Band love

I’m sure this will be shocking to you, but I have to say it: the Arkells are REALLY good and their shows are REALLY fun.  Their opening act was this band from LA called Irontom.  They were pretty good, super entertaining, but the main attraction there was their lead singer, who is…odd.  Super odd.  At first I thought he was doing the flamboyant front man thing, a la Freddie Mercury, and he was, and it was great, but then it got weird, and at one point (during a guitar solo), I thought he might be having some sort of breakdown in the back corner of the stage.  From that point, I was a little more concerned than entertained, but their music was good, and I’d like to hear more.

But Irontom is NOT why we were there.  We got there shortly after the doors opened because I was not about to ruin our streak of being right down front.

We were successful.  That’s Max.  He’s adorable.

Arkells were headlining this time (the other two times we saw them they were opening), so we got double the setlist, which was AWESOME.  They played all our favorite songs, Max came out in the crowd for a couple of songs and we got hugs on his way back to the stage, and then we talked to him for a couple of minutes after the show.

Now, naturally, John wonders where his life went off course.  He should be in a band like that!

Donuts and milkshakes and (maybe) Italian food, oh my!

It is John’s birthday!  For Birthday Breakfast, I brought home Dunkin Donuts AND Starbucks because I am a devoted wife, and also because I can easily pass by both places on my way home from running, but definitely more because I am a devoted wife.

Dunkin Donuts has renamed all of their donuts for Halloween, and I am totally here for that.  I got the Wicked Chocolate for John and the Boston Scream for me.  I was tempted by the Ghoulish Glazed, but I saved my extra sweet calories for my ridiculous Starbucks coffee.  John also went ridiculous for coffee today – I got him a white chocolate frappucino, which was made even more of a milkshake than usual because I think they forgot to put any coffee in it.  Milkshakes and donuts for Birthday Breakfast!

Birthday lunch was brilliant blissful buttery birthday banana bread, although that was a near no-show last night.  I got all the ingredients out, realized I didn’t have brown sugar, threw a tantrum inside my head because I REALLY didn’t want to go to the store for the 39th time this week, and figured out that we barely had enough normal sugar to make it work as long as we didn’t need it for tea or coffee today AND (pause while I breathe) I knew we wouldn’t need it because I had the Birthday Breakfast plans all figured out.

Dinner tonight is still TBD, since John is still working, but we’re thinking some Italian place in Federal Hill.  Or, if he works too much later, we’ll abandon the silly idea of going outside (which, let’s face it, is crazy talk), order in something delicious and stupid, and try again tomorrow night.  WE’LL SEE.

Pesky pedestrian pickles

The most recent two pictures on my phone right now are of pickle jars.  I accidentally bought sweet bread and butter pickles the other day, but I didn’t realize it until I took a bite of one at lunch today.  I don’t hate them, but I MUCH prefer dill pickles, and when you’re expecting to taste dill and you get whatever that sweet taste is instead?  SUPER disappointing.  (My Twitter world agrees.)  So I went back to the store today, the third day in a row, but not for that.  Well, not only for that.  Friday is John’s birthday, so I needed wrapping paper, a card, and, most importantly, a Carvel ice cream cake.  He LOVES Carvel ice cream cakes, so I’m off the hook for baking every year.

I also bought bread and pickles.  Dill pickles.  Aaaannd that’s my new secret agent name.

Speaking of baking, I have two overripe bananas, so during one of my 16 trips to the store this week, I picked up flour and baking soda, and now I need to make banana bread.  Maybe I can convince John it’s birthday banana bread.  Buttery birthday banana bread.  Blissful buttery birthday banana bread.  Brilliant blissful buttery birthday banana bread.

The revolution was a lie

Tonight, we will test just how convenient it is for us to live approximately an hour from Boston. And we will test if we’re really approximately an hour from Boston.  I’m willing to bet we’re not, at least not around 4:30/5pm on a weekday.  But still!  We should get there quicker than we were able to get to Portland.

Why are we going to Boston on a Wednesday night?  It’s a surprise!  But it’s a surprise for John, not you, and by the time I publish this, he’ll already know why we’re going, so it’s safe to tell you.  I mean, he knows we’re going to Boston tonight already.  It’s not THAT much of a surprise.

I’m pretty confident he’ll be happy when he figures out who we’re going to see.  Sort of an early birthday present, I guess.

