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A bit of this, a bit of that

For a change of pace, here are some pictures I’ve taken over the last couple of days interspersed with random sentences I’m hearing in the background right now.

“There’s no mud.”

I'm sorry it's grainy, but that is the dome of the Naval Academy chapel.

I’m sorry it’s grainy, but that is the dome of the Naval Academy chapel.

“I’ve got a large body of work.”

Sleeping duck on the dock in the early morning!  It wasn't actually that early.  This was a lazy duck.

Sleeping duck on the dock in the early morning! It wasn’t actually that early. This was a lazy duck.

“And that’s in the past.”

Do you feel threatened?  I think this guy would be easy to duck.  Hee.  Duck.

Do you feel threatened? I think this guy would be easy to duck. Hee. Duck.

“Let’s leave the science to the scientists.”

Well, that was a failed experiment.  For my next trick, I’m going to post pictures from the Bookshelf Porn website because DAMN – check these out:

This framed bookshelf looks so cool.

And this, man, our bedroom is going to look like this when we settle down again:



We moved into an apartment in an old townhouse, so a certain amount of noise is to be expected.  We have creaky floors, thin walls, and an unexpectedly noisy central air system.  It makes some super-weird sounds every time it comes on.  After much thought and hours of study, I have narrowed down the source of the noises to one of two things:

  1. Fiends from hell are straining against their chains, struggling with everything they have to come through the vents and drag us, body and soul, down to the fiery depths.
  2. Pterodactyls have gotten stuck in the air ducts.  They’re growing hoarse, but we can still hear their creaky roaring.  They’re coming.  If they can fit through the vents.

I’m relying on you to avenge us.

Best sandwich in the world

Guys, you can stop looking.  I have found the best sandwich in the world, and it is made right here in Annapolis.  The restaurants we’ve tried here have been hit or miss (mostly miss), but this sandwich shop is really really good.  It’s called The Big Cheese (or Sammy’s Deli – seems to have both names), and it’s got this enormous menu.  John and I (and Jess) have tried a bunch of their sandwiches already (all good), but there’s one I’ve had twice now, and I’m going to have to force myself to get anything else after this.  It’s the called the Brie Sandwich (the sandwich is more exciting than its name), and you can get it cold or warm.  French brie, honey mustard, lettuce, and tomato on a baguette (I get the French baguette, not the American baguette), and I can’t imagine getting it cold.  I’ve gotten it warm both times, and the cheese is all melty and it’s SO delicious.  (Dad, I haven’t asked yet if they have gluten-free bread, but I’m SURE they would make you a sandwich on whatever bread you bring.)  I think I’ve been there four times now (in the 16 or 17 days we’ve lived here), and I think I’m starting to look familiar to the owners (I think they’re the owners).  John tried (and liked) a sandwich named the Randi Sue (chicken salad with cranberries and other things in it), and then the next time he went, Randi Sue was working the register.  Turns out she’s the owners’ daughter, and they’ve got a son they’ve named a sandwich after, too.  Nice place, nice people, GREAT sandwiches.

Like sleeping on a cloud. We hope.

Our new mattress came today!  We tried out half the mattresses in the store yesterday afternoon, picked one, and it appeared in our apartment this morning!  Like magic.  For all I know, the delivery guys were special mattress gnomes whose sole purpose in life is to bring new soft mattresses to people who’ve been sleeping on the same cheap one for 15 years.  Maybe 15 years is what it takes to get delivery gnomes instead of muggles.  All I know is that I got in the shower around midmorning, and by the time I got out, our old mattress was gone and the new mattress was in its place.  I wonder if they bake bread or fix shoes.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

Dance the night away

We went to a Van Halen concert last night with Jess and Chuck (thank you again!), and it was awesome.  John was thrilled.  Of course he knew every word to every song, being the giant fan of theirs that he is, but it seems they played a few songs from earlier albums that aren’t usually heard.  Good ones, but not in the usual line-up.  He (and Chuck, who was right there with him in song recognition) couldn’t have been happier.  I knew maybe a third of the songs, but that’s alright with me.  They played most of my favorites (David Lee Roth era, of course, since Dave wouldn’t be caught dead singing a Sammy song), which was VERY alright with me, and they ended with Panama and Jump.

