Tuesday, June 29, 2010

All packed up and nowhere to go

For the past month, I've been slowly packing up my life. Last night, I think I finally hit the last box or two. Now, everything is so packed up that Lauren and I can't even boil water to make pasta anymore. Thank goodness I'm leaving my plates and bowls behind, or we'd be reduced to eating dry cereal straight out of the box.

Tomorrow Alliy Al flies in to DC after leaving St Paul at an ungodly hour (catching the bus at 4:13 am - ouch!). Instead of metroing straight to my house, we are contemplating having her metro to my office (only the Blue line, no transfers!) and then walking up through Georgetown. She's been to visit me once before, but it was only for a night in order to catch a ride up to Philly for christmas. She hasn't been to DC since our cousin got married back in 2002! Anyhow, since our first stop on the traveling roadshow is to visit our Aunt in Myrtle Beach, I thought it would be nice to bring her some Virginia wine and a half dozen Georgetown cupcakes - Nom!!

After that, its a relaxing evening of ordering my favorite white pizza and watch whatever movies lauren owns, since mine are safely boxed up and ready to traverse the country. I've got 3 sturdy man-friends helping me load up the truck on Thursday morning - thankfully the weather is predicting cooler weather and low humidity! After that, its just cleaning my room for the new roommate and sitting on the floor, waiting for NMac to arrive via train/metro. Then we will all sit around on the floor (since I own almost all of our furniture) and stare at each other (or maybe watch the TV, which will also be on the floor) until the DC rush hour dies down and we can make our escape to Chester, VA.

I can't believe this all kicks off tomorrow. It feels like I've been saying "I'm moving to Denver" for a solid 6 months, and now its finally happening and I actually have to move to Denver. Crazy!

Peace out DC, its been a great 8 years.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

1.) I am scared of the dark. Even in my own house. Especially at my parents' house.

2.) Sometimes when I come home late, I check behind the shower curtain to make sure a robber isn't hiding in there. I feel silly every time I do it.

3.) I don't bruise easily. I can really nail into something and have nothing to show for it. I scar incredibly easily.

4.) I lived in a firehouse for a semester in college.

5.) I have my motorcycle license.

6.) In my mind, I have to plan out the most efficient way to do something (clean the house, run errands, drive somewhere). When other people are inefficient, it really bothers me and I have to consciously work to not say something.

7.) I rarely get angry. It takes a pretty big effort. If I am mad, I'm usually over it within a day.

8.) When I played softball in elementary school, I never paid attention and was always put into the outfield. I picked dandelions and did cartwheels.

9.) I have trouble telling my right from my left. When driving, I usually have to make an "L" with my thumb and forefinger.

10.) I can't do basic math. I still have to count on my fingers to add 5 and 7. Knowing this, I use a calculator for almost everything.

11.) I am good friends with nearly all of my exes. I am very proud of this. I am rarely jealous and have trouble understanding that quality in other people. To me, if you love and trust someone, jealousy shouldn't be an issue.

12.) I am almost an exact replica of my mom.

13.) My only regret is that I did not study abroad in college.

14.) I have a slight obsession with celebrity gossip websites.

15.) I have zero respect for any girl wearing a pink football jersey. To me, a pink jersey says "this is the team my boyfriend likes."

16.) I could eat pizza every day. Some weeks I do.

17.) I think that popcorn and red wine is a perfectly acceptable dinner.

18.) I hate dating. Seriously hate it. I turn into a big giant ball of uncomfortable and awkward.

19.) The first time I ran more than 8 miles: I was lied to (she knew I wouldn't want to run that far), it was 9 pm and snowing, and I had to call out of work the next day bc I couldn't walk. I ran 10.5 miles.

20.) Before I started working for Berger, I didn't drink coffee or beer. Now I can't survive without either.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ow Ow Ow - I like it less

The muscles. They have been talking to me all day. While this morning they were happy and glad to have been put to use, now they are leaning more towards saying "If you move another inch ever, I will end your life"

I should have known. I'm always WAY more sore two days after a workout than I am the day after. The mere thought of standing up and walking to the bathroom in heels is now terrifying. While my arms aren't at the "oh no, I can't lift my arms to wash my own hair" stage (why yes, i HAVE been there before. Thank goodness I had a roommate that I knew well enough to help me put on and take off shirts for two days...I wish I was kidding), my legs are in a full out revolt. I'm a little worried for that initial get out of bedness tomorrow morning.

