Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Raining in Sheets

We all know the saying, "When it rains, it pours." Well, we have been been getting rain in bucketfuls. Or as Will says, "sheets and sheets of rain."

Around 3 am on Monday morning, we were burgled. We were home at the time, which is really the scary part. I heard them and talked myself out of the fact that were indeed people in the house.

In the morning, we awoke to find that they had precariously balanced one of our lawn chairs on the back steps leading up to the kitchen, slit the screen, and hoisted themselves into the house. While in the house, they turned on the kitchen light to see better, and then helped themselves to my gym bag, tennis shoes, work out watch, iPod shuffle, computer, and purse and Will's computer, phone, watch, wallet, and keys. They even took the power supplies to both laptops and the phone.

So, on Monday morning, we had our very own episode of CSI in our kitchen, fingerprinting, detectives, and all.

We have made a claim with our insurance, alerted the banks and card companies, and replaced the locks (plus a few other home security measures that I cannot share with you). Oh, and we are getting a dog.

Today we attempted to replace our stolen IDs. No go. Though it says on the DC DMV web site that you only need one form of alternative ID, you need two and the police report. We learned this after standing in line for an hour. And, of course, one of the IDs accepted is a social security card, which Will cannot find at the moment.

Instead of going to the social security office because we had much to get done today and wasting more time in government offices was not how we need to spend the rest of the day, we went to get Will a new wallet (ohh brown leatha) and then to the our hardware store to get keys made.

There was a lady in front of me, demanding her keys--3 sets of 3-- to be made not by a trainee because her keys were of state importance. She was really quite rude. I was then next, and I presented my 4 keys to be made with 5 copies each. I stepped aside because 20 keys takes a while, and a long line was forming. Plus Will and I had to check out the other security items we might need to add on to our house.

20 minutes later, I watch them give the rude lady bags of keys. I think that something is odd, but also think that the hardware store has it under control. But, since this never happens, it did for us:

They gave the rude lady our keys!

She had paid and left the store, complaining that she only asked for three copies of the keys and she wasn't going to pay for the extra keys at all. When her keys were ready and were presented to me, I laughed, explaining the situation: the hardware store switched the keys. And par for the course, the keymaker had given the lady the copies and the originals, thereby leaving Will and I stranded since we now had no keys to get into our house. The store manager was really upset that it has happened, but Will and I just laughed, because at this point, what else could happen?

We went to the Whole Foods, got sandwiches, and then went back to the hardware store to wait for her return, having a picnic on the really nice outdoor teak furniture they have on sale at the moment. An hour and half later, she calls to say that the keys don't work and she will be back in 20 minutes to get her true keys. And man,was she is pissy about the whole situation. She returned, we exchanged. She got her keys, we got ours.

We went home and made key rings with the new keys.

At this point, I am hoping that the rain clouds disperse and move on. That is three things that went wrong, yes? We are in the clear now?

Geez, I better go check the weather for tomorrow....

Friday, September 25, 2009


Will and I tackled the TV room this summer (yes it was *started* in the summertime, but it was finished in the first few days of autumn). We were tired of the green paint, crackled and dull. We were tired of the chipped baseboards and windows. We were tired of the furniture.

I guess that the furniture is what started it. We took wedding money and gift cards and bought a new sofa. It was supposed to arrive last week (still hasn't come into the warehouse) and we thought: it would be a good idea to paint the room *before* the new sofa arrives.

Okay, okay, I thought that it would be a good idea and Will, the dear hear that he is, went along with me. After all, the room is only 10 x 12 feet. A space small enough that it would be very easy and quick!

Well, Will and I have yet again learned a valuable lesson: this house is never easy or quick.

Nearly two weeks later, we have a finished room (though we still have to put it back together... someone has far too many books to sort out first).

You remember this photo:

You can see the dullness of the green when we were first started thinking of painting. But then I decided that if we have curtains, though I dislike them, I am not going to change them anytime soon (next summer's project, maybe), so maybe we ought to try to match the curtains.

In the meantime, we would prepare the room. So, we started scraping. And what did we discover?

The green paint was painted on TOP of wallpaper. So, we had to scrape the entire room to remove the green painted wallpaper.

Once we scraped it all off, the wallpaper left a fuzzy mess on the walls. Thank goodness for modern chemicals. Our hardware store (yes, they know are names when we go in and chuckle at us when we relay to them what we are after now as we redo the house slowly) had this stuff: you spray on, you wait 20 minutes, you scrape off the residue. Man, did it work! We were amazed.

In the meantime, we decided no green for the room but a nice deep brown.

After we removed the wall paper residue, we discovered that the room had been brown in a previous life:

We decided that the deep brown (see the other two brown blocks of paint?) was not the right color at all. It made the room seem even smaller. So, we went with a lighter brown: Ventana.

We prepared and primed the ceiling and walls:

It took two coats of primer!! And then we painted the walls (another two coats!!), trim, shelves, and windows. Will was a pro at the edging:
The result is what I call a chocolate milk or the color of my coffee, which has loads of cream in in it. Will calls it a milky tea. Kelly called it taupe. Whatever the color, it is not beige. We love it. And once we have all the million books back in, the new sofa, and the curtains back up, it will be finished and one more room in this house will be done.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Digging For Victory!

A lovely packet arrived in the post today from Andrew & Co. He had taken the boys to the Imperial War Museum (where we visited in April) and in the gift shop he saw these and thought of us.

Carrots, Spinach, and Tomatoes!

