Saturday, June 28, 2008

Street Soccer

This morning I finally stopped for a minute to talk to the guy who hangs out at the Georgetown end of the M Street bridge. He was reading the Post Express, and when I asked him if there was any good news, he told me about the street soccer tournament in D.C. this weekend. As he put it, "It's interesting, because it gives homeless people an opportunity to represent themselves athletically."

As it turns out, it is even more interesting than that. The tournament this weekend (which is at 11th and H Streets NW, if you're around and interested) is the qualifying tournament for the U.S. team in the Homeless World Cup. Teams from around the world are traveling to Melbourne in December to play for the world title. The stories on the website are really compelling, and it seems like a cool cause, so I would encourage you to read about it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Miss You Love

No, this post is not about my pining after anyone. Pine? Me? Oh please. But this post is about my missing various stuff. And what is any blog without the odd Daniel Johns shoutout?

Anyway, we're moving soon. Half of the contents of the apartment are already in storage (big ups to Rockville), which makes the living room look a little awkward-- four dining chairs with no dining room table, one lonely armchair in front of the coffee table and TV, an unopened jug of Carlo Rossi atop an empty bookshelf. Like I said, awkward.

The impending move has made me think about some of the things I'm going to miss about this place. I have also made note of a number of things I won't miss, but hey, no need to be too negative.

Miss: Looking out the window at the Lincoln Memorial. And the Jefferson Memorial. And the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the Smithsonian, Memorial Bridge, the Potomac, the Kennedy Center, and Roosevelt Island. Also, on the rare occasion that the Nats score a home run, the fireworks at the new ballpark. Fortunately, the Nats suck, so I won't really miss that many fireworks.

Miss: Our semi-functional elevator system. It's always an exciting adventure-- wondering how long it will take to get to the lobby, wondering if the elevator will stop at the lobby, wondering if the doors will open when it stops at whatever floor it damn well pleases. It might seem off that I will miss this death trap, but I bet I will as I drag my laundry down three flights of stairs. Fortunately, I don't do laundry very often.

Won't miss: Our water "quality." I'd rather not elaborate.

Won't miss: The Rosslyn Metro station. I hate that frickin escalator. Not that the Dupont escalator is that much shorter, but still. I'm also not a fan of the various chunks of concrete that are missing and the general inability of the ceiling tiles to keep water from cascading down onto the platform. When you're that far underground, you like to think that the infrastructure around you isn't literally crumbling.

Miss: The ladies who work at the front desk, especially Rhonda who always says hi to me and Janea who gave me free Nats tickets one time.

Miss: The hilarious people who live in our building. Notable personalities include the old guy who wears his Royals hat constantly whom I tried to convince to go vote in the primaries and the lady in the elevator the other day who looked at my legs, cautioned me to wear sunscreen, and told me about having carcinomas removed from her nose.

Won't miss: The creepy people in our building. There are sort of a lot of them. Many can be found smoking outside the entrance at all hours of the day and night.

Miss: Walking home across the Key Bridge, especially when it's high tide. (Yes, the Potomac is tidal as far up as D.C.; you can tell because at high tide it's pretty and at low tide there are visible tires and other detritus.) And especially on weekend nights in the summer, when people are out and you just see the running lights on all the boats.

Miss: Walking/running past my favorite view of D.C. I am telling you here and now that there is no better view of Washington than the one you get standing in the Iwo Jima Memorial park in Rosslyn, on the part of the path just to the left of the Netherlands Carrillon. If you ever want to see this, I will happily take you on a field trip.

Won't miss: The weird smell that has recently developed near the CVS on Lynn Street. Seriously. It started as a decaying garbage smell. Then we enjoyed a brief (day-long) scent of overtaxed septic system. For the past two days, it has smelled of something I can only define as drying seaweed mixed with mussels that were used for crab bait and were subsequently left to bake in the sun. And people wonder why I refuse to eat mussels...

Won't miss: State- (Commonwealth?)-run package stores. I have never even been in one, but they just freak me out in theory.

Miss: Subterranean Safeway. Most of the time their produce is not bad, which means that all of the time it is better than the one zucchini and three oranges in Soviet Safeway. Also, checkout guys are awesome, especially the one who always asks "How are you, beautiful?" and the one with the Snidely Whiplash mustache who told me they charge extra to fill reusable Trader Joe's bags.

Won't miss: Various emergency vehicles and big rigs on VA-110. They are actually louder than most of the planes landing at National, which I generally don't notice anymore.