Ow Ow Ow - I like it!

Last night Katie took me to the gym and showed me her lifting routine. Yes, I know how to do the basics and I've always known how important lifting is, but I've never really been very good about it. A quick whirl around the machines, haphazardly picking which ones I wanted to do, and I figured that was good enough.

But Katie is a lifting machine. Over the past six months, I've watched her truly transform her body mostly by just lifting and light cardio (thanks to an angry IT band injury). One of my goals for Denver is to really "get healthy" - actually make dinners, get groceries on a regular basis, maybe even eat a few veggies, get back into my cardio routine (which has been obliterated by busy months), and start lifting.

Well, Katie is more than awesome. Not only did she create an excel sheet of all the reps, weights, free weights, and machine exercises that she does, but she broke them up into lifting days 1, 2, and 3 for me. And last night, we did almost all of them in one day.

It hurt. A lot. Especially since about 10 minutes into one-legged squats, my right hamstring says "umm, esscuze me - just WHAT do you think you're doing??" and then proceeded to really really hurt the rest of the workout. Fun times!

But this morning, I feel incredible. That awesome "every muscle hurts" feeling after a good workout the day before. I have been so used to the biking and running muscles hurting, that it feels really good to have new muscle groups hurt. And while there's no way it is, my body just FEELS stronger. Like those muscles are happy to be working and want me to keep it up. I really like it.

And little do mom and Alliy know, but most of these exercises can be done without any equipment! So we're going to have 'exercise time' each night at the hotel along the way. Gotta prep those muscles for unloading the truck in Denver!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mother knows best

I am not a neurotic person. At least not compared to my mom. Convinced we would be robbed of our identities, she would refuse to put mail in our mailbox and would instead physically deliver it to the post office herself.

So when we arrived in Denver for our weekend visit, I simply brushed aside her fears of bed bugs in the hotel and said she was paranoid. I told her to stop watching Dateline specials and I happily climbed into bed, snuggled up to my pillow, and fell asleep.

I'm not afraid of hotel germs. I'm not the type to rip off the comforter because they are only washed once a month. Sure, that's gross, but it never really bothered me. Germs are everywhere and there's really nothing we can do, so why worry?

This morning, however, my officemate arrived at work with bites all over her back and arms. Literally - all over. She is normally a hypochondriac so I dismissively told her to get off of WedMD and stop worrying about it. But after she showed me her back, I paid a little more attention. After some frantic websurfing and google imaging - we are almost positive she has bed bugs. gross! ick! ew! I itch!

She just got back from work travel. At a hotel. The same well-reviewed hotels that we'll be staying in as we traverse the country in just one short week. Now granted, she has sensitive skin and it could be a myriad of other ailments, but I really don't want to greet my new city by saying "Hello Denver! I brought you invasive, blood-sucking creatures!!" And I certainly don't want to deal with fumigating a brandy new apartment.

I first had to confess that, gasp, my mother may have been right. Bed bugs are something that are best to be neurotic about and save yourself the pain of dealing with an infestation (as they are ridiculously hard to fully get rid of, without just throwing out all of your items and getting new ones - and if I'm hauling those 8 foot couches across the country, you better believe I'm keeping them!). Instead of saying "neener, neener, neerer" with a nice "I told you so" dance, a la Will and Grace, she simply emailed back, saying she already had a plan in place to combat them. And that's why I have the best mommy in the whole wide world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DC Biker Chicks

Last night running buddy and I decided to take our bikes out for a spin. It figures that she recently fell in love with biking, right as I'm about to leave DC! I've gone on a lot of solo rides, so it was really nice to have someone to bike with!

We didn't go far, but we certainly saw a lot! We met up at the parking lot next to Theodore Roosevelt Island and biked across the bridge to check it out. I've passed the Island many times, but never crossed over to see what's on it. Unfortunately for our weeny road-bike tires, we found out that it is a dirt trail with lots of fun rocks, loose soil, and erosion gullies. It certainly kept us paying attention - especially when we came upon log/steps. Instead of doing the full 1.5 mile loop, we cut across and found a neat little memorial to Teddy.

What up, TR?