So what’s in my head this afternoon?  REM’s Shiny Happy People.  It’s not a bad thing, I like the song,  but I had two hours of Van Halen last night, live, loud, and really, really good.  (Seriously, they were really good.)  Where’s my well-deserved earworm?

It’s pretty darn nice here

I had the best morning today.  Getting up was a little difficult, but I got up and out and went for a run.  Ran over the Naval Academy Bridge (across the Severn River), went a little past and up to a scenic overlook.  I was skeptical, since it seemed like it would just look out over the road (yay road?), but no, they know what they’re talking about when they say there’s a scenic overlook.  There’s a view of the river and the bridge and the academy on the other side.  Scenic.  That was my halfway point, so I came back home thinking I’d grab John and we’d go have breakfast, but he wasn’t back yet.  (He went to Pax River last night to see Shorty and ended up staying.)  So I grabbed my phone and my key, went to Starbucks, and looked for a place to enjoy the sunshine and people-watch.  Found the city dock instead (where we saw a band Thursday night), so I plunked myself down right on the edge with my back to a support post, and talked to Mom and Dad for a half-hour or so.  It was SO nice.  Warm, but not hot, sunny, breezy (no bugs!), me with my iced white mocha.

See my shoes?  Proof I was there!

See my shoes? Proof I was there!

Better view, but not great.  The sun was in the wrong place.  Move, sun! (Yes, let's blame the sun.)

Better view, but not great. The sun was in the wrong place. Move, sun! (Yes, let’s blame the sun.)

I took a few blurry pictures of sailboats that I won’t subject you to, and I tried to get a picture of the guy who was sitting near the top of his big sailboat’s mast doing…something, but that picture didn’t come out well at all.

My terrible photos aside, it was SO pleasant, SO nice, and then as I was walking back to the apartment, I went down the street John usually parks on to see if he made it back, and there he was, driving up the street looking for a spot.  Perfect timing.  After we got his car safely parallel-parked next to a gigantic tree, we headed to West St to check out the flea market (underwhelming, but then, flea markets aren’t really our thing – it might have been an awesome flea market as those things go), and then we had coffee and breakfast at a spot down the road.

Every Saturday morning needs to go like this.  Every morning would be nice, but that might be asking too much.

To Facebook or not to Facebook

I am considering setting up a Facebook account.  I had one a long time ago, but I canceled it after only a couple of years because I NEVER used it.  NEVER as in not once did I post a status.  I had a profile picture, and I friended people, but that’s about it.  Then they changed the privacy settings, and I figured I’d just get out.  And I think this was around 2007.  Maybe 2009.  Hey, it was 2010!  (Damn, I was kind of funny in 2010.  Wonder what happened?)  Now, with all the moving around, I’ve gotten a lot of requests (some outright demands) that I get on Facebook.

I’m considering it.

I still probably wouldn’t use it much.  I’m on Twitter (@zannah42), and as of today, I’m on Instagram (also zannah42 – is there a symbol for Instagram?), although that’s going to be a little-used account, I would imagine.  I don’t take many pictures.  And (most-used), I’m HERE.  What would I post on Facebook that I wouldn’t post here first (or possibly on Twitter)?  I don’t really see the point, but for people being able to track me down and connect, maybe it’s worth it.

But that raises another interesting question.  (Well, it’s interesting to me.)  Should I link to my blog on my Facebook page (assuming I set one up)?  I know that all you people know who I am in real life, but technically, I am anonymous here.  I’ve never used my full name, never my last name, never the last names of my family members.  I’ve never given out my address or posted a picture that included my house number or even mentioned the name of the town we owned that house in for nearly 10 years.  NOW I’m fine with saying we live in Annapolis (for now), but I’m still not using my full name or giving out my address.  Someone would have to work at it (not that hard, but it would take a little effort) to find out who I really am if they stumbled across me here accidentally.  I am not a public figure.  But Facebook is not anonymous. I would have to use my real name.  And if I post a link to my blog on a Facebook account with my information in it, then I will stop being anonymous here.