They will have to wait until next spring to be planted, but surely we will overcome with these vegs! Digging for Victory indeed.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Bee Cat Hat.

Thanks, Diane.
Kitty thanks you too.

She is thrilled, can't you tell?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

End of Summer Reflections

As the official end of summer approaches, I look back to busy summer for my family. Not only did I get married, but so did Becca.

We had several big birthdays: Will (40), Jeremy (39), Mom (ageless), Dad (62), Caroline (34), Grandpa & Ma (82), Donnie (80), Edward (78), Matie (84), Kristie (36), Chloe (3) and Brando (1)

And Will and I had yet another wedding celebration:

After all of that celebration, I am hoping for a quiet autumn, though, since we decided that we wanted to paint the t.v. room before the new couch arrives, and the roof is still leaking, I doubt it....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What's Up, Doc?

Well, carrots are up, obvy!

Pottery By Mail

Lovely Ms. Hurst Street's lovely Mother sent William and I a lovely piece of pottery for a wedding present. It is from Fire and Earth Pottery, a local gallery in Charleston, South Carolina. The artist, Kris Neal, is also the owner. Check out the web site and see some of the beautiful things he has to offer, including classes!

It is beautiful piece and we will treasure it always.

Thank you!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I Can Feel Your Jealousy

Through the computer, cuz I get to go spend the weekend with these two kiddos. They are kinda excited too, to be spending their weekend with FAM. I mean, I am fabulous, as the nickname implies.

I mean, look how Brando responded to the news I was coming back into town!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Happy Birthday Mommy!
Happy Birthday Grandmother!

and soon we will be celebrating Chloe's 3rd and Brando's 1st.
Man, September is a busy month!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Danny's Chickens

My cousin Danny has his own chickens. He just got them (though I am sure he had them when he was little). He has about 18 chickens (with four roosters!), 3 ducks, 2 turkeys, a couple of guinea fowl, and somethings else that I don't remember what it is but we could hold it, since it had been a pet. Well, Darren held it and Brando, as you can see, was fascinated.

Then someone asked about catching chickens. Now, I am not sure why at this particular moment we decided that we needed to catch a chicken, but, when my cousins gets together, it is easy to say that *anything* can happen.

So, enjoy watching Danny, Darren, and Will trying to catch a chicken. If you don't know this, chickens are pretty quick. I am betting you guessed already that no chickens were caught, but the commentary from the crowd (and chickens) is pretty funny.

P.S. In the background, you can see the turkeys. They are pretty creepy looking. They are young and apparently won't get the pretty plumage until they are older.

On the Road

When Will and I were driving home to KY last week, we stopped at Will's required stop: Waffle House. If we don't stop there at least twice on the trip, he gets very very upset. And you don't want to be in the car with Will when he doesn't get his egg and cheese sandwich followed by a waffle...

So, we had finished our first trip to Waffle House on the 10 hour drive to KY from DC and were gwtting back on the road to go 270 to 70 to 68 to 77 to 64 to 265 to 42. (Got that?) We were waiting for the signs to go to 70 from 270 when I noticed a sign that said 15 and Will noticed a sign that says "Gettysburg."

Ahem. Somehow we messed up. the only explanation is that we didn't pay attention to the signs when we got back on the road from Waffle House. We were basically about 20 minutes from Gettysburg and thought either we could turn around or we could go through Gettysburg, which is what we did (they have a nice battlefield you can drive by...). We then hit 81 and went down to join 68. Yeah, a two-hour delay to our trip. So, we did 270 to 15 to 30 to 81 to 70 to 68 to 77 to 64 to 265 to 42. We are brilliant drivers and navigators.

But, it wasn't all a loss! We did see a Maryland state park named for us! It might even be enough to convince me to go camping.... well, let's be real. I have never camped and don't intend to start at my age. But, it may get me to go on a day hike.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Something in the Way

So, I seem to have a chronic problem of when I take a photo, some*thing* keeps getting in the way. Take the latest example. I was attempting to photograph this:

and for a while, all that was coming through on the digital image was this:

and this:and this:

As you can see, I never got that shot-- hence, a digital image from someone else that I found on the web. I do believe that something seems to be wrong with my new digital camera. I might have to take it back and get a new one so this issue stops happening....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington...

And brought his family.

In August, my sister Rebecca and her husband, Dave, came with his kids for a trip to Washington, DC. It was the first time for them to come to Washington (as well as the first time the kids had been on a plane!) Of course it happened to be the hottest days of the year during their visit--some days the temperature reaching 99 degrees and 80+% humidity. The humidity did not go over well with these desert-living folks.

Still I think that they had a good time in their three days here. I made sure that they saw some pretty fun and cool things, exhausting them and filling their heads with all sorts of historic factoids--that is what we historians are good for, after all, when we act as tour guides.

We saw the Library of Congress, the Zoo, the Capitol building and new visitors' center, the Botanical Gardens, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Natural History Museum, the Air & Space Museum, Eastern Market, the White House, the monuments & memorials (at night of course, cuz that's the best time to see them), and a fun dinner at a Moroccan restaurant, complete with a belly dancer who can balance a sword on her head. We also had a drive around the neighborhoods of Cleveland Park and Georgetown, a quick trip to the Cathedral (it is only two blocks away after all), shopping on M Street, a cook out at home, and pizza in Glover Park.

All in all, I think that in three days, the Smiths walked about 2313415 miles and sweated about 312 LBs in water out of their systems. They deserved the next 4 days at the beach. I am just wondering, why I didn't go with them to recover?