After cross back over into Virginia, we followed the Mt Vernon Trail to Memorial Bridge. Getting from the trail to the bridge involves a fun little game of chicken, as bikers have to cross the GW parkway not once, but twice. It certainly gets the adrenaline flowing! Once we were in DC, we went past the Lincoln Memorial and followed Ohio Drive up through Potomac Park, passed the Jefferson Memorial. Passing Presidents left and right! We tooled around the NPS National Capital Region headquarters and then up to the tip of Haines Point. I'd been out there before, but never on my bike and never fully out to the tip. It was really windy, but we were thankful for the breeze! A nice bystander offered to take our picture:

From there we went back up towards the mall and decided to head on up towards the Capitol Building. It was early and, after 6pm, there's almost no traffic! We were able to ride up the street, side by side, without pissing off motorists.

Finally, we headed back down the mall, passing the Washington Monument and back down to the Lincoln Memorial. Instead of crossing back over on Memorial Bridge, we headed up Virginia Ave to the Kennedy Center and across the 66 Bridge. Its a scary scary crossing for bikers and I think Katie will be quite happy to never do it again!

In toll, we biked about 14 miles, plus my extra mile through M st to get there. I had a flat tire that gave me some troubles but it was still a great ride! It definitely encouraged me to seek out new riding buddies in Denver - and I can't wait to check out the new city on two wheels!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tales from Berger - Part II

This morning all of the ladies in the office received an email about bathroom etiquette. I wish I could say it was the first one we'd received, but sadly it is not.

The email was pertaining to a certain issue we've all been noticing lately. In the first stall, it is not uncommon to find pee all over the seat. Ok, gross. But wait, there's more. In the past few weeks, the pee is now not only on the seat, but a considerable amount is splashed all over the floor. Grosser, but yet - confusing?

How is this woman even achieving that? Is it possible to spot her by wet pants at her ankles? I, myself, am not a public-toilet hoverer. That bathroom is cleaned no less than four times a day. Four times. I'm lucky if mine gets cleaned twice in one month. There is nothing so precious about my derriere that it cannot sit on a perfectly clean toilet seat. (Sidenote: I used to think it was spelled "Dairy Air" which, having grown up next to a dairy farm, I found quite appropriate). So, the whole premise of the 'hovering' phenomenon is beyond my comprehension. But, even if I could understand such a phobia, our office kindly supplies paper toilet covers for use in just such a situation. Why must the phantom pee'er insist on hovering?

Unless this woman is wearing skirts each and every day (note to self, be on the look out for frequent skirt-wearers), I have no idea how this feat is being accomplished. A coworker suggested that perhaps the woman is from Asia, where squat toilets are more common and that Berger may need to post signs like this in the bathroom:

Squatting = BAD!

Hopefully, with the DC-wide email sent out, the person responsible will discover her poor bathroom etiquette is not appreciated. But until then, I'll be sure to sit at least two stalls over, well out of the slash-zone.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Also of note.....

Only one month until my birthday!!!

Kitchen Packing 101

So I've been sitting here, feeling all smug about how much I've been able to pack in advance and how prepared I am to move. Well, last night slammed me back down to reality - I still have a LOT to pack. While my room may be white and my bookshelves are bare, those kitchen cabinets were hiding a lot of goodies. I started by emptying all of my belongings out of the cabinets and putting them all on the kitchen table (good thing we eat in the living room!). When I ran out of room on our not-small dining room table, I started to get worried. I own a lot of stuff! For six years I have been accumulating kitchen items so that when it came time to finally live by myself, I wouldn't have to buy anything. Well, it's safe to say that I've succeeded. To make matters worse, I have absolutely no idea how to pack all of these oddly shaped, mostly fragile items for a trek across the country. The biggest move I've made is from College Park to Arlington and I barely owned anything, and I certainly didn't own any stemware.

Why had I previously thought it was an excellent idea to own red wine glasses, white wine glasses, champagne flutes, and martini glasses? When was the last time I even HAD a martini?? Thankfully, my margarita glasses are plastic. But that was my task for last night. I wrapped them all carefully in paper then tried to fit them properly into a box. I threw in a few layers of dish cloths for safe measure, but I have no idea in what state they will arrive.