Miss: The homeless guy I pass on the way to work. He hangs out at the Georgetown end of the M Street bridge over Rock Creek Parkway. Well, I think he's homeless, because he usually has a cup for donations, but maybe he's just trying to pick up a little extra cash on the side. I have never stopped to talk to him, because I am always tearing down the street trying to be less late, but I feel bad about this. If no one else is talking to him we exchange pleasantries-- he usually goes with, "Good morning, dear." Most of the time, though, I get no love because he's chatting up someone. Seriously, I have heard him talking politics (which is honestly not that surprising for a homeless guy in D.C.), but more often he is reading his original poetry. I have overheard bits and pieces, and what I've heard is good.

Won't miss: Our dysfunctional refrigerator. It is more accurately described as a freezer-- anything uncovered placed higher than the bottom shelf is liable to be covered in ice within an hour of entering said fridge.

All that said, I'm sure life in the new 'hood will be sure of its own quirks, both good and... entertaining. Sure, entertaining, that's it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Kate Salutes Awesomeness

I just wanted to give a quick shout-out. I have been known to watch some TV in my time, and I have definitely watched some really bad TV--The X-Effect much?

But tonight, lacking anything more interesting, I watched a couple minutes of Denise Richards: It's Complicated. I was prepared to be really embarrassed about it, because to be honest I don't really care whether her assistant or her assistant's assistant is lying about something asinine. However, in what was probably a one-time-only event, Denise decided to build something. A playhouse for her daughters, in fact. Again, I was skeptical, especially when she started saying, "What are all these thiiings? You brought it without instructions?"

I mean, in her defense, I too have been charged with building "just four walls and a ceiling," and that process became the most grueling two months of my life, so I sympathize. I mean, full-scale Weimar Berlin apartment versus pink playhouse; to be honest, the playhouse sounds pretty easy after that. Nevertheless, I had my concerns about watching some blonde flailing around trying to understand the purpose of washers and nuts.

Fears allayed. Once she realized she needed a drill, Denise went on a fieldtrip to her friendly neighborhood hardware store and bought herself a DeWalt cordless drill-- with the help of the female clerk, I might add. After that it was smooth sailing, and if I were little again, I would think it was a pretty awesome playhouse. As it stands, I think it's pretty awesome that a mom built her daughters' playhouse on national TV.

And maybe next time we can step up for some real lumber and a saw too.

The Actual End of the Hunt

So we officially have an apartment. Well, actually we have two apartments. Three if you count the one where I'm sitting presently. But this one goes away soon, and before then one of us is going to have to break the bad news to Charlemagne... which leaves us with one delightful abode in Dupont!

The process for finding this was teamwork at its finest. Thanks to my neurosis, Marissa's Blackberry, the Metro's failure to function, and our cab driver's failure to--well, to function, really--we found our apartment while trapped in traffic on Friday morning. It's a good thing, because we had to do something to distract me from my plan to hijack the cab.

In any case, the moral of the story is that everything works out for the best. Well, okay, two bathrooms would make this apartment 'the best,' but as is it's still pretty great. But fortune favors the doggedly persistent. And those willing to walk up three floors.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Signs You Have Been Apartment Hunting Too Long

So I have not shared as much of our apartment hunting adventure as I had originally intended, mostly because it has been so miserable that I couldn't bring myself to write about it in any kind of funny, non-Eeyore-meets-mental-patient kind of way. It's a good thing the quest is over, because apparently it has begun to take its psychological toll. The following is a real interaction that occurred this morning when Marissa and I went to submit applications for what is likely to become our new home (since I will actually need some kind of prescription anti-anxiety medication if we search any longer):

Marissa: Now, are we under any obligation once we submit this application?
Charmain, our leasing agent friend: No, nothing happens until you actually sign the lease and accept the keys.
Marissa: Okay, so we're not legally bound to take the apartment.
[Charmain looks at us suspiciously.]
Marissa: I mean, if anything happens--
Kate: --like if one of us gets hit by a truck.

Whaaaaaa? Where did that come from? A truck? That's the reason we wouldn't take the apartment? I mean, excepting a case in which we found a better apartment which won't happen because we're done looking and which we clearly couldn't tell Charmain... but a truck? Really?

I need a beer.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You Know It's Summer in DC When...'s hot enough at 7:30 p.m. to make you decide not to walk home.
...the Metro is delayed. are trapped on the Metro with interns. This is almost enough to make you decide to walk home anyway.

Yes, it's that time again. Tuesday night, I had my first drive-by sloot-ing of the summer. As we sat in Farragut West, I overheard the following:

"You don't have an ID?"
"No... well, if I wear a lowcut shirt they'll let me in."

Happy summer everyone.

Monday, June 2, 2008

I Love D.C.

