Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Best & The Worst

I left work in Southwest DC yesterday afternoon at 3, & I didn’t get to Andrés’ condo until 10. My adventure of getting home included the Metro, the bus, walking, & hitchhiking.

The Federal Government let employees be released two hours early, & my employer chose to follow that schedule, so I left work at around 2:50, trying to catch the bus at 3:45. The 11 minute wait for the next train, combined with the door problems because people were violently hurling themselves into packed train cars, made the ride longer & I missed the bus that would have been a 10 minute ride from Vienna into Fairfax.

The snow was picking up by the time I arrived at Vienna around 4. I decided to catch the first bus that came that was heading into Fairfax City to meet up with my sister at the restaurant where Andrés could pick me up later when he got dropped off at home by his carpool buddy. Except he & his carpool buddy were sitting in the parking lot that was Route 66.

I caught the Cue bus just after 4, & we started making the loop towards the restaurant.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to tell this part of the story, but I guess I have to since it reflects “The Worst” in the title of the post. If I don’t tell this part, I’d have to change the title, & that sounds like a whole “thing” … I’m not really into it.

I was sitting in a seat that was parallel to the bus when a lady boarded with about 4 suitcases & 5 bags. She ran one of the suitcases over my foot, & when I looked up, she grunted like I shouldn’t have had my damn feet in aisle. I let it go by not punching her in the face. She sat down, & stacked her jumbo bags all over the seat next to her.

As we went through Old Town, the traffic was getting worse, & by the time we reached the University stop, it was gridlocked. The bus was about to be bulging with people who were waiting at the campus bus stop for over an hour. They were covered in snow, & most were headed back to the Metro. Before those soggy, snow-covered people got on, I got up & moved on the other side of the lady with all the suitcases, because I didn’t want to get wet sitting next to the people boarding. This is somewhat hilarious now, in hindsight.

So the bus is at capacity, & the bus driver is turning people away, etc. etc. Cluterfuck.

I’ve been on the bus for about a two hours now, & we aren’t moving except 2 feet every 10 minutes. At this rate I consider whether or not I want to die in a bus that smells like a wet dog. I start thinking about forming alliances so I don’t get eaten first, because I’m pretty sure I saw some guy eying my voluptuous calves.

A bunch of girls from the campus bus stop are standing in the center aisle of the bus. One keeps eying this lady (I use “lady” loosely here) & the seat she’s using for her bags. She asks her politely if she can sit down, even offers to hold the bags on her lap. This Bitch (she is now known as This Bitch) spits back with attitude something about it being a lot of luggage & she is not moving it. AW HALE NAW BITCH, ARE YOU SERIOUS?

I watch this happen, as This Bitch is right next to me. I asked her to move her bags, as these people were standing for hours at the bus stop, & have been standing for hours in the bus. She refuses.

I recruit the help of a girl (Nice Girl) sitting perpendicular to me in the last row of seats in the bus. I have her lean in & I ask her to help me persuade This Bitch to stop being such an asshole. Nice Girl says politely, “Excuse me ma’am” a few times but This Bitch flat out ignores her. Nice Girl reaches over me & lightly taps This Bitch. Please do not underestimate the gravity of the words I’m about to say type.

ALL. HELL. BREAKS. LOOSE.

Nice Girl & This Bitch are both black. Usually this is not relevant to a story, but today it is.

This Bitch starts screaming, SCA-REEHEEEM-ING, “You big nosed [n-word], don’t you fucking put hands on me! I’ll send your ass to jail, [n-word]! Don’t you fucking touch me! I’ll smash your fat nose into that grate, bitch! Mind your own [G-D] business, you stupid fucking [n-word]!” She also said, verbatim, “Patience doesn’t get you anywhere, bitch, except for dumber & blacker.

I’ll be honest, I don’t even know what that means.

It’s disgusting & reprehensible when white people use the n-word to describe black people; it’s especially heinous when a black person degrades another black person like that. And ignorant white people sometimes twist that into a rationalization for themselves to use such language.

