Monday, June 6, 2011

DC Trip

This has been quite a week!  We arrived in DC last Friday (May 27) and have been going like gangbusters ever since.  Our friend Scott, who is at the beach with is family all week, offered to lend us his car, so when we arrived at Dulles, we hopped in a cab and asked the driver to take us to Merrifield Garden Center to pick up the key from Scott's wife's friend, who works there, and then on to Scott's house in Alexandria.  I'm sure that's the first time someone ever took a cab from the airport to the garden center!

We are staying at Josh's parents' house on Capitol Hill (near Eastern Market) and had dinner Friday night with Josh's dad and our friends Ann & Matt at Ted's Bulletin down the street.  We all enjoyed the food and decor, and would be happy to go back sometime.

We spent most of Saturday running errands with Josh's dad.  We were shopping for stuff we couldn't find in London, and he was preparing for his trip to Mongolia.  In the evening we drove up to Silver Spring and had a nice dinner with Josh's godparents, Stephen & Joan.

Sunday morning we dropped Josh's dad at Dulles to catch his flight to Mongolia, and then met our friend Margie for brunch at Jackson's in Reston.  Our friends John & Jen had invited us to join them at a Washington Nationals baseball game that afternoon, so we twisted Margie's arm ever so slightly and convinced her to join us.  We drove back to her house so she could change, drove back to Josh's parents' house to park the car, and took a cab the rest of the way to the ballpark, which is only about 10 minutes away.  Josh and I had never been to a Nats game before -- it was one of those things we always meant to do but never got around to it -- so we were glad to finally have an opportunity.  We took a few silly photos while we were waiting for John to meet us at the gate with our tickets.

Way out in left field...
It was a warm, muggy day, but our seats were in the shade so it wasn't so bad.  There were lots of empty seats -- I doubt many Padres fans came to root for their team -- so we were able to spread out a bit.  None of us are huge baseball fans, so were were happy to just kick back with our overpriced hot dogs and catch up.

Josh, John, and Margie enjoy the shade
Genevieve is dubious about the president mascots
Jen & Annika enjoyed the game
The Nats lost to the Padres, but we still enjoyed being at the game and hanging out with our friends.  Afterwards, we bid farewell to John, Jen, and the girls and walked back to Josh's parents' house.  We had a rather disappointing diner at the Thai restaurant across the street, and then drove Margie home.  On the way back, we stopped by to see our friends Jason & Elizabeth, but jet lag quickly caught up with us, so we didn't stay long.  We had plans to see them the next day, anyway.

Monday morning I baked some brownies and chopped up fruit and cucumbers while Josh took the Metro out to our house in Arlington to retrieve his bike from the garage and ride it back.  It was a hot, humid day, so he was drenched in sweat by the time he returned.  After a shower and cold drinks, we gathered our supplies and headed over to Jason & Elizabeth's for a Memorial Day barbecue.  Our friends Ann & Matt joined us there with their two boys, who are good friends with Jason & Elizabeth's kids.  The four of them had great fun cooling off with their nifty new backyard sprinkler.
Josh and I mixed up a pitcher of "Pimm's," which is my new favorite summertime (alcoholic) beverage.  You mix Pimm's (a fruity British liqueur) with what the British call "lemonade" -- but we would call 7up or Sprite --  add chopped up fruit, cucumber, and mint, and serve it over ice with a cucumber or orange slice garnish.  It was a big hit -- the six adults nearly polished off an entire bottle of Pimm's and two 2-liter bottles of Sprite as we kept refilling the pitcher.  We feasted heartily on burgers, steak, ribs, hot dogs, corn, gazpacho, salad, fruit, and, of course, brownies!
A good time was had by all, and I think we have created several new Pimm's fans.  Good thing you can find it in many local liquor stores.

Tuesday Josh needed to work from BAE's Rosslyn office, so we drove in together in the morning and I spent the day running errands.  I submitted new change of address forms at the post office, so our mail would be forwarded to our house in Wimbledon rather than Josh's office (where I think most of my mail ended up being sent back).  I spent a good chunk of the day at the Pentagon City mall shopping for stuff that I either couldn't find locally or were too expensive in London (like shoes).  I met Josh back at our house in Arlington at 6 so we could meet with our tenant and drop off some things.  The movers accidentally packed a few things that we didn't intend to take with us -- like the replacement water filter for the refrigerator -- and a couple other things we brought with us don't actually work -- our butter dish is the wrong shape and our juice pitcher won't fit in the refrigerator -- so I brought them back in my suitcase.  (Now I have room for the new stuff I bought!)  The house seems to be in pretty good shape, although it was strange to see my office converted into a 2-year-old's playroom.  So. Many. Toys.

We stopped by to visit a couple neighbors afterwards, and grabbed a quick dinner at a new pizza place that had opened up since we left.  I'm glad we have friendly neighbors in Wimbledon, because it was really hard to leave all our wonderful neighbors in Arlington.  It really was an almost utopian little community there, and we loved the little impromptu neighborhood gatherings that would frequently occur when everyone was outside enjoying the nice weather. We really were very fortunate to live where we did.