I miss the easy packing of books and DVDs. Nice, square, impossible to damage items that required much less strategy when boxing up. Kitchen items leave me with oddly shaped holes and missing spaces that cause me to wander the house, looking for items to fill the voids. I am now randomly placing items within a box generally marked "kitchen" and, combined with the not-so-occasional glass of wine or beer that accompanies packing, my unpacking will certainly be highlighted with "why did I pack THAT in THIS box?" moments. Or, perhaps the unpacking will also be accompanied by beer and wine and everything will seem completely logical!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bucket List Explosion

This weekend mama and papa Byron came down for their last DC visit and it was a bucket list explosion! In less than 12 hours, we destroyed 4 bucket list items. The total tally for the weekend was 6 crossed off the list. Buckle up, kids, this is a long one.

After a delicious throw-back lunch of grilled cheese and tomato soup at Founding Farmers (yes, all of us. We are so cultured) we took the shuttle to the Kennedy Center for a tour. I must say, I was a bit unimpressed. Perhaps I have been spoiled by the amazingness that was the Sydney Opera House tour or the total behind the scenes tour of the Guthrie, but the Kennedy Center, well, it shows its age. It was built in the late 60's and really really reflects the tastes of that era. Even the one theater that had undergone a complete renovation still looked a bit worse for wear. And, while I really can't complain because the tour was free, our tour guide left a little to be desired. She kept forgetting facts and at one point, declared that a bust was of Kennedy. From the side I thought, hmm, that looks like Eisenhower. Lo and behold, I moved in front of the bust, to see a big blazing sign proclaiming it was indeed a bust of Eisenhower. NMac went easy on the woman, thinking that she was in training, only to realize at the end that she was the trainer, not the trainee. The one question that I asked (the building is 10 stories, while the building limit in DC is usually 9) - is if they got permission for height because no building was supposed to be higher than the Capitol Building - she corrected me, saying that nothing should be higher than the Washington Monument. False. Its the Capitol Building.

After our memorable if not informative tour, we were back on the Metro headed to Eastern Market. We walked around the new building and even found some good ol' products from back home! They had several Hatfield products and some Keller's butter. Just goes to show that only good things come from Pennsylvania! (except for Pittsburgh).

Eastern Market - Yummy!

Good Ol' Fashioned PA Sauerkraut!

From there we strolled to dinner at Matchbox. Even though our waitress was a few cards short of a full deck, it was a very enjoyable meal. We then enjoyed the Marine Barracks Evening Parade and it was great! Beautiful music and a very impressive "silent drill team" exercise.

And while we were all worried that all the walking would take its toll on the still-recuperating-from-surgery Papa B, it turned out that Lauren was our little medical-emergency excitement of the day. The combination of heat and dehydration caused what we are calling a "faint/seizure/but not really either" episode that added a plot twist in our friday evening. After scaring the pants off of everyone around her, everything turned out fine and we were back in our seats by the beginning of the parade.

Saturday morning we drove into Clarendon for breakfast, only to be thwarted by road closures thanks to the Air Force Cycling Classic. After a fortuitous parking spot only two blocks from the restaurant (thank you, Echo, and your ability to make hairpin turns!) we ate breakfast while hot, sweaty, thoroughly in-shape cyclists sped past the window. Then it was off to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum annex out near Dulles. That place was incredible! The giant hangar full of aircraft was definitely the most impressive. We weren't able to spend nearly as much time there as we could have. My favorites were seeing the Anola Gay (the plane that dropped the Atom Bomb on Hiroshima) and a Concorde. They even have a space shuttle! And it was HUGE! Check out the picture of Mama B standing next to it.

Little NMac, Big Space Shuttle

Mom's impression of a Stealth Bomber - so good you can barely see her!

We hurried back to Arlington and, after three failed attempts, found a table at a local dive bar where we settled in to watch the US/England soccer game. This mostly consisted of my mom and I yelling at the TV "that CAN'T be legal."


Two beers later, my mom took my keys and drove us back to my house, where we rested/watched a horrible Phillies game and took a nap. The family capped off Saturday with dinner at Ted's Montana grill. Following the soccer theme, mom, Lauren, and I watched "She's the Man" that night. I like Amanda Bynes and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

Sunday we started out with an impromptu drive into DC to visit the Jefferson Memorial. Only one wrong turn/accidental bridge crossing back into Virginia and we were there! We were able to park within a reasonable distance and made our way over. The neatest thing about the Memorial is that from within it, one view looks straight across the Tidal Basin and frames the White House and the Washington Monument. From another view, you can see straight across the Potomac to Arlington House, the home of Robert E. Lee that sits above Arlington Cemetery.