Then again, what does that really mean?  What do I post that anyone out there couldn’t read?  I don’t go into details about work.  Once in a while, I talk about finding another job, but who doesn’t?  Besides, I haven’t yet.  (I’m not even looking.)  I have plenty of good reasons to stick with the one I have.  Being afraid of getting fired because of something I write here is not how I want to live.  I don’t discuss huge personal details.  I don’t say bad things about other people (not that could get me in trouble with anyone I know, anyway).

Of course, if I don’t link to my blog on my as-of-yet-hypothetical Facebook page, will I feel compelled to update there, too?  [Thinks about it for 2 seconds.]  No.  That is not going to be a problem.  So then it will be a basically unused page, there for people to find me if they want to.  But if I link to my blog, then it will be an unused page with a link to my blog.  Why link to my blog?  To drive traffic here?  As if people will really come find me on Facebook (a big if, aside from the people who have been asking me about it) and then say, “Oh, I wonder what she’s really thinking?”  Not likely.  So…I have not come to any conclusions.  Help!

Back to practical matters (if I decide to do it): do I have to have a personal FB account?  Or can I set one up that’s for me and John?  (There is NO way he’s creating an account under his name.)  I think if I set up a Facebook page for us, I still have to have a personal account to manage it.  Google isn’t really helping me out here.

Hats, Part 2

I tried the hat thing again.  I wore one most of the day on Saturday (hanging out with Jess, lunch sitting outside, driving to and from Annapolis, out to dinner with John), and it was comfortable enough, but the longer I wore it, the less I liked how it looked.  I think I need something with a broader brim, maybe like one of these:




Not in red, though.  I want something I can wear with anything.  I will certainly be bringing these pictures the next time I head to the hat store.

Settling in

Our apartment is starting to look more like a living space instead of a storage space, thanks in part to Ikea.  After we donated our couch because it wouldn’t fit (and made our first trip to Ikea), we were left with functional chairs, but no comfortable chairs (aside from the papasan chair, but we can’t both fit in that at the same time).  We went back on Sunday and picked up a couple of chairs that will do, without breaking the bank.  (We found a couple that we REALLY liked, but balked at the price tag.  We’re supposed to be spending LESS.)  Also, if they’re not all that comfortable, perhaps we’ll break our habit of watching too much TV in the evenings.  I suppose we’ll see.  Having random moving-related errands to run after work has certainly helped keep us away from it (not having internet or cable until last Thursday helped, too), but I imagine it’ll be a bigger temptation in the winter, when it’s cold and dark again.  And I might not feel guilty about giving in then.

I hope we can take a break from making decisions soon, too.  I’m over it, to the point where I’m dithering about really stupid things.  I can still figure out what to wear in the mornings, but I wanted to pick up a couple of placemats for my desk, and I stood there staring at the selections for SO long.  It’s not like it was a big commitment; the silly things cost $2 each.  I could not decide.  I did eventually (I went with basic black – no risk to the room’s color palette (which doesn’t exist yet)), and there’s no buyer’s remorse (over the placemats OR the chairs), but I think I need a rest from decision-making.  And I’ll take one, right after we choose a new mattress.  That is not going to be easy.

I hear music but there’s no one there

The coolest thing happened yesterday.  John and I were walking back from dinner out, heading to the garage to pick up his car and move it back to our block.  It was pretty quiet, not a lot of traffic, not a lot of noise (it was a Sunday evening).  We probably heard something in the background, but we weren’t really aware of it until it jumped out and slapped us in the head.  Seemingly out of nowhere, we heard this CHORD, a chorus of voices singing.  It was loud, it was good, and where the hell was it coming from?  We stopped in our tracks, heads swiveled left, and then we were across the street, following our ears to track down the music.  (We probably looked cartoonish, we moved that fast.  Left a cloud of dust behind us.)  Within a block, it was clear there was a gospel choir around here somewhere, and two blocks away and around one corner, we found them.  A group of maybe 8 or 9 men and women were arranged in an outdoor park in front of a band, singing their heads off.  It was really cool.  There were some chairs arranged in front, maybe 30-40 people in the audience, and a Mr. Brain Freeze truck at the curb (who would have been doing better business if this August actually felt like August).  We hung out for maybe 20 minutes, until the good choir took a break, and a not as good choir stepped up.  I overheard someone explaining that there’s music in this park every other week, gospel on Sundays, jazz on Thursdays. I imagine we’ll be back there again before it gets cold.  Yay for walking places!  We would never have heard this if we’d been driving home from dinner.  Or if we’d heard it, we probably almost certainly wouldn’t have driven around looking for it.

