July 6, 2008
The time since we touched ground in the U.S. sped by – five days we’ve been back! July 1 was our marathon house hunt, and we continued it on July 2. We saw fewer houses on Wednesday, and then we called a time-out until next week. There are some very promising places in Arlington, and some very, very disappointing ones as well. Not at all disappointing, however, was the delicious lunch we had at Stray Cat with Maria on Tuesday!
We also started sorting through the basement. There are obviously items that have been in boxes for a year, but what about the stuff that has been boxed up since we bought the house two years ago? And the stuff that we stored at the condo before that? We have things we haven’t seen for years. So we attacked the basement Clean Sweep-style. As we go through each box, we sort items into the Keep, Sell, or Toss piles. We added a fourth pile called Donate. Sell gets anything that it’s worth our time to try to sell, Donate gets the rest, unless something’s in really bad condition, in which case it ends up in Toss. So far our Donate and Keep piles and our pile of newly emptied boxes are about the same size. We took a load to the Salvation Army today, with 6-7 bags and boxes of clothing and shoes. We’ve actually made huge progress in the few days we’ve devoted to the project. Fortunately, Allen’s boss gave him Tuesday – Thursday off (with travel on Monday obviously, and the July 4th holiday on Friday), so neither of us has to go through the tedious sorting process alone.
Thursday we took a midday break to check out the Cardinal’s Nest, which opened a few months before we moved to Paris. We expected more of a cafe (read: smaller portions), but ended up stuffed. That was a bad thing because we had plans to meet Shari for dinner at Mandalay on Thursday. She’s the first friend we saw since returning – and other friends, you’ll have to forgive us, as we really wanted to get a lot done while Allen was off work and before I start my grad school class. We were determined to have the Thursday Special at Mandalay, and this was the only Thursday in July that we’d be able to manage it. So Shari wins! (Haha, not a contest.) Other than those two meals, we spent the rest of the day in the basement.
Friday was Independence Day! So we spent the majority of the day shackled down in the basement again. Are you getting tired of hearing that? We’re getting tired of doing it! But we left for Steph and Ryan’s house in the late afternoon to spend the 4th with them and to hang out with our 21-month-old niece. They outdid themselves with the cooking, making pasta salad from scratch, corn and black bean salsa/salad, and grilled salmon, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Yum! But did I mention the grilled CORN? Hallelujah, it must be America for there is CORN, GLORIOUS CORN! Okay, I loved French food, and I wouldn’t say no if you offered it to me right now, but wow, I enjoy an ear of fresh corn grilled to perfection. I also enjoy my adorable niece, who unpacked and repacked my purse about seven times, and who insisted on several rounds of Ring around the Rosie with Aunt Lauren and Tonton Allen. (And Ripley. She commanded him, “Ripley, fall down!” I have video evidence.) We ended the night watching Vantage Point, which turned out to be pretty interesting.
That brings us up to today. Allen and I had lunch with his boss John in Old Town Alexandria. It’s been so long since I’ve been there, and I was falling in love with the adorable townhouses again. Allen and I will have to make more of an effort to go there often. John sent us back with a homecoming present – six bottles of wine!
I’ll skip the boring parts where we - you guessed it – worked on the basement and did a few other things. Jenna is staying with us this month, and she got home around 7 pm. It was our first night to actually talk to her (she’s been with us since Wednesday, and I’ve talked to her a few minutes each day, but I didn’t actually see her in the light until Friday!), and we forced her to go grocery shopping with us. She had a huge grease stain on her pants and smelled of barbeque from working on the Mall all day at a barbeque place (at the Folklife Festival), and she still managed to pick up a guy in the line at the grocery store. But she spurned his advances. (And – is anyone from my old school reading this? – we ran into Tavon and his mother! I about died.) When we got home, I cooked dinner with Allen’s help (particularly cleaning – I love our kitchen teamwork since it means I don’t have to wash dishes!), and we had a spinach and artichoke ring (thank you, Pampered Chef!), and I made a crust for an ice cream pie (to be constructed – and eaten – tomorrow) and prepared the ingredients for cinnamon muffins in the morning. I knew I missed baking, but I didn’t realize how much! (This could be dangerous.) And speaking of that, it’s time to go to bed, so I can get up early and make those muffins! As Jack would say (hi! we miss you!), “Bonne nuitee!”