We finished off our delightful weekend at our favorite breakfast spot: Afterthoughts Cafe within Kramer Books in Dupont. It was entirely too much deliciousness on each plate, so we teetered back to the car, full to the brim. And a fun time was had by all.

After the parents headed back to PA (which was unfortunately the ride from hell), I picked up Beth and we met up with Marisa and her sister at Ikea. I'm going to miss Ikea. While one is slated to be opened just south of Denver in 2011, that is a lot of time to live without fun yet inexpensive home wares and furniture. I bought a brand new set of dishes, replacing the ones I've had since junior year and are now chipped, broken, or permanently crusted with food.

Overall it was a fun and action-packed weekend. I'm glad that mom and dad were able to come down one last time to polish off all the things we've always wanted to do but never seemed to get around to actually doing. Now they'll have to create a new list of things they want to see and do in Denver!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fun Facts Friday

It is without shame that I am completely stealing Katie's Friday themed blog posts. It's a great idea and what can I say, I'm a sucker for alliteration. So to kick off the inaugural fun facts Friday posts, I've decided to blog about my #1 client at work, the National Park Service.

The NPS was established in 1916 by the Organic Act, but the first national park world-wide was Yellowstone, in 1872

Delaware is the only state without a National Park (I would have thought New Jersey, personally...)

The NPS owns 83 million acres of parkland

The largest NPS property is Wrangell-St Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska (13.2 million acres). This is an area larger than New Hampshire and Vermont, combined

The smallest national park site is the Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in PA, at only 0.02 acre.

The highest density of black bears in the U.S. is in Shenandoah National Park.

The largest volcano on earth is Mauna Loa Volcano, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. My company is doing an Ungulate Management Plan within that park, because wild sheep, etc, are a problem.

There are a total of 375 parks, seashores, preserves, memorials, and historic sites within the NPS system.

Russell Cave National Monument in Alabama has an almost continuous record of human habitation going back to 7000 B.C.

The National Park Service still holds an active trading post, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, AZ (established in 1878).

The Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site is in PA, even though he is more commonly associated with Baltimore.

Teddy Roosevelt has the most NPS sites named for him (five, including his head on Mount Rushmore).

NPS lands include two federal prisons (Alcatraz and Molokai Island Hansen's Disease Settlement)

In 2008, the Great Smoky Mountains was the most visited national park. Fifty percent of the entire U.S. population lives within a days' driving distance of the park. Grand Canyon was second, Yosemite was third.

Gerald Ford was the only president that previously worked for the NPS. In 1936, he served as a seasonal park ranger in Yellowstone.

And now you know!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

White Room = Not so Sad Face

My room is officially white. Well, most of it anyhow. I unfortunately had to do two coats (groan) but ran out of paint for the final half of the last wall. Isn't that just a kick in the pants. So tonight I'll trudge over to Home Depot and buy a quart of paint, then retire my paintbrush and roller for several years.

This morning my body is thoroughly unhappy with me. In hindsight, it probably was not the best idea to go swimming the day before I painted. My shoulders were already going "WHAT? We had a deal. Go back and sit on the couch with a slice of pizza." Add to that four hours of painting and my body is in full "I HATE YOU" mode. Feels kind of good. I'm expecting bulging muscles to pop out at any moment, incredible hulk style.

I also learned that it is incredibly weird to sleep with your bed in the center of a room. I felt like at any moment I could fall off the top of my bed, or at least lose a pillow. Needless to say, it was another restless night's sleep.

I'm also slowly becoming nocturnal while at the same time my workdays are starting earlier. Those of you who know me, know that I don't do well with very little sleep. And for me, very little sleep is pretty much anything under 8 hours. At this rate, by the time I finally move, I'll be a shell of my former self, sleep deprived with a stomach full of ulcers.