Someone tell me how to make hats work!

How does one become a hat person?  I like hats. I like to try them on.  I like to buy them.  I think I look pretty okay in hats.  But I own three hats (of the non-baseball cap, non-winter kind), and I NEVER wear them.  Even when I think, “Hm, I could wear a hat with this outfit,” I NEVER choose to wear the hat.  A big reason why is because I’ll have hat hair.  I already suffer from lack of volume.  Wearing a hat makes it SO much worse (and adds a big dent all the way around my head).  How to hat people avoid hat hair?  Do they have perfect hair that doesn’t flatten down or show weird ridges where the hat hits the head?  Is there a trick?  Do they just never take their hats off?

Maybe I’ll figure it out this fall.  I’ll try it.  Maybe.  If I don’t, my hats are going away.  Why move with hats I don’t wear?

People who live in a certain place

It seems that Annapolis-dwellers are called Annapolitans.  That’s pretty cool,  but I prefer Annapolese.  Or Annapolians.  Annapolisians?  No.  And Annapolisers is right out.  Annapolutians?  Sounds like pollution.  Hoosiers!  Taken.

No, I’m good with Annapolese.

Greetings from Maryland!

We live in Annapolis now!

Not my picture.  Who's had time to take pictures?

Not my picture. Who’s had time to take pictures?

We moved (out and in) last Saturday.  I think you’ll find it marked in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest day ever for us.  Well, maybe the longest hard day.  I’ve been up more hours in a row before, but not working that hard the whole time.  We got up stupid-early to make sure we were first at the truck rental place (not only were we first, we were the only people there), picked up the truck and drove it back to the old apartment, and called Susan and Ken, who had insisted on helping us move out (for which we are eternally grateful).  Their insistence means we had the truck loaded in three hours.  Then we cleaned, turned in our keys (and parked John’s Camaro in the visitor lot – two drivers, two cars, and one truck = return trip), and headed for Maryland.  It took us a little longer to get here than usual, but we showed up about 4pm and met Chuck, whose help was invaluable in discovering that we definitely could not fit the couch through the front door.  I mean, we would have figured that out eventually, but if we hadn’t had Chuck around to help manhandle the couch through every possible angle, it would have taken us much longer to give up.  We left the couch on the curb and continued to unload (2nd floor is WAY preferable to 4th floor).  I finally got around to calling Goodwill to see if they would take the couch, but I nearly left it too late.  I called at 6:45.  They said they’d take it, but they stop taking donations at 7.  Two of our new neighbors practically threw the couch back into the truck, and John and I raced the two miles to Goodwill.  Our couch, which served us well for 13 years, is gone.  Hopefully someone who needs it will pick it up.  In the meantime, we’re couchless.  We finally returned the truck, totally empty, around 9pm, picked up Wendy’s for dinner, and then sat on the floor of the apartment to eat it.  We had almost nothing to sit on.  One papasan chair, one wooden chair.  Oh, and the bathroom was not exactly clean (and neither were we), so we scrubbed it and then scrubbed ourselves, and finally went to bed around midnight.

Sunday, we went to Ikea.  We did NOT go overboard, but we needed workspaces (since we were both working on Monday), and we needed at least a couple more chairs.  So now we own a papasan chair, a wooden chair, two kitchen chairs, and a desk chair.  And two tabletop desks.  We’re still considering how we’re going to replace the couch.  Do we want a new one?  A loveseat?  Two comfy (but not overly large) chairs?  That might be this weekend’s project.  Also to do this weekend: buy a new mattress.  Ours is over 15 years old, and we’re no longer sleeping well on it.

But the apartment!  The apartment is great.  I’ll post pictures after we get past the tornado-wreckage phase of unpacking.

Can’t keep up!

