute home.

The train is always so crowded in the evening, that I was thrilled when I peered through the metro doors and saw one front seat open and available. As I moved toward it, the 40-something-year-old man sitting in the adjacent seat stood up, and I assumed that he just didn’t want to move over to the window, that he preferred the aisle. No big deal.

I made a move to slide into the window seat, perfectly happy to accommodate, and he blocked me.

He physically stood in my way, arms spread wide, and prevented me from sitting down – so that his buddy could step around me (no easy feat) and take the seat.

I looked at both of them in disbelief, said something eloquent along the lines of, “Seriously?” and proceeded halfway down the car where I managed to find the only other seat still available.

I’d like to think that if there hadn’t been one seat left, the men may have reacted differently. But, given the blocking, I doubt it.

I wish I could say I’d been the bigger person (aside from just my current roundness), but when we ended up all getting off at the same stop and they tried to cut in front of me, I may have thrown my elbows out wide and done some blocking of my own.

And honestly? I don’t feel too bad about that.

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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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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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