Last century

I met John 20 years ago today, thanks entirely to Erik, who invited lowly freshman me to join his pack of 6 or 8 friends for a movie in Arlington.  (Thanks, Erik!)  And it’s only thanks to John, who kept his ticket stub, that we know the exact date.  (Thanks, John!)

What movie?  The Peacemaker, starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman.  Not a memorable movie, barely a memorable night (I remember John’s hat, I remember everyone waiting for the metro, I might remember one scene from the movie – something to do with a missile on the road in the mountains?), but it had lasting consequences, thank goodness.

Tonight, we’re going out to dinner (I don’t think George Clooney or Nicole Kidman have a movie in the theater right now), where we will try not to feel too old.

I did stuff today, so I don’t have to do anything else tonight

Today’s accomplishments:

  • I ran 5.5 miles.
  • I updated the SWV NOW website so we can accept membership dues and donations within the site.
  • I linked the SWV NOW Google calendar to the website.  Technically, that was yesterday’s accomplishment, but I’m going to count it for today.  Because.

Rolling list of things to do:

No, I don’t want to make that list right now.  It has too many things on it.  Instead, I am going to get ready for bed early and read.  John is checking out the competition during week 2 of this Battle of the Bands thing (his band plays in week 5), so I am going to enjoy some quiet time.

Oh, he lives here too?

I barely saw John today.  I got up at 5am this morning so I could be awake for a conversation with my boss at 5:30 (8:30 for him – it was the only time we were both free today), and then work was non-stop meetings all day, so even though John was just down the hall, we barely exchanged words.  I forgot to eat lunch, and John left for the gym before I was done working.  He’s flying tonight with a pilot friend, so he needed to get moving.  I quit at 3:30 (my time), and when I headed to the gym, I met him at the bottom of our block just coming back.  We pulled our bikes over and caught up for a few minutes.  Honestly, it was like running into someone you don’t see every day.  “Hey!  How was the gym?  Oh yeah, tell me that thing you were going to tell me about work.”  He still had a schedule to keep, and I was still heading to the gym, so we headed in our separate directions.  I got back from the gym minutes before he headed off to the airport, and I guess I’ll see him when he gets home later.

Weird day.

Repairs are needed

John’s bike is pretty old.  He’s had it at least since 1998, when he used it to get to his summer job in Connecticut when we were in school, and he probably had had it for a while at that point.  (I’ve only had my bike since 2004, I think.)  Anyway, sometime last week, he noticed that one of his pedals was coming loose.  It was wobbly, and he couldn’t tighten it with any tools he has.  There’s a bike shop right by our gym, so we biked over there after work today, figuring we’d go to the gym once the pedal was fixed.  Of course, the pedal fell off about halfway there, and you just can’t ride a bike with only one pedal (John tried), so we walked the rest of the way (it wasn’t far).  Naturally, fixing it is not as simple as replacing the pedal, so John left the bike at the shop.  I think they have to order some parts – his bike is either old enough or non-standard enough that they just don’t have whatever it is he needs.  Still cheaper to repair than to buy a new bike, though.

This would be necessary if either of us were capable of running….grumble grumble grumble.

Well, yes it would.  We bike to get places around here.  Never mind.

(Grumble).

Small things

Small thing #1: It’s St. Patrick’s Day and EVERYONE is wearing green and when I went for a run at lunch (wearing green, of course), the weather was lovely and warm and EVERYONE was outside and EVERYONE was smiling at EVERYONE else.  It was pleasant.

Small thing #2: John’s flight test guy called this morning to reschedule John’s exam and check ride (which were supposed to be tomorrow) because he’s sick and can’t fly.  John is relieved (more time to prepare), annoyed (he was READY for tomorrow), and anxious because our deadline is approaching and he NEEDS to get this out of the way before we leave town.  The flight test guy is aware of the deadline, and he has penciled John in for three different days next week.  He’ll be well enough (and the weather will cooperate) for at least ONE of those days.

Good Samaritan (it wasn’t me)

Today was beautiful and warm and breezy.  We had the windows open and the fans going all day.  It was great, but it also means we hear EVERYTHING that goes on outside.  This evening, before sunset, we heard a horrendous screeching noise right outside the apartment.  We looked out the windows and saw a car stopped in the middle of road, blocking the northbound lane, with the drivers side door open.  There was another woman inspecting the red mini parked on the side of the road just in front of it.  I assumed we’d just heard a crash, that maybe the car had hit the mini or the mini backed into the car.  I stopped looking through the screen (opting for the clear part of the window), and I couldn’t see any damage, and then John noticed the tire leaning up against the mini.