I felt so bad. I pulled that girl into that shitfest. I wanted to crawl into my purse & cry.

No one else on the bus said anything, they just ignored the outburst or stared.

Then I met Melissa! She is a basketball player at the University. She & I hatched out a plan (with a pro/con chart, even!) to start walking towards Fairfax City at 8, no matter where the bus was. I mapped it out on my phone: 3 miles. My phone also lovingly told me it was 32° outside, but the RealFeel™ was 13°. (If it “feels like” 13° then why doesn’t it just say it’s 13° outside? I don’t care what it actually is if it feels like 13°.) My phone was also about to die at this point.

A kind old man on the bus gave me one of his three hats & an extra pair of gloves he had with him. (I want to take a moment to think about why this man had three hats & at least two pairs of gloves, but this worked out for me, so I’m going to shut it.)

Melissa & I trekked the three miles through the snow coming right at our faces in about an hour. We had that wonderful conversation you only get with strangers where everything about them is new & interesting, & you can tell them all the interesting & cool things about you. As we walked, we made other Blizzard Friends going in the opposite direction (you have to walk at least three miles in a snow storm to be a Blizzard Friend, by the way). We stopped at a Walgreens so she could fuel up on Snickers. Then we finally made it to the restaurant. She got some potatoes, then started the walk to her house.

My sister made me some artichoke dip & extra cheesy mac & cheese while I tried to thaw out & get in touch with Andrés, who was still on 66. I called him & found out he’d been walking for about 5 miles, & helping to dig people out who were stuck. He even scored a free shovel from a guy who just kept driving & never looked back when his car finally gained traction.

While I was eating, I was watching the traffic going west on the highway I needed to take to Andrés’. It wasn’t moving. My sister & her boyfriend were going to drive me, but we both knew they’d be sitting there for a looong time.

Then a car pulled up outside the restaurant. Everyone there gathered at the window to see who it was, & I walked outside to see ask who he was & more importantly, where he was going. He’d been on the road for six hours, driving down from Bethesda, & he was headed to Chantilly. He just needed a break. I pointed to a bar across the parking lot that seemed to be open. He offered to drive me over there when I mentioned I was going to walk to my boyfriend’s house. We drive to the other side of the parking lot & he just. keeps. driving. For a minute I was completely convinced I was going to wake up naked in Utah missing a kidney BECAUSE I JUST GOT IN A CAR WITH A TOTAL STRANGER.

But then he kindly offered to take me as far as he could without hitting the traffic. He kind of  knew a back route, & once we started, I realized he was brilliant & I hadn’t even thought of trying those roads. He drove me all the way to Andrés’ & when I tried to get out the car, the door was locked, even though the little tab is up in the unlocked position. I was instantly thinking about my poor kidney again but then he unlocked the door & I sprinted away.

Walked in Andrés’ house at 10. What a day. I was helped by three amazing people. & I hope that bitch on the bus gets heavy dose of karmic justice.

First Steps

The first steps in The Great Condo Renovation are cleaning, organizing, donating, & trashing a ton of stuff.

Since the new year, I’ve spending time on Saturdays cleaning out my things in my parents’ house. I’ve filled three 39 gallon trash bags & three medium sized brown boxes with items to donate, & I’ve filled the large curb trash can. It’s amazing how much crap I’ve accumulated in just 22 years. By amazing I mean disturbing. I’m about halfway done.

Now we have to get started on the same process but for Andrés’ condo. We can’t start anything until we pare down & figure out exactly what we have to work with. It’s a huge incentive to get started.

I’m not sure at exactly at what point we will fully combine our possessions, but I’m guessing it’ll be after the bedroom is painted and we’ve purchased a few new pieces of furniture for my things, and we’re ready to move on to the rest of the house.

It’s going to be an adventure: painting every wall, ceiling, door, & strip of moulding; purchasing (or making) & hanging curtains; ripping out hideous built-in shelving & building new shelving; [possibly] removing a wall & creating a make-shift mud room; creating an organization solution for the walk-in closet; &, of course, decorating. Aah, we can’t wait!