We got to the end of last week, and I was feeling the stress of work (which was nutty last week), moving this coming weekend, not having done any packing yet, and being away all of this weekend just past (and therefore not being ABLE to pack), so I made a token effort to get started.  I need some illusion of control.  I taped a box together and pulled a few things from the bookshelf into it.  It’s not enough, but it means I’m able to say we’ve begun to pack.  I haven’t done anything else, but we really don’t have a lot left in the apartment anyway.  We’ll pack up the kitchen (which is all half-empty cabinets), our clothes, and two not-full bookshelfs.  That’s about it, aside from furniture.  There, I’m justifying not being fully packed.  Do I feel better?  Eh.

All moving, all the time

Fair warning: this is probably going to become a Hey, We’re Moving! blog for the next couple of weeks.  Not like it wasn’t before, but we’re kicking it into overdrive!  (I don’t know what means.  Does that refer to cars?  Does my car have an overdrive setting?  Do I have to kick something to make it happen?  I find it unlikely that I would.)

We spent all of last Saturday moving from one storage unit to another.  You might think that sounds like an exercise in futility, a zero-sum game.  Why do it?  Why waste our time?  But you’d be WRONG!  It was the RIGHT thing to do, and it needed to be done, and we feel extra-special good about ourselves for getting that chore behind us.  (I may have had a little extra coffee this morning.)

Why would we leave our storage unit in Ashburn when we won’t be living there anymore?  Wouldn’t it be better to take a smaller unit (one JUST being enough to hold our stuff) that’s close to someone we know and trust?  Someone who could check on things in case of an emergency?  Someone who isn’t going to move again, at least not for a few years?  And if we did need something out of it, we could get it AND visit relatives rather than go back to the place we don’t live anymore.  Yes, it would be better to do that.  To sweeten the deal, the unit up near them is less than half as expensive as the one in Ashburn AND it’s climate-controlled.  So we wore ourselves out moving stuff out of the apartment (dining room table and chairs, my big dresser (which is EMPTY!), and a few boxes), then emptying the storage unit into the truck, then emptying half of the truck onto Sean and Emily’s lawn so we could unearth the eight bookshelves they were taking, then repacking the truck and driving it to the new storage unit, and then emptying the truck into the storage unit.

EVERYTHING FIT IN.  It’s tight, and when you open the door, it looks like it’s all going to explode out onto your head, but it won’t.  (Mom, you were right.  There is a name for that type of closet, and it is named after an old radio show – Fibber McGee’s closet, from the Fibber McGee and Molly radio show.)

If all goes well, we won’t even have to think about that storage unit (except for paying for it) or anything in it for years, not until we get tired of our new life and start thinking about settling somewhere.  That’s kind of cool.

New shoes! And then more new shoes!

I had a rougher time than usual buying new running shoes over the weekend.  My running shoes were shot -I’ve had them for over year…I’m actually not sure how much longer than a year I’ve had them.  Way too long, certainly, and I could feel it when I ran.  I went to my local running store last Friday evening, tried on 5 or 6 pairs of shoes over the course of 90 minutes (I had a very chatty sales guy), decided on a pair of New Balance shoes, and went home.

See my pretty purple shoes?

See my pretty purple shoes?

I took Saturday off from running, so I just admired my pretty pretty shoes, and then Sunday I took them for their inaugural run.  It was also their final run.  My feet hurt in ways they’ve never hurt before, in places they have never hurt before.  I ran a little over 4 miles, just to make sure I was fully warmed up and loose, and it didn’t get better, so I went back to the store Sunday afternoon.

The chatty sales guy was there and recognized me right away.  He brought out my two runner-up pairs, but he had other customers (who were there when I got there), so I didn’t get much help after that.  I didn’t really need any help, though, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I just tried on one pair, ran around the store, then the other, ran around the store, then the first, then the second, then one on each foot, etc., until I felt comfortable enough with my decision.  Of course, this time I was a little gun-shy – what if I chose badly again?  And I didn’t make it easier on myself – I didn’t choose the same model I had before.  I chose another pair of New Balance shoes, a brand I’ve never bought and the brand of the shoes that didn’t work for me just that day.  But they’re so pretty!


I promise I didn’t pick them just because they’re pretty, and luckily, after two runs now (and a total of 11.5 miles), I can confirm that they’re good (and I am relieved).  Yay new shoes!  But I will be forever nervous when I buy new running shoes in the future.