Even though the painting is not fully complete, it was almost therapeutic to paint over the colors I've loved for the past two years. I have not had too many bad times here in DC, but those that I did have felt like they were being erased last night with each roller brush stroke. It was much less sad than I was expecting and this morning, it really felt more like a fresh start. I like who I am and don't feel the need to run away from my life in DC, but there is something nice about moving to a new city where no one knows me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

White Room = Sad Face

Now that the moving boxes are beginning to pile up, my house is looking sadder and sadder. In an effort to clear out my room yet not annoy my roommates, I've been hiding boxes in every nook and cranny of my house. On Monday, I took all of the pictures and curtains off my wall to spackle the nail holes and it looked so sad it made my roommate cry. Tonight, after a hellacious day at work, I'm going to tackle painting my beautiful tan and maroon room back to dullsville white.

I have a lot of memories from the day Lauren and I painted our rooms. We hadn't moved in yet - heck, we didn't even have power or water yet. It was hot as heck, so we sweltered without AC and tried to paint before the sun went down. I remember taking a break for lunch, getting our patented "Potbelly's Sandwich with Chipotle Chips" combo. It was delicious. We sat on the floor of her room and were so excited to be moving in.

It was also the day an ex-boyfriend, who had very unceremoniously dumped me via text, came over to grovel. He had wanted to meet up to talk and I had told him that I was fully busy that weekend, but if he wanted to come over while I was painting, he could. I was pretty darn proud that I basically told him to shove it.

I remember painstakingly taping the seam in the wall where the maroon wall met the tan walls (thankfully there is no need to tape with white!). I remember trying not to drink too much water because our bathrooms weren't working and I didn't want to have to walk back to the old apartment to pee. I remember standing in my new room, completely in love with the colors I had picked (I still love them).

Looking back, I am envious that I had the luxury to paint the room sans furniture. It will be a more delicate task to keep my things paint-free, if I am even able to move some of the larger pieces on my own.

I will be sad to look at my room for the next 22 days. I am obviously excited about Denver, but the painting of my room really, truly signals the end of my time in DC and the beginning of a new chapter.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Bucket List: Revisited

So in all the hustle and bustle that has been my May, the Bucket List has spent a lot of time on the bench. Luckily, way back in April, a few of us bought tickets to go see Aisha Tyler at DC Improv. I've wanted to go to the Improv for at least 5 years, but it just never seemed to happen. It's not expensive and it's easy to access, so I really had no excuse. Since we got tickets super early, we were literally right on the stage. Literally. During the first warm-up act, Beth snorted amazingly loud, which drew a response from the comic. Awesome. During the second warm-up act, the comic referred to us as the "Sex and the City girls". I was the "fun one", Lauren was the "smart one", and Beth was "the whore". I found it quite hilarious. Aisha was really funny, but way more vulgar than I ever expected! I daresay some of it made me blush.

After we left the show, we scooted on up to Adams Morgan to try out a new bar that Tommy recommended. I must say, I was unimpressed, but Lauren, Beth and I bring the fun with us wherever we go, so we had a good time. After a mediocre fake jumbo slice (we were in the dead zone where U St, Dupont, and Adams Morgan all meet), we jumped in a cab and headed off to my office. The good thing about stopping up into Adams Morgan was that we managed to convince Tommy, his roommate Pat, and his girlfriend Bridget that watching the sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial was an excellent idea! At the office, we picked up our nalgene bottles and champagne to keep us company until dawn. After wasting some more time by playing catch phrase around my office's conference table, we were off! The Lincoln Memorial is just a hop skip and a jump away from my office, so we meandered down there on foot.

By around 5:15, I was losing steam, but determined to accomplish my first official all-nighter. Even in college, while cramming for huge, scary Chem tests, I never managed to stay up all night. Somewhere around 3 or 4 am, I lost my will to care and would nod off.

We arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and I was determined to sit in Lincoln's lap, only to find that the Memorial has 24 hour security. Bummer. No morning snuggles with Lincoln.

Well hey there, Abe

But the security, as unfriendly as they were, were fine with letting us all sit on the steps and wait for sunrise. Surprisingly, we weren't the only ones there! And by 5:30, we spotted our first runner of the day. Crazy people, those runners.

Good Morning, DC!

Overall, it was an excellent night. Two bucket list items in one day. It's nights like these that make me think, why am I leaving these awesome and amazing friendships? It's scary to move to a town where I can literally count my friends on one hand, but I think I'm ready for the adventure.