The Beginning

Last weekend Andrés & I were watching a show about buying homes on HGTV, & we started talking about The Plan.

Last June, when I accepted a full-time salaried position, we hashed out The Plan: moving in together in the summer or early fall of 2011 to a rented apartment in southeast DC, closer to where we work. But as we talked more & more about the specifics, it just didn’t seem the like right decision for us for a few big reasons:

1. Andrés owns a one bedroom, one bathroom condo right now that he would need to sell, but the condos in his community have lost a lot of their value since the housing market crash. Him breaking even on the condo sale would be a good thing if you consider he could end up selling & still owing thousands of dollars. Hopefully if we stay put the home will gain back some of its value in the coming years.

2. We both see renting as throwing our money away. He would much rather own than rent, & I hate the idea that after throwing a good chunk of my paycheck at the rent, there is no possibility of a return on the investment.

3. I have been into interior decorating & DIY projects for the last seven months. Reading blogs like Young House Love & Design*Sponge (& a half dozen others) make me weak in the knees. I have huge folders on my MacBook of inspiration photos broken down by room that I would just love to bring to life. Renting a place would be extremely limiting as far as decorating the space to make it our own. When I think about that, combined with throwing away money at rent each month, I know renting would be really frustrating for us.

So, we’ve pretty much decided to stay-put in his charming condo, further out from the City, but a better decision for our future.

So we’ve started planning the process of transforming his JETS-themed condo to a first home for a young couple.

I’m so excited I could pee.

Burnt Orange

 

I love the contrast of burnt orange with dark, smoky gray, light gray, & crisp white… as if you couldn’t tell from the colors of the blog…

I’d love to design a living room around those colors. The walls would be light gray with crisp white molding, the couch would be dark smoky gray, the pillows would add a punch of burnt orange. Like this:

I love the minimalist art above the couch in that photo, & I think Andres & I could recreate that on a large canvas, too.

Because of the loving & committed relationship I have with our DVR, I want to buy a fabulous couch.

That one seems wide enough & looks super comfy, but my heart is set on owning a huge sectional that has room for both of us to sprawl out, & enough room to seat my gaggle of sisters, & room to seat a few friends over for a movie night. Not all of those at the same time, but I want an accommodating couch. Basically, I want this monster couch, except in dark gray:

On Choosing to Cohabitate

“I am a professional Christian theologian/pastor-type connected to a mainline denomination. My ears always perk up when someone is claiming to speak for God, completely sure of “God’s will.”

Parents sometimes (often) do not know when it is time to cease trying to control adult children. And these children need to decide if they are willing to continue to be controlled by their elders, period.

And if God’s opinion, blessing or not, is truly important to anyone involved here, it is important to remember that God loves a sinner and understands the actions and motivations of this kind of “sin,” ESPECIALLY if it is the choice of a person of faith, one who is routinely in conversation with God. People need to do what will make themselves happy as long as they can live with their OWN decisions and THEIR understanding of God’s requirements of them.

As a parent of adult children, I can relate to the desires of “well-intentioned” parents and grandparents. But they need to remember and trust that, if they trained up their children well in the first place, they have no cause to worry how they will turn out. Having once stated their position quite clearly, perhaps the relatives should keep their voices out of their children’s business until they’re asked for their advice. Then they need to remember that children don’t have to follow that advice.”

Carolyn Hax (01.01.2011)

My Kitchen Table


For the last 4 or 5 years I’ve had my heart set on building my kitchen table with my own two hands.

I’m not really sure where it came from, but I really love the idea of building the table my husband & my family will eat on. I want it to be chunky, weathered wood that will withstand years of daily use. I want it to be the table that my family gathers around. I want my children do their homework at this table. I want to host dinner parties at this table. I want it to be okay if the table shows its use because that’s pretty much the point: a well loved table.

Then I found building plans from ana-white.com for the Farmhouse Table (pictured above) & for a matching Farmhouse Bench. It’s perfect.