I had a very D.C. weekend, and it made me remember how much I love living here. Friday after work, I went on a Trader Joe's mission and--after wandering the wine section for about 15 minutes--cobbled together a Trader Joe's picnic. Like any good ex-girl scout, I was prepared--in this case with a corkscrew--as was my co-picnicker. Joined by another friend, we headed over to the jazz concert in the sculpture garden.

It was awesome. The jazz was good, the grass was springy, the weather was perfect, and the park police turned a blind eye to the dubious beverages being enjoyed by literally everyone there. And when I say 'everyone'-- there were so many people. It was almost a little challenging to find a spot to set up camp. But mostly it was really cool that so many people--mostly young people-- turn out on a Friday after work to sit in a park and listen to jazz.

Saturday-- well, Saturday was less integral to the whole 'amazing D.C. weekend' scheme. That said, seeing the Sex and the City movie in the vaguely bombed out-looking theatre in Union Station was pretty classic. Once we realized that everyone else around was talking to the characters on the screen-- "Oh no he di'int!"--we joined in the Greek chorus, balancing out the "Awwwww!"s with our "Ugh, you have got to be kidding me"s. I mean, hurling cynical comments at the screen during a romantic comedy? That's pretty D.C. And then I went home and counted the Ick-ness of the movie with four episodes of West Wing.

Today was my first trip to Eastern Market in waaaay too long. Ever the multitasker, I decided to pair my deep and abiding love of the market with my grudging persistence in apartment hunting and go to an open house on Capitol Hill. I decided that I hadn't been outside enough recently and set out to walk to the apartment and Eastern Market. Not only was it a very promising apartment, but it was a lovely day at the market as well. I bought two birthday presents. I got mango sorbet. I made friends with Caitlin who makes awesome book purses and who--after calling me crazy and telling me I should take the Metro home-- bestowed upon me some of her sunscreen. I resisted the urge to buy completely extraneous kitchenware from the Polish pottery guy, though next time I will not be so strong.

On my way home-- no, I did not listen to Caitlin; I wanted to take pictures of D.C. from my favorite vantage point, the base of the Netherlands Carillon, so I decided to walk-- I took a mini-detour to avoid the ostensibly crazy guy who started talking to me on Independence Avenue and wandered upon this awesome exhibit at the Botanic Garden. In addition to the awesome globes, they also have two wind turbines, which as I science nerd I found to be really cool. Definitely go check it out if you have a chance, even if you're not a nerd.

All in all, a very good weekend indeed. Now if only I could bring myself to do my ironing, I would be a completely productive citizen. Maybe next weekend.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spotted on the Key Bridge

The cherry blossoms all finished falling about two months ago, but I am still clinging to spring. My mission to walk to work as much as possible is still in full swing... sorry, I just got distracted by all the inadvertent rhyming. I apologize, but I think I'm just going to leave it since it happened organically.

Anyway, I still walk to work. It is the best decision I consistently make between Monday and Friday. There is nothing like meandering over the Key Bridge and looking out at the crew shells and the Kennedy Center in the morning sun. To be fair, my trip to work is nothing like that-- it's more like careening along at a power-walking pace and trying to avoid death by bicyclist. But the part about the crew shells and the Kennedy Center is true. It makes me want to skip out on work and go rent a kayak.

As it turns out, maybe some people indulge a similar seafaring urge. Most mornings on the bridge I pass these two guys walking into Rosslyn from Georgetown. I have started calling them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in my mind, extra emphasis on the Tweed part. Seriously, if it were ever slightly chilly, I am sure they would both be wearing tweed jackets. Given that it's pretty mild, they stick with the pastel Polo-khakis-boat shoes look. I have never seen them wearing matching shirts, but I am waiting for the day. My favorite part though is that--in addition to the Sperry's--one of them has croakies on his sunglasses at all times.

Now, I am paranoid about lots of things including somehow losing my grip on something and watching it plummet into the Potomac. As a result, no mugger will ever be able to steal my bag on that bridge, because I clutch it with a death grip at all times. But despite my own neurosis, I find it really hard to believe that this guy's sunglasses are really at risk. Does he think it's going to get so windy that he is going to need the croakies to keep the glasses on his head? Or around his neck, as it were?

No. He is really just that fratastic. And he probably wants us all to wonder if he is in fact going out for a sail after work-- which is legit, because if he were, I would totally support the croakies. But until that day, I will continue to believe that Tweedle Dum (you knew he would have to be 'Dum, right?) is the post college analog to that kid in middle school whose parents made him wear his retainer case on a lanyard so he wouldn't lose it.