Monday, June 7, 2010

T-Minus 24 days

This weekend I got a chance to go to one of my favorite places: Home Depot. I learned a valuable lesson - Home Depot is not as much fun when you have to buy items you will then have to tediously use at home (ie, white paint and spackle for my room). It is much more fun to buy new and exciting things to use than it is to buy things in preparation for a move. It is hard to muster motivation to paint a room back to white, especially when all of my belongings are still there.

I did, however, get to buy some fun things for the apartment in Denver (ok, I think they are fun - I realize most normal people wouldn't). After reusing nails and drywall screws over and over each time I have moved since college, I sprung a new pack of anchors, nails, and picture hangers. While not as fun, I also bought a giant roll of furniture saran wrap for the stress-inducing couches and bubble wrap for the furniture edges.

In other moving news, with an apartment nailed down, I was able to provide a final address to my moving company and reserve my move date within my new building. The building is actually a condominium, so they have some fairly strict HOA rules I need to be sure to follow. The Byron ladies may need to cut short our day in Colorado Springs in order to make it to Denver in time, but there is still some room to play around with towards the end of the road trip. Almost all of the hotels have been reserved and we'll be arriving in Pensacola in time to see those famous white sandy beaches covered in BP oil. It will certainly be a unique experience to witness the environmental destruction first-hand.

Mom and Al have also booked their necessary flights and we've even come up with some fun Denver activities. Two days after we arrive is my birthday, so we are going to do a 3 brewery walking tour in LoDo (that's Lower Downtown) followed by a birthday dinner of sorts. Thursday is still up in the air, but we might all be so tired all we'll want to do is sleep!

So with 24 days left until my last day in DC, I'm trying to pack in as many activities as possible while also trying to pack as much and as early as I physically can. My parents will be coming into town this weekend, so I'll be knocking a few more items off of the bucket list!

(preview to next blog: sunrise at the Lincoln Memorial - accomplished)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


As previously discussed, I have been incredibly lucky. But beyond the big over arching gratitude inducing luck (health, family, job, etc), I've had the most insane amount of random luck in my life.

Take this weekend, for example. I leased the very first apartment I saw. And it is AMAZING. I have been researching/craigslist-stalking apartments in Denver for the better part of the last seven months. Nothing, NOTHING I have seen previously even compares to how sweet my new apartment is. Nothing.

This is not the first time I've been that lucky with apartments. Both the apartment on Washington Blvd and my sweet, sweet townhouse were both the first places Lauren and I looked. And they rocked. I have witnessed friends visit apartment after apartment just trying to find something mediocre, so I realize what a rarity my luck has been. I was almost sure that this time, given the distance and the timing, my luck would run out. Happily, it hasn't.

And while I include 'job' in my big over-arching luck category, it really boiled down to just plain old dumb luck. I was just back at UMD for my senior year and needed a job. Any job, really, but one in my field would have been amazing. I happened to be going through a listserve email from my program advisor and Berger just happened to be looking for interns. I didn't even really know what 'environmental consulting' was, but it sounded like it was in my field so I sent in my resume. I also knew I eventually wanted to get a Master's degree, but had no idea what in. Now, five years later, I am very happy at my job and close to finally completing my Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning (who knew this was even a discipline?? I certainly didn't...). And all because of dumb luck.

My final bit of dumb luck this weekend happened at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, of all places. Faced with a two hour layover, I wandered over to the bar across from my gate because all of the other seats were taken (and also, a miller lite really does just hit the spot sometimes. I recognize that my miller lite drinking days may be numbered, as fancypants microbrews and Coors Light reign supreme out in Denver...). Anyhow, whilst sitting at the bar, enjoying my "so large this is definitely going to make me have to pee on the plane, thus disrupting my entire row" beer, the guy next to me starts chatting. I mention that I was out apartment hunting in Denver and the guy on the other side of him chimes in, saying he is on his way back to Denver. Lo and behold, we both come to learn that as of July, we will both be living within a block of each other, quite possibly within the same building. If that's not dumb luck, I don't know what is! I only wish that I had showered that morning so I wasn't as groady while making new friends...

So it appears as though the Denver gods are smiling upon my move. I am now up to a whopping 5 friends in Denver, only 3 of which are through work! Yay for friends! Now if only I would stop stressing about moving those darn couches...