Task completed

We signed a lease for a cool apartment in Annapolis this morning!  Yay for us!  That’s one thing I no longer have to worry about.  Now that the housing situation is taken care of, I can move on to the next couple of things, like moving.  We’re moving in THREE WEEKS, so I’ll just switch over to thinking/planning/worrying about that full time.

We took today off work and spent three hours in the storage unit going through the rest of the books.  There are twelve boxes in my car now, so I’ll ask my coworkers to go through them this week and then donate the rest.  The storage unit has officially been purged (except for the bookshelves, which are going to Brian (if he still wants some) and Sean and Emily (who will take as many as we’ll give them).  So this weekend, we’re going to turn a sharp eye on everything in the apartment.  What can go?  What’s being stored?  What’s traveling with us?  The biggest thing for me is trying to get all of my clothes into one dresser.  The smaller dresser.  I can do it.

But I want everything I want when I want it!

Application has been delivered.  No response yet.  But I can be patient.  (Right?  Sure I can.)  I would just like to have a signed lease.  I don’t think I’m asking too much.

Am I too impatient?

Scenario: You have an apartment for rent.

You showed it to prospective tenants (very nice people, the PERFECT tenants) at 9:30 Saturday morning.  You needed to meet them early because you were hosting a party that afternoon and evening, and you needed time to prepare.  Your perfect prospective tenants were happy to meet you that early (they’re very understanding).  They were enthusiastic about the apartment, promised to get back to you within a couple of days, and wished you well with your party.  They only took up 15 minutes of your time.

After a productive day of apartment-hunting, your perfect prospective tenants sent an email at 9:30 Sunday morning (a civilized hour) requesting an application because they would like to rent your lovely apartment that suits their needs perfectly.

Question: How long do you wait to email them back?

It is now Monday morning, and your perfect prospective tenants have not heard a peep from you.  They really want your apartment, but they also found a very nice one on the other side of the bay that would do the trick (although without the total lifestyle change they’re looking for).  They can’t leave THOSE possible landlords hanging too long, but they don’t want to shut that opportunity down because what if this apartment falls through?  They won’t know if you don’t respond.

Do your perfect prospective tenants become less perfect if they call you or send you a follow-up email?  They’re aware you had a party Saturday night and houseguests that might not have left until late Sunday.  They don’t want to be inconsiderate or pushy.  How soon is too soon?

Update: I called her, and she was very nice.  She lost track of yesterday, never checked her email, and she was just reading my message to her now.  She said she’d send over the application within the half-hour.  So once I have that, I can let our other possible place go.  Yay!

Roller coaster

Apartment hunting is a roller coaster ride, and while I do love roller coasters, I’m ready to get off this one for a few months.  We’ve still got a month to go before we’re homeless, but I am not one to leave things to the last minute (I’ve changed a lot since college), so I’ve been keeping an eye out for apartments for a few weeks now, and we’ve been to Annapolis two Saturdays in a row.

Oh, did I not say?  We’ve decided our first stop is Annapolis or somewhere in that end of Maryland (either side of the bay).  Last Saturday, we went with not much of a plan, and we were completely discouraged.  We couldn’t anything short-term (3-4 months), and we left (after a very pleasant dinner with Jess and Chuck) pretty unhappy about it.  On the ride back, we decided we’d have to stay at least 6 months, and since there are some pretty big upsides to that decision, we’re happy with it.  The biggest upside is that staying somewhere for 6 months means we won’t be looking for the next place the whole time we’re living in one place.  And for this particular move, it means John won’t feel rushed through getting his pilot’s license.  AND, since most of the places we’re thinking about going are near friends we don’t see often, we’ll be able to spend more time with them before we move on.  Definitely the right decision.

After that, I spent all day Sunday on a couple new sites (Hotpads is great), sending out a TON of inquiries about apartments and saying up front that we’re looking for 6-months leases.  I got some pretty good responses, and we headed to Annapolis again yesterday with 4 appointments and the promise of a couple more.

But now I need to eat, and I’m going offline for the rest of the evening.  I want to tell you about how Saturday went (and the crazy real estate agent we met), but I will do my best to do that tomorrow or Tuesday.