Wednesday Josh had to go in to the office for an early meeting.  Jet lag prevented me from sleeping in, but I had a more leisurely start to the day, and then took the Metro out to Arlington to sit in on a construction meeting with Ann & Matt, who are building a new house a couple blocks away from ours.  They are using the same builders that we did for our renovation a couple years ago, so it was fun to see them, and since some of their very early project meetings took place in our dining room, I had also met their architects several times before.  After the meeting we had a quick lunch and then went by the house to check on the progress.  It's coming along nicely!  Now that it has windows, siding, and a roof, it looks great from the outside, and the rooms are all framed in so it's easy to get a sense for how it will all flow when it's done.
We all parted ways around 4 and I stopped by to visit another neighbor on my way to the Metro.  Coincidentally, the husband had just flown back from London (on Virgin Atlantic) that afternoon after a trip to Scotland.  We had a nice chat and I gulped down a glass of water (another miserably hot day!) before continuing on my way.  I checked in with Josh, and he had plans to meet up with a former co-worker near his old office, so he invited me to join them.  I was not even remotely appropriately dressed to go to a fancy restaurant in a fancy hotel -- especially after having spent the afternoon in an un-air-conditioned construction site -- but since I had nothing better to do, I hopped on the Metro and met Josh at the Blue Duck Tavern near Foggy Bottom.  I made a beeline for the ladies room and tried my best to clean myself up so I looked reasonably presentable, and we had a nice dinner and drinks in the bar.  Yet another full day for both of us.

Thursday was the reason we flew out here in the first place -- important meetings for Josh at the State Department.  He had to head out early once again, in a full suit and tie.  Fortunately, a thunderstorm the night before had brought the temperature and humidity down to much more pleasant levels.  I took the Metro up to Silver Spring and met my friends Nikki, Jamie, and Marisa for lunch by the Discovery building.  I think it was the first time I had been back there since I was laid off in December, so it felt a little strange, but it was fun to see my former co-workers and get caught up.  After lunch, Marisa escorted me in through the new security system in the lobby, and I spent the rest of the afternoon visiting as many of my old Discovery buddies as I could find.  I ended up staying much later than I had anticipated (6:30!), but I had good conversations with several different people and even came away with some potential job leads and contacts in the UK.  It turned out to be a fun and productive afternoon.  Josh and I were both pretty wiped out by the time we got back to his parents' house, so we had dinner at the Banana Cafe down the street and hit the sack.

Josh had more meetings scheduled on Friday, so he headed out in the morning, and I decided to give myself a break and stay home.  I did laundry, washed the dishes, organized my new purchases for easy packing, and ventured out at lunchtime to enjoy the nice weather.  In the evening, we met up with John, Jen, and their daughters for dinner at the Sala Thai near their house in Petworth.  We had fun watching Genevieve dance to the live music, and we hung out at their house for a bit afterwards before dragging ourselves home on the Metro.

Saturday morning our friends Rob & Addie and their son Quin met us at Eastern Market for breakfast at the Market Lunch
Rob, Quin, Addie, and Josh, post-blueberry-pancakes.
They had never been to Eastern Market before, so we wandered around together for a while afterwards, checking out the produce, crafts, and flea market goods.  Quin started getting cranky around noon, so Addie took him home and Josh and Rob went for a bike ride.

Saturday evening we had an early dinner with Jason, Elizabeth, and their kids at Thirsty Bernie's in Arlington, and then Josh and Elizabeth and I went to the Kennedy Center to see our (other) friend Rob perform with the Washington Men's Camerata.
The kids enjoy their ice cream at Thirsty Bernie's
The concert was fantastic, as usual, and we all went out to the Silver Diner in Clarendon afterwards for milkshakes and a late-night snack.  It was another long day for us, but it was great to get to see so many friends and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Sunday morning Josh got a much-needed hair cut, and then we drove down to Shirlington to meet our friends Scott & Paige and their 3 kids for brunch/lunch at Guapo's.  They had been at the beach all week, so we were glad to have a chance to see them before we left, and Guapo's is where we dine with them most often.  We haven't been able to find decent Mexican food in London, so it was nice to get a fix while we were back home.  They are in the midst of a major home renovation project as well, so we toured their house in the afternoon, and then Scott dropped us off at the nearest Metro station (since we had to give him his car back).

We stopped at the Pentagon City mall so Josh could look for a new pair of dress shoes, which he eventually found at the Clarks store.  Ironically, Clarks is a British company and they have shoe stores everywhere in London -- including Wimbledon -- but their selection is seriously lacking compared to what you can find in the States.  Even the bigger stores downtown have the same shoes as the smaller ones -- they're just spread out more -- and they are much more expensive in London and never go on sale.  Very disappointing!

Shoes in hand, we hopped back on the Metro and arranged for a pickup from Ballston to have dinner at our friend Rob's house.  His parents had come down from CT for his concert the night before, and brought a TON of home-cooked Italian food for Rob and all his friends to enjoy.  It was quite a feast. Three separate tables were laden with antipasto, entrees, and desserts, and EVERYTHING was delicious!  We enjoyed having one more opportunity to hang out with Rob & Diana, Ann & Matt, and Jason & Elizabeth, and we got to catch up a few other friends (and their parents).  A great way to cap off a whirlwind week in DC.

Today we fly back to London.  Josh is off at one more meeting -- he did a lot of work while we were here -- and I'm washing the sheets and towels, printing out our boarding passes, and packing.  I doubt we'll be able to fit in anything fun before we head to Dulles this afternoon, but we managed to cram a lot into our visit.  I apologize to anyone reading this that we did not have time to visit while we were in town -- we will definitely try to make up for it on our next visit.  It's likely that Josh will need to travel back here for work at least once more this year.  We'll keep you posted.  For now, I must sign off and go in search of one last decent cheeseburger before we depart, and then finish packing and doing laundry.  I'll report back when we are safely across the pond...


  1. I've been jonesing for a blog update for what seems like AGES. Glad you had a fun-filled week in DC. It sounds really similar to the amount of coordinating you end up doing whenever you visit California!

  2. It was such a treat to see you and Josh! I look forward to seeing you again soon!!


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