Apparently, this car was driving up our street when the front left tire CAME OFF THE CAR and rolled into the street and hit the mini.  The horrendous screeching noise was the front left corner of the car, minus its tire, scratching up the pavement.  We stood at the windows watching the circus (the people in the car running around, getting the tire, staring at the car, the other drivers trying to go around the car to get out of town, the southbound lane stopping to let the northbound lane swerve into their lane to go), and then we heard someone shout something about needing a jack.

John: Should I help?  I have a jack.  I should help.  Should I help?

He decided to help.  By the time I went outside, there were 7 or 8 people clustered around the car (only three of whom were working).  Everyone else on the block was out on front porches and stoops (me and our housemates included), watching the fun (and occasionally yelling).  With the help of two of the guys who live next door, John jacked up their car and got the tire back on.  Sort of.  Turns out that out of the five bolts that usually hold a tire on, one was missing and one had been completely broken off.  Of the three that were left, only one was straight and able to be used.  The car owners (who didn’t help at all and barely said thank you) decided to risk driving back to DC rather than drive the car slowly to a shop.

We’re going to keep an eye on the news for the idiots who are surely going to lose the tire again going too fast on the highway back to DC tonight.

Big news!

John passed his pilot’s exam this morning! YAYYYYYY!!!!  He’s got a few more lessons to go (some navigation stuff), and as soon as he’s comfortable solo, he does a check ride with a different instructor, and then he gets his license.  This will be the recreational pilot license.  He’ll get the regular private pilot license after we move.  (Here, I googled that for you.)

This takes some of the stress off of John (both having the exam behind him and getting the rec license first) and will give him proof of competency he can take to the next school.

In other news, it’s stupid-cold today.  I was going to get up when John left for his exam this morning and run before work, but the wind chill was in the single digits.  NO THANK YOU.  So instead, I went at lunch time, when the wind chill was in the teens.  I wore a long-sleeve shirt and TWO jackets.  My body was warm, but my face was cold.  It’s creepy to run wearing a ski mask.  I don’t really know how to get around that problem.  Scarf wrapped around my nose and mouth and cheeks? Hat pulled low over my forehead?  I suppose it’s less creepy than a ski mask, but I’ll still look like I’m going to rob someone.  I’ll even be dressed for the getaway.

 

Tilt

Our apartment is on the second floor of this rowhouse, and our bedroom is the room at the back.  It sticks out a little bit past the first floor, and I think that makes John a little nervous.

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The floor in our room isn’t perfectly level, and it’s an old house, so it creaks.  His side of the bed is the side towards the back, so….if the house falls apart, he’s going over the edge first.

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I wouldn’t say it worries him exactly, but he might not sleep well until we live in a place where he’s not sleeping while hanging out over the open air.

Flying, he can do.  This?  Not so much.  I did offer to switch sides with him, but he says that’s weird.

Found another good one

We went to Osteria 177 for our anniversary dinner.  It’s one of the fancier restaurants on Main Street, and this one was good (so that makes…four? five good ones?).  We went early (skipped lunch), and at 5:30, I think there was only one other table in use.  They sat us in the front window and gave us the waiter several Yelp reviewers raved about.  (They weren’t wrong – he was great.)  Dinner was wonderful, the wine was good, we split a yummy off-menu dessert, and we didn’t spend our entire savings account on it.

Figured I’d get some pictures of us first, and since I’m an Instagrammer now, I posted them there.  Sorry about the cross-pollination, those of you who follow me in both places.  I did NOT take any pictures of or at the restaurant. I may be on Instagram, and I may be guilty of posting the occasional food picture there, but I am not willing to be THAT GUY. Not in a fancy restaurant, anyway. We even dressed up!

Happy 15th anniversary to us!

A photo posted by @zannah42 on

It was bound to happen

Over the years (and especially lately, I don’t know why), I’ve had many close calls.  There have been so very many times I have lost control of a hair band and almost dropped it in the toilet, or fumbled the cap to the toothpaste and nearly dropped it in the toilet, but I’ve always been lucky.  Until today.  Today, my comb, my wonderful, colorful wide-toothed* comb landed squarely (and splashily) in the toilet.  I was ready to toss it, but John is more sentimental than I am.  He pointed out that I’ve had that comb as long as he’s known me.  He’s right – this comb is older than our relationship.  I can’t let it go that easily, so I’m boiling it clean right now.

Hang on, little comb!  I won’t abandon you!

*Wide-tooth or wide-toothed?  Google results are inconclusive.

Flying solo, literally

John soloed today!  He’s back home, alive and well and super-excited.  He texted me a picture of his empty co-pilot’s seat right before his first solo take-off.  That’s the only notice I got.  (I mean, I knew it was possible today, wind-dependent, but that’s how he told me.)  I didn’t have much time to worry (which may have been the point), and I can truthfully say I didn’t worry much.  I’m confident in his (and his instructor’s) assessment of his skills.

He has a couple more boxes to check, a few more hours of practice (both solo and with his instructor), and then he should be licensed.  It’s in sight!  The weather has to cooperate, though.  Flying in winter might be tricky.

Hooray for John!

Mr. Blue Sky

All it takes is one sunny day.  Yesterday was a gloomy, chilly, rainy day.  Today has been the clearest, sunniest day in the history of clear sunny days.  And even though it’s a bit chilly (I wore a scarf with my jacket and hat to lunch), it is glorious.

Good things that happened today, in no particular order:

  • John had a good phone interview for a great job
  • Jess got very positive news about a potential promotion
  • I had a GREAT run this morning (five miles with perfect music)
  • Lunch was half of a delicious burger, split with a giddy Jess
  • Except for one meeting this morning, I have not wanted to reach through my computer screen and throttle anyone

It’s a banner day!  And it’s Friday!

 

Overweight

Today, when I say overweight, I’m referring to John’s suitcase.  He’s playing superhero, right?  Well, Captain Wammy has a lot of gear, and it all needs to fit in a suitcase to get to Oregon.  He just filled his suitcase and stepped on the scale – so far, it’s under 50 lbs, but I’m not sure it’ll stay that way.  He’s using a suitcase that’s heavier to begin with, but that’s because it’s also sturdier.  It would suck if his stuff got damaged because something gigantic smashed one of the flimsier suitcases.  I have a feeling my suitcase is going to get filled with various electronic gadgets.

Oh, I’m a sidekick!  Captain Wammy and The Uke, appearing in the nick of time to keep bands from having to cancel gigs at the last minute!

Other sidekick names (I’m trying them out in my head, like “Captain Wammy and….”, even though I don’t think John would be pleased with Captain Wammy.  Greg is hilarious, though, and I like it.):

  • The Voice
  • The Whisper
  • The Diva
  • Strum
  • Hum
  • Fingers McGee
  • Butterfingers
  • Ivory

John to the rescue!

I can’t believe I haven’t told you John’s super-exciting news.  Remember Will, who was the drummer in the band that used to practice in our basement (when we had a basement)?  Well, Will and his family moved to Oregon a couple of years ago, and Will joined a band (The Elena Leona Project).  That band has three gigs next week, and they fired their guitarist last week, and so John is flying to Oregon this weekend to be their guitarist for all three gigs.  Because they want him to, because he can, and because it’s cool.  Everyone involved is very excited.

(I’m going too, of course.  Why wouldn’t I?)

John needs a superhero name, and it needs to be guitar-related.  Ideas:

  • Capo-man
  • Strat-man
  • Strat-ster
  • The Strat
  • Strings
  • The Axe
  • Captain Strat
  • Captain Guitar
  • Fender-man
  • The Amplifier
  • Wammy Bar

Those are terrible.  I’ll keep working on it.  In Oregon!

Update: John says I should take this post down before everyone knows his secret identity.

Any day now

John had his pre-solo check ride Friday afternoon, and it went well enough that if it hadn’t been so windy, he would have flown his first solo flight right after it.  They decided it was a bit too gusty to do it yesterday, and I think I’m a little relieved.  I’m not worried about it, exactly.  I have every faith in John’s abilities, and I trust his instructor to know when John is ready, but I think I’d like to be at the airport when he does it.  Just in case.  I think.  But leaving that aside, John is ready to solo!  Already!  This is very cool.  Soon we’ll be able to hop in a plane to visit people instead of the car.

I think he’s been learning in something like this (assuming Google Images is really showing me pictures of a Piper Warrior):

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And here’s the (student) pilot himself:

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